The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

This short petition bears some of the hallmarks of a good prayer: persistence, clarity, a type of faith. What does it lack: reliance on God, His Way [which may not necessarily mean coming down]; His Will [both in this life and eternal life].

It also exemplifies the lengths to which a father will go for his children, taking a criticism and coming back for more. Protecting and caring for his child. Love of his child. He does not acknowledge the superior, grander, more inclusive love of His Heavenly Father for his son, the fact that his heavenly Father is more concerned about the man’s child than the man.

Another thing that is lacking in this prayer is thanksgiving,… thanking God always and everywhere for whatever happens. In His goodness, He wants only what is good for us, beneficial to our wellbeing, our eternal and temporal wellbeing.

I tend to get myopic and sloppy in my prayer, focusing only on things that effect me here and now, and forgetting St. Paul’s reminder: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The “this is God’s will for you” is what is, here and now, no frills, no yes or no’s, no thinking about it and deciding. Help me to accept this as God’s will for me right here, right now, in Christ Jesus.  Help me really mean: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen. Alleluia!!!

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The Temptations and the Passion

While meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries this morning, it struck me that there is a definite parallel between the temptations that Jesus experienced at the beginning of his ministry and the Passion sequence.

While Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, at Gethsemane, he is tempted to not drink the cup that the Father has given him. The two, combined, are, of course, what he has already changed into his Body and Blood of the new Covenant and required men to eat in order to be saved. From stones to bread to His Body, a phenomenal transition of being into God. The Word that feeds us is both the Scripture and the Word, Himself, of God, by which we live. Thus, the Bread become Body is that by which we will live in Him.

His confrontation with the Chief Priest ultimately brings Him to the point that He declares Himself the Son of God, the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Father. How much more powerful an image than the mere tossing oneself from the pinnacle of the temple so that angels would save him from dashing his foot against a stone. It should be noted his reply to the Devil which was indeed appropriate for the Sanhedrin also: ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”

Jesus third confrontation is with Pilate, symbol of the power of Rome. The Devil has offered him all the kingdoms of the world, if He would but bow down and worship the Devil. Jesus casts him out: “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” And His rebuttal to Pilate’s inquiries about his kingship: “My kingdom does not belong to this world….You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” His are the kingdoms of the world. They are all part of the Kingdom of God which is the Kingdom of Heaven. The Devil had nothing but lies to offer Jesus, for Jesus already possessed what he offered. The Devil has been spending his time “roaming the earth and patrolling it.” God has given the devil power over the earth: “all that he has is in your power.” But not heaven, not God and not even ultimately; but the endgame is foretold: “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD!” Amen. Alleluia!!!

“He was in the beginning with God.” Jn 1:2

6/26/13

“He was in the beginning with God.” Jn 1:2  An innocuous repetition or a new revelation?..The Spirit does not waste words. “He” has two referents: the stated, the Word, and the implied, Jesus, the Christ. The purpose of this sentence, then, is to bring the reader/listener to the realization that the Word to which John was referring in the first, seemingly repetitive sentence but really is a three layer revelation: The Word existed from the Beginning, was therefore with God, and was not only with Him, but in the mystery of the Trinity, was one in BEING, was God, plus the realization that this Word was not only God but simultaneously Jesus, the Christ. This “seemingly” totally human person was also and most importantly totally Divine, was the Word, was God, was with God in the beginning.

Why did the Son of God become Jesus: to do, to be what neither God nor Man could do separately: Be totally and completely obedient to the Father. This required complete knowledge of the Father’s will, not filtered, not discerned, not “through a glass, darkly,” but immediate, continuous, fully comprehended. It also required complete submission to that will: absolute acceptance with perfect understanding of the implications, consequences, ramifications and all possible, probable and implied outcomes of such commitment. Only God could completely comprehend God’s will for only God could completely encompass the mind of God.

Only man could be completely submissive to God’s will for only man is a creature totally dependent on God, yet totally free. The Son is not totally dependent on God, but is God. “I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” Jn 6:38 “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.” Jn 4:34

And what is that will: “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him [on] the last day.” Jn 6: 39-40. Luke puts it more graphically: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Lk 12:49 Amen. Alleluia!!!

Jesus’ humanity

Do we appreciate the fact that the Son of God, He to whom all creation owes its existence, He whom is one with the Father, this Divine Person showed us the ultimate patience and humility, first manifested in residing cooped up for 9 months as a fetus in Mary’s womb. This is love, not that we loved him first, but that he loved us, and gave himself up for us, while we were still in our sin! He loved us so much, he became one of us, taking on every lowly and tedious aspect of our existence, the process of growing, the routine of rising, working, resting, sleeping, eating and starting over again and again, taking joy in life’s highlights, the festivals in Jerusalem, the birthdays, anniversaries and weddings at home. Living through life’s sadnesses: Joseph’s death, natural and man-made tragedies, subjugation by Rome and its minions, leavings. And enduring trials: hunger, pain, sickness, poverty, privation.

For us, this is our lot, our existence, unchosen, at times unwanted. He freely, with a freedom so far surpassing our own that there is, in essence, literally, no comparison, a freedom unbounded by limitations or requirements, a freedom the limits of which are self-established by the substance of His Being, e.g. a square circle,…He freely chose finitude, frailty, finality…all the imposed attributes by which we are eternally bound and from which we eternally seek to free ourselves. Perhaps there is a lesson therein, perhaps in these seeming constraints there is goodness, blessing, beatitude. Perhaps there is the essence of becoming like little children, of humility, a grounding in who I am and loving me, embracing me, rejoicing in me. For God created me just as I am, and saw that it was “very Good.” Amen. Alleluia!!!