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March 8, Friday, SJ - Jesuits of North-West Africa Province | Society of Jesus

Wednesday, First Week of Lent

March 8, 2017

Jon 3: 1-10  Lk. 11:29-32

by *Mr. Pius Friday, SJ

Recognizing the person of Christ in our world today has become a difficult task. We have been caught up in so many activities that block us from identifying the face of Jesus. Often times, we cling to things that separate us from God’s presence. We find it hard to stand with Christ because we do not properly admit him into our lives; instead we try to fit him into our own perceptions, forgetting that Christ cannot be systematized, neither is he limited to our concepts of Him. Emmanuel Levinas, in his essay Totality and Infinity, argues that conceptualizing people is an act of inflicting violence on them. Levinas rather proposes that a close encounter with the face of Christ reveals the transcendence and heteronomy of Christ. By dialoguing with Christ, I am invited to a true relationship. It is a relationship that gives me a new and truer identity. The ‘I’ vanishes and an untainted, truer better dignified self-welcomes the Messiah in.

Many of us look for specific interventions before we believe in Christ. Also, the rate at which our world is progressing threatens our relationship with Christ. Modern day offers us better technologies, scientific inventions, etc. The different ideas that are arising today make us even more blind to who Jesus is. Easy and corrupt money making, miracle-today sermons and the like just continuously trap us in blindness to the real truth of our Saviour. These ideas challenge our faith in Christ. That is why today’s reading is a true reminder to us.

The Gospel reading alerts us to how we perceive Christ in our daily lives. So often we fail to recognize Christ because we have constantly set up a benchmark by which we identify him. Like the Jews we seek signs and wonders to confirm the power of Christ.

My brothers and sisters, Christ is bigger than our views of him. Over and over again, it has been repeated Christ cannot be contained. Have we forgotten that Christ is bigger than our problems or demands?  We cannot set a benchmark for Christ to fulfill. No wonder Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises tells us not to pray for health or sickness, nor to pray for riches or poverty. Our primary aim should be to please the Divine Majesty. He tells us today in His words that He is greater than the prophet Jonah and even Solomon.

Make no mistake. He does not downgrade Jonah and Solomon, but He is greater than them. However, He teaches us something that we are still struggling to grasp, when He calls us to put aside all these norms, ideas and beliefs in order to embrace Him as He truly is. He calls us not to be as stubborn as the Jews were, demanding signs. By acting like them, we will remain in our sins; doing things according to our thoughts rather than discerning in and with Christ.

During this Lenten Season, we are reminded to recognize our sinfulness like the people of Nineveh and repent from them. We should imitate the people of Nineveh by fasting and praying and giving alms. Although this should be a regular thing as a Christian, we can increase these actions.  May God help us all. Amen.

 

*Mr. Pius Friday, SJ is a Jesuit Scholastic in first studies at Arrupe College Jesuit School of Philosophy and Humanities in Harare, Zimbabwe. 

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