REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 11, 2021: Thursday

“Being careful not to allow ourselves to be ‘influenced and altered’ by the ways of the world, so that we may not end up losing the ‘song of our Faith!’”

(Based on Jer 7:23-28 and Lk 11:14-23 – Thursday of the 3rd Week in Lent)

A group of two brothers were roaming in the forest, when they found a couple of tiny birds of the family of linnets.

When the boys got the birds home, they put the linnets in a cage, opposite the canary bird, which was tied in another cage.
(Canary birds are known to be “Singing Birds”)

They explained to their mother that they hoped the linnets – being so young – would learn to imitate the singing canary…
… Instead of cheeping as normally birds do, they expected them to sing (like the canary)

The next day the boys entered the room, and exclaimed:
“Mother, come here, look what has happened!
>> Our canary is cheeping like a linnet!”

The mother came in… and found it so!
>> Instead of the linnets learning to sing, the Canary bird forgot its ability to sing!

Thus, the canary had to be separated from the wild birds of the wood and kept under cover for a time before regaining the singing ability.

Such is the case with Christians who allow themselves to “influenced and altered” by the ways of the world!
>> We may end up losing the “Song of our Faith!”

Yes, Christian life requires that we be constantly “on the watch and guard”, because it is…
… a constant struggle between the forces of evil and the power of goodness…
… a relentless warfare between the coercion of sin and the strength of holiness…

The Gospel of the Day presents this struggle between…
… Jesus and the Pharisees
… the Holy One and the evil forces
… the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Satan

The Lord came to the world to usher in the Kingdom of God.
>> Bringing to forefront the Kingdom of Power and Holiness, the Lord casts out a demon from a person who is dumb. (Lk 11:14)

This mighty action of healing and deliverance had a tremendous effect…
… the dumb man spoke
… and the people marvelled.

But, this wondrous act of power and authority also triggered a volley of struggles…
… a struggle of words between the Pharisees and Jesus
… a teaching on the struggle between the Kingdom of God and the forces of evil

The Lord lashes out in authority and conviction, on being accused of siding with evil powers to cast out demons: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and a divided household falls” ( Lk 11: 17)
>> Jesus makes it clear that one cannot be siding with negative forces in order to perform deeds of goodness and salvation!
>> Jesus makes it clear that one cannot be on the side of evil and sin and yet be authentic and genuine in doing works of true deliverance and righteousness!

This brings us to an important dimension that needs our honest and critical consideration:
Am I a person truly on the side of God when I engage in works and ministries of the Lord…
… but still continuing to be on the side of the Evil One by living a life of sin?

Am I a person imbued with the Spirit of the Holy Lord in professing to be a Christian…
… or am I living a dual-life by failing to give up immoral tendencies and obliging the evil spirit?

Am I a person who may be performing a lot of good works in the name of God…
… but failing to have an intimate relationship and union with the God of all power and glory?

Venerable Fr Peter Marie Mermier, the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales puts it beautifully:
“The ministry of a priest without prayer, is a barren ministry, without any effect, even harmful; it is a ministry of death!
>> Instead of enlightening, it blinds; instead of healing, it kills!

But the ministry of the one who prays, is a ministry of life!”

Christian life is not to be just defined by external works of piety and works…
…but is to be a reflection of the inner intimacy and relation with the Lord.

Christian Life is not to be merely characterized by many deeds of charity and devotion…
… but is to be a manifestation of one’s true faith and closeness to the Divine Master.

• A true inner disposition and authority is a must to be effective and credible in our life.
• A proper grounding is an absolute requirement to be engaged in the works of the Lord.

I may find myself often in the “cage” of faith and unbelief…
>> But am I clear in taking the side of the Lord and Him alone?

I may find myself often in the “cage” of actions of goodness and temptations of the evil…
>> But am I convinced of taking the side of the Kingdom of God alone?

Christian Life is a constant struggle
… between the evil and good
… between the Devil and Jesus
… between the Kingdom of God and the powers of wickedness

Which side are we on?

Let us be careful not to allow ourselves to be “influenced and altered” by the ways of the world…
… so that we may not end up losing the “Song of our Faith!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
Faith is a personal act – the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself.
>> But faith is not an isolated act.
>> No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life.
>> The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbour impels us to speak to others about our faith.
>> Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.
>> “I believe” (Apostles’ Creed) is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism.
>> “We believe” (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers.
>> “I believe” is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both “I believe” and “We believe” (CCC # 166-167)

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