REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 29, 2021: Saturday

“Rooting out every pessimistic mind-set, by growing in the Wisdom of the Lord and focusing on self-growth in holiness and humility!”

(Based on Sir 51:12-20 and Mk 11:27-33 – Saturday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

Once, a preacher was speaking the Word of God to a great crowd.

As was his practice, he was concentrating more on the content of his message and of its effect upon the hearts of people, for transformation…
… rather than the precise literary form of it.

Among his audience, was seated a certain fussy gentleman.
He had been known for making extremely critical remarks and comments.

At the end of the prayer service, this person went up to the preacher and said:
“By the way, I noticed that you made eleven mistakes of grammar in your sermon.”

“Very likely,” replied the preacher, very coolly, “I don’t doubt it for a minute.

My early education was faulty.
I often wished that I had received more schooling.

But I am using all the grammar I know in the service of Christ.

How is it with you?”

Well, we don’t know how did the fussy gentleman react to this bold and true reply of the preacher.
(Hopefully, he went home and read a chapter of the Bible and prayed for a humbler heart rather than just revising his skills of grammar!)

When the heart is closed to God’s spirit, the focus dwells only external and peripheral factors…

The heart gets closed to spiritual appreciation…
The mind remains curious only for rhetorical arguments!

The Gospel of the Day presents such a critically harsh and uncharitably closed attitude of the chief priests and scribes and elders towards the person and ministry of Jesus.

This is expressed in their volatile question to Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mk 11: 28)

The context of today’s Gospel is the presence of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem.

Chapter 11 of St Mark’s Gospel has a progressive sequence…

  1. The entry into Jerusalem (Mk 11: 1-10)
  2. The entry to Bethany and cursing of the fig tree (Mk 11: 11-14)
  3. The re-entry to Jerusalem and cleansing of the Temple (Mk 11: 15-18)
  4. The re-entry to Bethany, observation of withered tree and teaching on faith (Mk 11: 19-26)
  5. The third entry into Jerusalem and questioning of Jesus’ authority (Mk 11: 27-33)

The popularity of Jesus was on the rise…
… He had a rousing welcome to the city of Jerusalem

The impact of Jesus was also on the rise…
… He had performed a daring cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple

These factors had greatly disturbed the religious leaders.

In Jesus, they perceived a threat.
… a threat to their attitude of subjugating people to their yoke, than to service of God

In Jesus, they sensed a danger.
… a danger to their personal wishes and agenda of having a monopoly over religion

In Jesus, they identified a menace.
… a menace to their comfort-rendering style of spirituality and way of life.

And so, they – the chief priests and scribes and the elders – sought to put Jesus to the task and questioned His authority on doing such deeds and performing such actions.

Their eyes were closed to see the goodness of the Lord

Their hearts become clogged to examine their own maligned conscience

Their lives were rendered blocked to be willing to make necessary changes for the good.

… they only found fault with the Lord
… they only become critical of the ways of the Lord

When the heart is closed to God’s spirit, the focus dwells only external and peripheral factors…

The heart gets closed to spiritual appreciation…
The mind remains curious only for rhetorical arguments!

Is such an attitude prevalent among us also…

A mentality of harshly criticising…?

A tendency to inhumanly condemn…?
… without any consideration to humanness or acceptance or self-examination etc.

The Book of Sirach invites us to seek for Wisdom and to ‘incline our ears” in order to make greater progress in life:
“While I was still young, before I went on my travels, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer. Before the temple I asked for her, and I will search for her until the end.

From my youth I followed her steps.
I inclined my ear a little and received her, and I found for myself much instruction.
I made progress in her; to him who gives wisdom I will give glory.
For I resolved to live according to wisdom” (Cf. Sir 51: 13-18)

May we be able to root out every pessimistic mind-set, by growing in the Wisdom of the Lord…
… and focus instead on self-growth in holiness and humility!

God Bless! Live Jesus

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

In the Old Testament, “son of God” is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings.
It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature.
When the promised Messiah-King is called “son of God”, it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus “son of God”, as the Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.
Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
Similarly Paul writes regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through His Grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…”
… and in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.'”

From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s Divine Sonship is at centre of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation (Cf. CCC # 441-442)

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