12 September, 2017: Bethel

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Tuesday of the Twenty Third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: Col. 2. 6 – 45; Gospel: Lk. 6. 12 – 19.

In the book of Genesis, we read the account of the dream that Jacob had at Luz when he was running away from his brother. He dreamt of a ladder fixed on the earth but reaching till the heavens with angels ascending and descending on it. When Jacob’s thoughts were elevated, the dry piece of land where he rested became for him the house of God and he called it Bethel. Today’s Gospel passage, seen in continuation with yesterday’s, presents a movement like that at Bethel. Jesus was busy in his ministry and also had to face oppositions in chapters 5 and 6. When Jesus was exhausted due to his ministry and had to encounter problems in the valley, he ascends the mountain (6:12); there he is enlightened to formulate a new action plan (choosing the disciples) and then he descends the mountain with greater energy. Now he is more energetic than before. The great multitude that followed him represents the whole world – Jews (Judea, Jerusalem; 6:17) and gentiles (Tyre and Sidon; 6:17). The scripture testifies that power went out of him. Power went out because there was power within him which was obviously the fruit of his prayer life. In life, we have to make this ascending-descending movement. Mother Theresa always insisted on one hour of adoration in the afternoon in the midst of her busy schedule. The insistence of Don Bosco on frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament is to be seen in this context. It is only through this ascending-descending relationship can we make our surroundings a house of God – Bethel.

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