Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Unhappy Saints are Lost From the Beginning…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on April 9, 2011

Do not make My Father’s House a den of thieves!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

“Two years before, Jesus had shaken  up the whole city [of Jerusalem] at the beginning of His public ministry, when He drove out the money changers from the Temple…with that dramatic opening to His work, echoing the words of Jeremiah, everyone was wondering what this Prophet from Nazareth would do now that He was back in Jerusalem.” ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, 4th Sunday of Lent.

[Update: If you have already read this post, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading : The Great Gift : for more encouragement as you continue your journey during these last two weeks of Lent.  If you haven’t yet read this post, no worries! The link to The Great Gift will also be at the end of this post.] 🙂

It’s just too bad that those in Jesus’ time, much like our present time, were looking only for the DIRECT results.  It would be those results that might measure the success of Him who was preaching.  Why?  Because they could not see with the Eyes of God, their human eyes and pride kept them, as they do us, closed to how God works. Today’s reading is a good example of this.  In fact, if we read it through the eyes of the WORLD we might see it as total failure.

Ever notice how the WORLD tells us that in order to be successful, your actions MUST produce the desired results soon after they are enacted.  Now, “try this one on for size”,

“Sometimes those who labor for God have to face complete failure, and there is often a mystery of Divine Providence at work.  Jesus was an apparent failure and from a human point of view, on the afternoon of Good Friday, it was all over and that was certainly what even His Apostles thought.” ~Fr. Clifford Stevens, Lenten Homilies, Tuesday of Week 4.

What?!  A “complete failure” ?  Stay with me here, and just listen with the ears of the World to today’s Gospel: John 5: 1-16 (excerpts, emphasis added)

 

Now…a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha…[where] lay a multitude of invalids…One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him…He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled…”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.

Now that day was the sabbath.  So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.”  But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘ Take up your pallet and walk.’ “…Now the man who had been healed did not know who [had healed him], for Jesus had withdrawn… Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well!  Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.”

The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.  And this is why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because He did this on the sabbath.

Let’s review the underlined passages and see where things didn’t turnout the way the WORLD, and maybe even us as well, think they should have.

First, Jesus greets a man sick for 30 years.  The man does not recognize Jesus.  Now, how is that possible?

The Passover…was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple He found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business.  And making a whip of cords, He drove them all…out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables…”Take these things way; you shall not make My Father’s House a house of trade!”… The Jews then said to Him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?”  Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” ~cf Jn 2: 13-16

Strong words and strong actions…caught the attention of the Jewish authorities of the Temple… definitely caught the attention of those who were selling and of those who were buying.  I think it might even be safe to suggest that it caught the attention of those outside the Temple gates who suddenly saw a large crowd of people AND live-stalk streaming out onto the street!  Wouldn’t you?

The whole city was stirred up by this…We don’t know the exact context in which these words were spoken, but they could have harked back to the words of Jeremiah as well, when he stood at the door of the Temple and shouted: “Don’t just say: This is the Temple of the Lord!  This is the Temple of the Lord!  THIS IS THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD!  Amend your ways, then you will be truly worthy of this place where the Lord dwells.” ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, 3rd Sunday of Lent.

 

With the words of Jeremiah coming from this Prophet from Galilee, and the whole city of Jerusalem a buzz about what had happened, surely this man would have heard something?  Even a blind man in Jericho (cf Mk 10: 46-52),  had cried out to Jesus, proclaiming Him to be the Son of David – a Messianic proclamation – at that was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry before just before He visited Jerusalem for that fateful event.

By the WORLD’S standard: You preached and people called out to you, but this man did not know who you were.  You have not succeeded in making yourself known!  People are bound to reject one such as you.

After Jesus heals the man, does he give thanks to God or proclaim Jesus as the Son of God or even as a prophet or Holy man?  NO.  Instead, he picks up his pallet and goes on his way.

Well, after all, that’s what Jesus told him to do… and that dictates the man could do nothing else?…

 

out of 10, only one came back…

On the way to Jerusalem [Jesus] was passing along between Samaria and Galilee…He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance…and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

When [Jesus] saw them He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”  And as they went they were cleansed.  Then, one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks! ~ cf Luke 17: 11-16, emphasis added


By the WORLD’S standard: This man who had been sick for 30 years should have recognized You, so have given thanks to God for the healing he received from You.  Because he failed to do so, You have failed Your God! (Any of you ever get this from the WORLD?  How about from friends and family?)

When Jesus approached the man later in the Temple, and told him to sin no more, did the man rejoice in the miracle he was given?  Did he request to follow after Jesus like so many others who had been healed pleaded to do?  No, instead he went directly to the Jews aka Pharisees (Jewish authorities at the time of Jesus), and told them who had healed him.  Kind of sounds like a ‘tattle-tale’, doesn’t it?

Did the Pharisees give thanks to God for such a miracle to be present in their sight and the Temple of the Lord?  No, instead they persecuted Jesus further because He had done this miracle on the Sabbath.

By the WORLD’S standard: You came to preach the Good News and transform men’s  hearts.  These men were NOT transformed AND they berated You and sought to kill You.  What success have You in bringing about the transforming of hearts and the preaching of the Good News?  We say, NONE!

You see, “By the World‘s Standard”, Jesus ministry was a complete failure.  His actions did not produce immediate results, so He must have been a failure. HOWEVER, it is the World‘s eyesight that HAS FAILED because it cannot see with the Eyes of God.

“[The] secret of Who He really is, is hidden from their minds until the glorious morning of the Resurrection, when they [the Apostles and Disciples] realized that they had been walking and talking with the Creator of the Universe, the Jahwe Ineffabilis, the Immortal King of the Ages, and they would carry that earth-shaking realization with them to the end of their lives.” ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Thursday, First Week of Lent.

 

 

THIS is the SUCCESS OF GOD!  The SALVATION of His People, Jews and Gentiles alike!

 

So when the WORLD tells you that YOU are not changing fast enough… That the Light of God is not quite visible in YOU… Your progress is TOO SLOW… SMILE AND SAY, get behind me Satan, for the LOVE OF GOD reigns here!

Got YOUR LIST?

Week 4, Day 28 of 40 days of Lent:

It’s the FOURTH (4th) item on your list.  The FIRST (1st) had you concentrate on Obedience, the SECOND (2nd) on Humility, and the THIRD (3rd) on Wisdom.  The FOURTH (4th) will concentrate of the LOVE OF GOD.  When that FOURTH (4th) thing presents itself to you, and you have cried out,

God Bless Me and Make Me Holy!”

…but the thing persists, REMEMBER, GOD IS LOVE (1 Jn 4:8b).  Yet that thing persists, so you cry out again,

I can do NOTHING without YOU!”

Remember, “In this is LOVE, not that we loved God BUT that HE LOVED US and SENT HIS SON to be EXPIATION FOR OUR SINS (cf. 1 Jn 4:10)…cry out all the more!

Yet it persists even harder because we are nearing the end of Lent, and it is a TRUE time of TESTING… So you cry out again,

Lord, not my will, BUT YOURS BE DONE!  YOU ARE LOVE.”

“Trying to maintain one’s peace of soul is never so demanding as during times of distress and dejection.  It is not a question of battling enemies from the outside but against the shadows within the depths of one’s own heart.” ~Archbishop Jean Honore of  Tours, France.

Thus we MUST PLACE GOD AT THE CENTER of our HEARTS so that HE WHO IS LOVE can conquer ALL EVIL!

Speak with WORDs of LOVE: My most Loving Father, who will always run to greet your wayward child (cf. Lk 15:20), reside in my frail heart.  Let YOUR LOVE take up all the room so that the enemy cannot sow seeds of hate, resentment, self-loathing, discouragement, or despair.  It is YOUR HEART I desire in mine, TRANSFORM ME.  BLESS ME.  Make me Holy.  With YOU all things are POSSIBLE.  Create in ME a PURE HEART, one that desires ONLY YOUR WILL be done.  ONE THAT LOVES YOU fully and completely, all of my days, because YOU ARE LOVE.  In the Savior’s Loving Name, Jesus Christ, I pray.  Amen!

Recommend Reading: The Great Gift

Amazing Love! How can it be, that my King would die for me?

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