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

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

Thank you for this day……..

Thank you for stillness……………

Thank you for blessing and grace………

Thank you for those who walk with me in faith and prayer…

Thank you for all that has been and for the assurance of your provident care…

Thank you for this moment and all other moments that you will bring me to………..

Thank you for just being here and now, for me, my God.

Prayerfully Read and Reflect……

This meditation is about saying “YES” to God and having the courage to stand by the “YES” and about having the courage to transform “NO” into a definite and creative “YES” to God and God’s way.

The Prophet Ezekiel said to his people that even for sinners who said “no” to God, a new beginning is possible because the future of a human being is not predetermined by his/her past. (Ezekiel 18:25-28). The individual is not a slave of his past….the past cannot determine the future…the present is an opportunity for transformation.

Now is the moment of Grace…this moment offers new opportunities for new choices and decisions, for new possibilities and new beginnings. Ezekiel promised his people hope for a new and brighter and joyful life. He said to them, repent and all will be well! It is possible for a person to repent and change his ways. Even for man who has said a lifetime of “no” can change the “no” into a “yes”. Because, Ezekiel says, the Lord remembers virtuous life and forgets crimes of the past.

Virtue means strength and life. Absence of virtue means weakness and eventual death. A life time of sin, saying “no” to God can be changed into a life of “yes”, a life of virtue. A lifetime of “yes”, a life of virtue can also be changed into a life of “no”, a life of sin.

So be vigilant, be cautious, be discerning.
Transform negative responses to God into positive ones. You are called to live virtuous lives!

One of the parables of Jesus spoke of a son who said “no” to his father and changed it into an “yes” and another son who said “yes” to his father changed it into a “no” (Mathew 21:28-32). The final answer made the difference.

Jesus challenges us to let our profession and practices meet. He also teaches us that promise can never take the place of performance, that fine words can never be substituted for fine deeds.

This parable proclaims the compassion and mercy of God available to all sinners, to all who have said “no” to God and God’s ways. The righteous and the law-abiding people at the time of Jesus regarded the salvation of sinners and tax collectors as impossible. Jesus offered new possibilities for all who have turned away from God. Those who turn to God, away from sinful ways, will always find a welcome. This is the promise of the parable.

Jesus calls us to be Courageous and stand up for what we believe in and let our “YES” be “Yes” and be faithful. He also calls us to be courageous and transform our “NO” into a definite “YES”.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)

Zacchaeus made a definite choice: “I will restructure my life.” Now join Zacchaeus and make your choice!

Some of the listeners of Jesus were shocked at the many things that he taught and did. Many of them walked away in protest. Some of them surrendered in faith and accepted the gift Jesus offered although they did not fully understand what was offered to them as a gift. Jesus challenged his disciples, asked them whether they too were going to walk away. Peter, as always, had great wisdom and he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life”. (John 6:60-69)

Peter made a definite choice. Now join Peter and make your choice!

Take a moment: think of all the people whose lives once characterized by “no” to God and to God’s goodness and then transformed into a decided “yes”, into a final answer “yes”.

Peter did; Thomas did. Thomas Merton, one of the great mystics of our times moved from “No” to “Yes”. Orphaned at 16, he traveled Europe at 18 maintaining a bohemian lifestyle. A vowed communist at 20, a reporter for New York times at 24 and Trapist monk at 26.

Some of you may remember John Newton’s dramatic conversion during a storm at sea. He was a slave trader. His “yes” to God is memorialized in “Amazing Grace”

The Psalmist spoke of God as “the way, the truth and the life” and prayed that God would teach him His “way, truth and life” (Psalm 25). Jesus, years later, spoke of himself as the way, the truth and the life.

The Psalmist says, mistakes of the past can weigh heavily, and burden the spirit. People can bring us shame, disgrace and dishonor. But we must desire God’s way and His way is a way of compassion. God’s way can guide us rightly and bring us peace, and make us whole. We must accept God’s way; God’s saving rule, God’s wisdom, with reverence. In God’s way, we find forgiveness, grace, peace.

In God, we find a firm and guiding hand, a warm and loving friend, a strong companion on our journey. God shows the way and we follow. We must seek to know and embrace God’s truth and God’s life.

Your ways O Lord, make known to me

Teach me your paths.

Guide me in your truth and teach me,

For you are God, my savior. (Psalm 25)

St. Paul invited the Philippians and he invites us today to be imitators of Christ, to nurture the mentality of Christ, to make the mind and heart of Christ our own. The mentality of Christ, the spirit with which he lived was one of total giving, emptying himself for all in total surrender, a definite and creative and final “YES” to the will of his father. (Philippians 2:1-11)

Paul described the love of Christ, which Christians are called to share and emulate, as “self-emptying” love. Christ emptied himself in total giving by dying on the cross. Christians are called to empty themselves in compassion and love. Ordinarily, everything in us, human beings, tend to move toward accomplishments, achievements and fulfillment and the way of the world is toward self-fulfillment. The disciples of Jesus are called to empty themselves for others in love and service, in kindness and compassion.

Paul instructed the Ephesians: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…… “Awake, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light “…… Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity… Defer to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:1-21)

Let your “YES” to God be a definite and creative “YES”. Transform your “NO” to God into a definite and creative “YES” to God.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs

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