Monday of the 3rd Week of Easter
April 27 2020
Ps 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
Today’s readings ask us to get in to the core values of Christian life. Christianity is not eating and drinking , buying and selling,working and taking care of the families but believe in the Words of Jesus and building a relationship with him. When we build this relationship by listening to the Word of God and follow the word of God , we get connected to Father, Son and Holy spirit through Jesus Christ. We can not connect to the Father or Holy spirit without going through Jesus Christ. We have to go on piggyback with Jesus to the Father and Holy spirit. Following are the few steps which explain our walk with Jesus.
- Encounter with Jesus as a teacher
- Encounter with Jesus as a miracle man.
- Encounter with Jesus as our only Savior.
- Encounter with Jesus as our Lord.
- Encounter with Jesus as our Love.
- Encounter with Jesus as our Father.
- Encounter with Jesus as our judge and giver of eternal life.
1. Encounter with Jesus as a Teacher: When Jesus was in Galilee , people recognized him as teacher. They liked to listen to him but nothing remained in their head but whenever they listened to him they felt happy and peaceful. Some people who listened to him wanted to know more about his teaching and followed him further in the second step but rest of them remained where they are, this is the reason Jesus spoke to them in Parables and called these category of people, the people who have eyes but can not see, and ears but can not hear.
Are we hearers of Word of God and feel happy and then forget all that we heard or want to know more about the Lord by following him. Most of the Church attenders or Sunday Christians who are not involved in any growth learning of the Church fall in this category , they are just obligatory Christians who keep the obligation and satisfied in their Spirituality. They think they are baptized as Christians and follow the law of the Church and will go to heaven. But in reality can they go to Heaven with this knowledge of Christ is the question we must ask ourselves, if we fall in to this Category.
2. Encounter with Jesus as Miracle Man: Many people in Jesus time followed him to receive Worldly miracles like healing, deliverance, Death, Prosperity, Daily bread so on. They followed Jesus wherever he went not because to know about his teaching but because they wanted the miracle in their life. Today’s Gospel was one such incident where Jesus had fed five thousand people miraculously and people were seeking him again have more miracles in their life, but Jesus tells them straight to their face saying you are not looking for me to listen and believe in me and my teaching but to get some miracles in your life. He says not to work for the food that perishes but work for the food that last eternally. Jesus was talking about love, Joy, Peace, to live a life of Be attitudes.
In our times, we see many people experience Jesus in their life but look for him to seek Worldliness and they attend every possible retreats or follow a anointed Preacher not because they want to change their life by hearing the message but to be filled with Worldly things. Jesus tells these people you are not looking for me because you want to change your life and believe in my teaching but for material benefit. Can we go to Heaven with this type of Encounter with Jesus , if we are in this category, it is time to ponder and move in to the next step.
3. Encounter Jesus as our Savior : When Jesus was in this World , some people who followed his teaching and understood his miracles ,accepted him as Savior, Messiah who was suppose to come in to this World and save from slavery of Sin. Simon Peter, Nicodemus, Samaritan Woman at the Well, Paralyzed Man healed at the pool, Mary Magdalene were some of them who understood Jesus as Savior of the World through their experience and belief. Though they knew Jesus as Savior in their mind, they did not experience in their Heart due to their traditional hearts. When Jesus was arrested all ran and at Sanhedrin no one stood up to defend him. Jesus prophesied Peters betrayal because he knew the level of faith was only the top stage of the Soul and not digested in to the Spirit with a deeper experience.
In our time there is huge number including many theologians, Clergy, Religious, Lay faithful who have experience of Jesus in their life as Savior, but at the time of witness they fail and get back to the World for security. In this stage there is struggle between life and death, Money or Jesus , World or Savior , we can call this stage as testing stage of faith of our life. All must go through this stage , in this stage our faith or our belief is tested in action just like Abraham was tested to sacrifice his son Isaac. Many people complain in this stage, why this sufferings coming in our way , if we see in eyes of faith we invite these sufferings by saying “I believe in God”. When we say we must fulfill the word of God because the Word of God is activ Spirit who is activated through our faith and operates in us and we must cooperate with him by saying yes , just like Mother Mary said yes to the Will of God.
4. Encounter Jesus as our Lord: After Jesus resurrection few of his Disciples like Mary Magdalene, Peter, Thomas exclaimed from bottom of their heart and Worshiped him. This is a Salvation Experience , truly the Disciples accepted Jesus as their Master saying : My Lord and my God. Peter after miraculous catch at the Lake runs out like a child to meet his Master forgetting all the fish and friends. All Disciples gathered together in Jerusalem with Mother Mary in Prayer and anticipation to seal them with the Holy spirit which Jesus Promised them once he is Reunion with the Holy Trinity. Jesus promises The Seal of the new fruit of the Holy Spirit in today’s Gospel for those who believed him as Savior and Master of their life.
In our time many of us accept Jesus as their savior but not as Lord and Master of their life and engage in their old life. A mere transformation experience does not take people to Heaven, because Jesus is only a Savior man but he has ascended and joined with the Father and Holy spirit. We must accept his Lordship as our Creator and maker of our life.At this stage our Spirit must recognize him as creator and Master because all the Sins and Curse of our original Sin removed from us by believing him as our Savior. This stage is very crucial because at this stage the man is introduced to God by Jesus. Holy Trinity initiates our relationship with him and promises the Holy spirit who relates with him.
5. Encounter with Jesus as our Love: Jesus promised his disciples the gift of his love the Holy spirit. Jesus ascends in to Heaven with his Glorified Body and glorified and crowned once again a reunion of Father, Son and Holy spirit in Heavenly realm. Once Jesus gets united with the Trinity with Human glorified Body , all united with him in Spirit get power from above the gift of Love the Holy spirit. On Pentecost all the Disciples were filled with the Holy spirit. There were hundreds, thousands who listened to Jesus in his Earthly ministry but only few disciples got sealed with the Holy spirit. The people who accepted Jesus as Savior and Master received the Holy spirit and for rest Jesus remained a historical figure just like any other great people of the World. John the Evangelist was so much fond of Jesus that he used to lean on Jesus. When John the Evangelist used preach on love of Jesus , all listeners used to shed tears.
To thirst for the Holy spirit is the output of our relationship with our Master. No one can say Lord without the inspiration and conviction of the Holy spirit. The union of Man’s Spirit with God’s can not happen without the Holy spirit, Holy spirit is the mediator and connector between Man and God. To receive the Holy spirit we must connect Jesus in spirit and not in mind. Many people try to receive the Holy Spirit through the Knowledge of the Scriptures , disciplined and dedicated life but they do not open our spirit to Jesus to accept him as Lord and Master. A personal trusted relationship which we call faith opens our spirit to Jesus and in this relationship we experience the love of God. We must understand the formula to connect to the body of Christ who is in heaven seated at the right hand of God , the time we connect to the Body of Christ through our spirit , automatically God pours out the Holy spirit on us , it is God confirming us or sealing us or including us in to his family. This what happened on Pentecost and even when people received Jesus in their Spirit , Holy spirit descended from Heaven and they were filled with the Holy spirit. The person who has received the Holy spirit is the Church or becomes Jesus Body on this Earth. If we are not connected in Spirit to Jesus, it is impossible to become the body of Christ on Earth.
6. Encounter with Jesus as our Father. The time Disciples received the Holy spirit , they recognized the Father in Jesus. Holy spirit enabled them to call Abba Father…. The disciples eyes were opened and the first thing they did was to engage in God’s Business to spread God’s Kingdom to everyone who was in darkness. They became witnesses and evangelists to the end of the Earth. All persecutions and Martyrdom became one of the Worldly action , their focus was on the Fathers abundant life with many rooms in Heaven .
When we receive the Holy spirit , we recognize the love of the Father. We experience his greatness and holiness . There is a tendency to live in this experience but there is a greater responsibility to pass on that love to others. If we only experience the love of Jesus as a Father and not share then there is selfishness in the love and love can not be selfish but always sharing , in this situation our love to Jesus does not become a genuine love but selfish love and selfish love is not love at all. Some people struggle with partial love, but friends there is no word like partial in love Business. The person who has experienced Father’s love in Jesus, he will share and care others and engage in charity and Evangelist. There are no two ways , contemporary spirituality like cloistered religious pray day and night for the whole World. Intercession is the fruit of the love of the Father. When we are in the ministry we do not become saints by default, but we must live our salvation daily in fear and trembling much more than our earlier life because now we are exposed to the love of God and in the family of God , if we sin in this stage and go back to the old rut then we are more accountable to our life.
7. Encounter with Jesus as our judge and giver of eternal life. Jesus said to his disciples that he is going to come back to judge the living and dead. All the followers of Christ lived a life of love and service. In the Early Church no one was lacking anything because everything was belonging to everybody. No one claimed anything as his own but sold their possessions and shared with others who are in need and lived in a life of Be attitudes. If we read early Christian life, we see how they lived in spiritual poverty and persecution followed them through out their life. St Paul says how many times he was scourged, stoned, hungry, lowered in the cold water , robbed so on. This is the life of Be attitudes. St. Paul says live your Salvation in fear and tremble because he could see the Judgement Day. The Devil even did not spare Moses to claim his Body . Judgement day the book of life will be opened and there are two advocates , Holy spirit and Evil Spirit. The Evil Spirit keeps every record of life and start claiming the soul of every person who has listened and sinned on his prompting but Holy spirit will advocate us on our behalf . There is no mercy on Judgement Seat , Jesus will come as a judge and he will judge with Justice and fairness.
All people who are engaged in Gods Business must be careful to live a life of love and charity on this Earth. If we miss the mark , we fall from the greater height like Satan fell from Heaven. The only thing we must focus is the Judgement Day , where there is no mercy but only Judgement on our life. The Evil will try his level best to claim our souls my friends but Jesus has given us free eternal life but we must understand what is eternal life by living the Be attitudes. The life of Be attitudes is the new life in Christ. If we want to compare our life with the Be attitudes , then we will come to know whether we are in the Kingdom or outside the Kingdom of God . The judgement will be based on the Be attitudes. Let us be materially and spiritually poor so that God can lift us to the Heavenly Abundance. God Bless you all and may reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.