Day 36 – Love at Zero Distance




Like all the apostles who promised Jesus not to desert Him as He went through His Passion, we know that in reality, most of us will. When you were asked yesterday whether you would choose to be a deserter or a faithful follower, what was your choice? None of us want to be identified as a deserter. But why, in reality, only so few of us are found at the foot of the Cross? What is going on here? Let us turn to Mother Mary, who has always been following Jesus closely, both physically and spiritually, especially during the Passion of Christ. She was connected with Jesus; she was in solidarity with Him in spirit.

No circumstances or external threats could deter Mother Mary from following Jesus, let alone convince her to desert Him. We can be sure that she was constantly confronted by Satan, who also "followed" Jesus closely to prevent people from getting close to Jesus. Satan knows Jesus is the BRIDGE to God the Father. So, Satan is determined to burn that bridge!

It does not only try to destroy Jesus, but it also vows to destroy anyone who commits themselves as His disciples throughout history. Anyone who gets close to Jesus, it will attack, using countless tactics previously described in this retreat. But let us not be gripped by fears and fall into despair as that is a trap as well. Let us learn from Mother Mary. If she has been able to conquer Satan to remain with Jesus, we have hope too!

Like Mary, whoever keeps minimal distance from Jesus holds the key to Heaven, to the Father's House. It is as simple as that!

And who else other than Satan would be trying so hard to trick and motivate us to keep a 'safe' distance from Jesus! We should be sure that if Peter did not fall into the trap of Satan but followed Jesus closely, the history of his three denials of Jesus would have been rewritten.

Let us turn our gaze to Our Creator and Our God to find out His approach in relating to us. First of all, God has created us in His image. He has taken us as His bride and cares for our every need in minute details. Then in order to redeem us, He was born of a human, the virgin Mary, to become a human being like us so that He could dwell among us. In doing so, He experienced all forms of human sufferings, and at the end, He died the most shameful death on the Cross. Before Jesus returned to the Father, He left us His Body and Blood to live among us and to accompany us until the day we are forever united with God in Heaven. Imagine for a moment. If you have created robots, will you become a robot to die for them in order to save them?

Can we see that God's approach is a 'zero-distance' approach? Unfortunately, His 'zero-distance' approach is met with our 'keep-a-distance' approach. What a gap!

If you agree that the father in the parable is 'unreasonable' and lavish in his love and sacrifices for his two sons, how much more generous is our heavenly Father's love for us!

How is it possible that God cares for us so much more than we care for Him? In fact, it is we who need Him the most. Where is the missing link?

Nurturing a relationship requires great effort. On Day 15, we mentioned that our RELATIONSHIP with God helps us to find our IDENTITY, which defines and shapes our MISSION on earth. Relationship with God is the most worthwhile 'investment' of our time here on earth. Here we can borrow some insights from the famous Aesop Fable 'The Turtle and the Rabbit' to shed some light for us regarding our relationship with God. In the story, the proud rabbit believes that it is well ahead in the race and still has lots of time, so it slacks off and remains idle, until it is too late to catch up.

Our relationship with God, which is equivalent to Our Journey Home, requires consistency and persistence. In order to arrive at our destination ahead of time, we cannot afford to be idle, to make unnecessary stops, or to take on a wait-and-see approach like the rabbit. At the end of the day, the humble ones win the race.

Jesus said in Mark 10:31,

'Many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.'

Even though the younger son went astray, yet once he had woken up, he did not allow anything to stop him from returning home to his father.

His humility, determination, and perseverance helped him to win the proud rabbit in successfully arriving at his destination safe and early.


How different is your approach in relating to God and His approach in relating to you?

What can you learn from Mother Mary in relating to, following, and loving Jesus?

Are you a rabbit or a turtle, the elder son or the younger son?


Dear Abba Father, I am overwhelmed by how close and connected You desire to remain with me. Your zero-distant approach to love has deeply touched me and made me speechless. How could I ever resist Your love? But I notice that my stubbornness gets in the way as I want to stay close to You. I have also realized whenever I neglect others, or decide to walk away when others need me badly, I am in fact deserting Jesus like the apostles did. Let me learn from Mother Mary to be sensitive to both Jesus' needs and others' needs.

I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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