Bukas Loob sa Diyos Catholic Charismatic Covenant Community
Reflection for March 2019
Community Word: God’s unconditional love brings salvation in Christ Jesus.
Order: “…be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:20b)
God loves all men unconditionally and equally without discrimination of race, color or creed. His gift of eternal salvation through His Son is given freely and offered to those who believe in faith that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Redeemer. Human effort cannot lead us to salvation, only by the mercy and grace of God. This is the essence of our Community Word for the month – God’s unconditional love brings salvation in Christ Jesus.
We will soon be celebrating Ash Wednesday to usher in the Season of Lent, a 40-day preparation for Easter and celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It would seem that Lent is all about shortcomings and failings, but in reality, it is about God’s love as we are restored to His friendship and fellowship. St. Paul told the people of Corinth in his second letter to them: “… God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them,” (2 Cor 5:19). Our separation from God is mended through Christ, from enmity to friendship, from condemnation to forgiveness, from downfall to grace. That is why we are exhorted to “…be reconciled to God,” (2 Cor 5:20b).
Lent is the time of preparation to receive God’s unconditional love, to deepen our responsiveness to His unfailing love. This is expressed in the weekly themes for the month of March.
For the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is – We respond to God’s unconditional love when our hearts are filled with righteousness. Christ has clothed us with His goodness, bringing us out of darkness into the light of righteousness. All our actions should speak goodness, not evil. For if there is good in our hearts, good is produced, but if there is evil in our hearts, evil is produced (cf. Lk 6:45a). We are called to be light to others, not judge or condemn them, but point them to the truth. We, on the other hand, should examine ourselves, recognize our limitation, and humbly accept corrections when we make a mistakes. Then, when we walk in righteousness, we can claim the fruitful promise of the Lord: “They shall bear fruit even in old age; vigorous and sturdy shall they be,” (Ps 92:15).
The theme for the 1st Sunday of Lent is – We respond to God’s unconditional love when we believe and obey every word that comes from God. In the world today, we hear noises that drown the word of God – animosity, hatred, violence, atrocities, immorality and corruption. We fail to hear His call to have an open heart filled with compassion and empathy. Instead of listening to the call of greed for possession, power and prestige, we ought to hear the cries of the poor, those who are mourning and suffering, and those who are on the verge of hopelessness. As we evangelize to the poor, we become instruments in receiving God’s promise that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Rom 10:13). Let us turn to God in opening our hearts with love, compassion, and tender pity for all people in need of healing.
We respond to God’s unconditional love when we allow Him to transform our lives, is the theme for the 2nd Sunday of Lent. God’s love transforms and changes us, from mediocrity to abundance, only if we surrender our lives to Him, if we let go of our self-made plans and we cooperate with His Divine plan instead. The Lord invites us to allow His presence to lead us to deeper conversion where we are strengthened in the virtues of faith, hope and love. In His transfiguration, Jesus shows us that we can live from glory to glory if we let God empower us to do His will in our lives because it is His glorious promise that, when we are done with our earthly existence, “He will change our lowly body to conform with His glorified body,” (Phil 3:21a). Let us believe that He will do something new and wonderful things for us.
For the 3rd Sunday of Lent, the theme is – We respond to God’s unconditional love when we seek Him with reverence and humility. Man is innately weak, so we cannot rely solely on our human capability, but we must deeply trust in God’s creative power. Often, we are deceived by our thoughts, and our minds are blinded by distractions we experience around us. So, we come before the Lord with humble and open hearts to seek His counsel to enlighten us in our confusion. The Lord assures us that He is just there caring and waiting for us to confess to Him our need for redemption. It is here that we may be able to pick-up the broken pieces of our lives, to be whole again and to be fruitful. Because, we will always receive this assurance from the Lord, “He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion,” (Ps 103:4).
The theme for the 4th Sunday of Lent is – We respond to God’s unconditional love when we repent of our wrongdoings and be reconciled with Him and others. We are reminded that we are imperfect and we are always prone to sin. Our negative behavior destroys our relationship with others and we easily turn away from God. Many times we are stubborn in admitting our faults and in our self-righteous attitude we hesitate to ask forgiveness from the Lord and those whom we have offended. As we draw closer to Good Friday, we are called to seek and accept God’s relentless mercy and unconditional forgiveness. When we respond, we grow more in our relationship with Jesus to live and love as His faithful disciples. We imbibe new life-giving attitudes and practices that will help us get rid of our selfish desires and allow others to see the goodness of the Lord in us. Then, our lives become the manifestation of His promise, “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation,” (2 Cor 5:17a).
Lord, as we read and reflect on your word during the Lenten season, help us to understand the depth of Your total and perfect love for us. When we walk in the darkness of sin, do not stop from reaching out to us, to bring us back to the Father in remorse and repentance. Help us recognize and realize that Your love is unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.