Saturday, December 09, 2006

Understanding the Faith

"Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really understand', he said, 'that God has no favorites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." (Acts 10: 34 -35)

This remarkable confession was made by Peter, a disciple of Jesus Christ for three years. Peter with James and John were in the intimate circle of Christ. Jesus Christ appointed Peter as head of the Church. He suffered severe test of faith; he failed and was rehabilitated by Jesus. He received the Holy Spirit with the other disciples and preached Jesus with power. He performed miracles. Yet Peter confesses here that he did not understand everything about the faith at the beginning. His understanding of the faith was evolving.

How about us? Is our faith growing deeper every day? We grow in the understanding of our faith through daily contact with the word of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us the elements of the faith through the word of God and through the authentic and constant teachings of the faith by the bishops or those he appoints to help him.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Signs of Anointing

"It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1: 9 – 11)

In the Baptism of Jesus, we see the Holy Spirit anointing Jesus for his mission. The Father confirms Jesus' calling by his voice of approval.

What are the signs that attest to our calling and mission?

  • The word of God
  • The presence of the Holy Spirit
  • Peace and tranquility
  • Perseverance in good works
  • Bearing trials and persecution with grace

These are some of the signs that our anointing is genuine.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

You call, you make, you give

"I, the Lord have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations ..." (Isaiah 42: 6)

Lord, this promise is too much for me to appropriate. But then, when I think that it is your calling that justifies me, I begin to have some hope. I remember the Church's prayer on the feast day of St. Ambrose which is today:

"Lord, you made St. Ambrose an outstanding teacher of the Catholic faith and gave him the courage of an apostle..."

Lord, it is you who calls, makes and gives all things. You have the absolute power to make me whatever you want. Lord help me to surrender completely to your providence for me, so that you can make me what you like and give me all that you have planned for me. I ask this in your name Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Calling and Mission

"No one can have anything except what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can bear me out, I said, 'I am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent to go in front of him." (John 3: 27 – 28)

Every calling and mission comes from God. John like other great men of God was profoundly aware of his mission and calling. Am I growing in awareness of my calling and mission?

I believe that Christ has called me again to be his friend and companion. His gift to me is his friendship and he wants me to communicate my experience of him to others. Who are these "others?" I am not sent to everybody. Jesus will lead and guide me to those he wants me to minister to. I understand this concept of target group from my marketing background.

"He must grow greater, I must grow less." (John 3: 30)

If I am to succeed in my calling and my mission, Jesus must grow greater in my life everyday and I must grow lesser.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

False gods

"Children, be on your guard against false gods." (1 John 5: 20)

What are the false gods that want to take advantage of me today?

  • False information that may breed doubts about God's plan for me
  • Anxiety about job
  • Anxiety about money

Jesus warns "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap." (Luke 21:34)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Banish all doubts

"Our fearlessness towards him consists in this, that if we ask anything in accordance with his will he hears us. And if we know that he listens to whatever we ask him, we know that we already possess whatever we have asked of him." (1 John 5: 14 – 15)

The Holy Spirit enables me to pray to God with confidence. Because I ask the Holy Spirit to help me, I know that what I ask for is in accordance with God's will. The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God. I also know that I am asking for something in God's will for me when I have the grace of perseverance. Experience has taught me that I do not persevere in praying for something that is not in the will of God.

What am I asking God for today?

  • Light and guidance
  • Freedom from anxiety
  • Prosper the work of my hands
  • Strength and health
  • Protection from all evil

I believe that all the above is in accordance with God's will. I know God listens to me. So I know that I already possess everything I ask of God. I rejoice in this fact. Although the graces come like tiny seeds, they surely will grow through exercise of faith. How do I exercise faith in this matter? I start giving thanks to God for these gifts. I banish all doubts.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jesus as personal Savior

"Sir, if you are willing you can cleanse me.' He stretched out his hand, and touched him saying, 'I am willing.' At once the skin disease left him." (Luke 5: 12 – 13)

With this healing, this former leper now experiences Jesus as a personal Savior. Jesus healed him from a terrible disease and rescued him from being a social outcast. To heal him, Jesus touched him. Scripture asks the question: "Who can overcome the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5: 5) How can one believe in Jesus without knowing him? This former leper can surely overcome the world based on his new found faith in Jesus. An experience of salvation in any form is an experience of the saving Jesus.

Do I know Jesus as my personal Savior? I too have experienced the saving power of Jesus in these areas of my life:

Sin, health, family, money, job, tobacco, alcohol and anger.

"Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: For he has strengthened the bars of your gates." (Psalm 147: 12 – 13)

Having saved me from many problems, the Lord did not abandon me. Through his word, sacraments, prayers and spiritual reading, the Lord continually strengthens the bars of my gates. He has granted me peace in these former warring areas of my life. Thank you Jesus.