✝ 💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – April 29, 2023: Saturday

“Encompassed by a deep love for the Lord and remaining loyal and faithful to Christ, our Powerful and Mighty King!”

(Based on Acts 9:31-42 and Jn 6:60-69 – Saturday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

“Tom Brown’s School Days” is an 1857 novel by Thomas Hughes.

The story is set in the 1830s at Rugby School, a public school for boys.

Much of the novel is based on the author’s experiences in the school.

There is a fine passage in Tom Brown’s School Days which tells of a boy who had the courage to stand up against ridicule.

A new boy – a Christian – had come to the school.

On his first night, in a room where there were twelve beds and boys, he knelt down to say his prayers.

But the boy became the object of ridicule and fun…
… others began to make poking comments
… some others began to laugh and giggle, humiliating him and his faith.

Tom Brown had been observing all the while.

It was at that time, that Tom also saw a heavy slipper flying through the air toward the head of the kneeling boy.

But the boy remained unperturbed and finished his prayers.

When the lights went out a little later, Tom Brown thought of his own mother, and the prayers that she had taught him to say, but which he had never said since he came to Rugby.

Then and there he made a decision that the next time he went to bed, he, too, would say his prayers.

When that next night came, the other boys in the room, ready to laugh and scoff at this newcomer who said his prayers…
… were amazed to see Tom Brown, whom they all respected and feared, kneel down at the side of his bed and pray.

The courageous prayer of the boy, in spite of the ridicule, won the respect of all his companions!

Yes, Christianity demands…

And only the ones who are willing to respond to these demands are worthy of being the Followers of the Lord.

It pays to be a Christian!

It costs much to be a Follower of Christ!

In the Gospel of the Day, the Lord is pretty straight-forward and candid in His challenging requirements and would even ask us, as He asks His disciples, “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 it’s 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.

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 cosiness…

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

Yes, let us be fervent in the stipulations of being a Christian…
… and be willing to respond to those demands that make us worthy of being the Followers of the Lord.

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 SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – Marriage under the regime of sin

Nevertheless, the order of creation persists, though seriously disturbed.
To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them.

Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them “in the beginning.” (CCC #1608)

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