Sunday, April 05, 2020

Mary of Bethany, the unassuming star.


"Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil."  (John 12: 3).

Monday 6th April 2020, Monday of Holy Week.

Six days will be the Passover; Jesus visited the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, His very good friends. Perhaps to enjoy one last good meal and wine in Martha's Vineyard before His Passion. The star of the story today is not the matriarch, Martha whose hospitality is proverbial nor their apparently recluse brother, Lazarus.

The star is Mary who performed an outlandish gesture to demonstrate her love for Jesus. She broke a vial of what may be considered the very equivalent of the top line of Pierre Chardin and poured the oozing aromatic liquid on the feet of Jesus and wiped the feet with her long hairs. While some guests criticized this apparent waste, Jesus was very pleased and spoke up for Mary.

Who is Mary? Mary is here a type of the follower of Jesus who is marked by the following qualities:
#1 Total and radical commitment.
#2 Total self-giving.
#3 Total consecration (set apart) to Jesus and His cause.

Let us consider an example of the above commitment. St Ignatius Loyola of the Society of Jesus is a good example. See below his heart's greatest desire and objective:

+ To know the Heart of Jesus intimately.
+ To love Him passionately.
+ To follow Jesus everywhere.

We are today in the last week of Lent 2020. Where are you in the Journey of knowing Jesus more intimately so that you can love Him more and serve Him everywhere?

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! Hail to you, our King! You alone have had compassion on our sins."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, April 04, 2020

The Triumphant Entry of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.


"And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21: 10 - 11).

Sunday 5th April 2020, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. Today we honor Christ Jesus our triumphant King.

From time immemorial the Church has honored her triumphant King and Savior through processions and waving of palms on Palm Sunday. This has been done in war and peace, during plagues and normal time. It is difficult to find in history a time when this is not the case. The universal Church is experiencing today what no prophet had foretold. We must place our faith and destiny in the hands of the Bishops whom Jesus committed the entire Sacraments of Salvation  and instructed us in no uncertain terms:
"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 crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21: 9).

"Cease striving and know that I am God." (Psalm 46: 10.)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, April 03, 2020

You must die.


"Christ was handed over, to gather into one the scattered children of God." (Communion Antiphon: Cf. John 11: 52).

Saturday 4th April 2020 of the 5th week of Lent is the feast of St Isidore (560 - 636), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Isidore was Bishop of Seville in Spain and a leading light in the Church in Spain. He initiated many local Church councils. St Isidore earned his place among the Doctors of the Church by his rigorous scholarship especially his extensive Encyclopedia (Etymologies) which was popular up to the Middle Ages.

We are on the Eve of Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The plot to kill Jesus has thickened at this point. Who wants to kill Jesus and who will benefit most from His disappearance from the religious-political scene?
“You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” (John 11: 49 - 50).
This is the voice of the High Priest, Caiaphas. He provides a powerful motive for the criminal conspiracy. The fate of Jesus is sealed.

The plan of the Father for the salvation of the world has taken a definitive path to victory. Is God the Father incapable of stopping the execution of His beloved Son Jesus? Or all the evils in the world? Just one word will stop them. "In the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil."
The Cross has been ordained by the Father from eternity to be the means of our Salvation. No Cross, No Crown. No Trials. No Triumph.

As we enter the most holy Week of the year, we pray for the grace to understand the meaning of the Cross in our lives.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Open your eyes and see...

*This post from Anglican Bishop Ikeakor raises interesting questions and should engender discussion among the faifhfuls.*


....IF NOT...THEN WHY THE NOISE...?

"THEN AARON TOOK THE CENSER AS MOSES COMMANDED, AND RAN INTO THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY;AND ALREADY THE PLAGUE HAD BEGUN AMONG THE PEOPLE. SO HE PUT IN THE INCENSE AND MADE ATONEMENT FOR THE PEOPLE. 
...AND AARON THE PRIEST STOOD BETWEEN THE DEAD AND THE LIVING; SO THE PLAGUE STOPPED. " ( NUMBERS 16: 47-48).

....INTELLIGENT WORSHIP OF GOD IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM INTELLECTUAL WORSHIP OF GOD. 
.....INTELLECTUAL WORSHIPPERS SMARTLY AND BOLDLY DECLARE THAT IT IS NOT THE CHURCH THAT IS SHUT DOWN, BUT THE BUILDING. 
.......NOW MY MAIN WORRY AND CONCERN IS: CHURCH LEADERS ARE BOLDLY ASKING THEIR PRIESTS, AND PASTORS TO STAY INDOORS AND PRAY PRIVATELY WHEREAS THE GOVERNMENT HAS MAGNANIMOUSLY DECLARED THAT THOSE ON ESSENTIAL DUTIES SHOULD GO TO WORK. 
..... MY QUESTION: DOCTORS, NURSES, PHARMACISTS ARE ON ESSENTIAL DUTIES..
.....BANKERS ARE ON ESSENTIAL DUTIES? 
......JOURNALISTS AND BROADCASTERS ARE ON ESSENTIAL DUTIES?
.....THE POLICE, ARMY, ROAD SAFETY,  CIVIL DEFENCE Etc ARE ON ESSENTIAL DUTIES? 
.....BUT PASTORS, PRIESTS, AND BISHOPS WHO ARE TAKING CHARGE OVER THE IMMORTAL SOULS OF MEN AND WOMEN HAVE ANNOUNCED THAT THEY ARE NOT ON ESSENTIAL DUTIES????
.....AARON THE PRIEST STOOD BETWEEN THE DEAD AND THE LIVING TO MINISTER TO THE PEOPLE DURING THE PLAGUE. BUT WE HAVE RUN INSIDE OUR HOUSES ASKING OUR CONGREGATIONS AND PARISHIONERS TO MINISTER TO THEMSELVES DURING THE PLAGUE. 
.....AT WHAT POINT DO WE (PRIESTS)LEAD GOD'S FLOCK BY EXAMPLE OF FAITH AND SACRIFICIAL COMMITMENT TO GOD AND HIS PEOPLE? 
......SOME DOCTORS AND MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS HAVE DIED IN THE COURSE OF ATTENDING TO THE VICTIMS OF PANDEMICS, YET OTHERS DID NOT RUN AWAY FOR FEAR OF DEATH. 
......WHAT EXACTLY IS THE MESSAGE CHURCH LEADERS ARE PASSING TO THE WORLD BY KEEPING MUTE AND SHUTTING DOWN CHURCHES? 
......WHERE AND WHEN DO WE DECLARE THE POWER OF RESURRECTION OF CHRIST TO WORLD? 
.....WHERE DOES THE WORLD RUN TO NOW THAT THE CHURCH IS SHUT DOWN? 
.....WHO MINISTERS TO THE AGED, THE SICK, THE DEPRESSED, THE FEARFUL, AND THE HURTING AT SUCH A CRITICAL TIME LIKE THIS ? ....SHOULD IT NOT BE THE PRIESTS AND THE PASTORS? 
......IF IT IS GOD'S WILL THAT WE DIE IN THE COURSE OF MINISTERING TO HIS PEOPLE...
WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL WITH THAT? 
......WHERE, WHEN, AND HOW ARE CHRISTIAN MARTYRS MADE....IN THEIR ROOMS AND ABODES OF HIBERNATION? 
......WHAT IS THE IMMUNITY OF THE POLICE, ARMY, FRSC, NSCDC , AND EVEN DOCTORS AGAINST THE PANDEMIC WHY THEY  ARE NOT SHUTTING DOWN? 
......IF THE PRIESTLY WORK AND VOCATION IS NOT AMONG THE ESSENTIAL DUTIES, WE SHOULD ALL RESIGN, AND JOIN THE POLICE, ARMY, JOURNALISTS, AND STOP EXTORTING PEOPLE THROUGH OFFERINGS, TITHES AND SEEDS. 
.....IF WE CANNOT GIVE HOPE TO THE PEOPLE IN THEIR TIME OF DISTRESS, WHY SHOULD WE ASK FOR THEIR HELP (TITHES, DONATIONS ETC.) IN TIMES OF  PEACE AND TRANQUILITY? 
.....IF THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST CANNOT BE CHALLENGINGLY AND RISKINGLY DECLARED NOW  BY PRIESTS, PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERS, WHY THE NOISE AFTER NOW??
......SCIENCE IS FAILING THE WORLD, TECHNOLOGY IS FAILING THE WORLD, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS FAILING THE WORLD. THE LAST HOPE OF THE WORLD IS JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH.  
......IT IS FOOLISH WISDOM TO SHIELD PEOPLE FROM CORONAVIRUS, AND EXPOSE THEM TO THE WRATH OF GOD IN EVERLASTING HELLFIRE.  THEIR BODIES ARE MORTAL, BUT THEIR SOULS ARE IMMORTAL. 
......IT IS A FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD.  
.....I WANT YOU TO KNOW AND BE ASSURED THAT CHRIST JESUS IN YOU IS THE ONLY HOPE OF GLORY, SAFETY, AND ETERNITY.  
.....WHILE YOU OBSERVE AND KEEP EVERY OTHER PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES FOR SAFETY, REMEMBER THAT THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS IS A STRONG TOWER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS RUN INTO IT AND THEY ARE SAFE AND PROTECTED. 

..... NOTE: " IF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD DOES NOT SPEAK TO YOU CONCERNING THIS WRITE UP AFTER READING IT, DON'T RISK THE MISTAKE OF NEGATING IT." KEEP BOTH YOUR COMMENDATION AND CRITICISMS TO YOURSELF.

+Ephraim Ikeakor

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Do you believe you are god?


"Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” (John 10: 34).

Friday 3rd April 2020 of the 5th week of Lent is also First Friday in April.

Our Scripture pick for today says that we are gods. Do you believe that you are a god or can become a god? Let us see:

Our journey to becoming god started in the free grace God offered us in Baptism. Baptism makes us adopted sons and daughters of God. We become the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and the beloved children of God. Romans 8 says that those who are called through Baptism and accepts their call through faith are justified by God. That is, they are made righteous or holy. Holiness is an attribute of God. And those justified receive the Holy Spirit and are glorified by God to become like His Son Jesus. Jesus, the unique and only begotten Son of God is glorified through the Cross. We too are becoming like Jesus and before we are fully transformed will be glorified through the Cross.

What is the end game in all this? The Holy Spirit comes to us with His gifts and fruits. These gifts and fruits are the characteristics and attributes of God. Exercising these gifts and fruits make us not just godlike but gods. Those who make it to eternal life will have the properties of God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of April 2020.


April 03, 2020 First Friday in April.

Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 4th month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #4.

#4.  "They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death."

With the Corona Virus Pandemic, the 4th Promise of the Sacred Heart of Jesus cannot be more timely than now. Note that there are two promises here:
#1 The Sacred Heart will be your assured refuge in this crisis. Whatever happens, this faithful and precious promise will be your armor and protection.

#2 If the Lord decides to call you home through this pandemic, because you placed your trust in His Sacred Heart and His promises, your transition to eternal life will be filled with peace and you will experience the presence of Christ beside you.

What more can any Christian ask for? St Augustine says:  "If you pray well, you live well. If you live well, you die well. If you die well, all is well."

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by renewing your consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and if you cannot receive Jesus in physical Communion, receive Him in Spiritual Communion.

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

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

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

St Francis of Paola, Patron Saint of Plagues.


"God did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for us all;
with him, he has given us all things." (Romans 8: 32 - Communion Antiphon).

Thursday 2nd April 2020 of 5th week of Lent is the feast of St Francis of Paola (1416 - 1507), Hermit. Francis attracted followers and they formed a community of Hermits with the Rules of the St Francis of Assisi to guide them. Gifted in diplomacy, the hermit Francis was used by the Church for sensitive diplomatic missions. St Francis of Paola is patron saint of the following:

• Plague
• Sterility
• Sailors, boatmen, mariners
• Travellers
• Naval officers

Our key Scripture is from the Communion Antiphon. If Abba Father could sacrifice Jesus on the Cross because of His love for us, It is ridiculous to think that He could deny us anything good for us. Imagine what God did for our Saint of today. For his holiness and obedience, God made him patron saint of issues affecting Christians.

We believe in the Communion of the Saints. Christ Jesus our Lord is glorified when we honor His saints. Although all the saints are enjoying heavenly bliss, they are still engaged in the affairs of the Church militant on earth. They experienced our struggles and know our needs. Ask for the aide of the saints with Obedience of Faith and Obedience of humility thus:

JESUS I TRUST IN YOU COMPLETELY. THROUGH THE Intercession OF ST FRANCIS OF PAOLA, I SURRENDER MYSELF TO YOU COMPLETELY. TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING YOUR WAY. AMEN.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

If we live, we live. If we perish, we perish.

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31 - 32).

Wednesday 1st April 2020 of the 5th week of Lent. When Jesus says that if you persevere in feeding on His word, you will come to know the truth and the divine truth you know will set you free, I can vouch that this is not April fool. It is the truth.

The truth (divine reality) frees us from the fear, worry and doubt 
and dread that falsehood imposes on us. Pope Benedict when he visited the oil rich country of Angola was shocked to see how the population was shackled by fears of evil spirits, disease and death. He remarked that Angola received Christian missionaries about 500 years ago. At that time, Europe was still shackled with similar fears and superstitions. But the light and truth of Christ has since dispelled those fears in Europe.

Today, Europe needs a fresh light of Christ because the continent is in darkness because of materialism, atheism and hedonism. The consequences are dire. Most European countries have today minus zero birth rate. They welcome Moslems with open arms to work and maintain their standards of living. Islam will be the majority religion in Europe in about 50 years.

In the 1st Reading from the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar asked the three Jewish boys: "Who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?" We hear the same threat today everywhere from supervisors and bosses: "Is it true you will not work on Sunday? Who is the God who can deliver you out of unemployment?"

If you have not dwelt in the word of God for a long time, how can you ever know the truth that can set you free? I enjoy freedom in a number of areas in my life and I am profoundly grateful. 

Hear the bold answer of the three Jewish boys to their tormentor who believed he had supreme power: Oh Nebuchadnezzar, if we live, we live. If we perish, we perish.
The boys know the Scriptures and they know the truth that set them free from fear of death. How did the story end? Read on below:

"Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 30, 2020

I live to please My Father.


"The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” (John 8: 29).

Tuesday 31st March 2020 of the 5th week of Lent. Can you believe this is the end of March, end of the 1st quarter of 2020? The ides of March may have come but has not passed.

In the Gospel of today, the Jews asked Jesus a point blank question: "Who are you?" Jesus ties Himself to the Father in the answers He gave them. The one I like most is this: "I always do what is pleasing to him. [Abba Father]” How about you my friend? Whom do you always want to please? Your wife, husband, child, boss, the president? Who do you fear most to displease?

"I believe in the Communion of the Saints." Who are the saints? The saints are our brothers and sisters who have ran the race we are running and experienced the abundant life [life in the Spirit] here on earth by imitating Jesus in pleasing the Father in everything. Now they are enjoying their reward in the fullness of the Kingdom of God where they continue pleasing the Father by continuous praise and worship.

Lent is the time to pray for grace to realize that the Kingdom of God is already here among us. If you are not enjoying it now says St Catherine of Siena, it is wishful thinking to believe that when your eyes are closed in death, you will.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Woman you are set free.


“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8: 7).

Monday 30th March 2020 of the 5th week of Lent. The sacred texts present us with the story of two women. One is Susanna, beautiful and wife of a very wealthy man. The other is a simple woman caught in the act of adultery. Both women were accused of adultery, a sin punishable by death in those days and still so in Moslem countries. There are a number of lessons in the two narratives.

#1 Satan is the Father of lies and the Book of Revelation calls him the Accuser of the brethren. Do you know anyone who delights in pointing fingers and quick to accuse? Unjust accusations against Jesus and Stephen led to their deaths.

#2 Corruption of power. Susanna was accused by two elderly judges whose advances she spurned. The woman caught in adultery was accused by those who caught her and judges who wanted her dead. Judges and lawyers face continuous temptations to bribery and corruption, crimes that are still rampant everywhere.

#3 The stories ended well in the marvelous timely Divine Interventions. God used Daniel in the case of Susanna and Jesus the Divine Mercy in the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery.

What do we take away from the two stories? "The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those who hope in him." (Daniel 13: 60). The reaction of the people shows that they understood that a miracle happened. They glorified God and their faith became strengthened. This is also the takeaway for us because every Bible narrative is there to build up our faith in a loving and merciful God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Where do we celebrate Easter?


"Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live." (John 11: 25).

Sunday 29th March 2020 of the 5th week of Lent. Two weeks to the Most Solemn Feast of Easter.

The Hierarchy of the Church is faced with the greatest crisis in its over 2000 years history. Will the Churches be shuttered for the Easter celebrations? Jesus told Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live." (John 11: 25).
The question is: Will the Church today live after it dies?

Why does the Church pander to the governments in shuttering all the Churches instead of negotiating a workable and practical solution as befits a vital and indispensable institution? What if for the first time, the world thinks that the Church no longer believes what it teaches and preaches?  Can you imagine early Christians in Rome faced with execution by the Roman authorities recanting and saying: YES, YOU ARE RIGHT. JESUS IS NOT LORD. CAESAR IS LORD.

The question is: After this, will the Church ever recover the high spiritual and moral grounds? The Church has exposed its weakness and perhaps hypocrisy.

The Church is the People of God but in this crisis, we are seeing that it appears as if the Church is the Hierarchy, no longer the People of God. No longer the Body of Christ.

Jesus says: "SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND ALL THE REST WILL COME TO YOU." He also teaches: "THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD."

The Hierarchy is leading us today from a position of extreme weakness, fear, doubt and worry. The first principle of Discernment of Spirits is that God is not in Fear, Worry or Doubt. Where you find Fear, Worry or Doubt, you find the Spirit of Evil. Stop calling fear and doubt "Abundance of Caution."

"The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation." (CCC 2181).

"This is Jesus, Emmanuel. God is with us, in this sacrament, come receive him, adore him, This is Jesus, our Lord."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, March 27, 2020

You need perseverance to enter the Kingdom of God.


"Blessed are those who,
with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves
and yield a harvest through their perseverance." (Luke 8: 15).

Saturday 28th March 2020 of the 4th week of Lent. Our key Scripture is from the Gospel Acclamation. It has a very important message. Perseverance is the key to sustainable growth in the spiritual life. Perseverance now and all the way to Heaven.

How do you rate yourself on the virtue of perseverance? What percentage of new projects do you complete? 50%, 80%, 90%, 99%?
You may be surprised to learn that Jesus teaches in the Gospels that only 100% is the pass grade. Some dioceses require 100% attendance for young adults Confirmation classes. It is true. I have taught it for a number of years.

If you have a problem with finishing what you start, do not despair. Once upon a time, I became sad that I could never complete whatever I started: Bible Study, New Year resolutions, walkout programs, etc. Then it occurred to me that I could take this to Jesus in prayer. I prayed. Not one quick Hail Mary. I wrestled with Jesus over the issue possibly for a couple of years. I am happy to say that today my completion rate is close to 100%. One thing I must add is that I take counsel of the Holy Spirit before I embark on a new project.

As Jesus teaches, weigh carefully the cost of discipleship before you commit yourself. Once you put your hands on the plough and look back, you disqualify yourself.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 26, 2020

In the fullness of time, I will be glorified.


"So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come." (John 7: 30).

Friday 27th March 2020 of the 4th week of Lent. Why did the enemies of Christ tried to arrest Him during the Jewish festival of Tabernacles? The answer is laid out clearly in the first Reading from the 2nd Chapter of Wisdom:

The enemies of Jesus could not stand His probity and integrity. They considered Him a reproach to their transgressions. Like the high court judge who takes bribes, their conscience would give them no peace especially when they come in contact with Jesus. Therefore, Jesus must die. But Jesus' antagonists were ignorant of the prophecies about the Messiah. They said: "For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes."

In the fullness of time, Jesus would hand over Himself to be glorified on the Cross. For the Cross is the appointed means of the glorification of the Son of Man. Before that hour, nothing can happen to Jesus.

As followers of Jesus, our lives are hemmed in by God's loving and powerful Providence. If we make the Kingdom of God and His holiness the top priority of our life. God's promise of provision and protection for us is unbreakable.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My works testify that I Am.


"But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me." (John 5: 36).

Thursday 26th March 2020 of the 4th week of Lent. Today we look at the "testimony" of Jesus. We ask: What are the credentials of Jesus? How do we know that this man is who he claims to be?

In His trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus affirms that the purpose He came into the world is to bear witness to the truth. Jesus according to His own testimony is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
To validate that Jesus is who He claims to be, we match His claims with His works. If a person claims to be a surgeon and happens to be in a Trauma Center when the Trauma doctor cannot be found, if he is able to handle an urgent and critical case, he becomes believable. If not, he is considered an impostor, a fraud.

Jesus is genuine and authentic in every sense. He healed every type of sickness. He raised the dead. He cast out demons. He fed thousands from a few loaves and fish. He taught people the message of eternal life. Jesus fulfilled every profile of the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah and other prophets.
Finally, He was crucified and rose from the dead and appeared to those He chose to see Him.

The Church Jesus founded which shall never be destroyed by forces of evil is alive and following the Way of her Lord all over the world. The lives of the Saints continue to be irrefutable advertisements for the authenticity that the Church is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Solemnity of the Annunciation.


"Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38).

Wednesday 25th March 2020 is the Solemnity of Annunciation of the Lord. The Archangel Gabriel declared to the young Virgin Mary:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus." (Luke 1: 30 - 31).

In this scene, Mary is the representative of humanity. Her Yes to God is the beginning of our salvation history, the beginning of the Church. Her Obedience of Faith is the standard God expects of all of us.
"I am the handmaid of the Lord... Could be a prayer all of us can use:
"MY LORD I TRUST IN YOU.
I SURRENDER MYSELF TO YOU COMPLETELY.
TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING YOUR WAY."

This is the heart of Marian spirituality: TRUST. OBEDIENCE. SURRENDER.

Behold I embrace Your gracious and mysterious will always, everywhere and in everything.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 23, 2020

In the fullness of time, God will say to you: Arise!


“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” (John 5: 7).

Tuesday 24th March 2020 of the 4th week of Lent.

Are you one of those who believe absolutely in human connections, having friends in high places to get that plumpy job, get your daughter into that Ivy league school? By hustling and bustling you think your smartness might cheat Divine Providence. No it won't. Throughout the Bible, God has revealed Himself as the God of mercies and Father of ALL consolations, ALL comforts. The Sacred Scriptures proclaim the Divine Providence of God in every page.

After 38 years of waiting for someone to help him into the pool in Bethesda, when the water is stirred, Jesus appeared one afternoon and said to the crippled man: “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”  Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked."
Coincidence or Providence? In His time, God makes everything beautiful. In the fullness of time, God will appear and bring you the healing or whatever your heart aches for.

"The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress, so we shall not fear though the earth should rock, though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea. (Psalm 46: 2 - 3).

If the Lord is your shepherd, no fear, no worry, no doubt. You are OK in everything until He says Mary/John, it is time. Let us go home.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 22, 2020

When Faith becomes Obedience.


"Jesus said to him [Royal Official], “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left." (John 4: 50).

Monday 23rd March 2020 of the 4th week of Lent is the feast of St Turibius de Mogrevejo (1538 - 1606) born in Spain and lived and died as Archbishop of Lima, Peru. Lima is the city that produced St Rose of Lima and St Martin de Porres. St Turibius was known for his unwavering love of truth.

In our key Scripture for today, we see an example of faith. Faith is the radical trust and confidence in the word of Christ. Jesus said simply to the Royal Official: “You may go; your son will live.” The Scripture records:
"The man believed what Jesus said to him and left." (John 4: 50).

If any Christian invests time and resources to learn what Faith is and how Faith works, the harvest will be incredibly huge and this gift will keep giving and giving all your life.

Consider Faith as Obedience. The Royal Official heard Jesus say: Don't worry. Go home. Your son is OK. He believes and went home. He obeyed the directive. No questions. No arguments. Are you able to imitate his action and show the Obedience of Faith?

Consider also that the man's faith was prepared by what he heard about Jesus before he met Him.
"When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death."

When we read the Gospel, we see many healings and miracles. The stories are preparing us to believe and deepen our Faith in Jesus. You do not know when you will stand face to face with Jesus needing His help. Faith comes from hearing. Hearing the word of God and believing it.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 21, 2020

My head You have anointed with oil.


"God does not see as man sees: man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16: 7).

Sunday 22nd March 2020 of the 4th week of Lent.

How does man see?
#1 Jesse, father of David and his sons see David as insignificant shepherd boy. God sees David as a man after His heart, a future champion and king of Israel.

#2 The Jewish leaders saw Jesus as the stone they rejected but God saw Jesus as the Corner Stone of the Kingdom He was building.

#3 Jacob’s ten sons saw their brother Joseph as a master dreamer and a nuisance. God saw Joseph as the future Prince of Egypt whom He would use to save His people in Egypt.

#4 The Jewish leaders saw Peter as unlettered and uncultured fisherman. God saw Peter as the Prince of the Apostles on whose Confession of faith He plans to build His world-wide Church.

#5 The Jewish elite saw Mary Magdalene as a high class prostitute. Jesus saw her as key member of His Church, an Evangelist whom He entrusted the message of His Resurrection to the Apostles.

My friend, how do people see you? A little fish in the pond? Far more important is how God sees you. By virtue of your Baptism, God sees you as His adopted son or daughter and has infinite love for you. He has promised you eternal bliss with Him where you will enjoy a life that no eye has seen, no ear has heard of and totally beyond the imagination of man to contemplate.

To discover your identity in Jesus, soak yourself in Sacred Scripture every day. Do not neglect prayer and Holy Communion.

My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Daily Bible Verse@ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Public Sinner heard about God's Mercy and believes.


"O God, be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke 18: 13).

Saturday 21st March 2020 of the 3rd week of Lent. Our Gospel today is the narrative of the Pharisee and the Public Sinner. What are the lessons for us on this mid point of Lent.

#1 The Pharisee educated in theology and spirituality does not know the God he claims to serve. Jesus came to call the sinner and not the righteous. Heaven rejoices exceedingly over one sinner who repents. "It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice." (Hosea 6: 6).

#2 The Publican no doubt guilty as accused like the Good Thief beside Jesus on the Cross at Calvary has heard about the extraordinary mercy of God. He believes what he heard and came to the Temple to seek out the God of all mercies and the Father of every consolation. He seeks and found what he sought and went home transformed and justified.

Do you believe that God may be speaking to you now to believe in His mercies and come to Him for Reconciliation in this Lent?

Harden not your hearts today,
but listen to the voice of the Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 19, 2020

No to Idols Friday.


"Assyria will not save us, nor will we mount horses; we will never again say, ‘Our god, to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion.” (Hosea 14: 4)

Friday 20th March 2020 of the 3rd week of Lent. You may call the message of this Friday "No to Idols." Why? Because the first Reading from Hosea, the Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel from Mark all blast idols. Below are some of the Scriptures:

#1 "Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, for you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God." (Psalm 85: 8, 10).

Only God is God. Not money, technology, good health, science, credit score, etc.

#2 "Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more."

The banks, the credit agencies cannot save us. Investments in stocks and property cannot save us in the day of wrath.

#3  "We will never again say, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion."

If you say the above and mean it, blessed are you.

#4 "What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?"

God promises to prosper us when we reject idols completely.

#5 "Let there be no foreign god among you, no worship of an alien god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt." (Psalm 81: 14).

This is Lent. Hear the word of God. Reject the idols that make a fool of us and come back to  God with all our heart.

#6 "Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12: 29).

The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower; whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Silent Man - The Solemnity of St Joseph.


“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 20 - 21).

Thursday 19th March 2020 is the Solemnity of St Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lent is suspended today to celebrate the Solemnity of St Joseph. Who is St Joseph?

The Church considers St Joseph the greatest Saint after the Blessed Virgin Mary. God chose St Joseph to be the guardian and protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"God called Joseph to "take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", so that Jesus, "who is called Christ", should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David." (CCC 437).

St Joseph is a man of faith and obedience. He heard the command of God in a dream. Joseph woke up from the dream and obeyed the word of God. He teaches us that faith is obedience. You hear the word of God and do it. This is obedience of faith. Joseph is a man of incredible humility. Throughout his life in the holy family, he kept entirely to the background. We see here that faith is humility. If you truly believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, your body language will automatically react to this truth just as it would if you are entering the Oval Office. Joseph also teaches us that faith is patience. Isaiah teaches that faith that is firm is also patient. Joseph did not insist that everything should be explained to him on the spot. Once he believed that God is in control, he surrenders everything to God's time and ways.

Joseph is a powerful intercessor and those who are devoted to him like St Teresa of Avila attest to this. St Joseph pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Catechist, Father and Doctor of the Church - St Cyril of Jerusalem.


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

Wednesday 18th March, 2020 of the 3rd week of Lent is the feast of a great Church Father and Doctor of the Church. His name is St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386). Cyril was Bishop of Jerusalem at a time when the Arian Heresy was wrecking havoc on the Church. A havoc far worse than the Corona Virus could ever do. The Corona Virus is yet to threaten outright the existence of the Church. Arian heresy with its pernicious virulent doctrine denied that Jesus is true God and true man. They sought to enforce their view through imperial decree, the power of Rome. Cyril was exiled three times.
Why is St Cyril of Jerusalem famous in history?

#1 As Bishop of Jerusalem, he made Jerusalem a center of pilgrimage for Christians.
#2 Through Cyril, God led the Church into deeper understanding of the mysteries of salvation.
#3 One can assert that Cyril was the first theologian who was a Catechist. He took personally and seriously the preparation of Catechumens that enter the Church on Easter Vigil.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 19). Our key Scripture for today appears to have St Cyril of Jerusalem in mind. Every Christian who obeys the commandments of God is able to share the same by word and example. 

St Cyril of Jerusalem pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 16, 2020

St Patrick, Great Missionary Saint.


"The servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’  Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan." (Matthew 18: 26 - 27).

Tuesday 17th March 2020, of 3rd Week of Lent is the feast of St Patrick (389 - 461) Bishop and Missionary. Patrick was captured by Irish pirates at the age of 16 and subjected to the harsh life of slavery for years. He escaped, went to Europe and became a priest. Then he came back to Ireland to convert the Irish people to Christianity. St Patrick is the Apostle of Ireland and patron saint of Puerto Rico and Nigeria and 29 dioceses all over the world.

In our Gospel story, the servant who was unable to repay his huge debt [sins] was forgiven everything by his master. [Jesus] 

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?" (Matthew 18: 32 - 34). Note that the servant was forgiven the huge debt [sin] because he asked his master.[Jesus] Nothing is too much for God to do for us.

St Patrick was magnanimous in his forgiveness of the Irish people who enslaved him and maltreated him. After his ordination to the priesthood in Europe, he chose to return to Ireland and labored for over 30 years and made Ireland a beacon of Christianity.

From the Gospel, we see that harsh punishment is the lot for one who is forgiven but refuses to forgive his neighbor. Remember always the ABC of Mercy:
A: Ask for Mercy.
B: Be Merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Fear is useless. What you need is trust.


"I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word; with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption." (Psalm 131: 5, 7 Gospel Verse for today's Mass).

Monday 16th March 2020, 3rd Week of Lent).

As this is written, it is unclear how many parishes are shuttered because of fear of the Corona virus. Jesus says: "Fear is useless. What you need is trust." Cowards die many times before their death but the valiant never taste of death but once, wrote Shakespeare. Below is the Collect (Opening Prayer) of the Church for today, Monday, 3rd Week of Lent:

"May your unfailing compassion, O Lord, cleanse and protect your Church, and, since without you she cannot stand secure, may she be always governed by your grace.
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."

Where are all the Retreat Masters, all the Doctors and PhDs in Spirituality, Discernment of Spirits and Church History? They taught us that Fear, Worry and Doubts are never from God. This truth and principle is the clearest and infallible rule of Discernment of Spirits. Where are the Church historians who taught how the Church coped with deadly and often rampant plagues in Church history?

Where are these learned divines hiding while the Bishops are making terrible decisions?

"O praise the Lord, all you nations, for his merciful love towards us is great." (Psalm 117: 1, 2).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Samaritan Woman receives the gift of Faith.


“If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4: 10).

Sunday 15th March, 2020 is the 3rd Sunday of Lent.

Our reflection comes from the story of the Samaritan Woman. Jesus and the Samaritan woman talked about water near Jacob’s Well. At first, the woman thought Jesus was talking of ordinary water. Water in the Bible symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
The theme of this Sunday is the big "Gift of God", the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. He is the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.
Last Sunday we read and reflected on the Story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Peter, James and John experienced the splendor of the transfigured Jesus on Mount Tabor. This experience big as it is was, did not give them a robust faith in Jesus as the Messiah who must suffer death and rise from the dead. What was the missing ingredient?

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8).

On Pentecost Sunday, the "Promise of the Father" was delivered to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. The Holy Spirit was the game changer. He descended on the disciples with His 7 gifts:
Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. The disciples received too the fruits of the Holy Spirit which transformed their character. These fruits are:

Charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.
You see the gifts in action every day in Christians. Jesus promises that by these characteristics people will know that we are Christians.

Lord Jesus, Word of God give me the living water, so that I may never get thirsty.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, March 13, 2020

The return of the Prodigal.


"I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you." (Luke 15: 18).

Saturday 14th March, 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. The theme of the Scripture message from Micah and Luke is compassion. In Luke we have the Parable of the Prodigal Son where the Father of the Prodigal is an allegory for Abba Father who has always desired to be our Father come what may.

Let us savor the healing Scriptures from today's Liturgy which come to us directly from God's tender and compassionate Heart.

#1. "The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in mercy. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures." (Psalm 145: 8 - 9).

#2. "Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency." (Micah 7: 18).

#3. "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." (Psalm 103: 1 - 2).

#4. "He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion."  (Psalm 103: 3 - 4).

#5 "My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found." (Luke 15: 31 - 32).

"I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you." (Luke 15: 18).

Return to the Lord, your God.
For he is gracious and merciful.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Here comes the master dreamer!

 

"They said to one another: “Here comes that dreamer!  Come now, let us kill him and.... We will see then what comes of his dreams.” (Genesis 37: 19-20).

Friday 13th March 2020, of 2nd week of Lent. The first Reading from Genesis and the Gospel from Matthew serve us with intrigues, plots and murder. Any surprises? None. Especially when we remember that Cain committed the first murder in the Bible when he killed his brother Abel.

The Scriptures from Genesis and the Gospel end well. God writes straight lines with crooked lines.
"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes"?

God’s loving and powerful providence is always acting in disguise. All is well. All things are well. All manner of things are well, says the mystic, Julian of Norwich.

Trust in Divine Providence forever.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Choose blessings today.


"Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord." (Jeremiah 17: 5).

Thursday 12th March 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. Jeremiah offers us curse or blessing as Moses before him.
"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse." (Deuteronomy 11: 16).

What are the things that make our hearts turn away from the Lord? In one word: IDOLATRY! Something we love more than we love God. They could be any or all of the following:

#1 Money
#2 Job
#3 Health
#4 Family
#5 Possessions
#6 Food
#7 Worries

Prophet Jeremiah continues:
"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord; the Lord will be their trust.
They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It does not fear heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit." (Jeremiah 17: 7 - 8).

Things that move our hearts to trust in the Lord and receive blessings and be blessing to others:

#1 Prayer
#2 Word of God
#3 Eucharist
#4 Penance
#5 Ministry
#6 Spiritual Reading

"Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the Lord swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them." (Deuteronomy 30: 19 - 20).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

How can we forget the promises of God?


“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death,  and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20: 18 - 19).

Wednesday 11th March, 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. Our Gospel for today gives us the third prediction by Jesus of His coming Passion, Death and Resurrection, the Pascal Mystery.

Jesus predicted the unforgettable last events in His earthly life. Why was this most hard to forget prediction forgotten by all the Apostles in His intimate circle?
If your best friend tells you that he is traveling to the capital where he will be tried and condemned to death and executed through the electric chair, can you forget such words?

Think of this: Jesus promised several things to His beloved Church which are forgotten by a significant number of His friends today. Example:

#1 The Eucharist
#2 The Holy Spirit
#3 Eternal life

Ask yourself this question:
#a. What if the Eucharist is true? Can we afford to neglect it?
#b. What if the Holy Spirit is truly the best Gift and Friend He is promised to be? Will you turn your back on Him?
#c. What if Eternal life is our destiny?
Can anyone live as if everything ends here on earth?

The enemy of mankind who is the Father of lies will do the utmost to wipe out from our memories the wonderful memories of God's gifts and promises to us.
Don’t allow it to happen to you. Fight back. Lent is the time. 

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 09, 2020

Resisting God's will is futile.

"If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; But if you refuse and resist, you shall be eaten by the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken!" (Isaiah 1: 19 - 20).

Tuesday 10th March, 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. Our Scripture gift to live by today from Isaiah 1, is sweet music to the ears of everyone who believes that God is truly Abba, Daddy and desires our best.

One of the great insights I received in recent years is that it is futile to resist the will of God. Imagine if your doctors tell you that you have less than 3 months to live. You storm out of the office shouting: "I will not die. I will never die. You are liars. Fake news!" What difference does your childish tantrum make? It is like resisting God's will. My friend, it profits nothing.

The Scriptures teach that God's will is just, holy, gracious. Yet many occasions, for us spiritually blind mortals, God's will is mysterious. Mysterious or not, the holy teaching Church instructs us to embrace it always, everywhere and in everything. I am working on this and the effort has brought me much joy.

"I will recount all your wonders.
I will rejoice in you and be glad,
and sing psalms to your name, O Most High." (Psalm 9: 2 - 3).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Sunday, March 08, 2020

As you receive mercy, be merciful.


"Be merciful, as your Father is merciful, says the Lord." (Luke 6: 36).

Monday 9th March, 2020 of the 2nd Week of Lent is the feast of St Frances of Rome (1384 - 1440), Religious. Frances brought up her three children in the fear and love of God. "A married woman must often leave God at the altar to find Him in her household care." St Frances founded an order of Oblates. She demonstrated a rare example of love and devotion in marriage as well as in religious life.

Jesus asks us today to be merciful as Abba Father is merciful. What is mercy? Mercy can be defined as unmerited: compassion, forgiveness, pardon. It is impossible for us to be merciful unless we have experienced mercy and are grateful for the mercy given to us. The temptation is to think that you received mercy because you deserved it by virtue of your character, faithfulness, integrity, etc. But how about the other person? Oh no. This is her habit. She is a habitual offender, a delinquent.
Jesus teaches that nobody merits the mercy of God. To be merciful is the character of God. But we must extend mercy when we receive mercy. Remember the ABC OF MERCY:
A: ASK FOR MERCY.
B: BE MERCIFUL.
C: COMPLETELY TRUST JESUS FOR MERCY.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 07, 2020

The Transfiguration of Jesus strengthens our hope of Resurrection.


“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17: 5).

Sunday 8th March, 2020 of the 2nd Week of Lent. The Gospel narrative today is the Transfiguration of Jesus.

At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus journeyed to the River Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. Before Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem to begin His Pascal Mystery, He climbed Mount Tabor to confer with Moses and Elijah.
Jesus' Baptism prepared for our Baptism. Baptism makes us a new creation, the adopted children of God.
The Transfiguration of Jesus gives us a foretaste of Christ's second coming when the Elect will be transformed and become like Jesus as He appeared in the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration prepares us for the great mystery of our own Resurrection.

The Transfiguration of Jesus sustained the faith of the disciples of Jesus in the life and death struggles they faced in the first centuries of Christianity.

Because of the Transfiguration, we see Christ as our hope. We also understand that the victory over death and sin will come via the Cross.  The Cross is the Means of Salvation, Redemption, Glorification and Eternal life. This is the gracious and mysterious will of the Father.

Are you fired up by the great promise of the Transfiguration?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, March 06, 2020

Saints Perpetua and Felicity fearlessly faced their butchers.


"Today you have accepted the Lord’s agreement: he will be your God, and you will walk in his ways, observe his statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and obey his voice.  And today the Lord has accepted your agreement." (Deuteronomy 26: 17 - 18).

Saturday 7th March 2020, of 1st Week of Lent is also the feast of two young martyrs from North Africa: Saints Perpetua and Felicity. (+ 203). Perpetua was mother of a young child and Felicity was pregnant.
Perpetua and Felicity triumphed over their butchers by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Cf Revelation 12: 11).

In our key Scripture for today, Yahweh God signed an agreement with His People. He would protect them and provide all their needs. The People will obey His commandments. Have you heard some televangelists say something like: "God loves you with an infinite love. No matter what you do, it can never effect the degree of God's love for you." You may ask such false teachers: "How about the agreement, the covenant?" Throughout the Bible, breaking of the Covenant has met with severe punishment ranging from crop failure, draught, military defeats and the most severe, exile. Jesus Christ foretold the destruction of Jerusalem because of the unfaithfulness of the People. This happened in 70 AD.

Beware of false teachers.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 05, 2020

I desire repentance and not condemnation.


"Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord God? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?" (Ezekiel 18: 23).

Friday 6th March 2020 of the 1st Week of Lent is also the First Friday of March. The dominant theme today is Sin and Reconciliation.

Jesus Christ is the Face of Mercy of God. No sin is too sinister, too big for God to forgive. No time is too soon, too late to ask for mercy. Everyone who asks for mercy will receive mercy.

The Lord is kind and merciful.
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Unsubscribe

Dailybibleverse@sfjweb.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this First Friday.

First Friday in March, 2020 .


Jesus promised 12 special graces and favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 3rd month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #3.

#3.  "I will console them in all their troubles."

Jesus does not promise us a trouble free life.
"My son, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal." (Sirach 2: 1).

Troubles are opportunity to grow spiritually.  "I promise to be your strength in proportion to the trust you place on Me." The more you trust Jesus, the more He is your comfort, strength and security in trials.

Remind the Lord often of these promises. Remind Him also of His promise to answer every prayer. (Matthew 7: 7).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of March, 2020.

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

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

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Prayer is the key to your destiny.


"Everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7: 8).

Thursday 5th March 2020 in the 1st Week of Lent. You can call this Thursday "Ask and Receive Thursday" because Confidence in Prayer is the theme of the liturgical texts. Prayer determines your destiny. Do you come to God in prayer with a confident and expectant faith? If you you do not, have you asked why? Could it be any of the following:

#1 Unbelief in God's promises.
#2 Pride.
#3 Unconfessed sin.

If Prayer is the key to receiving all the good things God has planned for us, not to pray and learn to pray well is the gravest injustice against oneself. Jesus calls Prayer a vital necessity. Sacred Scripture bids us:
#1 Pray always.
#2 Pray everywhere.
#3 Pray about everything.

Do this and it shall be well with you.
St Augustine teaches:
If you pray well, you live well.
If you live well, you die well.
If you die well, All is well.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

O God have mercy on me.


"When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out." (Jonah 3: 10).

Wednesday 4th March 2020, of 1st Week of Lent is the feast of St Casimir (1458 - 1484). Son of King and Queen of Poland and Lithuania. Compared to his siblings who may be called brood of vipers, Casimir had faith, piety, humility and chastity. He loved the Eucharist and had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He died at the age of 26.

Our key Scripture is from Jonah 3: 1 - 10. This Scripture reminds us that God calls us to repentance this Lent 2020. There is no time to waste. God is waiting to see a humble and contrite spirit. He pleads: "Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful." (Joel 2: 12 - 13).

Do not delay the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Remember the ABC of Mercy:
A: ASK FOR MERCY.
B: BE MERCIFUL.
C: COMPLETELY TRUST JESUS FOR MERCY.

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spur.
Behold, now is the favourable time.
This is the day of salvation.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 02, 2020

St Katharine Drexel heard the call of Jesus and responded fully.


"My word that goes forth from my mouth; shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it." (Cf Isaiah 55: 11).

Tuesday 3rd March 2020, of 1st Week of Lent is the feast of St Katharine Drexel (1858 - 1955), Virgin. Katharine was a wealthy heiress from the rich and famous class of the Philadelphia society. She realized that it profits her nothing to gain the whole world and put her eternal destiny in jeopardy. She listened to the Call of Jesus Christ to teach the message of the Gospel and bring the Eucharist to African-American and Native American people in the South of the United States. In 1915, Katharine founded the Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death in 1955, over 500 of her sisters were teaching in 63 schools.

God’s word to go and proclaim the message of the Gospel did not fall in vain on the heart of St Katharine. It accomplished the end for which God sent the word. A harvest of 100 fold. So shall it be for you and me if we follow the third petition of the Lord's Prayer:
"Your will be done,on earth as in heaven."

Lord Jesus, You blessed St Katharine Drexel with abundant harvest in Your field. Look upon us in Your mercy and bless and prosper the work of our hands.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Be holy.


"The Lord said to Moses:  Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy." (Leviticus 19: 1 - 2).

Monday 2nd March 2020, of 1st Week of Lent.

God is appealing to us in the first Reading today to be holy. The child of God must emulate the character of the Father. Why do we assume that holiness is impossible for many except a few? This is a big lie of the Devil. Jesus teaches that the shortcut to a happy fulfilled life is to make first priority His Kingdom and His righteousness and everything we need will flow to us. Do you realize that righteousness is another word for holiness?

How do we become righteous or holy? The saints have taught us the secrets since the dawn of Christianity. The simplest formula may be: Embrace God’s gracious and mysterious Will every moment. When you do this, you keep ALL the commandments. Start by praying for the desire to embrace God’s gracious and mysterious Will every moment in your life.

St Ignatius Loyola teaches that Desire is the Key. Desire transforms a man. Desire produces a spiritual kinetic energy that moves you to action. Then in the Last Judgment, you can ask Jesus with a smile on your face:
"Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?" (Matthew 25: 37 - 39).

"Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Jesus overcomes the Devil in the Desert.


"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil." (Matthew 4: 1)

Sunday, 1st March 2020, 1st Sunday of Lent.

The Gospel, Matthew 4: 1 - 11 is the Temptation of Jesus the Christ. After His Baptism, the Devil whisked Him off to the Desert.
What is the Desert?
Where is your Desert?

#1 The Desert is the place of spiritual combat.
#2 The Desert is the place of preparation for our life's work.
#3 The Desert is the period of Closed Door experience. Closed Doors: Health, job, finance, etc.

No preparation, no performance.  I was fortunate that I had five years of closed door Desert Experience before I had a big opportunity.
Recently, there was news of a young lady mayor of one of our large cities sentenced to three years in a federal penitentiary for financial impropriety.  Was she prepared by a desert experience before her big job? The Desert is the place where we confront our demons, discover who we are and develop plans to deal
with the wiles of the enemy of mankind. No preparation. No performance.

Starting from Abraham and Jacob, David to Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul, all of our Bible heroes spent time in the Desert.

See how James in his letter describes what the Desert does for you:

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1: 2 - 4).

The Church teaches that we can overcome evil in our lives through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. (Cf CCC 1434). Lent is a great time to start.
O that today you listen to the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, February 28, 2020

Step by step guidance better than the GPS.


"The Lord will guide you always." (Isaiah 58: 11).

Saturday, 29th February, Saturday after Ash Wednesday.

Brethren, you know without doubt that the Bible is God's precious manual for our life. Will you carelessly discard the manual of an expensive computer software or How to use booklet of a medical equipment on which your life depends? Every single day, the Church celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Perfect Sacrifice. The Church uses the same Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit organized in a lectionary everywhere in the world.

What I am about to reveal to you may not be a secret for many. During the holy Season of Lent, the Church pulls out the best and the most powerful Scriptures for our consumption. This is because God Himself promises that Lent is the favorable Season to bless us.

Before the era of GPS navigation, being a roaming salesman in a large city was a very challenging task. But I discovered God's promise: "The Lord will guide you always." (Isaiah 58: 11). Things changed for me. All I needed to activate this promise was a short prayer: "My God, I can't find my way to the client's place. I need this sale desperately. Please help me O God." Again and again, the Lord led me like the three magis to where I needed to be.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Your will or God's will?


"See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits." (Isaiah 58: 3).

Friday 29th February after Ash Wednesday in the Season of Lent.

Of the many indictments in the first Reading from Isaiah 58: 1 - 9, the one that struck home for me is:
"See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits."
Put simply, this says: "You do your will and not mine."

Do you prefer your will to the will of God? Falsehood and fake doctrine are so prevalent today that some false teachers will have you believe your will is the same as the will of God or as good as the will of God provided your intentions are good.

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4: 1).

Pray for the gift of discernment of spirits this Lent 2020. And embrace the narrow way of sanctity: Embrace God’s gracious and mysterious Will every moment.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The key to life and prosperity.


“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9: 23).

27 February 2020, Thursday after Ash Wednesday.

Many of us received the ashes and started the Journey of Lent yesterday on Ash Wednesday. There was much enthusiasm for Jesus and His mission. Today, Jesus shows us how to journey with Him successfully to Easter. There are 2 key words in our chosen Scripture verse: :

#1 Daily: The Journey is a daily commitment you renew at the beginning of each day. For example: Lord Jesus, this is Day 2 of Lent, I choose to continue the Journey of Lent with the help of Your grace.

#2 Deny: Do not be afraid of the word "Deny yourself." The Lord who created you and knows exactly what you need and when you need it asks you: "Are you able to embrace my holy, gracious will even when it is mysterious to you?"
If you say Yes to the question and commit to embracing the gracious and mysterious will of God every moment, this is ALL the self-denial Jesus is asking of you today. One day at a time this Lent.

Today, God is setting before us: life and prosperity, death and doom. Whichever we choose shall be ours. If we choose life by obeying the commandments, God promises to prosper whatever we do. (Cf Psalm 1: 4).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Here is Lent 2020!


"Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says:
In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 5:20; 6:2).

Today is Ash Wednesday, 26th February 2020.

Our Lenten Journey begins today. The Destination is Easter.
What you need for the Journey:
#1 Prayer
#2 Fasting
#3 Almsgiving

We struggle against evil day and night. Jesus Christ overcame evil on the Cross. The Cross therefore is the means to the End we all desire: Victory, Freedom, Peace, Prosperity, etc. Our Cross during the next 40 days is: To embrace God’s gracious and mysterious will every moment in Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Rejection of the Cross is rejection of Jesus Christ, Savior and Redeemer. The Prince of Peace and Prosperity.

If we are faithful during this Journey of Faith, the reward will be huge and unbelievable. Among other things, we will grow in perseverance and come to exclaim: The Lord is truly my Good Shepherd. Now I lack nothing.

"To every time its purpose:
There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven:
A time for tears,
a time for laughter;
a time for mourning,
a time for dancing." (Cf Ecclesiastes 3:1-22).

Happy Lent!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

When you ask and do not receive.


"You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (James 4: 3).

Tuesday 25th February 2020 in the 7th Week in Ordinary Time is the eve of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the holy Season of Lent 2020.

We continue to enjoy the practical wisdom from the Letter of St James. We all have experienced occasions when we ask God for something we believe we need and deserve to receive but were disappointed. Why?
#1 Have you asked in faith? To ask in faith is to ask knowing that God is both able and willing to grant you the particular favor.
#2 Are you prepared to wait for God's time? Faith that is perfect is also patient.
#3 Do you ask to spend it on massaging your ego, self-indulgence or illicit pleasures?

God is a Father who loves you too much to help you at self-destruction.

Submit your desires, your plans and your entire life to God. Attachment to anything that is not God is idolatry. It rouses the passion and causes it to make war within us.

"Purify your hearts, you of two minds" and God will grant you your heart’s desire.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com