by Rev. Fr. James Markose Padiyara
We all are passing through the days of Advent Lent. What is Lent? If we could submit our possession to God Almighty, which is so dear and beloved to us, it is the real Lent. We could learn from Abraham, the Patriarch and the father of all the faithful. He is our role model in this aspect. Abraham was immensely rich, not only financially, but also with the abundant blessings of various natures. Still he obeyed God as and when he was asked to sacrifice his only son. Obedience to God is an unavoidable pre-requisite of the Lent.
Let us turn our attention to Obadiah verses 3 and 4. "The pride of your heart has deceived thee, thou that dwell in the clefs of the rock, whose habitation is high: that says in his heart, who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, says the Lord."
For a few of us, the simple dressing and sweet conversation are signs of the moderate lives. The Edomites used to live in the caves in rocks, which were very high from the ground level and hence they had a feeling and faith that they were free from attacks of the enemies and they blindly believed that they were safe. Due to this, their pride in their hearts was becoming so strong. Through Obadiah God cautions one and all that He would pull down or push down all who are proud in the hearts.
Let us have a re-examination of our own hearts. Let us see whether we are influenced by the pride of the heart. The pride plays a key role in the spiritual lives of the faithful making distractions from God. When pride takes roots in our hearts, it compels us to treat our relatives as enemies. (In Malayalam = Bandangal bandanangal aakkunnu) The pride makes a person to enjoy failure in his talks and deeds. Instead of sharing love, he/she is often influenced to make confusions and chaos through wrong words and deeds. We must build up our faith strong like rocks and we should not make our pride like rocks.
King Solomon became the wisest among the entire humanity as God was pleased in him. It was a gift of God and he did not acquire wisdom from his own effort. King Solomon, the wisest, once realized his own pride, which he had before God Almighty. When we would evaluate Ecclesiastes 2: 1-24, we would find the vision of life of King Solomon. In these 24 verses he uses 'my' or 'mine' 40 times and he has used the term God only 2 times. This shows the pride of King Solomon as well as the influence of his selfishness.
In Genesis 8: 21 we hear Lord God saying: "imagination of the manís heart is evil from his youth". In Genesis 27: 41 we hear Esau saying that he will kill his brother Jacob. The Psalmist says: "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt they have done abominable works there is none that does good." (Psalms 14: 1) In Isaiah 47: 10 we read, "For thou have trusted in thy wickedness: thou have said none sees me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it has perverted thee, and thou has said in your heart, I am, and none else beside me." The Eldomites ask "who would push us down."
King Solomon could erect a splendid and most beautiful temple for God, when and where his father was not permitted by God to do so. The only prayer submitted by the King was a request to bless him with wisdom and Grace. And God blessed him with enough and more wisdom. Still we find different types of sins in his personal life like the following:
1) He became a regular user of liquor and wine.
2) He held on folly.
3) He gathered silver and gold and the peculiar treasures in excess.
4) He increased his wealth which was more than all that were Kings before him.
5) In moral matters he became weak and he got married with women of various tribes and religions.
6) He worshipped idols of other Gods, as guided by his wives belonging to other pagan faiths.
7) He sought excess worldly pleasures in his life.
8) His heart was filled with selfishness.
Many of us might be victims of such sins. Let us find them out and repent well. It is sure and certain that pride of the heart will make us sinners.
We should not forget the fact that the pride would take us away from God. We often neglect pride. But the pride sows damage in larger areas. If pride is there in our hearts we could not approve the rise in others and especially our neighbors.
In St. Luke 1: 58 we read about the relatives and neighbors of Priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. They rejoiced in the happiness and joy of the family of Priest Zechariah. But initially when the news was announced to Priest Zechariah, he doubted how it might happen and hence he became dumb. He could not talk until the birth of St. John the Baptist. But by the time of naming the infant, Priest Zechariah surrendered himself with Godís plan to name the baby 'John' and his tongue was loosed. Usually our words to others become weak, unattended or properly responded by the listeners. It happens so because our words are not sincere. Our words must be from a selfless heart. Unless we are unselfish, our words wont be effective in the listeners
We often get tensed when the normal routines are changed. Priest Zechariah and his wife had no tension in naming their baby as John, though it was against the normal routines/traditions. Their own people had a small disturbance as it was against the routines. We must train up our hearts to accept and recognize the changes in our routines. We should not forget the fact that God could push us down from the heights where we have established our habitations. Let us always try to co-operate with the joy and happiness of others. Many of us turn our faces against the ones in our neighborhood who might get a new blessing from God. We turn to be misers in wishing "congratulations" even.
We know Jacob; son of Isaac in the Old Testament was a cheater to his own father and his own elder brother. But when he turned back to God with real repentance and had the fight with the Angel, God changed his name as Israel as the sign of the total change in Jacob. Let us also fight with Angel until we would get a total transformation in our lives. Let us remove our pride in our hearts and attain a total change in our life style.
Moses was elected as the leader of Israelites by God Almighty. We get a good description of the audience of Moses with God in the burning bush in Exodus 3: 1- 7. Moses could recognize the presence of God in the burning bush. Moses was encouraged by God to undertake the mission of leading the Israelites to their freedom and to the Promised Land. If we could recognize the presence of God where we might search Him, He would guide us to do great and wondrous things for the greater glory of God.
May God bless us all.
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