Reflection for April 2020

Community Word: The Risen Lord strengthens our hope for eternal life.

Order: “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.” (Mt. 26:41)


Reflection:
This month, we are given the opportunity to reflect on and dwell in God’s perfect love for us as we re-live and experience the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every year, our faith grows deeper and stronger when we remember that we are saved by the blood of supreme sacrificial love and the eventual victory over sin and death by Christ’s resurrection.

Jesus’ resurrection was manifested when He appeared to people, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and His disciples in the upper room. He also appeared and shared meals with them at the shore of the lake. He came to them when they were working and when they were waiting. He came to them when they were afraid and when they were hopeful and doubting. He came to simple people just like you and me. These events after the resurrection give us a clear proof that, even today, God through our Lord Jesus Christ is with us to strengthen our hope for eternal life. Our community word for April is – The Risen Lord strengthens our hope for eternal life, which we can reflect further through our weekly themes.

The theme for Palm Sunday is: Our hope for eternal life is strengthened when we obey the Father’s Will as we endure our sufferings. This Sunday signals the start of the Holy Week and highlights the most perfect response of Jesus to God’s purpose of sending him to this world and to us – obedience to his Father’s will. Throughout the ordeal, Jesus was relentlessly humble and obedient; not for a moment did he change his mind even if he foresaw his excruciating passion and shameful death. Again, Jesus is teaching us that God’s reward will be received when we surrender our self-centeredness, our fears, and our doubts to the Lord. In many ways, we have remained disobedient to God and we just maneuver our lives without trusting Him. As we stay home due to the present Covid-19 pandemic during the Holy Week, let us ask forgiveness for crucifying Jesus to the cross again and again by our sinfulness. Let us learn to surrender to his promise: “From now on you will see the ‘Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’” (Mt 26:64).

The theme for Easter Sunday is: Our hope for eternal life is strengthened when we bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus. As faithful Christians, we believe in the Resurrection not just as a historical event in the Church, but that Jesus truly rose from the dead and He is alive. Such belief is essential because it is the key to our Christian faith – to believe in the fulfillment of His promise. Our faith should lead us to believe that Jesus is alive now as he was on that first Easter morning and he still invites people today to know him, love him, serve him, and be happy with him in eternity. Many of us who were brought into the Church and community, especially those who were baptized in the Spirit, have been transformed because we encountered Jesus, the Living God. This is the Easter promise of the Lord: “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory,” (Col 3:4).

Our hope for eternal life is strengthened when we open our hearts to the immense mercy of God. This is the theme for the 2nd Sunday of Easter. “Peace be with you” are the re-assuring words that the Lord spoke when he appeared to his disciples after he rose from the dead. This is the same message that Jesus wants to impart to us while we live in our troubled world today. But if there is so much unbelief in Christ, if there is mounting refusal to enter into a relationship with God and trust in his Divine Will, if worldly influences take precedence over taking the path of righteousness, how can we have peace in our hearts, the kind of peace that Jesus wants to give us? Believing that Jesus is alive seems to be difficult to comprehend amidst the noise and enticements of the world today. As we write this reflection, the world is reeling under an unseen common and virulent enemy, the Covid-19 virus, which is unabatedly spreading throughout the whole world. All forms of social inter-actions are stopped, the economy is in chaos, daily routines are disturbed and halted. Even spiritual activities including Holy Masses cannot be held publicly anymore and have to be conducted by means of media broadcast.

This Sunday is also the Divine Mercy Sunday. As Jesus utters the words ‘peace be with you,’ he is reminding us of God’s unfathomable mercy. Easter is a time of great rejoicing. With faith and hope in our hearts, let us embrace God’s promise for this week – “I was hard pressed and was falling, but the Lord helped me,” (Ps 118:13).

Our hope for eternal life is strengthened when we allow the presence of Jesus to reign in our daily life – is the theme for the 3rd Sunday of Easter. Like the two disciples leaving Jerusalem, we are all “on the road to Emmaus.” We are in the state of unbelief and ignorance, simply relying on our own reason, intellect and experience. We choose to be deaf and blind to the truth which our Lord Jesus teaches us. Or we take the shortcut in exercising our faith, the path that our own limited understanding wants us to take, the road that brings us farther away from our relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Master. The Holy Scriptures as the word of God is the source of understanding and knowledge of our faith. It is the anchor of our salvation. Christ is risen and he has overcome Satan and his lies. Let us no longer take the detour but continue on with our faith journey towards the promise of eternal life: “You will show me the path to life…abounding joy in your presence…” (Ps 16:11).

 
 

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