Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Heal, Restore and Rehabilitate

Christ offers healing, restoration and rehabilitation of our body, mind and soul. He will bring it to perfection when He returns in Glory to take us home.

Jesus, the Son of God, became like one of us, except in sin. He took our brokenness, sicknesses and sinfulness upon himself and gave us his perfect body in exchange. He distributes the merit of the the finished work on the cross through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation - healing, restoring and rehabilitating us. Christ comes to dwell in us. And thus we can say:

It’s no longer I, but Jesus who lives in me. He Heals me, Restores me and Rehabilitates me

During the last supper, breaking the bread, Jesus said, this is my body given up for you, take and eat it. He did the same with his blood. Jesus reminded us that He is the bread from heaven. His is the blood that will be poured out for the remission of our sins. He chose to let his body be mutilated for our sake so that we can be healthy and free from sickness. 

Events that take place around us and the disasters we see in the nature are proportional to the sin that exists in the world. "Change" in human souls, positively or negatively influences the environment and the turn of events. We have been given authority over the nature and all it has. We decide how we want the nature to treat us. The bible says The creation is groaning and is waiting for its redemption along with us [Rom 8:22]

But when man through the gift of faith, believe with his whole heart and accept Jesus the restorer unconditionally, he allows Jesus to transform him by the renewal of his mind [Rom 12:2]. We will then have the mind of Christ [1 Corinthians 2:16]. And thus we can say:

It’s no longer I, but Jesus who lives in me. He Heals me, Restores me and Rehabilitates me

If our heart is not healthy, doubt no longer. Believe that Jesus took your diseased heart and gave his wholesome body in the Eucharistic bread. Don’t we know it is sins that lead to sickness? As we know Jesus’s body knows no sin. No sickness can ever enter His body. We must believe that our heart is now restored and it beats perfectly. Because:

It’s no longer I, but Jesus who lives in me. He Heals me, Restores me and Rehabilitates me

After recieving the Body and Blood of Jesus at the Holy Mass, It should be Jesus himself who walks out of the Church, not me, cause it is:

It’s no longer I, but Jesus who lives in me. He Heals me, Restores me and Rehabilitates me

No event or situation, however worst, harmful, or powerful can do anything to change the course of our life, the divine destiny Jesus has marked out for me, by pouring out his precious blood and paying every single debt the accuser could use against us. We must believe without doubt that this is true. We must not believe in any lie that is contradictory to this Truth. Thus we boldly say:

It’s no longer I, but Jesus who lives in me. He Heals me, Restores me and Rehabilitates me

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Healing and the Eucharist

It is the experience of “being healed from sicknesses” that makes people venture out, crossing the lake and climbing the mountain, to meet Jesus again. Refer John 6:1

On the mountain, Jesus gives them the Word and soon undertakes to give them the bread. This is clearly a sign leading to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The celebration of the Holy Mass is our participation in the perfect worship Jesus offers to the Father on our behalf. It has the Word and the Bread [body and Blood of Jesus] central to it. The barley loaves and fish the boy gives, represent the work of our hands and fruit of our labour - both good and bad, inadequate, short-lived and imperfect. Jesus receives our imperfections and gives back his own flesh in the form of the Eucharistic Bread - feeding the hungry and healing the sick.

Jesus here also presents himself as the New Moses and the New Manna. When Jesus asks Philip “Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?” [John 6:4-6] He was paraphrasing Moses. In the book of Numbers we read Moses saying“Can enough sheep and cattle be slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?”[Numbers 11:22]

It is interesting to know why did Jesus ask this question to Philip? Because it was Philip who recognized Jesus as the one about whom Moses and prophets wrote about. Read John 1.45. 

Philip responded to Jesus in despair “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough to give them a little piece each” doing precisely what any of us will do – Counting on the money. Doesn’t this happen to us? Like Philip, we too forget that the one who is asking us to feed the hungry and heal sick is the maker of the universe and the savior of the mankind

Jesus exhorts us to heal the sick and feed the hungry. Our task ultimately is to take the sick and the hungry to the Eucharistic table. It is where we receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life on a daily basis. This is why Jesus taught us to pray “give us today our daily bread, forgive us our sins”

There are only two miracles in the Gospel of John that involves food. Chapter six is concerning the bread and chapter two about Wine. Together they anticipate the Eucharistic liturgy where Jesus who is both the "new Moses" and the "new manna" gives Himself as food for the multitudes under the visible signs of bread and wine. [See CCC#1333-35].

When we cry out like Moses “Where can I get meat to give to all this people? For they are crying to me, ‘Give us meat for our food.’ [Numbers 11:13] Jesus answers "Very truly I tell you, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.” “I’m the bread that comes down from heaven.”

People asked for meat - Jesus gave himself

In the Eucharist, we receive remission of our sins as Jesus the Passover Lamb takes our brokenness and sins upon himself, offers himself to the father as the perfect sacrifice on behalf of us. We receive new  and everlasting life in the Eucharist as Jesus the New Manna, now resurrected, glorified and living forever, comes to dwell within us, becoming one flesh with us. The Eucharist transforms our flesh and confirms it to His own so that we can now offer our bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God. Our transformed self becomes the seed that dies to give new life – to all.

"The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the over of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven." - St. Peter Chrysologus, Homilie 67’

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wrestling with God

Wrestling with God is the battle man experiences within. Jacob of the old testament is known for wrestling with the angel of God.

Genesis 32:22-28 - The same night he [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”

Post the fight, God called Jacob “Israel”. Is-ra-el in Hebrew means "the man who wrestled with God". What does it mean to wrestle with God? Why does one wrestle with God?

The wrestling here is “our fiery resistance”to the redeeming act of God. God wants to save us from sin and the occasions of sin and restore us. He wants to make us a new creation. When God pulls us out of the pit to wash us clean, we bite his hands and spit on his face, escape and scoot back to the filthy pit again. God waits patiently till we stretch our hands again to him.

After Jacob has prevailed until daybreak, wrestling with the angel of God, in appreciation of his perseverance, God changed his name from Jacob to Israel and makes a promise. The promise is to “restore” [and make his own], all the descendants of Jacob – the house of Israel – those who hear/believe in Jesus/his words and do it.

Jesus came to save mankind from their sins. Mathew 1:21

Only God can save us from sin. Those who co-operate with God and persevere despite strong inner pull becomes the dearest of God and the promise God made to Jacob fulfils in him.

The persistent wrestling of Jacob and the blow on his thigh that dislocated his hip represents the painful process of restoration that every Christian must go through before he becomes a part of the house of Israel. Jacob cries and prays as he wrestles with his own sinfulness, never leaving the fight.

We too must insist that we will never leave God until He blesses us and liberates us completely from our sinful habits and make us the new creation. [from Jacob to Israel - From a deceiver to the one who has conquered his own fallen-ness and gained the favour of God]

How long does God have to wrestle with you before you yield every area of your life to Him?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Healing from sin and sickness

Jesus came to save mankind from their sins. Mathew 1:21

Saving the mankind from sin also means saving them from their sickness because it is sin that causes sickness. And therefore it is forgiveness of Sins that initiate healing. [CCC 1502,1503]

[1502 The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing. Illness becomes a way to conversion; God's forgiveness initiates the healing. It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: "For I am the Lord, your healer." The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others. Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness.

1503 Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins;  he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: "I was sick and you visited me."]
 

It is His name and faith in His Name that he has healed this man whom you see and recognize. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you. Acts 2:16

God’s salvation constitutes of forgiveness and restoration. Receiving forgiveness does not ensure that we commit the same sin no more because the circumstances that lead us to sin remain unchanged. It is then through the act of restoration that God completes the process of healing.

We often find this process of restoration painful for it demands that we are plucked out of those comfort zones that we are deeply rooted and replant ourselves in a totally new place.  Most of us resist or postpone this process, making our restoration [that Christ the healer initiates] slower or not allowing it to take place.

For he wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. I Tim 2 3-4

In order for man to be forgiven and restored to life all that is required of him is to exercise his faith. Faith is coming to know the truth [Jesus] and believing in it.  Christian life must faith lived out according to the Truth revealed through Jesus Christ. [Scriptures]

The act of faith is like believing in the doctor and his medicine except that in this case there is no physical medicine but an inner process of believing in heart and proclaiming the same with conviction. This is no mental gimmick but it is through the merit of the sacrificial death Jesus offered on the cross on our behalf that we are healed and restored. The healing Jesus offers is wholesome. It integrates healing of the mind, body and soul.

Do people suffer even after they are healed and restored? Yes! Because of the sin that still exists in the world. We are called to unite our [innocent] suffering to that of Christ for the salvation of the world because through his own suffering Christ has given suffering a redemptive power. Yes it can save people. We partake in mission of saving all mankind along with Christ when we suffer with Christ.

It is out of love for Christ that one offers to joyfully suffer with Christ

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To be God conscious!

Most pleasing experience of the human soul is to be at the fountain of the sweet presence of God the father, drinking non stop from the perennial source that offers joy, peace, a great sense of purpose and a life of gratitude.

As children, we live in the father's house and His presence is never absent in the house. It is certainly our right and privilege to be in the Father's presence always. Imagine having to be confined by a schedule that stipulates this privilege to be with Dad.

Being in God's presence is a matter of being aware of God who is always present. We can call it God consciousness. We leave this most fulfilling presence of God when we turn inward and become self conscious much like the prodigal son.

To be at the fountain and not leave the presence of God requires training and discipline of the self. The fallenness of our nature pulls us away world ward. Thus we need to inculcate habits to counter this natural pull. When we repeat actions over and over it becomes a habit. Following are some of the ways we can inculcate this habit of being with God:

Repeated short prayers

One of the best ways is by repeating short prayers like the Jesus prayer [ Jesus, the son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner] which the desert fathers trained themselves to say incessantly. If we start doing this, in matter of days, we do this without any effort and even in the middle of sleep, we will find ourselves praying unceasingly as St. Paul exhorted us to do in 1Thes 5:17.

Being conscious of our actions

We can remain in the presence of God by consciously resorting to do only what pleases God and avoid all actions that does not please Him. We thus become aware of our actions and begin to discern well the motives of our actions. We learn to modify or avoid actions directed towards selfish ends.

Being always in the presence of God throws ourselves open to the action of God that makes us holy and Christ like. Every pain and suffering God gives is to purify and purge our imperfections. It is the God consciousness that helps us to reconcile with pain and suffering. Pride also makes us turn inward and become self conscious.

Being conscious of the Trinity within

Another way to remain in the presence of God is to be aware that just as in the Trinity there are 3 persons yet one God, we also, by virtue of having created in the image and likeness of the Trinitarian God, have the presence of divine persons right within us. So each of our actions needs to consulted with all the three persons and cannot be selfish. We will ask this fundamental question to ourself prior to every action, does this benefit my divine nature. The three areas that represent the divine within us are the Will, Body and Soul (life). Every action is initiated by the will. The inclinations of the body cannot supersede the will. The soul is affected by these actions. When our will is enlocked in the presence of God, we are transformed holistically.

John 15.4 says "remain in me". 

Let us discipline ourselves to be in his presence always.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lenten tears - Part 2

Same are the tears that roll out of our eyes but reasons for it are many. Tears fall when we get hurt, when we fail to achieve, when expectations are no met, when we lose someone dear to us and also tears fall when we are sympathetic to the predicament of a fellow human being.

Lent is a season ear marked once every year for tears!. Question is which of these kind of tears do we cry during lent? 

Most of the time, when we think of the events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus, the emotions that run in our veins are a crude mixture of sympathy and righteous anger. It does opportunistically move us to tears. We feel good and self content shedding these lenten tears as though we have done our part to sympathise with God who met with a misfortune. 

"Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children" [Luke 23:28] 

Crucified Jesus is not a victim of unfortunate circumstance or someone's vengeance or cruelty but a victor and liberator who embraced joyfully and willingly, the death on the cross to "set me free". Jesus turns to us who are content shedding the above lenten tears of sympathy, looks into our eyes, just us he did when peter denied him, says "child, weep not for me but for yourself and your children".

Don't we hear the crock crow in the background?

He wants us to be concerned about salvation, first our own and then others. He wants us to make full use of what he is achieving for us on the cross. 

Let us look closely into the deep recess of our hearts. Realise how unworthy we are, realise the number of masks we wear, realise how we put up a straight face and walk as if nothing is wrong with us, realise how quick we are to judge others and find faults, realise how we want to decide for ourselves what is good and evil, realise how we have lost the sense of sin, realise how our generation have mastered godlessness and made themselves their own gods. 

If you feel you are perfect and have nothing in you to repent for, probably you are away from light, the true light that shines and convicts - Jesus. You may be basking in the little lights you have created for yourselves that shows you only the sins of others and none of yours.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us". [1 John 1: 8]

Let our hearts be broken and spirit be in grief in sincere repentance. The word of God says "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" [Psalm 34:18] If there is pride in us, our grief will turn to guilt and self denial. Be confident of the love and mercy of Jesus who is waiting to accept us as we are. No need to pretend. He wants to make us like him. Waist no tears except for true remorse and to return to the Father who is waiting. Wishing you tearful lent!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Communion to Community

Communion is to hear the voice of God. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. [John 10:27]. The communion is also what Jesus refers to as abiding in Him. Jesus said I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 

The invitation God extends to have communion with Him is an open invitation to liberate oneself from the need to fit in, the need to prove one's self-worth and the need to achieve or to be successful in order to be be accepted and loved. To have communion with God is to experience a true liberation from the slavery of self-centredness, in other words, freedom from the needs and concerns of our own self.

We are the sheep of Jesus the Good shepherd. The sheep of His flock is not under pressure to prove or achieve in order to be loved and accepted. They are free to be themselves. They are free to do what they are naturally good at. Their lives are guided by the voice of the Good shepherd that they unmistakably recognise and unconditionally trust. They are sure footed in their steps and are lead to green pastures. They are guarded as by a fortress from enemies. They hear the voice of the shepherd and the shepherd hears the voice of the sheep too. There are times in the life of the sheep when the shepherd leaves the flock in the wilderness and goes searching for a sheep that is lost. The flock by now knows even if their master is not in their sight, he still is there.

A man who is in communion with God learns the nature of God's love and trusts the voice that seldom ceases to whisper "Fear not I'm with you".

In the second example of communion, Jesus calls us to abide in Him as the branches abide in the vine. The branches receive their life from the vine. The pride of the shepherd is his flock and the pride of the vine are the branches. It is on the branches that the fruits are visible. It is the sheep that become useful for others.

Community is a family of those who hear, abide and commune with God living together. They are like the flock and the branches. They hear the same voice yet recognise what it means for each of them. They do not compete but complement. They are the Church, united by the one only head Jesus and bound and sustained together in love by the Holy Spirit.

It is communion that leads to community.