Saturday, February 18, 2017

Be holy just as your heavenly Father is holy.

"The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy."  (Leviticus 19: 1 -  2 NABRE)

"So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."  (Matthew 5: 48)

Is holiness a scary subject to you?  Or perhaps you consider it a topic for nuns, priests and pastors?  To be holy, you must want to be holy.  Do you desire to be holy?

Holiness consists simply in loving your neighbor as yourself and accepting with serenity day after day the things you cannot change.  These are your crosses.

Of course you cannot do the above without a life of prayer and complete trust and dependence on the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of holiness dwells in you and makes you a temple of God.  (1 Corinthians 3: 16)

Desire holiness and make friends with the Holy Spirit and He will do the rest.

Friday, February 17, 2017

His Name is the Word of God.

“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”  (Mark 9: 7 NABRE)

Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus to the Mountain of Transfiguration.  And here they heard Abba Father say to them:  “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”  (Mark 9: 7)
In the whole of Sacred Scripture, we do not have many instances of Abba Father speaking to anyone.  This is a treasured moment and gift.  The speech is brief, just 8 words.  Clear and direct.  Father directs us to listen to His Son Jesus.  This is a counsel no Christian dare to take lightly.

We listen to Jesus in the Scriptures especially.  He is the word of God.  He is the word that is made flesh.  (John 1: 14)  His name is the word of God.  (Revelation 19: 13) The Book of Hebrews teaches us that in these last days, the Father has spoken to us through His Son Jesus.  (Hebrews 1: 1-2) Jesus is therefore the last word of the Father.

Whenever I hear the Father's word on the Mountain of Transfiguration, I remember another great counsel, this time by the Mother of Jesus.  "Do whatever He tells you."  (John 2:  5)  When you combine the two counsels,  you have a perfect spirituality.   You hear and you do.

Grace and Mercy be upon you.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Your cross is tailor-made to fit your person.

“If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]."  (Mark 8: 34 AMP)

This sounds impossible and insane until you remember that there is a great cloud of witnesses that have done it.   (Hebrews 12: 1)  Jesus Himself is the Author and Finisher of our faith and would not ask us what He did not experience.  (Hebrews 12: 2)

Whatever your cross, you may not have chosen it.  Know with absolute certainty that it was tailor-made for you by One who knows you perfectly.   You have tried and found that you cannot come down from that cross.

I say this prayer every morning and it helps me to carry my daily crosses:

O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can.  And the wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Be my Protector, the Mighty Stronghold to save me.

“But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.”  (Mark 8: 29 NABRE)

Who is Jesus for you?

"Be my protector, O God,
a mighty stronghold to save me.
For you are my rock, my stronghold!
Lead me, guide me, for the sake of your name."  (Cf Psalm 31:  3 -  4 RM)

Jesus is my Savior, my Protector, my Mighty Stronghold, my Rock.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What can I offer the Lord for His mercies towards me.

What can I offer the Lord
for all he has done for me?"  (Psalm 116: 12 NLT)

When you experience a great favor from God and your heart is overflowing with gratitude, how do you thank God?

Let us see some of the ways this was done in the Scriptures:
#1.  "Noah built an altar to the Lord, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar."   (Genesis 8: 20)
#2.  Abraham gave a tenth of everything to Melchizedek.  (Genesis 14: 20; Hebrews 7: 2)
#3.  "Offer praise as your sacrifice to God; fulfill your vows to the Most High." (Psalm 50: 14)
"Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me."  (Psalm 50: 23)
#4.  Jesus offers the Eucharist at the Last Supper, a Sacrifice of His Body and Blood.  (Matthew 26: 17-30; Mark 14: 12 - 26; Luke 22: 7 - 23)

The Eucharist is a Sacrifice of Thanksgiving repeated daily in Memorial of Jesus' total self-sacrifice.  (Luke 22: 19; 1 Corinthians 11: 24)  This oblation which Jesus calls the New Covenant (Matthew 26: 23) cleanses and renews us and become for us the source of Eternal Life.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Do you not remember?

"The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat." (Mark 8: 14 NABRE)

We often ask the Lord for favors on health, family, money, job, etc.  The Lord is pleased to grant us the favor  to help grow our faith in Him.   Since no condition is permanent and the favor was meant to be renewed through fresh request, the next time we feel the need, we panic instead of asking again with confidence.

The Lord Jesus chides the disciples and us with these words:  "Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember."  (Mark 8: 17 -  18)

Why do we forget so often details of God's past mercies?  I find personally that even when I write the favor in my journal, I still forget.  I do better when I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of the favors I have enjoyed from God. 

 “Do you still not understand?”  (Mark 8: 21)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Am I my brother's keeper?

"Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him."  (Genesis 4: 8 NABRE)

Thus we see the first murder in the Bible and Cain became the first murderer.  When I was a little child and heard this story, I was shocked and frightened.  In those days, murder was rare.  Let us consider the reasons for this crime and the consequences:

#1.  Jealousy, envy, anger, hatred
#2.  Spirit of disobedience
#3.  No fear of God or retribution
You can expand on the list.

Consider the consequences:
Murder, fratricide, war.

You may add as an example the chilly effect of the 911 attack on the American society.  It changed a society that was kindly and welcoming into one that is fearful and suspicious of strangers.  It gave birth to an insidious warmongering spirit.

All the above are attributable to the demonic spirit of Cain.  But the Scriptures bring us hope:

"For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another,  unlike Cain who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous."  (1 John 3: 11 -  12)