Bible Reflections

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Aug 20, 2021: Friday

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Aug 20, 2021: Friday

“Called to radiate Love of God and Love of Neighbour in all our acts and deeds!”

(Based on Ruth 1:1,3-6,14b-16,22 and Mt 22:34-40 – Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

Among the twelve Apostles of Jesus, St John is known as the Apostle of Love.

His writings focus primarily on the theme of Love.


There is a legend handed down from the early church about this Apostle of Love.

Of the twelve original apostles, only St John is said to have lived to a ripe old age.
>> In his later years, not only his body but also his eyesight and his mind began to fail him.

St John’s mind had deteriorated to the point that he could only speak five words…
… one sentence which he would repeat over and over.


The legend says that every Sunday, St John would be carried into the midst of the congregation that had assembled for worship in the church at Ephesus, where he spent the last years of his life.

Total silence would fall over the congregation, even though they already knew what St John was going to say.

Then the old man would speak the five words…
… “My children, love one another”


Over & over, he would repeat them until he grew tired from talking!
>> None yawned or gazed off absentmindedly.


The Apostle of Love, fed & filled by a deep love of God preached his five-word sermon, over & over…
… “My children, love one another”


Love is the starting point, the essence and the end of Christian Life!


The Gospel of the Day emphasizes and affirms this aspect of Love: Love of God and Love of neighbour.

The Pharisees come together to trap Jesus with a question from the Law:
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment of the Law?” (Mt 22: 36)


The Lord of Love is sought to be trapped in a web of malice!
>> This was a complicated question that was put forward to Jesus.


The Jewish Law of the Torah comprised 613 precepts.
>> It was certainly a challenge to condense these codes into a single commandment.


Probably Jesus would’ve looked into the eyes of the one who asked this question and thought, “Why do you seek to put me to the test??

There was malice and a corrupt intention in the one who questioned.
>> But the greatness of the Lord overwhelms the evil designs of humans.


Jesus answers the question which had an evil bent, with an answer filled with goodness…
… “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your neighbour as yourself”! (Mt 22: 37,39)


Bingo…! Two birds with one shot!


>> He not just answered His interrogators…
… but He also proclaimed the summary of the Gospel.

>> He not just silenced His critics…
… but He also won many followers for the Good News.


The Pharisee came asking which is “the” greatest commandment.
>> He expected just one commandment.

But Jesus answers with two…
… and showed that those two commandments are nothing but one!


The Love of God and the Love of Neighbour… are two dimensions of the same Love.
>> And this One Love, with two facets, formed the basis of all the other commandments of the Law!


However, the tragedy of our world and our spirituality very often, is the separation of these two dimensions…
>> One loves God…
… but fails to love one’s neighbour!
>> Another loves the neighbour…
… but fails to love God!

>> One loves to read and hear and understand God’s Word…
… but fails to apply it in real life.
>> Another loves to have a lot of social relations…
… but fails to build a strong spiritual basis.

>> One loves to preach powerfully about virtues of the Gospel…
… but fails to live them in actuality.
>> Another loves to be in friendship with all…
… but fails in closeness with God, the source of Love.

>> One loves the Church and her teachings…
… but falls short to serve the society and its peoples.
>> Another serves people…
… but vehemently hates the Church, the ark of the Sacraments of love!


Christian love is not just…
…. about emotions

>> Christian love…
… is making a decision to serve, even if one does not feel so.

>> Christian love, is being faithful…
… even if one is rejected or even shown indifference.

>> Christian love, is being committed…
… even if one feels an aversion towards the other.


Easier said, than done….right?

This is where, we need to depend on God, the Source of Love itself!
>> This is where, we need to draw strength from the Sacraments that the Church offers!
>> This is where, we need to be filled with a Passionate love of God to share it with others!

>> Unless we are in Communion with the Lord…
… all this reading of these reflections remains merely a theory.

>> Unless we are joined to God, the Source of Love…
… all our meditations remain superficial.

We need to pray as the Psalmist: “I love you, Lord, my strength” (Ps 18: 2).


He is the strength for us to love our neighbour.
>> He is the source for us to share our lives with our neighbour.
>> He is the supplier of hope for us to sustain in our difficulties to love.


The world is thirsting for Love…
>> Each one of us is called to radiate this Love: Love of God and Love of Neighbour.

Yes, let us become an Apostle and Agent and Ambassador of Love!


God Bless! Live Jesus!


– Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Bengaluru, India

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE MEANING AND SAVING SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION
>> “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
>> The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by His Resurrection has given the definitive proof of His Divine Authority, which He had promised.
>> Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfilment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life.
>> The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.
>> The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection.
>> The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly “I AM”, the Son of God and God himself.
>> Christ’s Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God’s Son, and is its fulfilment in accordance with God’s eternal plan. (Cf. CCC # 651-653)
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