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CELEBRATE WITH GOD

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………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!

Isaiah the Prophet had a vision (Isaiah 25:6-10) of the whole creation moving toward a final day of unending celebration, to a joyful feast where people from all over the earth gather with God and his heavenly court. He spoke of being invited to celebrate with rich food and choice wine which symbolizes fulfillment, complete satisfaction. A loving and benevolent and gracious God will provide for all people.

This invitation reaches out with hope to those who hunger and thirst for God and all that God has to offer. Isaiah offers his dream of God being host at a rich banquet that is ready to welcome all people, not just a few selected people. What a wonderful thought for us to contemplate: the end of it all is going to be a celebration in which God stands ready to satisfy the hunger and thirst of every guest.

Our gracious God, who is featured as the host of the banquet, is also concerned about the moral and spiritual well-being of the guests. Our God is pictured as leaning over and wiping the tears of those who mourn and removing the veil from their faces. He invites the guests at the banquet to let go off past hurts and disappointments and rejoice in the gift of life and love being offered.

Take a moment! Be still! Listen to the invitation to celebrate! Respond to the invitation to be fed, nourished and strengthened by the gift of all that our gracious God offers!

Like a shepherd, God knows his people just as they are in all their need, in their stubbornness and stupidity as well as in their value and worth. Like a shepherd, God reaches out, searches out the lost and keeps them safe (John 10). Like a shepherd, God provides food, drink, safety, light in darkness, comfort and strength in “dark valley moments” (Psalm 23). The Psalmist and the Gospel of John proclaim the enduring, steadfast, loyal, unconquerable love of God, the good shepherd, who will never let us slip out of his hands! To be at home with him is to be safe, to be joyful, to be loved! His call is always a call to rejoice, even when it costs much!

Paul wrote to the Philippians to share his joy and gratitude for the generous support that the Philippian community gave him because of their concern for him (Philippians 4:12-14; 19-20). This is unusual for Paul. His usual custom was not accepting gifts or wages for his services. He preferred to work and earn his living. He saw in the gift of the Philippians what he called “fragrant aroma of an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God”. What he appreciates is their concern, the mindfulness and the thoughtfulness and the generosity with which they supported him. He tells them that he knew what it meant to be content and to be in want.

While the rest of the world sought to be self-sufficient, Paul sought to be God-sufficient. Paul could face anything because he had Christ in every situation. In Christ he found life and love and all else as “rubbish”. He could celebrate and rejoice in abundance and in want, in fullness and emptiness, in prison and out of prison!

Take a moment! Be Still! The person who walks with Christ can cope with anything. Learn to walk with Christ. In Him is fullness of life and love and joy! Jesus said, “He who lives in me and I in him will produce abundantly” (John 15:5).

Jesus spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people a parable about the kingdom of God (Mathew 22:1-14). He likened the Kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. A wedding feast is always a place of abundance and a wedding feast for a king’s son is even more so. It is a feast of rich food and choice wines in abundance. The invitation of the Lord is to a joyful celebration, to a banquet, to a feast. It is to great joy that the Christian is invited. It is joy that he loses when he refuses the invitation.

The above referenced parable reminds us that the things that make us refuse the invitation are not bad in themselves. One man went to his estate, another to business, etc. We just become too pre-occupied and lose touch with that which is lasting, that which is eternal. Our priorities get mixed up. Often we become so busy with the affairs of life, that we forget life itself. Often, we also get so busy with the Lord’s work that we forget the Lord of the work! We get busy with our pettiness and smallness and miss the abundance to which we are invited. We hang on to the little in our hands and miss the abundance that surrounds us.

Jesus said, “I have come so that you may have fullness of life (John 10:10) and fullness of joy (John 15:11). He also said, “He who lives in me and I in him will produce abundantly” (John 15:5). Stay focused! Embrace life in its fullness, with all its joys and limitations!

God’s invitation is a call of Grace – a free, unmerited and pure gift. Acceptance of this pure gift calls forth certain responsibility. The above referenced parable speaks of a man who came to the feast without the wedding garment and got uninvited and thrown into darkness. We cannot go on wearing the same garment that we were wearing before the call of Grace. We need a new garment. We are given a new garment at our Baptism and reminded that we must bring this garment unstained into everlasting life! We have a responsibility to keep the garment unstained,

Our baptism brought us into the abundance of Grace that is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The Love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5).

God’s love is abundant love, all-embracing love! When the heart is full of love, there is no place for anything else.

Abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives. When we choose not to focus on what is missing, but on the abundance that is present – love, health, family, friends, work, the wasteland of misery falls away and we experience daily joy.

In the beginning of the Bible, we meet man and woman living in a land of abundance in total communion with God, with themselves and nature Genesis (2:7-9, 3:1-7). In the midst of such abundance of grace, they faced testing times and failed to be true to what God made them to be and lost their sense of God and of themselves as God’s special creatures made in His image.

Listen to the call of Grace…to Gods’ abundance! OR to the temptations in a land of God’s abundance!

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…….there are many dwelling places in my father’s house…….. (John 14:1-6). This is one of the most encouraging passages in the Gospels. It is comforting and freeing to know that there is abundance in heaven, that there is room for all in the Father’s house. We are used to overcrowded buses, trains, streets, hotels and houses. We are used to accommodations being limited. In the heavenly Father’s house there is room for all, there is room for all in the heart of God.

Listen to the call of Grace…to Gods’ abundance! There is no limit to God’s Grace in forgiveness, in healing, in transformation…in Love! He calls us to a heart of abundance! Let us celebrate God! Celebrate life! Celebrate Christ!

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs