PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT (2) – Journey through Lent 2015


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

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

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……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

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

I pray for you and I pray for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day! May this day be a day of blessing and grace for you and for all!

Take a moment. Bless your morning. Let your morning Bless you……

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

Prayerfully, gently, slowly read…..take time…go slow!

We now continue our journey through Lent…our journey from Ashes to Fire!

The first Sunday of Lent offered us the symbol of the rainbow as the sign of the promise of God’s unconditional, invincible, unconquerable, enduring, everlasting Love. We also heard the call to trust this promise and let it challenge us to repentance, conversion, change, growth and personal transformation.

We continue our meditation on the promise of unfailing covenant love…steadfast love!

On the second Sunday of Lent, we read the moving story of Abraham and Isaac journeying in faith, which was so intense as to surpass human logic.
Abraham was called to do the impossible, to sacrifice his only son, to destroy his only hope for descendants. On the way, Isaac wanted to know where the sacrificial lamb was and Abraham replied, “God will provide”. Abraham trusted, obeyed and surrendered! His unwavering faith was rewarded far beyond anything he could envision. (Genesis 22:1-15)

Take a few moments and reflect: God will provide!

The Psalmist prayed: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord…. If you, O Lord, kept a record of our sins, who can stand…..with you there is forgiveness; Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love (Psalm 130).

Take a few moments and reflect on this amazing Grace: with you is forgiveness! And you don’t keep records!

Coming out of deep depression, the Psalmist prayed: “I love you Lord” (Psalm 116). Our poet had experienced anguish, suffering to the point of death – perhaps, physical illness or may be a nervous breakdown. The “snares of death” and the “pangs of Sheol” took hold of him and he called on the Lord and the Lord answered. He is now immensely grateful for healing. So he begins his poem: I love you Lord! (Psalm116). He meditates: how can I thank the Lord for his abundant blessings! “I will witness to those around me that it is the Lord who saves” and “I will pay my vows to Him”. There is nothing more to do than to say….

Thank you, Lord….

I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord,

and call on the name of the Lord.

I will pay my vows to the Lord,

in the presence of all his People.

There was excitement about coming out of Babylon. The long journey from Babylon to Zion was a very important part of Israel’s life-long pilgrimage home (and our too). God had brought them back home once and rehabilitated them and he would do it again (Psalm 85:1-3). The Persian king Cyrus had issued his famous edict in the year 538 B.C. giving permission for the Jews to go home. They returned home and found their land devastated.

They were now disillusioned and yet found confidence in remembering how Yahweh had rehabilitated them in the past when they returned from Egypt. Yahweh will do it again because He is a God of faithfulness and steadfast love.

The Psalmist prayed: (Psalm 85:3-9) “restore us again…revive us again….show us your steadfast love’. His saving love is an ever present reality…..actually here and now in our midst for those who fear him, for those who worship him in awe. Only the eyes of faith could see it. Israel’s human eyes could see only the ruins of their nation. The Psalmist invites and challenges them to look beyond the ruins to the presence of the God of love, who will rehabilitate them and empower them to rebuild their nation as he has done for them in the past.

Taker moment…pray: restore us again, revive us Lord, renew our spirits, show us your steadfast love!

St. Paul had gone through a very difficult period in his life, a period of conflict, tension, fear and anxiety. He wrote about it in his letter to the Romans, chapter 7. He spoke of a war inside, flesh against spirit. He wrote about doing things that he was trying not to do. He also wrote to the Corinthian community about a “thorn in his flesh” He prayed to be delivered from this thorn in the flesh and the Lord said to him: “My grace is enough for you” (2 Cor. 12:7-9).

Take a few moments and reflect: My grace is enough for you!

Paul tells us that God’s love has no limits and that nothing can separate us from that love.
Paul assures us: God is “FOR US” and nothing can separate us from His Love. Given that support, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31-34)

This assurance becomes empowering when the daily struggles of conversion, commitment and faithfulness cause us to lose focus. Our faith journey and the challenge of Gospel living will bring hardship and struggle.

Paul tells us that our security is in the gift of God’s Grace, His unfailing, steadfast Love. God’s Grace will empower us to bear our share of hardship for the Gospel.

Take a few moments and reflect: God is “FOR US” and “Nothing” can separate us from the Love of God!

One day, on their journey through Caesarea Philippi, Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah and Jesus, in turn, proclaimed Peter as the rock. Jesus and Peter defined each other and affirmed each other in lasting relationship (Mathew 16:13-19). Jesus also affirmed that this confession of Peter was not born of reason or logic but of Grace…. “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my heavenly father….” Peter’s confession is affirmed and proclaimed as a gift of Grace. As

St. Augustine says, even our longing for God is God’s gift.

Jesus also points out that those of us who confess and commit ourselves to him must learn to live in conflict and tension….that the Father will gift us with the power to live out our commitment… “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail”.

Take a moment and reflect: the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail! What an amazing promise!

This is really a two-way movement of Grace. This is the inward and outward movement we have reflected on many times in the past. God’s Grace transforms us from inside and out. God’s Grace first. God makes us right with himself. This empowers us to respond to God…… love and faithfulness spring up within us. Because love and faithfulness spring up from within, we are able to love God and others and remain faithful to that love.

Take a moment and pray: Lord, Grace us and empower us to be steadfast in love and kindness and compassion.

Abide in these thoughts for some time

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs