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JOURNEY THROUGH LENT (4)

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 through Lent!

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

The fourth Sunday of Lent invites us to continue to meditate on events and stories of the mercy of our God, events and stories of the kindness, the compassion and the generosity of Our God.

We read about Samuel going through a very difficult process of choosing someone to succeed Saul as king (1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13). He went through a series of prayerful discernment with great fear and doubt. Finally, in Bethlehem, he found David as the man whom God had chosen to be king over his people and anointed him. Both David and his birthplace Bethlehem occupy a special place in the history of salvation.

Do you take time to search, study, think, reflect and prayerfully discern God’s will and purpose when you have to make important decisions? Let discernment become your way of making choices and decisions.

God chose Bethlehem, a place of no significance and David, a man of no significance to fulfill his purpose. Man judges by appearance, but God sees the heart. Be open and surrender to God’s choice. Prayerfully discern God’s plan for you.

We pray Psalm 23 on the fourth Sunday. David had been a shepherd and he knew how to care for the sheep and what it cost him. He became shepherd of his people. He had to figure out how he should care for them. He knew the sheep well and now he must come to know his people, their ways, their needs and their concerns. This problem gave him a new awareness of what God, the true shepherd, is like in his relationship to his people.

Like 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. Like a shepherd…..God provides food, drink, safety, light in darkness, Grace, comfort and strength in “dark valley moments”. This Psalm proclaims the enduring, steadfast, loyal, unconquerable love of God, the good shepherd, who will never let us slip out of his hands!

May your prayer be…. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want! I shall not fear! Only goodness and kindness will come to me all the days of my life!”

We read about Paul challenging the Ephesians to live as children of light because they are light in the Lord (Ephesians: 5:8-14). Those who were in darkness once have come into the light of Christ. Paul says, light produces benevolence, righteousness and truth. Children of light must cultivate generosity of spirit, work for justice for all and live in truth.
Just as Jesus was a light to other nations, the light that revealed justice and peace through Israel, today the world must experience justice and peace of God through us and our church and our church institutions.

You are the light of the world….. your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father (Mathew 5:14-16). Light makes things visible, gives us warmth, brings us comfort and makes us feel safe!

Reflect on what it means for you to be children of light, to be light for others…….

We also read the story of the blind beggar, who went, washed as Jesus told him to and was able to see (John 9:1-41). Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with his saliva and smeared the man’s eyes with the mud and asked him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Something of Jesus and something of the earth made all the difference. He came to believe in Jesus. Belief in Jesus made the difference and his life was never the same.

The San Francisco Examiner once reported that a blind man, who had been hired to work in a bank under a special government-funded jobs program, was leaving the bank one day when he tripped over his seeing-eye dog and fell down the steps. Miraculously, the fall and a sharp blow to the man’s head restored his sight. His joy was short-lived. Because he could now see, he no longer qualified for the jobs program and was fired from his position at the bank.

The man born blind enters the paradox of meeting Jesus, receiving his sight, then being expelled from the Synagogue. He was once a skillful beggar, self-sufficient, well positioned at a prime spot right next to the pool of Siloam. Now he could see and therefore he is faced with finding a job for the first time in his life…….and out of the Synagogue!

What a journey! A nameless blind man moves from blindness through mud paste, through the cleansing pool to a new vision of himself and out the Synagogue to new life, to new risks, to new challenges!

Knowing Jesus meant salvation for the blind beggar, but at great cost to himself.

Knowing Jesus means life-changing conversion for all of us. Be alert! Be awake! Be ready!

Prayerfully Reflect……

  • How often judgments are made from appearance? Reflect on the need to look beyond appearance? Search for the real.

  • What does it mean to live as children of light?

  • Name the kind of darkness that you may be in or the kind of darkness that may be invading your world.

  • What are the areas of your life where light needs to enter so that darkness may be dispelled?

  • What do you need to wash so that you may have a clearer vision?

  • Have you found a new vision in Jesus?

  • “the blind man washed and was able to see” – what does this mean in terms of your personal life?

  • What area of your life need to be touched by Jesus?

My Prayer for you:

May your Lenten days of prayer, penance and almsgiving help you to be reborn in spirit, empower you to love without limits, teach you to pray constantly, help you seek the wisdom of God, enable you to live in compassion and help you celebrate the joy of Easter. May God bless you and your family and keep you safe in His Love.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs