Saturday, September 02, 2017

How do you read the Signs of the Times?

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."  (Romans 12:  2).

What are the signs of the times?
What are the characteristics of our age?

1. Lack of faith
2. Lack of reverence for God
3. Extreme materialism
4. Love of leisure and the soft life
5. Gluttony
6. Contentious spirit
7. Shallowness in communication
8. Unwillingness to make lasting commitment
9. Individualism
10. Love of money

The Bible warns us not to conform ourselves to this lifestyle but to oppose it by the daily renewal of our minds through prayer and the word of God.

"God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good
and, by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time).

Friday, September 01, 2017

God has poured His love into our hearts.

"Brothers and sisters:
On the subject of fraternal charity
you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.  (1 Thessalonians  4:9).

Paul teaches that the overwhelming love of Jesus compels us to imitate Him and do the right thing. (2 Corinthians 5: 15). In Romans 5: 5, Paul gives a great revelation: The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  Years ago, when I accused myself of an utterly selfish nature, my priest confessor said that was nonsense and reminded me of Romans 5: 5.  This is our hope and hope never fails.

Where there is love, there is God.
The Holy Spirit fills our heart with the love of God.  This needs repeating.

We Christians do not love as the world loves. The world loves in a quid pro quo manner, that is, if you love me, I love you. But Christians love as Jesus loves us and teaches us to love.  Jesus loves us when we have nothing, when we are nothing. Imagine loving a homeless, dirty and sick guy who is a jail bird? If you rely on human nature, the answer is NO! But what if God pours His love into your heart and teaches how to love and trains you until you learn how to love like Him, then you can do it.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  (John 13: 34)

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this First Friday in September.

September 1st , 2017 First Friday in September.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 9th month of the year, we look at Promise #9.

#9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be exposed and adore."

When I learned about this promise 21 years ago, I dashed to a Catholic Bookstore in downtown Houston and bought a beautiful picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I prayed for an inspiration for the best place in my apartment to place this image after it was blessed by a priest.  This sacred image has blessed me for 21 years and will bless me till the end of the age.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday, September 1st.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

On the day St Paul teaches about sexual purity, Jesus gives the parable of the Ten Virgins.

"This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality,...... not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God; not to take advantage of or exploit a brother in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all these things,.......For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness.  Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who [also] gives his holy Spirit to you."  (1 Thessalonians 4: 3 - 8).

The Holy Spirit lays down the rules for sexual conduct in the community of the saints. What is the goal? Holiness of life. If you want the goal, you must adopt the means to get there. In the Gospel of today, Jesus our Teacher lays down the means to grow in sexual purity and chastity.

"Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps."  (Matthew 25:  1 - 4).

What is Jesus saying?
Always be prepared.
If you have a date, be prepared. Set your boundaries.
If you are visiting somebody of the opposite sex, be prepared.
If you have a ride in a car with a person of the opposite sex, be prepared.  Don't think: Nothing will happen in a car. Be ready for surprises because:
"Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."  (1 Peter 5: 8).

One way to prepare is prayer. Say a simple short prayer like this: "Lord Jesus Christ, I am going into this situation, protect me by your power and grace. Jesus I trust in You."  Fight the Enemy of your soul and life by invoking the holy and powerful Name of Jesus.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Are you ready?

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.  (Psalm 90: 12).

He who prays daily and feeds on the word of God every day will surely know that life is short. What wisdom we gain from this truth.

The corporate world is obsessed by long-term plans:  20 year-plan, 15, 10,etc.

The word of God teaches the grace of the present moment. We are guaranteed only today.  Actually only this moment. Unforeseen events like Hurricane Harvey cause disruptions of plans.

"Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into." (Matthew 24: 42 - 51).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

We are stewards of God’s beautiful creation.

"The earth is replete with the fruits of your work, O Lord;
you bring forth bread from the earth
and wine to cheer the heart."  (Psalm 104: 13 - 15).

We are all stewards of God’s beautiful creation. As stewards, we do not own these assets. We manage it for God.  We share the bread from the earth and distribute the wine to cheer the hearts of men and women everywhere.

"O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose,
grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world,
our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son."  (Collect Wednesday 21st Week).

Monday, August 28, 2017

You know me thoroughly and you love me so much.

"You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

"O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.

"Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain. 
(PSALM 139:1-3, 4-6)

Are you terrified by the thought that God knows you deeply? Knows your every move?  Knows even your secret thoughts?

It is good to feel and believe that God knows you thoroughly. This engenders humility and helps you to forgive yourself when you mess up. Remember God is not a human being that anything can surprise.
Everything you are, everything you do, everything you have are all gifts from Him, the ever knowing and ever loving God.

"You have searched me and you know me, Lord."

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Lord filled St Augustine with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.

"In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth,
and the Lord filled him
with the spirit of wisdom and understanding
and clothed him in a robe of glory."  (Sirach 15: 5).

Today is the feast of St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Augustine without doubt would probably be one of the two or three that had the most impact on the Church.  You can see this impact in Church Councils throughout the centuries. He has great influence in the Liturgy as seen by his footprints all over the Roman Missal.

Augustine was not always a saint.  A lover of leisure and sinful pleasures, his mother St Monica shed many sorrowful tears over her wayward son.

Today the universal Church crows over her favorite son:

"In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth,
and the Lord filled him
with the spirit of wisdom and understanding
and clothed him in a robe of glory."

St Augustine pray for us.