REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 23, 2021: Wednesday

“Allowing the Love of the Lord to infill our heart to experience true peace and joy!”

(Based on Gen 15:1-18 and Mt 7:15-20 – Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time)

Joseph Grimaldi was an English actor, comedian and dancer, who became a very popular English entertainer in the 18th century.

This celebrated clown, used to go through phases of depression.

Once he went to a physician to obtain a cure for his depressed spirit.

The physician however, did not know who the patient was…
… and thought, he only needed a little amusement
He failed to realise that this man was a comedian himself.

So the physician said to him, “I think one of the best solutions for you is…
… go down the town, and there is a person named Grimaldi.
Hear his amusements… and am sure, you will be out of your depression!”

“But, doctor,” was the grim answer that came back, “I am Grimaldi!”

Even though he was a person who was able to make all others happy…
… within himself, Grimaldi failed to experience inner joy and peace of mind.

Does it happen with us as well…

Externally things seem to be good and fine…
… but perhaps, internally we are experiencing pain and brokenness!

Exteriorly, maybe we have fair amount of money, luxuries and comfort…
… but perhaps, interiorly, we fail to have a sense of true joy and peace of mind

We are invited today to shun off every external “mask or façade” and truly bear fruits of peace, joy and love!

The Gospel of the Day is a stern admonition by Jesus on the need “to become aware of any such spiritual deception and pretence” that can ruin our Christian Faith.

The world is fraught with a lot of dangers.

There are physical, social, emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational dangers etc.

Most of the time, we are aware of these dangers…
And we take means and measures…
… to be protected from them
… and to keep ourselves free from harm.

But there is also another very important area to which, many of us…
… either remain ignorant
… or don’t pay much attention
… or take it very lightly

They are “Spiritual Dangers”

Today, the Gospel discusses one of the most powerful Spiritual Dangers: DECEPTION!

The power of this danger lies in the fact that it is…
… very “subtle”
… very “tricky”
… and apparently appears to be highly “good”!

Jesus cautions: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt 7:15)

The Lord begins today’s Gospel with the word, “BEWARE”!

This is a strong word that is used in Greek – “prosecho”

“pros” means ‘before’
“echo” means ‘hold’
Thus, “prosecho” means “hold before”!

BEWARE – Prosecho – means…
… to hold one’s mind back from
… never to expose one’s mind

Jesus in the previous verses had given an invitation to walk along the narrow gate…

“Enter through the narrow gate…” (Mt 7:13)

In this striving to “enter through” to the gate of life…
… Jesus issues a strict warning to be aware of the false prophets who would misguide and lead astray

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing…” (Mt 7: 15)

In Palestine, the most dangerous enemy of the sheep was the wolf!

It was a natural enemy, roaming the hills…

It would wait for a flock of sheep
At the precise moment, it would come out of its place of hiding
And snatch the sheep and rip it to shreds!

The sheep would be totally defenceless against such prowling wolves!

The Lord presents this imagery to His followers – His sheep: Of being aware of such “sheep-clothed” wolves!

We have in the world, today…

Many religious philosophies
Varied spiritual methods
A number of attractive theological views
… which present Religion in a very alluring, charming and pleasant way!
… which presents Christianity as a bed of roses – cosy, comfy and casual!

But let us give heed to the Cry of the Lord: BEWARE!

Let us not bleed away our precious spiritual life and our Christian Faith!

Are we a seeking a Life…
… without the Cross and the Crucified Lord?

Are we fascinated to a Prosperity Gospel which glorifies richness & success & good social life…
… but nothing on repentance, virtuous life & inner holiness?

Are we attracted to “fiery preachers” and “awesome praise and worship” which appears good…
… but are deprived of the Real Sacramental Presence found only in the Catholic Church?

Let us also BEWARE and examine…

The books we read…
The talks we engage in…
The jokes we indulge in…
The habits we occupy ourselves with…
The music and the songs we delight in…

Are they all worthy of being “Christian”…
… or are they deceptively and subtly leading us away from the innocence and honesty of Christian Life?

Are they in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves?

Yes, we need to Beware!!

We need to examine:

Am I really on the watch, with respect to my spiritual life…
… or I am, exposing myself to the deceptive techniques of satan?

Jesus said: “By their fruits, you will know them…” (Mt 7:16)

Gal 5:22 says “The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!”

In all our actions… and with respect to all peoples…
… let us weigh their truthfulness in the light of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”
… let us check their reliability by the yardstick of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”

The world will often resort to “deception and pretence” to suit its needs and wants…

The world will often take recourse to “deception and pretence” to rob spiritual resources…
But, as Christians, we need to be aware, as well as be on our guard, constantly…
… preserving our innocence
… and keeping alight our light of faith!

Let us realise that no amount of external goodness, money, luxuries or comfort…
… can “vaccinate” us from pain and brokenness!

It’s only when we allow the Presence of the Lord to heal us…
It’s only when we allow the Love of the Lord to infill our hearts…

That we can experience true peace and joy!

Let’s pray therefore: “O Lord, you know that there are so many moments when I externally need to make others happy and put up a smiling face…
… even though I am broken and depressed within

I pray, at this moment…
… that Your Tender Mercy may heal, strengthen and renew me
… so that I truly become an Icon of Love and Peace in the world
I believe that by the Power of Your Love, I can truly become a joyful person, Amen!”

God bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. “How can this be?”

Participation in the divine life arises “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”.
The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit’s gift to man.
The spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God is fulfilled perfectly in Mary’s VIRGINAL Motherhood.

Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith “unadulterated by any doubt”, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will.
It is Her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”
At once Virgin and Mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed…

… by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse. (Cf. CCC # 499-501)

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