His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue.
Joshua, Chapter 8, Verse 1
The LORD then said to Joshua: Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the army with you and prepare to attack Ai. I have delivered the king of Ai into your power, with his people, city, and land.
Joshua was afraid and demoralized because on the Israelites first attempt at taking Ai they were defeated. God here tells Joshua to be cheerful and be filled with calm; be reassured.
John Maxwell, noted author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Series states that all Christian leaders need to learn the proper balance between faith and preparation or planning. Joshua is told by God what to do but not how to do it. Joshua planned the particulars of the campaign against the Ai.
Law#4-The Law of Navigation: Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. To make it happen, you have to take action. You must do what you know needs doing. You must do it when it needs to be done. Don’t wait. You can make it happen. Knowing how is not the key. Taking action is.
Where should you start?
1. Follow your conscience. What do you feel you should do? What do you want to do?
2. Consider your passion. What do you get excited about? What do you need to do?
3. Consider your natural talents. What are you naturally good at without much effort? What hobbies do you have? What interests do you have?
4. Consider what society needs and values. What do you love to do so much you would do it for free, but people are willing to pay others to do? What do you see others doing that you would like to do?
If you want to find your purpose, you must get on the seldom traveled road to significance filled with setbacks, roadblocks, obstacles, and detours. This road leads to your purpose. You must develop the vision in order to see where you want to be next. Then, you must take the steps to move from where you are to where you want to be. You should always be grateful for where you are and what you have, but you should never be satisfied.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. (Lk. 11:28)
As this is Good Friday try to see our Lord weighted down with our sins which he carried with him on the way of the cross; that beam was indeed heavy for it was our sins and it tore a great unrecorded wound in his shoulder. I wonder, “What are the five most hateful sins that our Lord bore in that cross?” In an article by Zac Poonen, he proposed that the five most hated sins by our Lord are:
· Hypocrisy: To be a hypocrite is to give others the impression that we are holier than we actually are. It is the same as being false, or telling a lie. Jesus pronounced a curse on hypocrites seven times in Mt. 23:13-29. Jesus told the Pharisees that their inner life was ""full of self-indulgence"" (Mt. 23:25) - which meant that they lived only to please themselves. God looks at our hearts.
· Spiritual Pride: We all know the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee who despised others even in his prayer (Lk. 18:9-14)! Jesus hated the pride with which he thought of his spiritual activities and with which he despised makes believers constantly judge other believers. Jesus taught that the greatest person in heaven would be the humblest (Mt. 18:4). The greatest virtue found in heaven is humility. This is why it is the first of the seven virtues (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Understanding and Wisdom) of Mary Christ’s mother.
· Impurity: Impurity enters into our hearts mainly through our eyes and our ears. Anyone who seeks to be pure must therefore be especially careful about what he sees and what he hears. Jesus hated impurity so much that He told His disciples that they should be willing to pluck out their right eye and cut off their right hand rather than sin with those members (Mt. 5:27-29). When do doctors recommend the amputation of the right hand or the surgical removal of an eye? Only when things have become so bad that without the removal of these organs, the whole body would die. This is what we need to understand in relation to sin as well. Sin is so serious that it can imperil our very life. Most believers have not realized this and that is why they are careless in the way they use their tongues and their eyes.
· Indifference To Human Need: Jesus was angry when the leaders of the synagogue did not want Him to heal a man, just because it was the Sabbath day ""He was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need"" (Mk. 3:5 - Living). We are commanded to do good to all men, especially to the children of God (Gal. 6: 10). Jesus taught that those who did nothing to help their brothers who were in need of the basic necessities of life, would be cast out of His presence in the final day (Mt. 25:41-46). Those who do not help their brothers in need cannot possibly have the love of God dwelling in their hearts (1Jn. 3:17). Jesus spoke out strongly on such matters because He hated the attitude that many religious people had who were concerned only with religious activities but not with helping their needy brothers.
· Unbelief: Bible speaks of an unbelieving heart as an EVIL heart (He. 3: 12) Jesus rebuked His disciples seven times for unbelief. (See Mt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:17-20; Mk.16:14; Lk.24:25). It seems that He almost never rebuked His disciples for anything else!! Unbelief is an insult to God, because it implies that God does not care or provide for His children even as much as evil fathers on earth care and provide for their children.
Fourth Sunday of Lent (a.k.a. Laetare, or Mid-Lent Sunday)
A note of joy is struck, for having died to sin with Christ during Lent, we will rise again with Him and be part of His mystical Body, the Church which is the new Jerusalem. Thus the Introit: "Rejoice, Jerusalem."
The Second Scrutiny
On this Sunday is celebrated the second scrutiny in preparation for the Baptism of the catechumens who are to be admitted to the Sacraments of Christian Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
Invitation to Silent Prayer
After the homily the elect and their godparents come before the celebrant. The celebrant first addresses the assembly of the faithful, inviting them to pray in silence. The celebrant invites the elect to pray.
Celebrant: Elect of God, bow your heads (or kneel down) and pray. (While prayer is being said for the elect, the godparents place their right hand on the shoulder of the one they are sponsoring.
All pray for some time in silence. Then the community and the elect stand for the intercessions.)
Intercessions for the Elect
The celebrant addresses the assembly of the faithful in the following words. Celebrant: Let us pray for these elect whom God has called, that they may remain faithful to him and boldly give witness to the words of eternal life. Reader: That, trusting in the truth of Christ, they may find freedom of mind and heart and preserve it always, let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer. Reader: That, preferring the folly of the cross to the wisdom of the world, they may glory in God alone, let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer. Reader: That freed by the power of the Spirit, they may put all fear behind them and press forward with confidence, let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer. Reader: That transformed in the Spirit, they may seek those things that are holy and just, let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer. Reader: That all who suffers persecution for Christ’s name may find their strength in him; let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer. Reader: That those families and nations prevented from embracing the faith may be granted freedom to believe the Gospel, let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer. Reader: That we who are faced with the values of the world may remain faithful to the spirit of the Gospel, let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer. Reader: That the whole world, which the Father so loves, may attain in the Church complete spiritual freedom, let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord, hear our prayer.
The celebrant turns to the elect and with hands joined says: Let us pray, Father of mercy, you led the man born blind to the kingdom of light through the gift of faith in your Son. Free these elect from the false values that surround and blind them. Set them firmly in your truth, children of the light forever. We ask this through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
The celebrant may lay his hand in silence on each one of the elect, then he extends his hand over the elect and continues: Lord Jesus, you are the true light that enlightens the world. Through your Spirit of truth free those who are enslaved by the father of lies. Stir up the desire for good in these elect whom you have chosen for your sacraments. Let them rejoice in your light, that they may see, and, like the man born blind whose sight you restored, let them prove to be staunch and fearless witnesses to the faith, for you are Lord for ever and ever. R. Amen.
Dismissal of the Elect
The celebrant dismisses the elect in these or similar words: Dear elect, go in peace, and join us again at the next scrutiny. May the Lord remain with you always. The Elect: Amen.