REFLECTION CAPSULE – January 23, 2022: Sunday

“Being courageous, with the Grace of God, to overcome all the challenges that comes on our way to be a true follower of Christ and ‘In Spite Of’ difficulties, let us sculpt our lives as a beautiful masterpiece!”

(Based on Neh 8:2-6, 8-10, 1 Cor 12:12-30 and Lk 1:1-4, 4:14-21 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

An incident is told of a sculptor, who, while creating a statue suffered a medical accident…
… and lost his right hand – his main hand of work.

The sculptor was, however, very much determined to finish the statue

His resilience led him to learn how to chisel with his left hand.

This masterpiece – this great work of excellence and determination – was named as “IN SPITE OF”
… in honour of the fact, that despite the great challenges – “in spite of ” many problems – the sculptor did not give up!

Are there challenges and difficulties in our life that are causing us to give up in life?

“In Spite Of” these difficulties, can we still face life with courage and determination?

The Gospel of the Day is a challenging invitation to have such an experience of overcoming struggles
… and “in spite of ” the difficulties, to relish happiness and delight in being a follower of Christ.

The Gospel of the Day begins with the prologue to the Gospel of St Luke – addressed to ‘Theophilus’

‘Theophilus’ means a friend of God or the beloved of God.
‘Theophilus’ was most probably a Greek or Roman governor or dignitary.

But to all of us, who read this Gospel, the invitation is given: Are you ready to be a ‘Theophilus?’

Are we ready to accept this invitation of the Lord to be His friend and to be His beloved?

The Prologue of St Luke is an exhortation to clarify and to convince on the Truth – the Truth that Christ has come to the world as Saviour of all – and gives a clarion call, to be His faithful disciples!

Every page of the Gospel shows God’s universal priority – for the weak, the poor, the marginalised

The Gospel narrates that Jesus is in the synagogue at Nazareth – where He had been brought up.

Jesus reads from Prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor.” (Lk 4:18a)

This reading from Prophet Isaiah and His glorious declaration, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21)…
… are the first recorded words of Jesus – according to the Gospel of St Luke – in His public ministry.

This inaugural address or the manifesto of His public ministry clearly describes the character, priorities and direction of His ministry. Jesus makes the mandate very clear: “I have come to re-order and restore relationships. I have come to rectify erroneous reasoning!

I have come to give Good News to the poor, to release the captive, to give sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to declare God’s Favour!”

This public declaration of priorities – in accordance with God’s Mind – and not human standpoints…
… would surely lead to many oppositions and objections from those who were in the comfort zone

But Jesus is the One “Who disturbs the comforted, and comforts the disturbed!”

This opposition and objection is seen immediately after Jesus explains His Manifesto, when the people were, “filled with wrath, and they rose up and put Him out of the city…” (Cf. Lk 4:28-29)

Anyone who stands for God and His Kingdom is, indeed, bound to face opposition and objection!

This Gospel is a challenge for all of us to ‘Imitate Christ’ and to introduce “the priorities enshrined, and the direction shown by the Gospel” in our day to day activities.

It is when we do this, that…
… our fights and arguments, would be replaced by compassion and empathy for one another
… our tendency to dominate, would be replaced with being more sensitive and understanding
… our dirty games for power and position, would be replaced with mutual care and cooperation
… our inclination to speak loud in order to be heard, would be replaced with listening to one another

The Gospel is not just a Document to be read – it is to become our Life Manifesto to Imitate Christ!

We read in the Book of Nehemiah, of how Ezra kindle the fire of love for God’s Word among the people of Israel, who had been in exile…
… and how they responded to the Word of God: “’Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands; and bowing their heads, worshipping the Lord with their faces to the ground.” (Cf. Neh 8:6)

The Word of God – the Bible – is to become the Rule of our Life…
… leading and guiding every action of our life!

Let us be courageous, with the Grace of God, to overcome all the challenges that comes on our way to be a true follower of Christ…
… and “In Spite Of ” difficulties, let us sculpt our lives as a beautiful masterpiece!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

By Her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to His Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity.
Thus She is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, She is the “exemplary realization” (typus) of the Church.

Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way, She cooperated by Her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, She is a mother to us in the order of Grace!” (CCC # 967-968)

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