“Being convinced of the deep love that the Father has towards us and orienting our lives in a way that is worthy of our call as witnesses of the Kingdom!”
(Based on Acts 22:30, 23:6-11 and Jn 17:20-26 – Thursday of the 7th Week in Eastertide)
A cute story of a little boy, who loved fruits.
This little fellow was once, tempted to pluck some cherries from a tree, which his father had strictly forbidden him to touch.
“You need not be afraid,” said his notorious companion, “for if your father should find out that you have taken them, he is too kind to hurt you.”
“Ah,” said the brave little fellow, “that is the very reason why I would not touch them;
For I know that my father would not hurt me. So I should not hurt him by my disobedience!”
The little boy knew the love of his Father towards him
… and so he dared not hurt his Father.
He was not afraid of the punishment of the Father.
He was instead afraid of the hurt that would cause pain to the Father.
True love causes a holy and pious concern of not wanting to cause any offence to the one who is loved.
True Love casts away all fear!
True Love drives away every anxiety!
It is this True Love of the Father that was made known by Jesus to all of us.
The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus shedding greater light on His intimate relation with the Father and revealing deeper, the love of the Father for each one of us.
Jesus prays, “… so that they may be one, as we are one. I in them and You in Me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn 17: 22b, 23)
The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in the Seventeenth Chapter of St John, is another insight into the intimate relation that Jesus had with His Father.
All His Life, He sought to do only the Father’s Will
All His Life, He sought to reveal the love of the Father to the world.
This was driven by the fact that Jesus was in intimate union with the Father.
To His disciples, Jesus wishes to leave this same legacy – the legacy of loving the Father intimately.
Jesus wishes to tell us that we have a Father who is deeply interested and caring for us.
Jesus wishes to convince us that our lives are secure in the Providential care of the Father.
However, our lives sometimes fail to display this trust and confidence in the providential care of the Father
Some of us may have a wrong notion of God being interested only in finding my wrongdoings and punishing me for the same…
Some of us may have the wrong notion of God being too holy and majestic that makes Him unapproachable, unavailable and inaccessible!
But Jesus seeks to drive away all such false impressions.
He tells us that the Father…
… is surely the keeper of justice, and may take us through a time of trials and difficulties.
Those are not to be seen as cruel punishments, but loving acts for improvements towards a holier life!
He tells us that the Father…
…. is surely the Lord and Master of the Universe, and is totally aware of even the calamities or hardships that befall our lives!
In all those hard moments, the loving Father keeps us safely in the palm of His hand, not allowing us, His beloved children to get hurt or harmed!
We have the beautiful assurance of the Lord to St Paul, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles:
“The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome!” (Acts 23:11)
The Lord “always stands by us”…
… and this should be our motivation and strength to “always stand for the Lord!”
When we are convinced of the deep love that the Father has towards us, we would be able to orient our lives in a way that is worthy of our call as witnesses of the Kingdom.
Jesus by His unity with the Father, enjoyed perfect freedom.
He invites us to also deepen our union with the Father and enjoy greater freedom of happiness and joy.
Let us seek the intercession of St Bernardine of Siena, whose feast we celebrate today.
May we be encouraged by his words to live our lofty vocation of being an Intimate Follower of Christ, “Whenever the divine favour chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation…
… God adorns the person chosen, with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfil the task at hand!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
A hard battle. . .
The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man’s situation and activity in the world. By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free.
Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”.
Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action and morals.
The consequences of original sin and of all men’s personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John’s expression, “the sin of the world.” This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men’s sins.
This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one” makes man’s life a battle