The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What can hold us back from doing the will of God? Fear, especially the fear of death and the fear of losing the approval of others, can easily rob us of courage and the will to do what we know is right. Jesus met opposition and the threat of death with grace and determination to accomplish his Father’s will. Jesus knew that his mission, his purpose in life, would entail sacrifice and suffering and culminate with death on the cross. But that would not be the end. His “hour” would crush defeat with victory over sin and Satan, condemnation with pardon and freedom, and death with glory and everlasting life. He willingly suffered for our sake and embraced the cross to redeem us from sin and to restore us to new life and friendship with God our Father.
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) wrote:
“Our Lord had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again. But we cannot choose how long we shall live, and death comes to us even against our will. Christ, by dying, has already overcome death. Our freedom from death comes only through his death. To save us Christ had no need of us. Yet without him we can do nothing. He gave himself to us as the vine to the branches; apart from him we cannot live.”
No one can be indifferent with Jesus for very long. What he said and did – his miraculous signs and wonders – he did in the name of God. Jesus not only claimed to be the Messiah, Gods Anointed One – he claimed to be in a unique relationship of sonship with God the Father and to know him as no one else did. To the Jews this was utter blasphemy. The religious authorities did all they could to put a stop to Jesus because they could not accept his claims and the demands he made.
We cannot be indifferent to the claims which Jesus makes on us. We are either for him or against him. There is no middle ground. We can try to mold the Lord Jesus to our own ideas and way of thinking or we can allow his word of truth to free us from our own sinful blindness, stubborn pride, and ignorance. Do you accept all that Jesus has taught and done for you with faith and reverence or with disbelief and contempt? The consequences are enormous, both in this life and in eternity.
“Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Saint Augustine)
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
“SET FREE IN THE OPEN” (see Ps 18:20)
“At this they tried to seize Him, but no one laid a finger on Him because His hour had not yet come.” John 7:30
Jesus repeatedly took His place publicly amid ferocious opposition and boldly proclaimed the Word of God. “This led some of the people of Jerusalem to remark: ‘Is this not the One they want to kill? Here He is speaking in public and they don’t say a word to Him!’ ” (Jn 7:25-26)
The keys to Jesus’ fearlessness are:
- His relationship with His Father. Because Jesus knew that the Father loved Him (see Jn 5:20), He had total confidence that His Father would protect Him fully, until His “hour” came to suffer (see Jn 7:30; 12:27).
- His knowledge of being sent by the Father to proclaim God’s Word. Jesus knew that the full authority of God the Father was backing Him up (see Mt 28:18; Jn 5:36; 7:16). Because Jesus sought glory for His Father Who sent Him and not for Himself (Jn 7:18), His heart burned with zeal rather than cowered due to self-preservation.
- His love. “Love has no room for fear; rather, perfect love casts out all fear” (1 Jn 4:18).
Now Jesus says to us: “As the Father has sent Me, so I send You” (Jn 20:21). Let’s take up our places in God’s kingdom and be confident. God will give us strength even in the full sight of our foes (Ps 23:5). “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rm 8:31) Like the psalmist, we can say: “They attacked me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord came to my support. He set me free in the open, and rescued me, because He loves me” (Ps 18:19-20).
Prayer: Father, I know fear is useless. Increase my trust in You (Mk 5:36) and take away all my fear.Promise: “Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord delivers him.” Ps 34:20 Praise:Dave forgave his wife for being unfaithful to him. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements