Saturday, October 14, 2017

The invited guests refused to come.

The Gospel this Sunday (Matthew 22: 1- 14) is a sad parable to read.
The President gave a wedding feast for his son. The invited guests refused to come. He sent another reminder:  "Everything is ready; come to the feast." They ignored the invitation, gave insulting excuses  and to add insult to injury abused the official messengers.

Now consider this:
"On this mountain the Lord of Hosts will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines."  (Isaiah 25: 6)

Before the Lord provided a feast of rich food and choice wine, before He gave the wedding feast for His son, He had made a provision for the Day:
"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy."  (Exodus 20: 8).

The Sabbath Day, Sunday is a Day of Rest and festivities. The biggest feast is the Eucharist. The parable in Matthew 22: 1 - 14, reflects what happens today.  The invited guests refuse to come. But why?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Yes, I believe. Let it be done for me exactly as You promised.

"While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  (Luke 11: 27 - 28).

What did this pious woman observe in Jesus that filled her with awe and wonder in this truly awesome personality. She probably sensed in her inner spirit, an indefinable person in whom the Eternal Word became flesh. The Christus? The Messiah? Some great Prophet? We may never know. It is the response of Jesus to this lady that we shall consider briefly.

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  (Luke 11: 28).

Who is the original target of the word?  Mary the Mother of Jesus. The Angel Gabriel brought a message to her from Abba Father. You Mary will become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to a little boy, who will be called Jesus. Mary replied:
"I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true."  (Luke 1: 38).

Are you capable of such a faith?
When God told Cyrus King of Persia: "I will make you a powerful king and use you to end the Babylonian captivity of my people." Cyrus believed God. (Cf Isaiah 44: 28).
A young man not overly religious like Cyrus rose up one day and told us some ten years ago that he was destined to be the President of the United States of America. He believed this. Just like Cyrus, the rest is history.

Mary is the Ideal and Exemplar of listening to the word of God and observing it.

Who are the losers? Those who listen to the word of man (TV, News, Gossips) more than they listen to the word of God.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Remember the Four Last Things.

"The Lord will judge the world with justice.

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.

"You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.

"But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has set up his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with justice;
he governs the peoples with equity.

The Lord will judge the world with justice."  (Psalm 9: 2 - 3, 6, 8 - 9)

Today's Responsorial Psalm reminds us of the Four Last Things:
Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell.

While nobody can escape these, the Scriptures comfort us by reminding us that God tempers justice with mercy.  Remember therefore the ABC of Mercy:

Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

God is yearning and waiting for you to ask Him small and big favors.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."  (Luke 11: 9 - 10).

The above Scripture, the greatest encouragement to prayer is well known. But do you believe it?  Or do you think that answers to prayer is reserved for a lucky few?
Please note that in Luke 11: 9 - 10, it is God Himself who makes the promise without pressure or any showmanship. God is not running for election to claim what He could never do. In brief, God never lies.
"God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"  (Numbers 23: 19).

God wants us to ask Him for everything we need.  He knows that there is no better way to grow in faith than to experience the pure joy of answered prayer.  Saints append Luke 11: 9 - 10 at the end of their petitions. The Church prays in like manner.  Call this: the ground for confidence in prayer. God Never Fails! Period!!!

Let us thank God for the gift of Prayer. Without this gift, we will all be Unbelievers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Simple rules of Prayer

“Lord, teach us to pray...... When you pray, say:"  Then Jesus gave His disciples the Lord's Prayer, "the most perfect of prayers" (CCC 2763). Let us consider a few points about Prayer.

#1.  Nowhere in Scriptures did Jesus teach that work is a  necessity. He taught that Prayer is a vital necessity:  "Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary."  (Luke 18: 1).

#2.  The experience of saints confirm the ancient axiom that a spiritual warrior advances on his knees.  "With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication.." (Ephesians 6: 18).

#3.  The fruit of prayer is peace.
"The fruit of Silence is prayer.The fruit of Prayer is faith.The fruit of Faith is love.The fruit of Love is service.The fruit of Service is peace." (Mother St Teresa of Kolkata). Everything in fact starts with Prayer.

Now let us consider the environment of Prayer.  We may call it the 4 S of Prayer. All begin with S for sacred. Sacred means set apart for a holy purpose.

1. Sacred Time:  Do you have a specific and fixed time set aside for prayer? If you don't, it will be hard to form the habit of Prayer.
2. Sacred Place:  Where do you pray? Whenever I come to a new place like a hotel room, I consecrate a part of the room for Prayer by spreading what the Moslems call the prayer mat.  In my case, I place a Bible, candle 🕯, crucifix, Rosary and a spiritual book on the table.
3. Sacred Intention: Prayer time is communion with God and my mind must be cleared of all distractions. 
4.  Sacred Posture: There is a posture for prayer and a posture for watching television or chatting with your buddy.  If you have the privilege of being in the Oval Office, how do you stand or sit?  Kings David and Solomon knelt and prostrated before Almighty God. Jesus adopted a posture of filial humility before His heavenly Father.
Cause no harm when you pray.

Saints teach us that if we understand the meaning of the Lord's Prayer and say it with faith and humility, that is the only prayer we will ever need.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Be still and know that I am God.

"Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”  The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10: 40 - 42).

Jesus lays down this judgment: Between Martha and Mary, it is Mary who is smarter.  You may argue, but this is the word of God. Remember too that God says:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts."  (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

Martha was so anxious to offer Jesus her renowned gift of hospitality that she missed the gift of the word of God which Jesus brought to her home. 🌿.
Allow God to bless you with His gifts.

"For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel:
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust shall be your strength.
But this you did not will."  (Isaiah 30: 15)

“Lord, Lord, King and Ruler of all, everything is in your power, and there is no one to oppose you when it is your will to save Israel.  You made heaven and earth and every wonderful thing under heaven.  You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist you, the Lord.  You know all things."  (Esther 4: 2 - 5)

In my distress, I cried for help, the Lord heard me.

"Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me;
From the midst of the nether world I cried for help, and you heard my voice."  (Jonah 2: 3).