“Rising up to the challenge to remain loyal and faithful to the demands placed on us by Christ, our Powerful and Mighty King!”
(Based on Acts 9:31-42 and Jn 6:60-69 – Saturday of the 3rd Week in Easter)
There is a challenging incident that goes thus…
A Parish Priest, after the Holy Mass on a Sunday, was standing outside the Church, when he came across a young girl.
This girl had been in the hotel plaza and had missed the Sunday service.
“Good Morning!” greeted the Priest.
“Good Morning too, Father”, came the reply from the girl.
“Are you well this morning?”
“Oh, I am so tired!” she explained, “I blistered my feet dancing, the whole night!”
And then she had a query, “By the way, Father, what do you think about dancing?”
With a grave seriousness, the Priest replied, “You call yourself to be a Christian, isn’t it?
Have you ever blistered your feet for God?”
That question hit her like a lightening!
She turned away, with guilt and shame displayed on her face.
A few days later, she spoke to the Priest again, saying, “I have hardly slept since you asked me that question.
I want to tell you honestly… I have never blistered my feet for the Lord.
But to the best of my abilities, I will seek to work for Him, hereafter!”
Has our Christian Life ever caused us…
… blisters on our feet?
… aches in our hands?
… tensions in our minds?
… anxiety in our hearts?
It pays to be a Christian!
It costs much to be a Follower of Christ!
Yes, Christianity demands…
And only the ones who are willing to respond to these demands are worthy of being the followers of the Lord.
The Lord is pretty straight-forward and candid in His challenging requirements…
… and would even ask us, as He asks His disciples in the Gospel of the Day, “Do you also wish to go away?” (Jn 6: 67)
We are at the concluding portion of the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of St John – known as the chapter on the Discourse of the Bread of Life.
The hearers of Jesus, from the beginning of this Chapter have been taken through a very intriguing path…
It began with the fragrance of compassion and mercy being radiated by the Lord in the multiplication of the loaves (Jn 6: 1-15)
This fragrance developed into an aura of authority and power that was displayed in the incident of the walking on the water (Jn 6: 16-21)
This aura began to radiate more gloriously through His teachings on He being the Bread of Life (Jn 6: 22-59)
This glorious splendour was further revealed and explained when He declared Himself as the Son of Man who would ascend to where He was (Jn 6: 61-62)
The Chapter, as its nears the conclusion, finds many of the hearers abandoning Christ.
Therefore we read, “As a result of this, many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him” (Jn 6:66)
It seemed nice and wonderful to be the followers of Christ, when He provided food to their satisfaction
… But when there was a demand made by Christ, the “goody-goody” feelings disappeared and they began to reject Him!
Is this not the attitude that is prevalent among many of the Christians… including we, perhaps?
As long as the ground of our lives, receives the continual showers of favours being granted and prayers being instantly heard, we feel nice with the Lord.
… But in the times when the ground has to experience the drought of delays in prayers and absence of the rains of consolation, we feel to do away with the ways of the Lord!
As long as the garden of my life, is blessed with the flowers of prosperity, security and comforts, we remain happy to be with the Lord
… But in the circumstances when the garden goes dry and the weeds of misery begin to crop up, we feel to abandon the presence of the Lord and tread our own wills!
And therefore the Lord asks us, “Do you also wish to go away?” (Jn 6: 67)
Faith in the Lord is no cheap thing!
It indeed costs to be faithful!
The History of the Bible is replete with examples for this fact…
It cost Abraham in giving up Isaac, his beloved, in order to prove his faith in the Lord
It cost Moses to let go off his weaknesses and frailties, in order to become the leader of a vast multitude
It cost Daniel to be cast into the den of lions in being a faithful warrior of the Lord
It cost Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to pass through the ordeals of the fiery furnace in proving to be loyal to the Lord
It cost Stephen a painful death by being stoned in order to witness his daring courage in the Lord
It cost Peter to be nailed upside down to stand firm as the rock of faithfulness and commitment
Yes, Christianity demands…
And only the ones who are willing to respond to these demands are worthy of being the Followers of the Lord.
The book of the Acts of the Apostles beautifully recounts many incidents of people following the Lord – willing to give up their past life, and live a new life in Christ…
The healing of the paralyzed Aeneas through the instrumentality of Peter, made “all the residents of Lydda and Sharon… to turn to the Lord.” (Cf. Acts 9:35)
The healing of Tabitha, in Joppa, also caused many people to “believe in the Lord!” (Acts 9:36-42)
What is it costing us to be faithful to our Lord and King?
Often times, our practice of Christian faith enters, tiptoed and slyly, into the halls of comfort and coziness…
A Baptism received long ago…
Some Sacraments obtained now and then…
A few Church obligations completed once in a way…
Some occasionally unavoidable practise of piety and devotion…
This is all that sometimes it “costs” us in being a Christian!
But the Lord today powerfully seeks to shake off the dusts of lethargy and casualness and confronts us, “Do you also wish to go away?”
Our remaining with the Lord, ought not to be in mere words, but also in deeds and actions
Being with the Lord demands…
… that we grow in our zeal and love for the Lord
… that we become an extension of Christ to the needy
… that we strive to be passionate proponents of His love and mercy
We have to be ready and willing, to let our “feet be blistered”, bear “aches in our hands”, go through “tensions in our minds” and battle “anxiety in our hearts”…
… for the sake of the Lord and His Kingdom!
May our Christian lives be encompassed by a deep love for the Lord and may we rise up to the challenge to remain loyal and faithful to the demands placed on us by Christ, our Powerful and Mighty King!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES PRESENT THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST
Together with the anamnesis, the epiclesis is at the heart of each sacramental celebration, most especially of the Eucharist:
“You ask how the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine the Blood of Christ I shall tell you: the Holy Spirit comes upon them and accomplishes what surpasses every word and thought. Let it be enough for you to understand that it is by the Holy Spirit, just as it was of the Holy Virgin and by the Holy Spirit that the Lord, through and in himself, took flesh.”
The Holy Spirit’s transforming power in the liturgy hastens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the mystery of salvation.
While we wait in hope he causes us really to anticipate the fullness of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sent by the Father who hears the epiclesis of the Church, the Spirit gives life to those who accept him and is, even now, the “guarantee” of their inheritance (CCC # 1106-1107)