THE SERVANT GENERAL
One of the most painful things that can happen to us is betrayal
by brethren, those closest to us, those whom we love and shared
our mission with. Jesus experienced this with one of his disciples,
Judas. We experienced this with our brethren in CFC who betrayed
our calling by veering away from our charism and marginalizing
Christ. On top of that, they betrayed us personally, with
their vilification campaign, lies and distortions, and all-out
effort to destroy our restored work. Such betrayal continues
Some wonder how supposed Christians, and elders at that, can
act in such ways. Judas was the same way. He remained in Jesus’
band of apostles, up to the time he handed him over. But he
was just preoccupied with one thing: “he looked for
an opportunity to hand him over.” (Mt 26:16). He was
no longer an apostle. What had happened? “Satan entered
him.” (Jn 13:27).
When Satan has entered, even if one is confronted with the
reality of his sin, he will continue to deny it. Jesus said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
(Mt 26:21). Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely
it is not I, Rabbi?” (Mt 26:25).
If such act of betrayal of the Lord can happen to an apostle
who walked with Jesus himself, then it can happen to anyone
of us who profess to walk with Jesus. How can we help assure
that such will not happen to us?
We need to steadfastly live out our covenant. Since there
was a veering away, we need to learn the lessons of Lamentations.
Today’s readings have much to teach us. We turn now
to the lessons God wanted to teach us two years ago. Here
is the reflection offered in 2007.
Principles and Values of Covenant
Lord God is my help”
Isaiah 50:4-9 is the third of the four “Servant of the
Lord” oracles. We already saw these verses last Sunday.
We now take a second look, drawing out principles of covenant
within the context of a servant of God. We apply these verses
to God’s people who are in covenant with Him, those
whom He will use to accomplish His will for the life of the
Being in covenant with God requires a heart and posture that
can really make us useful to Him. These are:
Being an evangelizer, including the ability and boldness
to speak to people about how God has changed our lives and
how God wants to change their lives as well, such that those
who are weary will be energized, those who are despairing
will be encouraged, those who are in darkness will have
hope (Is 50:4a).
Faithfulness to God in daily prayer, and growing in being
able to discern the voice of God speaking to us (Is 50:4b).
Obedience to God’s commands, submission to His will,
openness to being used in any way God wants (Is 50:5).
Willingness to suffer for Christ (Is 50:6; Ps 69:8).
· Perseverance and single-mindedness for mission,
knowing that God is with us (Is 50:7).
Courage in the face of obstacles and opposition, knowing
that God upholds, sustains, supports and provides for us
Confidence in God’s victory (Is 50:9).
In addition, we add to the list taking from the psalm for
Zeal and passion for building God’s kingdom on earth
Doing spiritual warfare including fasting (Ps 69:11a).
Repenting for wrongdoing (Ps 69:12a).
Recognizing God’s generous love and great mercy (Ps
Looking to and trusting in God in times of affliction and
pain (Ps 69:30).
Being thankful for God’s blessings and having a constant
attitude of praise to God (Ps 69:31).
Having a heart for the poor (Ps 69:33-34).
Here was the response we needed to have. It is still the same
now two years later, and forevermore.
action: Consider how much is involved in our covenant
with God. Consider how many of the above 7+7 postures and
attitudes are in place in your own life. Resolve to grow in
Go through each and every one of the above 14 points. Evaluate
yourself prayerfully and honestly. Where you fail, repent
and resolve to change. Where you are striving but are not
doing so well, ask for the Lord’s grace and strength.
There are many other lessons of Lamentations contained in
the book “Forty Days of Lamentations.” These can
greatly help you understand the meaning and profound implications
Lam 201-207 (7 R’s of Covenant)
Lam 211-217 (7 Effects of Covenant)
Lam 221-227 (7 Fundamental Aspects of Covenant)
Lam 231-237 (7 Basic Principles of Covenant)
Lam 241-247 (7 Aspects of a Covenant Heart)
Lam 251-257 (7 Responses to Covenant)
Lam 261-267 (7 Benefits of Covenant)
them over, study them intently, discuss them in your households,
and live them out.
In the face of continuing betrayal by brethren, I reiterate
our posture from the very beginning: do not retaliate or respond
in kind, look on the buffets and spitting as a privilege of
participating in Jesus’ passion, rejoice in affliction,
speak the truth, and trust completely in Jesus.
And have this prayer: “But I pray to you, Lord, for
the time of your favor. God, in your great kindness answer
me with your constant help.” (Ps 69:14).
God bless us all.
(April 8, 2009)
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