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BEING EASTER PEOPLE (2)

 BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

It’s time to rest with God……to rest in God. This hour…..this moment…..rest in God. Good-bye to all goals, projects, structures, situations, feelings, thoughts….I am in meditation, in contemplation, resting in God, abiding in God.

Today’s meditation calls us to dwell on some of the most important words and deeds of our master, Jesus before his death……

Jesus had his last supper with his disciples (John 13:16-20). Great things happened during this meal. He had washed the feet of his disciples and called them to follow his example in gracious and self-sacrificing service. Jesus also wanted the disciples to know that redeeming the world would cost him his life and that he was choosing death and that it was his chosen act of “surrender” to the will of his Father.

He was accepting death in fidelity, in loyalty, in love, in total giving….He was walking toward death and he was going to embrace it in freedom and joy because He was doing the will of His Father! And one of the trusted disciples was going to betray Him Who Loved and Trusted!

Pray for the wisdom and the courage to accept the cost of self-surrender and sacrificial love!

Jesus and the disciples were around the Passover table
(John 13:31-35). Tension mounted among the twelve disciples as Jesus told them that one of them would betray him. Questions about who the betrayer was, suspicion of each other…….many such factors created confusion. It is amazing to know how Jesus tried to help the disciples become aware of what was happening and what was going to happen to him. They just failed to understand. They were too preoccupied with themselves and their ambitions.

Jesus made a final and special appeal to the heart of Judas. For the host to offer a special morsel from the dish was a sign of special friendship. When Jesus handed Judas Iscariot the “bit of food”, the “dipped morsel”, it was an offer of “special friendship”, a final appeal to the heart. But the heart of Judas was unmoved, full of greed, darkness, hate and didn’t see the light or the love that was offered. Judas left never to return!

Jesus told Peter as he affirmed his loyalty that even he would deny him ‘three times before the cock crows’. This was a tough time for Jesus and his disciples.

Be alert! Stay awake! Be sensitive to those around you and their concerns, needs, struggles, etc. Learn to see beyond yourself! Listen to the heart of those around you! Be compassionate!

After Judas left, rejecting the love that was offered, Jesus told the disciples that they were to live and love as he did: “love one another as I have loved you”. The standard of life and love went far beyond what they had known. It was no more, “love your neighbor as yourself”….it became, “love one another as I have loved you”.

The disciples were to love as the master loved…..not as others love them, not as they wish to be loved and not as they love themselves, but as the master himself loved! This is unconditional love…love unconquerable, invincible. This is love without competition, comparison, control and discrimination.

This all embracing love…the way God loves…love of all people, the rich and the poor, the proud and haughty, the humble and meek. This is self-sacrificing love, sacrificial love, “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”.

May your love transcend competition and control…May your love transcend ill feelings, jealousies, hatred, etc….May you reach out in selfless and generous service!

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; Abide in my love. (Jn. 15:9)

Jesus called his disciples to be with him and to go forth from him to fulfill his mission.

He gave them his message, his power, his lifestyle, his presence and a community to live in and to serve……

The disciples were commissioned to go out with the master’s message – not with their own agenda, but with the master’s word. They were to speak his word, in his name. They were to stand with him, in him and for him.

Be faithful to the WORD of Jesus!

Today, you are called to carry on and complete his mission….

Be strong! Stand fast in the Lord! Be rooted and growing in the Lord!

Easter didn’t seem to change anything, except perhaps, a few more people in Church on Easter Sunday! Compared to Christmas, Easter was boring….long readings and lots of words…and no payoff! You could always count on Christmas to bring in a lot of stuff, the toy boxes, stockings bring in lots of new stuff, new wardrobes, new gadgets, new music….and much more!

But, we know that Easter did and does changes everything! We may not look different. But we know that we have grown!

The early Christians had new insights into all the things Jesus said and did while he was among them when they recognized that Jesus had risen from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus was an act of love by which God had transformed everyone and everything. This enabled them to understand the meaning of the cross and why Jesus had to die.

The resurrection of Jesus offered new possibilities of forgiveness, peace, faith, hope, love……. Even the reality of doubt has gained a new meaning and value. The reality of doubt began to be seen as an integral part of our journey of faith. Thomas stands out in the Easter story (John 20:19-31) as a source of encouragement for all believers. As a questioning person, Thomas moved from skepticism and disbelief to a firm and committed faith.

May the Holy Spirit bless and transform your disbelief and all your doubts and all your fears and empower you to respond to God’s call in faithfulness and love!

Easter changed everything! Men and women experienced transformation of their lives. Frightened men became fearless proclaimers of the good news of Jesus and ministers of God’s forgiving and healing presence among his people. Denials were turned to affirmations of love and dedicated service as in the case of Peter and doubts were changed to confession of faith as in the case of Thomas. Men who were hiding in fear were empowered to move freely and proclaim their joy in the risen Lord.

Changed by the Easter event, the first believers maintained a healthy unity, harmony among themselves despite differences, ‘community of believers was of one mind and one heart’. “All who believed were held together and had all things in common” and shared their possessions “according to each one’s need” (Acts 2:42-47). Distinctions of gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, etc. were causes of friction and separation among them. But Easter changed everything! Belongingness to the saving cross and the death and resurrection of Christ changed them radically. They were a new people and they were one, unified, harmonious group…they became a community in Christ!
Easter transformed their life and gave them new sense of belongingness in community!

Easter did change everything! Transformation of people did happen! Be open to the transforming power of the resurrection of Jesus!

Fr. Gus Tharappe1, msfs