Reflection for February 2018
Community Word: Our relationship with the Father gives us hope and fullness of life.
Order: “Listen to him.” (Mk 9:7b)
Our community word for the month tells us: Our relationship with the Father gives us hope and fullness of life. Our relationship with God comes from His amazing love and grace reaching to us. It has always been the Father’s desire to reveal Himself to us since creation. In the beginning, God desired an everlasting, loving relationship with man. God made us according to His image and likeness, until man chose to reject and disobey His command, producing sin which separated mankind from Him. But God restored us to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, whose voluntary sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection delivered and redeemed us from sin and death, and brought us life through the Holy Spirit.
If we decide to make our relationship with God foremost in our life, everything else will naturally fall into place in the right order, fulfilling the life of abundance that we hope to enjoy. Jesus gives us this encouragement: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” (Mt. 6:33). We are being asked to set our priorities right and turn our attention away from worldly attachments, to desire of things above and not of earthly things. Seeking God first in our life – trusting Him, listening to His voice, turning away from sin, and obeying His commandment to love, is a decision we need to make so that we will enjoy fullness of life. We should avoid wasting time and energy on what does not really matter, but instead focus our hearts, minds and spirits in experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings for us.
During the next four weeks, we shall be guided in our meditation on the word of God as we begin to enter the Lenten Season.
Our theme for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time is – We receive fullness of life when we take time to pray and preach the gospel. Jesus, despite being so occupied healing the sick, driving out demons, or teaching those who followed him, never forgot to commune with His Father where he draw His consolation and strength and receive affirmation in doing His Father’s will. Many of us are overwhelmed by the demands of life, work and ministry that we have difficulty finding time to pray. Jesus is setting the example that being grounded in prayer and be recharged in spirit, connects us with the Father even closer. With this spiritual relationship with the Lord, we have His promise this week: “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; to his wisdom there is no limit,” (Ps 147:5).
We receive fullness of life when we forgive others out of love and compassion, is the theme for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Choosing to forgive is not like the sticker card at your favorite supermarket where you are rewarded with a bonus point for buying an item. We cannot show forgiveness and compassion in the spirit of reciprocity. We offer it out of love with no expectations in return. Forgiveness and compassion is genuine when given out of love, care and pure sincerity, without any condition. Let us be like Jesus, when He forgives our sins, He blots them out and forgets them when we are truly sincere. He gives us this week’s promise: “Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered,” (Ps. 32:1).
For the 1st Sunday of Lent, the theme is – We receive fullness of life when we repent and firmly believe in the gospel. Lent is a time of atonement and penance, a period when we acknowledge our sinfulness, turning away from a life of sin to a life with Christ and embracing the call to holiness. To fully enter such a call, fervent repentance is necessary. Repentance is not merely to know of Christ, nor is it a matter of picking and choosing, with an intellectual arrogance, some aspects of our Lord’s teaching, while coldly rejecting others. Rather, it is a union of mind, heart and soul to the Person of Christ. To repent is to die to Christ, discarding our former way of life in favor of the Way, Truth and Life that is Christ himself. For in repentance, “…the Lord shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way,” (Ps 25: 8 – 9).
And, finally, for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, the theme is – We receive fullness of life when we listen to God’s voice to transform us. We are invited to follow the Lord at all cost, but we can only do that if we empty ourselves with our pride and self-centeredness, and be filled by His grace. The transfiguration of Jesus reminds us to have a continued conversion of heart, to transform our lives in Him, a change of self towards being Christ-centered. The transfiguration event is the affirmation of God’s glory in Him, just as our transformation is our walk to holiness towards God. God commands us – “Listen to him,” (Mk 9:7b). The more we try to make our life better by pursuing our own desires, the more our desires will take control over us, giving us stress and frustration. But when we pursue a closer relationship with God above all else, the wiser we will become and be able to discern what is truly right and meaningful, freeing us to receive more blessings that God wants to send us. He says in this promise for this week: “I will bless you abundantly…because you obeyed my command,” (Gn 22: 17a, 18b).
Heavenly Father, may this Lenten season allow us time to reflect on our spiritual journey, to examine what we have accomplished in our life, in our desire for genuine conversion and transformation as followers of Christ. In our prayers, may we be always reminded by Your command to constantly listen to Your Son, Jesus, through His words and teachings in the gospel. Amen.