Reflection-Week 1

 
“We are God’s temples and God’s Spirit dwells in us… God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple.”(1 Cor. 3:16-17)
 
Lent is a time of prayer and penance, conversion and commitment and sharing in Truth and Justice (Ephesians 4:28). It is the season of renouncing the old man (Adam) to embrace wholeheartedly the New Man (Christ), who is created according to the likeness of God (Ephesians 4:24).
 
Recently having read a book titled “Transformed Life”, I was inspired to reflect on the Triune God’s involvement in our Redemption.
 
In this book, the author speaks of the Divine Plan where each person of the Holy Trinity plays a unique role in the work of Redemption. He gives the following classifications:
 
1.     At the conception of Jesus, God the Father caused Jesus to be conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)
2.     When Jesus submitted himself to be baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove and the Father acknowledged Him as His Beloved Son (Luke 3:21-22)
3.     Peter sums up the ministry of Jesus in Acts 10:38; “God the Father anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil”
4.     Christ, through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God (Hebrews 9:14)
5.     God the Father raised Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:4, 8:11)
6.     Exalted to the right hand of God the Father, Jesus received from Him the life of the Holy Spirit and poured it out on the waiting disciples (Acts 2:33)
 
Thus in each stage of our Redemption, the Spirit of the Triune God played a vital and distinctive role together with the Father. So also in our salvation, we need the same personal involvement of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
 
At the threshold of the Jubilee, I had shared of how we must look forward to the coming years. I would like that we become ‘God’s presence’ in the modern world, gradually assimilating the compassionate love and concern of the Father, by accepting the servant attitude of Jesus and by becoming the ever positive, creative and vibrant presence of the Holy Spirit. This, by consciously uniting with the Trinitarian family (1 Cor. 3:9). “We are sinners, sent out on a mission to be the companions of Jesus” was a line close to Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J (Former General of the Society of Jesus). We need to share in the Holy Trinity’s concern for this planet that needs healing and re-creation. It is the Holy Spirit who brings about all these changes in us.
 
Coming to the theme of this reflection: “We are God’s temples and God’s spirit dwells in us… God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple” (1 Cor. 3:16-17), also seen in (1 Cor. 6:16-20) and (2 Cor. 6:14-16), I am reminded of one of Rabindranath Tagore’s prayers – ‘Life of my life, I shall ever keep my body pure, knowing that thy loving touch is upon all my limbs’. It is the Spirit of God that enables us to lead an honest and upright Christian life. How?
  
It is the Spirit that helps us to:
 
1.     Have the Abba experience (Romans 8:15-16)
2.     Accept and acknowledge Jesus as our personal saviour (1 Cor. 12:3)
3.     Become God’s own children (Romans 8:14)
4.     Go into Repentance, Conversion and Commitment (John 16:8)
5.     Pray and to become a Pray – ER, a man/woman who prays (Roman 8:26-27)
6.     Become witnesses and to proclaim the Kingdom with vigour and zeal (Acts 1:8)
 
Therefore in all walks of our JY lifestyle, we need the promptings, guidance and the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are living in the era of this Spirit. God the Father created the world and sustains it continuously. Jesus redeemed us and is now at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us. It is the Holy Spirit who is entrusted with the Church and the world to establish order and to create the “New Heaven and New Earth” that Jesus envisaged.
 
Of course, the Spirit of God invites every man and woman to become active collaborators with Him to build up the Kingdom (Romans 14:17). We as Jesus Youth, personally and as a movement, have the privilege of moving ahead with the guidance of the Spirit. Here we need to accompany the Lord, with the Catholic Church and her Pastoral plans.
 
The Fathers of the Church, who assembled for Vatican II, invites every Christian to collaborate in this march towards our heavenly abode by accepting responsibilities for our fellow beings and for this world. In this connection, I recommend the message of the Council Fathers to the youth of the world – a stirring message – wherein the Fathers exhort the youth to “wide open your hearts to the horizons of the world… listen to the pleas of your fellow travellers and devote your immense energy for the betterment of the world… Look at the signs of the times and discern the ways of the Lord to build up the Kingdom”.
 
For our Lenten practices, I suggest a few topics based on Isaiah 1:17, 58:6-7 and 1 John 3:16-18.
 
1.     Follow closely the promptings of the Spirit - walk with the Spirit and ask for a listening heart
2.     Share wealth, time, energy and resources - visit old age homes, prisons, orphanages and slums
3.     Organise blood donation programmes and see to it that this becomes a regular outreach for our prayer groups, cells and parishes
4.     Think of Organ Donation, at least after death!
5.     Share love and life – adopt orphans and widows and think of ways and means to promote pro-life activities
6.     Recite the following prayer daily, personally or in groupsThis will give motivation, vision and vigour to work for the greater glory of God and the good of humanity.
 
COME HOLY SPIRIT - Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J
 
Give me Lord what you gave to the Prophets;
Even if my craven soul protests, force me to speak… 
 
The word that came to them was not their own word but yours, of your Spirit
Sent to them not only to create a new personality for service
But also to explain its sense and secrets…
 
Give me that spirit that scrutinizes all, inspires all, teaches all,
That will strengthen me to support what I am not able to support…
Give me that spirit that transformed the weak Galilean fishermen
Into the pillars of your Church and into Apostles
 
Who gave in the holocaust of their lives
The supreme testimony of their love for their brothers / sisters. 
 
Rev. Fr. Abraham Pallivathukal S.J
Kochi, India
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