Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lessons of Cana

"The mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.' Jesus said, 'Woman, what do you want from me? My hour has not come yet.' His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you"(John 2: 3-5)NJB

Lessons from the Miracle of Cana:
We learn that Mary's prayer was very effective in getting result at the marriage feast of Cana. Mary was not discouraged by the protests of Jesus. She knew her son intimately.

Jesus told the servants to 'fill the jars with water.' This command reminds of Elisha, Naaman and the River Jordan.(2Kings 5:10) Peter was similarly commanded to cast his net into the water.(John 21:6) Trust and obedience brought miracle.

Pius Xll wrote in his Apostolic Letter, Per Christi Matrem, of May 15, 1947: "The maternal office of mediatrix really began at the very moment of her consent to the Incarnation; it was manifested for the first time by the first sign of Christ's grace, at Cana in Galilee; from that moment it rapidly spread down through the ages with the growth of the Church."

Books on Mary

Friday, January 20, 2006

Those who provided for Jesus!

"Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means"(Luke 8:2-3).

Women who benefited from the ministry of Jesus provided for His needs and those of His disciples. They provided for them "out of their means." The widow of Zarephath provided for Elijah out of her meagre resources. God blessed this source and it never dried up.
This incidence is typical of God's arrangement for providing the future disciples of Christ. In the Old Testament, we see many instances of God providing for His servants through people. This principle was established with the levitical priesthood. Elisha, the prophet was likewise provided for by a couple in the course of his work. In the New Testament, we find abundant examples from the works of the Twelve and St Paul.

What are the lessons for us? God makes adequate provisions for the needs of those who preach the gospel. God prefers a situation of weakness and dependence for His servants so that His wisdom and power can triumph through their work. God in fact wants His collaborators in the work of salvation to imitate the simplicity of Jesus Christ. He appoints people to supply the needs of His workers.

How do the disciples of Christ today appropriate God's blessings and provisions for them? First, they must be aware of these provisions in the Bible. They must understand what God's word or promise is saying to their particular situation. Disciples of Jesus must believe his word and act on this word. Trust and obedience activate the power of the word.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Training the Conscience

Have mercy on me, O God, in your faithful love, in your great tenderness wipe away my offences; wash me clean from my guilt, purify me from my sin (Psalm 51:1).

King David used frequent examination of conscience to maintain his close relationship with God. Psalm 51 and many other psalms bear witness to this fact.

How often should we examine our conscience? Because conscience is the compass through which we know what is right or wrong, we must train it so that we can trust it. Jesus warns us: "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life" (Luke 21:34). It is through frequent examination of conscience that we maintain our watchfulness. When we form our conscience to depend on the Word of God rather than on the opinion of man, it becomes reliable and we trust it to lead and guide us.

How do we train our conscience? Begin by asking the Holy Spirit for light. Examine your thoughts, words and actions during the day. Look at four areas of your life: Your relationship with Christ, family, work and social life. Look for the good and the bad during the day. Thank God for the positive response to His graces during the day and ask for pardon for the shortcomings and the grace to do better. Five minutes spent reviewing the entire day, will reap a harvest of deep peace for the night.

A habit of examination of conscience is like the daily weeding of our garden. No unwanted weed will have the chance to develop deep root. Examination of conscience helps us to be alert and proactive in our lives. As the Book of Proverbs tells us: "For in vain is the net baited while the bird is looking on" (Proverbs 1:17). Instead of reacting to crisis, we see danger signals through the practice of frequent examination of conscience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Take and eat

"Take and eat it,' he said; 'this is my body.' Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and gave it to them. 'Drink it, all of you,' he said; 'this is my blood, which seals God's covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."(Matthew 26: 26-28)

Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus gives us Himself as food and drink in the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is spiritual food. "Man does not live by bread alone, there is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Man has great hunger and thirst for material things. The genuine bread, 'the bread of life' will gradually free man from excessive appetite for material things.

The Documents of Vatican II comments on the Eucharist: "At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Faith is Yes to God

Faith is Yes to God

“Sir, “answered the official, ‘Come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go home,’ said Jesus ‘your son will live.’  The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way; and while he was still on the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive.”  (John 4: 50 – 51)

What is faith?  “The man believed what Jesus had said and “started on his way.”  Faith is believing in God’s word and acting on that belief.

What is God saying to me today on my most urgent desires?  On health, I hear him saying to me:  “By my stripes you are healed.”  (Isaiah 53: 5)  On my project, he says:  “Yahweh himself will lead you; he will be with you; he will not fail you or desert you.  Have no fear, do not be alarmed.”  Deuteronomy 31: 8) NJB

Do I believe these words of God?  Lord I believe, strengthen my faith.

The court official believed in the word of Jesus and acted:  “He started on his way.”  How do I act on God’s word to me?  How do I “start on my way?”  I pursue my dream everyday.  “Be patient and wait for the Lord to act.”  (Psalm 37:7)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Obedience is better than Sacrifice

Obedience is better than Sacrifice

“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work.”  (John 4:34)

The Father sent Jesus to the world to redeem the world from sin.  That is the mission of Jesus Christ, given by the Father.  Jesus understood his job so well.  Fulfilling this task, gives his life sustenance as food does to the body.  “Man does not live on bread alone.  There is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  The word of God equals the will of God.  Food apart from sustaining us gives us pleasure.  Doing God’s will gives Christ maximum pleasure.  How about us?

How different Jesus is from us when it comes to obedience to God’s will.  In 1 Samuel 15:  16 – 23, the prophet Samuel rebuked Saul for substituting his own will for God’s will.  And Saul protested, “I did indeed obey the Lord and fulfill the mission on which the Lord sent me.”  (1 Samuel 15: 20)  And the prophet Samuel told him that “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.”

In Psalm 40: 8, it is written, “In the scroll of the book it is written of me, my delight is to do your will; your law, my God is deep in my heart.”  This scripture applies not only to Jesus Christ but to all the redeemed.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Worship is Adoration

Worship is Adoration

“But the hour will come – in fact it is here already – when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth:  this is the kind of worshippers the Father wants.  God is spirit and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.”  (John 4: 23 – 24)

The message from Jesus today is about the genuine worship of God.  Genuine adoration of the Father will be in spirit and truth.  What does this mean?  “God is spirit and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.”  In order to worship God properly, we must realize our spiritual nature and close all the doors to our senses.  The senses are evidence of materiality and are distraction and obstacle to genuine worship.  When I close my eyes, I pray better.  It also helps during prayer to be still and cultivate a sense of the presence of God.

It is only the Holy Spirit in us who leads us into the true worship of the Father.  The Holy Spirit inspires us to worship and teaches us how to adore God.

On worship, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say, “To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the ‘nothingness of the creature’ who would not exist but for God.  To adore God is to praise and exult him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name.  The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.”  (CCC # 2097)