PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT (4) – 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……from promise to fulfillment!

The fourth Sunday of Lent invites us to listen to the Chronicler (2 Chronicles 36) as he gives his readers an overview of past infidelities, rebellion and sin of the People of God. This inventory invites us today to reflect on our own personal and communal shortcomings, failures and sins and turn to God for compassion, forgiveness and mercy. Such inventories help us draw valuable lessons from the past so as to live more faithfully and well in the present and face th future with renewed insight and resolve. He also reflects on how God sends messengers to the people “early and often” out of compassion and love and mercy for them.

Today, we are reminded that God did send messengers “early and often”. This is the source of our hope today – God continues to send messengers “early and often” to us, calling us to conversion, change and growth. It is up to us to respond to God’s call for conversion.

Take a few moments to remember those whom God sent into your life “early” to call you to conversion, change or growth and sit with them for a while!

Take a few moments to remember those whom God sent into your life “often” to call you to conversion, change or growth and sit with them for a while!

The streams of Babylon were man-made canals running between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. We can imagine the scene: the low-moving waters lined with aspens or poplars, on the evening of a hot day of heavy work in the fields, the Israelite forced laborers, weary and exhausted, meeting for a short period for a chat before retiring to sleep. Now all they could do was to hang up their harps on the aspens and sit down and weep as they remember Zion.

Take a few moments to remember those who have to hang up their “harps” and weep as they remember their “Zion”

The captors did not even allow them to mourn in private. They ordered the tired and weary laborers to sing their songs (Psalm 137). They wonder: How can we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land? It is amazing that the exiles didn’t lose their faith or their devotion for their home land or their loyalty to God. They knew what was going on in their home land. They knew that their home land was devastated, their temple destroyed, their country was in shambles. But they could never forget the promise of God. They knew that God would not break the covenant promise: I will never forget you my people. I am your God.

Take a few moments to meditate: I will never forget you my people. I am your God.

By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps.

Though there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten!

May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy.

The early Christians were in similar situation. They were tired of living virtuous lives and becoming impatient waiting for the return of Jesus. The letter to the Ephesians was written to a people who believed that their salvation depended on the knowledge they acquired. The author of this letter tells his readers that salvation is God’s transforming gift to sinners. Salvation is not one’s own doing, neither is it a reward for one’s accomplishments. However, the author of Ephesians stresses the importance of leading a life of virtue, of good and kind and loving deeds. This is the Christian paradox. “All the good work in the world cannot put you right with God; but there is something radically wrong with Christianity that does not issue in good works” (William Barclay). A life in Grace is a life of virtue.

The gift of salvation, the gift of Grace touches and shapes every aspect of a person’s life and enables a person to live a life of virtue. Learn to live virtuous lives!

The third Sunday also invites us to meditate on one of the most frequently quoted Scripture passages (John 3:16), displayed on banners, signs and bumper stickers……”God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life”. This verse is worth memorizing, remembering and contemplating. This is the central message of the Gospel. This is the good news. It tells us that God loved first and salvation comes from him as his gift. It tells us that God loved the world – not a few favorite people or nation, not even a few good people – but the world. God’s love is an all-embracing love.

We are invited to ponder this all-embracing love of God for the world! As Saint Augustine says, “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.”

Late have I loved thee,

O beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved thee!

And behold, thou wert within and I was without.

I was looking for thee out there and I threw myself, deformed as I was,

upon those well-formed things which Thou has made.

Thou wert with me, yet I was not with thee.

These things held me far from thee,

things which would not have existed had they no been in thee.

Thou didst call and cry out and burst in upon my deafness;

Thou didst shine forth and glow and drive away my blindness;

Thou didst send forth Thy fragrance,

and I drew in my breath and now I pant for thee;

I have tasted and now I hunger and thirst;

Thou didst touch me and I was inflamed with desire for thee. (St. Augustine)

Intimacy with God is the “beauty so ancient and so new”, which St. Augustine discovered. Intimacy with God has the power to change people and things and the universe. It is this intimacy that brings peace. Intimacy with God, with our father and creator, with the source of our existence, that we long for. We long for a sense of oneness, a union and communion with others like us and communion with our God. We long for the liberation which Jesus proclaimed, which only he can offer. It is this communion that brings peace. Jesus is our door to intimacy with God, others and the universe. In Jesus, we discover our freedom and our salvation. Jesus is our freedom and our salvation and that is the amazing Grace the “beauty so ancient and so new”!

Fr. Gus Tharappel, smfs