To Whom Do You Belong?

>> Tuesday, March 11, 2008

To Whom Do You Belong?
by Father Matthew Kaderabek, LC

Resolution: Today seek to do only what is pleasing to God, especially by practicing great charity in your relations with others.

March 11, 2008
Tuesday of the fifth week of Lent

John 8: 21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees: "I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come." So the Jews said, "He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?" He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins." So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world." They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him." Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Introductory Prayer: Father, I want to belong only to you. May I never sell my heavenly birthright for the measly pleasures of this world below. I trust in you. Help my lack of trust.

Petition: Lord, that I might belong to you alone, and totally abandon myself to your holy will.

1. Belonging to God To whom do I belong? As baptized Christians we belong to God, as a son belongs to his father. The devil is a thief, and his chief delight is to steal God’s most precious possessions—his sons and daughters. He can't steal us by brute force, but must convince us to renounce our birthright willingly by committing sin. It would seem an impossible task to convince a prince to swap his palace for a pigsty, but the devil is up to the challenge. He is the father of lies, and we must not underestimate his power. He is an expert deceiver and knows just how to persuade us to exchange our priceless inheritance for a bowl of moldy lentils. This is sin, a gyp of colossal proportions. If only we saw this as clearly as Christ did, we would never sin again.

2. Belonging to This World It is only because he loves them dearly that Jesus is so upset by the Pharisees. He knows that they have received so much and been offered a high place in the kingdom, and yet they choose to reject that gift. He knows that their sin of self-righteous pride will only make them miserable in this world and the next. It is their misery that upsets him, not the misery that they cause him through their attacks. Do I also feel pity for the poor souls who are trapped in their own self-centeredness? Am I committed to bringing them to the light with patience and charity? Or do I merely condemn them because of the harm they do to me?

3. Pleasing God Jesus was able to say, “I always do what is pleasing to him.” These words ring in my heart. I too want to please God, but my desires are still so mixed. I need to be purified in the crucible of suffering, so that only the gold of my selfless desire to please God and help others remains. My selfish desire to please myself has got to go; it is like unwanted alloy, like dirt and rock that robs me of my dignity and beauty. Burn it up and purify me, Lord, so I can always please you and put the needs of others before my own, after the example of your Son.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, teach me to see the world as you see it, with a great supernatural spirit, so that like you I will value the things above more than the things here below. The created things around me can never be my goal. They are but instruments to help me reach my eternal goal of heaven.

Resolution: Today I will seek to do only what is pleasing to God, especially by practicing great charity in my relations with others.



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