Surviving This World
May 27, 2020
Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Readings for Today
“I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.” John 17:14–17
“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.” That’s the key to survival!
Scripture reveals three primary temptations we face in life: The flesh, the world and the devil. All three of these work to lead us astray. But all three are conquerable with one thing…the Truth.
This Gospel passage above specifically speaks of the “world” and the “evil one.” The evil one, who is the devil, is real. He hates us and does all he can to mislead us and ruin our lives. He tries to fill our minds with empty promises, offers fleeting pleasure, and encourages selfish ambitions. He was a liar from the beginning and remains a liar to this day.
One of the temptations that the devil threw at Jesus during His forty day fast at the beginning of His public ministry was a temptation to obtain all the world has to offer. The devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the Earth and said, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
First of all, this was a silly temptation given the fact that Jesus already was the Creator of all things. But, nonetheless, He allowed the devil to tempt Him with this worldly enticement. Why did He do this? Because Jesus knew we would all be tempted with the many enticements of the world. By “world” we mean many things. One thing that comes to mind, in our day and age, is the desire for worldly acceptance. This is a plague that is very subtle but affects so many, including our Church itself.
With the powerful influence of the media and the global political culture, there is pressure today, more than ever, for us as Christians to simply conform to our age. We are tempted to do and believe what is popular and socially acceptable. And the “gospel” we are allowing ourselves to hear is the secular world of moral indifferentism.
There is a powerful cultural tendency (a global tendency due to the Internet and media) to become people who are willing to accept anything and everything. We have lost our sense of moral integrity and truth. Thus, the words of Jesus need to be embraced more today than ever. “Your Word is Truth.” The Word of God, the Gospel, all that our Catechism teaches, all that our faith reveals is the Truth. This Truth must be our guiding light and nothing else.
Reflect, today, on how much of an influence the secular culture has on you. Have you given into secular pressure, or the secular “gospels” of our day and age? It takes a strong person to resist these lies. We will resist them only if we stay consecrated in the Truth.
Lord, I do consecrate myself to You. You are the Truth. Your Word is what I need to stay focused and to navigate through the many lies all around me. Give me strength and wisdom so that I may always remain in Your protection away from the evil one. Jesus, I trust in You.
Lifting Your Eyes to Heaven
May 28, 2020
Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Readings for Today
Acts 22.30; 23.6-11
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:20–21
“Lifting His eyes to Heaven…” What a great phrase!
As Jesus lifted His eyes to Heaven, He prayed to His Father in Heaven. This act, of lifting His eyes, reveals one unique aspect of the presence of the Father. It reveals that the Father is transcendent. “Transcendent” means that the Father is above all and beyond all. The world cannot contain Him. So, in speaking to the Father, Jesus begins with this gesture by which He acknowledges the transcendence of the Father.
But we must also note the imminence of the Father’s relationship with Jesus. By “imminence” we mean that the Father and Jesus are united as one. Their relationship is one that is profoundly personal in nature.
Though these two words, “imminence” and “transcendence,” may not be a part of our daily vocabulary, the concepts are worth understanding and reflecting upon. We should strive to be very familiar with their meanings and, more specifically, with the way that our relationship with the Holy Trinity shares in both.
Jesus’ prayer to the Father was that we who come to believe will share in the unity of the Father and the Son. We will share in God’s life and love. For us, this means we start by seeing the transcendence of God. We also lift our eyes to Heaven and strive to see the splendor, glory, greatness, power, and majesty of God. He is above all and beyond all.
As we accomplish this prayerful gaze to the Heavens, we must also strive to see this glorious and transcendent God descend into our souls, communicating to us, loving us, and establishing a deeply personal relationship with us. It’s amazing how these two aspects of God’s life go together so well even though, at first, they can appear to be complete opposites. They are not opposed but, rather, are wedded together and have the effect of drawing us into an intimate relationship with the Creator and sustainer of all things.
Reflect, today, upon the glorious and all-powerful God of the Universe descending into the secret depths of your soul. Acknowledge His presence, adore Him as He lives within you, speak to Him and love Him.
Lord, help me to always lift my eyes to Heaven in prayer. May I constantly turn to You and Your Father. In that prayerful gaze, may I also discover You alive in my soul where You are adored and loved. Jesus, I trust in You.