Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Choice prayer meeting, April 13 2005

The following is what I wrote as a reflection to those who could not attend the prayer group with the CHOICE family. I thought it would be a good habit to report and reflect on them, since the reading is the upcoming Sunday's Gospel reading. Here goes:

We started the session with the voice of our late pope JPII (the Great!) booming from the CD player. Colin has prepared for today's session, and we began by listening to one of the tracks of the album "Abba Pater" titled "La Legge Delle Beatitudini" (the Beatitudes).

There were 13 people present. Colin remarked that the Beatitudes repeated by our late pope in Italian is difficult to understand-- as difficult to understand as its message is to be understood. How contrary is the message of the Beatitudes against the popular values of the world we live in! The beatitudes also, someone remarked, seem to contain contradictions such as being "meek" and standing up for truth. JPII seemed to have taken this message in a stride and lived his life as a "good and faithful servant"-- ever relentless in his proclamation of Truth in his teachings, no matter how unpopular Truth may be.

The Gospel reading for the coming Sunday is taken from John 10:1-10, in which Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd-- he who is the true shepherd and the gate, through which "all who come in by (Him)" may be saved. There were a few interesting aspects discussed: the shepherd vs. the false shepherds (thieves and robbers), and the true shepherd vs. the hired servant. We discussed how the Church militant lives in a 'stinking' pen, and that amongst the sheep there needs to be 'little shepherds' who can help lead the flock to the shepherd by growing the heart of the shepherd-- by faithfully following the gospel message like the Beatitudes. (A call for arms in the springtime of evangelization!)

As usual, our mid-week refresher for the soul had to have discussion of our day job! Here we shared how important it is to keep ourselves close to the Word, close to the Good Shepherd; to hear the voice of the true shepherd above the din of the worldly values and busy-ness. The good shepherd also has a sense of ownership, unlike hired servants, thus setting an example for the work that has been entrusted to us. We are also reminded to keep our prayers, do what we can for our immediate sphere of influence, and that despite the increasingly "liberal" world, we are all called to holiness and to become saints. A quote from JPII's book "Fear Not" closed our session: "Turn yourselves into saints, make yourselves holy soon."

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