Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient (Sirach 2:4)
He said the good thief became the Gospel Christian model of one who relies on Jesus. He is a model of the Church that so often calls upon the Lord, asking Him to remember his unfailing love. As such, the sacrifice of the cross is meant for everyone, not only those who are ‘worthy,’ but anyone who accepts God’s grace.
“The same faith this man had is the result of the grace of Christ: his eyes contemplated the crucifixion and the love of God for him, a poor sinner. It’s true. He was a robber and a thief, it’s true. He stole his whole life and was blindfolded until the end of his life, when he was looking at Jesus. This is the good mercy that allowed him to lawfully steal heaven.”
Pope Francis commented that this robber asked about the future promise of Christ, that of spending eternity with Him in paradise. Thus, the thief is a testimony of God’s divine grace and mercy.
“The good thief called him by name, ‘Jesus.’ This is a short prayer that we all can pray during the day many times, ‘Jesus, Jesus,’ simply. Let’s do it all together, come on! ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’ It is something we can do all day long.”
He ended his catechesis remembering the battered victims in Syria, and reminding the bombers that they too will give an account of their life before God.
Some of my sisters work in Australia. On a reservation, among the Aborigines, there was an elderly man. I can assure you that you have never seen a situation as difficult as that poor old man’s. He was completely ignored by everyone. His home was disordered and dirty. I told him, “Please, let me clean your house, wash your clothes, and make your bed.” He answered, “I’m okay like this. Let it be.” I said again, “You will be still better if you allow me to do it.” He finally agreed. So I was able to clean his house and wash his clothes. I discovered a beautiful lamp, covered with dust. Only God knows how many years had passed since he last lit it. I said to him, “Don’t you light your lamp? Don’t you ever use it?” He answered, “No. No one comes to see me. I have no need to light it. Who would I light it for?” I asked, “Would you light it every night if the sisters came?” He replied, “Of course.” From that day on the sisters committed themselves to visiting him every evening. We cleaned the lamp, and the sisters would light it every evening. Two years passed. I had completely forgotten that man. He sent this message: “Tell my friend that the light she lit in my life continues to shine still.” I thought it was a very small thing. We often neglect small things. –Mother Teresa
Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. Never tell your neighbour to wait until tomorrow if you can help him now. Don’t plan anything that will hurt your neighbour; he lives beside you, trusting you.
(The Bible, Proverb 3:27).
So often, it’s easy to get caught up in our to-do lists of life. You might even have a spiritual checklist, so to speak, of all the things you think you need to do in order to please God. And we should have the desire to please Him and follow His commands, but pleasing Him starts with our heart condition.
Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians that only faith, hope and love will last into eternity. The point is that we have to adjust our focus and make sure that we aren’t just going through the motions in our spiritual walk. We can do a lot of “good” things, but if we don’t have love, they won’t matter in eternity. We can have a lot of knowledge, but if we don’t have love, it won’t do us any good. When love is the foundation for everything we do, it’s a different story. Love honors God and opens the door for the life of victory and blessing He has in store!
“Father, thank You for Your blessing and peace on my life. Today, I choose love, knowing that it fuels my faith. I don’t want to go through the motions; I want to love the way You love me. Show me ways to grow in love as I keep my heart and mind fixed on You in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners (Mathew 9:13).
As Jesus moved on, he saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom-house, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And Mathew got up and followed him. (The Bible, Mathew 9:9).
It is not easy to leave our comfort zones to follow the Lord. Yet when we look at what happened to Matthew, he immediately got up, left his tax collector’s table and followed Jesus. What was the inspiration of Matthew? Jesus made him feel that unlike other people, he is not judging and putting Matthew inside a box. If we were in the Matthew’s place: a sinner, unworthy of any honour coming from a man named Jesus, we too will be overwhelmed and would realise that though condemned by people, there’s a man who is ready to accept and love us wholeheartedly without any prejudice. We too have our own biases. We put our brothers and sisters inside their own boxes. Let us give each other a chance to change his ways.
–(Claretian Bible Diary)
Pope Francis explained how important it is to forgive in order to achieve a merciful heart.
The pope said that all people need to be forgiven at some point. He added that God’s mercy is neglected by condemning the sinner.
“If God has forgiven us, why can we not forgive? Are we bigger than God?”
The pope spoke of two essential things that everyone should do: forgive and give. He invited the pilgrims to live life with love and without criticizing or judging others.
“Mercy is to give, forgiving is to give. Thus the heart grows and grows. But with selfishness and anger the heart becomes small and hardens like a stone. What do you prefer, a heart of stone? If you prefer a heart full of love, be merciful!”
The pope recalled that the World Day of Alzheimer is held to remember and raise awareness about those who suffer with the disease, their families and caretakers.
He was a seeker with many unanswered questions-
those which he asked whoever he met,
some of them were satisfactory to him
but most of them were illogical, irrational
and irrelevant to satisfy his quest.
Eventually he asked one question:
“Will I be in the tomb with those questions
to be asked to God in Heaven or Devil in hell?”
The silence uttered some words in his mind
making him ready for the burst of outer wind
instead of being mesmerized the world outside.
The doubt of the doubter
has probed into a fact-
which of the two is more beautiful?