05.07.2020 — Cherish the Christological treasure

Posted under Reflections on July 4th, 2020 by

14th Sunday in Ord. Time – 5th July 2020 — Gospel: Mt 11,25-30

Cherish the Christological treasure

This section unfolds the Christological treasure, i.e., about the person and work of Jesus the Messiah. It reveals that Jesus is the revealer, all revelation comes through Him. It teaches that Jesus is the source of spiritual rest. Jesus, who is humble and gentle, is the word of revelation and also the word of invitation.

Though Jesus experienced much rejection, many also accepted his preaching and received him. For this reason Jesus praises his Father, referring to the Father’s sovereignty as “Lord of heaven and earth”. In addressing God as Father, He stresses the intimacy, reverence and personal relationship expressed in the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus expresses gratitude that God reveals the ways of the kingdom to “infants”, those who are humble and realize their dependence on God, rather than to those who are proud and consider themselves clever and smart. The “wise and intelligent” may refer to religious leaders, whom Jesus often rebukes for their self-importance and hypocrisy. The scribes and Pharisees pride themselves on being learned in the law, yet fail to understand the basics of justice, mercy, and faith (Mt 23,23). They repeatedly reject Jesus and conspire against Him, thus conspiring against the very purposes of God. Because Jesus knows the Father so intimately, his teaching can uniquely reveal the plan and will of God to anyone to whom he chooses to reveal it. This unique bond between Jesus and his Father is the source of his power and authority. Jesus’ intimacy becomes a model for the believers to inherit the great mysteries that are hidden. It is the part of the mystery of God and a fact to be accepted that God hides this truth – that Jesus is sent by the Father and reveals the Father (11,27). The wise in all their learning did not know; the weak and weary would come to know by faith.

Jesus’ prayer of revelation then turns to invitation: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest” (11,28). Since revelation was not given to the wise and the learned, the invitation now has been intended for the weak and the weary.  Who are the ones laboring wearily and heavily burdened? Again, it is the common people rather than their leaders. In his teachings, Jesus shows that this burden included the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23,4; 9,10-13; 12,1-14). In all probability Jesus was referring to the promise of the New Covenant in Jeremiah that the Lord would refresh people (Jer 31,25). Those who follow Jesus in faith would find the promised rest: in the present reality through the forgiveness of sin and relief of the burden of guilt, and a future guarantee of complete redemption. Therefore, in promising “rest”, Jesus demonstrates that He has the keys to heaven. If the believers follow His teachings, they will not only learn the truth, but attain salvation through Him.  

04.07.2020 — Celebrate Messianic Presence

Posted under Reflections on July 3rd, 2020 by

13th Week in Ord. Time, Saturday – 4th July 2020 — Gospel: Mt 9,14-17

Celebrate Messianic Presence

Jesus’ festive celebration with outcast and sinners (9,9-13) perplexed John’s disciples. They are disappointed by Jesus’ lack of insistence on the ascetical practice with his followers. Putting the blame on his disciples indicates that some have responded favourably and positively to Jesus’ presence. The question here concerns the frequency and motivation for fasting, not the practice itself. It is a sincere desire to understand Jesus as the fulfillment of John’s preparatory ministry. Until now, fasting had become a way to prove one’s religious commitment. Proper fasting is not a way of showing off one’s spirituality (Is 58; Mt 6,16-18) but of drawing closer to God and seeking His guidance (Mt 4,2, i.e., Jesus). Therefore Jesus does not condemn the practice, but neither does He affirm that it is required now. Quoting an analogy of John’s teaching on bridegroom (Jn 3,29) Jesus refers to the biblical image of the wedding feast. By his own words to his disciples, John identified himself as the “friend of the bridegroom,” and Jesus as the “bridegroom.” The prophets applied marriage imagery to the relationship of God and Israel, and they used the image of the banquet to express the fulfillment of Israel’s hopes. Here Jesus is portrayed as the “bridegroom” of the joyful messianic banquet. Jesus assumed that His disciples would fast after He was crucified. Now as Messiah, He has come to forgive sinners (9,1-8) and have fellowship with them (9,9-10).  Joyful celebration is the proper response to the coming of Messiah. That is why John himself rejoiced greatly (Jn 3,29) and John’s disciples should do likewise.

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