Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Good will is the one great requisite to attain eternal life. Genuine good will is composed of sincerity of mind, desire of heart, and resolution of will. Sincerity is that honesty of mind which produces rectitude of intention and fidelity in action. It is diametrically opposed to that duplicity of the Pharisees, which was so severely condemned by the Savior.

Desire is a longing of the heart for the good perceived by the mind. '' What wings are to a bird,” says St. Alphonsus, “desires are to a soul that longs for perfection.” This desire must be efficacious, however, for the saints tell us that '' hell is paved with vain desires." A desire is efficacious when the heart is anxious to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it into practice. Such a desire supplies the strength necessary for pursuit, and renders pain easier to be borne.

A resolution is a fixed determination of the will to realize the desires of the heart. When prudently formed a resolution should pause at no sacrifice, and hesitate at no legitimate means necessary to attain its end. It should turn with decision from every temptation, prudently avoid the voluntary occasions of sin, and strengthen itself against those unavoidable by keeping itself intimately united to God. If frequently renewed and strengthened by prayer and the sacraments, one resolution thus formed for life will weary not of doing good till it attains the reward exceeding great in heaven.

Monday, January 30, 2012

THE NARROW WAY: The Morality of Human Acts

The morality of an action is its bearing on the principles of ethics. The nature and the circumstances of an action are the source of its morality. By its nature is meant the intrinsic tendency of an action; by its circumstances those qualities of person, time, place, thing, means, method, and especially end, or intention, that clothe the act in concrete form.

In the concrete every human act is either morally good or bad. The essential morality of an act flows from its nature or object; its accidental morality from the circumstances.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

THE NARROW WAY: The Responsibility of Human Acts

A person is responsible for his actions to the extent that he has control or dominion over them. To exercise this dominion two things are requisite: (1) that he be conscious of the nature and effects of his actions; (2) that he perform them of his own free will. These conditions elevate an act above the mechanical and make it human, and as such deserving of reward or punishment.

Man may be impeded and even prevented from exercising dominion over an action in five ways: (1) by a lack of knowledge, through ignorance, inadvertence, or misconception, of the nature and effects of an action; (2) by a prior excitement of his passions; (3) or by a nervousness that momentarily interferes with the exercise of his reason and free will; (4) by physical violence, brought to bear on him contrary to his own will; (5) by fear induced either from within or from without, that paralyzes his reason and will for the time being.

There are also four causes that vitiate the physical integrity of an action but do not deprive man of its dominion. They are: (1) negligence in the mind; (2) indolence in the will; (3) voluntary passion or a bad habit in the disposition; (4) laziness or impetuosity in the performance of an action.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

THE NARROW WAY: The Predominant Passion

As delusions obscure and pervert the operations of the mind, so the passions hamper the will, and at times hold it captive. As a result of original sin man's will is not only weakened, but his nature inclines inordinately to one of the eleven passions. This inclination is called his predominant passion. It is inborn in him and permeates his entire temperament. The predominant passion has so great an influence on his daily life, when not directed by a good will, that the saints called it man's greatest enemy.

Love is the root of all the passions. It is the great motive power of life. Even fear and desire spring from it. Owing to his selfish nature some form of self-love is always the foundation of man's predominant passion. He should guard against it especially because the predominant passion invariably tends to one of the seven capital sins, and so may easily pave the way for vices that will hurry him to temporal excess and eternal ruin.

Friday, January 27, 2012


A delusion is an erroneous judgment regarding the condition of affairs, the end to be attained, the motives to be followed, or the means to be employed in practical life. Faith teaches that the human mind has been darkened by original sin. Unless a person be very humble and circumspect, therefore, his perceptions will easily be blurred, his judgments erroneous, and the dictates of his reason reprehensible.

In consequence of delusions individuals mistake in themselves (1) the desire of virtue for virtue itself, (2) confuse passion with virtue, (3) and invariably overestimate their own ability and productions while underrating the ability and deeds of others. In consequence of this same delusion man often (1) neglects to give God His due (2) and even disregards the proximate occasion of sin, as though he were already confirmed in virtue.

Two causes combine to give permanence to in the human mind. The first is mental pride, which is apt to dispense with salutary reflection on the tendency of human nature and on the operation of grace, and, by mistaking imagination for divine inspiration, cause ''fools to rush in where angels fear to tread." The second cause of delusions is an unbridled self-love. This may blind a person to that extreme that he cannot see '' the beam in his own eye, though he sees the mote in his neighbor's eye" (Matt, vii. 3).

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Joyful Mysteries                              Spirit of Holy Joy

1. Annunciation                                Humility
2. Visitation                                      Fraternal Charity
3. Nativity                                        Spirit of Poverty
4. Presentation                                 Obedience
5. Jesus with the Doctors                 Love of Jesus and of His Holy Services

Sorrowful Mysteries                       Spirit of Compassion and Contrition

1. Agony                                         Fervor in Prayer
2. Scourging                                   Penance
3. Crowning with Thorns               Moral Courage
4. Carriage of the Cross                 Patience
5. Crucifixion                                 Self-sacrifice for God and our Neighbor

Glorious Mysteries                          Spirit of Adoration and Faith

1. Resurrection                               Faith.
2. Ascension                                   Hope.
3. Descent of the Holy Ghost         Love and Zeal for Souls.
4. Assumption                                Filial devotion to Mary.
5. Coronation of B. V. M               Perseverance.


O GOD, Whose only -begotten Son hath purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation through His life, death, and Resurrection, we beseech Thee grant to us, who are commemorating those mysteries in the holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the grace to hearken to the lessons they teach us and to obtain the blessings they promise. Through the same Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day 8 - United in the Reign of Christ

Day 8
Theme: United in the Reign of Christ
To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne (Rev 3:21)

I Chr 29:10-13
It is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all
Ps 21:1-7
You set a crown of fine gold on his head
Rev 3:19b-22
To the one who conquers I will give a place with Me on My throne
Jn 12:23-26
Whoever serves me, the Father will honour


Jesus Christ is the first born from the dead. He has humbled Himself and been exalted. Christ is not covetous of His victory, but shares His reign and exaltation with all people.

David’s hymn, born of the joy of the king and the people before the Temple was built, expresses the truth that everything happens by grace. Even an earthly monarch can be an image of the reign of God, in whose hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

The king’s psalm of thanksgiving continues this idea. Christian tradition also gives it a Messianic sense; Christ is the true King, full of blessing and life, the perfect presence of God among people. In a certain sense this image can also refer to people. Are not human beings the crowning achievement of creation? Does not God want us to become ‘co-heirs with His Son’ and ‘members of His royal household’? 

The letters in the Book of Revelation to the seven local churches constitute a message to the Church in all times and places. Those who admit Christ into their homes will all be invited to share with him in the banquet of eternal life. The promise regarding sitting on thrones, previously announced to the Twelve, is now extended to all who are victorious.

Where I am, there will my servant be also. We can link Jesus’ I am to the unutterable Name of God. The servant of Jesus, whom the Father honours, will be where his Lord is, who has sat on the right hand of the Father in order to reign. 

Christians are aware that unity among them, even if requiring human effort, is above all a gift of God. It is a share in Christ’s victory over sin, death and the evil which causes division. Our participation in Christ’s victory reaches its fullness in heaven. Our common witness to the Gospel should show the world a God who not limit or overpower us. We should announce in a way that is credible, to the people of our day and age, that Christ’s victory overcomes all that keeps us from sharing fullness of life with Him and with each other. 


Almighty God, Ruler of All, teach us to contemplate the mystery of Your glory. Grant that we may accept Your gifts with humility and respect each person's dignity. May Your Holy Spirit strengthen us for the spiritual battles which lie ahead, so that united in Christ we may reign with Him in glory. Grant this through Him who humbled Himself and was exalted, who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

Questions for reflection
  1. In what ways do false humility and a desire for earthly glory manifest themselves in our lives?
  2. How do we express together our faith in the Reign of Christ?
  3. How do we live out our hope in the coming Kingdom of God?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day 7 - Changed by the Good Shepherd

Day 7
Theme: Changed by the Good Shepherd
Feed my sheep (Jn 21:19)

1 Sam 2:1-10
Not by might does one prevail
Psalm 23
You are there with your rod and your staff
Eph 6:10-20
Be strong in the Lord
Jn 21:15-19
Feed my sheep


Those who prevail over suffering, need support from on high. That support comes through prayer. We read about the power of Hannah’s prayer in the first chapter of the Book of Samuel. In the second chapter, we can find Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving. She realised that some things happen only with the help of God. It was through his will that Hannah and her husband became parents. This text is an example that strengthens one’s faith in what would seem to be a hopeless situation. It is an example of victory. 

The Good Shepherd of Psalm 23 guides his sheep even through the darkest places, comforting them with his presence. Those who place their trust in the Lord have no need to fear even the shadows of dissolution or disunity, as their shepherd will lead them into the green pastures of truth, to dwell together in the Lord’s own house. 

In the Letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul urges us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power by putting on spiritual armour: truth, righteousness, proclaiming the Good News, faith, salvation, the word of God, prayer and supplication. 

The risen Lord urges Peter - and in his person each disciple - to discover in himself a love of Him who alone is the One True Shepherd. If you have such love, then Feed my sheep! In other words, feed them, protect them, care for them, strengthen them – because they are mine and belong to me! Be my good servant and tend to those who have loved me and who follow my voice. Teach them mutual love, cooperation, and boldness as they go along the twists and turns of life. 

As a result of divine grace, the witness to Christ that has been confirmed in us obliges us to act jointly for the sake of unity. We have the ability and the knowledge to bear such witness! But are we willing to? The Good Shepherd, who by His life, teaching and conduct strengthens all who have put their trust in His grace and support, invites us to cooperate with Him unconditionally. Thus fortified, we will be able to help one another on the road to unity. So let us become strong in the Lord, that we may strengthen others in a joint testimony of love.


Father of all, You call us to be one flock in Your Son, Jesus Christ. He is our Good Shepherd who invites us to lie down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters, and restores our souls. In following him, may we so care for others that all see in us the love of the one true Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Questions for reflection
  1. How does the Good Shepherd inspire us to comfort, revive, and restore the confidence of those who are lost?
  2. In what ways can Christians of various traditions strengthen each other in confessing and bearing witness to Jesus Christ?
  3. For us today, what can be the meaning of St Paul’s exhortation: “Be strong in the Lord.... put on the whole armour of God”?

Monday, January 23, 2012

CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day 6 - Changed by God's Steadfast Love

Day 6
Theme: Changed by God’s Steadfast Love
This is the victory, our faith (cf. 1 Jn 5:4)

Hab 3:17-19
God, the Lord is my strength
Ps 136:1-4.23-26
His steadfast love endures forever
1 Jn 5:1-6
This is the victory that conquers the world, our faith
Jn 15:9-17
No one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends


In the Old Testament text, it is faith in God that keeps hope alive in spite of all failure. Habakkuk’s lamentation turns to joy in God’s fidelity that supplies strength in the face of despair. 

Psalm 136 confirms that the memory of the marvellous deeds of God in Israel’s history is a proof of God’s steadfast love. Because of God’s intervention, the people of Israel experienced extraordinary and surprising victories. Recalling God’s great works of salvation is a source of joy, gratitude and hope, which believers have for centuries expressed in prayer, hymns of praise, and music. 

The epistle reminds us that that which has been born of God is what overcomes the world. This does not necessarily mean victories which can be measured by human standards. Victory in Christ involves a change of heart, perceiving earthly reality from the perspective of eternity, and believing in the final victory over death. This victorious force is faith, the bestower and source of which is God. And its most perfect manifestation is love. 

In the words of the gospel, Christ assures His disciples of God’s love, the final confirmation of which is the Saviour’s death on the cross. At the same time, He invites and challenges them to show love to one another. Jesus’ relationship to his disciples is based on love. He does not treat them merely as disciples, but calls them His friends. Their service of Christ consists in conforming their lives to the one commandment of love, resulting from internal conviction and faith. In a spirit of love, even when the progress on the way to full visible unity seems slow, we do not loose hope. God’s steadfast love will enable us to overcome the greatest opponent and the deepest divisions. That is why the victory that conquers the world is our faith and the transforming power of God’s love.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, by Your Resurrection You have triumphed over death, and have become the Lord of life. Out of love for us You have chosen us to be Your friends. May the Holy Spirit unite us to You and to one other in the bonds of friendship, that we may faithfully serve You in this world as witnesses to Your steadfast love; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Questions for reflection
  1. How should we express Christian love in contexts of different religions and philosophies?
  2. What must we do to become more credible witnesses of God's steadfast love in a divided world?
  3. How can Christ’s followers more visibly support one another throughout the world?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day 5 - Changed by the Peace of the Risen Lord

Day 5
Theme: Changed by the peace of the Risen Lord
Jesus stood among them and said: Peace be with you! (Jn 20:19)

Mal 4:5-6
He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents
Ps 133
How good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
Eph 2:14-20
To reconcile both groups to God in one body, putting to death hostility
Jn 20:19-23
Jesus stood among them and said: Peace be with you!

The final words of the last book of the Old Testament convey the promise that God will send His chosen one to establish harmony and respect in all households. Usually we fear strife between nations or unexpected aggression. But the prophet Malachi draws attention to one of the most difficult and enduring conflicts - the heartbreak in relations between parents and their offspring. This restoration of unity between parents and children is not possible without God’s help – it is God’s emissary who performs the miracle of transformation in people’s hearts and relationships. 

The psalm shows what great joy such unity among people can bring. The human person was not created to be alone, and cannot live contentedly in a hostile atmosphere. Happiness consists in living in a human community in harmony, peace, trust and understanding. Good relations between people are as dew upon the dry earth and a fragrant oil which furthers health and pleasure. The psalm refers to the goodness of living together as a blessing and undeserved gift from God, like the dew. Living together in unity is not restricted to family members only – this is rather a declaration of the closeness between people who accept the peace of God. 

The epistle tells us of Him whom the prophet Malachi announced. Jesus brings unity, because He has demolished the wall of hostility between people in His own body. Generally, a person’s victory involves the downfall and shame of those who have been defeated, who prefer to withdraw. Jesus does not reject, or destroy, or humiliate; He puts an end to alienation, He transforms, heals and unites all, that they may become members of God’s household

The gospel recalls the gift of the risen Lord, given to His uncertain and terrified disciples. Peace be with you – that is Christ’s greeting and also His gift. It is also an invitation to seek peace with God and establish new, lasting relationships within the human family and all of creation. Jesus has trampled down death and sin. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Risen Lord invites His disciples into His mission of bringing peace, healing and forgiveness to all the world. As long as Christians remain divided, the world will not be convinced of the full truth of the Gospel message that Christ has brought about one new humanity. Peace and unity are the hallmarks of this transformation. The Churches need to appropriate and witness to these gifts as members of the one household of God built upon the sure foundation of Jesus as the cornerstone.


Loving and merciful God, teach us the joy of sharing in Your peace. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we may tear down the walls of hostility separating us. May the risen Christ, who is our peace, help us to overcome all division and unite us as members of His household. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, to whom with You and the Holy Spirit be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Questions for reflection
  1. What forms of violence in our community can we as Christians confront together?
  2. How do we experience hidden hostilities that affect our relationship to each other as Christian communities?
  3. How can we learn to welcome each other as Christ welcomes us?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day 4 - Changed by the Lord's Victory Over Evil

Day 4
Theme: Changed by the Lord’s victory over evil
Overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21)

Ex 23:1-9
Do not follow the majority in wrongdoing
Ps 1
Happy are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord
Rom 12:17-21
Overcome evil with good
Mt 4:1-11
Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only
In Jesus we learn what ‘victory’ really means for human beings - that is, happiness with one another in God’s love through His overcoming of all that keeps us apart. This is a sharing in Christ’s victory over the destructive forces that damage humanity and all of God’s creation. In Jesus we can share in a new life which calls us to struggle against what is wrong in our world with renewed confidence and with a delight in what is good.
The words of the Old Testament give a categorical warning against engaging in wrongdoing and injustice. The attitude of the majority must not in any way provide an excuse. Neither do wealth or other situations in life entitle a person to do wrong.
Psalm 1 draws attention not only to the need to observe the commandments, but especially to the joyful fruits of doing so. A person who loves the law of the Lord above all else is called happy and blessed. The word of God is a sure guide in adversity and is the fulfilment of human wisdom. Meditating on the word of God day and night enables a person to lead a life full of fruitfulness for the good of others.
In the apostle’s admonitions we find encouragement to overcome evil with good. Only good can interrupt the endless spiral of hatred and the human desire for revenge. In the struggle for what is good, not everything depends on human beings. However, the apostle Paul calls for every effort to be made to maintain peace with others. He understands our continuous struggle against our instincts to harm those who hurt us. But Paul appeals to us not to let ourselves be overcome by these destructive feelings. Doing good is an effective way of combating wrong-doing among us.
The gospel reading describes the Son of God’s struggle against Satan – the personification of evil. Jesus’ victory over the temptations in the desert is fulfilled in His obedience to the Father, which leads Him to the Cross. The Saviour’s resurrection confirms that here God’s goodness ultimately wins: love overcomes death. The risen Lord is near! He accompanies us in every struggle against temptation and sin in the world. His presence calls Christians to act together in the cause of goodness.
The scandal is that because of our divisions we cannot be strong enough to fight against the evils of our time. United in Christ, delighting in His law of love, we are called to share in His mission of bringing hope to the places of injustice, hatred, and despair.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for Your victory over evil and division. We praise You for Your sacrifice and Your resurrection that conquer death. Help us in our everyday struggle against all adversity. May the Holy Spirit give us strength and wisdom so that, following You, we may overcome evil with good, and division with reconciliation. Amen.
Questions for reflection
  1. Where do we see evil in our own lives?
  2. In what way can our faith in Christ help us to overcome evil and the Evil One?
  3. What can we learn from situations in our community where division has given way to reconciliation?

Friday, January 20, 2012

CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day 3 - Changed by the Suffering Servant

Day 3
Theme: Changed by the Suffering Servant
Text :
Christ suffered for us (cf. 1 Pt 2:21)

Is 53:3-11
The man of sorrows accustomed to suffering
Ps 22: 12-24
He did not despise the affliction of the of the afflicted
1Pt 2:21-25
Christ suffered for us
Lk 24:25-27
Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things?


The divine paradox is that God can change tragedy and disaster into victory. He transforms all our sufferings and misfortunes, and the enormity of history’s pain, into a resurrection that encompasses the whole world. While appearing to be defeated, He is nevertheless the true Victory whom no one and nothing can overcome. 

Isaiah’s moving prophecy about the suffering Servant of the Lord was completely fulfilled in Christ. After suffering enormous agony, the Man of Sorrows shall see His offspring. We are that offspring, born from the Saviour’s suffering. In this way we are made one family in Him. 

One can say that Psalm 22 is not only about Jesus, but also for Jesus. The Saviour Himself prayed this psalm on the cross, when He used its desolate opening words: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Yet in the second part of the psalm the lamentation, the imploring full of pain, changes into praise of God for His works. 

The apostle Peter is a witness of the sufferings of Christ (1 Pt 5,1), which he presents to us as an example: it is to this suffering for the sake of love we are called. Jesus did not curse God, but submitted to Him who judges righteously. His wounds have healed us, and returned us all to the one Shepherd. 

Only in the light of the presence of the Lord and His word does the divine purpose of the Messiah’s sufferings become clear. Just as for the disciples on the way to Emmaus, Jesus is our constant companion on the stony road of life, stirring our hearts and opening our eyes to the mysterious plan of salvation. 

Christians experience suffering as a result of humanity’s fragile condition; we recognise this suffering in social injustice and situations of persecution. The power of the cross draws us into unity. Here we encounter Christ’s suffering as the source of compassion for and solidarity with the entire human family. As one contemporary theologian puts it: the closer we come to the cross of Christ, the closer we come to one another. The witness of Christians together in situations of suffering assumes remarkable credibility. In our shared solidarity with all who suffer we learn from the crucified suffering servant the lessons of self-emptying, letting go and self-sacrifice. These are the gifts we need from His Spirit on our way to unity in Him.

God of consolation, you have transformed the shame of the cross into a sign of victory. Grant that we may be united around the Cross of your Son to worship Him for the mercy offered through his suffering. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes and our hearts, so that we may help those who suffer to experience your closeness. ; You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen. 

Questions for reflection
  1. How can our faith help us in our response to long-lasting suffering?
  2. What areas of human suffering are unnoticed and belittled today?
  3. How can Christians bear witness together to the power of the cross?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 2
Theme: Changed through patient waiting for the Lord
Let it be so now, for it is proper to fulfil all righteousness (Mt 3:15)

1 Sam 1:1-20
Hannah’s trust and patient waiting
Ps 40
Patient waiting for the Lord
Heb 11:32-34
Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice
Mt 3:13-17
Let it be so now, for it is proper to fulfil all righteousness


Victory is often associated with immediate triumph. Everybody knows the taste of success when, after a difficult struggle, congratulations, recognition, and even tributes are paid. At such a joyful moment, hardly anyone realises that from a Christian perspective victory is a long-term process of transformation. Such an understanding of transformative victory teaches us that it occurs in God’s time, not ours, calling for our patient trust and deep hope in God.

Hannah witnessed to such patient trust and hope. After many years of waiting to be pregnant, she prayed to God for a child, at the risk of having her weeping prayer dismissed as drunkenness by the priest at the doorpost of the Temple. When Eli assured her that God would grant her prayer, she simply trusted, waited, and was sad no longer. Hannah conceived and bore a son, whom she named Samuel. The great victory here is not that of nations or armies, but a glimpse into the realm of a private and personal struggle. In the end, Hannah’s trust and hope results not only in her own transformation, but that of her people, for whom the God of Israel intervened through her son Samuel. 

The psalmist echoes Hannah’s patient waiting for the Lord in the midst of another kind of struggle. The psalmist too sought deliverance from a situation which remains unknown to us, but which is hinted at in the language of the “desolate pit of the miry bog.” He gives thanks that God has transformed his shame and confusion, and continues to trust in God’s steadfast love. 

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews recalls the patience of people like Abraham (6.15) and others who were able to be victorious through their faith and trust in God. The realisation that God intervenes and enters into the narrative of human history eliminates the temptation to be triumphant in human terms.

In the gospel, the voice from heaven at the baptism of Jesus announcing This is my Son, the Beloved, seems to be a guarantor of the immediate success of his messianic mission. In resisting the evil one, however, Jesus, does not succumb to the temptation to usher in the Kingdom of God without delay, but patiently reveals what life in the kingdom means through his own life and ministry which leads to his death on the Cross. While the Kingdom of God breaks through in a decisive way in the resurrection, it is not yet fully realised. The ultimate victory will only come about with the second coming of our Lord. And so we wait in patient hope and trust with the cry “Come, Lord Jesus.” 

Our longing for the visible unity of the Church likewise requires patient and trustful waiting. Our prayer for Christian unity is like the prayer of Hannah and the psalmist. Our work for Christian unity is like the deeds recorded in the Letter to the Hebrews. Our attitude of patient waiting is not one of helplessness or passivity, but a deep trust that the unity of the Church is God’s gift, not our achievement. Such patient waiting, praying and trust transforms us and prepares us for the visible unity of the Church not as we plan it, but as God gives it. 


Faithful God, you are true to your word in every age. May we, like Jesus, have patience and trust in your steadfast love. Enlighten us by your Holy Spirit that we may not obstruct the fullness of your justice by our own hasty judgements, but rather discern your wisdom and love in all things. ; You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen. 

Questions for reflection
  1. In what situations in our life should we have a greater trust in God’s promises?
  2. What areas of church life are particularly at risk from the temptation to act hastily?
  3. In what situations should Christians wait, and when should they act together?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day One - Changed by the Servant Christ

Day 1
Theme: Changed by the Servant Christ
Text: The Son of Man came to serve (cf. Mk 10:45)

Zech 9:9-10
A king righteous and victorious – and humble
Ps 131
My heart is not proud
Rom 12:3-8
We have different gifts with which to serve
Mk 10:42-45
The Son of Man came to serve


The coming of the Messiah and His victory were accomplished through service. Jesus wants a spirit of service to fill the hearts of His followers as well. He teaches us that true greatness consists in serving God and one’s neighbour. Christ gives us the courage to discover that He is the one for whom to serve is to reign – as an early Christian saying has it. 

Zechariah’s prophecy concerning a victorious and humble King was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He, the King of Peace, comes to his own, to Jerusalem – the City of Peace. He does not conquer it by deceit or violence, but by gentleness and humility. 

Psalm 131 briefly but eloquently describes the state of spiritual peace which is the fruit of humility. The picture of a mother and child is a sign of God’s tender love and of trust in God, to which the entire community of believers is called. 

Paul the apostle challenges us to make a sober and humble assessment of ourselves and to discover our own abilities. While we have a diversity of gifts we are one body in Christ. In our divisions each of our traditions has been endowed by the Lord with gifts that we are called to place at the service of others. 

For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mk 10.45). By His service, Christ redeemed our refusal to serve God. He became an example for repairing all relations between people: Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant – those are the new standards of greatness and priority. 

In the Letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us that the diverse gifts given to us are for service: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership and compassion. In our diversity we are always one body in Christ, and members of one another. The use of our diverse gifts in common service to humanity makes visible our unity in Christ. The joint action of Christians for the benefit of humanity, to combat poverty and ignorance, defend the oppressed, to be concerned about peace and to preserve life, develop science, culture and art are an expression of the practical ecumenism which the Church and the world badly need. The imitation of Christ the Servant provides eloquent testimony to the Gospel, moving not only minds, but also hearts. Such common service is a sign of the coming Kingdom of God – the kingdom of the Servant Christ. 

Almighty and eternal God, by travelling the royal road of service your Son leads us from the arrogance of our disobedience to humility of heart. Unite us to one another by your Holy Spirit, so that through service to our sisters and brothers, Your true countenance may be revealed; You, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Questions for reflection
  1. What opportunities for service are most threatened by pride and arrogance?
  2. What should be done to ensure that all Christian ministries are better experienced as service?
  3. In our community, what can Christians of different traditions do better together than in isolation to reveal the Servant Christ?