Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Call to Discipleship

Reflection at Mass
Memoria of Sts. Timothy and Titus
2 Timothy 1:1-8; Ps 95:1-5; Luke 10:1-9

By Joshua Mege

The Apostles were disciple of Jesus. After Jesus the Apostles too had their own disciples. These disciples not only learned from the apostles the truth of Jesus, they also helped the apostles with the mission of spreading the Good News.

 Today the Church honours Sts. Timothy and Titus, direct and immediate fruit of St. Paul’s conversion. In a sense, therefore, today’s memoria continues yesterday’s momentum. We not only celebrated the life of a saint, but also an event in salvation history in which Christ the Lord inaugurated the massive mission that would graft all nations onto the election of Israel. The Gentile mission was set in motion as God poured out his elective grace indiscriminately upon the world. Timothy and Titus are living expressions of that grace. Each became a co-worker with Paul, an apostolic delegate, bearing the full power of the Gospel.

Yes, as Jesus said in the gospel, the harvest is rich but the labourers are few. Jesus urges more evangelizers to take the word of God into the world, for without the Gospel it is difficult to govern the world rightly. It is our duty to pray for these labourers. More still, it is our duty and responsibility to respond if we are called to be one of those labourers.

To those he called, Jesus sent them out in pairs to accompany and support each other, proclaiming the kingdom of God. He also warned them to detach from destructive materialism. In effect, brothers, we must keep check our human nature and the unglamorous details of daily life: besides the need to declare peace, charity, justice and equality, there is need for patience in “quarrels with others, fears within the self,” as Paul says to Titus. Through it all, the love of Christ sustained them.

In Paul’s final testament to Timothy: “Proclaim the word; be persistent, in season and out of season; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. We live in times when many a people no longer tolerate sound doctrine, and have stopped listening to the truth; but following their own desires and insatiable curiosity. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfil your ministry.”

Staying at the Feet of the Lord

Reflection at Mass:
Thursday 26th, January, 2012

2 Sam 7:18-19, 24-29; Ps 132:1-6; Mark 4:21-25

By  Joshua  Mege

“You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.”
[2 Sam 7:24].

Among David’s achievements and great contributions to Israel was to ensure her peace and to root her in God. This is vividly manifested in his defeat over Israelites’ enemies and the recovery of the Ark of the Covenant from captivity (bringing it into the capital city in a joyous procession).

David’s achievements before the Lord earn him God’s promises to establish for him a house that would endure forever. In response, David immediately went and sat in God’s presence; thanking Him and acknowledging his own unworthiness. He refuses to take credit for his victories and strength. Instead, David attributes all his talents and accomplishments to God and for God’s glory, namely, to build a strong kingdom of God, Israel, now and the hereafter inheritance.

The prophecy to David is the basis for the Jewish expectation of a Messiah, son of David, which Jesus Christ fulfilled in a more transcendent way [cf. Acts 2:30, Heb 1:5]. Jesus’ parables likened the kingdom of God (our true inheritance) to every day activities. His hearers’ hearts, so deeply touched, longed to stay with Him a little longer and asked him to teach them more (on the parables) [Mk 4:10-11]. Everyday Jesus wants to continue to teach us (in the scriptures and while pondering his precepts).

Those who spend more time at Jesus’ feet experience more and are better equipped to follow him. David stayed at the Lord’s presence and gained a lot of wisdom to guide the people of God Israel in the ways of life.  Sts. Timothy and Titus too, close collaborators of St. Paul, are our models today. By word and example they laboured in establishing and strengthening Christian communities.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The precepts of the lord are right, rejoice the heart;
The command of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes.
(Ps 19:7-8)
Let us ask God for more, every time, by setting aside time at the feet of the Lord, to listen to him in his word and pondering his precepts. In so doing, we are constantly knocking on the door of heaven; and God has promised He will always answer us (Matt. 7:7-8).

The measure you give will be the measure you get... and still more will be given you. To the one who has, more will be given; for the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away
(Mk 4:24-25).

The Days when I was an Alter Boy

13 January 22:35
Scripture: John 1:35-42

Samuel reminds me the days when i was an alter boy in our local church, Fr. Angelo Fatacci was my Eli by then! The only difference is that i never slept in the church and God never called me literally like Samuel but i knew the voice of Fr. Angelo!

From this scripture God wants us to be ever ready when called. In the gospel Jesus invites each one of us to "come and see" for ourselves that his word is true and everlasting. "Come and see" is God's invitation for fellowship and communion with the One who made us in love for love. St. Augustine of Hippo tells us something very important about God and how he relates to us:
“If you hadn’t been called by God, what could you have done to turn back? Didn’t the very One who called you when you were opposed to Him make it possible for you to turn back?”
It is God who initiates and who draws us to Himself. Without his grace, mercy, and help we could not find him.

Imagine what happens when you discover something new and very important in your life, it's natural to want to share it with those closest to us. The same happens to this guys when they saw Jesus. they went back and proclaimed the good news that they have seen the messiah. The Holy Spirit works in us miraculously. He gives us the gift of faith to know Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness to others the joy and truth of the gospel. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to draw us near to himself.

Do you seek to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ? Let us pray to our Lord Jesus Christ to fill us with the power of his Holy Spirit and let us grow in the knowledge of his love and truth.
To the Lord Jesus I pray

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

‘I Am Not the Messiah’ (John 1:20): Of Undue Anxieties and False Alarms:


Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11; I Thess 5:16-24; John 1:6-8. 19-28

On this third Sunday of Advent, Jews from Jerusalem have sent priests and Levites to ask John the Baptist to declare his identity. “Who are you?” (V 19) they ask. But having admitted he is not the messiah they still ask; “What are you then? Are you Elijah? And he said, ‘I am not.’ Are you the prophet? He answered ‘No’ (John 1:21).

The Jews can wait no longer. They are overwhelmingly anxious. They even have the kind of false alarms that we all occasionally experience, especially when we are waiting for those truly precious to our hearts. We imagine at such times that every ship that docks, every plane that lands, every vehicle that pulls up has brought the one we were waiting for. Sometimes, we even see others exactly like those we are waiting for and we draw closer in excitement, only to retreat in disappointment. (I am told that first time parents have many false alarms of labour…).

Some Pharisees have also gone to John the Baptist. “Why then do you baptize if you are not the messiah or Elijah or the prophet” (John 1:25). Among the reasons John the Baptist gives for not being the messiah is the fact that he baptizes with water as well being unworthy to untie the sandal straps of the Messiah (v 25). These are weighty distinctions that we will hopefully revisit someday in our Sunday Bread.

The question we must however raise and attempt to respond to today is whether we have rightfully identified the Christ of our Faith. What signs could there be that we are worshipping Jesus of Nazareth; the true Messiah. The sheer number of churches and ministries in our country alone points to the possibility that a good portion of us could have settled for contraband messiahs!

Hear what the true Messiah says of his divine mission and vision;

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he has anointed me
To bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free
And to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-2).

The Ministry of Christ as we may all see is tinged with mildness and mercy. He comes to redeem those who do not belong, the rejected or less respected, the poor, people who are marginalized in society, the unclean, the sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes… He has overflowing compassion for all humanity. He is meek and humble without losing urgency, radicalness and authority.

And if the foregoing is the authentic identity of our saviour, then you might share my reservations with the powerful televangelists who send scores of believers down by the wave of a handkerchief. They even have full time ushers to assist members to fall with dignity. When our attraction become miracle healings; when our testimonies border on wealth after a period of languishing in unyielding poverty; when our families lack peace because we are no longer available to our children and spouses in the name of harvest crusades, then we have most certainly lost the way. Something is terribly wrong with our understanding as well as our choice of a messiah. These preachers who wield more power than the son of God – methinks – have a different messiah; not the one born in the manger in a little known village of Bethlehem. Not the son of Joseph, the village carpenter. The one we are waiting for.

Behold the simplicity of the son of Mary and think again.

But we are not the first to donate ourselves to religious hoaxes. St Paul, while urging the Thessalonians not to despise prophetic utterances tells them, ‘test everything; retain what is good’ (I Thess 5:20-21).

Our anxieties and false alarms have led most of us astray. True Christian spirit is peace-filled, cheerful, supportive of the weak, patient with all (I Thess 5:14). If we are familiar with these experiences, then we are most certainly home and dry in our Christian faith.