Many lives are lost and many more lives are made miserable in the Ukrainian War. There are many innocent people caught up in the cross fire. In a similar way, there was a man whose dearest wife was killed by armies who were fighting to take over the city. That man was devastated to hear of his wife’s death in the hands of the armies.
In the Gospel of John, one of the seven signs indicating Jesus as the Messiah is the Lord miraculously restoring the sight of a man born blind (Ref John Chapter 9). The man encounters Jesus twice, once at the beginning of the story and again at the end. In both cases it is Jesus who finds him, not the other way. Do you feel like left in the dark end of life, needing some enlightenment? Don’t lose heart, Jesus will find you.
A woman in Samaria happened to meet with Jesus at a well she went to fetch water from. She asked Jesus a question: “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship”, Jesus’ answer was “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants. God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.” (Ref John 4:21-24). It is no more the mountains that matters for worship, but a personal or spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.
As a boy I remember reading headlines in the newspaper about a priest on trial for murder. The accusation was that he murdered a poor single mother. Having been brought up in a staunch Catholic family and a society that looked up to Catholic priests as great spiritual leaders, nothing could have been more scandalous to me than the trial and conviction of Fr Benedict for murder. The whole state of Kerala was shocked and the priests were weighed down with shame.
Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the wilderness. Do you know whether you are led by the Holy Spirit to where you are now? Or is it money, prestige, power and ambition that brought you where you are now?
Stories of violence and shooting reported in the media which were acts of revenge were meant to settle disputes. But does retribution settle matters? No. It creates a “hard to break” cycle of violence, one aggression leading into another.
I was part of a panel interviewing candidates for a position in the school. Commenting on a candidate’s response, one of the panel members said, “her faith is old, whereas mine is modern”. Are there two types of faith – old and new?
Cashless cards for poker machines is a proposal hotly debated currently in NSW. On one hand, freedom to enjoy gambling as a leisure activity is part of the human right. Clubs availing facilities and making a business out of it is providing job opportunities. The clubs share the proceeds from the pokies with charities in the form of grants. Thus, the gambling industry is not as bad as it sounds. But on the other hand, there are many very sad stories of problem gamblers becoming misfits in the society and ruining their own lives.
The tension between the old order and the new has been the contention of Australia Day rhetoric for some years. All agree that it is time to redefine our national heritage and refine our vision for the future. Such a redefining was required when Jesus announced the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. The beatitudes in Matthew (5:1-12) teaches about the character and vision of the participants in the Kingdom. What Jesus taught here is as authoritative as that of Moses to the Jews. ‘Jesus going up the mountain, sitting down, and teaching,’ is Matthew’s way of painting Moses typology for Jesus.
Benedict XVI and George Pell, two eminent church men gone to God, were people with agenda. What it was, and how that was implemented is the active discussion in many circles. But one thing is clear, these Christian leaders modelled their agenda after that of Jesus. Matthew (4:12-23) exposes Jesus’ agenda and his organisation towards it.