Saturday, September 30, 2017

Remember Your promises and Your mercies O Lord!

"Never forget your promises to me your servant, for they are my only hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!" (Psalm 119: 49 - 50).

"For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory." (2 Corinthians 1: 20).

Jesus is the reason for our hope.

"At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  (Philippians 2: 11).

Jesus I trust in You.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ - St Jerome.

"Lord God, your words were found and I consumed them;
your word became the joy and the happiness of my heart." (Cf Jeremiah 15: 16).

Today is the Feast of St Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life.
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, Saturday 25th Week in Ordinary Time - Feast of St Jerome).

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
nor sit in company with scoffers.
Rather, the law of the Lord is his joy;
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers."  (Psalm 1: 1 - 3).

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  (St Jerome).

Thursday, September 28, 2017

St Michael the Archangel, defend me this day of battle.

"Bless the Lord, all you his angels, mighty in power, fulfilling his word and heeding his voice."  (Psalm 103: 20).

Today is the Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

The Archangels are God’s special stormtroopers in a manner of speaking. They are charged with very important and delicate missions:

"God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  (Luke 1: 26 - 28)

"Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven."  (Revelation 12: 7 - 8).

"I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.” (Tobit 12: 15)

"The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition." (CCC #328).

We honor the angels through devotion and prayers.

"O God, who dispose in a marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven.
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 on the Feast of the Archangels).

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What return shall I make to the Lord for His goodness to me?

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: This people has said: “Now is not the time to rebuild the house of the Lord.”  (Haggai 1: 2).

The People of God who came back from a long and arduous exile gave all sorts of lame excuses for not  rebuilding the crumbling Temple.
Are we any different? We say:
After I finish my home....
When my children graduate from college...
When I retire...

Who are we deceiving?

"Then the word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet:  Is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies in ruins?" (Haggai 1: 3 - 4).

Sometimes God plays tit for tat, quid pro quo with us. Fair game?

"Now thus says the Lord of hosts:
Reflect on your experience!
You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not become intoxicated; you have clothed yourselves, but have not been warmed;
And the hired worker labors for a bag full of holes.  (Haggai 1: 5 - 6).

God asks them to reflect on their experiences, their self-interest to decide what is best for them.

Jesus teaches the most direct way for getting what we want from life:

"But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness,  and all these things will be given you besides.   Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6: 33 - 34).

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I fell on my knees stretching out my hands to the Lord my God.

"Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the Lord, my God."  (Ezra 9: 5).

These are the words of Ezra, the priest scribe who shepherded  Israel at the return from the Babylonian Exile.  He was making a heart wrenching prayer of intercession for his people. This is one of the key tasks of the priest.

Did you notice the posture of Ezra?
"I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the Lord, my God."  (Ezra 9: 5).

In Real Estate, they talk of location, location, location. In Prayer, we might say: posture, posture, posture.

"Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker." (Psalm 95: 6).

Why is posture critical in revealing our faith? Our posture before any person reveals the attitude of our heart toward the person.
All throughout the Bible, posture in prayer matters a great deal. Examples:
People prostrate, kneel, bow, raise their hands, sit still before the LORD.  If you find yourself before the President, how do you stand? With your hands in your pockets chewing gum?  Does God deserve less respect when you are before Him in Prayer?

Postures symbolize humility, subservience and dependence.

“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.  The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity... ......... But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner."  (Luke 18: 10 13).

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mother and Son - 2 Hearts: One Heartbeat!

"The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  (Luke 8: 19 - 21).

Mother and brothers of Jesus:  People had wondered, disputed and fought over the meaning of "brothers and sisters" of Jesus. Now did Mary have any other children apart from Jesus.  Nowhere in the Scriptures is this affirmed. 2000 years of Church tradition has maintained unanimously that Jesus is pure and simply the Only Son of Mary. All the Church Fathers, all the 35 Doctors of the Church, all the 266 Popes have all affirmed the truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary enjoys the unique privilege of perpetual virginity which means that Mary was virgin before the birth of Jesus, she remained virgin during the birth of Jesus and she was virgin after the birth of her Only Son. One of her many titles is Queen of Virgins. In Heaven, there is an Order of women who lived and died virgins during their earthly life. Many of them are canonized saints. Mary is their Queen.

Today's Scripture (Luke 8: 19 - 21) reads brothers [and sisters] of Jesus. The term simply means relatives.  There was no controversy about the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary till the 5th century. Fortunately, the foremost biblical scholar of all times, Church Father and Doctor of the Church, St Jerome was still alive at the time. He despatched the problem so decisively that the issue was not heard of again till the 16th century at the time of the Reformation.  Martin Luther and most of the early Reformers believed in the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Now think of this:  About 50% of Christians believe in the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other 50% do not. Why does this matter? Because who Mary is helps us to understand  Jesus the Son of Mary. You can not separate these two realities.

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  (Luke 8: 21).

Sunday, September 24, 2017

When the Lord delivered us from Babylon, it seemed like a dream!

"The LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing:
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
‘All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah."  (Ezra 1: 1 - 2).

What is going on here? The Israelites were in exile in Babylon when Cyrus, king of Persia defeated Babylon and God asked Cyrus, a pagan king to free the Israelites.
You may ask: Can God work through anybody or anything? Of course He can and does it all the time. Never forget that all power comes from God.

"When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.

"Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad indeed."  (Psalm 126: 1-6).

Are you waiting for restoration, deliverance, healing, renewal?
The above Scripture will give you immense hope. What God did once, He can do again and again.
"All things serve God."  (Psalm 119: 91). Your deliverance, restoration may come suddenly. Be alert!