REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 13, 2021: Monday

“Rooting out all pessimistic mind-sets, and focussing instead on growth in holiness and humility!”

(Based on Num 24:2-7, 15-17 and Mt 21:23-27 – Monday of the 3rd Week in Advent)

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 the fussy gentleman reacted 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 and who gave you this authority?” (Mt 21: 23)

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

Chapter 21 of St Mathew’s Gospel has a progressive sequence…

The entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21: 1-11)
The ‘re-storation’ in the Temple at Jerusalem and indignant behaviour of authorities(Mt 21:12-16)
The entry to Bethany and cursing of the fig tree (Mt 21: 17-22)
The ‘re-entry’ to the Temple at Jerusalem and questioning of Jesus by the authorities (Mt 21: 23-27)

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 had 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.

Let us root out all such pessimistic mind-sets and focus instead on growth in holiness and humility!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

When Christ instituted the Twelve, “he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them.”
Just as “by the Lord’s institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another.”
The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.
“The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.”
This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.
The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.”
“For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”
“The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, as its head.” As such, this college has “supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.”
“The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council.”
But “there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter’s successor.”

“This college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the People of God; and of the unity of the flock of Christ, in so far as it is assembled under one head.” (CCC # 880-885)

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