Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
“The Love of the Father...”
February 5-11, 2018
MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST: From the dialogue to the application in the Body of Christ
To deepen and live out our prayer by becoming more aware of being part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
By assuming in His body our lives and the different realities of our society, where Christ reveals us the universal heart and unconditional love of the Father, His longings for communion.
At the start of this year 2018, we entered in the love of our founder Fr. Jaime Bonet toward the four Sources of Spirituality namely: the Mystical Body of Christ, the Holy Eucharist, the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, and Mother Mary—sources of our faith and of the whole Church.
As we continue to embrace and pass on the Verbum Dei Spirituality, we will pray, deepen, and live out for the next three months one of the sources: the Mystical Body of Christ.
This constant dialogue of Fr. Jaime with the Trinity and Mother Mary shaped his understanding that he was called to address the lack of life and love in the hearts of many members of Christ’s body. The kind of love like that of Jesus, universal, made him to assume our lives and all humanity in himself, desires that we may live in communion with the Trinity and urges us to do the same with others and God the Father, unconditional.
Being part of the Mystical Body of Christ, what does the Father want us to learn from his unconditional love? What are the Father’s longings toward each of the members of the Crucified Christ of today?
They may be one as We are one
I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.
When Jesus assumed us and the entire humanity, it was the manifestation of the Father’s longings to make known to all his children His kind of Love that seeks union with us and among us; a powerful love; stronger than death; freely given and unconditional. More than with words, Prayer is above all our presence seeking union of wills with God. What act of love can we show today to manifest the Father’s love in each human being?
In Him we live and move and exist
God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. Nor does he need anything that we can supply by working for him, since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone. From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live. He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt around for him. Yet God is actually not far from any one of us; as someone has said, ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ It is as some of your poets have said, ‘We too are his children.’ Since we are God's children, we should not suppose that his nature is anything like an image of gold or silver or stone, shaped by human art and skill.
Because of his great love for us, he didn’t only dwell in strong tall temples but in our hearts, and as Paul stated, ‘in Him we live, move and exist’. His presence in each of our brothers and sisters gives us life and reasons to continue to exist and love those we like and those we find hard to love. Let’s ask Christ to share with us His feelings for others. What gives us meaning and purpose to continue to live, move, and exist?
Destined in accord with His purpose
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose. Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, which he gave to us in such large measure! In all his wisdom and insight God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head. All things are to God's plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning
Our life, our existence is not solely for our own disposal but a life consecrated to fulfill a greater plan for each person. That is to bring each one to communion with the Father through the sacrificing body and blood of Christ—a greater plan from the beginning to set us free from the slavery of sins.
Are we using and living this God-given life according to his purpose? How does prayer draw us closer to God’s plan, help us strive to live a holy life, guided by His Grace?
Chosen instrument to bear His name
The Lord said to him, “Get ready and go to Straight Street, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again.” Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem. And he has come to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who worship you.” The Lord said to him, “Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake.”
So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord has sent me—Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
We continue to exist because of a reason: to fulfill what we are called for. Being part of Christ's body is a call to live with him and his people. It is a grace of God’s unconditional love to be able to listen to the call, and this grace teaches us to respond with obedience. St Paul is an example of this. What is the Father’s call for us today? What are we willing to leave behind for the sake of obedience?
Qualified us to share in the inheritance
May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven.
Responding to God’s call of love requires setting aside our own interest, and it didn’t even promise a smooth-sailing journey. But because of God’s merciful love he showed upon us, we can endure all challenges and the reward, eternal life, is worth waiting for, eternal life—eternal life full of joy is the gift and embrace of the Father. Our little sacrifices will never be wasted for the reward is great. How can we lead others toward that eternal life that is our relationship with God?
Nothing can separate us from the Father’s love
In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things? Who will accuse God's chosen people? God himself declares them not guilty! Who, then, will condemn them? Not Christ Jesus, who died, or rather, who was raised to life and is at the right side of God, pleading with him for us! Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? As the scripture says, “For your sake we are in danger of death at all times; we are treated like sheep that are going to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Making time for prayer and constant dialogue with the Father leads us always to a kind of relationship where we can experience in faith the certainty of being loved and living in the presence of who never leaves us, as we are forever part of Christ’s body. This relationship is nourished by his Word. How often do we defend our time with God in order to be nourished and be secured in his love?
SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
1st Reading – Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32
2nd Reading – 1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1
Gospel – Mark 1:40-45