Daily Meditation - Thursday 7th. Feb 2008 - WE ARE CALLED TO REAFFIRM OUR BAPTISMAL VOWS

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Further Reflection

In every age and every generation, God calls his people to choose, to decide to follow him and receive his life. Each day we are called to make a decision to stay close to our God.

We are called every day to reaffirm our baptismal vows, the life we personally chose when we were confirmed.
What does it mean to choose life? What are the blessings we receive if we make this choice every day?*** Moses described it as including three things: loving the Lord, walking in his ways, and observing his commands (Deuteronomy 30:16,20***).

We are called first to love God.
Everything else flows from this, for it is the greatest of God’s commandments (Matthew 22:37-38). Love consists not primarily in our love for God but in the fact that he first loved us (1 John 4:10). As we receive revelation of his love in our prayer, we are moved to love him and to follow him more fully.

We are also called to walk in his ways. This implies something broader than obeying every individual commandment. We learn God’s ways as we seek to understand his character and his nature. As we read his word prayerfully every day, asking him to speak to us, we allow the Spirit to teach us more clearly who God is, what motivates him, and what it means that he is a
God of love, justice, and mercy.
We allow the Spirit to transform our minds so that we too can take on the Father’s ways and begin to think, choose, and love as he does.

Finally, we are called to obey his commandments.
As we learn of his love in prayer and experience a continual transformation of our minds through his word, we learn that “his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Just as the Father pours out the grace for us to know and love him, so too does he enable us by the grace of his Spirit to follow and obey him.
God calls us to choose life, but we are not alone in this choice. He has sent his Spirit to indwell us, and he has given us the fellowship of his church, both of which help and support us in that choice. Confident in the riches of his provisions, let us all choose life, so that we may live!
“Jesus, you chose me before time began.
Now I want to choose you
—today and every day.”
Please Note…The date on this meditation is incorrect and should be Thursday 7th. February. I am sending a PM to Klara Collins to ask that the date on the title be corrected.

Today I am reminded that the cross is not something than can come along in my life, rather it is intrinsic to my life and made holy and redemptive - what I may suffer in my lifetimes is made holy and redemptive. The vocation call of my baptism includes the cross. St. Paul put it rather awesomely : “I make up in my own body what was lacking in the Sufferings of Christ”…an awesomelyoverwhelming thought that something was lacking in the Passion and that I, as baptized into Christ, have an intrinsic call to complete that Passion - it is a duty.
The other thought that struck me is that the crucifixion in the time of Jesus was not looked on as holy nor redemptive, rather as appallingly disgraceful - hence those in our society to us appalling and disgraceful may be the very ones holy and redemptive - co-redeemers with Christ. It is not easy to bear sufferings that are socially disgraceful.
The Cross in our lifetimes remains a “revolutionary announcement” contrary to our ‘social mores’ and tastes, our culture.
This is what I need to confront this Lent - my concepts of ‘socially acceptable’ and truly turn them upside down and inside out with the Grace of God.

Gospel for Today: Luke 9, 22-25
He said, ‘The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’
Then, speaking to all, he said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.
Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it. What benefit is it to anyone to win the whole world and forfeit or lose his very self?
Further Reflection
• Yesterday we enter into the time of Lent. Up until now the daily Liturgy followed the Gospel of Mark, step after step. Beginning yesterday until Easter, the sequence of the reading of the day will be given by the ancient tradition of Lent and of the Preparation for Easter. From the very first day, the perspective is that of the Passion, Death and Resurrection and of the sense which this mystery has for our life. This is what is proposed in the rather brief text of today’s Gospel. The text speaks of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus and affirms that the following of Jesus presupposes that we carry our cross after Jesus.
• Before, in Luke 9, 18-21, Jesus asks: “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered giving the different opinions: “John the Baptist”, “Elijah or one of the ancient prophets”. After having heard the opinions of others, Jesus asks: “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers: “The Christ of God!”, that is, the Lord is the one expected by the people.! Jesus agreed with Peter, but he orders and charges them not to say this to anyone. Why did Jesus forbid this? Because at that time everybody was expecting the Messiah, but each one according to his own mind: some as king, others as *priest, doctor, warrior, judge or prophet! *Jesus thinks in a different way. He identifies himself with the Messiah, servant and suffering, announced by Isaiah (42,1-9; 52,13-53, 12).
*• The first announcement of the Passion. *Jesus begins to teach that he is the Messiah, the Servant and affirms that, as Messiah, Servant announced by Isaiah, soon he will be put to death in the carrying out of his mission of justice (Is 49, 4-9; 53, 1-12). Luke usually follows the Gospel of Mark, but here he omits Peter’s reaction who advised Jesus against or tried to dissuade him to think in the suffering Messiah and he also omits the hard response: “Far from me, Satan! Because you do not think as God, but as men!” *

*is a Hebrew word which means accuser, the one who draws away the others far from the path of God. Jesus does not allow Peter to get away from his mission.
• Conditions to follow Jesus. Jesus draws conclusions valid even until now: “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross every day and follow me”. At that time the cross was the death penalty which the Roman Empire gave to marginalized criminals. To take up the cross and to carry it following Jesus was the same as accepting to be marginalized by the unjust system which legitimized injustices. It was the same as to break away from the system. As St. Paul says in the letter to the Galatians: “The world has been crucified for me and I to the world” (Ga 6, 14).
The cross is not fatalism, neither is it an exigency from the Father.
The Cross is the consequence of the commitment freely assumed by Jesus to reveal the Good News that God is Father, and that, therefore, we all should be accepted and treated as brothers and sisters. Because of this
revolutionary announcement
, he was persecuted and he was not afraid to deliver his own life. *There is no greater proof of love than to give one’s life for the brother. *
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