31st Week, Tuesday, Nov 3

Philippians 2:5-11 / Luke 14:15-24

Jesus became one of us: He took the form of a servant. 

An Islamic parable tells of a traveller who strayed into the "Land of the Fools." There he saw a mob shouting hysterically.   "A monster is in our field," they cried. The traveller drew nearer and saw that the monster was only a watermelon, a fruit the fools had never seen before.

To show how fearless he was, the traveller cut up the melon and ate it. The villagers became even more terrified. "He's worse than the monster," they said.  And they drove the traveller out of their land.  Months later the scene repeated itself with another traveller. This time the traveller showed the same fear like the people unlike the first traveller and ran along with the fools. He took up residence among the fools and taught them eventually to overcome their fear of watermelons. Before he left, the villagers began not only eating them, but learned to cultivate them.


Which traveller are we like? "If you stop to be kind, you must often swerve from your path." Mary Webb


Nowhere does St Paul show us as tender a love for Christ as here. It is the love that formed his mentality. He puts it in the words of an early Christian hymn: We sing it still in the Carol: "He left all his glory behind, to be born and to die for mankind". Christ is God from all eternity, that is his very nature. That he cannot give up. But he can hide it for the good of men, and he did. First, in the incarnation, he became man. Although he was God he lived as every human being, he became fully man. On this earth he never insisted on being adored. His divine nature remained hidden. The second was his passion: Not only was his humanity hidden. He died the death of a slave. Paul uses the word: Kenosis - which means emptying oneself. Therefore, God exalted him: His humility became his greatness, His obedience, his glory. He chose this to do God's work to perfection. He wanted to be treated as a human being. He left all his glory behind to be born and to die for mankind.


One of the main distractions in our prayer time is that our minds are filled with thoughts about almost anything and everything. But it is not just about anything and everything; it is anything and everything about ourselves. Our thoughts will just surface when we want to settle down for prayer and we will start thinking of the things we have not yet done and the things that we want to do but have not found the time for. And on top of that there are also the worries and the anxieties of life that come flooding in and often we feel that prayer time is a distressful time instead of a peaceful time. We get discouraged because we feel we are not going anywhere in prayer and we may eventually give up on prayer.

Yet the gospel parable tells us that God is inviting us to sit down at the banquet with Him and feast on the riches of His love.

Just as the 1st reading said of Jesus in that He did not cling to His equality with God but emptied Himself  to assume the condition of a slave, we too need to empty our hearts in prayer and to know that we can't solve all the problems of our lives just by thinking about them. We have to put it into the God's hands in prayer and then to let God's love and peace fill our hearts. When our hearts are filled with God's love and peace at prayer, then we will know what to do.


Let us pray: Lord, mighty God, people – that is we –often want to be their own gods; we want to decide for ourselves what we want to be and what is right and wrong. Thank you for sending us your Son who is God and wanted to be a human being, to serve people, to suffer for people, to save people from their pride and self-sufficiency. Thank you for upsetting our values and holding out the promise to us that you will raise us up with Jesus, and that we may acclaim him as our Lord to give you glory for ever and ever.