Sunday, March 26, 2006

Reflections: Lent - Week 4

Points for reflection for the fourth week of Lent


After the collapse of WTC on 9/11 much analysis was done about the incident. Everyone wanted to find out what went wrong and where. As a result national security came to be given the utmost importance.

In our lives too we normally look back to find out the reasons of particular problems that disturb our peace or security. In the first reading of today the author of the chronicles tries to rationalize the reasons, after the Babylonian exile, why God allowed his own people to suffer humiliation in the hands of a pagan king. It was because the people, both, their rulers and their religious leaders, were not faithful to the precepts of God. God out of love for his people sent messengers to lead them in the right path, but they ridiculed them and their warnings.

We may ask ourselves: will God, who is all loving, punish his people for their disobedience? It is not God who punishes people for their sins. It is what sin brings along with itself as its wages; the person himself causes the ruin of self and others.

In the Gospel, Jesus clearly gives us the reason why he came to the world: it was to save the people from their sins and to bring them to life everlasting with God. God loves everyone and does not want to lose even one of his people.

Therefore, let us look back into the aspects of our own lives and see how we have responded to God's love and in what way we need to rectify problems created through our own sinfulness. Let us look at Jesus on the cross, who sacrificed himself for us, and realize that in order to save ourselves we need to give our lives to this love of Christ. By

LENT: WEEK 4, MONDAY: Jn 4:43-54

(.) The persecutions of ancient Rome have been extensively covered by the movie 'Quo Vadis?'

(.) One day, a filming session a news reporter asked the actress Deborah, "Weren't you afraid when the lions rushed at you in the arena?"

(.) Actress Deborah replied, "Not at all. I had read the script and I knew that I would be rescued".

(.) Actress Deborah had strong trust and belief in being rescued

(.) Our trust and faith in the promises of Jesus should be strong

(.) The promises of Jesus are: (a) "Ask, and you will receive" (b) "Heaven and earth will pass away but not my words" (c) "He who eats My flesh and drinks My Blood, will have eternal life" (d) "He who believes in Me will have eternal life".

LENT: WEEK 4, TUESDAY: Jon 5:1-16

(.) 'A brother helping his brother' is a good principle to follow in life

(.) A brother who does not know how to write cannot affix his signature unless someone who knows how to write teaches him

(.) The lame man in today's Gospel could not be healed unless someone helped him

(.) People will not come to know Jesus unless someone shares the Good News with them

(.) Teaching, helping and sharing with others should be the way of our daily life.

LENT: WEEK 4, WEDNESDAY: Jon 5:17-30

(.) The Israelites during their exile in Babylon felt that God had abandoned them

(.) They, therefore, with one voice cried out, "The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me" (Is 49:14)

(.) God sent His prophet to tell them that it was not so. God replied to the people through His prophet, "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you" (Is 49:15)

(.) There may be situations when we too may be tempted to doubt and question about God's concern for us

(.) God will never forget us

(.) However, He will test us like gold in fire

(.) We must withstand the test and shine and glitter like gold.

LENT: WEEK 4, THURSDAY: Jn 5:31-47

(.) According to Jewish legal practice, witnessing for oneself, was not accepted as valid

(.) One had to adduce other witnesses to verify the truth of one's testimony

(.) God the Father Himself bore witness to Jesus in three ways: (1) Through John the Baptist who was a burning and shining lamp (Mt 3:11-12), (2) During the Baptism of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased"(Mt 3:17) and, (3) During the Transfiguration of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him" (Mt 17:5)

(.) Witness and testimony about Jesus as the true Son of God are crystal clear-we can accept or reject it with the inevitable consequences of our choice

(.) If we accept it, we will be with Him for eternity in the life to come; if we reject it, we will be away from Him for eternity in the life to come.

LENT: WEEK 4, FRIDAY: Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

(.) Jesus had striped Himself of His Divine riches to become one with the poor, which the Jews could not accept

(.) Jesus chose to be born poor with demeaning poverty and insignificance which was beyond the comprehension of the Jews

(.) Jesus, in His Divine love, did not take anything for Himself, which the Jews could not comprehend

(.) The Jews could not accept Jesus whose thoughts, deeds and ways of life were totally different from theirs

(.) Therefore, they decided that His death was necessary for their safety and survival

(.) This made them to plot against His death

(.) The thoughts, deeds and way of life of the good are different from those of the bad. What about us?

LENT: WEEK 4, SATURDAY: Jn 7:40-53

(.) Galilee was a backward country

(.) Galilee was the farthest province from Jerusalem

(.) Galilee had little respect compared to other countries

(.) The Pharisees belittled Jesus saying, "What good can come from Galilee?"

(.) The Pharisees believed that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem

(.) The Pharisees, if wanted, could have discovered that Jesus was born in Bethlehem

(.) The Pharisees, therefore, were guilty of rash Judgment

(.) A rash Judgment implies drawing a conclusion before finding out the relevant facts. For example we may hear a rumor that a man had a dinner with a particular woman who is not his wife. After hearing it, if we were to conclude immediately, that he had an affair with that woman it is a rash Judgment

(.) A person should be innocent in our eyes until the just judge has judged him guilty

(.) The Pharisees had judged Jesus falsely and rashly as we see in today's Gospel

(.) Nicodemus had the courage to say, "does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts?"

(.) Like Nicodemus we also should have guts to call 'a spade a spade, and an axe an axe'.

Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Mangalore in India and currently serving as the Parochial Vicar at the Church of Our Lady of Victory, 60 William Street, New York, NY 10005, is the founder of America's Mangalorean Konkan Catholic Prayer Society (AMKCPS), an online prayer society of free membership, dedicated to strengthening the spiritual life of Mangalorean Christians abroad. To know more, visit

Posted by Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta


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