Thursday, September 13, 2018
FRIDAY, 23RD Week in Ordinary Time
September 14, 2018 – FRIDAY, 23RD Week in Ordinary Time
EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
Nm 21: 4b- 9 / Phil 2: 6- 11 / Jn 3: 13 – 17
Public veneration of the Holy Cross dates to the fourth century when St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, discovered the true cross in Jerusalem in 326.
2ND READING: Phil 2: - 11
Let what was seen in Christ Jesus be seen in you. Though being divine in nature, he did not claim in fact equality with God, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in his appearance found as a man. He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted him and gave him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.
GOSPEL READING: Jn 3: 13 - 17
Jesus said to Nicodemus, "No one has ever gone up to heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved."
"Let what was seen in Christ Jesus be seen in you," (Phil 2: 5) provides the proper context to the second reading: Have the same attitude, have the same mind of Christ Jesus. And that is to empty oneself of the ego, of self-referential thoughts and feelings: hence to be humble and obedient to the Father, even to the point of shedding blood and dying on the Cross.
Have you ever noticed how our mind is so often cluttered with many thoughts and how many feelings, often negative ones, piggy-back on those thoughts? This cluttered mind and bruised feelings have often and frequently left our soul in disarray and confusion.
A spiritual writer has suggested to focus on one word, e.g. "love," or "surrender," and gently sit quietly with the word. When other thoughts come, let them go. Picture life as a river, as a stream of water sailing by and as one thought occurs, imagine putting that thought on a boat and letting the boat sail away with it.
This method has been considered prayer because at the heart of it is all is the emptying of ourselves of all thoughts and feelings and surrendering them to the Father. It is emptying, kenosis in Greek, very much like the emptying that Jesus did when he was on this earth. It was dying every day in the physical, spiritual and emotional dimensions of his life. It was dying because he turned his thoughts, his feelings, his body and ultimately his will in utter and complete surrender to the Father.
Practice this method for twenty minutes twice a day. The more you practice it, the more it will bear fruit. And what is the fruit? Have the same attitude, the same mind as Jesus Christ!
It is a difficult practice. And it is difficult indeed because in the final analysis it is dying, like Jesus on the Cross.
Have a good day!
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