Friday, April 27, 2012

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who an accept it?" Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father." As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6: 60-69)

Introductory Prayer: O Lord, I seek the vigilance of one ready to fight for your Kingdom.I pray not to be lulled into a false peace of a faith that does not challenge my comfort and rationalistic thinking. “And you girded me with strength of war; you subdued my adversaries beneath me” (Psalm 18:40). How great it wuld be to find myself rising to meet a secular world, with its mundane and shallow way of living, with a robust and valiant faith in all you propose for my life, O Lord, who are seated victoriously at God’s right hand!

Petition: O Jesus, divine Master, you helped the disciples understand; help me understand the mystery of your heavenly Kingdom.

1. “Does this shock you?” The obedience of faith that Christ proposes is not always easy for us. We can at times be “shocked” by twists in his plan, or when being faithful to a given moral or doctrinal teaching becomes a very costly affair for me. And this happens all the more so when our interior life is carried by the rhythm of the things of the world. Without the constant deepening of the theological virtues of faith, hope and love we will often find much that God expects of us unacceptable. It is a reaction that tells us it is time to change and spend more time in prayer, getting to know Christ and those things that are pleasing to him. Only those who grow and fight through their moment of darkness will conquer and win through perseverance.

2. “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.” Often in facing the hard moments of life, we can seek human compensations that only postpone or even prevent the real cure from coming to my soul. Jesus invites us to follow him from a disciplined life of prayer that commits me to him everyday, and radically so. The temptation to set aside prayer in moments of fatigue and emotional weakness can come to me as it did for the disciples in Gethsemane. We claim that we need to take a break, that we need some special consideration, but such an excuse really is lowering the watchfulness of the spirit and leading us to succumb to the flesh. Would a soldier in combat lay down his weapons in the worst moment of the battle precisely when the enemy has his strongest advantage? I must have the perseverance of Christ, firm in the truths of God, firm in the prayer that reveals them to me.

3. “Master, to whom shall we go?” Jesus alone is our comfort and true friend, so to whom shall we go? Peter affirms his sincerity with Christ. When circumstances humble our hearts, mortify our ambition, and detach us from our wants, we feel the pinch and must remember the words of Peter. In the end one chooses well when one knows who they are before God. Christ reveals to us that he is the only one who can respond to my deepest needs, needs which can be met by no other person and nothing else in my life.

Dialogue with Christ: O Jesus, you would have me go by no other way than in your footprints guiding me ahead. Your words are eternal, your love is overwhelming. May I turn to you with all my needs.

Resolution: Get to know Christ’s teaching better by reading the Gospel

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