Disciples – being true witnesses of Jesus’ love and self-giving.
- to strengthen the relationship of us disciples with the person of Christ whose urgency of giving life and love is the basis of our missionary expansion.
- to follow the footsteps of Jesus as closely as possible in his public ministry.
- to allow Him to illumine our journey of missionary expansion and inspire us with His same sentiments towards others.
Objective of the week:
- to follow Jesus as closely as possible by practicing the Beatitudes
“Beatitude” is Latin for “an abundant happiness”. Jesus proposes the eight beatitudes to his disciples a call to an abundant happiness that makes us complete and whole. In the beatitudes, we find our true selves, the person that God intends us to be. Jesus leads us to a transformation of ourselves, gives us the ability to see what needs to be transformed and to find God’s help in that transformation. Jesus himself lived the Beatitudes which He proclaimed.
Why are we not happy? Why do we not transmit happiness? Is it because we lack poverty of spirit, meekness, mourning and hunger and thirst satisfied?
To be happy is to follow Jesus as closely as possible ----- to practice the Beatitudes. Jesus assures us that we would be happy not only in the life to come but already here on earth as we live in the present moment with God. But this can be done only if we conform our will to Jesus’ will, to what He lived and taught. In what ways have poverty in spirit, meekness, suffering and difficulties brought new openings in my spiritual life?
The beatitudes calls us to a new way of being and doing that can radically transform our lives and the lives of all we touch. They bring true happiness and the deepest of joy as we find our true identity in our relationship with God and true peace both inwardly and outwardly. Jesus used the word “heart” as we would “mind” or “will”. In the days of Jesus’ earthly life, the heart was considered the source of an individual’s thoughts, desires and actions. Jesus wants his disciples to take care of their hearts. Hearts filled with mercy, purity, peace and joy. What has been my struggles in being merciful, forgiving and a peacemaker? Is my witness strong enough? Have I seen changes in the persons and situations when I choose to show mercy and peace?
Matthew 5:1-12 Seeing the crowds, he went onto the mountain. And when he was seated his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them: 3 How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 4 Blessed are the gentle: they shall have the earth as inheritance. 5 Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness: they shall have their fill. 7 Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 11 'Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.
Jesus presents a different value system in which the world does not understand. The world sees happiness coming from money, power & privilege. Jesus is telling us that we can have joy in our hearts, now and in the future, only if we acquire godly and spiritual qualities. Poverty is emptying of self in order to be filled with Jesus. Our confidence is in God alone. Can you be happy while living a simple life and facing the ordinary challenges of life?
The Coming of the Kingdom
20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is an internal, spiritual kingdom erected in the hearts of men.----- a kingdom of mercy and humble submission to God. The beauty of creation, the conversion of sinners, the good deeds of people around us, and the Holy Eucharist are some of the present-day signs that the kingdom of God is already among us. The hardness of our hearts sometimes prevents us from seeing this. God is everywhere ---- when we see people loving and forgiving each other, telling others about the Good News, share our goods to the needy and doing our duties faithfully. We only have to open our minds and hearts to recognize God’s manifestation in our midst. Are we a good substitute to God’s warm hand? Do we see Him in our family or in moments of silence and kindness?
Remain in my love
(Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica)
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Joy is something that fills our hearts & put our mind and soul to rest. It is a disposition that we can have even in times of conflict or crises. How do we attain complete joy? We must follow how Jesus obeys His Father and make the necessary sacrifice. We must be open to undergo trials and tribulation ---- the way of the cross in order to attain the complete joy of the resurrection. What are the hindrances for the love and joy of God to flow into your life? What can you do to remove them?
Comfort and Salvation
(Memorial of St. Leo the Great)
6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:6-7)
24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
(2 Corinthians 1:24)
The comfort of God means that God makes His presence felt by one who is an active Christian. God comforts us interiorly by healing all anxiety & bitterness. God allows trials so that we can experience His power and love with which He comforts us. Love is sacrificial in which it gives all to the beloved. Our life is a love offering, a gift to one another. In comforting the afflicted, what is your motivation? Do you see the face of Jesus in them?
Love fosters gratitude
(Feast of St. Martin of Tours)
7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. 8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus,[a] who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.
The Father so loved us that He gave His only Son to die in order to redeem us. In Christ, we are no longer slaves but sons & daughters of God. Our relationship with Jesus brings us to see the importance of mercy & forgiveness in Christian living. When God’s love takes over, gratitude kicks in and gets one going. God’s grace makes us care for one another and brings forth equality. What effect do our lives and actions have on others? Is it discouragement or refreshment? It is our love that determines which it will be.
Walk in Love
(Memorial of St. Josaphat)
4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.(2 John 4-6)
To love is to obey the command of God and that we must love one another. Love is the test of truth. If we do not love, then we are not living in the truth. To live in truth it manifests in our deeds, thoughts and words. One who truly loves God must express one’s love for God in love of neighbor. “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law”
Do we deepen our love for God, not only in terms of prayer but also in our right relationship with other people?
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Malachi 3:19-20
Responsorial: Psalm 98
2nd Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Gospel: Luke 21:5-19
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.