Tuesday, July 27, 2021

She searched for the Pearl of Great Price and found Him.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matthew 13: 44 - 46).

Wednesday 28th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture talks about the importance of finding the hidden treasure. Consider this question:
What is there about the kingdom of God and the idea of hiddenness?
Jesus led a hidden life for 30 years. The Blessed Virgin Mary led almost her entire life of about 60 years hidden from the public. Great saints are protected from the prying eyes of the world by hiding them when they are alive.
In summary, great things like diamonds are formed in a hidden state. The narrow, hidden way finds the kingdom.

Are you searching for a great treasure?  Faith, love, meaning, peace, contentment?

Jesus Christ is the Pearl of great price.  What must we give up in order to acquire in the fullest sense this priceless treasure?

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life."  (Matthew 19: 29)

Here are some who heard the promise, believed it and searched and found the great treasure:

St Mary Magdalene: Found the Great Pearl and thereafter got attached to the Pearl.
St Ignatius Loyola: Loved the Pearl passionately and abandoned everything and followed the Pearl everywhere.
St Thomas More:  Gave his life happily for the Pearl.
St Teresa of Kolkata:  Traveled the whole world spreading message about the Pearl. St Paul the Apostle says:

"More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ"  (Philippians 3: 8)

When you find the Pearl of Great Price, all these things will be added to you: peace and genuine prosperity, contentment and fulfillment in life.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 26, 2021

Words to live by. Words to die for.

"Thus the Lord passed before him [Moses] and cried out, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity, continuing his kindness for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin; yet not declaring the guilty guiltless, but punishing children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for their fathers’ wickedness!” (Exodus 34: 6 - 7).

Tuesday 27th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary.

Our key Scripture today Exodus 34: 6 - 7 is one of the most important passages in the entire Bible. Why? Because without responding to prayer or constraint, God willed to reveal Who He is to us. This He did for one excellent reason. God wanted His new family to know Him so that they can love Him. Knowledge precedes love. Why did God make us? We answered as kids: God made us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him so that we can live with Him forever. No knowledge, No love. No love, No service.

To live a balanced life, we need every single day the reassurance of God's steadfast love. Jesus, the night before He died, said to His Apostles nestled with Him in the Upper room (the writer's rendition):
Remain /Abide in Me. Cling tightly to My love for you, come what may. Believe firmly in My mighty and merciful Providence. Do not depend on yourself or your strength.

Like Exodus 14: 6 - 7, it is impossible for the Apostles to forget such language. The sacred words would be made operational when the Apostles became baptized with the Holy Spirit. These are the words to live by. These are the words to die for.

Jesus yearns to see us abide in His Eucharistic Presence.
"This is why it so grieves Me that churches are locked and that I am left for days on end alone in the tabernacle. I would draw souls to My open Heart, I would have them experience what it is to abide in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face, I would give Myself in intimate friendship to souls drawn to Me in the Sacrament of My love, but you priests, shepherds of souls, have forgotten that keeping open your churches is integral to your sacred ministry." (IN SINU JESU page 54).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Feast of Sts Joachim and Anne, Grandparents of Jesus Christ.

"Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.” (Matthew 13: 31 - 32).

Monday 26th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the Church says about Anne and Joachim:

"It was in the house of Joachim and Anne that the Virgin Mary received her training to be the Mother of God. Thus, devotion to Anne and Joachim is an extension of the affection Christians have always shown toward our Blessed Mother. We, too, owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for their help in our Christain formation." (Roman Missal).

"I came to you today as the little grandchild of Joachim and Anna. Tell Me that you are happy to have Me in this house, and invite Me to rule over your heart and in your life." (IN SINU JESU page 239).

The Parable of the Mustard Seed gives us an insight into God's law in creation. Everything is created small. The tiny mustard seed like the tiny acorn seed is born very small. Its laws or principles of growth are written inside the seed by its Creator. The seed receives the early and later rain and continues to unfold following the laws of its nature. The farmer does not control the process. When the mustard seed is fully grown, it is ready to fulfill its destiny. It welcomes the birds on its branches.

The Church is the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The seed of the Kingdom of God on earth is the Church. (Cf CCC 249). It started very small in a tiny corner of the vast Roman Empire. Today the tiny Acorn has grown branches and spread throughout the world.

The Church as the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit needs the transformative power of the Holy Spirit to form it into its destiny.

"The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
(James 1: 18).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Saturday, July 24, 2021

They all ate and were satisfied.

"When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do." (John 6: 5 - 6).

Sunday, 25th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time.

The miracles in the first Reading from 2 Kings 4 and the Gospel of John 6 foreshadow the Eucharist. From creation, God opened His hand and fed all living things generously from His bounty. Our Responsorial Psalm 145 puts it beautifully: "The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs."

There is something different in what happens today with the feeding of the 5000 people.

Providentially in this deserted place, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”

What Jesus did next reminds us of the Eucharist.
"Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”

It was not Moses who fed the multitude in the desert with manna. It was God the Father who fed the people as a prefiguration of the Eucharist, the Bread of life.

"If the reality of heaven has become vague and far from the thoughts of so many in My Church, it is because they have forsaken the very mystery of heaven already present and given to them in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Eucharist is heaven on earth; the Eucharist is My Church on earth already assumed into heaven. Heaven is wheresoever the words of consecration have been pronounced over the bread and wine in the holy oblation, for there I am present, even as I am present in the glory of My Ascension, adored by the angels, praised by all the saints, held in the divine gaze of My Father, and burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. Believe this and you will find heaven on earth, while waiting and hoping to see My Face in glory." (IN SINU JESU page 250).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Feast of St Sharbel, the Hermit.

"Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well." (Matthew 13: 24 -).

Saturday 24th July 2021, 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Sharbel Makhlouf. (1828 - 1898). Lebanese Catholic priest, monk and hermit. Sharbel is known for his great devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Blessed Sacrament and his filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was a great miracle worker during his life and after his earthly life. Sharbel died a Hermit in the ardor of sanctity in 1898.

In our key Scripture for today, the Church is likened to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ is the Sower of the Seed. What happened after Jesus sowed good seed in the vast terrain?

‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

There are people in the Church that are eager to pull up all the bad eggs in the Church right away. The adulterers, abortionists, thieves, etc right away. Listen to how Jesus answered the slaves.

"No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

What is the takeaway from today's Gospel? God's merciful and powerful Providence governs all things. God will deal with all manner of sinners at the end of the world.
"The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21: 18).

Let the Church trust in the Plan of God. Amen!

"When you are weak, come to Me. When you are burdened, come to Me. When you are fearful, come to Me. When you are assailed by doubts, come to Me. When you are lonely, come to Me. Let nothing separate you from My Heart, which is ever open to receive you. It is the Evil One who seeks to turn souls away from My Heart. It is the Evil One who sows the seeds of doubt, of fear, of sadness in souls, so as to turn them away from Me and drive them into the cold pit of darkness and despair that he himself inhabits." (IN SINU JESU page 203).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Feast of St Bridget of Sweden, mother and religious.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Hear the parable of the sower..... The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit." (Matthew 13: 18 - 23).

Friday 23rd July 2021 is the feast of St Bridget of Sweden (1303 - 1373). Housewife, mother of 4 boys and 4 girls. One of the girls, St Catherine of Sweden is a canonized saint. Bridget persuaded her husband to become a Franciscan Tertiary with her. When the husband died, St Bridget moved to Rome where she founded the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer. St Bridget meditated long on the suffering and death of Jesus. God revealed to her the secrets of heaven. St Bridget is a mystic and authored books on ascetical and mystical theology. She is the patron saint of Sweden and co-patron of Europe.

Why do we pray and get no answer?  Why do we read the Bible and our lives do not improve? Because the word we receive maybe sown in thorns. The thorns come very tiny like the mustard seed. But they grow rapidly with time. They grow to become worries of the world, lure of riches and cravings for other things. They become masters and may take complete control of our lives. No wonder they choke the word.

St Bridget is an examplar of our key Scripture for today.

Jesus said that in order for the word to produce a harvest, it must be sown in a good and rich soil. Our soul is like a garden. We must cultivate it and maintain it everyday. An unmaintained garden is soon overgrown with weed. Jesus has given us abundant means for maintaining the soil of our soul. Some of these means are:
· Word of God
· Prayer
· Eucharist
· Sacrament of Reconciliation
· Frequent examination of conscience
· Spiritual reading

What are the fruits of the word that falls on a good soil?
Peace, tranquility, joy, consolations, light and guidance, confident and victorious living. We recognize that these are also the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

"When you feel the onset of anxiety or fear, turn to My Immaculate Mother, the Mediatrix of all graces and your Mother of Perpetual Help. It is enough to call upon her sweet name. She will understand and she will do what is necessary for My work to go forward." (IN SINU JESU page 76).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Feast of St Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles.

"Jesus said to her [Mary Magdalene], “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”......."But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he told her." (John 20: 11 - 18

Thursday 22nd July 2021, 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Mary Magdalene. Jewish. One of the hand full of women who followed Jesus as He tramped everywhere preaching the Gospel. These women took care of the welfare of Jesus and His Apostles from their purse. But Mary Magdalene was unique and exceptional among these ladies. Jesus healed her of demonic possession and Mary could not forget this favor all her life.

Mary Magdalene trekked the Via Dolorosa with the other Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus. Both women stood under the Cross and watched Jesus die slowly. While the Blessed Virgin Mary did not hurry to the tomb on Easter Sunday because she heard and believed what her Son said about "rising from the dead on the third day," Mary of Magdala hurried to the tomb. She became the first human being to see the Risen Jesus. This is how St Mary Magdalene became the "Apostle to the Apostles."
"Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he told her." (John 20: 17 - 18).

Mary Magdalene loved Jesus with a pure love that comes from the depth of gratitude for what Jesus did for her. If but we know 1% of what Jesus is doing for us every day, our love for Him will astonish us.

"With Me and from Me you have nothing to fear. I am here, in the Sacrament of My love, to be your comfort, your peace, your light, your refreshment, and your joy. Know this! Take it to heart. Believe it and act upon it. If souls believed this of Me, nothing would be able to keep them from seeking Me out in the Sacrament of My love and from remaining in My presence." (IN SINU JESU page 97).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Feast of St Lawrence Brindisi, Doctor of the Church.

"And Jesus spoke to them [the crowd] at length in parables, saying, “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.... Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 13: 1 - 9).

Wednesday 21st July 2021, in the 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Lawrence Brandisi (1559 - 1613). Priest and Doctor of the Church. Italian. He belonged to the Capuchin Order of the Franciscan family. Lawrence is an extraordinary man who used well the lavish gifts God bestowed on him. The Church remembers him for his profound knowledge and love for Sacred Scripture, the Holy Spirit, Prayer and Mary.

A propos Sacred Scriptures, Lawrence says:
“The Word of the Lord is a light for the mind and a fire for the will, so that man may know and love God.… It is a weapon against a heart stubbornly entrenched in vice. It is a sword against the flesh, the world, and the devil, to destroy every sin.”
Quote from Lawrence.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus  says that we too can be knowledgeable and fruitful in Scripture if we become good soil. Lawrence did just that and became an authority in the sacred Word and was recognized all over Europe during his time.

"I am present to you when you open the Scriptures and I want to enlighten you and instruct you. When you read My word, seek My Heart. When you read the Scriptures, seek My Face. You will find My Heart hidden in My word like the treasure hidden in the field, and you will discover My Face shining through the text and illuminating the eyes of your soul." (IN SINU JESU page 30).

How much time do you give in reading the word of God every day?
"The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever." (Alleluia Verse).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Feast of St Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr.

"While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”...... Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12: 46 - 50).

Tuesday 20th July 2021, 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Apollinaris. (Bishop and Martyr). Syrian. Died 79 AD in Ravenna, Italy where he was Bishop. Two things are fascinating about our saint:
#1 The Apostle Peter himself ordained him a Bishop.
#2 St Apollinaris had an extraordinary gift of healing. The pagan Roman priests were so jealous of him that they persuaded Emperor Claudius to put him to death.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus reveals the secret of a happy, peaceful Christian life: "Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

In the Father's will is our peace. Peace here is to be understood as Shalom which encompasses peace of soul, mind and body, prosperity and contentment.

When you pray: YOUR WILL BE DONE in the Our Father, are you willing to see God's Will fully accomplished in your life in everything, always and everywhere?

God's will is gracious but it can also be mysterious for many of us. Let us consider what we know about Abba Father:

#1. God watches over us night and day and not a hair falls from our head without His permission.

#2. In God's infinite wisdom, He knows what is best for us and His Will sanctions this for us.

#3. In God's infinite power, He can bring good out of evil. St Augustine teaches that God can never permit evil unless He plans to draw a greater good from it.

Whence comes the fear and resistance to God's will?
#1. Ignorance about God and His love and plan for our life.
#2. The Big Lie of the Devil who deceived Adam and Eve and continues to deceive us today.

"To be attuned to My Heart is to be attuned to My will, for My will is all love: love in its origin, love in its realization, love in its reward." (IN SINU JESU page 129).

Father, in Your will is our peace.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Lord Himself will fight for you.

"Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them. In great fright they cried out to the Lord..... “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” (Exodus 14: 5 - 18).

Monday 19th July 2021, in the 16th Week in Ordinary Time.

The first Reading today from Exodus 14: 5 - 18 is one of the compulsory Scripture Reading in the Solemnity of the Easter Vigil.

It is also most important Scripture in my life. “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

Through the above words read from a Gideon Bible on a nighttable in a hotel room, the Lord God freed me from crushing fear, worry and doubt. My job was on the line. I had little money and no friends in the company. I was the representative of my company in a foreign country.

Why did I pick up the Gideon Bible? How did it open to the page, 'When you are afraid, read this....?'
Divine Providence! It is written: "Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Man's security is Satan's opportunity."
On that night, God said to me clearly: 'In this matter, I am the Actor. You are the spectator.' I agreed. The whole matter was resolved in such a way that is nothing short of the miraculous.

"I will sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him; the God of my father, I extol him." (Exodus 15: 1 - 2).

Moses is the man God chose to lead His people out of Egypt. Our Savior Jesus Christ is the New Moses who leads us to Eternal Life.
"It also resoundingly demonstrates the truth that when God chooses one out of many—when He chooses an Abraham or a Moses, the blessed Virgin Mary, or the founders of monastic movements and religious congregations—He always does so in order to bless a multitude, fashion a people, form a nation. He does something extraordinary for one, so that His word may radiate outward to countless souls and His grace be sought with renewed eagerness. He chooses the one not as an isolated exception or arbitrary preference, but as the humble centre around which a great circle will be drawn, a blazing hearth around which many can gather, be warmed, and find fellowship." (IN SINU JESU page 56).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Come away and have some rest.

"The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”..... When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things." (Mark 6: 30 - 34).

Sunday 18th July 2021, in the 16th Week in Ordinary Time.

What does it mean that Jesus is our Good Shepherd? The Good Shepherd is the theme of the Scriptures this Sunday. Anyone who cannot describe one or more Bad Shepherd experience in his life is lucky. We see bad shepherds in the family, classroom, government, workplace, church, etc.

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” This is one of the most endearing statements of Jesus for me in the entire Gospel. Our Responsorial Psalm 23 has brought healing and comfort to many people. Not just Christians. Non-Christians as well. It is believed that this great Psalm came from David's personal experience of God in his life struggles.

Jesus the Good Shepherd is still with us today. It is in the Eucharist that we experience everything that the Good Shepherd offers.  Jesus says to a mystic:
"Do not the sheep follow the shepherd? Where are the green pastures prophesied by the psalmist king, if not in My Eucharistic presence?" (IN SINU JESU page 55).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, July 16, 2021

Jesus hides from those who want to kill Him.

"Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope." (Matthew 12: 18 - 21).

Saturday 17th July 2021, in the 15th Week in Ordinary. There is no feast in the Liturgical Calendar. Let us celebrate the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Matthew tells us in the Gospel for today that  "The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place." At the end of today's Gospel, we are given the character profile of the Man the Pharisees are clamoring to kill. He never contended or raised His voice in the streets.  "A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench." What does this all mean? Jesus is not a common criminal. At His trial before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Procurator said three times:  'I found no fault in this Man." Jesus is innocent of any fault.

In the Plan of God, Jesus must die so that you and I must live.

"I have chosen to communicate My light to your soul by making it pass through the pure and sinless Heart and hands of My Immaculate Mother. The more you turn to her, the more you remain confident and childlike beneath her gaze of maternal love, the more will you be changed from one degree of glory to another. This is My Mother’s work in the souls of priests, and the work of the Holy Spirit who touches souls by means of her hands." IN SINU JESU page 65).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Feast of Our Lady of Carmel.

“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” (Matthew 12: 2).

Friday 16th July 2021, in the 15th Week in Ordinary is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

What words do we associate with Mount Carmel? The Prophet Elijah, the Carmelite Order, St. Simon Stock.
On July 16, 1251 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Simon Stock, the Superior General of the Carmelites in England and gave him the brown scapula. Mary promised her protection to all those who wear the scapula. This is the origin of the devotion of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown Scapula. The brown scapula is one of the numerous sacramentals of the Church.

In our Gospel Reading for today, Jesus said something that must have astonished His Jewish audience:
"I say to you, something greater than the temple is here."  (Matthew 12: 6).  And He added:
"For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”  (Matthew 12: 8).

The Sabbath is a sacred Covenant between God and His people.  "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20: 8). And then the Lord blessed the Sabbath Rest.

How the Sabbath is to be observed became a sore point of controversy between Jesus and the Jewish leaders.  The Pharisees wanted a strict adherence to the Sabbath code. Jesus teaches God's intention in establishing the Sabbath.  God gave the Sabbath both for rest and worship. The Pharisees had lost sight of this two fold objectives. The One who made the laws in the first place quickly asserted His authority over the Sabbath.

"Sunday is the day of My holy and glorious resurrection," says Jesus to the mystic. "I will open your eyes to the vision of My Father and draw you with Me into His embrace. Be mindful on Sundays of the labours of your brothers in the sacred ministry. Seek for them spiritual refreshment and energy in My Eucharistic presence. Sunday evening through Monday, you will do well to recall the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for that is the third gift and mystery of the cenacle." (IN SINU JESU page 81).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Feast of St Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor.

"Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

Thursday 15th July 2021, 15th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bonaventure (1221 - 1274). Italian. Franciscan, Bishop, Cardinal and Doctor of the Church. Bonaventure is known as the Seraphic Doctor because of his mastery of mystical theology. He became friends with St Thomas Aquinas, another doctor of the Church in the University of Paris.

Who is Jesus especially inviting to come to Him in our key Scripture?
The burdened who labor under yoke. The meek and the humble who desperately are looking for some resting place from their hard labors.

Our saint of today, St Bonaventure will fall into this class. Although Superior General of the Franciscans for 17 years, Cardinal of the Church, eminent Theologian and Professor of Theology at the University of Paris and one of the 35 Doctors of the Church, Bonaventure is childlike in character. He is meek and humble. This is why he heard the invitation of Jesus and answered Him.

Spiritual writers affirm again and again that we receive nothing from God unless we come to Him in trust, broken and remain steadfast in waiting for Him.
The way to the Heart of Jesus is Trust and Obey. Not confidence in our filthy works or in our strength.

This is why Jesus gives us the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation so that we can come to Him easily at all times.

May we all benefit from the wisdom and simplicity of St Bonaventure whom we honor today.
"I am glorified when you honor my saints." Lord Jesus remember us who delight in honoring your saints.

"This is why it so grieves Me" , said Jesus to a mystic, "that churches are locked and that I am left for days on end alone in the tabernacle. I would draw souls to My open Heart, I would have them experience what it is to abide in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face, I would give Myself in intimate friendship to souls drawn to Me in the Sacrament of My love, but you priests, shepherds of souls, have forgotten that keeping open your churches is integral to your sacred ministry." (IN SINU JESU page 54).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Feast of St Kateri Tekewitha, the Lily of the Mohawks.

"At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will." (Matthew 11: 25 - 26).

Wednesday 14th July 2021, 15th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Kateri Tekakwita (1656 - 1680). Born near New York. Daughter of a Mohawk chief. Kateri died at the age of 24. She had great devotion to the Eucharist and Jesus Crucified. She is known as the "Lily of the Mohawks" and is the patron saint of ecologists, environmentalists, and Native Americans.

Our key Scripture today fits St Kateri as hand in glove. God in His merciful and powerful Providence chooses the weak to accomplish great things. He chose Mary, the 14 year old Virgin of Nazareth to be the Mother of the Son. He chose Saints Catherine of Siena and Therese, the Little Flower and revealed to them the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. He called and chose St Maria Faustina and revealed to her the secrets of the Divine Mercy.

In the first Reading for today, Exodus 3: 1 - 12, God called and chose Moses, a retired shepherd of 80 years to play a central role in the Exodus, the type and shadow of our liberation from the shackles of the slavery of sin.

The Church is today at the crossroads with cultures all over the world. Who is the new Moses? Who is the new Catherine of Siena? Might it be you?

When Moses hesitated at the invitation of God to lead the People of Israel to freedom, God said: "I will be with you." That is all I need to hear. Do you need more?

"It is the little and the poor who come to Me in the Sacrament of My love and who console My Heart by their presence to Me. It has always been so. The proud and the worldly have no time for Me, because I am hidden, because I am poor, because I am silent, in the Sacrament of My love. But those who are themselves humble and poor are drawn to the humility and the poverty of My Eucharistic presence. I welcome them. I take comfort in their presence, and I recognize them as those blessed of My Father to whom belongs already the Kingdom of Heaven." (IN SINU JESU page 229).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, July 12, 2021

Feast of St Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor.

"Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes." (Matthew 11: 20 - 21).

Tuesday 13th July 2021, in the 15th Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of St Henry II. (973 - 1024). German. Crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014 by Pope Benedict VIII as Emperor Henry II. He was a powerful man of the world, a man of war and international politics. He became a saint.  It shows that anyone can become a saint. Henry used his wealth and power to promote the Kingdom of God by supporting missionary work. In spite of his cares of the earthly Roman Empire, his gaze was on Heaven, the eternal Kingdom.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus taught that those who have received more are expected to give more. Chorazin and Bethsaida received more of Jesus teaching and miracles but both cities were obstinate when it comes to belief and repentance. Henry received the Good News of salvation from his mother. He turned his heart and mind to Jesus and became a great saint.

Why was Jesus stern in His reproach of Chorazin and Bethsaida?
Both cities saw many miracles and heard countless sermons of Jesus. They locked up their hearts in unbelief. Unbelief is very dangerous. Look around the socioeconomic landscape today and see for yourself what unbelief can produce. Where there is unbelief, there can be no repentance. Robbers who are caught red-handed in their crimes have sworn that they are innocent.

We are Chorazin. We are Bethsaida. Let us come before Jesus with humility and have our sins washed away in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The merciful love of Jesus is waiting to give us a new mind and a new heart.

"If souls understood what treasures of love are freely given to those who approach Me in the Sacrament of My love, My churches would be filled day and night, and unable to contain the multitudes drawn to them. But the Evil One has schemed and plotted to cover the mystery of My presence with a dark veil of neglect, of irreverence, of forgetfulness, and of unbelief. He has obscured the mystery of My real presence, and so My faithful, beginning with My priests, have walked away from Me, one after the other, even as they did when first I spoke plainly of Myself as the living Bread come down from heaven to give life to the world." (IN SINU JESU page 226).

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Whom do you love more, your son or Jesus?

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10: 37 - 39).

Monday 12th July 2021, in the 15th Week in Ordinary Time.

What strikes you from our key Scripture for today from Matthew 10: 37 - 39?
There are No Half Measures in the words of Jesus!! Jesus did not say:
It is OK if you love your father or mother 50% and love Me Jesus 50%. It is OK when you pick up your cross whenever you feel like and follow Me.
Everything He says is absolute. If you follow me, it has to be fully if you want to reap the benefits.

Do you now understand why Christianity does not work for many? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:
"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).

If you desire all your needs to be met, you understand what to do. You must make God's business your top priority. Jesus said to St Catherine of Siena, mystic and Doctor of the Church: 'My daughter, if you think of my business first, I will think of yours first."

I have been beating about the bush in do-it-your-own way Christianity. I had not experienced the promised answers to prayers. Since I started following the way of Jesus, things have brightened up for me a lot.

Thank You Jesus for the promise below.
"My Heart is open to your prayers and I receive them with favour because it is I who inspire you to speak to Me in this way. This is the secret of prayer pleasing to My Heart: it rises out of a grace that I have already planted in the soul, even before you come into My presence, even before you open your mouth, or take up your pen, or begin to formulate words. These are the prayers that I answer most readily; these are the prayers that I answer unfailingly, because they are the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul, teaching the soul to pray in perfect harmony with the desires and designs of My own Sacred Heart." (IN SINU JESU page 120).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Twelve drove out many demons.

"Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.... Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them." (Mark 6: 7, 11 - 13).

Sunday 11th July 2021, in the 15th Week in Ordinary Time.

The first, Second Reading of the 15th Sunday as well as the Gospel deal with the theme of the Choice, the Call and the Anointing of key personnel or officers of the Kingdom that Jesus Christ came to Inaugurate.

In the first Reading, Amos describes his call. “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, ­prophesy to my people Israel.”

Paul describes in his letter to the Ephesians how we are chosen, destined and sealed by the Holy Spirit for our mission. He prayed to the Father for us:
"May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call." (Ephesians 1: 17 - 18).

Without Jesus, we can do absolutely nothing.
"The doing must be Mine. Yours it is to trust Me, to wait upon Me, to abide close to My Heart like the beloved disciple. When you are to do something that springs from My plan for you, you will find that thing easy to do, for I will give you light and strength and perseverance in the doing of it." (IN SINU JESU pg 261).

Now that we know that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit for this great mission, failure is not an option.  "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12: 1 - 2).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, July 09, 2021

You are worth more than many sparrows.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are ­counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10: 29 - 31).

Saturday 10th July 2021, in the 14th Week in Ordinary Time.  When there is no assigned feast on Saturday, the Church is delighted to celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday.

The sweetest teaching, doctrine in the Bible is God's powerful and merciful Providence over all of creation. What does this mean? Abba Father cares lovingly even for the tiny sparrows. He cares for them so much that He gives them permission to build their nests right above His altars. David envied the tiny sparrows because of this privilege.

How is it possible that man created in the image and likeness of God, destined to live forever with God could be possibly treated with less dignity than a sparrow. Not possible! Another Big Lie of the Devil!!! You are worth more than many sparrows. Believe this. Faith comes from hearing. You have heard/read this. This is the word of God proclaimed today in every Church in the world.

"I will teach you all that you need to know as you go forward' says Jesus to a mystic.  "I will not give you My words ahead of time, but I will give them to you as you need them, at the moment chosen by My loving providence. Renounce the desire to control and arrange things ahead of the time that I have decreed. Each thing has its own moment, and that moment alone and no other brings with it the grace sufficient to your need, to your weakness, and to the task at hand. I am proceeding this way with you because I want you to trust Me completely, to trust Me in all things, great and small." (IN SINU JESU pg 76).
Thank You Jesus. This is a sweet message.

To see how Abba Father loves us, click on the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/09/abba-father.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 08, 2021

The Feast of St Augustine Zhao and companion martyrs.

"When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."  (Matthew 10: 19 - 20).

Friday 9th July 2021, 14th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine Zhao, Chinese priest and martyr and 119 of his companion martyrs. China continues to persecute the Church. Does China want to achieve a goal that the mighty Roman Empire failed to accomplish? The Third Reich of Adolf Hitler tried to suppress the Church but was suppressed.  Joseph Stalin died while trying to crush what the Bolsheviks called the opium of the people.

The missionary effort of the Church continues worldwide uninterrupted by persecutions and pandemics.

In our key Scripture for today, we see a prophecy of what awaits the disciples as they embark on the apostolic mandate. "As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 6).

Jesus also predicted a great deal of victory and consolation for His disciples. Arraignment before governors and magistrates will be an opportunity for them to see the power of the Holy Spirit in their defense. We see the fulfillment of this when Peter and John faced the full Sanhedrin.  We see the same power at play when Paul was before Festus, the Roman high official. Jesus was not kidding. He promises to support His disciples. He does so.

St Augustine Zhao and his companion martyrs defied the rage of the Chinese persecutors. They accepted martyrdom rather than deny their faith. They are enjoying their reward today.

"The movement of persecution that is about to break out against My Church will focus on three objects. In fact, this has already begun. I will be attacked in My priests; they represent My Eucharistic Face. The face of the priesthood is My Face, once again mocked and covered with mud, spittle, and blood. I will be dishonoured in the Sacrament of My Body and Blood. You will see an increase of sins against the mysteries of My Body and Blood: sacrilege, desecrations, and mockeries. I will be attacked in the weakest and most vulnerable members of My Mystical Body. This too has already begun, but it will increase until it reaches proportions that will oblige My Father to avenge the blood of His beloved innocents." (IN SINU JESU pg 91).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

You received the Good News without cost, share it freely.

"Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep." (Matthew 10: 7 - 10).

Thursday 8th July 2021, in the 14th Week in Ordinary.

Without cost we have received the Good News; without cost we are to give the Good News. Tune into Christian Television. What do you observe? Sometimes more than 30% of the time devoted to asking for money. Money is needed for all kinds of ministry, viz: building, missionary journeys, staff salaries, etc. "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give." Do not sell the Good News under cover of necessities for the work of the Lord.

This is why Jesus practices and teaches exemplary simplicity to His disciples.
"Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick."
Trust completely in God who charged you with this work. "The laborer deserves his keep." God knows perfectly everything you need. He will provide you through your hosts or directly through His angels. And if 'You seek first His kingdom and His righteousness above your needs, all that you need will be given to you without much ado.' (Cf Matthew 6: 33).

Through Your Son, Father, You taught us not to be fearful of tomorrow but to commit our lives to Your care. Do not withhold your Spirit from us but help us find a life of peace after these days of trouble.

"Confidence opens the door to all the treasures of My kingdom. To one who has confidence in My merciful love, I can refuse nothing." (IN SINU JESU pg 105).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Jesus Inaugurates the Twelve, the Church.

"Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness..... "Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 1..7).

Wednesday 7th July 2021, in the 14th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples. Who are the Twelve disciples today? Historically, the Twelve disciples represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In our first Reading today from Genesis 41, we see the beginning of the story of how the family of Jacob now Israel migrated to Egypt to live for 430 years. This is God's providential design for His family as we are reminded by today's Responsorial Psalm 33:

"The Lord brings to nought the plans of nations; he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the Lord stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations."

God's Providence = His Plan = His Designs. It is also His Purpose, Blueprint and His Will.

In the Gospel of today, we see the rollout of God's Plan. The Twelve Tribes became the Twelve Apostles. The Twelve became the beginning of the Seed of the Kingdom, the Church. The Church is the Seed of the the Kingdom of God on earth. (CCC 671).

The Kingdom of heaven is not just at hand. It is here. We are the New Israel.  Our mandate is to take authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness and to preach the Good News to everyone on earth.

The Church is the Guardian of the greatest mystery of Jesus Christ:
"It [The Eucharist] was to extend the graces of My Incarnation and earthly life to all of My disciples, to My chosen friends, until the end of time. So much of what I held in My Heart when I instituted this Sacrament has now been forgotten, or obscured, or deliberately contradicted. This is what causes the sorrow of My Eucharistic Heart. This is why I turned to you and asked you to give Me your life, the rest of your life, in adoration and reparation. I want the free response of your adoring love to My Eucharistic love." (IN SINU JESU).

Our Baptism makes us priest, prince and prophet. You too are a Guardian of the Eucharistic mystery.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, July 05, 2021

The Feast of St Maria Goretti.

"Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Matthew 9: 35 - 38).

Tuesday 6th July 2021, 14th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maria Goretti (1890 - 1902). Italian. Virgin and Martyr. Maria was barely twelve years old when she was attacked by Alessandro Serenelli, a 19 years old man who tried to rape her. Maria resisted fiercely.  Alessandro stabbed her to death.

Maria forgave him in her death bed. Alessandro spent 27 of 30 years in prison. Maria appeared to him in a dream and brought him flowers. Alessandro Serenelli was in the audience at the Vatican when Maria was canonized in 1950. He later joined the Capuchin monastery.
St Maria Goretti is the patron saint of purity, young women, rape victims and youth.
In her liturgy, the Church teaches us that God is the source of innocence and lover of chastity.

We see in our key Scripture for today the compassion of Jesus for the crowds who were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. He healed many of their diseaae and illness and preached to them the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Yet Jesus was sad because the need is so great and the human resources needed for the work are paltry.

"When I asked Our Lord about more vocations: Trust Me with the timing of all things. One plant must be deeply rooted before another one can be planted beside it. I am alive in the Sacrament of My love and, at every moment, divinely active, doing from My place upon the altar all that I did during My sojourn on earth. From the Sacrament of My love I heal the sick, I give sight to the blind, I cause the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the mute to speak. I am the healer of souls and of bodies." ( IN SINU JESU).

What can you do to help? Become an evangelist? From here, you may be led to your proper path.

For information on the Compendium of the the Church, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2021/03/compendium-of-catholic-teachings.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 04, 2021

The Feast of St Antony Mary Zaccaria.

"When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Truly, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!”  He was afraid and said: “How awesome this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God, the gateway to heaven!” (Genesis 28: 16 - 17).

Monday 5th July 2021, in the 14th Week in Ordinary is also the feast of St Antony Mary Zaccaria (1502 - 1539). Italian. Priest. Antony founded the Clerks Regular of St Paul dedicated for the renewal of the clergy and laity. He died at the age of 36.

The Patriarch Jacob had a rapture-like dream in his travels in the area of Haran. He had a dream:
"A stairway rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s angels were going up and down on it.  And there was the Lord standing beside him and saying: I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants." (Genesis 28: 12 - 13).

This dream changed the life of Jacob as he understood the implications for his life. He made a vow to God:  “If God will be with me and protect me on this journey I am making and give me food to eat and clothes to wear,  and I come back safely to my father’s house, the Lord will be my God."

Have you ever had a spiritual experience that changed your life? Our key Scripture invites us to be open to the experience of God always and everywhere because God is everywhere and ready to interact with us.

" When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Truly, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!”  He was afraid and said: “How awesome this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God, the gateway to heaven!” (Genesis 28: 16 - 17).

"I have asked you to trust Me and to place in Me alone all your hope and all your dreams for happiness and peace. Seek Me, trust Me, and all the rest will be given you besides." (IN SINU JESU).

Your very home may be your shrine where you encounter God.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Jesus is rejected in His hometown.

"Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!" (Mark 6: 1 - 2).

Sunday 4th July 2021,in the 14th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus returned to Nazareth His hometown. On the Sabbath, He was in the Synagogue with His disciples. The congregation was astonished by His masterful teaching. Then came the disparaging remark. 'Is he not the carpenter? His mother is Mary. Right?' We may ask: Do people expect their leaders or teachers to come from the aristocracy with Harvard or Oxford credentials? 

Our First Reading from Ezekiel 2: 2 - 5 anticipates Jesus experience by 600 years after the priest-prophet was sent to the exiled Israelites in Babylon. 
"Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day." (Ezekiel 2: 3).
The reputation for rejection of the messengers of God is nothing new to Israel. Unlike Ezekiel and other prophets of Israel, Jesus might have come to the people as a former carpenter without the highly esteemed rabbinical education like Gamaliel and Paul, but Jesus came with impeccable credentials that His foes cannot deny or overlook. Jesus taught with wisdom and not like the rabbis. And "What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!" (Mark 6: 2).

What are the lessons for the followers of Christ from the Scriptures this 14th Sunday of the Year? A true disciple should not expect praise or honor from any quarters. Because:
"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6: 2).

Jesus knew what His true disciples would face in their calling:
"Those who would be My adorers must consent to live in My tabernacle, hidden with Me and, at the same time, loving as I love: loving the Father as I love Him, loving souls as I love them, suffering coldness, rejection, misunderstanding and abandonment with Me and for Me." (IN SINU JESU).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com 

Friday, July 02, 2021

The Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

"Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20: 27 - 29).

Saturday 3rd July 2021, 13th Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of St Thomas the Apostle. Missionary and martyr. Christians remember Thomas as the "doubting Thomas."

What is the error of Thomas?
Thomas refused to believe after he heard from Peter and the other Apostles that Jesus is risen from the dead. He heard the witness of Mary Magdalene who was the first to see the Risen Jesus. Thomas still refused to believe. Against reason, he refused to believe the testimony of true, faithful and credible witnesses.

In the plan of salvation, God wills that we believe the witness of faithful, true and credible persons. Jesus Christ cannot appear to 7 Billion people individually and preach the Good News to each.

There are just a few things in life we can see and touch and prove to our own satisfaction. Vast majority of things we believe because someone we trust tells us so. We believe our parents, teachers and friends on many things. Some believe whatever their doctor tells them but will not believe their Bishop.

Disbelief, unbelief, unreasonable doubt are crippling mental states. Can you believe that there are folks among us today who deny the Holocaust? Victims of these barbarism are still live among us.

"Satan hates those who, resisting his lies, have remained close to Me, adoring Me in the Sacrament of My love, and consoling My Heart that is so afflicted by the ingratitude of men and their lack of faith in the mystery of love that is My real Eucharistic presence." (IN SINU JESU).

Jesus told Thomas, "Stop doubting and believe.”  (John 20: 27).  This command was all that Thomas needed to make him a super believer.  Jesus too can command our doubts, fears and worries to disappear.  Let us ask Him:

Lord Jesus, command that we no longer be faithless but strong believers in You and Your mission.   Say but a word Jesus and our doubts will be gone. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Call of Matthew the Tax Collector.

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.  While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples." (Matthew 9: 9 - 10).

Friday 2nd July 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is also the First Friday in July.

Our key Scripture today narrates the Call of Matthew. From the narrative, it appears a happenchance, a natural coincidence.  Jesus was passing by and saw Matthew and called him. The meeting of Jesus with Matthew on this day is not a chance meeting. The Bible has no word for Chance. Everything is Providence. God governs the world He creates by His powerful and merciful Providence. You can term His Providence, God's grand Purpose, Blueprint or simply Plan.

Matthew met his destiny at the right time and place. How about you? Have you found your purpose? Consider this insightful piece from St John Henry Newman:

"God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next…. I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling."

Follow Me and Matthew got up and followed Jesus.

"When nothing is clear, when nothing is foreseeable, it is the moment to make many acts of confidence. You will repeat them as often as necessary and, in them, you will find peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (IN SINU JESU).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this First Friday in July.

July 2, 2021 is First Friday in July.

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 7th month of the year 2021, we look at Promise #7.

#7.  "Tepid souls shall become fervent."

What is tepid?  Tepid is defined as lukewarm, slightly warm, unenthusiastic, apathetic, half-hearted.
Listen to what Jesus says about such persons:
"Because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3: 16).

Are you lukewarm with regards to Jesus, to spiritual things? Regain your fire through devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
"We should, every morning, place our sufferings, prayers and labors in the pierced Heart of Jesus; there everything will be purified and perfected." (Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

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

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

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

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Feast of St Junipero Serra.

"God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering on a height that I will point out to you.” (Genesis 22: 1 - 22).

Thursday 1st July in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Franciscan, St Junipero Serra. (1713 - 1784). This Spanish Franciscan priest evangelized Mexico and California and firmly established the Church in these regions.

July is the month we honor the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our key Scripture for today, God surprised Abraham with a difficult test: I want you to sacrifice your son, your only son for me.
We know that nothing in this world happens without the express permission of God. God's merciful and powerful Providence governs all things. God directly or indirectly sends us tests.

What may God be asking you to offer up today? Health, a family member, job, money, home? Everything in the Scriptures is written for our instruction teaches St Paul. Consider the people whom God put to the test:
Isaiah: Wife.
Hosea: Gomer, the prostitute.
St John Paul II: Health.
St Josemaria: Health.
Joe Biden: Wife and children perished in accident, a son by health issue. 

Abraham passed his test.
“I swear by my very self—oracle of the Lord—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one, I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants will take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.”
(Genesis 22: 16 - 18).

There is great reward in submitting our will to the gracious and mysterious will of God.

We honor the Most Precious Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ in July.
"The Blood of my Son brings purity and healing and new life wherever it flows. Implore the power of the precious Blood over yourself and over all priests. Whenever you are asked to intercede for souls, invoke the power of the precious Blood over them, and present them to the Father covered with the Blood of the Lamb." (Mary, IN SINU JESU).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Feast of the First Martyrs of the Roman Church.

"God heard the boy's [Ismael] voice, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not fear; God has heard the boy’s voice in this plight of his. Get up, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.”  Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink." (Genesis 21: 17 - 19).

Wednesday 30th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the
feast of the First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church. In 64 AD, the vicious Emperor Nero set Rome on fire. To escape the wrath of the Romans, he blamed the Christians. Then he ordered all Christians arrested and be put to death. We celebrate today the witness of the multitude of Christians who perished in the persecution of Emperor Nero.

Abraham's concubine, Hagar was driven away from home at the insistence of Sarah. When their food and water ran out in the desert, Hagar and her son Ismael cried. Ismael: means "Ishma-El: God hears"

The Lord hears their cry.

This may be the message of the first Reading from Genesis.
"When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them." (Psalm 34 - Responsorial).

What a great confidence we have in prayer to know that God hears us when we cry to Him in our distress.
The First Martyrs of the Roman Church were probably the first large group of martyrs who witnessed to Jesus, the faithful and true Martyr. It was a big spectacle for the Romans who were gathered in the Nero Circus to witness the sport.
Tertulian said: "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity." Rome became chosen by God to be the seat of the universal Church.

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

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

"Peter said to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus replied: You are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church." (Matthew 16: 16, 18).

Tuesday 29th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

Why honor Saints Peter and Paul with a Solemnity? Because the most important accomplishment of Jesus Christ in His mission on earth is the CHURCH! The Church is the Sacrament and Instrument of SALVATION for all mankind.   Scripture teaches that the Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. (Cf Ephesians 2: 20). Peter and Paul are joint managing directors of the institution, which is called the Church.

"You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."  (Matthew 16: 18)

Paul got his mandate to be an Apostle directly from Jesus.
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.  For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ."  (Galatians 1: 11 - 12).

Peter and Paul were called to be friends and companions of Jesus before anything else.
"I ask you only to be My friend and to live at every moment in the grace of My divine friendship. All the rest follows. Perfection is the fruit of friendship with Me, not a precondition for it. You, and many souls like you, are confused about this. My friendship is not earned, it is not something acquired by measuring up to the standards of perfection that you have set for yourself. My friendship is pure gift." (IN SINU JESU).

Peter and Paul are the ones who, living in the flesh, planted the Church with their blood;
they drank the chalice of the Lord
and became the friends of God. (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Feast of St Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr.

"Another of [Jesus] disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8: 21 - 22).

Monday 28th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Irenaeus (125 - 203). Bishop and Martyr. St Polycarp was instructed in the faith by St John the Apostle. He, Polycarp instructed St Irenaeus who became a Bishop in France. He is an early Church Father. God called Irenaeus to uphold the revealed truth of the faith and bring peace to the Church.

Are you called to serve the Lord? The marching order is intimidating. Don't waste time about who died and burial rites. “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” On another occasion, Jesus commanded the disciples:
"More than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well." (Matthew 6: 33 CEV).

St Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr and Father of the Church did not play games with the truths of the holy Faith. He studied what Christ our Teacher handed down to us. For example, the Eucharist. His bold, clear and unambiguous teaching was respected even by foes and he brought peace to the Church. One of Irenaeus famous quotes is: "The glory of God is man fully alive." God is glorified when we develop our talents to the utmost.

"I want you to speak to the faithful of the Holy Mass as a true sacrifice. They have forgotten this. No one thinks any more to tell them that the action of the Eucharist renews My sacrifice upon the Cross, and that I am present upon the altar as upon the Cross, as both Priest and Victim. It is the whole of My sacrifice of love that unfolds before their eyes. You must tell them this." (Jesus to a Benedictine mystic: IN SINU JESU).

By the prayers of St Irenaeus, may God renew our faith and love for the Most Holy Eucharist.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Woman, blessed is your faith.

"One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him." (Mark 5: 22 - 24).

Sunday 27th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time.

The Gospel for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time contains two important stories about the importance of faith in healing:
Woman with a Hemorrhage and Jairus’s Daughter. The afflicted woman and Jairus had heard about Jesus before they sought Him out and encountered the Lord.

Jesus praised the faith of the woman. “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” When the crowd wanted to pour cold water on the faith of Jairus, Jesus said to him: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” I like how one translation renders this: "Fear is useless. What is needed is trust." When Jairus heard this, his faith was strengthened. Jesus went into the house where He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded."

Your trust in Jesus is in direct proportion to your awareness of who He is and how much He has done for you.
"Love Me and believe in My unconditional love for you. Trust Me. Show Me that you have confidence in My merciful goodness, especially when you experience weakness, or shame, or fear, and I will renew the grace of My love in your heart. I will uphold you with the gift of My unfailing presence." (IN SINU JESU).

"Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old." (Hebrews 11: 1 - 2 Phillips).
The Woman with a Hemorrhage and Jairus have this type of faith.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, June 25, 2021

The Feast of St Josemaria, Founder of Opus Dei.

"And I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." (Jeremiah 3: 15).

Saturday 26th June 2021, 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Josemaria Escriva (1902 - 1976). Founder of the Opus Dei, a society whose members include men and women, married and single and priests. Unique in many ways among the community of consecrated men and women.

Opus Dei believes that it is God's will that people find their path to holiness no matter what their occupation is, viz: doctor, garbage collector, senator, office cleaner, professor, student, etc. The impact of Opus Dei and its spirituality in the modern Church is significant. They operate in some 80 countries in the world.
Josemaria is a saint of our time. He died in 1976 and was canonized in 2002 by Pope St John Paul II.

Our key Scripture is from the Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Josemaria.  We are all called to be pastors of souls.

Who is the Good Shepherd of our souls? Jesus Christ of course. Here is what Jesus says to a Benedictine mystic about the pastors He appointed.

"This is why it so grieves Me that churches are locked and that I am left for days on end alone in the tabernacle. I would draw souls to My open Heart, I would have them experience what it is to abide in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face, I would give Myself in intimate friendship to souls drawn to Me in the Sacrament of My love, but you priests, shepherds of souls, have forgotten that keeping open your churches is integral to your sacred ministry. I would pasture souls in My Eucharistic presence, but you, by continuing to close My churches to souls, frustrate and contradict the desires of My Eucharistic Heart." (IN SINU JESU).

The life work of St Josemaria is to remind us that we too are pastors no matter our individual calling in life. Keep the Churches open please.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Jesus continues to heal soul and body through the Sacrament of Penance.

"When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.  And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately."  (Matthew 8: 1 - 3).

Friday 25th June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus healed a leper instantly by touching him. Contrary to the beliefs of the time, Jesus did not contract any ritual uncleanness. Leprosy was one of the diseases that was considered physically and spiritually ugly and excludes the sufferer from the community and most importantly, from the houses of worship.

Mortal sin is analogous to leprosy. It is God's merciful Providence that humans do not see the soul.
The One who touched the lepers and healed them is still among us. He heals every day the most important ailment of man, sin. He does this through the Sacrament of Penance. A good Confession restores the soul fully to sanctifying grace. Sanctifying grace is the life of God in the soul. The soul becomes once again the home of the Holy Spirit.
Who cannot be moved by the words of Jesus below to a Benedictine mystic?

"I want you to go to confession weekly. This is necessary for the health of your soul and even of your body. You will experience the benefits of My merciful pardon and the saving power of My precious Blood.
Prepare your confessions well. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and repent of the sins that He will show you. The work to which I have called you requires a great delicacy of conscience and an uncompromising purity of heart." (IN SINU JESU).

For resource in preparing your conscience in order to make a good Confession, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-good-examination-of-conscience.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

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