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(Part 37)


November 18, 2010
Today’s reading: Luke 19:41-44

In today’s reading, Jesus laments for Jerusalem. Because the Jews did not accept Jesus the messiah, they ultimately suffered devastation. This has an important lesson for us.

Jesus says “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20b). Jesus is committed to walk with us during our earthly pilgrimage and as we participate in building his kingdom on earth, until he returns in glory at the end of time.

At the same time, Jesus oftentimes makes a specific visitation to His people, either individually or as a group or as a nation, in order to give more specific tasks that help to accomplish his purpose on earth.

Jesus has called each one of us, and has given us gifts, and has assigned tasks to us. If we respond, we fulfill our purpose according to God’s will. Jesus also calls and raises groups or movements, such as CFC, to cover important aspects of his work. For us in CFC (now CFC-FFL), this work is evangelization and family renewal. Then Jesus also calls nations, such as the Philippines. This nation has a prophetic role to be God’s light in Asia and to the world. Especially in this third millennium, where the culture of death is rampaging throughout the world, the Philippines will stand as the last bastion for family and for life.

God has His eternal plan for the life of the world, until the Lord Jesus returns once again. God chooses people for specific tasks, just as He chose Mary, a simple maiden in Israel. When Mary gave her yes, she unleashed a chain of events that resulted in God Himself becoming man and dying on the cross and thus winning salvation for all. Likewise, God calls and chooses others for other tasks, not as earth-shaking as the call to Mary, but important nonetheless, in the whole plan of salvation.

Thus it is not a question of whether God visits His people, for He does. The question is whether people will respond. God, through the angel Gabriel in the case of Mary, through other circumstances in other cases, visits His people. What would have happened if Mary had not given her yes? Well, today some, or perhaps many, who are called do not respond. That is truly tragic.

If people respond, great things will happen, simply because God will be able to move forward His very own divine work. We have seen in our personal lives and in the life of CFC-FFL how God can accomplish great things--radical transformation in Christ, broken marriages restored and becoming vibrant, families made strong and truly life-giving, sinful people growing to holiness, worldwide evangelization in the power of the Spirit, and so on.

But if people do not respond, or worse, do not even realize the visitation of God, what happens?

First, Jesus weeps. “If this day you only knew what makes for peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes.” (Lk 19:42). Jesus weeps over our blindness, that we do not recognize the time of our visitation. Here is the Prince of Peace, who can bring us the peace that everyone craves for, but instead we will reap devastation. Jesus weeps over the hardness of heart that makes us not fully embrace him and his call to us, to prefer our own wayward ways. Jesus weeps over our fate, that we experience devastation rather than the blessings that he brings. Jesus went to great lengths, suffering and dying on the cross, to bring us salvation and the fullness of life in him. How truly sad it must be for him to see us going down the wrong path, when he has already illumined the way.

Second, we will weep, because we will suffer devastation apart from the protective embrace of God. Satan is on the rampage, and he oppresses and persecutes God’s people, he destroys marriages and families, he murders unborn children, he keeps the world enslaved under his oppressive yoke. He will totally try to devastate the lives of people.

Our only security and hope is in God. Indeed, Jesus came to bring peace. With Jesus we can be at peace with ourselves and at peace with others, and have peace of mind and heart despite the storms that rage around us. How truly tragic it would be if we miss the time of God’s visitation.

What must we do?

We must know what makes for peace (Lk 19:42a). It is Jesus. Only Jesus can bring that peace that surpasses all understanding into our lives, our hearts, our homes, our societies, our nations. Thus we must work to bring Jesus into the lives of people and into the life of the world. This is our work of evangelization and mission. We must be zealous and passionate for this all-important work.

Further, we must recognize the time of our visitation (Lk 19:44b). For CFC, it started in 1981. By this time it should already be clear to us who we are and what we are to do. Our mission is all about faith, family and life. Our identity is to be disciples who are centered on Christ, faithful to our covenant, and carrying the cross. In 29 years all these should already be clear. What is left is the extent and intensity of our response to God’s call.

If we recognize the time of our visitation and have learned the lessons Jesus has taught us, including the centrality of the cross and redemptive suffering, then we can withstand the devastation to be wreaked by the enemy (Lk 19:43-44a). Then we will not only survive, but we will thrive.

Let us go about our work with the knowledge and conviction that God has called us, chosen us, raised us, empowered us, and will sustain us by His grace and strength. Let us go forth and bring the peace of Christ upon a suffering and lost world.

And let us respond such that Jesus will not weep, but will rather rejoice.

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