✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – March 30, 2023: Thursday

“Deepening our Faith in JESUS – the Bright Star – Who always shines in our lives!

(Based on Gen 17:3-9 and Jn 8:51-59 – Thursday of the 5th Week in Lent)

It is said that during the First World War, in American towns any household that had given a son to the war…
… was entitled to place a star on the window pane.

A certain man was walking down a certain avenue in New York, accompanied by his little boy.

The lad became very interested in the lighted windows of the houses, and clapped his hands whenever he saw a star at the window pane of the houses.

As they passed house after house, he would say: “Oh, look, daddy, there’s another house that has given a son to the war!

And there’s another! There’s one with two stars!
And look, there’s a house with no star at all!”

After quite some time, they came to a some vacant places where there were no houses.

However, in the vast expanse, the evening star was seen shining brightly in the sky.

The little fellow caught his breath and with an excited exclaim said: “Oh, look, Daddy,” he cried, “God must have given His Son, for He has got a Star in His window.”

“He has indeed!’ said Daddy!

Yes, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16)

This Gift of God – Jesus, the Son of God – is the Person of controversy in today’s Gospel.

Not all people were able to digest this fact, that Jesus, could be fully divine.

It is such a debating discussion over the Divinity of the Lord that forms the chunk of the Gospel of the Day.

One of the constant companions of the Lord, all through His life was…
… being hated!

It was especially His declaration on having a Divine origin that generated greater sparks of hatred.

The debate continues between Jesus and the Jews.

The Jews had immense pride in calling themselves as the children of their Father, Abraham.

As the debate continues, the Lord puts forward the gem of His defense…the core of His revelation: “Truly truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn 8:58)

Those words of Jesus hit his critics, directly on the face…
“Before Abraham was, I AM!”

“I AM” was the title of God Yawheh!
“I AM” was the sole privilege of the Lord Almighty!

This was the name that was given by God to Moses: “I AM who am. This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you” (Ex 3:14)

It was pure blasphemy for any mortal to use it for oneself.

I AM – the Name…
… demanded fear as to none other
… commanded respect as to no one
… contained awesomeness as in nothing else

In the book of Genesis, we read God Yahweh – the Great “I AM” time and again encounters Abraham.

“Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations!” (Gen 17:3)

The Jews who were well aware of these incidents, were highly infuriated, when Jesus would call Himself as the “I AM”…
… not only claiming superiority over Abraham
… but equating Himself to be God!

And so, the Lord had to face the consequences of this “blasphemous” act:
“So they picked up stones to throw at Him” (Jn 8:59)

The life of our Blessed Lord expounds an important truth:
Where there is mention of Divinity…
… there are forces of the evil seeking to cast it away.

Where there is presence of the Divine…
… there are powers seeking to destroy the sacredness.

Jesus, the One hated the most, was the Most Divine.

Fulton Sheen picks up this beautiful aspect, to present a secular, rational and a logical reasoning to see the Truth in the Holy Catholic Church.

We quote him here….
“If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world;
… in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hated.

My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh.

If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world!

Look for the Church…
… that is hated by the world as Christ was hated by the world!
… that is accused of being behind the times, as our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned.
… which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth.
… which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils.
… which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God.
… which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth.
… which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men.
… which amid the confusions of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly it is other worldly. since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself.

But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved.

Therefore the Church is Divine.”

Our own lives sometimes becomes an object of hate when we stand for Christ, the Truth

The more we tend towards being Divine…
… the greater is the opposition we face.

Jesus, is the same, yesterday today and forever (Heb 13:8)

As His true followers, we too will have to undergo agony, pain, humiliation and even suffering….

Let us be firm in His grace and stand bold, facing the challenges to our faith

Let us grow in our love and commitment to the Holy Church and share in Her suffering.

Let us deepen our Faith that “God has given His Son, for He has got a Star in His window”…
… and may this Bright Star – Jesus – always shine in our lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority.
Raised to the Father’s right hand, he has not forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through the apostles, and guides it still through these same pastors who continue his work today.

Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles, others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops. (CCC # 1575)

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