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June 22nd, 2010

Jesus The Teacher

Jesus The Teacher

Jesus The Teacher — John 7:14-24

Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”

Reflection:-

Jews were astonished at the knowledge and teaching of Jesus, the eternal teacher and they wondered about its origin as He was never been taught. Jesus explains to them the secret of His knowledge. Jesus shows himself as a medium through whom the wisdom of the Father is flowing. Jesus stands for the Father by doing His will and seeking His glory. So Jesus’ teaching becomes the self revelation of the Father.

Jesus finds himself to be in total dependence to the Father, His sender. In other words here Jesus is telling that the source of his knowledge is the Father. Since Jesus is seeking His Father’s glory and doing His will, Father’s wisdom passes clearly through him without any hindrance. Those who do the will of the Father can identify His teaching as coming from the Father because Father’s will is the same. Those who seek their own glory can’t be true always as their selfishness blocks the Father’s wisdom from passing clearly through them.

Jesus, the teacher, shows Jews their problem, i.e they seek their own glory and don’t do the will of the Father. So they can’t understand the source and real meaning of Jesus’ teaching. Every teaching is to be in conformity with the will of the Father and it should give glory to Him. If any teaching is aimed at selfishness and one’s own glory it fails. Jesus tells them that they are trying to kill him as they deny the heavenly source of his teaching and also don’t look into their real message but only in their outward appearance.

Jesus shows this through his act of healing which is in real conformity with the laws of Moses who ordered to circumcise on Sabbath. The will of the Father is obeyed in and through Jesus’s deeds and words, they glorify Him. Jews say that Jesus has a demon. But Jesus shows them that their judgement is wrong. They judge by appearances and so they fail to do the will of the Father because they seek their own glory.

Here Jesus, the teacher, welcomes us to the source of our authenticity. Only in relation to the Father by doing His will and seeking His glory that we can be men of God. Otherwise we may miss the real by incorrect judgement based on appearances. And instead of doing God’s will, we will be blocking His glory by seeking our glory. Jesus the eternal teacher shows us how to be wise by doing God’s will and seeking His glory.

– – – reflection by Fr Abraham Muruppel

June 17th, 2010

Blood of Jesus Christ

Blood of Jesus Christ

Blood of Jesus Christ — John 6:48-59

I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh to eat Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live for ever. He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Reflection:-

Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land met with death due to starvation. God gave them manna in the wilderness with which their temporal life was sustained. Likewise we are on a journey to the Promised Land and we find ourselves to be starving without the bread that ensures us life in its fullness.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn. 3: 16). God being the sole source and principle of life is pleased to give himself to his people in his Son. So Jesus tells here that without eating His flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus we can’t share in His eternal life. As manna gave temporal life in the wilderness, the new bread of life that is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ gives eternal life.

Manna was given from above but it was not the bread of life, so those who ate of it died. But Jesus is the only true bread of life that comes from heaven. Eating this bread is eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood. Here we can understand that Jesus is telling us about the Holy Eucharist.

God loves us and wants us to have a share of His life and it is to be actualized in and through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came down to us and gives Himself allowing us to partake in His flesh and blood, i.e. in His life itself. Those who eat and drink blood of Jesus Christ are in Him and He is in them.

Thus a person attains the character of God i.e. eternal life, by sharing in His flesh and blood. Mutual indwelling is the result of the reception of this bread. Manna in the wilderness gave them temporal life but did not form a part of them; here the new manna of life gives them eternal life. Through His body and blood, Jesus’ indwelling in a believer is made possible and it results in our eternal life. This is guaranteed as the life-sharing relation of the Son with the Father.

Thus the reception of the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is inevitable for eternal life as manna is for earthly life. So let us be the sharers of divine life by partaking in the body and blood of Jesus. Let us approach the Holy Eucharist with love and experience the abiding love of God in Jesus Christ, through His body and blood.

– – – reflection by Fr Abraham Muruppel

June 15th, 2010

Bread of Life

Bread of Life

Bread of Life — John 6:34-40

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Reflection:-

After feeding the five thousand, people followed Jesus for earthly bread (6:26). Jesus tells them that I am the bread of life. Then people ask Jesus for it without knowing its real meaning. Jesus teaches them. The term ‘bread’ points to the desires and longings of a person, i.e. his personal needs and aspirations.

As we reflect on our own life we are guided by various desires and aspirations each and every moment. Human life can be considered as a running after of various needs which may be of different levels, spiritual or material. We see people taking different ways to satisfy their desires. There are people and movements, may it be religious or secular, who attract people promising the fulfilment of their life. They offer gratification for the desires by various means. Here lies the place of the ‘Bread of life’.

There is an innate vacuum in us which make us to aspire for. The foundational or basic desire underlying every other attraction is this fulfilment of life.  We often misunderstand it to be the desire for this and that and we run after it as we have seen in today’s Gospel. A person can find fulfilment only in this ‘Bread’ because all other bread we get is of the earth but this is from heaven.

Only heaven can satisfy man because he is spiritual. i.e, the reason for his existence is the spirit in him which God has created for Himself. As St Augustine says ‘Lord, You have created me for You alone, until I reach you my soul is restless’. Earthly bread supports earthly life for a little span of time – whatever may it be. The heavenly Bread – Jesus – only can give the eternal life where we will be no more hungry of thirsty. There all other desires find fulfilment.

How to achieve this real Bread? Go to Him who is the real Bread of life who will not abandon any one of us. As Jesus is fulfilling the will of the Father, seeking His will is the way for us for approaching Him and believing Him. Then we are assured of the will of the Father, i.e. resurrection and eternal life. Let us dignify our inclinations to the desires of senses and earth by realizing the real longing in us for the real Bread of Life.

– – – reflection by Fr Abraham Muruppel

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