25.05.2020 — Encouraged by Jesus’ peace

Posted under Reflections on May 24th, 2020 by

7th week in Easter Time, Monday – 25th May 2020 — Gospel: Jn 16,29-33

Encouraged by Jesus’ peace

The disciples mistakenly thought that they understood everything now, but Jesus gently challenges their presumption saying, “Do you now believe?” (16,31). But in spite  of their lack of understanding and in spite of Lord’s knowledge that they will shortly be scattered and leave Jesus alone, He concludes with a wonderful promise of peace and courage, “… You may have peace … Take courage” (16,33). Every time the words, “Take courage,” appear in the NT, they come from the lips of the Lord, except in one place (Mk 10,49). In Mt 9,2 Jesus tells a paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”  In Mt 9,22, He tells the suffering woman who touched the hem of His garment, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well”. In Mt 14,27, He tells the frightened disciples who see Him walking on the water, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” After Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem, when he was confused about his future, the Lord appeared to him and said, “Take courage; … Be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in Rome also” (Acts 23,11).  And, here in 16,33 Jesus tells his disciples who are confused and about to fail, to take courage because in Him they have peace. In summing up all these, we are encouraged by our Lord’s pardon (Mt 9,2); His power (Mt 9,22); His presence (Mt 14,27); His purpose (Acts 23,11); and His peace (Jn 16,33). We are encouraged in our failure with an assurance that ultimately our peace is in Christ, not in our performance.  

24.05.2020 — Disciples draw near to all people

Posted under Reflections on May 23rd, 2020 by

Ascension of the Lord, Sunday – 24th May 2020 — Gospel: Mt 28,16-20

Disciples draw near to all People

Jesus authority over his disciples leads to a Great Commission. This commission is three-fold: make disciples, baptize, and teach. That is, the disciples are instructed to go to the nations and find followers for Jesus. The nations do not have to come to them; instead, God’s servants and also God will draw near to all people. Baptism then becomes a mark of identity or belonging as individuals and communities among the followers of Jesus. But there is more to this baptism than initiation or inclusion or even repentance, because baptism is a transformation of identity. In the baptized person the Holy Spirit now resides and cleanses the body by the purifying force of divine fire. Teaching then follows baptism, as these disciples find a way to remain faithful in a world of tests and trails. His command is not shallow evangelism, rather to become devoted followers like the first eleven disciples to live out his teachings within broader society. Therefore obedience of the disciples is intrinsic to their faith, to their discipleship, to the promise contained in baptism.

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