Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2020
Ps 23: 1-6
1 Peter 2:20b-25
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called….
Christian life is a calling or an invitation to each and every person in this World. The structure of this life is opposite to the Worldly life. If Worldly life calls us to be successful and rich then the Christian life calls us to live in poverty and righteousness. These two lives are opposite to each other. If we see Jesus life on Earth , though he was the author of life , he lived like a laborer , a Carpenters Son working as a Carpenter. At the fullness of time to do his ministry , he just leaves his house and chooses some Disciples and starts the mission of Salvation on this Earth. The overall life of Jesus or the followers of Jesus does not focus on Worldly success or even Prosperity. We do not see any of the followers of Christ were rich or worked for Worldly Prosperity. The point over here is not of the Worldly Blessings , if the Apostles wanted to build some great monuments or Corporate structures , they could have done it but those things were of no value in their God Experience because they do not give a life of abundance but takes away from the abundant life. All the true followers of Christ lived a life of poverty , Obedience and Chastity.
The readings of today give us an insight to discern our lives as true followers of Christ and recognize the true Spirit of God in our spiritual life like our ministry, Community or the People whom we follow or listen to ,in our lives. There is only one message by Jesus or Peter or Paul or any other Saint , that is the message of Cross. There is a secret and mystery in the Cross of Christ which gave Salvation to the Whole World. This secret or mystery is hidden from the Devil or Satan because Satan’s real nature belongs to the Worldly nature of Pride, success and Splendor. Jesus refuses this life of success and accepts the real life of love and service. Satan tempts Jesus number of times to establish his Worldly Kingdom but Jesus knew his tricks and focuses on the mission of Poverty and obedience to the Father. Unfortunately Christians have become the prey of success and prosperity , false preachers teaching the Gospel of Prosperity and success is the Work of the Evil. The Churches focusing on success, Prosperity , numbers is a clear indications that these inspirations are not from the Lord. The Priests and ministries focusing more on their individual success than on the message of Gospel of love and service takes them to the original Sin of pride.
All the Spiritual and Worldly gifts including Prosperity and richness comes from God alone but making these gifts an idol is the sin of Idolatry. If we worship the Creation , it is a Sin idolatry. Any Shepherds of the Church Worship Idolatry or promote Idolatry in the Church and preach them are idol worshipers. Aron in the old testament sinned against the Lord by making a Calf of Gold and worshiping it. There is new trend in the preaching of today , our preachers have become like Politicians , they preach ,what People want to listen in to their itchy ears and not the real message of Cross. This is the reason many people run behind the Preachers to satisfy their Ears and never to listen to the God’s Word and change their lives. The Evil tries to manipulate the word of God and project it as the truth according to the Pleasures of this World. The message of Cross is message of Repentance, the Word of God and message of Salvation convicts our Sins the time we here the message and get transformed by following the footsteps of the Good shepherd.
I remember my conversion for the first time when I attended a Charismatic Mass celebrated by a Jesuit Priest, when the Priest delivered the Homily on the blood of Christ and Jesus as our brother , my thoughts went in to my Worldly desires in which I was living and dreaming and working on them day and night to be rich and successful. A betrayal thought came in to my mind and tears were rolling whenever I thought of my Sins against my Savior and Master who purchased me by shedding his precious blood on the Cross. These tears were of my repentance and transformation experience which run even now whenever I betray my Lord and Savior . The first action of the Holy spirit in our life is to convict our Sins , Prodigal Son realized his mistakes and came in to his senses. We must go through this experience every day of our life when we examine our Conscious and tears must roll from our eyes as a sign of our true repentance.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd of our life , if we follow him he provides for our needs , he heals us from sickness, he counsels us, he guides us , comforts us and leads us to eternal life. The disciples of Jesus did not lack anything in their life, neither his followers but they did not bother on these things but only focused to preach and live the Gospel of Christ. God did mighty miracles and wonders in their ministry because their main focus was on the real message of the Cross of Christ. Jesus calls us today to take our own crosses of suffering and follow him to that Master Cross of Salvation where we will rise with him to eternal life of abundance.
To live a life of Be attitudes is a call to every Christian, let us not drift away from the image of God and live in the image of the Evil by following the Worldly ways of life. The Evil comes to kill and destroy and take us to eternal condemnation , the Hell. In these days let us reflect the Judgement of our Lord and focus on the Cross and embrace them which leads to abundant life. Our Crosses are the thorns in our life like unforgiveness, injustice , jealousy, Blame, Criticism, persecution , hatred so on if we live overcome these thorns with the grace of the Holy spirit then we are in the Kingdom of God because for Gods people worldly actions do not matter because their focus is on the grace and power of resurrection the Christ our Lord and Savior the Good Shepherd.
A Christian is transformed in the image of Christ and a Human in the image of God. We must ask ourselves today , are we either of these images in our life. All humans are created in the image of God but a true Christian is transformed through the Cross and resurrection of Christ and lives a spirit driven life inspired by the Spirit of Jesus the Holy spirit. Many a times we have lost the image of God in our life by following the Worldly self centered life so we must become human first and then get transformed in to the image of Christ as Christians. We have lots of opportunities in the lock down to transform our life , let not waste time but come in to our senses and repent and follow Jesus in our life who will heal us, protect us,console us, comfort us, provide us, guide us and lead us to Abundant life of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness,self control.