Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love of money

"Keep your lives free from love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never leave you, I will never abandon you'" (Hebrews 13:5).

Are you anxious about money? Most of us are since money seems to provide all our needs. In order that our needs do not control our lives, we must learn that God made plans for every aspect of our lives. He has plans for our family, job, health, food, money, etc. These plans were long-established before we were born; they are trustworthy and excellent. God has a detailed financial plan for every individual. If we understand and accept His plans for providing us with money, we shall have peace and enjoy whatever money we happen to have. The message of Hebrews 13:5 could provide the key for understanding God's plan for us. God is telling us in the text:

  • Have no anxiety whatsoever about money.
  • Whatever you have at any material time, be content with it. It could be large or a small, let that not worry you.
  • God promises: I will always support you and be your sufficiency and you will never be embarrassed by money. You will always have what you need.

Because God has made the above promise and we know that He is faithful, we are bold and confident as we say: 'The Lord is our helper in all financial needs. Why should we be afraid? Nobody can threaten us or embarrass us about money.' The message is very clear: Do not worry about money. Trust in God at all times to supply. "The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need." (Psalm 23:1) Jesus is indeed our good Shepherd. At all times, he leads us beside restful waters and refreshes our soul. Even though we walk in the dark valley of financial uncertainty, we fear no evil because he promises to be at our side to encourage us.

In order to enjoy true and constant financial security, we must learn like St. Paul how to live in humble circumstances and how to live in abundance. Armed with this secret, we can say like Paul, "I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me." (Philippians 4: 13)

The key to appropriating God's promises about money is to understand and obey God's word to us about money. In one word, it is trust – making God's love for us the foundation of our life. Each promise of God in the scriptures has individual application. God has a specific message for every person about money. Discover what God is saying to you about money.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making Christ Present to the World

"The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all"(1 Corinthians 12:7).

One of the ways of making Christ present in our life is to use our gifts for service of others in our community. This service is what is called Christian ministry. What are your gifts? Each person has a gift which he can employ to build up the body of Christ. To live happy and fulfilled lives, we must discover the talents that God has given to us and use them for the service of others. The Holy Spirit is our Master Teacher. He teaches us how to use God's gifts. When we start to use our gifts of time, talent and treasure for the service of our neighbor, we start to act like Christ and deepen our knowledge of Him.

The Documents of Vatican II, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, says "For this the Church was founded: that by spreading the kingdom of Christ everywhere for the glory of God the Father, she might bring all men to share in Christ's saving redemption; and that through them the whole world might in actual fact be brought into relationship with Him. All activity of the Mystical Body directed to the attainment of this goal is called the apostolate (ministry), and the Church carries it on in various ways through all members."

Different Ministries in the Church:

Eucharistic ministry

Ministry of the Word or Lectors

Pastoral Council


Hospitality ministry

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Mother of Emmanuel

"Look! the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Emmanuel,
a name which means 'God-is-with-us"(Matthew 1:23)NJB

The prophecy of the birth of the Messiah in Isaiah 7:14 shows God's plan for Mary in the economy of salvation. The characteristics of God's plans are: they are long-term, trustworthy and excellent. Mary could see in her life the fulfillment of another prophecy in Isaiah 25:1 - "Yahweh, you are my God, I shall praise you to the heights, I shall praise your name; for you have accomplished marvels, plans long-conceived, faithfully, firmly"(NJB). God has indeed accomplished marvelous things for Mary. He has made her the Mother of Emmanuel. In her Magnificat, Mary echoes the same sentiments.

In the Gospels, we see Mary's closeness to the life and work of Jesus. Mary was always present in key defining moments in the life of her Son.

St Pius X wrote in his Encyclical, Ad diem illum of February 2, 1904: "When one reflects that with her alone did Jesus spend thirty years in that family union of Son and Mother, surely there is no doubt that through Mary the surest way of knowing Christ is opened to us....Nobody ever knew Christ so profoundly as she did, and nobody could be more competent as a guide and teacher of the knowledge of Christ."

I hope that you will discover as I did, that Mary is not only the Mother of Christ, but she is also Mary, our Mother, our mentor and our friend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Magi Recognized Jesus

"They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him" (Matthew 2: 11).GNB

Mary presented the child Jesus to the three wise men and received the gifts on behalf of Jesus. The three wise men represent all those who seek for Jesus throughout the ages. Mary prefigures the Church, whose task is to present Jesus to the world. The 'gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh' represent the offerings of our time, talent and treasure to Jesus Christ.

According to
The Documents of Vatican II, (Lumen Gentium)
, "The union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation was manifested from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death. It is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, was greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation, while the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother (Luke 1: 41 -45). This association was shown also at the birth of our Lord, who did not diminish His Mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it, when the Mother of God joyfully showed her first-born Son to the shepherds and Magi."

The three wise men saw an ordinary looking child and her ordinary mother in a very ordinary setting and believed that this was the Christ. All those who encountered the child Jesus, recognized Him in faith. Christ is present in the Eucharist as He promised. We are invited to recognize Him in faith as did the Magi.


Monday, November 15, 2010

More precious than gold

"The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces." (Psalm 119: 72).

The word of God is life to our soul and body. It is more precious than all the gold and silver in the world, so says Sacred Scripture. How do we know for certain that God's word is more precious than silver and gold? We know because if God says so, then it is true. Human beings are more precious than silver and gold. We see every day the power of God's word to transform ordinary humans into extraordinary beings. There are abundant proofs from the lives of many people living around us. The heroic lives of those who had gone before us are recognized and many of them had been declared saints, i.e. our models and examples. The life-changing principles in the Bible invite us to test and prove to ourselves their vitality.

To discover the gold and silver in the word of God, read it as a personal letter. Read the word in order to act on its principles and so obtain what it promises.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Be Prepared

"You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house" (Luke 12:39).

How would you react if you know for certain that you will be robbed next Monday at 4.00pm? Would you allow anyone to break into your house and rob you? One of the things that attracted me to the Boy Scouts as a young boy was their motto. I later learned of their reputation for courage. My expectations were not disappointed because as a Boy Scout, I learned one principle of courage that has remained with me till today. "BE PREPARED" is not just the motto of the Boy's Scout but may well be one of the most valuable principles of courage. I have always admired men of courage. As a kid growing up, I was deeply fascinated by the stories of Samson in the Bible. David's exploits with lions as a shepherd boy still captivate me. Jesus teaches that the way to be courageous is to be prepared and vigilant. (Luke 12:39).

I had often wondered whether I will ever be a man of courage like Samson, David and Winston Churchill. For a great part of my life, I had believed that courageous men are born and not made. One mid-September night, faced with a life and death situation, I discovered the power of Joshua 1:9 and similar scriptures to imbue us with courage when we need it most. "I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go." Then I learned that the word of God makes us strong and courageous. To be prepared is to be ready with an appropriate word of God as answer to the event that demands courage. An example is what St Paul wrote to Timothy: "God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control". (2 Timothy 1:7)

As Jesus Christ taught, we must be constantly vigilant with the word of God so that no situation can take us by surprise.