REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 04, 2021: Sunday

“Having a genuine and honest encounter with the Word of God!”

(Based on Ezek 2:2-5, 2 Cor 12:7-10 and Mk 6:1-6 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

When the first missionaries went to Japan, a young Japanese boy wanted to learn English.

The missionaries handed him a copy of the Gospels and asked him to translate into his native language.
(The boy – an avid reader – had never heard about Jesus and considered the book as being just one of the “many books that he had read”)

After a few pages of translation, the boy became very agitated and restless.

Approaching the missionaries, he said to them: “Who is this Man about Whom I have been reading in this book? This Jesus!

You call Him a Man… but to me, he appears as a God!”

The boy was under the impression that he was reading a book about a famous Man…
… only to discover that he was actually encountering The Great God in the Book!

Yes, a genuine and honest encounter with the Word of God always causes a great impact on people…

Some either feel greatly drawn by the Divine…
Some however, also feel a great sense of denial and refusal of God’s Ways

The Gospel of the Day presents this dual-reaction to Jesus, the Word of God…
… an initial sense of rejoicing and enthrallment
… and later, a purposeful rejection of the Divine Ways and Will

The Lord arrives in His hometown.

On the Sabbath, He taught in the synagogue.

The Gospel mentions a juxtaposition of feelings of the listeners…

First, there is a great expression of marvel and wonder:
“Where did this Man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to Him? What deeds of power are being by Him?” (Mk 6:2)

But this feeling quickly vanishes…

The feelings of wonder and amazement get distorted to feelings of contempt, condemnation and outright rejection:
“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not His sisters here with us?” (Mk 6:2)

What was the cause of this sudden and dramatic change of mood of the listeners?

It was simply because Jesus was “just one of them!”
It was simply because Jesus was “too acquainted to them!”

Familiarity often breeds contempt!

When one is too close to the Divine, one has to be also aware that there are greater possibilities of losing the “sense of awe and wonder” and sink into the dangerous waters of “taking things for granted”

When one is constantly handling Divine objects, there is also the greater chance of losing the “awareness and thrill of the mystery” and get lost in the thickets of “being lethargic or unenthusiastic or even indifferent”

Prophet Ezekiel had this experience with the people of Israel, when God told him: “I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants are impudent and stubborn…” (Ezek 2:3-4)

How many of us are also prone to this danger….

Priests and the Religious constantly handle Divine objects and perform many spiritual exercises…

Daily Holy Mass… Frequent recital of the Psalms in the Divine Office Prayer… Regular Adorations and administering and receiving of the Sacraments… Recurrent handling of the Bible, liturgical articles, reading and hearing Church teachings and life of saints….

Do all these help one to deepen one’s relationship with the Lord…?

Or do these cause one to lose the “sense of awe and wonder” and sink into the dangerous waters of “taking things for granted”…?

Many Christians are engaged in a number of spiritual activities on a regular basis…

Holy Eucharistic celebration… novenas… recital of the Rosary and other pious prayers of devotion… forwarding of devotional messages, pictures and videos through emails and WhatsApp and social networking tools…

Do all these help one to grow in spiritual life….?

Or do these make one to lose the “awareness and thrill of the mystery” and get lost in the thickets of “being lethargic or unenthusiastic or even indifferent”…?

The people failed to recognize the worth and value of Jesus due to “too much familiarity”.

However this familiarity was only “external and peripheral”…

Such kind of a familiarity had, in fact, caused them to be ignorant, contemptuous and prejudiced…

Ignorant… of the fact that amidst them was the Promised Messiah who was to save the world!
Contemptuous… of the fact that “one of them” could actually possess so much of wisdom and power!
Prejudiced… of the fact that “this ordinary Son of a carpenter” could ever be the Son of God!

Yes, how often do we reject the precious and important people and aspects of life…
… due to our ignorance
… due to our contempt of things
… and due to our prejudiced mindsets!

We are invited today to “open our eyes” and to realize the worth and preciousness of God’s grace that we have been blessed with…

Each of us… personally… as a family… as a community… and as a Church, have been blessed and graced with immense favours and kindness from the Lord.

True that we have a lot of difficulties to face in our life…
True that we have much to complain in the maze of the many crisis we undergo..

Yet amidst all this…
Can we lift up our hearts in thanksgiving and gratitude for the Lord’s Guiding Presence with us, always… and learn to grow deeper in our love for Him?

With St Paul, let us also depend on the Power of God and exclaim: “…whenever I am weak, then I am strong!” (2 Cor 12:10)

A genuine and honest encounter with the Word of God always causes a great impact on people…

Some either feel greatly drawn by the Divine…
Some however, also feel a great sense of denial and refusal of God’s Ways

What is our Response to Jesus, the Word of God?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

The Baptism of Jesus is on His part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant.
He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.
Already He is anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death.
Already He is coming to “fulfil all righteousness”, that is, He is submitting himself entirely to His Father’s Will: out of love He consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.
The Father’s voice responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming His entire delight in His Son.
The Spirit Whom Jesus possessed in fullness from His conception comes to “rest on Him”.
Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind.
At his baptism “the heavens were opened”- the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed – and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.
Through Baptism, the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in His own Baptism anticipates His Death and Resurrection.
He Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with Him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father’s beloved son in the Son and “walk in newness of life”
Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.

Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God. (Cf. CCC # 536-537)

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