Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Feast of St Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.
Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him." (Mark 3: 22... 30).

Monday 24 January 2022 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Born in France, he was the Bishop of Geneva where he combatted Calvinism. He founded with St Jane Frances de Chantal the Order of the Visitation Nuns. St Francis de Sales is an accomplished author and the patron saint of authors and journalists.

The scribes filled with envy accused Jesus of being insane. (Mark 3: 30).  Jesus used the opportunity of this drama to teach us the reality of two kingdoms in constant war with each other. Jesus came to usher in the Kingdom of God.  And He Jesus is the "mediator of a new covenant" made by His blood. (Cf Hebrews 9: 15).

Brethren, it is clear that a divided kingdom cannot stand. Can a divided Church stand? NO! Now listen to Jesus:
"No one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house."  (Mark 3: 27).

Who has tied up the Church?
The Church tied up itself in nuts when the Church departed from the supreme law of the Kingdom:
"SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND EVERYTHING ELSE WILL BE GIVEN YOU BESIDES." (Cf Matthew 6: 33).

Now the remedy:
Let Bishops seek first the kingdom.
Let priests seek first the kingdom.
Let moms seek first the kingdom.
Let politicians seek first the kingdom.
Let the youth seek first the kingdom.

The Church shall then be united organically. United we stand. Divided we shall surely fall.

St Francis de Sales is one of the greatest apologists of the Church.
To read the irrefutable proof of the Church as the Pillar and Foundation of truth, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2022/01/presenting-truth-of-catholic-church.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

PRESENTING THE TRUTH OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WITH SIMPLICITY.

I WAS ONCE A CATHOLIC...

"I was a Catholic once,” said the lady a few yards from me in the parking lot. “Now I’m a Christian and you can be one as well.” She preceded to hand a tract to a gentleman standing next to the opened trunk of his car. I couldn’t help it.

“Excuse me,” I said to the lady “but could I too have a tract?” The lady's face beamed. “Are you saved?,” she asked. “Of course I am; I’m a believing Catholic,” I retorted. She looked at me as if I had bad breath or something.

 She continued, “I was just telling this gentleman that I too was a Catholic - a Catholic for thirty-some years in fact. Now I've found Christ and I’m trying to tell everyone I know about salvation through Christ.”

 “Wow, that’s really something! May I ask why you left the Church?” I could tell that, by asking this question, my new acquaintance was getting excited. After all, she had probably been snubbed by dozens of people and now she has someone that she can “witness” to Christ. I didn’t mind much either, but I tried not to show it.

"You see,” she said, “I was born Catholic. I attended Mass every week, received the Sacraments and graduated from a Catholic school. Not once did I ever hear the gospel proclaimed. Not once! It was after the birth of my first child that a good friend of mine shared ‘the gospel’ with me and I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and became a Christian. Now I belong to a ‘Bible-believing’ church and I’m sharing the gospel with whomever will listen.”

This shocked me. “You mean you belonged to the Catholic Church for over forty years and you never heard the gospel?,” I said. She was getting more excited. “Yes, I never once heard the gospel of salvation preached or taught or even mentioned in the Church. If you don’t preach the gospel, excuse my bluntness, but you're simply not Christian.” I scratched my head and said, “that’s strange. I’ve been a Catholic all my life and I bet I hear the gospel ever week at Church.” Her smile quickly faded into a look of curiosity. “Maybe, I’m missing something,” I continued. “Tell me what you mean by ‘the gospel?’”

The lady reached back into her purse to pull out a little tract and said, “This tracts explains the simple gospel of salvation. It can be broken down into four easy steps.
“First, we acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.
 Secondly, we recognize that only God can save us.
 The third step is that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and to bring us to God.
 And the fourth and final step is that each individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior to be saved.”
I thought for a couple of seconds and said, “If I could demonstrate to you that Catholics hear “the gospel” every Sunday, would you agree to take a closer look at the Catholic Church?” Now, she knew she had me over a barrel. “Prove it,” she said. I excused myself for a second and ran to my car to grab a Missal.
“Since you have attended Mass nearly all your life, you probably remember these prayers.” I flipped open to the beginning prayers of the Mass and proceeded to show her how Catholics hear, pray and live the gospel message every Sunday.

The first step in my new found friend’s tract stated that we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. After the Greeting, the Mass continues to what is known as the Penitential Rite. I read loud the text to her while she followed reading silently.
“I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.”
I mentioned that it is here in this section that each Catholic states publicly that he or she is individually a sinner - not merely in a general sense - but specifically in thoughts, words and deeds. You can’t get much more complete than that. I continued reading,
“and I ask Blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and to you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”
The priest reaffirms this confession of sin by praying,
“May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.”
And the whole congregation says “Amen,” that is, “I believe.” The priest continues.
“Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy,”
and finishes by saying;
 "Lord show us your mercy and love. And grant us your salvation.”

I looked at her and said, “You see, we Catholics start every Mass with a public declaration of our own personal sinfulness and look to God for forgiveness.” She responded, “But Catholics don’t believe that God alone can save them. They believe Mary and the saints will save them.” I shook my head in disagreement. “No, we don’t. Remember what we had just read in the Mass. Catholic ask Mary, the angels, the saints and the whole congregation to pray to God for mercy on their behalf - just like I would ask you to pray for me to God. Does that mean that I look to you to ‘save’ me? No, of course I don’t believe that. I’m just asking for your help. Besides the ‘Gloria’ of the Mass proves that Catholics look to God alone to save us.”

I began reading the Missal emphasizing certain words to prove my point:
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us, you are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father."

Likewise, the doxology spoken just prior to communion reads,
“Through him, with him, in him; in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is your, almighty Father, for ever and ever.”

As I looked up, I could see the lady intently reading the page. She couldn’t believe that she had prayed these prayers for years and never noticed what it was saying. Yet, there it was in black and white. I continued with the third step - the acknowledgment that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and to bring us to God.
 The Profession of Faith reads,
“For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate.”

In the Eucharistic Prayer 1, the priest prays:
“Remember [Lord] all of us gather here before you. You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you. . . We pray to you, our living and true God, for our well-being and redemption . . . Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen.”
The prayer ends with an appeal to God for salvation through Jesus Christ:
“May, these and all who sleep in Christ, find in your presence light, happiness and peace. For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs . . . Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord you give us all these gifts. You fill them with life and goodness, you bless them and make them holy.”

Similarly the second Eucharistic Prayer proclaims,
“Dying you [Jesus] destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory. . . Have mercy on us all; make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages.”

Likewise, Eucharistic Prayer 3 reads,
“All life, all holiness comes from you through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit . . .
 Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet him when he comes again, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice. Look with favour on our your Church’s offering, and see the Victim [Christ] whose death has reconciled us to yourself . . .
 May he make us an everlasting gift for you and enable us to share in the inheritance of your saints . . . “

Lastly, the fourth Eucharistic Prayer reads,
“Father, you so loved the world that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior . . .
 In fulfillment of your will he gave himself up to death; but by rising from the dead, he destroyed death and restored life.”

In this prayer, the congregation proclaims the mystery of faith:
“Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world.”
 “You see, every week Catholics proclaim that Jesus died for them,” I said to the lady who was now searching for something to say. After a brief moment of silence, she shot a response back at me.
“What about accepting Jesus Christ and their personal Lord and Savior?” She retorted. “They may be saying all this stuff, but they don’t make a personal act of acceptance.” What she didn’t know was that I deliberately didn’t mention the last “step” of her “gospel.”

I explained that if Catholics don’t believe what they are praying, they ought not to be publicly proclaiming it. Since we can’t read the dispositions of other people’s hearts, we ought not to judge whether they truly believe what they are saying. Next, I pointed out the last step - where Catholics are accepting Jesus into their hearts. Right before communion the priest holds up the host (which is now the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord under the appearances of bread and wine) and prays.
“This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.”
And the congregation responds,
“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
I looked straight into the lady’s eyes and said, “It is here that all those who are prepared to receive Jesus Christ walk up to the front of the church but they don’t just believing in Christ or merely asking Jesus into their hearts.” “They don’t?” She asked. “No,” I answered, “they receive that same Christ who died on the cross on Calvary into their mouth and into their stomachs - body, blood, soul and divinity - and become one with him in an unspeakable way. Now that's accepting Christ!” She didn’t have a response. I’m not sure that she had ever really thought about the Mass and Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist because she appeared to be both surprised and intrigued.

I gave her my phone number and invited her to a study group I was heading in the neighborhood which examined the Biblical foundation for Catholic doctrine. As we departed, I couldn’t help but wonder how many other people, like my new friend, left the Church thinking that it had nothing to say about salvation. Yet the richness of the liturgy of the Mass and even more so Christ’s real substantial presence in the Eucharist so outshines our separated brethren’s “low church” prayer services that there is no comparison!

Indeed, the mystery of the Mass goes far beyond the simple “sinner’s prayer.” What I wanted to demonstrate is that all the elements of what Protestants consider the “essentials” of human salvation are presented, in Technicolor, in the liturgy of the Mass and that to deny the charge that the Church is somehow neglecting to present “the gospel".
(COPIED FROM WHATSAPP. Author Unknown).

🙏 ⛪🙏

From the constitution on the sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council
Christ is present to his Church

Christ is always present to his Church, especially in the actions of the liturgy. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, in the person of the minister (it is the same Christ who formerly offered himself on the cross that now offers by the ministry of priests) and most of all under the eucharistic species. He is present in the sacraments by his power, in such a way that when someone baptizes, Christ himself baptizes. He is present in his word, for it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Finally, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he himself promised: Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.
    Indeed, in this great work which gives perfect glory to God and brings holiness to men, Christ is always joining in partnership with himself his beloved Bride, the Church, which calls upon its Lord and through him gives worship to the eternal Father.
    It is therefore right to see the liturgy as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ, in which through signs addressed to the senses man’s sanctification is signified and, in a way proper to each of these signs, made effective, and in which public worship is celebrated in its fullness by the mystical body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the head and by his members.
    Accordingly, every liturgical celebration, as an activity of Christ the priest and of his body, which is the Church, is a sacred action of a pre-eminent kind. No other action of the Church equals its title to power or its degree of effectiveness.
    In the liturgy on earth we are given a foretaste and share in the liturgy of heaven, celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem, the goal of our pilgrimage, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, as minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle. With the whole company of heaven we sing a hymn of praise to the Lord; as we reverence the memory of the saints, we hope to have some part with them, and to share in their fellowship; we wait for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, who is our life, appears, and we appear with him in glory.
    By an apostolic tradition taking its origin from the very day of Christ’s resurrection, the Church celebrates the paschal mystery every eighth day, the day that is rightly called the Lord’s day. On Sunday the Christian faithful ought to gather together, so that by listening to the word of God and sharing in the Eucharist they may recall the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God who has given them a new birth with a lively hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Lord’s day is therefore the first and greatest festival, one to be set before the loving devotion of the faithful and impressed upon it, so that it may be also a day of joy and of freedom from work. Other celebrations must not take precedence over it, unless they are truly of the greatest importance, since it is the foundation and the kernel of the whole liturgical year.
🙏⛪🙏

Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me.

This Scripture is fulfilled Today.

"He [Jesus]... went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day....... He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4: 16 - 19).

Sunday 23rd January 2022, in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time.  In our Scripture for today, Jesus did in the synagogue in His home town Nazareth what He had never done before. He stated clearly for everyone to hear that He is the Man. The Messiah chosen to fulfill the long held promises and desires of the people.

“Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 21). What does this bold proclamation remind us?

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).
Simeon the Prophet, a devout man filled with the Holy Spirit testified that "Today" God fulfilled His promise to Israel when he held the Child Jesus in the Temple. For thirty years, Jesus spent His life in Nazareth most of it as a self-employed carpenter hidden from the world.

Does the Spirit of God in you ever tug your heart to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free?

In the Baptism of the Christ (Matthew 3: 16 - 17), Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit for a Mission:
#1 Bring the Good News to the poor.
#2 Proclaim liberty to captives.
#3 Recovery of sight to the blind.
#4 Grant freedom to the oppressed, etc.

Our own Baptism and Mission are intertwined with the Baptism and Mission of Jesus. When we own our Baptism and accept our Mission, we blossom and become saints.

Consider these ministries:
#1 Social Justice
#2 Prison Ministry
#3 Catechesis
#4 Evangelization
#5. Food Pantry
#6. Hospital Ministry

Lord Jesus, lead us, guide us and use us.

Daily Bible Verse @
SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, January 21, 2022

Let God fight for us.

“The same Lord who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17: 37).

Saturday 22 January 2022 in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time is
observed in USA as a day of prayer and penance for all Pro-life causes.

From the Scriptures, the Church continues to teach us  from the profile of David how to trust in God in the great battles of life.  Abolition of Slavery, Emancipation of Women count among the great battles of life. King Saul trusted in himself. David trusted in God. Saul consulted a necromancer. David consulted always the true prophet of God.

One great character trait of David is that he never forgets anything God does for him. The Psalms are filled with joys and sorrows of David. He knew that sooner or later, he would meet the same challenges again. This is one attribute of very successful people. They remember favors.

"All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves. For the battle belongs to the Lord, who shall deliver you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17: 47).

God favored David at such an early age with wisdom. There are people today in their 70's and 80's who believe that life's battles are won by big tanks and armies and billions of dollars. Not David.  Stalin famously asked:  "How many military divisions does the Pope have?" The Bible teaches that wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. It is His gift to those who honor Him and respect His laws. David had plenty of wisdom as did Pope St John Paul II who with President Ronald Regan were instrumental in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine dead, and did it without a sword in his hand." (1 Samuel 17: 50)

How did David overcome Goliath?
With sling and stone. The victory of Christians will come through faith in the name of Jesus. Not through $$ dollars, military divisions and hard work. The Holy Spirit gives us the life of David to inspire us.

Let us trust God to fight the great moral battles of good and evil for us. In the fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Cf Ecclesiastes 3: 11).

"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21: 8).

Our God is in full control of His world.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Feast of St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr.

"Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder;.... (Mark 3: 13... 19).

Friday 21st January 2022, in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Agnes (+ 304). Virgin and Martyr. Agnes who made a private vow of chastity to Jesus Christ resisted the attempt to force her into marriage. She was martyred at the age of 13. St Agnes is the patron saint of young girls and purity.

When we suffer with Christ, we can then shout with joy when His glory is revealed. No birth pang, no joy of nursing.
St Agnes whose feast is today suffered deprivation and martyrdom for the sake of Christ. Today she is enjoying her crown and glory in heaven. Her life is still remembered and celebrated throughout the world. Many churches and schools are named after her.

Jesus built His worldwide Church on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. Each year, we celebrate the glory of Saints Simon and Jude and the other Apostles. We do not celebrate the glory of Caesar, King Henry VIII, Napoleon, Churchill or Stalin.
The message of the Apostles still go out throughout the world.

It is the mind of Christ that the Church He founded be built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. What are the characteristics of this Church by which she can be recognized all over the world? There are four marks. As we profess every Sunday, the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. What do these words mean?
#1 One = One faith, one Baptism, one Shepherd.
#2 Holy = The Holy Spirit that indwells the Church is the source of her holiness. The Holy Spirit continually cleanses the Bride of Christ from defilements.
#3 Catholic = Universal. Found in all the countries of the United Nations and every other place of human habitation.
#4 Apostolic = Every Bishop is directly traceable to the original 12 Apostles who were constituted in today's Gospel.

"When I choose a soul for a work of Mine, I begin always by drawing that soul very close to Me with the leading bands of My most sweet love. I have given you the gift of My divine friendship, just as I gave it to John and to the other apostles in view of the great work that I entrusted to them: the foundation and growth of My Mystical Body, the Church on earth. Every work of Mine begins in this way." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, April 10, 2008).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Feast of Sts Fabian, Pope and Martyr & Sebastián, Martyr & Blessed Michael, Priest.

"He [Jesus] told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known." (Mark 3: 7...12).

Thursday 20th January 2022, in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of: Pope St Fabian (+ 250). Italian.
* Fabian divided the diocese of Rome into seven diaconates. This facilitated aid to the poor. He suffered martyrdom under Emperor Decius.
* St Sebastian (+ 288). Italian from Milan. Officer in the Imperial Guard under Emperor Diocletian. Martyred when he converted to Christianity.
* Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi (1903 - 1964). Nigerian. Trappist monk and priest. Beatified in Nigeria by Pope St John Paul II in 1998.
Why do we honor the saints? Jesus is glorified when we honor His saints. Their intercession is powerful.

"He [Jesus] had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him."

What is it about illness that affects the human being so profoundly? In the trial of Job, Satan said to God:
"But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."  (Job 2: 5 NIV).
I read recently of a billionaire who was near death. He was asked: "What do you desire most now?" His amazing answer was: "I want God."

Jesus is still healing today. He is still healing body, mind and soul every day and everywhere. He healed my sick heart in July 2021. Click below to read the testimony.

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2022/01/testimony-of-how-jesus-healed-my-heart.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Testimony of how Jesus healed my heart.

I am sharing with you below how the Lord Jesus Christ healed my sick heart in July 2021. 

Years ago I had serious problems with my heart. At one point about seven years ago, 

I thought I was dying and wrote my final Will.  Although I saw no doctor, all symptoms pointed to a sick heart. I love walkouts and in good days made between 3 and 5 miles. With the intensification of the heart problem, I could not enjoy walkouts as I before. Besides, I had  pain in the chest. Climbing steps was painful. 

July is the month Catholics honor the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. I was unaware of this till June 30th, the end of the month of honoring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mary said IN SINU JESU that we should apply the Most Precious Blood of Jesus to ourselves, family, etc and ask for healing. I have always maintained a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. So when I read Mary's testimony on the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, I believed it. 

Below are the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a mystic on the matter IN SINU JESU book. . 

"The Blood of my Son brings purity and healing and new life wherever it flows. Implore the power of the precious Blood over yourself and over all priests. Whenever you are asked to intercede for souls, invoke the power of the precious Blood over them, and present them to the Father covered with the Blood of the Lamb." (Mary, IN SINU JESU pg 37).

At First Friday Mass (July 2nd 2021) at my Parish, following Mary's words above, I prayed to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus to heal my sick heart. I repeated the prayer at critical points in the Mass. (Consecration, Elevation of the Sacred Host and Chalice, Communion). 

From July 1st, in my morning prayers, I placed my right hand on my heart and asked the Lord to heal my sick heart. On 1st July, I placed this prayer intention in the Parish's Book of Prayer Intentions.

At the end of July, the pain in  my chest had gone. My walkout was slightly better. I gave myself till the end of August to review the situation. Walkout was better by the end of August. I promised Jesus that I would give testimony if He healed me. Upto the end of August, I had not told anyone. I said that I should wait until the end of September. By the end of September, the situation remains stable. I could no longer delay my testimony. The Lord might reproach me of lack of faith or not being a serious guy. 

Following a painful walkout on November 9th, I queried the Lord if I am truly healed. I understood Him answering YES. OK. I will not doubt. I WILL REMAIN STEADFAST IN my Conviction that I am healed. 

 I stopped daily Ibuprofen  of 4 x 250 grams.

September 30th - I struggled to log home a heavy backpack full of groceries. This was a negative sign. 

Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Soon after the incident of 30th September, I was in upward trend. I walked fast as before. I can now run part of the way to the bus stop which I could not do before. 

End of September, I shared the Testimony with 5 of my prayer partners. 

On 121621, I walked out for 4.54 miles. I have not been able to do this for a long time. A good sign.

How far? So far: July, August, September, October, November, December. Today is past mid January 2022. Health is getting better every day. I am enjoying walkouts again. 

Jesus Christ continues to heal body, mind and soul every day, always and everywhere. I believe. I believe. I believe. 

🙏 🙏 🙏 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath.

"Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored."  (Mark 3: 1... 6).

“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (Mark 3: 4).

Wednesday 19th January 2022, in the 2nd Week in OrdinaryTime. 

In Mark 2: 23 - 28, Jesus was entangled in a Sabbath controversy with the religious leaders. Jesus silenced them by saying: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” (Mark 2: 27 - 28).

We have today another Sabbath controversy. Here we see Jesus on the offensive: “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (Mark 3: 4). We know the answer to Jesus question from the previous Sabbath controversy quoted above. . The adversaries of Jesus did not answer the question. They knew the answer but they had ill-will and hardness of heart and decided to keep silent.

The man with the withered hand represents all of us. What the Pharisees miss is that the great day of healing is the Sabbath, Lord's Day / Sunday and the Healer is still the same: Jesus Christ healing His ailing sisters and brothers through His word and through the Eucharist.

Is it good to increase the minimum wage or is it unlawful to so do?
Is it good to give some relief to undocumented immigrants or it unlawful to do so?
We all can be Pharisees and Herodians in what we consider good and bad.

Jesus speaks to us every day through the Scriptures proclaimed in the Sacred Liturgy. Same Scripture, same Liturgy all over the world. This is the beauty of Catholicism. One Faith. One Pope. One Liturgy. Worldwide.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Choice, Call and Anointing of King David.

“Surely the Lord’s anointed is here before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his [Eliab] appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.... .”  (Samuel 16: 1... 13).

Tuesday 18th January 2022, in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time.

God does not choose His Anointed through a general election. Human wisdom is limited.
“The Lord has not chosen any one of these.” Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”

"Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.” Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The Lord said, “There—anoint him, for this is he!”

God chose David, the youngest and most insignificant son of Jesse and
Samuel "with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David."

What do you think of the choice, the call and the anointing of David as King?

“Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep.”   (1 Samuel 16: 11).

Note that David is the youngest of the 8 sons of Jesse.  Jesse at first presented Eliab, first son, with the appearance and manners of a General.  "But the Lord said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The Lord looks into the heart." (1 Samuel 16: 7).

"Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and from that day on, the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David."  (1 Samuel 16: 13).

God has found David and anointed Him as King of Israel. In spite of the human failings of David, God did not reject him. Instead He said of David:

"He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock of my salvation!.....
Forever I will maintain my mercy for him; my covenant with him stands firm. "  (Psalm 89: 27, 29).

David was especially chosen, called and anointed as a key stone in salvation history.

"When you come into My presence, pour out your heart before Me: all that you suffer, all that you question, all that you fear, give all to Me. This you do already when you pray the psalms. It was through the psalms that I poured out My own Heart to My Father, and in the prayers of David and the holy ones of Israel, My Father heard My voice and inclined to listen to the prayer of My Heart." (IN SINU JESU, Wednesday, December 3, 2014).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Feast of St Anthony the Abbot.

"The Lord anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission
........ Why then have you disobeyed the Lord? You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the Lord.”

Note the response and insolent excuses of King Saul:
“I did indeed obey the Lord and fulfill the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban... "

Samuel would have nothing of this boyish nonsense:
"But Samuel said: “Does the Lord so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.” (Samuel 15:16 - 23).

As St Paul teaches us, every piece of Scripture is written for our instruction and encouragement.

Monday 17 January 2022, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Anthony, Abbot (251 - 356). Also called St Anthony the Great and St Anthony of the Desert. It is said that Anthony heard one day in the Gospel Reading at Mass: "If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have. Distribute the money to the poor. Then come and follow Me." St Anthony literally sold all he had, distributed the money to the poor and marched off to the desert where he lived a life of fasting and prayer for the rest of his life. He was 18 years old when he made this radical decision. He lived to be 105. 

Our lead Scripture today is: "Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams."
This is a word that the Church and Christians need to hear today and every day. Why? Because disobedience is rebellion against God. It is idolatry to prefer your will to the will of God. Here is the attitude and character of our Savior Jesus Christ:
“Sacrifice and offering you [Abba Father] did not desire, but a body you prepared for me [Jesus]; holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God." (Hebrews 10: 6 - 7).
The will of God became the food of Jesus.

Anything short of obedience is displeasing to Abba Father. The "will of God" seems to have disappeared from the language of the Church. In former times, it is the bench mark for all decisions and discernment. If we want God to guide and bless our decisions and projects, the will of God must return to our thinking and decisions. If not, we must be prepared to be treated like King Saul in our first Reading today:
"Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

O Christians, “Why do you recite my statutes, profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?” (Psalm 50: 16 - 17.)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Trust my Son and do whatever He tells you.

"There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you." (John 2: 1 - 11).

Sunday 16th January 2022, in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time.

When wine ran out at the Wedding at Cana, Mary's advice to the servants was simple and precise:  "Do whatever He tells you."  (John 2: 5)  Mary did not know what Jesus would do.  But her motherly instinct knew that Jesus would do the best thing under the circumstances.   She taught the disciples to open their hearts to Jesus in confident trust.

Today's Gospel shows us the power of the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for her children. We reflect on this passage in the Second Luminous Mystery of the Holy Rosary. St Luis Marie de Montfort, Apostle of the Rosary gives us this slogan: TO JESUS THROUGH MARY. Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. If it pleases Jesus to dispense all graces and favors through His Mother the Virgin Mary, who can say nay to Jesus? He is free to order the means of salvation as He wishes.

"And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."  (1 John 5 : 14).

"I am your Mother of Perpetual Help and I am the Mediatrix of all graces for my dear children. My eyes of mercy are turned toward you. My Heart is open to you. My hands are ever raised in prayer for you, or open over you to shower abundant graces upon you and upon those for whom you pray." (IN SINU JESU, Monday, December 10, 2007).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Friday, January 14, 2022

I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

"Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus." (Mark 2: 13... 17).

Saturday 15th January 2022, in the first Week in Ordinary Time.  Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Gospel of today is the amazing Call of Levi also known as Matthew to the Apostolic ministry. We read:
"While he [Jesus] was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him."  (Mark 2: 15).

Some scribes who were Pharisees became scandalized when they saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors.

Jesus heard their murmuring and said to them: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  (Mark 2:  16 - 17).

Matthew left everything: job, money, house and property and friends and followed the stranger named Jesus. Matthew was not a saint when Jesus called him. But Jesus did not come to call saints.  Paul describes his calling thus:
"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 1: 12 - 14).

What do you think?
#1. The Church is a 5-star hotel for saints.
Or
#2. The Church is a hospital for sinners.

Let us consider a few Scriptures on  Mercy in the word of God:

" For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."  (Hosea 6: 6).

"Blessed are the merciful: for  they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5: 7).

"But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’  you would not have condemned the guiltless." (Matthew 12: 7).

The word Mercy is found in the Bible countless times.  Abba Father Himself is described as the "Father of mercy and God of all consolation."  (2 Corinthians 1: 3).  

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we find abundant mercy waiting for everyone.  To receive mercy is as simple as ABC:
+Ask for Mercy.
+Be Merciful.
+Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Jesus delights in sinners because sinners give Him the opportunity to show off His mercy. Why did Jesus institute the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion? The Divine Mercy Devotion? Jesus delights in mercy.

"My apostles wanted for nothing so long as I was with them.  In having Me in their midst, they had the very Source and Creator of all that is, that was, and that ever will be. You have Me close to you. I am here before you in the Sacrament of My love. Remain with Me for My sake; I will provide for you." (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, February 3, 2009).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Son of Man has power to forgive sins.

"Many gathered together [to hear Jesus] so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying." (Mark 2: 1....12).

"The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth." (Cf Mark 2: 10).

Friday 14th January 2022, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

Is it easier to heal the body or the soul?

How do you reckon with sin?
"She [Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mary's Son will be named Jesus (Yeshua, that is Savior) because He will save His people [us] from sin.

In our key Scripture for today, we see Jesus answer the challenge of the lawyers as to His power to forgive sin. The background of the story is the crippled man lowered from the ceiling to the presence of Jesus. Jesus could have commanded the man to stand up and go home. But instead He said: “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2: 5).
Why did Jesus do this? Perhaps to teach that there is a connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

The doctors of the law who challenged Jesus believe that the authority to forgive sins belongs to God alone. Jesus answered them by saying: I will prove to you that as Messiah, I can forgive sins by healing this crippled man. “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”  He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone." (Mark 2: 11 - 12). Jesus dealt first with the root and source of illness.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world knows more than anyone the intricate connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

Every Sunday, we repeat in the Creed:
"I believe in the forgiveness of sins."
There is no salvation without the elimination of sin. Sin is the one cancer that blocks the benefits of salvation in our lives. When Jesus appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room after His Resurrection, He first said to them: "Peace be with you." Then He said: "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20: 23). Thus Jesus gave us the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confession or Penance.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Feast of St Hilary Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean." (Mark 1 :40....45).

Thursday 13th of January 2022, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Hilary Poitiers. (315 - 368). French. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Why is France called the eldest daughter of the Church? Look at the dates of St Hilary and you will see why. Before 315 AD, the Church hierarchy already existed in France.

Hilary is remembered in history especially for these reasons:
#1. Hilary helped us understand and profess
the Divinity of Jesus Christ. This is contained in the Nicene Creed.
#2.  He worked to undermine the Arian heresy which had plagued the Church for a long time.
#3. Hilary developed an authoritative doctrine on the Holy Trinity.
#4. He helped the Church understand the deeper significance of the Incarnation.

Hilary understood that bad theology inevitably leads to heresy. The bad theology of  Luther, Calvin, Zwingli led to the unnecessary fragmentation of the Church. They created a version of Christianity where freedom of choice seems to be the operating principle. "I choose what to believe. I choose my pastor. I choose my denomination. I choose what to do with my body. I choose what to do with my money, etc, etc ad infinitum).

Let us pray through the intercession of St Hilary Poitiers to learn the truths of our faith and express it in gentleness and works of charity.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The three habits of Prayer of Jesus.

"On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.....

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." (Mark 1: 29.... 39).

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, first Week of Ordinary Time.

In today's Gospel, we see Jesus heal Peter's mother-in-law.  After sunset on the same day, Jesus went on a healing spree: casting out demons and healing many with various diseases.

Our key Scripture for today reveals something of the habit and prayer life  of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus taught a great deal about Prayer. He called Prayer a vital necessity. Jesus taught us to pray with expectant faith, with persistence and humility. Prayer is key to the life of faith.  Here is the ABC of the life of Prayer of Jesus:

#A. Prayer is a priority for Jesus and not an after thought. He connects with His heavenly Father through prayer. We connect with Jesus through prayer.

"Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." (Mark 1: 35).  Jesus preferred to pray early in the morning.
#B. No prayer, no power for Ministry. Jesus worked in the power of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is the Activator of this Power.
#3. Jesus prayed in a solitary place. Other translations describe the place as: a desert place, a secluded place, a lonely spot, a place where He could be alone, a place in the wilderness, etc.

Spiritual writers write about the 3 S of Prayer:
#1. Sacred Place: We see this in today's Gospel: Deserted place.
#2. Sacred Time: We also see this in Mark's narrative. While everyone is snoozing, Jesus slipped out of the house to seek solitude in prayer very early before dawn.
#3. Sacred Intention: The intention is always the same. Communion with the Father.

To pray like Jesus, we must realize that Prayer is a sacrifice we must be willing to make. This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls Prayer a battle. The devil wages an intense war to dissuade us from Prayer.  (CCC 2725). St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church writes that if you pray, you are saved. If you do not pray, you are lost.

"Your prayer pleases Me. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit in you. The Holy Spirit facilitates the conversation with Me that is the expression of our friendship. Those who draw near to Me with confidence and simplicity, seeking My Face and longing for the warmth of the fire that blazes in My Heart—they are led and moved by the Holy Spirit."  (IN SINU JESU, Sunday, December 9, 2007)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, January 10, 2022

Jesus taught with amazing authority.

"Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes." (Mark 1: 21... 28).

The people of Nazareth noticed something exceptional about Jesus the first time He walked into the synagogue as a public figure, a Rabbi.  Their eyes were transfixed on Him as He applied Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah to Himself.

On another Sabbath, Jesus "entered the synagogue and taught.  The people were astonished at his teaching, "for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes."  (Mark 1: 21 - 22).  On this occasion, Jesus cast out the demon from a man possessed by an unclean spirit which made the people exclaim: “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”

Jesus taught with the authority of Moses and all the prophets combined plus something different: "A new teaching with authority."  (Mark 1: 27). The people did not fail to notice His authority. "It is said [in the law] but I teach this..."

Jesus taught with authority during His public ministry.  He is still teaching  with authority today through the Church.  It is ridiculous  to imagine that Jesus founded a Church without giving the Church real authority to teach.  "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”  (Luke 10: 16).

The name of this authority  is the Magisterium.  It comes from the Latin word magister, which means "teacher."  The divine teaching role of the Church stands on 3-legged stool:
#1  Sacred Scriptures
#2  Sacred Tradition
#3  Magisterium

Like the 3-legged stool, each of the legs need each other to support the superstructure.  The teachings of the Magisterium cannot contradict Sacred Scriptures or Sacred Tradition and vice-versa.

Thank You Jesus for making Your Church "the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Timothy 3: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Come follow Me. I will teach you to be Fisher of men.

"After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1: 14... 20).

Monday 10th January 2022, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture this first day of Ordinary Time appeals deeply to me. Why? I love the concept "Fullness of time."  My favorite themes in Sacred Scripture are: Divine Providence, Destiny, Prayer and Mission. In God's loving Providence, nothing happens until the fullness of time. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1). In the fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11).  You think that God is very slow in fulfilling His promises? God answers: "In the fullness of time I shall move fast." (Isaiah 60: 22). Jesus asks us to trust His timing of ALL THINGS.

Jesus says to us in today's message:  This is your Kairos moment, that is, the fullness of time moment for you to hear and act on His word. The time is up. So listen carefully.

“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” (Mark 1: 15 TPT).

After Jesus made this critical proclamation, he called those who will help Him in proclaim the Good News. To Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, He said:  “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1: 17). Jesus recruited James and his brother John with the same promise. We see from this that the proclamation of the imminence and urgency of the kingdom of God is the primary duty of all Gospel workers.

Jesus is still passing by. He is still calling. He has tremendous good news to share. For example:

#1. "I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10).

#2. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Romans 10: 14-15).

How beautiful are the feet of those who respond to the invitation of Jesus to be fishers of men. Do not be anxious for a moment about your qualification. Jesus qualifies everyone He calls as He qualified Peter.

"Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2: 38).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, January 08, 2022

The Great Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord.

"The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  (Luke 3 : 15 - 16).

Sunday 9th January 2022 is the great feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

"I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” (Mark 1: 8).

John the Baptizer bore witness to Jesus as the expected Messiah who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1: 8). Who is the Holy Spirit and why is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit the ultimate Christian experience?

#1. The Holy Spirit is the Big Gift. The Free Gift.

#2. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of joy and consolations.  A rich experience of joy and consolations await us when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.

#3. "The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth." (1 John 5: 6).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who leads us to all the truth about the person and work of Jesus the Christ.

The Baptism of Jesus launches His mission. Our Baptism with the Holy Spirit should similarly launch our mission. This is because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Mission and the Mission is Evangelization. The Church exists for only one purpose: to evangelize. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to accomplish this Mission.

Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit? Yes. At your Baptism. The grace of the Holy Spirit we received at Baptism was strengthened or confirmed in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

What if you say: I have been baptized and confirmed but I don't experience the joy and consolations of the Holy Spirit. Why? There could be two reasons:

#1. Activate the Holy Spirit in you. Like a new credit card, you need to activate it before you can start to use it. How do you activate the Holy Spirit?
Ask with expectant faith for the Holy Spirit to come to you and become active in you.
You can make a 9 Day Novena to increase your desire and preparation. There are many websites on the internet with Holy Spirit Novena templates.

#2. The second reason why you may not experience the promised joy, peace and comforts of the Holy Spirit is Sin. Any unconfessed sin will block the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, January 07, 2022

Jesus must increase and I must decrease.

John the Baptist said: “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3: 22.... 30).

Saturday 8th January 2022, last day in the Season of Christmas. The first Saturday in January. We honor the Holy Mother of God whom the Church honors on Saturdays from ancient times.

"He [Jesus] must increase; I must decrease." (John 3: 30).

In the fullness of time, Jesus left Nazareth and after part hiking and part walking, He got to the River Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist. Later John was asked about Jesus:  “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” (John 3: 20). Then John uttered these thought provoking words:
"He must increase; I must decrease."  John is saying: Jesus is the Messiah. I am only the messenger. He is the Word of God. I am only the Voice. No hint of jealousy from John. Compare this attitude to what we know of clerical jealousy in the Church. John knew that the Bridegroom is the star and therefore deserves the place of honor.

Where must Jesus increase in your life? Where must you decrease? In your home, parish, workplace? Do you struggle with pride and envy? We have a perfect answer in the first Reading:
"We have this confidence in him, [God] that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours." (1 John 5: 14 - 15).

"He [Jesus] must increase; I must decrease." (John 3: 30). Discern your destiny and your gifts. Embrace your place in the Church and in the world. Glorify God with your time, talent and treasure. Strive for peace and serenity in 2022.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, January 06, 2022

The Feast of St Raymond Penyafort.

"It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately." (Luke 5: 12 - 13).

Friday 7th January 2022, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of St Raymond Penyafort (1175 - 1275). Spanish Dominican Priest. Raymond was very erudite and he advanced the knowledge of Canon Law. St Raymond was a contemporary of the great St Thomas Aquinas also a Dominican priest. He studied Arabic in order to study the Koran so that he could evangelize the Moslems. St Raymond Penyafort did a great deal to secure the freedom of Christians during the Crusade. He died at the age of 100.

The man full of leprosy healed by Jesus in the Gospel of today most certainly heard about the miracles of Jesus. He believed that Jesus could heal him if he could get to Jesus.  One day, he was lucky and got very close to Jesus. Excuse me. This is not luck but providence. There is no Luck or Chance in the Bible. The man fell prostrate, pleaded with Jesus, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”  The leper's boldness and confidence melted the heart of Jesus.  "'It is my will that you be healed.'  Then He said, "Be made clean."  And the leprosy left the man immediately." The leper became instantly healed of the most dreaded disease at that time.

Consider how the leper won the heart of Jesus:

#1. He prostrated himself. Posture of adoration.
#2. He said to Jesus: "If you wish.." This could mean: I want to be healed badly but I respect your sovereignty.
#3. "You can make me clean." I know all things are possible for God.

Note the action of Jesus. He touched the leper, followed by these comforting words: “I do will it. Be made clean.”

What can we learn from this? Whatever problem we may have, whether it is equivalent of being "full of leprosy," approach Jesus with confidence and expectant faith. Jesus is the King of mercy. Jesus delights in mercy. The healing of the leper is a testimony to us to encourage us to have full trust and confidence in Jesus.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, 7th January 2022.

 First Friday in January, 2022.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month. In the 1st  month of the year, January 2022, we look at Promise #1.

#1.  "I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life."
 
What is your state of life?
A.  Married
B.  Single
C.  Divorced
D.  Widow
E.   Adolescent

The needs of married couples are different from the needs of single people. The needs of every state in life is different.

Jesus promises us in the First Promise (1 of 12) sufficient grace to cope with whatever happens. Each state of life has its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  The promises of Jesus covers: health, family, job, money, food, possessions and future.

Pray for faith to appropriate the graces and gifts promised by Jesus for January 2022.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus every First Friday.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Sacred Heart devotional items and prayer requests, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

St André Bessette pray for us.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4: 18 - 19).

Thursday 6th January 2022, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of St André Bessette, popularly known as Brother André. (1845 - 1937). Canadian. Religious Brother of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Miracle worker when alive. More miracles now from Heaven. What is the contribution of Brother André to the building up of the mystical Body of Christ?
#1.  St André Bessette had a great devotion to St Joseph, the holy Spouse of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He helped in the revival of the cult of St Joseph.
#2. His special commitment to the afflicted and the poor could not be unconnected with the torrents of the miracles his ministry unleashed while he was alive and even more when he is in Heaven. Jesus Christ is glorified when we honor the saints. He pays back so to speak His favored saints by granting many miracles through their intercessions.

When Jesus quoted our key Scripture for today in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4: 18 – 19), he stressed the note of present fulfillment: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”  What the prophet foretold centuries ago is now happening TODAY! NOW! Not tomorrow or next year but NOW!

God chose to be generous and magnanimous to his people “in the year of favor.” The gift of “the Spirit of the Lord” is for the benefit of the marginalized.

When Jesus searched the scriptures for an understanding of his mission, he found the answer in Isaiah 61: 1 – 2. He appropriated the scripture and applied it to Himself.

The Spirit of the Lord is also upon you and upon me. This happened at the moment of our Baptism. What has the Spirit anointed us for? To know this, we discern and pray.

Today, we see the afflicted everywhere: home, church, street and workplace and also in the media. Everywhere people are crying for relief and hope, totally unaware that the answer is in Jesus Christ. The message of Jesus Christ will set free the captives, prisoners of fear and materialism, those bound by depression and hopelessness.

Jesus opened the eyes of the blind. His message continues today to open eyes blinded by ignorance, lust and selfishness. The true oppressed of today are not merely the materially poor but even more so the spiritually poor. The materially rich cannot overcome the world because they lack the faith to do so. "Those who pour libations to the gods of this world multiply their sorrows... The gods of this world only take advantage of all who love them." (Cf Psalm 16: 2)

St André Bessette pray for us.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2022

The Feast of St John Neumann, Bishop.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love." (1 John 4: 18)

"Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!" (Mark 6: 50)

Wednesday 5th January 2022, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of a great missionary priest, Bishop, Church planter, pioneer in the Catholic Schools system in USA. His name is St John Neumann (1811 - 1860). Born in Bohemia. Became a Redemptorist priest. Became Bishop of Philadelphia.  Worn out by his labors, John died at the age of 49.

Notice that fear is addressed in the first Reading and the Gospel.

Faith in the promises of the word of God has helped me manage fears in my life. So many people are fearful today because of the disruptive effects of the Pandemics which threaten everything we took for granted, viz:  Family, Job, Money, Health, Possessions and Future.

Trusting the promises of God which cannot fail has helped me to deal with most fears in my life. In these dire days, trusting these promises is helping me keep my head above water every day.

Here are a few of the Scriptures that help me to fight fear:

#1 Deuteronomy 31:  8
"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

#2  Psalm 27:1
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

#3  Isaiah 41:10
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

#4. "And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NLT).

#5. "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."  (Luke 8: 50; Mark 5: 36).

#6. "If God is for me, who can be against me?" (Romans 8: 31).

And here is word of wisdom and courage from a Carmelite mystic and Doctor of the Church:
"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila)

"This morning, before Lauds, the Father spoke to me for the first time : Faith in My fatherhood will be the path of healing for many, who, like you, were kept from growing up in freedom and joy beneath the gaze of their father. I want to banish fear from your life. I want you to feel loved and surrounded by My presence as Father—a presence that supports you, that will not hold you back from becoming the man that I have always wanted you to be; a presence that will allow you, in turn, to become a father, a father in My image, a father as My Jesus was fully a father in the midst of His disciples. They discovered My fatherhood in His countenance.  They sensed it in drawing close to His Heart, they saw it at work in the signs of mercy and of power that He worked in My Name." (IN SINU JESU Sunday, October 28, 2007).

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Monday, January 03, 2022

The Feast of St Elizabeth Ann Seton Religious and Founder.

"Then, [Jesus] taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men." (Mark 6: 34.... 44).

Tuesday 4th January 2022, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 - 1821). American. Wife, mother, religious, educator and founder of the Sisters of Charity of St Joseph.

After her wealthy husband died, St Elizabeth Ann Seton accomplished the task of establishing her five children. She embraced the evangelical vows of chastity, obedience and poverty until her death at the age of 46.
Mother Seton as she was popularly known founded the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph whose mission was to educate the poor and orphans, especially in native American communities. This became the foundation of the American parochial school system. She is the first native born American to be canonized saint.
St Elizabeth Ann Seton is the patron saint of educators and widows.

Our Scripture for today proclaims: "They all ate and were satisfied." (Mark 6: 42). What does this mean? This points to the immense generosity of God.  Jesus fed 5000 men and there were 12 baskets of leftover. Remember the story of the manna in the desert where a whole nation ate of the heavenly food for years. Both the manna and today's incident of the Multiplication of loaves point to the Eucharist. The Eucharist today is a daily food. Food for our journey to Heaven. Day after day, millions are fed all over the world. "They all ate and were satisfied." (Mark 6: 42).

The Multiplication of Loaves is such an important incident that it appears in all four Gospels.

St Elizabeth Ann Seton pray for us.

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Sunday, January 02, 2022

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  (Philippians 2: 10-11).

Monday 3rd January, 2022 in the Season of Christmas is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
Jesus is the name given to our Redeemer before He was born. The name Jeshua in Hebrew means God Saves!  It is a name that is so appropriate for Jesus because He saves everyone who puts his faith in Him.

Even before the Gospels were written, the Name of Jesus has been revered and venerated. In fact, the power of the Name of Jesus is one of the four pillars of Apostolic Witness. Others are:
#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#3 The Witness of Sacred Scriptures to these events.

Is there any wonder that this hymn from Philippians below is the earliest liturgical hymn recorded? This hymn is a historical testament that Liturgy (the Mass) precedes the written Gospels.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2: 10 - 11).

Demons fear the Name of Jesus. Use it often as an armor of protection. The Jesus Prayer, "Jesus have mercy on me" is a full prayer. Use it when you need a quick prayer.

According to St Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church, "The sweet name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, and nourishes pure affections.... This name is the cure for all diseases of the soul."

St Bernardine of Siena who wrote a good deal on the power of the name of Jesus teaches:
"The Name of God is awesome; in it is found the ardor of the flame which consumes, the wrath which chastises, the weight which crushes; but all these things have been tempered in the wellspring of mercy by Jesus Christ Who was smitten with love for us in the womb of the Virgin Mary."

If you say the Rosary every day, you mention the name of Jesus at least 60 times a day.
The name of Jesus is the sweetest sound in every language.

Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!

Jesus, I Trust in You.

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Saturday, January 01, 2022

The Solemnity of the the Epiphany of the Lord.

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2: 2).
The three Magi followed the star hundreds of miles before they found Jesus.

"They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2: 10 - 11).

Sunday 2nd January 2022, in the Season of Christmas is the great Solemnity of the Epiphany.

What is the Epiphany? This is the day when the Divine Child Jesus was shown or revealed to Gentiles represented by the three Wise Men.

Brothers and sisters, this is really a beautiful feast that offers us great insight into the mystery of salvation. Our salvation, redemption, assumption into Christ depends on one thing, only one thing: FAITH! Examples:

#1 The Magi, wealthy lords from the East entered the room where Christ lay with His simply clad mother and father in a sparsely furnished room . They saw and Believed that this is He.
#2 Simeon and Anna entered the Temple during the Presentation of Jesus to His heavenly Father. They saw a simple couple with two small pigeons, the offering of the poor. They saw and they Believed that this is He.
#3 At the crucifixion, Jesus' battered body was hanging between two thieves. One of the thieves turned his head slightly and looked at Jesus. He saw and Believed that this is He, the Savior of the world.
#4. The Roman officer who had seen many crucifixions saw the demeanor of Jesus hanging from the cross said: This is the Son of God.

In all four instances, our examples walked by faith and not by sight or feeling.

In the feast of the Epiphany, we celebrate the fullness of time when God revealed His only Begotten Son to the nations through the Magi by the guidance of a star.

All nations become coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Cf Ephesians 3: 6).

When you became a member of the Body of Christ through Baptism, you were asked: What do you seek from the Church of the living God? We know that the first thing we seek is Faith. Faith opens the door to every good thing in the world.

I believe in God the Father.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I believe in life everlasting.
Amen.

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The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mother of God.

"When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." (Luke 2: 21).

Saturday 1st of January 2022, in the 8th Day of the Octave of Christmas is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. As we celebrate the New Year, the beginning of the secular calendar, Mother Church celebrates the feast of St Mary as the Mother of God.

In our key Scripture for this Solemnity, we reflect on the important occasion of the naming of Jesus. On the eighth day of His circumcision, the Infant Child of Mary was named Jesus. In the Hebrew world, naming a child is a big deal. The name of the child is even a bigger deal. The child of Elizabeth and Zachary was named John in a ceremony surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors and they named the little boy John, a name which means "God is gracious."

Mary and Joseph named their little Son, Jesus. A name that was bestowed by the Angel Gabriel at His conception. Jesus means "God saves." The name indicates who Jesus is and what Jesus will do as a person. He will be always our God who saves us from sin.

In her great joy at the conclusion of the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Church by a universal acclaim by the people, bestowed on Mary the title Theotokos, a name which means "God Bearer."
This confirms the prophetic utterance of Elizabeth:
"Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1: 41 - 43).

Hail, Holy Mother! Happy Feast Day! You gave birth to the King, who rules heaven and earth for ever.  (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

Happy New Year friends. May 2022 brings you much peace and tranquility.

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Is this the Last Hour?

"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." (1 John 2: 18).

Friday 31st December 2021, 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas is also the feast of St Sylvester I.

On the Last Day of 2021, we celebrate the life and sanctity of Pope St Sylvester 1st. Sylvester was elected to the Papacy on the last day of 314 and he died on the last day of 335. Today is the last day of 2021.

Sylvester served the Church at a very turbulent transition in Church history. Arian heresy and the Donatist schism threatened to destroy the Church. Then Constantine appeared by Divine Providence and offered the Church relief and peace in 312 AD by legalizing and granting amnesty to Christians. Pope St Sylvester attended the famous Council of Nicaea where the Nicene Creed recited by Christians of all faith today was ratified and promulgated. Pope St Sylvester contributed a great deal in the expansion of Christianity in the Roman Empire.

This is the last hour. The Apostle John warned.
The "Antichrists have appeared." Have you seen any? These are some of the characteristics of the Man of lawlessness from the Christian Scriptures :

Deceit
Temporary success
Mass seduction
Adversary
Son of perdition
Opposed Christ.
Rival of Christ
(Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 3 - 12; Matthew 24: 23 - 26).

Before he became Pontiff, Pope St John Paul II warned in 1976 at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia that we are now facing the final confrontation between the Antichrist and the Church. Remember how King Henry VIII caught over 300 English Bishops napping in 1535? Only Bishop St John Fisher earned the crown of Martyrdom. Below is a prophetic teaching of the Church on the Antichrist from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh."   (CCC 675).

Is the current pandemics the beginning of the Last Hour?
Do not be asleep. Be vigilant and pray at all times so that you may not fall into severe temptation. Do not become an Anti-Witness. This is the Last Hour.

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