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Sunday, 19th. August, 2007, St. James College

Readings: Jer 38;4-10; Heb 12:1-4; Lk 12:49-53

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”

Those are not my words, but the words of Jesus. Imagine Jesus is talking about himself as one encouraging division and a split. This might seem to shock us, because we link Jesus with unity, peace and harmony.

Why was He talking about and even planning for division? Jesus was sent to restore mankind to its original dignity. Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. He explained it very well when He said that good seed was sown, but because of the enemy, weeds were found among the wheat.

He came that we may have life and have it in abundance. He came to make us children of God. He came to bring life to a dead religion: to replace externalism with interiority, legalism with the spirit of the law, self-righteous living with seeing everything as a gift.

Jesus saw how people would live like sons and daughters of God here on earth in this very life itself: they could pray as He prayed, they could heal the sick and raise the dead as He did (as a son or a daughter of God would do), they could live as brothers and sisters having a dignity that came not from their possessions and status in society but from being children of God. He saw that it would be difficult to be good by one’s own strength; that we would find building God’s Kingdom a burden, without the Spirit.

His approach towards restoration was radical. He said that you can address God as Father. He said if you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart. He said in those days it was said, love your friends and hate your enemy; but I tell you love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you… He sat with sinners thus willing to incur excommunication that befell those who associated themselves with outcasts and sinners.

Jesus was thus a prophet. Who is a prophet? A prophet is one who comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. His role was to bring back (restore) the People to the Covenant way of life.

In the first reading, we are given another model of a restorer for our times, Jeremiah, the prophet. He did not say things that people loved to hear. He said things that God wanted Him to say, even if it meant being unpopular, being maligned and finally destroyed.

In the Church, too, you have modern prophets, like St. John of the Cross, a Carmelite, who was exiled by his own superiors, when he tried to reform his congregation. St. Peter Julian Eymard, a diocesan priest, and then a Marist, was led to found the Blessed Sacrament Congregation. When he left the Marist to do so, he was considered proud, and what not, because he did something different. Today he is a saint.

The CFC GK paper no.3 caused a stir and a storm in the hearts and minds of many. There was much maligning, misunderstanding and calling of names. Like the king in the first reading, some leaders in the community washed their hands, while others tried to destroy the prophets. The good thing is that the same king salvaged his reputation.

CFC is in the mire. It has to be restored. Only prophetic people can see this. And the work of restoration is a work of the Spirit. A lasting restoration never takes place using a ‘New Age’ approach, or a corporate mind (which has to have recourse to lies, deceptions, manipulations and the like to somehow achieve its self-seeking objective).

The Spirit is given only to those who have no other saviors and props to rely on, except the Lord. The restored CFC has to start from scratch: a new name, a new logo, a new office, new funds… But you need not be disturbed as long as you rely on the Spirit. CFC was meant to be a Spirit-oriented community.

GK took off in 2003 and it has set its target for 2010. I challenge you, even though the work for the poor in this restored community starts today, you will by 2010 do much more than what others have been trying to do all these years, because of the Spirit. (Clapping) You are inadequate, you are sinful, you are not competent; but because of the Spirit, you will be surprised to see marvels and miracles before your very eyes: namely, the earth restored (not only a nation). Then you will be led to ask: But how was all this possible?

The second reading makes mention of a host of witnesses, ordinary and simple people who performed unheard of feats of courage, because they relied on the Spirit. If you wish to live in the Spirit, you need to really sense the wisdom behind the words of Jesus: if you want to go up, you must go down; if you want to live, you must die. You really need to see the true joy that comes from following it; you need to see how foolish you would be, if you did otherwise.

Restore then your relationship with God. Be a Spirit-led community, open to the gifts of the Spirit: strong in praise, tongues, prophecy, healing and whatever is required to build the community and evangelize in an effective way. Restore your relationship with each other. Just imagine most of the council members have been together for a number of years: meeting together, planning together, at missions together, at international conferences together; and yet, in the recent crisis, they failed to support each other, to see eye to eye with each other, to understand the other…Were their smiles and hand shaking ‘plastic’? Learn to excel in loving each other.

Being in the restored CFC community is not a matter of numbers. It is a matter of being on the side of the truth. And you know from the Gospel that those who love the truth are very few (taking the narrow way). But like Joshua, who relied on the power of God, you too can say with him, ‘As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” [Say after me: As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.] Amen.

Fr. Justin Sequeira, SSS

Copyright 2008 Couples for Christ Foundation, Inc.
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