Today, the Church calls us to pay attention to two ways by which Jesus displays his love for us. The First Reading shows the gentle and welcoming quality of God. Moses went out of his cave to welcome and encounter God only when he heard the gentle breeze. The Gospel reminds us of another aspect of God’s caring love through his Son Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus comes inside the storm to save his disciples. Jesus rides the storm to deliver his disciples. Jesus could have immediately calmed the storm. He did not. His first attention is his disciples. He wants to ensure that his disciples have the faith to ride the storm as well. What a loving God we worship. Jesus will leave no stones unturned in his efforts at delivering us from evil through his love for humanity. His infinite love and compassion for us, pushes him to even enter and ride the storms of our lives just to get to our hearts!
The Power of Jesus’ Love for us
Today, Jesus the Good Shepherd cares for the sheep by filling our hearts with his gift of fortitude. It is because of his infinite love for humanity that Jesus strengthens our inner-self. He wants us to be matured and responsible in our loving relationship with him and others. Jesus gives us two principal images of the Kingdom of God. On one hand, we are presented with a kingdom founded upon pearls and treasures; on the other hand, he speaks of the suffering image of ‘fire’. This should not surprise us, because the tension between good and bad is part of our very existence. Jesus’ loving presence in the world, frees and liberates us from hell. Hell is the final home for evil and all its counterparts. It is because of God’s love for humanity and the world, that hell is created. If not, the world would never be free of evil pain and sufferings. There will come a time when humanity and the world will be finally purified of all evil, sufferings injustice…Amen, Alleluia! This evil will end up in hell. Jesus has chosen us to live for him in his abundant and infinite love. In addition, Matthew 16: 18 tells us, ” And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We have been graced and purified by his blood of endless love and compassion. Why would any human created in God’s image and likeness, baptized in Jesus Christ, reject Jesus’ everlasting love, and prefer to return to hell at the final judgement?
This symbolises the cry of mother earth; the cry of humanity – all taken to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha patron Saint of the environment. May we be divinely inspired to care for Mother Earth.
As Christians, we must be willing to experience inconveniences for our Catholic Faith. Faith in Jesus is not only about receiving Jesus’ divine graces through the Holy church; or only about feeling good…smile ! Faith is also concerned with the struggles which we face daily. For example, our faith should lead us to these spiritual exercises at least once a month, outside of the Eucharistic Celebration of the Mass.
– making a group to pray the Rosary in church
– making a group to pray the Stations of the Cross and not wait only at the Lenten Season
– forming a legionary group
– forming the Sacred Heart Society
– reviving past societies – Holy Name, Saint John the Baptist, Social League, etc.
– prayer group
– Spending quality time reading the Word of God in the Bible
– experiencing Jesus’ love in the Sacrament of Confession
– regularly celebrating the Eucharist
– a new society/fraternity of the Catholic Church in today’s world (Post modern World)
We should not simply accept the situation as it is today (now). Even if we do not feel like participating or doing these spiritual exercises, we are called to make the effort. While our feelings and emotions are part of the Christian life, yet the gift of faith is more than our feelings. If we were to depend only on our feelings, then we would not even go to Church to meet Jesus, because sometimes we do not feel like going to church….. We are called to bear these little sacrifices of our time, in following Jesus in the Holy Catholic Church. It is critical to move beyound the “instant gratification” of our modern times – I want it now; I need it now and with no sacrifice, or inconvenience or pain, or sweat. Today, no one wants to accept challenges that allows them to grow inwardly. I still believe in the old maxim – ” no pain no gain.” The Holy Spirit is as present in the Church today, as the first day of Pentecost
Today, it’s all about internal peace and solidarity with others – the smallest seed becomes the greatest and it is also a shelter to other birds. Jesus’ analogy is perfect. At our baptism, this seed is planted in our hearts, minds and bodies. It is “watered” and cared for, by receiving the other sacraments – Eucharist, Penance, Confirmation etc. As we become more matured and responsible members of the Church, we are called to become the persons of love, discipline and responsibility – not only for ourselves but for others. This helps us to be aware and conscious of our needs and that of our neighbours. In stretching our hands to the neighbour, we become the solid support upon which he/she depends, in times of trouble or difficulties. Whether we give an encouraging word, a silent presence to a friend or a prayer on his behalf, we are in solidarity with others.
Reflection for 21st Sunday of Year B – Aug. 23rd 2015
Over the past Sundays the Church has been presenting to us the challenges Jesus faces, as he tries to teach and live the New Wisdom to his followers. Jesus’ teaching is new and authoritative. He teaches with confidence. Again, this Sunday Jesus is trying to let his followers understand that he is the New Spiritual and Divine bread come down from heaven. His flesh and blood are the New Divine and Spiritual wisdom that liberates us of our past sins, our past hurts, our painful childhood memories, our historical past. In him every person and community has a new beginning. No other person can bring such peace to the world but Jesus Christ, the only son of the Father in heaven. When others left Jesus, the disciples remained with him saying, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Saint Kateri recognized this New Spiritual and Divine power and accepted it. May we continue to receive this Divine and Spiritual healing through the body and blood of Jesus at Mass.