Saturday, December 23, 2006

Are you willing?

"A man suffering from a virulent skin- disease came to him and pleaded on his knees saying, 'If you are willing, you can cleanse me.' Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, 'I am willing. Be cleansed." (Mark 1: 40 – 41)

Today, some people with "virulent skin disease," that is, serious problems may come to us and plead, 'If you are willing, you can help me.' What will be our reaction? It sounds so simple for them to believe that all that we need to help them is "if we are willing." But in reality, that is all that we need to be Jesus to others. If we are willing, then we can ask Jesus to work through us to help people with "virulent skin disease."

The beggar who stopped Peter and John as they entered the temple, asked for alms. Peter and John were willing to help but did not have money to offer the beggar. But Jesus worked through them to heal the beggar of lameness, thereby delivering a greater benefit than money.

Lord Jesus, open our hearts to your grace so that we can be willing to stretch out our hands in your name to heal.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Encourage one another

"Everyday, as long as today lasts, keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the lure of sin, because we have been granted a share with Christ only if we keep the grasp of our first confidence firm to the end." (Hebrews 3: 13 – 14)

Encourage one another. We look around, near and far, we see many people that are discouraged. They are failing: morally, financially or maybe physically. Failure of any type tends to bring discouragement. And that is when there is the greatest danger of falling into the "lure of sin." The Holy Spirit asks us in Hebrews 3: 13 – 14 to watch out for signs of discouragement in the people we meet. Sometimes the signs may be a sigh, a word, language, a gesture or just plain inaction.

How do we encourage the discouraged? The first step is to ask the Holy Spirit for the fitting response. It could be a word. The best word is the word of God. This is what encourages me most. One of the most encouraging things is the remembrance of what God has done for us in the past. At the period of discouragement, the memory seems to go blank on God's past favors. If offering a helping hand in housework or a ride could lift up the spirit, do it. Perhaps it is just a little cash that could make the person feel that God is still on his side, give it.

If we trust the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, he will show us the best response to the discouraged.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fickle hearts

"That generation sickened me and I said, 'Always fickle hearts, that cannot grasp my ways!' And then in my anger I swore that they would not enter my place of rest." (Hebrews 3: 10 – 11)

To reach God's land of rest, we must grasp his ways, listen to him every day and be constant in pursuing his will. No fickle mindedness.

The strategy is:

  • Listen to God every day
  • Little by little grasp his ways
  • Be steadfast, firm and unwavering

To enjoy God's peace, we must be decisive, consistent and predictable in seeking and serving God. This is the opposite of fickle mindedness.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Speak to me

"That is why, as the Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today! Do not harden your hearts." (Hebrews 3: 7 – 8)

Today for sure, the Holy Spirit will speak to me. He will speak to me through his word, at Mass, during prayer and study. He will speak to me at home, in the Church, on the street and at work. I will be especially alert today. I will not harden my heart. Help me God.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Heal us

"Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed and feverish, and at once they told him about her. He went in to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to serve them." (Mark 1: 30 31)

We need good health for the service of God and our neighbor. We know that God will not refuse us anything that furthers his kingdom. The Lord himself encourages us: "We can approach God with confidence in this: if we make our requests which accord with his will, he listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know that the things we ask for are ours." (1 John 5: 14 – 15)

Good health is one of the greatest blessings in life. Jesus Christ exercised his ministry of healing with great generosity. And people flocked to him because of it. "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it." (John 14: 13 – 14, Matthew 7: 7, 18: 9), so Jesus promised his disciples. Let us in confidence approach the throne of grace and ask for healing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

School of Suffering

"It was essential that he should in this way be made completely like his brothers so that he could become a compassionate and trustworthy high priest for their relationship to God, able to expiate the sins of the people. For the suffering he himself passed through while being put to the test enables him to help others when they are being put to the test." (Hebrews 2: 17 – 18)

Jesus Christ is like us in all things but sin. I am like my brothers and sisters in everything including sin. In God's loving and merciful providence, he permitted me to know great sins in my life so that I can become "a compassionate and trustworthy high priest for their relationship to God."

Jesus Christ learned obedience and submission in the school of suffering. I thank God for Desert 95 when I started learning obedience and submission in the school of suffering. The Lord used the period to enrich my understanding and compassion for those who suffer.