:: Lent_2nd_week

2ND SUNDAY OF LENT - 12.03.2017
(Matthew 17:1 - 9)

The Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Lent highlights Jesus’ identity as God’s beloved Son revealed at his transfiguration. Peter spoke to Jesus. "Lord," he said "it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." But they came down with a rich God experience which led them later to corresponding action. It is an invitation as well as a challenge to us to transform our lives and get into involvement spirituality.

If we have a big heart open to God, then we should have a big heart open to people also
We cannot stay on the mountain top. The encounter with God pushes us to come down from the mountain and back down into the plain where we meet the marginalized, needy and downtrodden weighed down by fatigue and injustice. We are called to carry the fruits of the experience we have with God to our troubled people, sharing with them the treasures of grace we received.

The poor are the flesh of Christ
To ignore the poor is to despise God! Let us remember the parable of "the rich man and Lazarus". A poor beggar was laid outside the man’s house every day, asking for the leftover scraps from his table. Both men eventually die and the rich man who ignored Lazarus and denied him the scraps is tormented by constant fire and an insatiable thirst whereas Lazarus is carried by the angels to heaven and comforted. During their lives, the door of the rich man’s house is always closed to the poor man. This scene is reminiscent of the harsh rebuke of the Son of Man at the final judgement. Lazarus represents the silent cry of the poor in all ages. God’s mercy toward us is linked to our mercy toward others. God’s mercy cannot find space inside our closed hearts, it can’t enter. If we don’t throw open the door of our heart to the poor, that door stays closed even for God. And this is terrible.

Mother Teresa found God among the poor
Mother Teresa is a profound example of someone who chose to follow Jesus’ example of love and concern by caring for the needs of people living in poverty in Calcutta. Where did Mother Teresa find the strength and the ability to continue to serve in such a life - giving way for so many years? How did she develop her heart and love for the poor? And where did her strength of character and passion for service come from? The answers are found in the actions of her daily life, particularly in her regular devotion to prayer and entering into the presence of God by practices of the faith. Mother Teresa had a deeply intimate relationship with Jesus throughout her life. Prayer fueled Mother Teresa’s social action which manifested itself through her overwhelmingly powerful ministry with the poor.

Pope Francis on "faith leading to care for the poor"
In his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis affirms that the faith has to be translated into action. He says as follows: "Works of love directed to the poor are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit. There is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. Without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain and feeling a need to help them as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own. Every one of us is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be attentive to the cry of the poor. Jesus' commands his disciples: "You yourselves give them something to eat!" (Mark 6:37). It means working to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter. None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice".

Concern for the poor is within the tradition of our Congregation
"Fullness in God and service in simplicity" is our charism which could be interpreted as faith motivates action. Our Foundress Thatipathri Gnanamma was deeply a mystic as well as dynamic in responding to the cries of the needy. There are quiet many examples how our ancestors reflected mysticism in action. Our Congregation has made several conscious decisions which proclaimed to the society that we are sent to be a living presence of God's mercy in our wounded world. We believe that the poor leads to the heart of our mission. We always look around to identify the poorest of the poor as we engage in our apostolic ministries and explore a new way of living our Gospel option for the poor in our world today. We are aware that we cannot any longer reduce our mission to some traditional institutional ministries and good charitable deeds and remain complacent. We are conscious about the situation of the poor people and hence we feel that our responsibility towards the poor is on increase. As we seek to respond to the needs of the poor, we are aware that we are drawn closer into intimate relationship with God.

Questions for examination of conscience
We were the pioneers of many creative and radical ministries like prison ministry, social action ministry etc. But these days we find ourselves our involvement spirituality loses its' attraction among the sisters. We need to go back to our origin of prayer and mission. As an individual, community and as a Congregation, we need to examine ourselves about our involvement spirituality.

As consecrated and committed women in the society, what is our message of hope to the weakest, the most powerless and the poorest in the world?

We have everything with us and often are among the privileged women of the world. But we hesitate to involve in people lives through radical non institutional mission.
o What are we afraid of?
o What is root of our fear?
o Why are we afraid of the future when we know God is shaping our future just as God shaped our past beyond our expectations?
o Do we really believe the Jesus who opted and died for the poor?