Saturday, March 04, 2017

Man does not and cannot live on bread alone.

“No! For the Scriptures tell us that bread won’t feed men’s souls: obedience to every word of God is what we need.”  (Matthew 4: 4 TLB)

Jesus answered the devil with the above quote from Deuteronomy 8 verse 3.

Since man is made up of body, soul and spirit, no amount of bread, money, homes, clothing, health, cars, etc would ever satisfy man.   Only God who knows exactly what man needs can satisfy him.

The Eucharist, the heavenly bread, nourishes our faith, increases our hope and strengthens our charity.   As we start our 5th Day of Lent 2017, learn to hunger for Jesus, the true and living Bread and strive to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Friday, March 03, 2017

The Lord will renew your strength and you shall be like a watered garden.

"Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted."  (Isaiah 58: 9 -  10 RM)

Yesterday, Day 3 of Lent 2017, the Lord showed us how to get right with Him through fasting.  Today the message is more pointed: Get rid of oppression in your family and your work place.  Gossiping, slander, every sin of the tongue, dirty talk are all hateful to Yahweh.

Today, there is a lot of consolation in the promises that go with the Covenant of grace and mercy:

"Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails."  (Isaiah 58:  10 -  11)

There are a number of concrete promises above: health, prosperity, light and guidance.  They are all yours.

Almighty God, to serve You is to reign.  Transform our hearts and minds during these 40 days.  Amen.

First Friday in March 2017

Today is the First Friday in March.

12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

#3.  I will console them in all their troubles.

In Promise #3, Jesus does not promise a trouble free life.  "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16: 33 NLT)

Remind the Lord often of these promises.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

This is the fasting that I approve.

“Why do we fast, but you do not see it? afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”  (Isaiah 58: 3 NABRE)

The people queried God and He answered them thus:
"See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers.
See, you fast only to quarrel and fight and to strike with a wicked fist!"  (Isaiah 58: 3 -  4)

Now the Lord states the type of fast He approves: 
"Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?"  Isaiah 58: 6 -  7)

This is the type of fast that brings transformation of life and huge blessings especially during the Season of Lent.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

If anyone wishes to come after me, he must take up his cross daily and follow Me.

“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”  (Luke 9: 22 NABRE)

At the beginning of Lent 2017, we hear Jesus speaking of the absolute necessity, the inevitability of His suffering.   Why is the Spirit giving us this Scripture now?  Consider these reasons:

#1.  Are you fully aware of the power of the cross and the necessity of your own suffering?
#2.  No following of Christ without suffering.  Rejection of the cross is rejection of Jesus Christ.  (Pope Benedict XVI).
#3.  The Son of Man must suffer before His glorification.  (Luke 24: 26).  What is a divine necessity for Jesus is true for us.

There are 35 Doctors of the Church,  great men and women who clarified our doctrine of faith and showed us by example how to live the Christian life.  They all suffered physical, emotional and spiritual pains.  But each one of them accomplished their destiny in spite of their terrible sufferings. 

Our suffering is blessing in disguise.  No cross, no crown. 
So at the beginning of Lent 2017,  the mystery and contradiction of the cross is set before us to grapple with.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

If you hear His voice today, harden not your heart.

"Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."  ( 2 Corinthians 6: 2 NABRE)

The Season of Lent which begins today is a great Season of favors and spiritual gifts.  First and foremost the gift of conversion.  Whether we are beginners or advanced in our Faith Journey,  continual conversion is all the Christian life is all about.

The word of God urges us not to postpone our conversion.  Do not say:  "I am young.  Let me enjoy some more fun."   ( Cf Sirach 5: 1 - 8).  God overlooks sins to bring us to repentance.  He spares us because of His Mighty Mercy.
"For gracious and merciful is the Lord, slow to anger,  rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment."  (Cf Joel 2: 2 - 18)

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."  (Cf Psalm 95: 8)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed.

"Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts. The offering of the just enriches the altar: a sweet odor before the Most High."  (Sirach 35: 6 - 8 NABRE)

I cannot forget the first I heard about not appearing before the LORD empty-handed.  I had assumed it was alright to whine: I have no money.  I have no job and blame the Lord for my situation.  Today, I remember the widow's mite and try to behave accordingly.  (Mark 12: 41 -  44;  Luke 21: 1 -  4)

"With a generous spirit pay homage to the Lord, and do not spare your freewill gifts. With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means."  (Sirach 35: 10 - 12)

"For he is a God who always repays
and will give back to you sevenfold."  (Sirach 35: 13)

"Trust in God at all times, O my people!  Pour out your hearts before him."  (Psalm 62: 9)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Lord brought me out to a place of freedom.

“You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”   (Mark 10: 21 NABRE)

Jesus looked with love at a rich young man who came to Him for advice and said the above.  What is the One Thing holding you back from fully embracing the call of Jesus?  Money, job, possessions, comfort?  Your pathway to the victory and freedom you yearn for is renouncing this One Thing and letting Jesus take control.

Once upon a time, my life was secretly controlled by alcohol.  One Saturday in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I received a green light from Jesus to ask for healing.  I went home from Church and emptied all the bottles of liquor in the toilet.  I regained my freedom.

"The Lord became my Protector.  He brought me out to a place of freedom;  He saved me because He delighted in me."  (Cf Psalm 18: 19-20 RM)