We often raise questions to God, friends and religious leaders, “Why do innocent people suffer?” There are various ways of looking at this question. As a Christian, this question goes back to Jesus Christ himself. He was innocent and chose freely to be sacrificed on the cross. What is the need for Him to suffer? He did not commit any sin but was obedient to the will of his heavenly father. Jesus was sacrificed to save all from sin yet we fall. We tend to feel the absence of God in our life or better way to say, we tend to alienate ourselves from God.
To respond more spiritual way, innocent people are called to partake in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. Thus they are given graces to bear the pain joyfully and respond to God effectively and be models for many of us. Thus, this grace is not bestowed on to every person but some who are constantly being graced by God, to carry out effectively God’s mission in this world. They show us the way, share their experiences when you speak to them and encourage us to grow continually in our spiritual life.
Thus, we need to pray that we may partake like these people to share the Paschal Mystery of Christ and to have the privilege of being graced by God.
“You are the Son of the Living God”, replied Peter when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Though the spontaneous response of Peter is being revealed to him by God, Peter’s experience of Jesus made him to see things different from others. What inspired Peter to proclaim about Jesus to the people, forgive the sins of others, heal the sick and do miracles in the name of Jesus? Peter experienced Jesus not merely as a social worker fighting against injustice or speaking against the Scribes and the Pharisees but something extraordinary. Jesus was different from many people of his times, He prayed early in the morning, preached the values to people irrespective of status, healed the sick, consoled the broken hearted, raised the dead, stilled the storms, taught His disciples how to pray, urged them to grow in faith and lived in such a way that people, lawmakers and followers could say that He was the Son of God. This experience might have been the foundational experience of Peter who followed Him and committed himself in responding to Jesus’ mission.
Do people say by looking at our lives that we are followers of Jesus Christ? Do our lives show that we are mediators of Love between God and people? Do we commit ourselves like Peter and follow Jesus earnestly to partake in His mission in our broken world?
God calls each one of us with a mission which we are aware of. Some of them are namely authors, care takers, doctors, guardians, scientists, social activists, farmers, masons, priests, parents and many others. God created us in his image and likeness and to be co-creators of God, we need to respond to His love and take care of the world. We live in a world wherein many of us aspire to control other people and nature. God created the world with love and gave us to take care of it and nurture it but we tend to exploit it in many ways.
Therefore God calls us constantly to discern our ways of life through people and incidents. We respond to this call freely and commit ourselves to the entrusted call which is to beautify the world through our own life and mission. By accepting the mission, we also agree to the terms that are involved. The terms mean our very existence on earth.
Once the purpose of the entrusted call is fulfilled he takes us back to him. Calling us back to him is our joy of being with Him in heaven. Therefore our stay on earth is to accomplish the mission assigned to us as the prophets, saints and many people had. When we see people die at the younger age or older age, we tend to blame God because we like to remain on earth permanently. Those who understand and commit earnestly to the call of God, surrender themselves to Him freely for they know that their entrusted mission is completed.
Therefore it is necessary to discern and keep in touch with God constantly to accept our unique call every day. Hence we are encouraged to pray, pray for ourselves and pray for others that we may perceive God’s call as long as we stay on earth and make this world a better place as he would make.
God created the world out of His love. He fashioned us to praise, revere and serve Him. He shared his love with the creatures and takes care of them. What we see around us namely the variety of plants with its own unique features and qualities, animals, birds and insects with its unique identity and works that are assigned to them to beautify the environment and the inanimate beings play major role indirectly for the well-being and rooting ourselves on the earth. It varies depending on our context.
God fashioned the human beings to be care takers of his creation and we have the greater responsibility of nurturing his love. Therefore, we have been entrusted with not only the plants, animals, birds, insects and inanimate beings but also human beings (our co-partners) to share, care and nurture His love for all. To respond to this greater responsibility, we need to experience his love which urged him to create the world. How does this experience occur? It is only acknowledging that he created us by wondering the creation and appreciating our creature-hood that we have been created in his image and likeness.
Acknowledging God as creator and trusting us to take care of the creatures enable us to respond actively and creatively in beautifying the world. Thus we respond whenever any harm is done to the creatures for we feel that part of us is being harmed. Therefore, it is essential to have that experience which is the backbone of our action and response. We need to strengthen our commitment and experience through prayer and being with Him.
It’s too early to aspire for greater goals
When I was Five,
I longed to read and write in mother tongue
But it was too early, for I knew only how to write three alphabets.
When I was nine
I aspired to be like my teacher
But it was too early, for I tried to read and struggle to write
When I was fifteen
I wanted to be a good reader
But it was too early for I just tried to spell and pronounce the words.
When I was nineteen
I aspired to be a good public speaker
But it was too early for I just began to read.
When I was twenty five
I aspired to be called a PhD holder
But it was too early for I was a second year graduate.
And now I am twenty nine
And I long to be a professor, excellent writer and speaker
But it’s too early for I try to express my ideas in broken language.
And now I begin to realize that too early aspirations and dreams
Focu me in goal setting before it’s too late.
It was a meaningful experience as I was walking along the road in Andheri, Mumbai. There were many interesting things to observe. I saw many people rushing to the railway station to get into a train, some walking alone busy talking to somebody on phone loudly, some walking in twos and threes chatting and laughing and some moving alone looking around as if they are new to the city as I was.
There were many vehicles on the road crowding with passengers and speeding up which was disturbing the traffic. I was walking under a metro lane and it was shady. The vendors were busy selling their goods and many people were also window shoppers. The difference I could notice between people and me was that their lifestyle was fast and mine was not so. Of Course it was part of their culture.
Though it was interesting to walk and being taken of with the things that are around, I felt irritated with a smell that was along the road. The sewage chamber was smelling and getting stagnant in some places. The dust was rising up due to breeze and pollution from vehicles.
Overall It was good because I came to know the situation and many attractive objects in the shops and along the road. I was delighted with the beautiful greenery along the road under the metro lane.
Do you have somebody whom you admire of or played important roles to shape your life? I admire of my dad for many reasons. He has played a vital role in building me up. I feel proud to talk about him. What was special in him?
He was a quiet man and was very observant. He used to do the assigned work honestly and faithfully. I learnt from him how to be meticulous in planning and executing what you have planned. He knew what he was supposed to do as a husband and a father.
Of course, each man had his friends circle and so was my father. He enjoyed the company of his friends by drinking alcohol or smoking which did have negative impact in my life. I did begin to hate my dad because he used to abuse my mom and us. It took time to understand him. He had his weaknesses as an adult which he shared with me when I used to speak to him as a Jesuit scholastic. He had urged me to listen to people who have hardly anyone to give ear to.
Yes, he is no more! But his way of going about with his works and household activities played prominent roles in forming me. He used to enjoy working as a mason, gardener, reader and listener which are part of me too. I am ever grateful to him. You too have some important aspects that you have imbibed from a particular person you admire. Discover them.
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