"I consider everything rubbish that I may gain Christ." (Phil. 3:4)
50 years in Your Word
January 21-27, 2013
Objective of the week: That St. Paul’s conversion may move us all in living out our discipleship with his same passion.
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This week as we continue to celebrate and enjoy the grace of the 50th anniversary of Verbum Dei Foundation, let us focus our prayer on the person of St. Paul. Let us meditate on who is he in Verbum Dei and how he inspires FMVD to be faithful on its charism. St Paul encountered the Lord in a very strong and heart changing transformation.
Let us look into the life of St Paul; who is the person of St Paul, before his encounter with Jesus and who is St Paul after his personal encounter with Jesus? What was the event in that encounter? What were the circumstances? What was the consequence? What was the outcome?
“On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to Saul, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “who are you sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, who you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do (Acts 9:3-6).”
Like St Paul, before the personal encounter with Jesus; we have a different life, we are a different person. It is of utmost importance to go deeper into this personal encounter with Jesus in order to have a genuine transformation. From our previous indifference, unawareness and even rejection of God’s life in us, to a person that values more God’s life in us.
Many realities bring us to this encounter with Jesus, but we still continue to follow our desires and motives. We rely on our own capacity and ignore God’s presence for we just do not want to be disturbed. We take for granted the way and the means to know Jesus and be faithful in embracing his call to be bearers of his word. But Jesus remains faithful and would not allow us to be half-hearted in our following because his plan and desire is for each one of us to know him more and be able to achieve a fully joyful life.
The invitation this week is to look at the task ahead of us, have the disposition as Verbum Dei disciples of Jesus with more vigor, enthusiasm, excitement and self-giving.
As we celebrate the year of faith, we appreciate more and more the gift of prayer that leads us to look at our following as Verbum Dei disciples not as a burden but a fulfilling way of life. Lukewarm dialogue with the Lord can easily way-lay us in our in our daily endeavor. We tend to make our world so small that our only concern is our own selves. We become so insecure, helpless and self centered. To be a disciple is to be “Christ-like;” able to die for our own motives in order to give the life and love of Jesus to others.
Gal 2:20 “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
Phil 1:21 “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.”
The challenge for each one of us is how to avail in full use of our talents, intellects and physical prowess to achieve a full life as Verbum Dei disciples. Each day we are given the opportunity to manifest our discipleship in a simple and practical ways. As St Paul realizes, his expertise on the Jewish laws and all his credentials; were nothing if he did not have a transformation through a personal encounter with Jesus. All our achievements and successes are not enough to experience fullness of life, until we have the same encounter with Jesus and experience transformation.
Acts 22:3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.”
Phil 3:7-8 “But whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sale I have accepted much rubbish, that I may give Christ.”
2 Tim 1:11 “For which I was appointed preacher and apostle and teacher.”
Our 50th anniversary is a motivation for all of us to be more and more dedicated in our call to be “Verbum Dei” for others. There is the urgency of standing firm in giving light to so many, for the world is working hard to lure people that self-preservation is all that matters. But Jesus constantly reminds us that he is most compassionate and is so concerned with even the least; that he died for all, so that all may have a newness of life that is free from sin and slavery. Today, we are once again called that as disciples we too can die from our personal motives in order we may give life.
2 Cor. 5:14-15 “For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
St Paul’s life has been marked from the beginning up to his transformation with all the trials that comes with his work as God’s messenger of love. He has shown us that with the grace of God, we too can be ambassadors of love, uniting all to the same love of God.
2 Cor. 5:17-21 “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation, the old things have passed away; behold new things have come. And all this is from God, who was reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
Friday (Jan. 25, Feast: Conversion of St. Paul)
Many times we have the wrong notion that self-sufficiency is good and is a sign of stability. But discipleship is a constant work in progress in strengthening and propagating the presence of Jesus even in the difficult condition. As we journey in this call of bringing the love of God to the hearts of men; we may experience doubts, confusion and blindness to the very objective of discipleship. Like St Paul, Jesus will use challenging situations and persons to put us back to the right frame of mind and heart. Our disposition to do as what St Paul did will give us more light that discipleship is openness and obedience to do the will of God with more conviction and perseverance.
Acts 9:122 “On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell into the ground and heard a voice saying to him “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
St Paul’s transformation is not easy to understand; for he has suffered physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. We may not be physically imprisoned but our own emotions may confine us and prevent us from pursuing our discipleship as a way of life. St Paul has suffered but he was not discouraged and he never gave up in the midst of all the challenges. Our journey to our own road to Damascus of insecurity, doubts, questions and difficulties are not an obstacle but an opening or onset of our pursuit to an authentic discipleship.
2 Cor. 11:23-28 “Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like an insane person I am still more with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far more beatings and numerous brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I reached 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten by rod, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and day on the deep, on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers, toil and hardships, through many sleepless nights, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
Sunday (3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)
1ST Reading: Neh 8:2-4a,5-6,8-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 12:12-30
Gospel Reading: Lk. 1:1-4,4:14-21
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.