Champwise

Choosing Obedience

It took time to start the iMac keypad moving on these reflections but on the last hour, the inspiration focused on the events happening at the Vatican residence of Pope Francis last Sunday, who hosted two warring leaders, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres, in an appeal for peace in the Middle East. The meeting was both real and providential, as the appeal for peace wasn’t made through traditional means, like a summit, or a high-level meeting, but through prayer. Yes, PRAYER!

A prayer for peace.

This Sunday, is Pentecost Sunday, one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated as early as the time of the Apostles (Acts 20:16 and 1 Cor. 16:8). It is the 50th day after Easter and it superseded the Jewish feast of Pentecost, which took place 50 days after the Passover and celebrated the sealing of the Old Covenant on Mount Sinai.

On that first Pentecost, the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary were gathered in the Upper Room, where they met Our Lord after His Resurrection:

“Suddenly from up in the sky there came a noise like a strong, driving wind which was heard all through the house they were seated. Tongues as of fire appeared, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit prompted them. ” (Acts 2:2-4)

As Christ had promised His Apostles, He would send His Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all of the languages that the Jews who were gathered there spoke, and about 3,000 people were converted and baptized that day. This is why Pentecost is often called the “birthday of Holy Mother Church.” It must be such a brilliant and awesome display of the powers of the Holy Spirit, on Her birthday! Despite the challenges that the Church have encountered and is continuously facing, the mighty hand of the Spirit has guided and protected the bark of St. Peter from the waves of destruction. Jesus was fully aware of this, and one of his most touching prayers said during the Last Supper was the prayer for unity among his followers in the Church:

“O Father most holy, protect them with your name which you have given me (that they may be one, even as we are one). ” (Jn. 17: 11)

A prayer for unity.

He must have foreseen the breaking out of some of them from the Church later on. Jesus always preached of obedience. Throughout his life, Jesus always prayed for guidance from the Father. He submitted himself to the Father’s authority, and wanted his Apostles to remain the same. He exhorted them to “live on in my love.” He told them further, “You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, and live in his love.” (Jn. 15: 10) Thus, the only way of being in Jesus love, is in obeying and loving him, manifested in obedience to authority, loving God and our fellowmen.

Despite the seeming difficulties of obtaining peace, may we also join in the call for peace and unity, starting here in our land, and trust that the Lord’s hand will be blessing our efforts with success. So that His name may be glorified.

The champion has no extraordinary powers. The embrace of God around his soul is never the object of doubting questions. He senses the presence of the Divine around which he organizes his life. He never walks alone. And he knows it.

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