Saturday, April 09, 2011

Sixth Sunday of the Great Fast

Genesis 19:1-7,9-26
Joshua 21:43-22:9
Romans 14:13-23
John 9:39-10:21

Quite often, we find it difficult to understand the message and meaning of natural calamities. Disasters and Catastrophes are always eye-openers for the human beings. These days we have first hand experience of tsunami, Flood, Volcano, Earthquake etc. God is not in favour of those are completely going against a divine order. Sexual aberrations are always against divine plan.

Condemnation and destruction of Sodom is described in the first reading. In the modern world, one of the greatest aftereffect of Sexual Aberrations is AIDS. Even a non-believer can understand the effect of AIDS and keep away from the misuse of sexual power.  Lot was dear to Yahweh. Hence He protects him in the midst of a massive destruction. God is mindful of His faithful always. Hence being faithful to Him is the only vow we need to have and the rest is assured. He will prepare a Zoar for His beloved ones.

The sum total of all a believer need to do is there in the words of Joshua: “love Yahweh your God, follow His paths always, keep His commandments, be faithful to Him and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” To believers who stick to the above advice of Joshua, Yahweh gives them peace throughout their land and not one of their enemies would be able to stand against them. Faithfulness to God is highly rewarded.

A true believer is a person with convictions. Faith itself is the greatest conviction. The convictions should lead one in one’s life. It is not in what others do that convictions and actions of one are to be based but in one’s own belief. Food habits, Languages, Complexion, Family, Culture etc. are always matters of dispute in people’s life. A true Christian should be able to celebrate the differences because Paul says:”nothing is unclean in itself, it is only unclean for those who consider it unclean.” Celebrating the differences also leads to understanding the other as an individual and hence avoiding unnecessary conflicts.

Jesus declares in no uncertain terms that He is the Way. Jesus is the Way through which everyone needs to reach God. The sight of a person is judged by his seeing of this Way. If somebody fails to see the Way, he is blind. Jesus gives us the gift of sight to see the Way and to enter through the Way. If one has found this true Way, he would abstain from Sexual Aberrations, he would keep the commandments of Yahweh and love Him above everythingelse and do not cause scandals to his brethren. The Great Fast is a time for introspection to check whether we are in the Way.

Fifth Friday of the Great Fast

Genesis 18:1-19
Joshua 14:6-15
Roman 13:1-14
John 8:30-59

God visits us regularly. How do we recognize Him? It is through our actions that we and others feel the presence of God among us. For Abraham, all his actions testify that he is visited by Yahweh regularly. For a person who acknowledges the regular visit of God, the the bond among them is very thick. Both the parties are in a helpless situation to avoid each other and to hide things from each other. This passage is an obvious example of this. Yahweh-Abraham relationship is one of the greatest Divine-Human encounters in the history of humanity.

Rewards for the ones who obey God are in abundance. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua are examples for this. Caleb son of Jephunneh is another one in the line. He was bold enough to say that he has faithfully obeyed Yahweh his God. He gets the city of Hebron as an inheritance in return to his commitment to Yahweh. His trust in Yahweh is what is more important. He says, “if Yahweh is with me, I shall drive them (a race of giants) out as Yahwheh said.” With God, nothing is impossible.

Duties and responsibilities of a Christian are very categorically specified in Chapter 13 of the letter of St. Paul to the Romans. Christianity is a way of life. It is a life in the path of the Nazarene. When we are in this world, we are expected to accept and respect all the legitimate authorities. Christians live as salt of the earth. Christianity improves the quality of life in any social setup. Paul justifies his arguments by asking us to be in love with everyone. For, love cannot do the neighbour any harm and it fulfills the whole Law.

Are we the children of God? How do we know it? Abraham justified and testified through his actions his relationship with God. He proved that he is a true son of God. Joshua and Caleb through their actions proved their legitimacy. Paul advocated for the true sonship of God by fulfilling the commandment of love. If we are children of God, we will do accordingly as God wanted us to do. Jesus challenges us to prove by our actions our legitimacy. If we are from God, we hear the words of God and we do according to the words of God. This is the surest test to prove what we are.

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