Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.

"When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.  Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her." (Luke 1: 57 - 58).

Thursday 24th June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.  How many Birthdays are celebrated in the Church's 365 days Liturgical Calendar?
1. Christ the Lord - 25th December. 2. Blessed Virgin Mary - 8th September.
3. St. John the Baptist - 24th June.

This indicates that John the Baptist is a significant persona in salvation history. Let us sketch a profile of St John the Baptist:

#1 His name is John: "God is gracious."
#2.  He was sanctified in his mother's womb. Kicked his mother hard in the womb with excitement when Mary visited Elizabeth.
#3. Chosen by the Father to be forerunner of Jesus Christ and to prepare His way.
#4. John baptized Jesus in the River Jordan.
#5. His humility is supreme. He said: "He [Jesus] must increase. I must decrease." And he allowed his disciples to switch allegiance and follow Jesus.
#6. John gave his life for Jesus. Think about it: If John was not deeply convinced that there is heaven, would he had been willing to make all the sacrifices he made for his vocation, viz: marriage and family, the priesthood, upper class life, a hermit, etc. He knew like all the prophets and saints of the Bible that no eyes have seen, no ear heard and that it has not entered the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love and serve Him.

John the Baptist did not expect his rewards in this life. Are you?

Jesus means Savior. John means God is gracious. The gracious favor of the Savior has given us John as a bright light for our Journey of Faith.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Beware of false teachers.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit." (Matthew 7: 15 - 17).

The false prophets may dress and talk like the genuine one. But ask which Way they promote? The Broadway in all likelihood. Follow the Narrow Way is the teaching of Jesus.

Our Lord and Teacher says that" "You will know them by their fruits."
Sometimes fruits take long in coming but they surely come. Look at religious people who abused children under their care. For some of them, the bitter fruits take decades to show but they come.

By contrast, the good fruits produced by good prophets are formed by the Holy Spirit and show up in the lives of the prophets. They are :

1. Charity   🍏
2. Joy        🍊
3. Peace     🍐
4. Patience πŸ“
5. Kindness 🍍
6. Goodness πŸ₯
7. Generosity πŸ‰
8. Gentleness 🍎
9. Faithfulness πŸ‹
10. Modesty     🍠
11. Self-control 🌰
12. Chastity       πŸ₯”

The most destructive fruits of the false prophets are:
"Immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts and orgies." (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).

Beware of such prophets. You are warned. If you are uncertain of how to discern their fruits, ask a seasoned and approved pastor or teacher in your Church.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, June 21, 2021

Celebrate the lives of Saints: Paulinus of Nola, John Fisher and Thomas More.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."
(Matthew 7: 13 - 14).

Tuesday 22nd June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast day of three giants of the Christian Church:
St Paulinus of Nola (355 - 431). French Bishop. Over a thousand years separated him from the two English saints we honor today. St John Fisher (1469 - 1535). Bishop and scholar. And his friend, St Thomas More (1477 - 1535). Lawyer, Statesman and Chancellor of Exchequer of King Henry VIII. St Thomas More is revered all over the world as the patron saint of lawyers.
St John and St Thomas were martyred under Henry VIII for refusing to compromise the teachings of the Church.

Many of us are familiar with our key Scripture: Broadway and Narrow Way. Now that you know the way that leads to Heaven, blessed are you if you follow it. (Cf John 13: 17).
The choice is stark. Choose high life, pleasures and amusements, and all the deceits of the Devil called the good life, you are on the Broadway that many choose.
The opposite is the Narrow Way. This is the Way of Jesus who says: I am the Way, the Truth and Life. He who follows me is on the Way to eternal life.

Our saints of today give us excellent examples about the Broadway and the Narrow Way.
St Paulinus of Nola was from a prestigious patrician family of Rome. He was a high official in the Roman imperial system. When he discovered the Good News, he renounced everything and embraced the Narrow Way.
St John Fisher was one of the most learned men in Europe in his time. As a priest and prelate, he discovered the Narrow Way earlier in his life. This helped him to lay down his life rather than succumb to the bribery of the Broadway offered by King Henry VIII.
St Thomas More, also discovered the Narrow Way before the temptations of power, wealth and pleasure could destroy him. He too remained steadfast in embracing the Way and His Narrow Way.
All the three scholar saints are bright lights on the hill.

Do not be afraid to embrace the Narrow Way. This is the only way to life.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron saint of young people.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?" (Matthew 7: 1 - 3).

Monday 21st June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga of the Society of Jesus. (1568 - 1591). Italian. Aloysius was heir to the Duke of Lombardy. He renounced his title and entered the Society of Jesus. Aloysius died at the age of 24 in the Jesuit House of Formation in Rome of the pandemic which he contracted while ministering to the victims.
Aloysius is known for his holiness, purity and chastity and humility. He had a powerful devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is the patron saint of the youth.

What is Jesus teaching us in the key Scripture for today? You may call it: No Complain, No Criticize, No Condemn. If you can deal with complaining in your life, it will help you to eliminate temptation to criticize and condemn people indiscriminately. If you find that you must reprove a sinful behavior, pray to discern whether the task of gentle correcting properly falls to you. If you must correct the offender, pray for the grace of wisdom and counseling. All these prayers can be made in minutes.

One way I deal with the fatal character flaw of complaining, criticizing and condemning is using the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. St Philip Neri who is a renowned confessor and spiritual director teaches that frequent and good Confessions is one of the best ways to acquire humility. Think about it: Isn't pride the cause of our complaining, criticizing and condemning other people.

Our saint of the day, St Aloysius Gonzaga had a passionate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. June is the Month we honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I learned this June that St Aloysius is also a powerful intercessor. What does this mean? He gets favors for us from Jesus speedily provided the request is in accordance with the merciful love and plan of Jesus for us.
St Aloysius Gonzaga pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, June 19, 2021

They cried out to God in their distress and He heard them.

"Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mark 4: 34 - 40).

Sunday June 20th 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time.

“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” This is the apparently exasperated rebuke of the disciples by Jesus.  The disciples had seen signs and wonders performed by Jesus.

Apart from the miracle of the Eucharist, which I appropriate by faith, I have not seen any miracle in my life. I hear TV Evangelists claim all types of miracles. I have never seen one. Let me tell you what I have seen many times from Sacred Scriptures: Whenever anyone cries out to God for help in mortal danger (whether a sinner or a saint), God hears and responds as Jesus did in today's Gospel.
We have example of this in the Responsorial Psalm where sailors in grave danger in the high seas cried out to God to save them.

"They cried to the Lord in their distress; from their straits he rescued them, he hushed the storm to a gentle breeze, and the billows of the sea were stilled." (Psalm 107).

God works silent miracles all the time for us. Show appreciation like the sailors. God is very pleased by our gratitude.

"They rejoiced that they were calmed, and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his kindness and his wondrous deeds to the children of men." (Psalm 107).

Such lessons from the Scriptures build up our faith. Don't miss them.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, June 18, 2021

O you of little faith!

"So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6: 32 - 34).

Saturday 19th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

The Gospel of today from Matthew 6: 24 - 34 is the crème de la crème of the Sermon on the Mount.
Why are we full of fear, worry and doubt? Because we are of little faith. We may go to Church and live in the Church. We may be involved deeply in several ministries in our parish.

But deep deep down, we are no different from the pagans. How? Jesus says in the Gospel of today that pagans worry a lot about what to eat, what to wear, which car to drive or fine house to live in. Stop behaving like pagans. You have a Father in Heaven who knows exactly what you need and when you need it.

How do we come by the faith that trusts God the Provident and Gentle Father and stop behaving like pagans?
Go back to the basics. Start praying. Mother St Teresa of Kolkata says: "The fruit of prayer is faith." As you commit to daily prayer and listening to God in His word, your faith start growing and fears, worries and doubts start receding.

Jesus concludes the teaching in today's Gospel by giving the supreme remedy for trusting and enjoying the merciful and powerful Providence of God:

"Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6: 33 - 34).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Where do you hide your treasure?

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."  (Matthew 6: 19 - 21).

Friday 18th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

No doubt about it that your heart is always where your treasure lies whether you like it or not. Consider these six areas most people consider treasure:
Health, family, money, job, tools and possessions and food. Each of these has an expiration date stamped into it. There is no security in anything with an expiration date.

What shall we do in the light of the explicit teaching of Jesus on how to manage money and all our needs? How do we store up treasures in heaven while living on earth? Consider the following:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."
The poor in spirit understand that every material thing is subject to decay and loss. So they do not cling tightly to them.

"Apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me [Paul] of my anxiety for all the churches." (2 Corinthians 11: 28).
The Church is the seed of the kingdom of God on earth. Paul puts all his treasure in the kingdom. He is therefore anxious for her well-being.

The supreme remedy for greed, idolatry and materialism is given by Jesus:
"But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also." (Matthew 6: 33 AMP).

Those who are entrusted with material wealth like Abraham have the responsibility of using their wealth to help others.
Those who seek the will of God in their lives on wealth will find it.

Father, in Your will is our peace. 

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Forgiveness of the other is a precondition for Reconciliation.

"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." (Matthew 6: 14-15).

Thursday 17th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

Why did Jesus conclude the teaching on Our Father, the Lord's Prayer by stating unequivocally a precondition for the forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation with the Father? This is obviously an important theme for Jesus because He taught it in Matthew 18:21–35, which concluded thus: "Then in anger his master handed him [the unforgiving servant] over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

Reconciliation is crucial to enjoying the privileges of filial adoption. A girl who ran away from home and lived a lawless life for a couple of years may be hesitant as she approaches home. The prodigal son understands the importance of Reconciliation.

Many people claim that forgiveness of the other is hard. Lessons that help forgiveness:
#1. Forgive at once.
#2. Forgive everyone without discrimination.
#3. Forgive always.
#4. Forgive everywhere.
#5. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Forgive everyone. This step is modeled for us from the Cross.  Jesus forgave in real time those who were killing Him. He did not wait until Sunday when He rose from the dead.
#6.  Pray everyday for all those whom you have offended, known or unknown to forgive you and set you free.

Jesus Christ invites us to a life of continual conversion so that we can pray Our Father (the Lord's Prayer) with confidence.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

God loves a cheerful giver.

"Brothers and sisters, consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9: 6 - 7).

Wednesday 16th June 2021, 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

We all want to be blessed by God. Right? The beauty and power of Sacred Scripture is that God has set out in the Word how we can be abundantly blessed. Here are two principles:

#1. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and God will provide you with all your needs. (Cf Matthew 6: 33).

#2. Sow generously into God's business and you will reap a rich harvest.

What do we sow? We sow our time, talent and treasure. In business and agriculture, the principle is the same. The more you sow, the more you reap. It is the same principle in education and in all areas of human endeavor. The student who reads the most books and spends the most time in his school work harvests the most benefit from his investment of time, talent and treasure in education.

How do we sow? 4 biblical considerations:
#1. Everything you have comes from God.
#2. You can never outdo God in generosity.
#3. God loves a cheerful giver.
#4. Ask the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Advocate to tell you how to give and how much to give.

The God who can never lie, who owns all things and for whom all things are possible have promised:
"The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness."

Trust Him completely.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, June 14, 2021

Love those who persecute you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust."  (Matthew 5:  43 - 45).

Tuesday 15th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

The new law proclaimed by Jesus Christ is for children of the heavenly Father. The law inaugurated by Moses is different. "While the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1: 17).

The new law is the Covenant of grace. We become members of the New Covenant through faith. "But to those who did accept him [Jesus] he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God." (John 1: 11 - 13).

Now that we understand that we live under the Covenant of grace, we see that it is not impossible to live the command of Jesus Christ in our key Scripture:
"Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you."

Our Father in Heaven makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

Abba Father, make us love all men for Your sake. Father, in Your will is our peace.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Christian: No Complain. No Criticize. No Condemn.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well."  (Matthew 5: 38 - 39).

Monday 14th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

Offer no resistance to one who you know to be a thief, a liar, an oppressor, a violent person, etc. What is Jesus teaching us here? Let us note that it is impossible to go through life without meeting the type of person the Lord calls "evil."

Our key Scripture for today evokes some word associations: Forgiveness, Retaliation, Litigation, etc.

What archetypes of evil does the Bible place the wicked person? "immorality, impurity, licentiousness,  idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,  occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like." (Galatians 5: 19 - 21). In the same passage it says that those with such behavior will never see the Kingdom of God.

Now, if we desire to see the Kingdom of God, we must practice what Jesus teaches: Forgiveness and not retaliation. Reconciliation and not litigation.

When we live as Christians in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will produce the fruits of the Spirit which are:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5: 22 - 23).

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit." (Galatians 5: 25).
This is the core teaching of our key Scripture for today?

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The power in the seed.

"Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." (Mark 4: 26 - 28).

Sunday 13 th June 2021, 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

In the Sunday Gospel for today, Jesus gives us two parables of the Kingdom of God. We hear the phrase often: the kingdom of God, viz: The kingdom of God is within you, seek first the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed or a dragnet. The kingdom of God is right here and now.

What is the Kingdom of God?
The kingdom of God is the reign of God, the authority of God over all creation. Where there is reign and authority, there are subjects. Although God has supreme sovereignty over visible and invisible creation, the kingdom of God in its proper and absolute sense concerns the human race. Why? God created the human race in His own image and likeness and gave them authority over the physical world.

Jesus came to overthrow the kingdom of Satan in our hearts and minds. At the inauguration of the Kingdom work, Jesus says: "Repent the kingdom of God is here."

The Church is the seed of the kingdom of God in the world. How does the Church grow? It starts off like a tiny mustard seed and continues to grow by the power of God until it covers the whole world.
The process of growth is the subject of our key Scripture for today. The seed once planted by the Sower, grows mysteriously by the power of God. The power of God is inside the seed to cause the growth.

All we need is faith in the power in the seed and faith in the divine plan. Faith comes through hearing and understanding the word of God.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"When his parents saw him [Jesus], they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2: 48 - 49).

Saturday 12th June 2021, in the 10th Week in Ordinary Time is the Saturday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Church honors the Immaculate Heart of Mary today.

Why this feast? The Church in her wisdom and discernment instituted this feast to encourage us to have great confidence in approaching the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary for all our spiritual and material needs. By placing the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary side by side, we know by filial instinct that both Hearts are not in competition. It is the will of God that She who is filled with grace and who the Lord God is with in a preeminent manner will play a significant role in salvation history. We do well to approach her constantly to be free from the chain and deceits of Satan.

For the naive and ignorant who imagine that to honor Mary is to depreciate the honor of Jesus, please consider this: Can you fail to honor the ambassador representing the President because of the foolish thought that honoring the ambassador might diminish the President. If you do this, be ready to taste the wrath of the President.

Mary, the holy handmaid of the Lord does not seek honor for herself.
The Holy Spirit prophesied that all generations will call her blessed.
During her 60 years or so on earth, her life was hidden in Christ Jesus. But now that she is assumed into heaven, all generations call her Blessed every day. How? Billions of Hail Marys every day. Universities, Cathedrals, Institutes are named after her. Her patronages are countless.

To learn about the 15 Promises of Mary to those who say the Holy Rosary, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-15-promises-of-mary-to-those-who.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"One of the soldiers opened his side with a lance, and at once there came forth blood and water." (John 19: 34).

Friday 11th June 2021, in the 10th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus requested St Margaret Mary Alacoque to have a solemn feast instituted the Friday after Corpus Christi to honor His Sacred Heart. Jesus providentially placed St Claude de la Colombiere of the Society of Jesus to be Margaret's confessor and spiritual director to help her with this assignment.

Why the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? The heart of Jesus was pierced on the cross for love of us. Men's hearts have grown very cold towards Jesus. Jesus chose to dwell in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar round the clock all year round for the sake of His love for us. He waits for visitors but no one comes. Most churches are locked up during the day like a security prison.

The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is instituted to counter this irrational apathy and chill towards Jesus. Jesus is the King of mercy who delights in mercy. He yearns to pour out His mercy on sick souls.

Speaking to a Benedictine mystic, Jesus says:
"Nothing so grieves My divine Heart as the doubt of My merciful love. Sin in all its forms and manifestations offends Me and grieves My most loving Heart, but one who doubts of My merciful love grieves Me in a way that you cannot imagine. It is because I am love, and all love; it is because My mercy is the expression of My love towards sinners, that My Heart suffers when these same sinners close themselves to Me by doubting that I am all love and ready to forgive all." (IN SINU JESU).

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart, Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Litany of the Sacred Heart, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2021/06/consecrate-yourself-to-sacred-heart-of.html?m=1

This excellent book could help you: "Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus" by John Croiset, SJ. Available at Amazon.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Morning Offering Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I offer you through the Immaculate Heart of Mary all my prayers and desires, all my sufferings, delays, disappointments and obstacles; all my time, talent and treasure, all my fears, worries and doubts as well as all my weaknesses.  I offer all these on all the altars in the world where the Eucharist is celebrated today and on every Altar where Your Eucharistic Face is present.  I offer them for the remission of my sins, for my family and [Mention the specific intention] and for the Holy Father Pope Francis.  Amen. 

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.

I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.

I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants.

Amen

πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary 

  1.  I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

  2. I will give peace in their families.

  3. I will console them in all their troubles.

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

  5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

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

  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

  8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

  9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.

  10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

  12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 

Lord, have mercy

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,

have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit,

have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, obedient to death,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, our peace and our reconciliation,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,

have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,

spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,

graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us, O Lord.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart.

R. Make our hearts like to Thine.

Let us pray:

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reignes with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 

June 11, 2021.

Testimony of St Claude de la Colombiere 

How to Become Good Trees

All spiritual writers agree that the best sign you can have of solid devotion is amendment of life and perseverance in good. I began to amend my life by frequenting Holy Communion after having tried every other way and failed. When I went rarely to Holy Communion I had no end of bad habits and imperfections which appeared to me insurmountable. I uprooted these by multiplying my Communions. Every time I omitted frequent Communion I felt my weakness more. When I received Communion again I felt fervor rekindle in my heart….

No fervent soul has ever relaxed who did not first leave off receiving the Holy Eucharist. If I found that when going frequently to Communion I became no better, was still just as weak, just as prone to evil, just as indifferent about sin, I should conclude not that I ought to leave off going, but that I ought to receive our Lord with better dispositions. I should see if my confessions were wanting in sincerity, contrition, or purpose of amendment. If you are sinful, repent so that you can receive Communion often. If you are imperfect, go often to Communion that you may amend your faults.

My daily Mass and Communion is my only hope and resource. Jesus Christ…will counsel me and give me new strength; he will instruct, console, and encourage me and give me all the graces for which I pray.

Saint Claude La Colombière

Saint Claude La ColombiΓ¨re († 1682) was a French Jesuit priest and the spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. / From The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la ColombiΓ¨re, Mother M. Philip. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

We cannot be discouraged in our ministry because of the One who called and anointed us.

"Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged." (2 Corinthians 4: 1).

Thursday 10th June 2021, in the 10th Week in Ordinary Time.

Are you involved in any type of Christian ministry?  Are you a catechist, evangelist?
Where are you called to exercise your gifts in your parish?

Liturgy/Worship.
Altar Care / Altar Server, Art & Environment.
Children Liturgy/Word, Eucharistic Minister.
Lector, Sacristan, etc Music Ministry, Choir.
Faith Formation:
RCIA, Youth Ministry.
Ministry of Care
Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Homebound.
Social Justice Ministry
AIDS Ministry, English as a Second Language, etc.

Our key Scripture for today has a special encouragement for you:
"Therefore, since we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion." (AMPC).

God called you to this ministry and by His grace and mercy, you are what you are. (Cf 1 Corinthians 15: 10). Therefore:  No fear. No worry. No doubt.  Consider also:
"I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry." (1 Timothy 1: 12).

Where there is a divine appointment, there is a divine provision. The greater the discouragement, the more still the encouragement. Christ Jesus who called and anointed you for the ministry you have can never fail.

Therefore be strong and fearless. Do not be afraid nor be discouraged.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Feast of St Ephrem the Syrian, Deacon and Doctor of the Church.

"Brothers and sisters: Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather, our qualification comes from God, who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3: 4 - 6).

Wednesday 9th June 2021, in the 10th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Ephrem the Syrian (306 - 373) Deacon and Doctor of the Church. There is so much to write about the accomplishments of Ephrem the Syrian.  Here is a few:
Ephrem had a keen intellect. His pen was like a sharp sword. Part of his genius is that he used poems and hymns to combat the heresies of his time. He expounded the mysteries of Christ and the Glorious Virgin Mary through hymns and poems. Ephrem had a great devotion to Mary and left us beautiful works on Mary.

Lessons of our key Scripture for today:
#1. The Apostle Paul is sharing with the Corinthian Church what he has learned from being a minister of the Gospel.

#2.  Paul learned to trust and rely on the merciful love of Jesus who called and him anointed for ministry.
#3. Paul never relied in his feeble efforts.
#4. He has no credentials to present except lives that Christ Jesus transformed through his ministry.
#5. Paul trusts in the powerful and merciful Providence of God working in him through the Holy Spirit.

St Ephrem the Deacon will say Amen to St Paul's testimony and every genuine minister of Jesus Christ who espouses the covenant of grace will say Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, June 07, 2021

Let your light shine and shine.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5: 14 - 16).

Tuesday 8th June 2021, in the 10th Week in Ordinary Time.

Our Lord Jesus Christ calls Himself the Light of the world. How did Jesus transmit this light to the world? Primarily through His teaching. The public ministry of Jesus covers a number of activities, viz: healing people, casting out demons, feeding people, etc. It is through teaching that Jesus is primarily known by all and sundry. The common people, the doctors of the law, the Pharisees all know Jesus as Rabbi, Teacher.

The Mission of Jesus Christ is to bring light to a world covered in darkness. (Isaiah 49: 6). The Lumen Christi (Light of Christ) is to be mediated to the world through teaching of new ideas.
Christians are commissioned by virtue of their Baptism to be the Light of the world like Jesus. How is this done in practice?

Baptism incorporates the Christian fully into the Body of Christ. When the Church gather in worship, it catechizes the Christian through the act of worship, reading and breaking open the word of God, homilies and songs. At the end of the Service, the Christian is sent forth into his community and the world to go and be the light of the world. He indicates his understanding and acceptance of the commissioning by answering "Thanks be to God."

Christians, God called us to be the light of the world so that His salvation will reach the ends of the earth. Do not therefore hide your lamp under the bed. Place it on the Internet, emails, text messages, conversations, etc.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 06, 2021

It is not from Chance our comfort, joy, good fortune, etc springs but from God's merciful Providence.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God." (2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 4).

Monday 7th June 2021, in the 10th Week in Ordinary Time.

My brethren, how do you grow in the constant and infallible truth that God's love for us is a merciful love which is always there and can never fail? The answer is in our key Scripture for today. This light did not come to me at once. First, I got this light from the Liturgy of the Hours:

‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our trust, O King of kings."  (Lauds - Liturgy of the Hours).

I reflected and contemplated on the above scripturette hundreds of times until I received illumination on it. Are you ready for the light I got? The revelation I got means that not EVEN THE LEAST THING that brings us joy, peace, comfort, consolation, encouragement, love, etc COMES FROM CHANCE. They ALL come from the GRACIOUS ORDAINING OF GOD. The Bible does not contain the concept of CHANCE or LUCK.

Our God is a God of Providence. He governs His world with the principle of Divine Providence.

When you order your life with the word of God, your thought, word and action will be guided by the Holy Spirit of truth. You will have the light of life and see things as they are. REALITY. Consider this example:
Many people play a game of chance, lottery to win money and become rich. What if they know this truth?

"The child of God can fear no ill,
His chosen, dread no foe;
We leave our fate with thee, and wait Thy bidding when to go.
‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our trust, O King of kings."  (Lauds - Liturgy of the Hours).

The above exposition of 2 Corinthians 1: 3 shines the light on the truth that the comforts we enjoy in life comes directly from the Father of mercies and God of all comforts and not from Chance. Playing lottery, a game of chance or luck denies this truth. The player risks falling into the trap of the enemy, the father of lies.

The Church shines the light of Christ in the world. The Church is protected from error through the infallible ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God! Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation.
Give us the light of truth O Jesus.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, June 05, 2021

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

"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).

Sunday June 6th 2021, Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus). Today, the Church demonstrates her faith in the most precious Eucharist: the source, center and summit of her life. It is also the occasion of great thanksgiving for this immense gift and the radical faithfulness of Jesus to His Bride all these 2000 plus years.

The Church and the world needs the Eucharist desperately.
"The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease." (CCC 1380).

Jesus Christ is everyday inviting everyone to come to the Eucharist. "Come and eat bread without money." The more we respond to this invitation, the more we experience the salvation Jesus Christ won for us.

The Eucharist brings us immense peace. Do you lack peace of soul? Then go often to the Eucharist. The Prince of Peace is waiting to heal your heart and mind of fears, worries and doubts. He will heal you and immerse you in peace.  When you cannot receive Jesus physically, make a Spiritual Communion. You will be blessed. 

Are you hungry for the Eucharist? How strong is your faith in the Real Presence?
Jesus I believe in Your Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Jesus I believe in Your Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
Jesus I believe in Your Real Presence in me in the Sacrament of the Present Moment.

The mode of Christ's presence in these three forms is unique and very real. The whole of Jesus is present in each of these modes.
Thank You Jesus. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

This is Jesus-Emmanuel. God is with us in the Eucharist.  Come receive him, adore him, This is Jesus, our Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, June 04, 2021

First Saturday in June is also the feast of St Boniface.

"Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents." (Mark 12: 41).

Saturday 5th June 2021, in the 9th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Boniface (680 - 754), Bishop and Martyr. The well educated English Benedictine priest was sent by Pope Gregory II to evangelize the German tribes. Boniface was consecrated the first Bishop of Germany. He organized the Church in Germany and was martyred in Friesland (present day Netherlands) when he went to preach there. St Boniface is the patron saint of Germany.

Our key Scripture for today is the contribution of the poor widow to the Temple. Jesus was sitting in a strategic location in the Temple and observed people as they came to make their offerings. When Jesus observed the poor widow make her offering, Jesus called His disciples to himself and said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury."

On the first Saturday of June, let us reflect on one widow: Mary the Mother of Jesus was a widow for most of her life. Tradition recounts that Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary did not live long enough to see the public ministry of Jesus. From what we gathered from traditional sources, Mary, Joseph and Jesus lived a modest life even when Joseph, the main bread winner was still alive. We can only guess that things did not change much after Joseph died.

What can we learn from Mary the poor widow. We know that after Jesus started His public ministry, Mary followed Her Son everywhere He went. She was at Cana for the first miracle of Jesus. When she got the malicious message that Jesus had gone mad from too much preaching and not eating for days, Mary went with some relatives to check out the story.
At the foot of the Cross, one of the last words of Jesus was to commit Mary to the care of John the Evangelist.  The poor widow Mary earned the title the "first disciple" of Jesus. She learned everything she could about the teaching of Jesus.

The Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturdays especially on the First Saturday of each month.

"For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she [Mary], from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

What a wonderful Mother we have in Mary.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Jesus is the Son of David.

"As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said, “How do the scribes claim that the Messiah is the son of David?" (Mark 12: 35).

Friday 4th June 2021, in the 9th Week in Ordinary Time is the First Friday of June. The entire month of June is dedicated to honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus with next Friday June 11th being the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

From our lead Scripture today, we ask: What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of David? Jesus posed the question as He taught in the Temple to correct the erroneous and simplistic assumptions of the teachers of the people. The "Son of David" appears in the Messianic Psalm 110: 1:

"A psalm of David.
The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand, while I make your enemies your footstool.”

While the meaning is fairly obvious to us today after 2000 years of Christianity, it was not at all evident to the Jews who heard Jesus. The evocation of "Son of David" brings a rush of patriotic fervor to their hearts. David was the master statesman of Israel who had no equal.

The Son of David simply means that Jesus Christ is 100% Man and 100% God. Who will blame the Jews for not understanding this. It took the Church centuries and multiple Church councils to settle the Christological controversies generated by the gross misunderstanding of the true nature of Christ. Pastors across denominations still patiently explain to their flock that Jesus Christ is truly God and truly Man.
It is one thing to proclaim it in the Creed, it is a different matter to understand it and use the knowledge as part of your living faith.

"I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man."

Who is the Son of David? He is Christ the Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

First Friday in June 2021, Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

June 4th, First Friday in June 2021.

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 2021, 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. Friday June 11th, 2020 is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"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 Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church).

"Jesus 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,  Holy Hour, Rosary, etc.

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

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

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The Feast of St Charles Lwanga and companion martyrs.

"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." (Mark 12: 30 - 31).

Thursday 3rd June 2021, in the 9th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and 22 companions. (+1886 - 1887). Ugandans. On the feast of Ascension 1886, the powerful but corrupt King Mwanga of Uganda mercilessly killed Charles Lwanga and 14 teenage companions who resisted resolutely his homosexual advances. Eight of the companions were killed later.

The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity, said the erudite theologian, Tertulian. Martyrdom is the greatest testimony/witness to faith.  The Greek word martyr actually means witness. The testimony of the absolute love of Jesus for us is that He gave His life to prove it. What is most impressive about the martyrs of Uganda is that all of them are teenagers and Catechumens. Technically, they are not yet Christians since they had not received Baptism. Yet they chose to die for the faith they had come to love.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus answered the scribe:  Do you want to know the greatest commandment? To fulfill the law perfectly, love God with all your heart and all your being and love your neighbor likewise. Genuine love for God is inseparable from genuine love of neighbor.

If we desire to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, we must love God as Jesus loves Him. How?

Embrace God's holy, gracious and mysterious will in everything, everywhere and always. We must believe and act like Jesus: "My food is to do the will of God." We must believe firmly and repeat often: "Father, in Your will is our peace."

St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church writes:
"When we will what God wills, it is our own greatest good that we will; for God desires what is for our greatest advantage. Let your constant practice be to offer yourself to God, that He do with you what He pleases."

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

The Feast of Saints Marcellinus and Peter.

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

Wednesday 2nd June 2021, in the 9th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of two Roman saints: Marcellinus and Peter. (+ 304). Marcellinus was priest and Peter, a senior seminarian in the minor order of Exorcist. Both were martyred the same day under Emperor Diocletian.

We have a very interesting encounter in today's Gospel on the subject of Marriage, Death and Resurrection between the learned Sadducees and Jesus. The Sadducees wanted to embarrass Jesus over the question of marriage and afterlife. They had a reputation for being smart and experts in the Hebrew Scriptures. This is how Jesus answered them:

"Jesus said to them, “Is this not why you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures [that teach the resurrection] nor the power of God [who is able to raise the dead]?" (AMP).

We have many scholars today who read the Sacred Scriptures as the Sadducees. They read but do not understand the deeper meaning of  Scriptures which can only be grasped through the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
They do not know the power of God. Even a little child knows that God is all powerful which means that God can do all things and nothing is impossible for Him.

Are there things you find difficult to understand in Sacred Scripture like:
+ The Eucharist.
+ The nature of the Church.
+ Heaven and Hell.
+ The Mystery of Divine Providence.

All these questions have been treated comprehensively in the Catechism of the Catholic Church where the Church has displayed accumulated teaching, knowledge and insights of the past 2000 years.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Feast of St Justin Martyr.

"Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God’. This reply took them completely by surprise." (Mark 12: 17 JB).

Tuesday 1st June 2021, in the 9th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Justin Martyr (+ 165). Born in Samaria in Palestine. An eminent philosopher and the first apologist in the Church. He defended the Christian faith in his writings in Rome where he established a school of public debate. St Justin was beheaded under Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Justin is the patron saint of apologists, philosophers, teachers and speakers.

Just as the Roman philosophers tested the philosophical and rhetorical skills of St Justin Martyr, so did the Pharisees and Herodians did to Jesus in the Gospel of today.
"Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” (Mark 12: 14).

After examining the coinage in use for transactions in Israel, the Pharisees and Herodians were caught in their own trap when Jesus asked them: "Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied him, “Caesar’s.”

"Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God’. This reply took them completely by surprise."

Caesar has a right to his taxes because he got his power from God. Do not deny God what rightly belongs to God, viz: Sunday worship, keeping His commandments, knowing, loving and serving Him.  Jesus  "reply took them completely by surprise."

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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

Monday 31st May 2021, is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth.

The Church celebrates today the visit of the 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 throughout the world continue to call Mary the Theotokos, the Mother of God.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Billions of Hail Marys are said all over the world every day.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

"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: 18 - 20).

Sunday 30th May is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Godhead, the adorable Blessed Trinity, One God, three co-equal Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a revelation of the Son, Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. This truth did not come to us from a philosophical deduction.

It is interesting that the mystery of the Holy Trinity was revealed at the end of Christ's earthly ministry. This mystery was revealed in the context of Baptism and Mission of the Church. What could this mean? Jesus Christ became Man so that man can know God, love Him and serve Him and live with God in eternity.

The Trinity is a great mystery beyond the intellect of man. We make the sign of the Cross in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Creed teaches us all we need to know about the Holy Trinity, the One Undivided Unity.

"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!

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Feast of Pope St Paul VI.

"The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached Jesus and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mark 11: 27 - 28).

Saturday 29th May 2021, 8th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the gentle Pope St Paul VI, (1897 - 1978), Pontiff. Paul's papacy spanned the period of Vatican Council II which was followed by a period of change and ferment in the Church and society.

Our key Scripture for today mirrors the experience of Pope St Paul VI, whose feast we celebrate today. When the Roman Pontiff issued the watershed and prophetic HUMANAE Vitae on 1st July 1968, high churchmen and theologians especially in North America asked mockingly: “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?”

The Encyclical warned bluntly what would follow if the world go the way of contraception and abortion.
His prophecy has been vindicated to the letter. Think about this: There is a drastic reduction in birth rate in the First World today. People here today must choose between : Contraception and Abortion or beautiful and sweet baby boy or girl. You cannot have the two.

The authority of Jesus Christ is not of human origin. The authority of Pope St Paul VI is not of human origin. "Thou at Peter. Upon this rock, I will build My Church. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The battle with the powers of Hell continues. So far, the Church of Jesus Christ is holding steadfast to the Boat.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Our heroes of Faith and Prayer in the Bible.

"Jesus said to them in reply, “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.  Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours." (Mark 11: 22 - 24).

Friday 28th May 2021, in the 8th Week in Ordinary Time.

I like our key Scripture for today very much because Jesus teaches with clarity on the subject of Prayer. I consider myself a beggar and in the course of the day, I am constantly asking God for many favors: heal my nerve pain in my left foot, show me the way to get to that location quickly, how do I do this, Lord and so forth and so on.

Jesus has taught throughout His public ministry that prayer works. Not just the petty prayers like the ones I make frequently. But also big ticket items: life and death issues, vocations and jobs, marriage and divorce, elections and the economy. Everything comes under God's powerful and merciful Divine Providence. This is true.  Jesus teaches that not even a single hair will fall from our head without our Father in Heaven knowing about it and permitting it.

Who are my heroes of faith and prayer in the Bible?
Bartimaeus, Cornelius, the Syrophoenician woman and Jairus. Jesus praised the faith of these people and their prayers were answered according to their faith.

Therefore pray with faith.
Pray with persistence.
Pray for God's will and purpose in your life.
Pray for grace to forgive all your enemies.
Pray always. Pray for everything. Pray everywhere.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Feast of St Augustine of Canterbury.

"As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.  On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”  And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” (Mark 10: 46 - 48).

Thursday 27th May 2021, in the 8th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine of Canterbury. (+ 604). Italian monk sent by Pope St Gregory the Great to evangelize the Anglo-Saxon who conquered England and dominated the original Celtic population who embraced Christianity centuries earlier. St Augustine baptized Ethelbert, the Anglo-Saxon king and the people followed their king into the Church. St Augustine made Canterbury his Episcopal See and became the first Primate of all England.

Our key Scripture introduces us to the lovable character Bartimaeus. He teaches us that great faith is born of great need. It reminds us of the maxim: No cross, no crown. No trial, no triumph. Bartimaeus used the liability of his blindness to climb the ladder of faith to meet the Son of David who was impressed by his determination and faith and said to Bartimaeus:

“What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”  Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way." (Mark 10: 51 - 52).

What a truly beautiful story. Won't you like to have the faith and courage of Bartimaeus? Not when we shrink from the least discomfort. Our pains and trials could be the setting for the powerful and merciful Providence of God to elevate our faith and bring us the kind of healing we need.

Jesus, I trust in Your merciful love. I remain steadfast in Your love. I cling tightly to Your love come what may. I believe firmly in Your loving and powerful Providence. I do not depend on my filthy works. I surrender myself completely to You. Take care of everything Your way according to Your Plan for my life. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Feast of St Philip Neri, Super Priest.

"They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus
.... Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him.  “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." (Mark 10: 32 - 33).

Wednesday 26th May 2021, in the 8th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Philip Neri.  (1515 - 1595), Italian Priest.

St Philip Neri was an extraordinary priest filled with the Holy Spirit and ecstatic joy. He founded the Congregation of the Oratory, the same religious community of St John Henry Newman. He converted thousands through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He was a great catechist and spiritual director. He was noted for his joyful and cheerful disposition which attracted thousands to him. One of my favorite quotes from Philip is:
"One of the very best means of obtaining humility is sincere and frequent confession."

Our key Scripture is Jesus' third prediction of His Passion. It is unthinkable that the disciples could forget such a prediction. Even His foretelling of His Resurrection was totally forgotten. We just celebrated Pentecost after 50 days of the Season of Easter. We all remember that Jesus has risen from the dead.

In what ways is the Risen Jesus available to us. He is no longer available to us in flesh and blood. He is truly present to us in the Eucharist, in the Blessed Sacrament, in His word especially when it is proclaimed in Holy Mass. He is present in us in the Sacrament of the Present Moment when we remember Him and call upon Him.

Let us never forget all these ways Jesus is truly and uniquely present to us. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to keep this truth alive in us.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, May 24, 2021

Jesus promises full provision in His service plus persecution.

"Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come." (Mark 10: 28 - 30).

Tuesday 25th May 2021, in the 8th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of 3 great saints:

#1. St Bede the Venerable (672 - 735), English Benedictine Priest and Doctor of the Church. Bede was a theologian and is known as Father of English history.

#2. St Gregory VII, (+ 1085),Pope and Monk of Cluny. Gregory incurred the wrath of Emperor Henry IV by fighting against the evils of Lay Investiture. The Emperor exiled him to Salerno where he died.

#3. St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (1566 - 1607), Italian Carmelite from Florence. Great ascetic. Worked untiringly for the renewal of the Church.

Our key Scripture for today is a tremendous promise of our Lord Jesus Christ. This promise motivated His disciples to join the Jesus Revolution. It still motivates the young novice in 2021 and the missionary packing her bag today for a missionary field in a distant land. Jesus promises that anyone who leaves everything for His "sake and for the sake of the gospel will receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands." 

How do we know that such promise is true? Is there any proof that it has ever been fulfilled in the past? The answer is:
#1. If the promise has never been fulfilled, there will be no new missionaries or martyrs in the Church. There are new missionaries every day and people are laying down their lives for Jesus Christ every day. 
#2. Our saints of today: Magdalene de Pazzi, Pope St Gregory VII and Venerable Bede are proofs of disciples who have tested eternal life in this world and are today enjoying it in Heaven.

What is eternal life? Eternal or Abundant life is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with His gifts and fruits. This life is compatible with the suffering that Jesus promises His disciples in our key Scripture: The great promise comes "with persecutions."
Can you take this? 

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

"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).

Monday May 24th 2021, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Our Blessed Mother has many titles:

Mother of Christ
Mother of the Church
MOTHER of Mercy
Mother of divine grace
MOTHER of Hope
Mother most pure
Mother most chaste
Mother inviolate
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel
Mother of our Creator
Mother of our Savior.

The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church was promulgated by Pope Francis in 2018 to be celebrated all over the world on the Monday after the Solemnity of the Pentecost.

At the Annunciation, the young Mary accepted to be the Mother of the Savior: "Be it done to me according to Your word."  At the foot of the Cross of Jesus, Mary nodded silently when Jesus said: "Woman, behold your son." John the Apostle represents the Church. And Mary becomes the Mother of the Church.

The Church prays in her Collect of today's feast:
"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...."

Mary Mother of the Church, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Solemnity of Pentecost.

 “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.  And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning." (John 15: 26 - 27).

Sunday 23rd May 2021, the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church.

My friends, the waiting is over. The promise has been fulfilled. If you thirsted for the Spirit, you are now filled. Brethren, this is Pentecost! This is the Birthday of our Mother, the Church. She is Mother and our Teacher. Very old and ever young and beautiful. Virgin and Mother of many children. Queen of Peace and Seat of Wisdom. Happy Birthday Mother Church! πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‚πŸŒΉπŸŒΉπŸŒΉ❤️❤️❤️

The Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the Cenacle "like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were." (Acts 2: 2). The waiting and praying are over. The Father has delivered the Big Gift He promised.

"The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection." (CCC 737).

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Feast of St Rita of Cascia.

 "It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.  There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written." (John 21: 24 - 25)

Saturday May 22nd 2021, 7th Week in the Easter Season is also the feast of the Italian mystic, St Rita of Cascia (1381 - 1457), Augustinian nun. Rita was able to stop a vendetta between the relations of her murdered husband and the murderers. That was a feat in those days. Rita subsequently entered a convent where she spent 40 years in contemplation, austerities and service to the poor and sick.

We summarize our understanding of the two verses of the key Scripture thus: The word of God, Sacred Tradition and Apostolic Magisterium.

#1. The word of God: John the Evangelist testifies to the veracity of the word of God he committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
#2. Sacred Tradition: John warns that it is an error to limit God's word to what is written. There is so much more. The Holy Spirit is promised to lead the Church into the fullness of truth.
#3. Apostolic Magisterium: Anyone who doubts that full teaching authority is given to the Apostles headed by St Peter and his successors should read the New Testament prayerfully. This authority was foreshadowed in the Old Testament by the authority given to Moses and the Prophets to teach and interpret Scripture. God is not the author of confusion.

On the eve of Pentecost, let us pray to God to restore unity of heart and mind in the Church.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com