"The Transforming Influence of the Word of God in us"
Dec. 9-15 ,2013
Objective of the week:
To be open to the transformation of the Word in our life, allowing it to touch ourselves, our mind, heart, and values; actualizing in this way His promise in our world of today.
God has made His word flesh in Christ Jesus whom He revealed his total image as a loving God. His immense loving character is manifested in His passion, death and resurrection. He has a light attitude in accepting His sufferings and forgiving His enemies. Before the eyes of the world, this is beyond our understanding. It is unfathomable compassion to all His people mostly to those who are in darkness. Suffering and death cannot put an end of His immeasurable love for mankind.
In these weeks, we are deepening on this general theme: “The Word became flesh and dwells among us.” Last week, we were deepening on “The Word…” We were invited to make God’s word the center of our lives because His word gives sense of direction and gives us light in the way we live. This week, we will pray on “…became…”, showing how we can live in accordance to His word thus the word became flesh.
Last month, we have been besieged by calamities. Many places have been devastated; others lost their possessions, property and loved ones. Those sad expressions gave us a wakeup call that speaks “Heaven and earth shall pass away but the word of God shall never pass”.
It is a call for all of us to open our hearts and minds to the word of God which make our hearts closer and gradually transform into like his. Transformation demands inner strength to commune with God daily through our prayers by reading, pondering, assimilating and preaching. Prayer springs the value of love that Jesus showed. Without this formula, transformation is difficult to happen in us. When this formula is followed, it would be easier to forgive our enemies, to understand the difficult events of our lives and to accept the loss of our hard-labored property and loved ones. “Only the Word of God remains forever” so to speak.
We the Verbum Dei Family are encouraged to be an agent of transformation, to be the transforming influence of the word of God by allowing ourselves to be an avenue of God’s word and allowing His word to become flesh in us; as what advent season is calling for – be prepared through repentance and prayer so that our heart shall become a manger for the baby Jesus, thus influencing others to make their hearts a manger too making the Word of God alive and his promises become real and concrete in us.
Making the word become flesh in us
(John 1:1-5) In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. 4 What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; 5 and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it.
Before the world was created, the Word was already there and the Word was God. The Word was visualized through the existence of the creation. But the most perfect vision of the Word is Jesus. He is the Word who became flesh, who gives light to those in darkness.
We, the Verbum Dei Family, is invited to pray unceasingly to make the Word become flesh in us in the way we think, speak and act. These are achievable if we spare a little time from our busy world reading, assimilating, and preaching God’s word.
Making his compassion known to everyone
(John 1:29-31) 29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming towards him and said, 'Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. 30 It was of him that I said, "Behind me comes one who has passed ahead of me because he existed before me." 31 I did not know him myself, and yet my purpose in coming to baptise with water was so that he might be revealed to Israel.'
God must be known to everyone. When John was preaching he did not choose his audience to deliver the message but he announced all about the coming of Christ to all types of people without hesitations, fear or shame whether he would be criticized or ignored by the people. But he did it with vigor, sincerity, determination and assumption that everyone who heard him would be curious and listen to him. He wanted to let everybody know that Jesus is the beloved Son of God who gives the image of a compassionate God. He wanted to let Him be known as the Messiah whom they have been waiting for - a Messiah who heals the wounded hearts, who gives consolation to the hopeless and welcomes the outcasts.
We the Verbum Dei have received many teachings of Christ. These must not be kept but propagated with strong determination to reach regardless of age sex, status and race because preaching has the transforming power to the ones who preach and the ones being preached. Jesus said to them all, “My mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Lk. 8:21)
Persevering in Prayer
(Luke 8:4-8) 4 With a large crowd gathering and people from every town finding their way to him, he told this parable: 5 'A sower went out to sow his seed. Now as he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture. 7 Some seed fell in the middle of thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 And some seed fell into good soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.' Saying this he cried, 'Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!'
Prayer demands inner strength to enter into a deeper communion with God. There are times that we lack the inner strength to go into our prayer. We should not weary or easily give up when sometimes the word of God bounces out our hearts or just passes through in and out our ears or exhausts our mind or we are disrupted by the noise and temptations outside because in this moment we can experience God’s mercy because it is the moment that God fills in the emptiness of our prayer. All we need to do in this moment of dryness is humility before God. It is the time that we can feel His loving presence through His words that has transforming power to become alive in us.
Allowing ourselves to be cured
(Luke 5:12-13) 12 Now it happened that Jesus was in one of the towns when suddenly a man appeared, covered with a skin-disease. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him saying, 'Sir, if you are willing you can cleanse me.' 13 He stretched out his hand, and touched him saying, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.' At once the skin-disease left him.
We have a dreadful disease in our lives which only God can heal. These are our pride, self-sufficiency, greed, envy and laziness that sometimes hinder us from praying. If we allow them to empower us, these would make our soul be endangered because these would become our inner master which dominate and dictate us to do something that keep us away from our Creator.
We are all invited to pray fervently. We need a zealous prayer to have trust and humility before the Lord because trust and humility touches the heart of God to transform our hearts because He does not count the appearance but the purity and sincerity of heart and this is what he did to that man with a dreadful skin disease.
Understanding the events of our lives with Jesus
(Isaiah 55:8-11) 8 for my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh. 9 For the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts. 10 For, as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat, 11 so it is with the word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.
To follow Christ means to break our comfort zone because His ways and thoughts are different from ours. There are events in our lives that are far beyond our understanding as far as human aspect is concerned because the human aspect is living in materialism and superficiality which cannot fathom the mystery of God’s love. It is only through spiritual aspect that man can understand the existence of God. This is why we are always reminded to keep in touch with our creator so that we are able to grasp the meaning of life.
If someone does not cling himself to God, and is only dependent on his self sufficiency, most likely, he will give in to temptations that he thought would give comfort and satisfaction but is a subtle way that leads him to death that would make his life pointless and meaningless. But if a person fixes his eyes on Jesus, it does not matter what type of strives that strike him; he would remain firm for God’s Word is his inspiration to live life to the fullest. Through prayer you shall become water to others that gives life to the lifeless and light that shines in darkness.
Imitating Jesus in our life
(John 3:16) 16 For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
(Hebrews 12:2) 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which lay ahead of him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame of it, and has taken his seat at the right of God's throne.
Life is a journey towards eternal life but it can’t be attained if there is nobody whom we look up to as our role model. Jesus Christ was sent by God to concretize the love of the Father. Jesus’ life is a perfect image of God’s love. He is a God who so loves and his heart is near to his children because He is so sensitive to their needs and feelings through His Son, Jesus. Let us imitate Jesus to win heaven. Through Him he gives us the way to heaven because God loves us and He does not want us to be separated from Him.
3rd Sunday of Advent
1st Reading: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146
2nd Reading: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.