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To Be “Good” or to Be “Great”

May 7, 2020

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter


John 13:16-20


“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’ From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”


Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, I long for a personal experience of your love that fills my heart with joy and gives meaning to my spiritual life. I approach you today with the desire to know what is in your heart and to please you.


Encountering Christ:


1. “The One Who Ate My Food Has Raised His Heel against Me”: Jesus speaks about the betrayal of one of his closest friends, Judas, who belonged to his intimate circle of apostles. Any of us who have been betrayed by a friend knows the pain of such an experience. Jesus had made himself vulnerable to Judas; he had personally shared his deepest thoughts and desires. He is willing to do the same with us. No matter how close we may feel to the Lord, we should be aware that the possibility of our betrayal is real and ask for the grace to remain faithful.


2. To Be a Good Person or a Holy Person: Many people say, “I’m a good person” and conclude that is enough. To be a holy person, they say, is boring or stuffy. On the contrary, a holy person is a joy-filled person, one whose company everyone enjoys, who has found meaning that moves him or her beyond being “good” to being “great.” The world needs these holy souls–people who live according to Gospel standards, who have embraced Christ’s teachings in their hearts and show true unconditional love to all those they encounter.


3. Going Beyond What Is Required: Embracing Christ’s message from the heart is essential from moving beyond a merely external participation in Sunday Mass, or keeping the commandments, to a more profound way of living. True love wants to please the other, to do what he or she enjoys, to make the other happy. Likewise, being a great lover of God implies going beyond fulfilling the commandments to pleasing the Lord in all that he asks of us, grateful for the love he gives.


Conversing with Christ: May I renew my love for you, Lord, in a special way today, so it does not grow stale, and so it moves me outside my comfort zone, from goodness to greatness (holiness).


Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will make a sacrifice as an offering to you.


For Further Reflection: Take a moment to reflect on the Ten Commandments from the perspective of a loving father rather than that of a strict judge.

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