Monday, April 03, 2006

Reflections: Lent - Week 5

Points for reflection for the fourth week of Lent (Sunday - Cycle B, Weekdays - Series II)


Nothing takes place in nature without first passing through death. Death is like a cloud that hides the sun. A grain of wheat, for example, first disappears under the soil before turning into a wheat stalk. Fullness of life is to be attained first by dying to self that consists in:
    (1) Sacrificing one's self-seeking ambitions and,
    (2) Sacrificing one's self-will for God's will. If one does not want to serve others, live for others, do good for others like Christ Master, then life in this world for him/her is meaningless.
Losing one's life means working for others, washing the feet of others without expecting anything in return. Christ gave Himself up to death for our sake. If He had not died then we would not have been saved from the bondage of sin. Humankind's highest striving life consists in giving and self-sacrificing.

LENT: WEEK 5, MONDAY: John 8:1-11

(.) The feast of the 'Tent' was of the important feasts of the Jews

(.) On this feast day a woman was caught red handed in adultery

(.) As per the Law of Moses she ought to have been stoned to death {Lev. 20:10)

(.) The Jewish Leaders took this occasion to trap Jesus

(.) If Jesus had consented to stone her to death, then they would have questioned his 'Mercifulness'

(.) If Jesus had shown mercy towards her, then he would have been accused of infringing the law

(.) Therefore, they asked Jesus, "What do you say?" {Jn 8:6)

(.) Jesus' response caused a silence -we see it in today's gospel.

LENT: WEEK 5, TUESDAY: John 8:21-30

(.) Today's gospel shows Jesus' leniency towards Tax collectors and mercifulness towards the woman caught in adultery

(.) But Jesus was very stern with the Pharisees

(.) To them Jesus said: "You will die in your sins"

(.) Descent from Abraham prompted the Pharisees to think of salvation as a 'Fathers Right' (guarantee)

(.) The Pharisees had taken out of religion the heart and spirit of the law

(.) Jesus, by his Paschal Mystery, opened to us the gate of heaven

(.) To enter through that gate of heaven demands giving up sin for good.

LENT: WEEK 5, WEDNESDAY: John 8:31-42

(.) Jews suffered greatly under the Syrian tyrant Antiochus IV in the second century B.C.

(.) Antiochus IV tried his level best to make the Jews to worship false gods and give up their religion

(.) Devout Jews turned to the Lord and cried out, "How long will your anger burn like fire? Where are the promises you made to David?" {Ps 89:46, 49}

(.) At this juncture the author of the book of Daniel stepped in and exhorted the suffering Jews to remain faithful to God.

LENT: WEEK 5, THURSDAY: John 8:51-59

(.) A summit meeting at Camp David was held by President Jimmy Carter, a devout Christian

(.) Menachim Begin of Israel, a devout Jew, and Anwar Sadat of Egypt, a devout Muslim were present for the meeting

(.) Abraham is the father in faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Jews and Christians trace their faith ancestry to Abraham through Isaac and Muslims to Abraham through

(.) The covenant that God made with Abraham will be effective only if Jews, Christians and Muslims live as brothers and sisters, children of the common Father Abraham

(.) The ball is in our court.

(.) Starting to live as brothers and sisters, though late, is better than never.

LENT: WEEK 5, FRIDAY: John 10:31-42

(.) Today's gospel says, "If the people refuse to believe in His words, they should at least accept His deeds"

(.) 'Actions speak louder than words'. Our actions tell much more than our words.

(.) Our deeds, therefore, should be good and exemplary

(.) There was an elderly lady who had rendered voluntary work for needy people almost for 40 years

(.) Before breathing her last, she expressed her fear to her Pastor: "Father, what shall I tell my Master when I meet Him?"

(.) The Pastor told her, "Don't say anything. You just show your hands. He will acknowledge you"

(.) We will be taking with us only the fruits of our good actions when we go to the next life.

LENT: WEEK 5, SATURDAY: John 11:45-56

(.) No dawn without night; no victory without struggle

(.) The raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus became the trigger point to the Chief Priests and Pharisees to move against Jesus

(.) Fear of losing name, fame, honor, status, position, temple and uneasy collusion with the Romans prompted the Chief Priests and Pharisees to call a meeting of the entire Sanhedrin to discuss about the works of Jesus

(.) Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said: "It' s better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish" {Jn 11:50}

(.) God worked well through their evil plot to kill Jesus

(.) God's plan was that the death of His Son would atone for the sins of humankind.

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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