Monday, March 28, 2011

Fourth Monday of the Great Fast

Stand up, take your mat and walk!

Gen 12:1-9

Josh 7:16-27

Rom 9:1-13

John 5:1-18

Abraham is ever remembered for his faith. To him Yahweh spoke directly. Abraham is a man of blessings mainly because he could hear very distinctly what Yahweh spoke to him. But he had a price to pay. He had to leave his country, his family and his father’s house. Abraham’s greatness lies in this. His blessings were not free blessings. It came with his unconditional surrender to Yahweh’s directions. Listen to God; follow His directions; accept the blessings; continue to praise Him in the altar of our life. Then, we are all in Canaan, the Promised Land.

The conqueror Joshua suffers an unexpected defeat by the minnows Ai. His confidant Achan was attracted by a beautiful mantle from Shinar, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels. Sin against God is not in the quantum of the action but in the manner of the action. Achan is supposed to be a soldier of Yahweh. He should not have been attracted by the little pleasures of the world and hence being distracted from his duty. The price for this comparatively small breach of trust was heavy. Thirty six of the Israelites were killed and the others had to run away. Finally, Achan with his sons and daughters, his oxen, asses and sheep, his tent all he possessed were all stoned, crushed and burned. Total commitment to God is that is expected from everyone of us.

Call to follow God is a call to each one. I am no longer blessed because I am from a traditional family. There was continuous selection process in history. Abraham from his land and through Abraham, Sarah and Lot were blessed. From among the children of Abraham, Isaac; and Jacob was preferred to his elder brother. How am I responding to my particular call? A Christian name and a Christian family will not help me if I am away from His path.

Healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bethzatha by Jesus raises the eyebrows of everyone including today. What was this paralytic doing for 38 years? What were the sins of a man who was paralysed for 38 years and who was in the public eye for those many years? Jesus instructs him not to sin again. While counting our blessings, are we able to count our sins? Irrespective of what day it is, Jesus forgives our sins and heals us from all the sickness. But, are we ready to stand up, take our mat and walk?

In the middle week of the Great Fast we should reaffirm that we can leave what we possess to follow Jesus. Are we able to denounce the inertial pleasure and take a path less travelled by?
Or are we attracted by the minor pleasures on the roadside. The call of Jesus is very clear i.e., stand up, take your mat and walk. Abraham did this and he and through him generations were blessed. Achan could not do this and resulting in losing his and lives of his family members. Paul and many Jews did this and they were saved. The paralytic at the poolside did and he was healed. Great Fast is time to introspect and run fast on the road to Canaan.

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