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Have compassion… to relieve suffering

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Have you ever wondered what the word compassion means? Compassion means ‘to suffer together’, in other words, compassion is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

It is very important to be a compassionate person. But to be a real compassionate person requires two important actions. Firstly, is to feel compassionate for the suffering people, and secondly, to be motivated by taking an action to relieve the suffering people go through.

So, with all the suffering around in the world… the refugees, the sick people, the poor, the abused, the homeless… are we a people that feel the compassion and to relieve such a suffering? People, nations, governments, churches,… are all to live up by truly being compassionate, by feeling for the suffering and above all to relieve the suffering.

Are you compassionate?

George Calleja (Christian Author)

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Where there is peace, there is God

‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.’

This is so true, as it is written in 1 John 4:8.

If one had to stop for a couple of minutes, and reflect a bit what John wrote, one for sure will relise that John is right. This situation can be seen all over the world.

For where there is hatred, there is no love, there is no God.

Where there is abortion, there is no love, there is no God.

Where there is war, there is no love, there is no God.

Where there is injustice, there is no love, there is no God.

Where there is domestic violence, there is no love, there is no God.

Where there is corruption, there is no love, there is no God.

There are many more examples, of where there is no love, there is no God.

But where there is peace, there is love, there is God.

 

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The greatest commandment

 

In Matthew 22:34-39, ‘hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

These couple of sentences made me wonder if throughout the world we are putting this into practice. Are we loving God? Are we loving our neighbour?

Many people in society are in need to rediscover to love God, to rediscover to love one’s neighbour. Not loving God, not loving one’s neighbour, will lead into a destructive society, where the power of darkness reigns.

We are to be people who love God, who love our neighbour, to bring the light of true love back into society. This is the greatest commandment society is to follow… to love God and to love one’s neighbour.

In Unity and God Bless you,

George Calleja (Christian Author)

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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God

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The Seventh Beatitude – Blessed are the peacemakers…

How many times in our lives have we wished that there be peace in the world! This seventh Beatitude addresses those people who not only try to live in peace in their personal life, but who also work and take initiatives to bring peace to the world. Jesus referred to these people as blessed, because through their actions and deeds they work for and promote peace.

These persons are interested in loving other people around them, to bring peace to them even when there is some kind of trouble or misunderstanding of some sort. Where there is no peace, these people who Jesus called blessed, do their utmost to restore peace wherever they are.

The world yearns to have more people like these… genuine peacemakers who take an interest in those around them, by loving them as Jesus loves them. What loving actions have you undertaken in your life to be a peacemaker, the way that Jesus wants you to be?

me”

…for they will be called children of God.

God considers these people who work for peace, as children of heaven. These people are dearly loved by God. It is for these reasons that Jesus emphasized… ‘that they will be called children of God’. The end result for the people who work for peace is that they will be considered as children of God. Do you want to be a child of God?

It is really worth working for peace and experiencing the result of reconciliation in this world. It is very important that as Christians we feel encouraged to go out and be peacemakers through the love of God. All this leads to being called a child of God.

The world is waiting for you to be a true peacemaker.

(This Reflection is taken from my Christian Book ‘The Beatitudes… the Blessings from the Sermon on the Mount)

 

In Unity,

George Calleja  (Christian  Author)

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Always trust in Jesus

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On many occasions in my life I have heard people saying to me ‘trust in Jesus’. But what does it really mean to trust in Jesus?

What I have learnt through my life experience and also through my faith in God, is that I have to trust in Jesus because He is the Savior. I am always to remember that by Jesus dying on the cross He brought Salvation to all mankind. He died because of loving each and everyone of mankind, because He loves us all, because He loves me in a personal way.

So, for me, what Jesus did by dying on the cross, and eventually that on the third day He was risen from His death and went to heaven, strengthen my faith to trust in Jesus. Through His Salvation, by committing myself to Jesus, I have experienced of knowing Jesus in a personal way, of understanding that the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit loves me tremendously.

This experience has deeply strengthened my faith, made me a free person, as I follow Him as a disciple to be another Jesus to others. I know that in every difficult moment in my life, He is there beside me, guiding me, and encouraging me to take up every challenge I face in life, by trusting Him.

As what John wrote in 14:1, that Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me”

In Unity,

George Calleja (Christian  Author)

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Do you praise God?

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Recently I was going through the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’, so that I further enrich my faith and be formed better. I came across the paragraph 2639 which forms part of the section ‘Prayer of Praise’ which really made me wonder. The following is the paragraph:

‘’Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God, testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the “one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.”

Paragraph 2639, brought a couple of questions to my mind to share with you the following….

Do you recognize and believe that God is God?

Do you know God in a personal way?

Do you praise God?

Praising God should be part of our daily prayers and way of life as Christians. Praying the Psalmsor doing charity are an example of prayers of praise, of how one can express his love to God. To praise God, of course it is very important that you believe that God is God, and to know God in a personal way

This is my encouragement I want to bring forward to you… to praise God in your daily life.

( this reflection can be viewed through my YouTube Channel https://youtu.be/kFn_bbtdJVA )

In Unity,

George Calleja  (Christian  Author)

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https://sites.google.com/site/peaceinunity
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‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God

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The Sixth Beatitude : Blessed are the pure in heart,

What does this particular Beatitude show us about Jesus’ love for us? This Beatitude shows us the ‘depth’ of Jesus’ love for us by being interested in our heart. What is important for Jesus is not the many good deeds that we do, but he is interested in knowing that such good deeds are done with a pure, clean heart.

Jesus is interested in sinners being able to make it to the loving Father, by acknowledging their mistakes, by asking forgiveness and by changing their lives. This is only possible if each sinner changes his life of sin that results in an unclean heart, and through the love of the Father be transformed to have a clean, pure heart that disassociates itself from sin.

The heart carries all the secrets of a person, which only the person himself knows about… besides God. Amongst such secrets, one may carry negative secrets, which as is written in Matthew 15-18-20 the ‘…things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…’

 It is for this reason that Jesus is very much interested in our heart, in having a pure heart, so that mankind does not fall into the trap of sin. This particular Beatitude gives the person hope to trust in Him by letting go of sin and as a result obtain a clean heart.

…for they will see God.

The reward for all those who are clean in heart and who renounce sin from their lives is, to see God. What ultimate reward can anyone hope for in one’s life, other than that of seeing God?

This is Jesus’ ultimate love for us all: teaching us how to become a better person to overcome sin and reap the reward through a pure heart. The reward of seeing God is there for all of us to achieve by experiencing the love of God given to us on earth, and by seeing God in heaven… which is the greatest reward for eternity.

It is only through Him that we can be purified. Are you working to have a clean and pure heart? What obstacles are there in your life preventing you from having a clean heart? Through God’s grace, through His love for you, it is possible for you to have a clean heart and to be rewarded for it by seeing God.

God is waiting for you.

( to view the video ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ kindly visit   https://youtu.be/MnXYeE09Xoo   )

In Unity,

George Calleja  (Christian  Author)

ps
To know more about me kindly follow the below links to my websites and other social networks:
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https://sites.google.com/site/peaceinunity
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https://sites.google.com/site/georgecallejachristianauthor/

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‘Trusting Him in my life’

Trusting Jesus in our life might seem for certain people that it is beyond oneself.  One might have many questions how this is done, if it is possible!  Over the years I have personally lived the experience of trusting Jesus in every day of my life.

The turning point in my life of trusting Jesus was when around 27 years ago I felt the calling to be a missionary, that is to evangelise God’s love to the nations.  It was a challenge to let go of my securities in life, my parents, my work, my friends etc.  But in Him, when I turned to Him and told Him you have to take care of all my needs, since that particular day I have experienced His constant love to me.  He took care of me in a personal loving way.

This personal care I experienced was not only during my time as a missionary, but also in the following years in my married life.  He continued to take care of me and my family.  This was possible by totally trusting my life to Him, through prayer, building this personal relationship with Him, and by loving my neighbour.

My experience is a challenge for each of you, that you can also do it, and live a life through His daily personal care for you.  A life that whatever the days are if ‘rainy or sunny’ you know that He is always there by your side, in Love.

Believe me, trust your life to Him.

In Unity,

George Calleja – Malta

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Matthew 6: 1-18: Three Pious Practices

In this section of the Sermon of the Mount (Mt 6: 1-18) Jesus instructs his disciples about their religious practices. Three pious practices are dealt with here, namely, almsgiving (Mt 6: 2-4), prayer (Mt 6: 5-15), and fasting (Mt 6: 16-18). At the beginning of the Sermon of the Mount Jesus had warned his disciples about the greater righteousness that is required of them. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5: 20). In the antitheses (Mt 5: 21-48) Jesus illustrated the implications of greater righteousness in different areas of human relationships. Here the greater righteousness of Jesus’ followers was concerned with their observance of the law as radicalized and interpreted by Jesus. In Mt 6: 1-18 too the point of Jesus’ teaching is the disciples’ righteousness in the matter of certain pious practices. Not only in their response to the law (as radicalized/internalized by Jesus) but in their practices of piety too the righteousness/justice of the disciples should exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees.
If Mt 5: 20 is a programmatic statement covering the entire Sermon of the Mount, Mt 6: 1 is a statement of principle for the section Mt 6: 2-18. Significantly, it is the same Greek word dikaiosyne which is used in Mt 5: 20 and Mt 6: 1, ad which is translated as ‘righteousness’ in Mt 5: 20 and as ‘piety’ in Mt 6: 1. The general principle in Mt 6: 1 warns Jesus’ followers not to parade or display their pious practices in order to be seen by people. This is followed by three units dealing with almsgiving (Mt 6: 2-4), prayer (Mt 6: 5-15), and fasting (Mt 6: 16-18). Being proper to Matthew’s gospel, these units (except the Our Father) must have been part of a special tradition of the Matthean Church. The structure of these units on almsgiving (Mt 6: 2-4), prayer (Mt 6: 5-6), and fasting (Mt 6: 16-18) is exactly the same. Each unit begins with a description of the behaviour of the hypocrites and there follows a reference to the reward they have already received. The third element in each unit is Jesus’ instruction on what his followers should do in the practice of piety and the final element is the promise of a reward from God. In this schematic arrangement of the three units the first element corresponds to the third and the second to the fourth.

 

Mt 6: 2-4 (Almsgiving) Mt 6: 5-6 (Prayer) Mt 6: 16-18 (Fasting)

A

Mt 6: 2

What the hypocrites do.

Mt 6: 5

What the hypocrites do.

Mt 6: 16

What the hypocrites do.

B

 

Their reward (Truly I say to you)

 

Their reward (Truly I say to you)

 

Their reward (Truly I say to you)

A’

Mt 6: 3-4

What the Disciples should do.

Mt 6: 6

What the Disciples should do.

Mt 6: 17-18

What the Disciples should do.

(But when you give alms…)

(But when you pray…)

(But when you fast…)

B’   Promise of reward.   Promise of reward.  

Promise of reward.

The schematic and perfectly matching pattern of the three units is broken by the Matthean expansion of the unit on prayer (Mt 6: 5-6). Here Matthew has inserted a separate catechesis on prayer. It contains a saying about prayer itself (Mt 6: 7-8), the Our Father (Mt 6: 9-13) and a saying about forgiveness (Mt 6: 14-15; Cf. Mk 11: 25).
Jesus does not criticize almsgiving, prayer, or fasting; in fact, he upholds the value of these pious practices and instructs his disciples about how they should perform these actions. His criticism is directed towards the hypocrites (originally a theatrical term, meaning “actors” on a stage) who make a public display of their charity (Mt 6: 2), of themselves in prayer (Mt 6: 5) and of their fasting (Mt 6: 16). In the manner of practising piety Jesus instructs his disciples to do the exact opposite of what the hypocrites (Scribes and Pharisees, Cf. Mt 23) do. The contrast between self-seeking and selflessness in giving alms is brought out by the obvious exaggerations of sounding a trumpet (Mt 6: 2) and the left hand that is ignorant (Mt 6: 3). Similarly, in Mt 6: 5-6 praying in the synagogues and street corners to be seen by people is contrasted with praying in one’s room unnoticed by others. Again, the public display of fast is contrasted with disguising of fast in Mt 6: 16-17. Thus, in works of piety too Jesus wants the righteousness of his disciples to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees.

Matthew 4: 1-11: Temptations of Jesus

In Matthew and Mark the account of Jesus’ temptations follows immediately after the narrative of his baptism. In Luke, however, the order of sequence is different. After the heavenly declaration of Jesus’ divine sonship at his baptism (Lk 3: 21-22), Luke presents Jesus’ genealogy and traces his ancestry back to Adam, the Son of God (Lk 3: 23-38). Luke reports Jesus’ temptations (Lk 4: 1-13) immediately after his description of Jesus’ genealogy. With regard to Jesus’ temptations, it may be observed in general that while Mark merely reports the fact of the temptation, both Matthew and Luke describe the temptations in detail. Although Luke’s order of sequence is different, the details of the three temptations are the same in Matthew and Luke. Perhaps it should also be mentioned that according to Matthew, Jesus’ temptations begin only after 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. In Mark and Luke, however, Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days tempted by the devil. Matthew’s wording in Mt 4: 2 recalls Moses’ sojourn on Sinai: “He was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water” (Ex 34: 28). Matthew’s intention seems to be to introduce a parallel between Moses and Jesus although his main parallel in the temptation story, as in infancy narrative, is between Israel and Jesus.
According to Matthew, and indeed in the synoptic tradition, the baptism of Jesus (Mt 3: 13-17) and his temptations (Mt 4: 1-11) are closely connected. The Spirit that came down upon Jesus at his baptism (Mt 3: 16) now leads him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mt 4: 1). Jesus’ divine Sonship proclaimed at his baptism by the Father (Mt 3: 17) is now tested by the devil. The temptation story is the testing of God’s Son; and in the first two temptations the devil challenges Jesus to manifest his Sonship (“If you are the Son of God…” Cf. Mt 4: 3, 6). At his baptism Jesus surrendered himself to the will of the Father (Cf. Mt 3: 15) and now in the wilderness Jesus’ self-surrender and his eagerness to do the Father’s will are put to the test. Jesus the true Israel and the true Son of God will experience what the Israel of old experienced in the wilderness; but unlike them Jesus will conquer all temptations to be faithful to the God of the covenant. The devil presents three temptations and each time Jesus answers with a quotation from the book of Deuteronomy.
After 40 days and 40 nights of fasting Jesus was hungry (Mt 4: 2). Appropriately, therefore, the first temptation is to satisfy his hunger, his personal need. The tempter approaches Jesus and asks him to manifest his divine Sonship by changing stones into loaves of bread in order to feed himself (Mt 4: 3). The baptism of Jesus was his self-surrender to God, his submission to the will of the Father. The temptation to change stones into bread was a temptation to act independently of the Father’s will, to perform a miracle to his own advantage. It may also imply an invitation to reject his divinely-marked-out suffering destiny and play a political and social role by manifesting his power as the Son of God. But Jesus does not give into the temptation to depart from the Father’s will. He answers the devil by citing Deut 8: 3 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Jesus’ answer reveals his perfect trust in the providential care of God. Jesus who wants to do the Father’s will (Cf. Mt 3: 15) surrenders himself to God’s word which sustains and nourishes him.
The second temptation (Mt 4: 5-6) is yet another challenge to Jesus to prove his divine Sonship and his trust in God’s providence by throwing himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. From the desert Jesus is now brought to the holy city. Whereas Luke has to mention Jerusalem explicitly (Cf. Lk 4: 9) for the benefit of the Gentile readers, the Matthean expression “holy city” has a Jewish flavour and is readily understood by his Jewish Christian readers (Cf. Mt 27: 53). The “pinnacle” of the temple may refer to the highest point of the temple or of the wall surrounding the temple. Quoting Scripture (Ps 91: 11-12) the devil challenges Jesus to show his trust in God’s providential care by throwing himself down. Will Jesus put God to the test as Israel did in the past (Cf. Ex 17: 1-7)? No, Jesus, the new Israel will not tempt God; accordingly, he answers the devil by quoting another Scripture text: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Deut 6: 16). Jesus does not want to prove his divine Sonship or his filial trust in God by working a miracle or by performing a stupendous action. He experienced temptations not only at the beginning of his public life but also right through his ministry, and even on the Cross. The last temptation of Jesus was also a challenge to manifest his divine Sonship by a miraculous act: “if you are the Son of God, come down from the Cross” (Mt 27: 40). Jesus does not yield to these temptations. He does not cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple or come down from the Cross. On the contrary, in perfect obedience to the Father’s will, Jesus accepts his suffering destiny already marked out for him in the plan of God.
The third temptation (Mt 4: 8-9) takes place on a “very high mountain”. The devil claims to own the whole world and promises Jesus all the kingdoms and their glory if he will worship him. Here the devil arrogates to himself what is exclusively God’s own, the Lordship of the whole world; he makes himself God and provokes Jesus to idolatry and political Messiahship. In other words, Jesus is tempted to deny God’s dominion over the whole world and to become a glorious, political Messiah. Once again Jesus quotes an Old Testament text in response to the challenge. This time the text quoted is Deut 6: 13 which contains the fundamental requirement enjoined on the covenanted people of God, namely, monotheism. Only God is to be worshipped and he alone is to be served (Cf. Ex 20: 2-6). If Israel failed to be faithful to the God of the covenant and worshipped idols (Cf. Ex 32), Jesus, the new Israel overcomes the temptation to idolatry and dismisses the temper, “begone, Satan” (Mt 4: 10). How can Jesus, whose ministry is going to bring about the universal reign of God within man’s reach and experience, accept the Lordship of Satan? Jesus overcomes the temptation to idolatry and worldly Messiahship because these are not in accord with the plan which God has decreed for him.
In describing these temptations of Jesus, the evangelist wants to emphasize: a) that Jesus was tempted at the beginning of his ministry (Cf. Heb 2: 18; 4: 15); b) that unlike the Israel of old, Jesus, the new Israel does not succumb to the temptations; c) that Jesus remains obedient to the will of the Father, especially to the will of God expressed in the Old Testament, and; d) that the attitude of Jesus who is perfectly submissive to the will of God is an example for the Christian community at all times.