✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 21, 2023: Saturday

“Living with deep conviction and trust in the power of the Lord!”

(Based on Heb 9:2-3, 11-14 and Mk 3:20-21 – Saturday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

It was a tense afternoon in the September of the year 1594.

The Bishop of Geneva in France, had convoked a meeting of all his clergy.

There was an urgent need for priests to go to a place named Chablais.

Chablais was a territory in Geneva, which had been under political and religious siege.

Around fifty priests in this place had been banished.
Many churches had been burnt and devastated.

Chablais had become a place of terror for the Catholic Church.

This city became infamous for its terrible persecution of the Catholic Faith.

In this horrifying situation, the Bishop of the place had called for a meeting…
… to ask for volunteers to go to this place and renew the faith.

But none came forward…

None were willing to risk their lives…

It’s at this point, that there came a gentle yet firm voice:
“My Lord, if you think that I am capable of it, command me, I am ready!”

The voice was of St Francis de Sales.

His own father considered this decision as “utter madness”

Perhaps, the other priests and clergy would have also felt this decision as a “crazy one”

The risk of being driven out, failing in his undertaking and of becoming a laughing stock of the world was great indeed.

But St Francis de Sales stood firm to His decision.

It was a decision which perhaps…
… defied reasons
… seemed out of senses…

But this decision was to become the turning point of a spiritual revolution!

The one who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!

The one who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!
Mad for one’s aim
… obsessed in love
… passionate about one’s goals!

The Gospel of the Day is also a narrative of the “Mad and Insane” Jesus!

St Mark’s Gospel is pretty straightforward – to the point and blunt in its nature.

The Lord was out to preach and proclaim the Kingdom of Love and Mercy…

Broken lives were mended by the balm of His Holiness
Ruined minds were revived by the power of His teachings
Shattered destinies were made whole by the cure of His touch
Hardened hearts were touched by the softness of His presence
Ruptured consciences were restored by the gentleness of His love

The crowd following had increased
… the popularity ratings had soared!

This however causes a great disturbance and distress in the family of Jesus…
“Again the crowds gathered, making it impossible for them, even to eat.

When His relatives heard of this, they set out to seize Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind’ ” (Mk 3: 20-21)

Jesus was labelled as being “out of mind!”

Jesus was tagged as being “insane and mad”
Jesus was branded as being “crazy and odd”

The one who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!

The one who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!
Obsessed in love
… mad for one’s aim
… passionate about one’s goals!

And Jesus was indeed passionate and highly zealous for His mission…

So much so, that even His own relatives misunderstood and mistook Him.

The Bible and the Church is a gigantic collection of deeds and acts of such people who were “mad” and who took “crazy” decisions in life…

Abraham was “crazy” to have faith in God, to have children, even at the ripe old age of hundred!
Moses was “mad” to trust God to lead a tiny nation from the clutches of the imposing Egyptian empire!
Mother Mary was “crazy” to give up her promising life and instead consent to an Angel to become the Mother of God!
St Peter was “mad” to abandon his career and family to follow Jesus for a ministry of unknown and uncertain future!
St Paul was “crazy” to undergo tremendous sufferings and agonizing troubles for the sake of the spread of the Gospel!
St Francis De Sales was “crazy” and “mad” to undertake risk of going to the Chablais mission and renew the faith of the people!

When one is really passionate towards one’s mission, there is an element of “craziness!”

When one is really zealous about one’s purposes, there is an element of “madness”!

Do I have and reflect this “mad” passion and zeal for God’s love?
… by seeking Him in all our works, activities and plans
… by reaching out His love to the needy and the disadvantaged
… by spreading hope, courage and optimism in this broken world

Let us dare to walk and live the path of the Crucified Lord…
… the One who was called mad and insane
… the One who was misunderstood and unaccepted

Because He chose to live and die for His convictions of Love!

Let us not be worried, let us not be anxious
… but trust in our Loving God!

In the words of St Francis De Sales, whose feast we celebrate on the 24th of January:
“God takes pleasure to see you take your little steps; and like a good father who holds his child by the hand, He will accommodate His steps to yours and will be content to go no faster than you.

Why do you worry?”

We seek today also the intercession of St Agnes of Rome – the thirteen year old girl – who offered her life in martyrdom to the Lord, on her Feast Day

She knew the worth of her life consisted in the fact that she was deeply loved by the Lord…
… and that her faithfulness to the consecration to the Lord was her strength

And so with deep conviction, she would exclaim:
“You may stain your sword with my blood…
… but you will never profane my body that I have consecrated to Christ.”

“Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue…
… I belong to Him whom the angels serve!”

May the life and words of St Agnes inspire us, as we seek to grow in our “spirituality of living in love – with gentleness and kindness!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord.
But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses.

Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church. (CCC #1508)

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