Monday of Holy Week, Year A; 10th April 2017.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up His voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till He has established justice in the earth; and the islands wait for His laws.
Prophet Isaiah gives an amazing phophecy about Christ’s death and mission on earth, no wonder the Holy Mother Church takes verses from it for most of its reading during the Holy Week. Today Christ is portrayed as the servant who God delights in; the chosen one filled with the Holy Spirit to bring forth justice to the world. And what justice is it He brings, we might be compelled to ask; after all, injustice still lurks in our world this present age. We seek a justice that stops evil abruptly, a justice which shouts power and authority, one with dictates right from wrong immediately. But the justice Christ brings isn’t loud; for He came neither crying out justice nor lifting up his voice to instill it. He came in all humility and simplicity to establish justice on earth. And this He calls us to do: to be instruments of justice; a justice found in righteous living; a justice that doesn’t falter when faced with the world’s failure to adhere to it and discouragement from unjust happenings around us. We are called to be like Christ this Holy Week, to be the light to people around us so that they can see the joy Christ brings, to open their eyes to God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness, to bring out those who live in the chains of sin to the freedom the Sacrament of Penance gives.
God calls us to be just. God calls us into righteousness today. Like Our Lord Jesus Christ, may we embrace humility and establish justice on earth through love.
Palm Sunday of The Lord’s Passion, Year A; 9th April 2017.
When they had come near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat on thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Today has got quite a twist in its readings. It begins with a joyful proclamation of “Hosanna” to Christ the Son of David on His entry to Jerusalem at the Blessings/Procession with Palms and ends with the shouts of “Crucify Him” during the Passion Narrative. It’s like the future being placed immediately the very beginning commences. Such gives us reasons to ponder on how we proclaim Christ’s goodness in our lives only to crucify Him when things seem to go bad; on how we proclaim His presence in us only to persecute Him when we become immersed in our sinful ways. This also goes to show how weak we humans are with praises and being true in our loyalty. The same ones who praise you today are the ones who are bound to persecute you tomorrow. More reason why Jesus draws us towards total surrender of our will to God as he did. He knew the shouts of Hosanna was only temporary till He suffered for our sins. He knew what laid ahead of Him was quite unbearable for a mere human, nevertheless He who, though in the form of God was made man, emptied Himself, remained humble unto death and steadfast to God the Almighty Father. How often have we claimed to love Christ but yet persecuted Him in our actions? How do we go about life when we feel betrayed by loved ones and close friends? How often do we turn to God so that He takes the cup of suffering from us if He wills?
Today, Christ enters Jerusalem with a donkey, a beast of “burden”. This is a significant reminder that He comes to bear our sins and take them on His journey to Calvary. This Holy Week, Christ beckons on us to go with Him all the way; to let go of those heavy bags of sin, hurt, tribulations and sufferings which weigh us down and turn us away from the glory and joy that awaits us during Easter. Jesus comes to save. Shout with joy that ‘Honassa’ as he enters through the door of your heart now.
Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent Year A; 15th March 2017.
But Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and a great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whatever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus Christ today once again tells His disciples about His suffering and death and then His glory after (Matthew 20:17-19). But some of his disciples were not concerned with that. All they wanted to know was what the glory could hold for them, and for a moment became ignorant of the suffering they must first undergo as well (Matthew 20:20-23). We at times can display attitudes similar to the sons of Zebedee; wanting to be at the top of every of our peers- be an ‘Alpha’ above all -and lobby for position, power and titles. But Christ immediately points us to what is more important: drinking His chalice; His cup of suffering which is being shared for us and all.
There is no crown without the cross. The journey to the way up is down – humility. Christ invites us to service in all aspects of our life; in our families, in communities and in our spirituality. The reason why the world is the way it is because we who are called to lead, climb up to those positions and choose to be served inside of serving. We are made to know that ‘the greatness of a person is the measure of service to others and not in the positions or awards given.’
Our Lord is an example of humility and service, for “the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)” If He who is the King of all the kings which the world has ever had can bend down to serve the creatures he created willingly and with humility, who are we not to serve our brethren in the little positions we may find ourselves in?
May our Heavenly Father give us the grace to take up whatever mantle of leadership and responsiblity, be it big or small with humility and serve like Christ did so that at the end, glory and honour which the world cannot give will be ours.
Wednesday of the 2nd week in Ordinary Time, 20th January 2016
“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Complete my joy by being of the same mind. Oneness. That’s what drives us as followers of Christ and as Catholics: having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Selflessness. Putting others before us, loving not for our selfish desires and pleasures but loving genuinely, having a love that calls us to serve our neighbours. Humility. That which makes us have the mind of our Saviour, that which makes us submissive to Christ will, the humility that makes us empty ourselves out for those around us, the humility that springs forth obedience, that in being humble we will be exalted one day.
Oneness, Selflessness, Humility. Our Christian keywords for today. May we be given the grace not to just make them keywords in our lives but keys to opening the doors of salvation.
Saturday after Epiphany, 9th January 2016
“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Today we see how John points to the whole essence of our salvation, Christ Jesus our Messiah. He refuses to take glory in his deeds, staying committed to his mission. “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him” (John 3:28). We ought to let Jesus take the lead role in our lives while we play the background. We as Christ’s followers ought to make Him known and loved. Only in doing that will our joy be complete; in putting Him first will we obtain from him the requests we ask.
So let us like John the Baptist stay humble and acknowledge within us the need of God to increase in us.