March 28, 2015
“Truly This Man Was the Son of God”
During the two trials in front of the Sanhedrin and Pilate, Jesus speaks only twice, one to the high priest, the other to Pilate.
Pilate asks if he is the king of the Jews, and Jesus' reply could sound ambiguous, “You say so.”
But to the high priest's question, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?,” Jesus' answer is crystal clear and affirmative, “I am.”
This identity of Jesus as the Son of God is proclaimed, again in affirmative tone, by the centurion, after his death on the cross, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
In Mark's Gospel, “The Son of God” is the central identity of Jesus. In fact, Mark begins his Gospel clearly stating his theme, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (1:1)
And this identity cannot be understood apart from the cross.
St. Paul understood this, as he wrote to in the Letter to the Philippians, “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (2nd Reading of Palm Sunday)
As an act of Divine Love, the Cross became the instrument of our salvation.
By His Cross, we are saved!
March 21, 2015
John 12: 20-33
“We Would Like to See Jesus”
Philip was first introduced in the Gospel of John in 1:43-45. There, right after being called by Jesus, Philip found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus.
Probably Philip has the reputation of one who introduces people to Jesus. Therefore, the Greeks in today's Gospel reading come to him when they want to see Jesus.
Wouldn't it be great if we all have that reputation?
This question might give us one of the applications into our own lives of the words of Jesus, “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”
As we come to the last full week of Lent, maybe I should ask myself, “What in me still needs to die so that I can be known as one who can lead others to Jesus?”
March 6, 2015
The Temple of His Body
Each of Christ's followers is a part of His Body – a Temple of God.
The Temple is where God is present among God's people.
The Temple is also where people come to encounter God.
The people that Jesus chased out damage both aspects of God's Temple.
How do I see myself as the Temple of God – a place of God's presence? Do I meet God in my own being? And do people meet God in me?
February 27, 2015
“Apart by Themselves”
We all have heard that Jesus allows Peter, James, and John witness the Transfiguration in order to prepare them for His Crucifixion. Moreover, as the leaders of the Twelve, their experience would help them strengthen their brothers.
We also know that they do not fulfill that special mission. In fact, they would soon join the other nine arguing who among them is the greatest (Same Chapter, just 20 or so verses later in v. 34). Worse, that was after Jesus had told them what would happen to him in Jerusalem for the second time.
Then, in Chapter 10, after Jesus has told them for the third time what awaits him in Jerusalem (10: 32 – 34), James and John themselves come and ask Jesus if they may sit one at his right and one at his left when Jesus comes “in his glory” (10: 37).
Praise God. The Lord patiently sustains them (or puts up with them). By God's grace, after the Resurrection, they truly witnessed to Jesus and the love and life he gave to them.
Maybe I should look at the special and privileged moments that the Lord has given to me, and ask myself how I have made use of them.