Thursaday 11 June – Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle
Reflection : Matthew 5: 20-26
GOING BEYOND THE SUPERFICIAL
Of what value is our claim to be Christians; of what essence is the faith we profess if at the end of our earthly sojourn we lose out on heaven? As St. Paul says: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1Cor 15:19). He who will make heaven must necessarily desire it, he must work for it and cooperate with the grace of God for its attainment (Matt. 11:12; Matt. 13: 44-46). There is no such thing as making haven by chance, we have to make a choice of heaven my Chaplain in the university would always say.
In the light of the above, we ponder on these words of our blessed saviour from today’s Gospel: “…if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.” The scribes and the Pharisees prided themselves on their immense knowledge and strict adherence to the Torah while being deficient in understanding the Spirit behind the law (Matt. 15: 1-11, 2 Cor. 3:6). They loved outward appearance of religiosity while lacking in the sincere love of God and their fellowmen (Matt 23: 13-33). They were hypocrites proudly treading the path of disobedience and self-righteousness.
Dearest friend, are you in any way like the Pharisees? How genuine is your Christian profession? Can people clearly see true attributes of Christ in you as were seen in the life of St. Barnabas and other early disciples, hence their being called Christians (Acts 11:26)? Today, there are many Church goers who are merely looking for the blessings of God without a corresponding hunger for the blessed God himself! This is an aberration that will not lead to heaven (Phil. 3:18-19). So, we are being called this day to deepen our relationship with Christ; to a greater quest for holiness and obedience to God. Until our lives take after the virtues and ideals of Christ, we cannot grow in intimacy with Him. Let us commit to heart these words of St. Teresa of Avila : “ He who does not advance in the way of perfection falls back, for love cannot continue in the same degree.”
Prayer: I seek to know you more; I seek to love you more. Please help me oh Lord in my pursuit that my life may better glorify you! Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 34: What should you do once you have come to know God?
Once you have come to know God, you must put him in the first place in your life. And with that a new life begins. You should be able to recognize Christians by the fact that they love even their enemies. Christians must adopt Jesus’ way of life.
HIDE A TREASURE: “…If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16: 24 RSV-CE
Today’s Readings: Acts 11: 21-26, 13: 1-3; Psalm 98: 1-6; Matthew 5: 20-26