Wednesday, June 20, 2018

O God from whom all good things come!

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  (Matthew 6: 8).

Behold one of the most beautiful revelations of Jesus!
Lord Jesus, You give us the consolation of Scriptures.  Praise and honor and glory be to You.

Other truths of Scripture to warm your heart:
1.  All things are possible for God.
2.  There is nothing too marvelous for God to do for you.
3.  O God from whom all good things come.
4.  Have you not seen how God has provided all our needs?
5.  God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
6.  "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations." ( CCC 2087).
7.   In Your infinite Wisdom, You know better than us what is good for us. In Your infinite power, You can bring good even out of evil.  

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I want a double portion of your spirit.

"Request whatever I might do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.”  (2 Kings 2: 9).

Elijah the great prophet knowing that his time has come to leave this earth, wanted to bestow on Elisha his disciple a memorable gift.  He asked Elisha the above question. Elisha gave a great answer that reminds us of Solomon when God asked him a similar question:
"That  night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."  (2 Chronicles 1: 7).

Solomon asked for wisdom. If you have a similar opportunity like Solomon and Elisha, what will you ask for?
Jesus Himself suggests to us what to ask for:
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11: 13).

Do you believe the word of Jesus?  Then open your heart and mind to the promise of God who cannot lie:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  (Matthew 7: 7).

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Have you found me out, my enemy?

“Have you found me out, my enemy?” (1 Kings 21: 21). 

These are the words of King Ahab to the Prophet Elijah when the prophet came to confront Ahab with the murder and loot of Naboth's land. Remember King David, Bethsheba and her husband?  No matter how secret your sin is, God knows the details.  King David left us Psalm 51, a masterpiece of penitential prayer.

After God imposed the severest punishment on Ahab and Queen Jezebel, husband and wife infamous for holding the Guinness Book of Records for wickedness in the Bible, you can't believe what King Ahab did.

"When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued."  (1 Kings 21: 27).

Even more incredible is God's response to Ahab's act of repentance:
"Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his time. I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s time."  (1 Kings 21:  29).

We learn from this Bible incident that to err is human. To be merciful and forgiving is God.
The ABC OF MERCY:
A: Ask for Mercy.
B: Be Merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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6-19

“Have you found me out, my enemy?” (1 Kings 21: 21). 

These are the words of King Ahab to the Prophet Elijah when the prophet came to confront Ahab with the murder and loot of Naboth's land. Remember King David, Bethsheba and her husband?  No matter how secret your sin is, God knows the details.  King David left us Psalm 51, a masterpiece of penitential prayer.

After God imposed the severest punishment on Ahab and Queen Jezebel, husband and wife infamous for holding the Guinness Book of Records for wickedness in the Bible, you can't believe what King Ahab did.

"When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued."  (1 Kings 21: 27).

Even more incredible is God's response to Ahab's act of repentance:
"Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his time. I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s time."  (1 Kings 21:  29).

We learn from this Bible incident that to err is human. To be merciful and forgiving is God.
The ABC OF MERCY:
A: Ask for Mercy.
B: Be Merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

The source of power for Christian testimony.

"Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."  (Matthew 5: 42).

In Matthew Chapter 5,  starting with the Beatitudes, our Teacher Jesus gave challenging instructions which defined Christian saintly conduct in every age.  These evangelical precepts challenge our human nature to the core.  This is why they are so powerful.  If you act on them, they change not just your life but they become the strongest tool for evangelization.  The Roman society in the first decades of Christianity was evangelized by the application of the Teachings of Jesus Christ in Matthew Chapter 5.

"Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."  (Matthew 5: 42).

You cannot observe any of these divine commands without the help of the Holy Spirit.
Father, fill us with the Holy Spirit that we may live abundantly.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Kingdom of God and the Mustard Seed.

"Jesus said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God;  it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land........“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God.... It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”  (Mark 4:  26, 30 - 32).

Jesus Christ came to establish the Kingdom of God.  He taught us to pray every day for the coming of the Kingdom. "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6: 10).
But what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom here on earth consists of the men and women who submit themselves to the rule and discipline of God in their hearts and minds.

In the parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus revealed one characteristic of the Kingdom.  It starts very tiny.  Like a mustard seed. And it grows and grows and grows.

We get the same picture of the mystery of the Kingdom from the First Reading from Ezekiel:

"Thus says the Lord God:
I, too, will pluck from the crest of the cedar the highest branch.
From the top a tender shoot I will break off and transplant on a high, lofty mountain. On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it. It shall put forth branches and bear fruit, and become a majestic cedar.
Every small bird will nest under it,
 all kinds of winged birds will dwell in the shade of its branches."  (Ezekiel 17: 22 - 23).

The seed and beginning of the Kingdom of God is the Church. (CCC 541).

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Friday, June 15, 2018

How do you respond to falsehood in the public domain?

Jesus said to His disciples: "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath..... Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one."  (Matthew 5:  33, 37).

Pilate when he heard that Jesus came to bear witness to the truth, asked Him: "What is truth?" (John 18: 37 - 38).

Truth is under attack everywhere today.  Why does this matter?  Jesus calls the Devil, the enemy of mankind "the Father of lies."  (John 8: 44).  As we celebrate Father's Day this weekend, we need to do some soul searching on our commitment to truth.

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."  (Exodus 20: 16).  Although Pilate was fully aware that the Jewish leaders bore false witness against Jesus, he still condemned Jesus to death for political correctness.
How do you respond to false statements in the political domain? Could your response affect the perception and integrity of truth by your family?

"Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one."  (Matthew 5: 37).

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

After the fire, a whispering sound.

"The word of the Lord came to him [Elijah].  Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will pass by."  (1 Kings 19: 9, 11).

Elijah the great Prophet could not hide from God even inside a deep cave in Mount Horeb.  There is something very tender and admirable about God in this narrative.  He never forgets His servants in their depression and low points. He seeks them out and lifts them up.

At Mount Horeb, God manifests Himself to Elijah in a quick and successive theophanies.  First, a cyclone, tearing apart mountain and crushing rocks. This was followed by a 8 or 9 magnitude earthquake. After the earthquake, a huge fire. God who appeared to be enjoying the show of His huge power was not in any of these terrifying forces of nature.

"After the fire, a light silent sound.
When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave."  (1 Kings 19: 12 - 13).

This encounter of Elijah and God at Mount Horeb teaches us a number of salutary lessons:
#1  Our God is in charge of all the forces of nature. They are not random uncontrollable evil forces.
#2   “Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”  (Psalm 46: 11).
Seek the LORD in silence. In solitude.  Not in confusion or thunder blasts. At the same time, be fully prepared for surprises.
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."  (John 3: 8).

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my saving strength."  (Psalm 17: 3).

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Why delay forgiving your brother?

"If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,  leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift."  (Matthew 5: 23 - 24).

Don’t postpone forgiving grievances.  Do not say: when I get home, I will forgive him or her. You may not get home.  Don't say, I will forgive tomorrow. You may have only today.

Don’t postpone asking for forgiveness.  Don't count on tomorrow or another time to do it.  You have phone, email and text messaging to do it. As your conscience smites you, do it at once.  The ceremonial part may come later.

When you pray in the morning, ask God to forgive your sins.  Tell Him that you forgive completely anyone who has offended you.  Ask God to offer the grace to all those you have offended so that they can forgive you and release you.  Finish by thanking God for His bottomless mercy.

"Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."  (Matthew 5:  26).

Thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Purgatory.  In His gracious mercy, God gives us a second chance.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

St Anthony was a great teacher and eminent preacher.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 19).

Today is the feast of St Anthony of Padua, 13th century Franciscan priest, Doctor of the Church, great teacher, eminent preacher, miracle worker.  He died at the age of 36.
God teaches us through the lives of holy men and women in the Bible.  God continues the pedagogy through the biographies of saints.  Their lives open a window into God's ways and His thoughts. (Cf Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

Anthony pondered the law of God day and night and as His God promised, yielded abundant fruit in due season.  (Cf Psalm 1: 1 - 3).

St Anthony of Padua is the Patron Saint of lost things.  He became one of my patron saints when Microsoft wanted to deny me an email address I had for over 20 years before Microsoft acquired the Hotmail company.  I fought back calling on St Anthony to aid me.  I experienced the joy of answered prayer.

St Anthony pray for us.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

You will shine in the world like bright stars.

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven."
(Matthew 5: 14 -16).

Lord Jesus, You called us the light of the world.   All things are possible for You.  Nothing is too marvelous for You to do for us.   Light us up with Your word and enable us to light up the world You open up for us.

Just like John the Baptist was a lamp that shone and gave light, (John 5: 35)
"You will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. (Philippians 2: 15 - 16).

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

How credible are the Beatitudes?

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 11).

Are the Beatitudes principles for spiritual happiness and contentment credible? They are patterned on the life of Jesus Christ. 

How can persecution, insults, discrimination, rejection result in a blessed and happy life? The answer is uncomplicated for those who know the "Scriptures and the power of God." (Matthew 22: 29, Mark 12: 24).  This is a paradox:  Lose your life, security in order to find it.  If all you have is God, you have everything.
Christian and experiences of other religions prove the truth.

"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  (Matthew 5: 12).
Believe or not believe, this is the question.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts."   (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Who is this Woman?

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel."  (Genesis 3: 15).

Who is the Woman of Genesis 3: 15?  Church Fathers, Doctors of the Church and the constant teaching of the Magisterium identified the Woman as the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In 2 Corinthians 4: 13, Paul teaches:
"Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak."   Yes indeed, we too believe and therefore we speak.

For the avoidance of doubt of the tight integration between the ministry of the Redeemer and the Woman, please read:

"Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted  (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  (Luke 2: 34 - 35).

And further,
"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother....... When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19: 25 - 27).

The salvation of mankind was wrought on the Cross.  The Blessed Virgin Mary was not just an eye witness or a spectator but an active participant from womb to tomb?

"O God, from whom all good things come, grant that we, who call on you in our need, may at your prompting discern what is right, and by your guidance do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen."  (Collect: 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time).

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus said to them.

"They [Mary and Joseph] did not understand what he said to them." (Luke 2: 50).

Today is the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The feast follows immediately the Saturday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Heart of Jesus and Heart of Mary.  Two hearts. One heart beat in the divine mission given mother and Son.

The Gospel for the feast is one of my favorite.  Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple after three days of agonising search for Him. Neither Mary or Joseph understood Jesus' reply to them.  But "his mother kept all these things in her heart."  (Luke 2:  51).  In our Journey of Faith, there will many things we cannot understand.  We do well to imitate Mary and surrender them to God who knows everything.  If it pleases God , He will enlighten you in His own time and His own way.

"O God, who prepared a fitting dwelling place for the Holy Spirit in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, graciously grant that through her intercession we may be a worthy temple of your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  (Collect:  Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary).

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred."  (Hosea 11: 8).

Today Friday is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"The designs of his Heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine."  ( Psalm 32: 11, 19).

Jesus loves every human being with a total, generous and unconditional love.   Obedient to the express wish of Jesus communicated through the mystic, St Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Church made the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus a universal feast in 1856 to be celebrated the Friday after Corpus Christi.

The Church teaches:
"The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior's steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.". (CCC 2669).

O Sacred Heart of Jesus wounded for our sins, bestow on us in mercy the boundless treasures of Your love.  Amen.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The Law of the LORD is perfect giving freedom and victory in life.

"Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the "Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12: 29 - 31).

Jesus quoted the above Scripture in response to the question of a sincere scribe.  The scribe wanted to know how he could fulfill more perfectly the will of God.  What is your attitude of the Commandments and laws in general?  Most kids and adolescents view them as negative and restrictive.  In reality, Commandments and good laws are gateway to freedom and victory in life.  A few examples:

"The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eye.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The statutes of the Lord are true,
all of them just; More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold,
Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb. By them your servant is warned; obeying them brings much reward."  (Psalm 19:  8 - 12).

Our love for God is in direct proportion to our awareness of His love for us.  As you become more aware of God's patience, kindness and compassion toward you, you become the same toward your neighbor. Right?

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

"Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God?"  (Mark 12:  24).

Jesus offered this blunt appraisal to the Sadducees who do not believe in the Resurrection.  Whenever I read this Scripture, my mind goes to the modern "Sadducees" who pick and choose what they believe in the Christian Faith. The Resurrection of the dead is not the only tough doctrine in the Christian Faith.  Let us consider the Eucharist:

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  (John 6: 51).

Why is this a difficult teaching for many people?
"Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God?"  (Mark 12:  24).

St Jerome, the Church Father and Doctor of the Church teaches:
"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  Jesus concluded His conversation with our Sadducees by saying:  "You are greatly mislead"  if you imagine you can understand the plan and power of God without knowledge of the Scriptures. (Cf Mark 12: 27).

Invest in the word of God and enjoy grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (Cf 2 Timothy 1: 2).

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Render to God what belongs to God.

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”  (Mark 12: 17).

The power of Caesar comes from God. (Romans 13: 1). Caesar has the power to make laws, levy taxes, conscript an army, etc.

God's right is supreme as the apostles lay down in this principle:
"But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority."  (Acts 5: 29).

What is your opinion about this Law of God?
"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates."  (Exodus 20 : 8 - 10).

Render to God what belongs to God.  (Mark 12: 17).

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Sunday, June 03, 2018

Know your God. Know His promises.

"Beloved: may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."  (2 Peter 1: 2).

When you invest about 10 minutes a day in knowing God through the Scriptures, what do you get for your effort?
You get grace and peace.  You experience the unmerited favor of God touching every area of your life: Your family, health, finances, job and relationships.
But how about peace? Peace is the Shalom of God. You experience pervasive peace in your body, mind and soul.

"His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power."  (2 Peter 1: 3).

Those who know their God shall stand up and be recognized. (Cf Daniel 11: 32).

Jesus Christ is the Faithful Witness that God is faithful to His promises. (Revelation 1: 5).  Think about it: God was faithful to you yesterday. Has He not been faithful to you so far today? If God gives you tomorrow, He will not fail you.

Know your God. Know His promises.  "Amen, I say to you:  Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you will receive it, and it will be yours, says the Lord."  (Mark 11: 23, 24)

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Saturday, June 02, 2018

The Eucharist is the New Covenant ratified with the Blood of Jesus.

"While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."  (Mark 14: 22 - 24).

Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. (CCC 1324). The Eucharist is also the new Covenant ratified with the Blood of Jesus.  (Mark 14: 24).

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord."  (John 6: 57).

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Friday, June 01, 2018

The world needs authority. The world needs the Catholic Church.

“By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mark 11:  28).

You guess right who the above question is directed to.  Of course Jesus.  Who are the questioners?
"As he [Jesus] was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him.... “ (Mark 11: 27 - 28).

This is a good opportunity to see what the Bible says about Authority:

First, all authority comes from God. (Romans 13: 1). This is all sweeping:  authority of the federal, state, local governments and everything downstream.

How about the the authority of Jesus, the Son?  “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me."  (Matthew 28: 18). "Power" = "Authority".

Authority of the Church: 
#1 "The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them...... Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:  16 - 20).

#2  "Whoever listens to you [Apostles] listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”  (Luke 10: 16).

#3 "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 16: 18 - 19).

On the question of authority, how confident will you be for a surgeon without license (authority) to operate on your only son? Or a lawyer without license to represent you on a felony case?

The world needs authority. The Sanhedrin was the supreme court of Israel.  In the USA, we respect the Supreme Court.  You may not always agree with them, but you understand the wisdom of the existence of the institution.
Why should it be different with the Church?  The Church is the Seed of the Kingdom of God here on earth and Jesus provided the Church with authority.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3: 5 - 6).

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Where can we see faith that moves mountains?

"Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God.  Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him."  (Mark 11: 22 - 23).

Do we still see faith that moves mountains?  We do indeed.  I have seen a few myself in everyday small matters and in huge international affairs.
Who could believe that apartheid in South Africa could be brought to an end in 1993 without a huge blood bath? A lot of prayers went up from all over the world to see this happy outcome.

St Peter teaches that faith is more precious than gold and silver. (Cf 1 Peter 1: 7). Whenever God plans to do a big thing in my life, first He gives me the faith and boldness to ask for it.  The rest is formality.

Jesus continues His teaching on prayer,  "Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours."  The person who doubts when he prays "must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways."  (James 1: 7 - 8).  A double-minded person may never receive anything he asks from God, says James.

Strong faith is a critical factor in all successful prayers but there is one other element without which no prayer can be answered:
"When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”  (Mark 11: 26).

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The Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June.

June 1st, 2018 First Friday in June 2018.

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 6th month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #6.

#6.  "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy."

June is the Month the Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  If you ask me, the promise this month is the greatest.  If you are not a sinner, stand up and shout it to the world!

Let us pray together:
"O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and glowing furnace of love, You are my sanctuary.  O adorable and glorious Savior, consume my heart with that burning fire that ever inflames Your Heart.

Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your Love.  Let my heart be one with, and in all things conformed to, Yours. May Your Will be the rule of both my desires and my actions. Amen."  (St Alphonsus Ligouri, Doctor of the Church).

"Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: "The Son of God. . . loved me and gave himself for me." He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings" without exception."  (CCC 478).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Mother of my Lord has come to visit me.

"Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."  (Cf Luke 1: 45).

The Church celebrates today the visit of Blessed Virgin Mary to her elderly pregnant cousin, Elizabeth.  Why is this feast very important?
Because of two key prophecies that were uttered in the course of the exchange between the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth:

#1  “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: 42 - 44).  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth recognized Mary as Theotokos, "The Mother of my Lord.".

#2  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed."  (Luke 1:  46 - 48).
All generations have been saying to the Theotokos:  "Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus."

"Almighty ever-living God,
who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray,
that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen." (Collect of the Feast of the Visitation).

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

You do not know what you are asking.

“What do you wish [me] to do for you?”  They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking."  (Mark 10: 36 - 38).

Could the best practice with regards to asking God for favors lodged in these two Scripture texts?

#1 "Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!" (Matthew 6: 8).

#2  "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (Romans 8: 26).

I just finished reading TREASURE IN CLAY - The Autobiography of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.  When I started the book, I was overwhelmed by this man's gifts and felt like a grasshopper before this towering moral, intellectual and saintly giant of a man.  He reminds me in a number of ways of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman but Sheen was much more erudite, versatile and charismatic.  By the time I finished the book, I felt peace and came to sympathize with James and John for not knowing what they were asking.  (Mark 10: 38).  God has an excellent plan for every person. (Jeremiah 29: 11).

Never compare yourself to any person, saint or sinner.  Accept who you are.  Accept all that has happened in your life.  Accept everything that is happening now. Cooperate with everything happening around you except what is sinful.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

God's will is that we become Saints.

"Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,  for it is written, “Be holy because I [am] holy.”  (1 Peter 1: 14-16).

"Become a saint, and do so quickly,"  a quote attributed to St John Paul the Great.  If God your Creator thinks you can be a Saint, why not!
Consider these two truths:

#1 "All things are possible for God."  (Luke 1: 37; Matthew 19: 26).
#2  "Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do?"  (Genesis 18: 14). For you?

Why then could I ever imagine that it is impossible for God to make me a Saint?  Clearly this is His expressed will. But how much do I desire it?

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him."  (Ephesians 1: 3 - 4)

May God so confirm our hearts in holiness that we may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints. (Cf 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Why do you refuse to follow Me?

“You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  (Mark 10: 21).

The young man who asked Jesus,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  (Mark 10: 17) is too attached to the wealth he worked hard to accumulate. He had no faith and could not believe that He who asked him to follow him gave him the power to accumulate all his wealth and could do more for him.

What is your principal attachment?
Money, family, job, easy life? Do you believe Jesus when He says: Come follow Me and you will have treasure in heaven?  Or?  "At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions."  (Mark 10: 22).

The antidote to attachment, hoarding and fear of poverty is total surrender of your All to Jesus.  Trust Jesus completely. He knows exactly what you need and when you need it.

"The Lord became my protector.
He brought me out to a place of freedom; he saved me because he delighted in me."  (Cf. Psalm 17: 19-20).

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

We celebrate today the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit."  (Matthew 28: 19).

The Church celebrates today the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. This is a great mystery, a great revelation and at the same time a great obstacle to faith to many people like Jews and Muslims.

But the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, One God in three Persons and Undivided Unity is not an object of idle speculation or a subject for futile doctoral thesis. The Trinity is a mystery for Credo and Adoration.

"We believe in one God, 
the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of all that is, seen and unseen. 

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father.

"We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified."

This is the Faith of our Fathers. The Faith revealed by Jesus Christ.
We believe!

I do not understand the mystery of the Trinity.  I pray to Abba Father using the Lord's Prayer, prayer taught us by Christ our Teacher.  I pray to our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary. I experience Jesus Christ in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. I experience the Holy Spirit in prayer, in His inspirations and power. This is how I know that the Trinity is real.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Behind the fervent prayer of a righteous person is a strong faith.

"The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.  Elijah was a human being like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land.  Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit."  (James 5: 16 - 18).

The Apostle James reveals here that God answers with speed when a righteous man calls on Him in supplication.  But who is a just man? A just or righteous man is a man of faith.  God teaches us through biographies of the saints in the Bible and Church. In the above Scripture, the Prophet Elijah is the example of a righteous man who moved God with his prayers.  Behind the prayers of Elijah is a strong faith.

The Spirit reveals:  "See, the rash have no integrity; but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live."  (Habakkuk 2:  4).
Who is "the rash man?" The rash man is one who has no faith.  Not only does he lack faith, but he has no integrity.

To be a man of prayer and a powerful intercessor for the needs of the Church, you must be a person of faith.  To be a person of faith, you must live in the word of God.  Because the living God speaks to you in His word and gives you the opportunity to respond. Your response is faith.

"Lord, I call to you; hasten to me;
listen to my plea when I call.
Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening offering."  (Psalm 141: 1 - 2).

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Why God is impatient with our grumbling.

"Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged."  (James 5: 9).

Complaining, criticizing and condemnation are severely rebuked in the Bible. When we find out why, we shall say: "No wonder!"

"Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because the Lord is compassionate and merciful."  (James 5: 10 -11).

We are urged to learn from Job and the prophets. The Bible teaches us through the power of biography:  A Bible character, a certain situation in the past. A similar situation or event repeats in the future. The message today is short and clear:  No Complain. No Criticize. No Condemn.  Was this the first time in the Bible for such an interdict against murmurings? Not at all. Read on:
"But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”  (Numbers 21 : 4-5)

Other examples to learn from:
"It was by faith that Abel obeyed God and brought an offering that pleased God more than Cain’s offering did. God accepted Abel and proved it by accepting his gift; and though Abel is long dead, we can still learn lessons from him about trusting God."  (Hebrews 11: 4)

If we have faith like Abel and learn to trust God, we shall never complain or grumble.

The Responsorial Psalm in today's Liturgy gives us ample reasons why God is trustworthy:

"Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion."

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever."  (Psalm 103: 1-2, 3-4, 8-9).

It is hard to find a reason to complain against such a loving Father.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Imagine what a cup of cold water can do.

Jesus said to His disciples:"Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward."  (Mark 9: 41).

Imagine what a cup of water can do! I have often been amazed at the low threshold of actions mandated by God in order to enter the Kingdom of God:
+ Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12: 31).
+ Be poor in spirit. (Matthew 5: 3).
+ Suffer persecution patiently for the sake of the Kingdom. (Matthew 5: 10).

None of the above or similar precepts in the Gospels can remotely compare with the grave hazards of the gold rush that happened in America about 150 years ago. A man packed his wife and children and transported them with all their property from New York for example to California for the promise of finding a gold mine in a desert.

Jesus, the true and faithful witness (Revelation 1: 5) promises that if you give a cup of cold water to any of His disciples, your reward will be great.  When I was a salesman knocking on doors often sweating from the summer heat, it had felt so sweet to be offered a bottle of cold water.  The cash value of the water would have been no more than 20 cents but for me, the value is inestimable.  I returned the favor by having Mass offered for the person and the company.

"O Lord, I trust in your merciful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me."  (Psalm 13: 6).

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.

"Beloved: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”– you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”  (James 4: 13 - 16).

Are you one of those who tend to overplan for tomorrow? Perhaps this has been so habitual that you attribute all your success in life to your planning, foresight, due diligence and hard work. Our first reading today calls us to pause and give due consideration to the loving and powerful providence of God.  "You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears."  (James 4: 14).

I tell you the truth: You are not even sure you will be around in the next hour.  God has given us this present Moment to repent, acknowledge and praise Him.

"O Lord, I trust in your merciful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me."  (Psalm 13: 6).

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Monday, May 21, 2018

What is Jesus teaching His disciples in secret?

"Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”  (Mark 9: 30 - 31).

We know that the public ministry of Jesus is teaching, healing the sick and feeding the hungry. We see Jesus in the above Scripture teaching His close disciples but in secret.  After three years of close fellowship, there were things the disciples were simply not ready to understand or accept.

Are there things about our faith and life in Christ that we simply refuse to understand and accept?  Is our relationship with God filled with such outbursts like:
Why cancer? Why me?
Why poverty? Why homelessness?
Why child abuse? Why this divorce?

“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”  (Luke 24: 25 - 26).

All these things are normal in the Journey of Faith.

No Cross. No Crown.
No Trials. No Testimony.

"I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message."  (John 13: 16).

Lord, I cast all my troubles on You. Sustain me according to Your promises for they are my only hope.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

"The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus."  (Acts 1: 14).

Today is the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church.  A brand new feast of Mary mandated by the Church to be celebrated Monday after the Feast of Pentecost from now till the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

"Happy are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise,
for from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. Alleluia!" (Gospel Acclamation, Monday, May 21, Memorial of Mary Mother of the Church).

It is a constant teaching of the Church that the Mission of Jesus is deeply interconnected with that of Mary. Remember that Mary is Theotokos, God bearer and the Proto Evangelion foresaw her mission in Genesis 3: 15.

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.(Genesis 3: 15).

On the Cross, Jesus Christ gave His Mother to you and myself in the person of John the Apostle, the representative of mankind during the Sacrifice of Calvary.

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19: 25 - 27).

"O God, Father of mercies,
whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross,
chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also;
grant, we pray,  that with her loving help,  your Church may be more fruitful day by day, and exulting in the holiness of her children,  may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son... "  (Collect, Monday, May 21, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church).

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

It is Pentecost!

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said...... “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  (Cf John 20: 19 - 23).

Today is the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church.  Happy Birthday Mother Church, ever young and yet ancient.  A Virgin and yet have given birth to billions of children.  Your journey to the heavenly Jerusalem will be crowned with success.

"It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

"For, bringing your Paschal Mystery to completion, you bestowed the Holy Spirit today on those you made your adopted children by uniting them to your Only Begotten Son....

"Therefore, overcome with paschal joy, every land, every people exults in your praise and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts, sing together the unending hymn of your glory.... "(Preface of the Feast of Pentecost).

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Paul evangelized Rome as a prisoner.

"He [Paul] remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him,  and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."  (Acts 28: 30 - 31).

The above scripture text is the remarkable end of the Acts of the Apostles.  Tomorrow is Sunday, May 20th, Pentecost Sunday. We started reading Acts of the Apostles 50 days ago from Easter Sunday. Let us recap a few salient points with regard to the mission of Paul:

1.  Acts 1: 8, Jesus predicted: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem…and to the ends of the earth.”  Paul has fulfilled this prophecy on behalf of the Church.
2.  "The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome." (Acts 23: 11).

The remarkable thing about Paul's ministry in Rome is how it came about.  Paul was in house arrest and could not move from place to place. Yet he was able to evangelize Rome thanks to Divine Providence.

Never diminish the force and power of Divine Providence.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts."  (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lord You know that I love You.

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he [Jesus] had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”  (John 21:  17).

Why did Jesus ask Simon Peter three times if he loved him.  Peter denied Jesus three times on the night of His trial.  It is clear that Peter has come a full circle with his awareness of his sin and repentance.  Jesus wanted to let Peter put this misfortune once and for all behind him. Jesus wants a new beginning for the Prince of the Apostles.

What if Jesus asks you the same question:  "Do you love Me?" How would you answer?  I may answer thus:  "Yes Lord Jesus, I love You. Please take my weak and compromised love and make it strong."  Then Jesus says to me:  "Bring Me all your heart, all your mind, all your will. Bring Me all your time, talent and treasure. Bring Me all your weaknesses. Then come and follow Me."
Thank You Jesus.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Father, imbue powerfully with spiritual gifts.

"With boldness let us approach the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace as a timely help, alleluia." (Hebrews 4: 16).

This is Pentecost.  Three days to go! The Liturgy is filled with sounds and smells of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the Birthday 🎂 of the Church. A glorious day!  Are you ready? All you need to get the action is great Desire and ability to Ask.  Everybody can say:  "Give me. Help me."  Come with boldness and ask for that Promise of the Father which He cannot refuse.

"May your Spirit, O Lord, we pray,
imbue us powerfully with spiritual gifts, that he may give us a mind pleasing to you and graciously conform us to your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."  (Collect Thursday, May 17th, 7th Week of Easter).

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Beware of false prophets.

"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.  And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them."  (Acts 20: 29 - 30).

Paul the Apostle spoke of savage wolves whose only objective is to destroy Church unity.  Throughout Church history, we have seen a string of these wolves that inflicted deep wounds in the the Body of Christ. I will mention just one: the Arian Heresy.  Arius was a wily Egyptian priest who lived in the 4th century. He denied that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man. It took the Church probably over 200 years to overcome this heresy.  Today this heresy is recycled in groups like Jehovah Witness.

What is the solution to these demonic attacks on the truth? Paul advices:  "So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears."  (Acts 20: 31). Jesus prays:  "Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are."  (John 17: 11).  And He warned:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves."  (Matthew 7: 15).

Lord Jesus, consecrate us in the truth. "Your word is truth."  (John 17:  17).

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Monday, May 14, 2018

You can start enjoying eternal life now.

"Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ."  (John 17: 3).

To know God is to enjoy right here and right now attributes of eternal life. What does it mean to know God as Father?

+ To know that God is truly your Father and that you are His adopted child.
+ God is your Father at every single moment of your life. He never changes.
+ He loves you with an infinite love which can never increase or decrease.
+ God watches over you day and night and not a single hair falls from your head without His permission.
+ In His infinite wisdom, God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
+ Even when you experience evil in your life, God can bring good out of the situation because of His infinite power.
+ In His infinite goodness, God makes everything to the advantage of those who love Him.

When you know God like this, you will experience abundant life here on earth.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

God chose you before the foundation of the world for some good works.

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain."  (John 15: 16).

It is hard enough to believe that God planned for you to be where you are at this moment doing what you are doing. But to be told that God chose you before the foundation of the world to be who you are at the this time will simply be incredible beyond compare.  Read what follows below from Ephesians 1: 3 - 4 and believe and stop being a Doubting Thomas. (John 20: 24 - 29).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him."  (Ephesians 1: 3 - 4).

What do you know about Divine Providence?  Below is some of what the Church teaches about Divine Providence:

"God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son "upholding the universe by his word of power" (Heb 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life."  (CCC 320).

321 "Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end." (CCC 321 and follows).

Today is the feast of St Matthias who was chosen before the foundation of the world to replace Judas.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Jesus will return as you see Him go.

"Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens?
This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven
will return as you saw him go, alleluia."  (Acts 1: 11).

Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension in our Archdiocese.  Some other dioceses around the world celebrated the feast on Thursday, May 10th, 2018.

The Ascension into Heaven of Jesus watched by His disciples.  This event continues to bring Christians throughout the centuries immense joy and hope.  Joy to see the exaltation of One who overcame death.  Hope in the sure expectation of His Second Coming, not as a little poor child but like a Mighty King surrounded by a sun a million times brighter than the sun we know.

"God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."  (Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 47:6–7).

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Have you experienced the pure joy of answered prayer?

"JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."  (John 16: 23).

Do you know the pure joy of answered prayer? In my experience, there is nothing as delightful as the happiness you feel when your prayer is answered.
The truth is that most often our prayers are answered but we do not pay attention.  Like children we quickly forget the cherished toy or doll and have our eyes on something different.

Pentecost 2018 is May 20th.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and eyes to see the answered prayers in your life and to show you how God answers your prayers.

The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10: 10.  In our key Scripture today,  (John 16: 23) Jesus promises to fulfill any request made to the Father in His name.  This is a serious promise.

"Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete." (John 16: 24)

Most of our prayer involves asking for one thing or the other. God created us to be completely dependent on him for everything. Why be ashamed to ask for help in time of need?

Ask and you shall receive and your faith will grow stronger.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Have you experienced the joy of answered prayer?

"JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."  (John 16: 23).

Do you know the pure joy of answered prayer? In my experience, there is nothing as delightful as the happiness you feel when your prayer is answered.
The truth is that most often our prayers are answered but we do not pay attention.  Like children we quickly forget the cherished toy or doll and have our eyes on something different.

Pentecost 2018 is May 20th.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and eyes to see the answered prayers in your life and to show you how God answers your prayers.

The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10: 10.  In our key Scripture today,  (John 16: 23) Jesus promises to fulfill any request made to the Father in His name.  This is a serious promise.

"Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete." (John 16: 24)

Most of our prayer involves asking for one thing or the other. God created us to be completely dependent on him for everything. Why be ashamed to ask for help in time of need?

Ask and you shall receive and your faith will grow stronger.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

I tell you the truth: No Cross, No Crown.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy."  (John 16: 20).

Do not even look at the world as they are engaged in their ecstatic show of joy. I tell you the truth, it is all show.  I promise that you will experience the true and lasting joy. He who laughs last, laughs best.

"When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world."  (John 16:  21).

How many times will I tell you that it is My Father's gracious will that the Cross will precede the Crown.  Let the story of pregnancy teach you this lesson.  I tell you the truth, nobody can change this order.

"Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory."  (Cf Luke 24: 46, 26)
The Cross is a divine necessity.

"No one will take your joy away from you."  (John 16: 22).
You can trust My word.

"Hear our prayers, O Lord, so that what was promised by the sanctifying power of your Word may everywhere be accomplished through the working of the Gospel and that all your adopted children may attain what the testimony of truth has foretold.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen."  (Collect Friday, May 11th, 6th Week of Easter).

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Do not be afraid Bros.

Do not be afraid

“They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat.  This frightened them, but he said, ‘It is I.  Do not be afraid.”  (John 6: 19 – 20)

Jesus is in every event in my life.  He is saying to me here:  ‘Do not be afraid.  I am present.’  How can I make this truth serve me everyday?  In the midst of the hot events of my life, how can I call to mind the sure presence of Jesus?  One way is to cultivate the presence of Jesus through the Jesus prayer.  Jesus!

Lord Jesus, I believe you are present in my life through the Holy Spirit.  I thank you for the peace and tranquility that is your gift.  Sometimes I forget about your presence and become anxious and afraid.  I feel that I am in control of events and I feel so inadequate.  Lord teach me to live in your presence every moment of my life.  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, in God, whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear, what power has human strength over me?”  (Psalm 56: 3-4)

In order to live constantly in the presence of Jesus, I will immerse myself in the words of Jesus and say the Jesus prayer.

“It is I.  Do not be afraid.”

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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Crispus heard the message and believed.

"Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized."  (Acts 18: 8).

What does it mean that Crispus came to believe in the Lord?  "The Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized?"  What is belief? What is faith?
These people heard the core message of the Gospel from the lips of St Paul.  At this time, there was no New Testament.  No document to check and verify their statement. They must have heard something similar to this:  "Jesus who was promised through the Prophets has come. He taught us about God and His plan for universal salvation. He was crucified according to the Scriptures. He died and rose again from the dead. He will come again to judge the world.  We are witnesses to these facts."

Crispus and many Corinthians heard a similar message and believed.  They believed the message because they were predisposed to believe.  They believed because they judged Paul a credible messenger and witness.  If you are reading this, you are predisposed to faith, to believe.  You believe in the word of God. You believe in the teaching of the Church.

We are 10 days to the great feast of Pentecost, Sunday, May 10th. How is your faith?
"Behold, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28: 20).
Do you believe this?

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Spirit of truth will guide us to all truth.

"But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth......and will declare to you the things that are coming."  (John 16: 13).

The Spirit of Jesus will guide us to all truth.  All truth pertaining to salvation. Let us consider for a moment some of these awesome and mysterious truths that Jesus Christ revealed during His ministry:
+ The Trinity
+ The Holy Spirit
+ Sacraments
+ The Cross
+  The Church
+  Mystery of Mary

The Holy Spirit has led the Church to all these truths.  Most of the Church Councils in the past 2000 years have produced dogmatic definitions on these truths.  The teachings are constant and unalterable.

The Holy Spirit "will declare to you the things that are coming."  (John 16: 13).  What constitutes this revelation?  One thing that comes to mind is the appearance of the Man of Lawlessness, sometimes called the Anti-Christ.  He is a prince in the Kingdom of the Father of lies. (Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 1 - 12). Through the spirit of discernment, the Church will be able to grasp the Signs of the Times and expose him.

"Graciously be present to your people, we pray, O Lord, and lead those you have imbued with heavenly mysteries to pass from former ways to newness of life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen."  (Prayer after Communion).

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Monday, May 07, 2018

Spirit of light and love, come and fill us with Yourself.

"I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth. (Cf John 16: 7, 13).

What does the Church mean when she confesses: “I believe in the Holy Spirit”?
"To believe in the Holy Spirit is to profess faith in the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity who proceeds from the Father and the Son and “is worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son”. The Spirit is “sent into our hearts” (Galatians 4:6) so that we might receive new life as sons of God."  (CCC 136)

"O Holy Spirit of Light and Love, to You I consecrate my mind, heart and will, for time and eternity. May I be ever docile to Your divine inspirations and to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church whose infallible Guide You are.  May my heart be ever inflamed with the love of God and love of neighbor; may my will be ever in harmony with Your divine will. May my life faithfully imitate the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him with the Father and You, Divine Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen."  (Consecration to the Holy Spirit by Pope St Pius X).

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Lord prosper the work of our hands.

Prosper the Work of our Hands

“May the favor of the Lord our God be ours,
Prosper the work of our hands!
Prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90: 17)

As mentioned once in this Blog, many years ago I read from time to time Christian Science literature for the sheer beauty of the language in expressing of faith. Here is something I culled from their literature in.

“God’s plan for man includes full employment. Employment is meaningful and fruitful activity. The disciple who is preparing for his life’s work is fully employed. God is omni-active. And so should man who reflects God’s image. He is employed in the business of expressing love and reflecting the divine understanding which are always fruitful. We can begin to prove this right now and bring healing to every aspect of our work.

Our understanding of and trust in these truths result in tangible provision for our needs, and enable us to help others as well. Our prayers and proofs of God’s healing care bless us, our Church and everyone.”

To summarize: There is no unemployment in God's Vineyard. Not every meaningful employment is paid employment.  The student and the volunteer are meaningfully employed.

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