Bible Reflections

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – July 16, 2021: Friday

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – July 16, 2021: Friday

“Seeking the intercession of our Blessed Mother to publicly declare our Love for Jesus Christ and our readiness to ‘be a true follower of God’s Laws’”

(Based on Exo 11:10 – 12:14 and Mt 12:1-8 – Friday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time – Feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Most of us, at some point or the other, have given gifts to our loved ones, our friends or our relations.

Imagine, if the one who received the Gift, were to neatly…
… unwrap the Gift Wrapper…
>> And to your horror….
… throws the Gift inside the Dustbin, and keeps to oneself, only the Gift Wrapper?

That would too be sad and painful… right?


Well, something similar is the case, when we look into the Salvation History.

God Yahweh had presented a Gift to the People of Israelites: The Gift of the Law…
… so that He could be their Only God and they could always be His People (Jer 7:23)

But as time passed, this Gift of the Law was interpreted into several external practices…
>> So much so that the purpose of the law was forgotten…
… and only the external regulations were prevailing.


The Gospel of the Day is an exposition of how the Gift that God had given was being squandered…
… and just the externals – the wrapper of the gift – was being glorified…
>> And how, Jesus the Source of the Law seeks to restore the original spirit of the Law!

The Gospel passage begins with the Pharisees accusing the disciples of having transgressed the Sabbath Laws by plucking and eating on the Sabbath Day (Cf. Matthew 12:2).
>> The External actions were accorded primacy…
… the actual Law was slowly discarded!

>> The Body of the Commandment was insisted…
… the Spirit of the Law was diluted!


The Gift wrapper gained more importance than the Gift Itself!
>> The Law of Moses was glorified, but there was a failure to see the Glorious God of the Law!!

And so today, the Majestic Lord of the Sabbath seeks to capture our attention to see the Most Important Aspect of Law: Inner Disposition rather than External Practices!

True Righteousness and Holiness stems from the with’in’…
… and not from the with’outs’!!

The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word sabat… which means repose or rest.

Just a few verses before this Reading… Jesus invited us “to take REST in Him” (Mt 11:28)
>> The Real Rest is in Him!
>> The Real Sabbath is in Him!


We need to examine…
>> Do I tend to become more legalistic in my mentality and fail to see the Spirit of the Law?
>> Do I become rigid in my external practices and rituals, but fail to relish the Heart of Worship?


The Lord has gifted us His Commandments and Laws…
…so that HE can be our Only God and we can always be His Beloved People.
Do I cherish the inner dimensions of the Law and treasure this Gift?
… or am I giving more importance only to external factors, like the Gift Wrapper?


Let us scrape off the rust of legalism and ritualism…
>> Let us, instead, polish our lives with the virtues of mercy, empathy and compassion!


Today we also celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

On July 16th, 1251, Blessed Mother Mary appeared to St Simon Stock, who was the Superior-General of a Carmelite Order in London.

She gave him a brown scapular, with the words:
“Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy order
>> It is the special sign of my favour, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel.
>> He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.”


This Feast is a reminder for us that just as on Mount Carmel, Prophet Elijah had called the people of Israel to abandon the worship of false gods…
… we too need to do away with all false sources of comfort, relaxation, pleasure and enjoyment
… and instead come to the realisation that the Lord alone can give us true comfort and rest!


The Scapular (from Latin scapulae, “shoulders”) – is both a sign of our belonging to Mary and pledge of her maternal protection in this life and the next.

It is also a sign of couple of elements:
1. A consecration to and trust in Mary
2. A declaration to imitate Our Lady’s virtues, especially Her humility, chastity, and prayerfulness.

The scapular is not…
… a magical charm to protect someone.
… a automatic guarantee of salvation.
… an excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life

It is instead, a sign…
… to follow Jesus like Mary
… to be open to God and to His Will.
… to be guided by Faith, Hope and Love.
… to pray at all times
… to discover and be aware of the Presence of God in all that happens around us.

As St. John of the Cross says:
“He who loves, is not ashamed before men of what he does for God…
… neither does he hide it through shame, though the whole world should condemn it.”


Let us seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother in our struggles and hardships of life…
… and may the Sacramental of the Scapular be a sign for us to publicly declare our Love for Christ and our Readiness to “be a true follower of God’s Laws”

Let us hold Mamma’s Hands…
… as She inspires, helps, challenges and intercedes for us!


Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother of Carmel!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Bengaluru, India

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS AND THE LAW
>> The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a rabbi.
>> He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpretation of the Law.
>> Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the Law…
… for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs but taught the people “as one who had authority, and not as their scribes”.
>> In Jesus, the same Word of God that had resounded on Mount Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the Mount of the Beatitudes.
>> Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a Divine Way
>> With this same Divine Authority, He disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were “making void the word of God”
>> Going even further, Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a Divine interpretation
>> In presenting with divine authority the definitive interpretation of the Law, Jesus found himself confronted by certain teachers of the Law who did not accept his interpretation of the Law, guaranteed though it was by the divine signs that accompanied it.
>> This was the case especially with the Sabbath laws, for he recalls, often with rabbinical arguments, that the Sabbath rest is not violated by serving God and neighbour, which His Own healings did. (Cf. CCC # 581-582)
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