Meditation: Do you know the joy of the Lord? The scriptures tell us that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Why does Jesus tell his disciples to not take joy in their own successes, even spiritual ones? Jesus makes clear that the true source of our joy is God, and God alone. Regardless of the circumstances, in good times and bad times, in success or loss, God always assures us of victory in Jesus Christ. Jesus assures his disciples that he has all power over evil, including the power of Satan and the evil spirits or fallen angels who conspire against us. In fact, that is why Jesus came into the world to overthrow the evil one (John 12:31). We, too, as disciples of Jesus have been given spiritual authority and power for overcoming the works of darkness and evil (1 John 2:13-14).
Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the
wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus' prayer tell us
God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both
and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of
that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent
and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children.
fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15).
prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and
knowledge of God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the things
of God? Sinful pride springs from exaggerated self-centeredness.
It closes the mind to God's truth and wisdom for our lives. The angels
fell into pride and were cast out of heaven. The virtue of
the only true remedy against false pride, and which is very different
the feelings of inferiority and low self- esteem, leads us to a true
of who we are in God and of our dependence on God.
Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like "babes" in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in the one who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. They seek one thing — the "summum bonum" or "greatest good" who is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root or every sin and evil, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3:34, James 4:6). The grace of Christ-like humility inclines us to God and disposes us to receive God's wisdom. Nothing can give us greater joy than the knowledge that we are God's beloved and that our names are written in heaven. Do you seek to be like Jesus Christ in humility and simplicity of heart?
Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make: He is the perfect revelation of God. One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God -- a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God -- a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly. Jesus also promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread. Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?
"Lord, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/