Posted by: RAM | March 23, 2015

Tuesday: (March 24): “I say only what the Father taught me.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Saint Joseph

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 252

First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Psalms 102:2-3, 16-21: O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Gospel: John 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032415.cfmR

Reflection:  Do you know the healing power of the cross of Jesus Christ? When the people of Israel were afflicted with serpents in the wilderness because of their sin, God instructed Moses: “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live” (Numbers 21:8). The visible sign of the “fiery bronze serpent” being lifted up in the sight of the people reminded them of two important facts – sin leads to death and repentance leads to God’s mercy and healing. The lifting up of the bronze serpent on a wooden pole points to Jesus Christ being lifted up on the wooden cross at Calvary where he took our sins upon himself to make atonement to the Father on our behalf. The cross of Christ broke the curse of sin and death and won pardon, healing, and everlasting life for all who believe in Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world.

Either for him or against him
While many believed in Jesus and his message, many others, including the religious leaders, opposed him. Some openly mocked him when he warned them about their sin of unbelief. It’s impossible to be indifferent to Jesus’ word and his judgments. We are either for him or against him. There is no middle ground or neutral parties.

When Jesus spoke about “going away” he was referring to his return in glory to his Father in heaven. Jesus warned his opponents that if they continued to disobey God’s word and reject him, they would shut themselves off from God and  die in their sins. Jesus’ words echoed the prophetic warning given to Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 3:18 and 18:18) when God warned his people to heed his word before the time is too late. God gives us time to turn to him and to receive his grace and pardon, but that time is right now.

To sin literally means to miss the mark or to be off target. The essence of sin is that it diverts us from God and from our true purpose in life – to know the source of all truth and beauty which is God himself and to be united with God in everlasting joy. When Adam and Eve yielded to their first sin of disobedience, they literally tried to hide themselves from God’s presence (Genesis 3:8-10). That is what sin does; it separates us from the One who is not only “all-seeing” and “ever present”, but who is also “all loving” and “merciful” and eager to receive us. When God calls you to turn your gaze and attention towards him, do you try to hide yourself from his presence with other distractions and excuses that keep you from seeking him and listening to his voice?

The proof of God’s love for us
Jesus went on to explain to people that if they could not recognize his voice when they heard his word, they would have the opportunity to recognize him when he is “lifted up” on the cross. Jesus pointed to the atoning sacrifice of his life on the cross as the true source of healing and victory over sin and reconciliation with God. The sacrifice of Jesus’ life on the cross is the ultimate proof of God’s love for us.

God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

To fail to recognize who Jesus is and where he came from is to remain in darkness – the darkness of sin, ignorance, and unbelief. But if we look to Jesus and listen to his word of life and truth, then we will find the way to lasting peace and joy with God. The Lord Jesus invites each one of us to accept him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Our time here in this present world is very limited and short, but how we live it today has consequences not only for the present moment but for our eternal destiny as well. Which direction is your life headed in right now?

“Lord Jesus, grant this day, to direct and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, so that all our thoughts, words and deeds may be according to your Father’s law and thus may we be saved and protected through your mighty help.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar24.htm  http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)

Going to confession one day was the turning point of Catherine’s life.

When Catherine was born, many Italian nobles were supporting Renaissance artists and writers. The needs of the poor and the sick were often overshadowed by a hunger for luxury and self-indulgence.

Catherine’s parents were members of the nobility in Genoa. At 13 she attempted to become a nun but failed because of her age. At 16 she married Julian, a nobleman who turned out to be selfish and unfaithful. For a while she tried to numb her disappointment by a life of selfish pleasure.

One day in confession she had a new sense of her own sins and how much God loved her. She reformed her life and gave good example to Julian, who soon turned from his self-centered life of distraction.

Julian’s spending, however, had ruined them financially. He and Catherine decided to live in the Pammatone, a large hospital in Genoa, and to dedicate themselves to works of charity there. After Julian’s death in 1497, Catherine took over management of the hospital.

She wrote about purgatory which, she said, begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth.

Exhausted by her life of self-sacrifice, she died September 15, 1510, and was canonized in 1737. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1332&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. @Pontifex RAM

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