Fr. Francis Scaria

Smiley face The most miserable example of an opportunity lost is that of Judas. He messed up a fantastic opportunity. Can there be a position in the history of mankind offered to any human being better than the one offered to the twelve – a vocation to be an Apostle of the Son of God? In Mt 13:16-17, Jesus says, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it”. But his obsession for money, which St. Paul describes as the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10), makes him sell off that opportunity. When he sold off his Master and Lord, he was also selling off a treasurable God-given opportunity.

The First Book of Samuel describes how Saul, son of Kush messed up an opportunity offered to him to be first king of Israel. Saul was the tallest among the Israelites and most handsome too (cf. 1 Sam 9:2). God chose him to be anointed to rule over His people (cf. 1 Sam 9:15-17). God even “gave him another heart”(1 Sam 10:9). The Spirit of God possessed him and he prophesied (cf. 1 Sam 10:9-13). When the people of Israel gathered around prophet Samuel to choose their king by lot, the lot fell on Saul. With the power of God, he routed the kingdoms of the enemies of the Israel (cf. 1 Sam 11:1-13; 14:47-48). His success as king made him forget God. He offered an unlawful sacrifice (1 Sam 13:1-13). He disobeyed the Lord (cf. 1 Sam 15). Worse still, an obsession of jealousy for David, one of his own subjects makes him mess up his God-given vocation.

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost the devil who lost the paradise, unable to come to terms with the new situation, tries to rename the hell as heaven. He tells himself, “It is better to rule in hell than to be ruled over in heaven”. Satan wants to give an impression that it is God who lost the paradise. Hell can be the fool’s paradise because there is nothing left for him, no scope for anything better.

The New Testament gives us stunning examples of people who made the best use of their opportunities. Bartimeus, the blind beggar, sitting at the roadside in Jericho, “throwing off his cloak”, “sprang up” (Mk 10:50) not to miss the opportunity to meet Jesus and gain sight. Similarly Zacchaeus, the short tax collector, did not want to miss the opportunity and so he climbed on a Sycamore tree to meet Jesus. Had they not taken the trouble to rush to Jesus, Jesus would have passed by and they would have lost the opportunity once and for all (cf. Lk 19:1-10).

Our life is still a great opportunity. We can make it or break it. We can make the best use of it in our wisdom, or we can mess it up in our foolishness. However “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” (1Cor 1:25). Jesus on the cross seemed to have lost everything in the eyes of the world. The eternal wisdom of the grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying to become productive can be received only by a believing heart. It was an opportunity that seemed to have been lost in the eyes of the world, yet it was precisely the way the opportunity was best materialised.

MUSINGS : 1-25, 26-50, 51-75

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