Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lamb of God

"Look, there is the Lamb of God." (John 1:36)

The Lamb is one of John's favorite images for Jesus. It is one that is full of meekness, gentleness and tenderness. Jesus is not the lion of God or the horse of God but rather the Lamb of God. Everything in Scripture is written to teach us some truth. Jesus is the image of God the Father. One of the purposes of His incarnation is to reveal to us the nature of the Father. Jesus is the God who is meek, gentle and tender. A God that is very lovable.

Jesus as the Lamb of God is a concept we can all relate to: young and old, poor and rich, strong and weak. The New Testament has so many names for Jesus: Emmanuel, Prince of peace, High Priest, Son of David, etc. The Lamb is one of the tenderest descriptions of Jesus. It is an image of the power that created the universe presented as powerless.

Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. The Lamb defeated the ferocious enemy, the ruler of the powers and principalities. The Lamb was slaughtered but now is alive forever more. Is it not amazing that the image of a lamb is used to portray the power that defeated Satan? God displays His mighty power through meekness, gentleness and tenderness, rather than through brutal force.

Lord Jesus, make us meek, gentle and tender lambs.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Friday, September 09, 2005

St. Peter Canisius

"Besides being a sage, Qoheleth taught the people what he himself knew, having weighed, studied and emended many proverbs. Qoheleth took pains to write in an attractive style and by it to convey truths(Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10).

Peter Canisius was born in Nijmegen, Holland in 1521. Peter studied canon law at Cologne University and Louvain. After his studies, he joined the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and distinguished himself in teaching, preaching and writing. Peter Canisius became a type of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10, 12). He was a sage who shared liberally the fruits of his arduous studies in many books. "When I discovered your teaching, I devoured it. Your words brought me joy and gladness; you have called me your own, O Lord my God." (Jeremaiah 15:16) Peter Canisius could say the same thing.

In 1555, Peter published his famous Catechism, (Summa Doctrinae Christianae), which was the Catholic answer to Luther's great work. This Catechism which was translated into more than 16 languages during Peter Canisius's life became a model for catechisms up to this day. The Lord sustained him in the priesthood till the end of his life: "The Lord has sworn an oath and he will not retract; you are a priest forever, in the line of Melchisedech" (Psalm 110:4)

St Peter Canisius died in 1597 and was canonized and declared a saint of the Church in 1925. "He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob." (Psalm 24: 5-6) His feast day is December 21.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Top 10 Historical Events

"At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone then went to register himself, each to his own town.
Joseph went to register with Mary" (Luke 2: 1-5).

Charles A. Beard (1874 - 1948). Historian. When asked if he could summarize the lessons of history in a short book, said he could do it in four sentences:
  • Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad with power.
  • The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small.
  • The bee fertilizes the flower it robs.
  • When it is dark enough, you can see all the stars.
"Condensed History Lesson," Readers Digest, February 1941.

1. Judea 4 BC: Mary, the wife of Joseph gave birth to Jesus called the Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. Judea, 7 September 70 AD: Emperor Titus destroyed Jerusalem.

3. Milan, Feb 313: Edict of Milan - Emperors Constantine and Lucinius agreed on a policy of religious toleration for Christians.

4. Rome, 3 July 321: Sunday became a day of rest throughout the Roman empire.

5. Asia Minor, June 431: The third ecumenical council meeting at Ephesus condemned the Nestorian doctrine as heresy and declared Mary as Theotokos, that is, Mother of God.

6. Arabia, 16 July 622: Mohamed fled Mecca and took refuge at Medina. His flight is known as the hegira.

7. Caribbean, 12 October 1492: Christopher Columbus landed in an island he called San Salvador.

8. Germany, 31 October 1517: Martin Luther posted a list of 95 theses challenging the Church.

9. Lourdes, 15 February 1858: The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in Lourdes grotto.

10. Washington DC, 1 January 1863: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Act, proclaiming all slaves in the confederate states free.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Abundant Life

"I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10)

We all desire to live abundantly, to achieve our potentials in life. The aim of education is to develop our talents to live to the full. Christ promises that He came that we may have abundant life. Experience shows us that this present life does not satisfy all our needs and does not last forever. Jesus must mean some other form of life in his promise of abundant life. He is talking of spiritual life, eternal life. A life that begins here and continues forever. Jesus achieved this life for us through His teaching, death and resurrection.

In another passage, Jesus says: "And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" [John 17:3.4]. What then is eternal life? Why do we need it? Who gives eternal life and how is it obtained? When and where is eternal life given?

Man, created in the image and likeness of God has a spiritual nature. Eternal life is the life of the spirit that enables man to live as a son of God. Jesus Christ gives the life through His word and the Eucharist, that is, the gift of His Body and Blood. To obtain this life, we ask for it in faith and Jesus gives us through His Holy Spirit. If man lives to the full when he lives spiritually, it means that people without God cannot live to the full. To live to the full we need Jesus.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

St. John Chrysostom

"Besides being a sage, Qoheleth taught the people what he himself knew, having weighed, studied and emended many proverbs. Qoheleth took pains to write in an attractive style and by it to convey truths(Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10).

St John Chrysostom was born in 347, the son of a Latin father and a Greek mother. His name 'Chrysostom' means golden-mouthed. John, a type of Qoheleth in (Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10, 12) wrote numerous homilies on the Gospels of Matthew and John and the letter to the Romans. He became very distinquished as a writer and preacher. As the patriarch of Constantinople, John was reform minded. John is one of the four Greek doctors of the Church. St. John Chrysostom is the patron of preachers. His feast day is September 13.

Quotes from John Chrysostom

"There is no better teaching than the teacher's own example. By taking this course, the teacher is sure to get his disciple to follow him. Speak wisely, instruct as eloquently as you can...,but your example will make a greater impression, will be more decisive...When your actions are in line with your words, nobody will be able to find fault with you" (Homily on Philippians).

"The books of the Bible are teachers which never cease to instruct us[...].Open these books. What a treasuries of good remedies they contain! [...]. All you need do is look at the book, read it and remember well the wise teachings therein. The source of all our evils is our ignorance of the sacred books" (Homilies on Colossians).

"If God has honored us with countless gifts it is thanks to his love, not to our merits. Our fervor, our strength, our faith and our unity are the fruits of God's benevolence and our response to his goodness" (Homily on Ephesians, ad loc).


Monday, September 05, 2005

The Light of the World

"The Word was the light that enlightens all men." (John 1:9)

The Word is Jesus Christ. Jesus provides meaning for the life of man. This meaning is the light that guides us in dark places of the world. Without this light, we move in darkness and error. The Word gives meaning to the spiritual nature of man. He explains everything about man in relation to God.

There are two lights in the world: the light of the Word and the light of Satan, which is in reality darkness. This light is error; it distorts the image of man by trying to portray man as purely a material being. But Christ is the true light of the world. Where is this light? Where is Christ? Where Christ is, there is the light. Christ is alive in the Church; He is in His word; He is also in the sacraments of the Church. Christ is also anywhere two or three people are gathered in His name. It is obvious that we cannot perceive Jesus today with our physical eyes. We need the light of faith to do so.

How do we apply this scripture today? The word of God is the true light that enlightens me on: health, family, food, tools, job and money. Any other light will lead me into error. When I ask prayerfully this question: What does the word of God say on my health, family, job, food, money or tools, the answer I get will guide me to right action in relation to all these basic necessities of life.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Are your confident

"God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior." (Isaiah 12:2)

What makes the word of God so potent in transforming our fears and weakness into strength? One good reason to me is the person behind that word and promise. We know that God cannot fail come what may.

The Holy Spirit writes in Isaiah 12:2 "God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior." When we receive words like these with an open and trusting heart, incredible strength and courage is born within us. And we feel that we can do almost anything because of Him who gives us strength.

The Bible urges us again and again to have courage and not to be afraid. We need courage to claim our inheritance. Every parent realizes this truth. Our Father in heaven knows that we cannot claim our rights as His children without courage. If we believe that God is indeed our Savior and ever present help, then we should be confident and not be afraid. The life of love, praise and worship of our creator which is the very essence of the Christian life demands courage.

See: Some Books on Courage