30 August 2012
Extracted from the book of Joshua, Chapter 24:1-2,15-18
Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; then he called the elders, leaders, judges and scribes of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.
Then Joshua said to all the people, ‘If you will not serve the Lord, choose today whom you wish to serve, whether the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living. As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.’
The people answered, ‘We have no intention of deserting the Lord and serving other gods!
Was it not the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery, who worked those great wonders before our eyes and preserved us all along the way we travelled and among all the peoples through whom we journeyed?
What is more, the Lord drove all those peoples out before us, as well as the Amorites who used to live in this country. We too will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to John 6:60-69
After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?
‘It is the spirit that gives life,
the flesh has nothing to offer.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit
and they are life.
‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’
The aforesaid Gospel was read in Holy Mass last Sunday 26 August 2012, as a continuation of what was being read on Sunday 19 August 2012 (see Encouragements-134), and a wise and elderly Priest gave the homily. We have summarized to share with you:
The Jews (who had been personally fed by Jesus after His multiplication of 5 barley loaves and 2 fish at the hillside, see John 6:1-15 @ Encouragements-128) after hearing about “eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood”, could not believe in Him further and left Him – “After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’”
These Jews, instead of continuing to believe in Jesus as they had personally witnessed His power to multiply food as the Son of God, they left Him completely. However Simon Peter and the other Apostles and disciples stayed with Him. Obviously, they did not understand at that point of time what Jesus really meant, as the institution of the Eucharist happened much later, just before His betrayal by Judas Iscariot & His crucifixion on the Cross.
The “Transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ in the hands of a priest during Holy Mass” is obviously a mystery, that’s why the Church named it “Eucharistic Mystery”. If it is a mystery, obviously it cannot be comprehended by our human minds, but all we can see is the result, substantiated by scientific proofs and evidences that the “consecrated bread and wine” are really the “Body and Blood of Christ”. See the 1st Eucharistic Miracle of the Universal Church and its related scientific proofs in Encouragements-10.
This wise Priest told us that similarly, many things in life we could not understand, but “the safest and surest way to surf through in life and to emerge victorious is just to fix our gaze upon Jesus, instead of looking at the problem as the Jews did”. He told us to trust Jesus completely and just look at Him, as there are numerous problems in life and Jesus knows that we could not handle them all at once, such as human-relationship problems, financial problems, work problems and possibly others.
This priest quoted the event of Peter walking on water (see Matthew, Chapter 14:22-36, Encouragements-131), he told us Peter started to sink into the water when he looked at the waves and concentrated on the wind that was coming against him instead of fixing his gaze upon Jesus. The Priest’s words could be summarized with what Pope Benedict XVI said earlier (see Encouragements-131):
“Peter walks on the water, not by his own effort but rather through divine grace in which he believes. And when he was smitten by doubt, when he no longer fixed his gaze on Jesus but was frightened by the gale, when he failed to put full trust in the Teacher’s words, it means that he was interiorly distancing himself from the Teacher and so risked sinking in the sea of life.
So it is also for us: if we look only at ourselves we become dependent on the winds and can no longer pass through storms on the waters of life.”
Earlier in Encouragements-112, we have shared with you our friends’ experiences on how they got their problems solved; they fixed their gaze upon Jesus present in each Tabernacle (in the form of “Consecrated Bread”) of the Universal Church all over the world and just offer everything to Jesus instead of worrying about them. Jesus Christ who loves us and also lives in us would help us to solve the problems.
Don’t you know that the Risen Christ does not sleep and He does not doze off due to fatigue (cf. Psalm 121) ? He who is God of the entire Universe is full of energy and He continues to work & to help us even we are sleeping at night. So just fix your gaze upon Jesus and always have one-to-one private tuition sessions with Him, you just need to wait upon Him and you will see that every complication is solved eventually and always in time… Because He is never late. 8-)
30 August 2012
6 September 2012 & 2 February 2013
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:1-4, 4:16-30
Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have taken place among us, exactly as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.
Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.
Jesus came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did.
He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him.
Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’
And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’
But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside.”’
And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town.
And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’
When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.
6 September 2012 & 2 February 2013