Tag Archives: the peace of Christ

18 June, Monday – Love In The Face Of Evil

18 June 2018

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1 Kings 21:1-16

Naboth of Jezreel had a vineyard close by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria, and Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it adjoins my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will give you its worth in money.’ But Naboth answered Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!’

Ahab went home gloomy and out of temper at the words of Naboth of Jezreel, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ He lay down on his bed and turned his face away and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came to him. ‘Why are you so dispirited’ she said ‘that you will not eat?’ He said, ‘I have been speaking to Naboth of Jezreel; I said: Give me your vineyard either for money or, if you prefer, for another vineyard in exchange. But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’ Then his wife Jezebel said, ‘You make a fine king of Israel, and no mistake! Get up and eat; cheer up, and you will feel better; I will get you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel myself.’

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, sending them to the elders and nobles who lived where Naboth lived. In the letters she wrote, ‘Proclaim a fast, and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Confront him with a couple of scoundrels who will accuse him like this, “You have cursed God and the king” Then take him outside and stone him to death.’

The men of Naboth’s town, the elders and nobles who lived in his town, did what Jezebel ordered, what was written in the letters she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Then the two scoundrels came and stood in front of him and made their accusation, ‘Naboth has cursed God and the king.’ They led him outside the town and stoned him to death. They then sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’ When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up! Take possession of the vineyard which Naboth of Jezreel would not give you for money, for Naboth is no longer alive, he is dead.’ When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel and take possession of it.

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Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’

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But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance.

Why did Naboth offer no resistance to the false accusations? This is something which some may ask, especially those who feel that he was wronged. It almost seems that the system was engineered to be against him and that he had no recourse against the injustice. I believe that today’s Gospel offers us a possible answer — love in the presence of great evil.

We may not be familiar with the circumstances and background behind Naboth’s choice of response, but we do know why Ahab wanted the land. He was greedy and, in spite of all the material possessions which he already possessed as king, he still wanted more. Jezebel, his wife, made use of her power to try to change the situation by ensuring that Naboth was wrongly accused and eliminated totally from the scene. In the light of such injustice in today’s world, will we respond with the same level of violence?

Does violence displayed deserve a reply of violence? It does have an intuitive appeal, but Jesus reminds us of the need to show love to the people around us. A world of violence will not lead to a better outcome but a downward spiral of unhappiness and despair for future generations. We face tremendous unhappiness and anger in our workplace, homes and relationships. The response of peace is what distinguishes a believer of Christ from a non-believer.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the grace to respond in peace to the people around us.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

24 December, Sunday – Peace Be With Us

24 Dec 

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2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16

Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’

But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:

‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

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Romans 16:25-27

Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.

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Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

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“let what you have said be done to me.”

As we prepare for the coming of Christ, it is perhaps timely to look back on the year gone by and reflect on all we have received and achieved through His graces. During the year, as we face the challenges thrown at us at work, in the home and in ministry, we tend to question God and wonder if He truly is the kind, generous, loving God that we all profess.

Because for me, it has been a year filled with strife, anger, betrayal, greed, broken family relationships and death; at least for the people I love and care for. I have been a bystander and ‘occasional’ cheerleader/psychologist/peacemaker/problem solver. And it has been emotionally tiring. Yet, in hindsight, He has certainly shown me the power of love and how taking a Christ-like aproach to situations can actually free us from perceived constraints or unwarranted restrictions which we place on ourselves.

It is amazing how He has led me through the year quietly, without much fanfare, and yet, I feel as if I have achieved much more than humanly possible. From the relative successes at work, to a growing faith and confidence in my role in ministry, I have been mightily rewarded for allowing Him to lead and listening to His promptings along the way.

It has not been easy though as the choices are sometimes difficult. But in the quiet of the adoration room or even in the solitude of my office when the door is closed, He has certainly been lighting my path more clearly. And, in hindsight, what He has said He would do has certainly resulted in my current state – one of peace, gratefulness and immense love — in spite of all that is ahead (e.g. I have yet to buy all my presents but am not worried; and yet to buy the ingredients we need for Xmas Eve dinner).

Brothers and sisters, perhaps being Christ-like brings us a different perspective in terms of how we should approach life here on earth. We had to cut short a recent family holiday as a dear uncle passed away the morning we left Singapore. Ordinarily, we would have lamented the fact that we would have ‘one day less to enjoy ourselves’ but all five of us somehow just agreed to come back a day early to attend the funeral. And we were all at peace. Today, we sent him off to paradise with a simple, heartfelt mass. And we were all at peace.

As you listen to Him call from the manger tonight, I wish all of you the peace, love and joy of Christ.

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Dear Father, help us to discern the cry of Jesus as we prepare our hearts for His arrival.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for Mary and Joseph. May they always be shining examples of what it means to be a true Christ-centred family.