sexta-feira, 26 de maio de 2017

BEYOND THE TEMPLE

After three days they found him in the temple courts,
sitting among the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions.
Everyone who heard him was amazed
at his understanding and his answers.
Luke 2:46-47 (read 2:41-52) – NIV

In the Gospel according to Matthew, Mary and Joseph were living in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. After two years and the visit of the Magi they fled to Egypt to escape from the persecution of King Herod. Upon returning from Egypt they moved to Nazareth in order to stay away from the danger that Herod represented in Jerusalem. Jesus exercised his ministry far from Jerusalem and returned there only to be crucified at the end of his ministry.

But the Gospel according to Luke tells the story very differently. For Luke, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth and went to Bethlehem for a census registration. Jesus was born in Bethlehem during their journey. After fulfilling their religious rites there, the family returned to their home in Nazareth. Every year the family went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Jesus visited Jerusalem many times before the last visit when he was crucified.

The text speaks of one such trip when Jesus was twelve years old. On the return trip the parents of Jesus found him missing and returned to Jerusalem to search for him. They found Jesus “in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions."

Since boyhood, Jesus sought knowledge by listening, wondering and asking questions. That's how he grew, not only in physical stature, but also in wisdom. The teachers of the law were amazed at his intelligence and understanding and by his questions and answers. They liked him very much.

But in the continuation of the narrative of Luke the adult Jesus created serious problems for the teachers of the Law because of his questions and answers. His wisdom was far beyond that of the temple. His visits became confrontations. They began to hate him enough to want to kill him.

For Jesus, the Temple was "Daddy's" home, but Daddy was away from home most of the time. Daddy went out to people who didn’t come by for a visit. Daddy didn’t stay at home waiting to be visited. The temple wasn’t big enough to receive the thousands who needed fatherly and motherly care. Daddy could be found anywhere there were people, especially people in need.

The growth of Jesus should serve as a model for our own development. Our religious institutions have their value as points of support, but should never become ends in themselves. Doctrines and dogmas should never be closed or exclude segments of humanity. The teachers of the Law had trapped themselves in a system of exclusion. They were afraid to open up to the world.

Our growth should free ourselves from the limitations of institutional Temple. There is a vast universe out there to reach out to, and it won't come to us.

LUKE 2:41-52 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.




domingo, 21 de maio de 2017

ENXERGANDO O OCULTO

Simeão pegou o menino no colo e louvou a Deus.
Lucas 2.28 (leia 2.22-40) – NTLH

Fé é a arte de enxergar além das aparências. Antônio Francisco Lisboa, o Aleijadinho (1738-1814), contemplou uma pedra bruta e viu dentro dela um profeta. Com martelo e cinzel, o libertou para todo o mundo ver. George Washington Carver (1860-1943), nascido escravo, olhou para um grão de amendoim e orou: “Deus, ajuda-me a ver o que está dentro dele”! No seu laboratório, extraiu 325 produtos diferentes: alimentos, cosméticos, tintas, tecidos, plásticos, etc. Simão viu um casal de camponeses trazer seu filho recém nascido ao templo para ser dedicado. Pela fé, viu no nenê, uma grande luz para iluminar o caminho dos povos no mundo.

Fé é a arte de ver a grandeza nas coisas pequenas: numa pedra, num grão de semente, num nenê de família pobre. Sem elas, não haveria grandeza. A grandeza verdadeira está nas pequenas coisas. A tragédia do homem moderno é confundir a ostentação com a grandeza. A ostentação é ilusão. A grandeza construída às custas dos outros e da criação é falsa. É viver a mentira.

Jesus abençoou os humildes, pacificadores e pobres de sua época. Viu neles o Reino de Deus. Na economia divina, o simples é a base do complexo. Nêutrons e prótons formam átomos, átomos formam; moléculas, moléculas formam; compostos, compostos formam; células, células formam; organismos vivos. Jesus, que os cristãos reconhecem como Salvador e Filho de Deus, veio por meio deste processo divino. Foi concebido, nasceu e cresceu em estatura e sabedoria. Não “queimou etapas”. Não chegou já feito. Sua grandeza veio naturalmente como resultado de humildade e compaixão.

Nas florestas, admiramos as árvores gigantescas que são verdadeiros “arranha-céus vivos”. Sabemos que começaram como sementes pequenas. Mas, muitas vezes não percebemos que a sua existência e proliferação seria impossível sem milhões de outros organismos menores, até invisíveis a olho nu. A destruição deste sistema ecológico seria o fim das árvores gigantes também. As coisas pequenas são importantíssimas em todos os níveis da existência.

A fé enxerga o potencial daquilo que é aparentemente sem valor e a fragilidade, da grandeza aparente. Simão poderia ter se concentrado na grandeza do templo e da liturgia bonita dos atos religiosos. Poderia ter se impressionado com os ricos e poderosos trazendo suas ofertas valiosas. Viu apenas um menino pobre! Mas ao vê-lo, viu tudo que era importante. Viu a grandeza verdadeira!… O templo não existe mais. Mas Jesus continua a ser central na vida de bilhões de pessoas.

O importante não é ser grande ou pequeno. Todos têm o potencial de ser uma bênção e de crescer em sabedoria. Trilhar o caminho da compaixão está dentro do alcance de todos.

LUCAS 2:22-40 – NOVA TRADUҪÃO NA LINGUAGEM DE HOJE 2000 (NTLH)


Chegou o dia de Maria e José cumprirem a cerimônia da purificação, conforme manda a Lei de Moisés. Então eles levaram a criança para Jerusalém a fim de apresentá-la ao Senhor. Pois está escrito na Lei do Senhor: “Todo primeiro filho será separado e dedicado ao Senhor.” Eles foram lá também para oferecer em sacrifício duas rolinhas ou dois pombinhos, como a Lei do Senhor manda.
Em Jerusalém morava um homem chamado Simeão. Ele era bom e piedoso e esperava a salvação do povo de Israel. O Espírito Santo estava com ele, e o próprio Espírito lhe tinha prometido que, antes de morrer, ele iria ver o Messias enviado pelo Senhor. Guiado pelo Espírito, Simeão foi ao Templo. Quando os pais levaram o menino Jesus ao Templo para fazer o que a Lei manda, Simeão pegou o menino no colo e louvou a Deus. Ele disse:
Agora, Senhor, cumpriste a promessa
que fizeste
e já podes deixar este teu servo
partir em paz.
Pois eu já vi com os meus próprios olhos
a tua salvação,
que preparaste na presença
de todos os povos:
uma luz para mostrar o teu caminho
a todos os que não são judeus
e para dar glória ao teu povo de Israel.
33 O pai e a mãe do menino ficaram admirados com o que Simeão disse a respeito dele. 34 Simeão os abençoou e disse a Maria, a mãe de Jesus:
Este menino foi escolhido por Deus tanto para a destruição como para a salvação de muita gente em Israel. Ele vai ser um sinal de Deus; muitas pessoas falarão contra ele, e assim os pensamentos secretos delas serão conhecidos. E a tristeza, como uma espada afiada, cortará o seu coração, Maria.
Havia ali também uma profetisa chamada Ana, que era viúva e muito idosa. Ela era filha de Fanuel, da tribo de Aser. Sete anos depois que ela havia casado, o seu marido morreu. Agora ela estava com oitenta e quatro anos de idade. Nunca saía do pátio do Templo e adorava a Deus dia e noite, jejuando e fazendo orações. Naquele momento ela chegou e começou a louvar a Deus e a falar a respeito do menino para todos os que esperavam a libertação de Jerusalém.
Quando terminaram de fazer tudo o que a Lei do Senhor manda, José e Maria voltaram para a Galileia, para a casa deles na cidade de Nazaré.
O menino crescia e ficava forte; tinha muita sabedoria e era abençoado por Deus.





sexta-feira, 19 de maio de 2017

SEEING THE HIDDEN

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God
Luke 2:28 (2:22-40) - NIV

Faith includes the art of seeing what is hidden. Antônio Francisco Lisboa, “Aleijadinho” (1738-1814), contemplated a rock and saw a prophet in it. With hammer and chisel, he freed the prophet for the world to see. George Washington Carver (1860-1943), born a slave, looked at a peanut and prayed: "God, help me to see what's inside it!" In his laboratory, he extracted 325 different products: food, cosmetics, paint, fabric, plastics, etc. Simon saw a couple of peasants bring her newborn baby to the temple to be dedicated. By faith, he saw a great light coming to illuminate the path of people in the world through him.

Faith is the art of seeing the greatness in small things: a rock, a peanut, a baby from a poor family. Without them there would be no greatness. True greatness is in the little things. The tragedy of modern man is to confuse the ostentatious with greatness. Ostentation is illusion. Greatness which is built at the expense of others and of creation is false. It is living a lie.

Jesus blessed the meek, the peacemakers and the poor of his time. He saw the Kingdom of God in them. In the divine economy, the simple is the basis of the complex. Neutrons and protons form atoms, atoms form molecules, molecules form compounds, compounds form cells, cells form living organisms and living organisms form the ecosystem of which we are a part. Jesus, whom Christians recognize as Savior and Son of God, came through this divine process. He was conceived, born and grew in stature and wisdom. He did not skip any steps. He did not arrive already made. His greatness came naturally as a result of humility and compassion.

We admire the giant trees that are truly living skyscrapers. We know that they started out as small seeds. Often we do not realize that their existence and proliferation would be impossible without millions of other smaller organisms invisible to the naked eye. The destruction of this ecosystem would be the end of the giant trees also. The little things are very important at all levels of existence and the larger more complex things depend on them for their existence.

Faith sees the potential of what is apparently worthless and weak with no apparent magnitude. Simon could have focused on the grandeur of the temple and the beautiful liturgy of religious acts. He could have been impressed by the rich and powerful bringing their valuable offerings. But he saw just a poor baby and when he saw it he saw how important it was. He saw its true greatness. The temple no longer exists but that small baby continues to inspire the lives of billions of people.

The important thing is not to be big or be small. We all have the potential to become a blessing and to grow in wisdom. Walking the path of compassion is within the reach of everyone. Only that leads to true greatness.


LUKE 2:22-40 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.







domingo, 14 de maio de 2017

NO CAMINHO DA PAZ


Ele fará brilhar sobre nós a sua luz
e do céu iluminará todos os que vivem na escuridão
da sombra da morte,
para guiar os nossos passos no caminho da paz.
Lucas 1.78b-79 (leia 1.68-79) – NTLH

Neste texto, Zacarias está louvando ao Senhor porque o seu filho, João (Batista), seria o profeta destinado a preparar o caminho para a chegada do Salvador do seu povo. Ele falou da esperança de paz e liberdade, de uma vida sem opressão e sem medo.

Profetas de todos os tempos têm pregado a vinda de um Salvador Poderoso que vai golpear os maus, destruindo o mal e impondo justiça, paz e prosperidade. Os judeus aguardam uma figura humana para cumprir esta missão para o Povo de Israel. Os cristãos esperam um Cristo, vindo do céu, para destruir os maldosos e restabelecer o paraíso terrestre. Ambas as tradições descartam a paz como meio de estabelecer a paz...Para elas, a paz final será fruto da violência praticada para eliminar o mal.

Os fundamentalistas monoteístas: judeus, cristãos e muçulmanos, estão seguindo o caminho de passos violentos da guerra e terrorismo para destruir seus inimigos e estabelecer suas versões de paraíso. O resultado está sendo desastroso para a humanidade, fazendo a terra mais infernal.

Em contraste, o “poderoso Salvador” dos evangelhos foi Jesus de Nazaré: pobre, sem terra, sem teto, sem voto, sem nenhum poder institucional. Ele veio para “guiar os nossos passos no caminho da paz”. Sua arma era amor cujo fruto é: bondade, misericórdia e perdão. Proibiu seus seguidores de pegarem em armas nem para se defender.

Sua maneira de ser era muito diferente do esperado. João Batista estranhou o comportamento de Jesus! Jesus não era agressivo para com os opressores, não tentava impor uma nova ordem social, não era abstinente, mas celebrava a vida com seus amigos. Era pacífico demais para o gosto dele. João ficou na dúvida se Jesus realmente era o salvador anunciado. Mandou perguntar à Jesus: “O senhor é aquele que ia chegar ou devemos esperar outro?” Jesus apontou seu ministério de solidariedade como sinal do estabelecimento da paz e liberdade.

A liberdade é fruto da justiça. A justiça está alicerçada na bondade e misericórdia. Os passos no caminho da paz e liberdade nos levam em direção à prática da justiça, resultado de misericórdia e bondade. Tudo está interligado em uma só unidade. Este conceito é contrário à prática do mundo “civilizado” que tenta estabelecer paz e liberdade com o emprego da força, pensando em destruir o mal. O combate ao mal nunca estabeleceu uma ordem social de justiça, paz e liberdade.

Os passos no caminho da paz são: solidariedade (ajudar) no lugar de competição, respeitar os outros (dar a liberdade) em vez de manipulá-los, não vingar as injustiças (perdoar), ser compassivos (misericordiosos) e generosos (bondosos). É assim que a “luz do céu iluminará todos os que vivem na escuridão da sombra da morte”.

LUCAS 1:68-79 – NOVA TRADUҪÃO NA LINGUAGEM DE HOJE 2000 (NTLH)


  • Louvemos o Senhor, o Deus de Israel,
    pois ele veio ajudar o seu povo
    e lhe dar a liberdade.
    Enviou para nós um poderoso Salvador,
    aquele que é descendente
    do seu servo Davi.
    Faz muito tempo que Deus disse isso
    por meio dos seus santos profetas.
    Ele prometeu nos salvar
    dos nossos inimigos
    e nos livrar do poder de todos
    os que nos odeiam.
    Disse que ia mostrar a sua bondade
    aos nossos antepassados
    e lembrar da sua santa aliança.
    Ele fez um juramento
    ao nosso antepassado Abraão;
    prometeu que nos livraria
    dos nossos inimigos
    e que ia nos deixar servi-lo sem medo,
    para que sejamos somente dele
    e façamos o que ele quer
    em todos os dias da nossa vida.
    E você, menino, será chamado de
    profeta do Deus Altíssimo
    e irá adiante do Senhor
    a fim de preparar o caminho para ele.
    Você anunciará ao povo de Deus
    a salvação
    que virá por meio do perdão
    dos pecados deles.
    Pois o nosso Deus é misericordioso
    e bondoso.
    Ele fará brilhar sobre nós a sua luz
    e do céu iluminará todos os que vivem
    na escuridão da sombra da morte,
    para guiar os nossos passos
    no caminho da paz.





sexta-feira, 12 de maio de 2017

THE PATH OF PEACE


The rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Luke 1:78b-79 (read 1.68-79) - NIV

In this text, Zechariah is praising the Lord for his son, John (the Baptist), who would be the prophet to prepare the way for the arrival of the Savior of his people. He spoke of hope for peace, freedom and a life without oppression and fear.

Prophets of all ages (and of many different religions) have preached the coming of a dying and rising God Savior that will strike the wicked, destroy evil and impose justice, peace and prosperity. The Jews awaited a human figure to fulfill this mission for the People of Israel. Christians expect a triumphant Christ to come from heaven to destroy evil and restore an earthly paradise. Both traditions dismiss peace as a means of establishing peace. For them, peace will be the result of violence which will eliminate evil. They ignore that violence is evil in itself.

Fundamentalist monotheists: Jews, Christians and Muslims are following the path of the violence of war and terrorism to destroy their enemies and establish their versions of paradise. The result has been disastrous for humanity, creating hell for millions, if not billions, of people.

By contrast, the Savior of the gospels, Jesus of Nazareth, was poor, landless, homeless and with no institutional power. He came to "guide our feet into the way of peace". His weapon was love that produces kindness, mercy and forgiveness. He forbade his followers to take up arms or to defend themselves. They were sent as “sheep among wolves” with empty hands and only the clothes on their back.

Jesus’ manner was very different from what was expected. John the Baptist thought that the behavior of Jesus was strange. Jesus was not aggressive towards the oppressors, did not try to impose a new social order and was not abstinent; instead, he celebrated life with his friends. He was too peaceful for John’s taste. John was unsure if Jesus was really the announced savior. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one who would come or should we expect another. Jesus pointed out his ministry of solidarity, peace and freedom as signs of who he was.

Freedom is the fruit of justice. Justice is rooted in goodness and mercy. The steps on the path of peace and freedom lead us toward the practice of justice, mercy and goodness. Everything is connected into one unit. This concept is contrary to the practice of the "civilized" world that tries to establish peace and freedom with the use of coercion and violence, thinking that it will destroy evil. Violence against evil never established a social order of justice, peace and freedom.

The steps to peace are: solidarity in place of competition, respect for others instead of manipulation, forgiveness instead of retribution, compassion as an alternative to condemnation and acceptance as a substitute for rejection. This is how the sun (Son) from heaven will "shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death."

LUKE 1:68-79 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”







domingo, 7 de maio de 2017

O GRANDE "NÃO!"

(Jesus) foi levado pelo Espírito ao deserto.
Ali ele foi tentado pelo Diabo
durante quarenta dias.
Lucas 4.1-2a (leia 4.1-13) – NTLH

Antes de começar seu ministério, Jesus passou 40 dias e noites no deserto em meditação. Na Bíblia o número quarenta é usado para simbolizar “período de preparo” e o deserto simboliza “lugar de encontro.” O Antigo Testamento emprega muito estes dois símbolos na sua narrativa.

O preparo sério é necessário para qualquer empreendimento. Todas as grandes personagens na história das religiões passaram por grandes períodos de preparação: Abraão e Moisés em nossa tradição, Buda no budismo e Maomé no islã. Jesus se preparou durante muitos anos e o último estágio foram os quarenta dias e noites no deserto em oração.

Nesta “reta final”, Jesus lidou com três tentações para desviá-lo do caminho. Todas tinham algo em comum.

A primeira tentação foi uma pedra, parecida com pão. Por quê não suavizar o jejum com um pedacinho de pão? Ninguém ia saber! A primeira tentação era suave: colocar o conforto acima da disciplina da missão. Seria atender primeiro um desejo físico, e depois, o espiritual. Seria abrir caminho para sujeitar o espiritual ao material.

Nossa cultura materialista é o exemplo extremo desta inversão. O econômico tem precedência sobre o social. O lucro está acima do bem social. Traficantes matam, corruptos roubam, empresas demitem, igrejas capitalizam e nações fazem guerra – tudo por causa do valor do material. Mas Jesus disse “Não, o outro pão é o mais importante”.

A segunda tenteção foi um monte. Ao ser levado ao lugar mais alto, Jesus viu todos os reinos e foi oferecido poder e riqueza. Estaria em condições de impor a salvação. Mas Jesus viu que a imposição é satânica, é um deus falso. Salvação não pode ser imposta. O Reino de Deus não é regime de ordem imposta. É uma família, sendo Deus o Papai (com traços de mamãe) e os habitantes da terra seus filhos e filhas numa grande irmandade. É perigoso ser elevado até lugares altos na vida. Dá a ilusão que o poder permite impor soluções. Jesus disse outro: “Não”.

A terceira tentação foi a torre do templo. Jesus pulando da torre e não se machucando poderia demonstrar seus poderes sobrenaturais e ganhar a admiração da multidão. Seria fácil levá-la à salvação. Jesus não se enganou. Usar Deus para manipular os outros não faz parte do Reino. Ele veio para mostrar o caminho do amor e não fazer espetáculos! Deus não precisa de auto afirmação para ganhar admiração e simpatia. Jesus outra vez disse: “Não”.

A pedra, o monte e a torre tinham algo em comum. Foram tentações para fazer Jesus evitar a cruz. São tentações perenes, que se colocam no caminho de todos. No nosso deserto podemos, também, dizer o nosso: “NÃO”.

LUCAS 4:1-13 – NOVA TRADUҪÃO NA LINGUAGEM DE HOJE 2000 (NTLH)



Jesus, cheio do Espírito Santo, voltou do rio Jordão e foi levado pelo Espírito ao deserto. Ali ele foi tentado pelo Diabo durante quarenta dias. Nesse tempo todo ele não comeu nada e depois sentiu fome. Então o Diabo lhe disse:
Se você é o Filho de Deus, mande que esta pedra vire pão.
Jesus respondeu:
As Escrituras Sagradas afirmam que o ser humano não vive só de pão.
Aí o Diabo levou Jesus para o alto, mostrou-lhe num instante todos os reinos do mundo e disse:
Eu lhe darei todo este poder e toda esta riqueza, pois tudo isto me foi dado, e posso dar a quem eu quiser. Isto tudo será seu se você se ajoelhar diante de mim e me adorar.
Jesus respondeu:
As Escrituras Sagradas afirmam:
Adore o Senhor, seu Deus, e sirva somente a ele.”
Depois o Diabo o levou a Jerusalém e o colocou na parte mais alta do Templo e disse:
Se você é o Filho de Deus, jogue-se daqui, pois as Escrituras Sagradas afirmam:
Deus mandará que os seus anjos
cuidem de você.
Eles vão segurá-lo com as suas mãos,
para que nem mesmo os seus pés
sejam feridos nas pedras.”
Então Jesus respondeu:
As Escrituras Sagradas afirmam: “Não ponha à prova o Senhor, seu Deus.”
Quando o Diabo acabou de tentar Jesus de todas as maneiras, foi embora por algum tempo.



sexta-feira, 5 de maio de 2017

NO!, NO! AND NO!

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,
left the Jordan and was led
by the Spirit into the wilderness,
where for forty days
he was tempted by the devil.
Luke 4:1-2a (read 4:1-13) - NIV

According to Matthew and Luke, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert in meditation before starting his ministry. In the Bible the number forty is used to symbolize a period of preparation and the wilderness symbolizes a place of meeting. The Old Testament uses much these two symbols in its narratives.

Serious preparation is required for any new undertaking. Many of the great figures in religious stories went through long periods of preparation: Abraham and Moses started out late in life in the Jewish and Christian traditions as did Buddha in Buddhism and Muhammad in Islam. Jesus prepared himself for many years and the last stage of preparation were the forty days in prayer.in the desert.

In this "final stretch", Jesus dealt with three temptations to divert him from the path. All had something in common.

The first temptation was a stone that looked like bread. Why not ease the fast with a small piece of bread? No one would know! The first temptation was to put comfort above the course of mission. Physical desire would be priority over a larger goal. That would pave the way to put the material above the spiritual.

Our materialistic culture is the extreme example of this reversal. Economics take precedence over the social well-being. Economic profit is above the collective good. Traffickers kill, the corrupt steal, companies dismiss and underpay their workers, and nations capitalize on war - all because of material values. But Jesus said, "NO, the other bread is more important".

The second temptation was a high peak. Jesus was taken to a high peak where he could see the kingdoms of the world and was offered authority and splendor. He would be able to impose salvation. Power is a false god. Salvation cannot be imposed. The Kingdom of God is not a system of imposition. It is a family, and all the inhabitants of the earth are brothers and sisters. It is dangerous to occupy high places. It gives the illusion that power can impose goodness. Again Jesus said, "No".

The third temptation was the temple roof. By jumping off the high spot and not getting hurt Jesus could demonstrate his supernatural powers and win the admiration of the crowd. Then it would be easy to have people go along with him. Jesus was not fooled. Using the spectacular to manipulate others is not part of the Kingdom. He came to show the way of love and not to put on shows! God does not need self affirmation to win admiration and sympathy. Once again Jesus said, "No".

A stone, a peak and a temple roof had something in common. They were temptations for Jesus to cut corners and avoid the cross. These are perennial temptations that stand in the way of us all. In our own desert we can also say our own "NO, NO AND NO!".

LUKE 4:1-13 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.