Sunday, March 3, 2013

Grace, Time, and Fruits

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Last Sunday, we heard about how the Lord Jesus revealed to Peter, James, and John his glory as God’s only begotten Son, a glory “full of grace and truth”. Contrast that vision to the one received by Moses in today’s 1st reading. On Mt. Horeb, Moses saw what he called “an incredible sight”: a bush that burned and yet remained unconsumed. On Mt. Tabor, the 3 disciples saw Jesus transfigured before them, his face and clothing resplendent in light. On Mt. Horeb, Moses was told by the Lord: “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet for you are standing on holy ground.” On Mt. Tabor, Jesus took Peter, James and John with him. On Mt. Horeb, Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look at God. But on Mt. Tabor, Peter was even able to say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here!” Both were revelations of the same Divine glory, manifestations of the immeasurable holiness of God. And yet, as we can plainly see, Peter, James, and John were not told to stand at a distance, nor did they hide their faces in fear as Moses had done. The disciples were invited to draw near this unapproachable light of Divine glory. You may say that Christ our Lord gave us the means to approach the unapproachable – to behold with unveiled faces the glory of the living God.

This makes us feel so privileged. How grateful should we be that we have been called in Christ. However, St. Paul in the 2nd reading shows us the gravity of the obligations that accompany this privilege. First, he spoke of our ancestors who were all under the cloud of the Divine Presence and who ate spiritual food and drink in the desert. “Yet, God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.” Then, St. Paul said: “These things happened as an example to us, so that we may not desire evil things as they did. Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer. These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us.”

Thus, we should not take our Christian faith for granted. If they who have simply entered the cloud were later on found wanting and have fallen, how much better will we fare? By becoming Christians, we have received more than what they have received. And as Spiderman would say, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The Lord Jesus warns us: “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” We are like fig trees planted in the orchard of the Lord. He searches fruit from us, and gives us sufficient grace and time to repent in the hope that we would bear fruits of holiness in the future. But if we do not bear fruit, considering the fact that we have been given both capacity (grace) and opportunity (time) to repent, we shall be cut down. We will all perish as they did.

And so let us not procrastinate our conversion. Let us not tire God’s patience nor abuse his mercy. Let us take our Christianity seriously for the standards of Christianity are very high. They do not admit shallow spirituality nor mediocre morality, said Bl. John Paul II. Considering what we have received, the standard to be met ought to be very high: Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Therefore, let us not be overconfident and let us get to work on our salvation. “Whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall!”

Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! 

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