Are you ready to forgive?

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As more than two billion people of the world observe today the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, there are different images of the journey of Jesus carrying his Cross with nails pierced through his hands and feet.  Though hanging criminals on the cross and leaving them to die was the Roman custom to punish serious offenders, the image of this “offender”, though ‘more sinned against’, now occupies a place of honour in all the churches around the world.

Crucification

So, why this paradox  Why the glorification of a man who died a criminal’s death in rather shameful conditions ?  To begin with, when we go through the records of the trial of Jesus before the governor Pilate, he tells the crowd that he found nothing against Jesus.  That was a fact.  The high priest, however, accused Jesus of blasphemy.  Finally, Pilate ruled in favour of Jesus’ crucifixion, as the gospel narratives tell us, more due to pressure from the crowd ( they wanted Barabbas, a criminal, released) than for any offence that could be legally proved.
Be that as it may, before Jesus was made to carry the Cross on which He would be crucified, a crown of thons was placed on his head.  He was ridiculed and called “King of the Jews”.  The soldiers leading Him to Mount Calvary spat upon Him and lashed Him every time He fell, they also ordered Simon of Cyrene to help Him in carrying the Cross, as Jesus was very weak and the Cross was heavy.

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When He reached Calvary, He was laid on the Cross and nails were driven in His hands and feet and the Cross was lifted on high and, with a heave was put into the hole that had been prepared beforehand.  How it must have shaken Him up !!  He felt abandoned by all, and cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani ? (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me ? )
Towards the end, He forgave those who had dealt with Him so brutally and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they have done”.  Thus Jesus, proclaimed the prayer of forgiveness, even for the men who had ill-treated Him.  That was in line with what he lived and died for.
ARE YOU READY TO FORGIVE ????? Really forgive and emulate Jesus’ concrete act of forgiving, not merely as a concept or thought, but in reality ???? Can He inspire us all to forgive ??
—— Father Dominic Emmanuel
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The twelve days of Christmas

Some people tied to debunk this song as an “urban myth.”  Many have questioned the historical accuracy of the origin of the song.  Some say it was a “nonsense song” for children with “secular origins,” and it is a song of Christian instruction, perhaps dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Christian Faith.
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THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS refers to the days from Dec.25 to Jan 5.  Here it is for your perusal :
On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE.  The PARTRIDGE is Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate on Dec 25th.  He is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem :” Jerusalem, Jerusalem !  How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so.” (Luke 13:34)
On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 2 TURTLE DOVES :  The Old & the New Testament, which, together, bear witness to God’s self-revelation and the creation of a people to tell the story of God to the world.
On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 3 FRENCH HENS : The 3 Theological virtues —– Faith, Hope & Love (1Corinthians 13:13)
On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 4 CALLING BIRDS : The 4 Gospels —- Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, which proclaim the good news of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself.
On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 5 GOLD RINGS : The 1st 5 Books of the Old Testament, known as the TORAH or PENTATEUCH : (1) Genesis (2) Exodus (3) Leviticus (4) Numbers and (5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of Grace.
On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 6 GEESE A-laying : The 6dys of Creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world. (Genesis -1)
On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 7 SWANS A-swimming : The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit : (1) Prophecy (2) Ministry (3) Teaching (4) Exhortation (5) Giving (6) Leading & (7) Compassion (Romans 12:6-8 ; 1Corinthian 12:8-11)
On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 8 MAIDS A-milking : The Eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10)
On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 9 LADIES DANCING : The 9 Fruits of the holy Spirit : (1) Love (2) Joy (3) Peace (4) Patience (5) Kindness (6) Generosity (7) Faithfulness (8) Gentleness & (9) Self-Control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 10 LORDS A-leaping : The 10 Commandments.
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 11 PIPERS PIPING : The 11 faithful Apostles : (1) Simon Peter (2) Andrew (3) James (4) John (5) Philip (6) Bartholomew (7) Matthew (8) Thomas (9) James, son of Alphaeus (10) Simon the Zealot (11) Judas bar James (Luke 6:14-16)  The list does not include the 12th apostle — Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING : The 12 points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed.
The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself.  Each day depicts some aspect of the Christian Faith, that was important for children to learn.
———– Dennis Bratcher, Copyright 2013.

Lead me in a plain path : (Psalm 27:11)

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Many people want to direct God, instead of resigning themselves to be directed by Him; to show Him a way, instead of following where He leads.
I said, “Let me walk in the field”
God said, “No, walk in the town”
I said ,”There are no flowers there”
He said, ” No flowers, but a crown”.
I said,” But the sky is black ? There is nothing but noise and din”
 But He said, as He sent me back
“There is more”, He said, “There is sin”.
I said,” But the air is thick
And fogs are veiling the sun”
He answered,” Yet souls are sick
And souls in the dark undone”
I said, ” I shall miss the light
And friends will miss me, they say,”
He answered me,” Choose tonight,
If I am to miss or they”
I pleaded for time to be given
He said,” is it hard to decide ?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”
I cast one look at the fields
Then set my face to the town
He said,” My child, do you yield
Will you leave the flowers for the crown ?
Then into His hand went mine
And into my heart came He
And I walk in a light Divine
The path I had feared to see.
———George MacDonald.