Saturday, November 18, 2017

Times and Seasons are God’s Appointments.

"Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night."  (1 Thessalonians 5: 1 - 2).

"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).

The central message of Times and Seasons is the need to be vigilant at all times.

"I have learned the secret of.... living in abundance and of being in need."  (Philippians 4: 12 ).

There is Times and Seasons in God's plan of provision for our needs.

"Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord."  (Jeremiah 17: 5).

If we want to enjoy change of seasons in our lives, we must trust in God with all our hearts.

Times and Seasons are God’s Appointments.  They are not haphazard ; they are not accidents. Winter, spring, summer and autumn are not accidents. 
Rainy and dry seasons are not accidents.

All times and all seasons are in the hand of Jesus Christ.

Wait for them with due diligence.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The wicked and corrupt judge feared the persistent widow.

"While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me."  (Luke 18: 4 - 5).

Today, our Great Teacher Jesus uses the parable of the the persistent widow and the wicked and unjust judge to teach us a valuable lesson on persistence in prayer. Note that the unjust and corrupt judge was most probably an atheist.  Hence, he has no fear of God or man. But in today's event, he met his match.  A poor but courageous widow who had nothing to lose in the battle with the empty headed, corrupt and unjust judge. The widow's strategy was simple. Be persistent. Never give up. She won.

Then Jesus made extraordinary extrapolation from the story. God too can be worn out by persistent prayer.  But why does God delay in answering our prayers?

Learn to wait for God in prayer, the saints have taught persistently:
"That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy."  (Romans 8: 24 - 25 MSG).

"God grants us not always what we ask so as to bestow something preferable."..... “The desire is thy prayers; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.”  (St Augustine).

St Augustine also said that God delays answering our prayer in order to make us ready by enlarging us for a far superior gift which we cannot  imagine. How comforting!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Only fools say in their hearts, there is no God.

"All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan."  (Wisdom 13: 1).

What is the Spirit saying here?  God the Creator is an Artisan who stamped His DNA on every single work He made. Sacred Scripture notes this: 
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands." (Psalm 19: 2).

Why then do certain individuals say there is no God?  See what the Scriptures say of such fools:

"Only fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!" (Psalm 41: 1).

Scripture is harsh in its indictment of atheism but the Church is more gentle in her Good Friday Prayers for those who do not believe in God:

"The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.  Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse."  (Romans 1: 18 - 20).

Could the atheists say to God: "I refused to acknowledge You because of the evil and corrupt behaviors of so-called Christians."
Lord have Mercy!

Every Good Friday, the Church prays thus:

"For Those Who Do Not Believe in God:
Let us pray
For those who do not believe in God, that they may find Him
By sincerely following all that is right.

Almighty and eternal God,
You created mankind
So that all might long to find you
And have peace when you are found,
Grant that, in spite of the hurtful things
That stand in their way,
They may all recognize in the lives of Christians
The tokens of your love and mercy,
And gladly acknowledge you
As the one true God and Father of us all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

We say with the Church, AMEN!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Behold I am with you always.

"Behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”  (Luke 17: 21).

The kingdom of God is among you. The kingdom of God is inside you.
Jesus Christ is the King of eternal glory. His reign is the Kingdom.
"The word was made flesh and dwelt among us."  (John 1: 14).
The birth of Jesus ushers in the reign of God on earth.

You may wonder:  Where is the Kingdom? The Kingdom is wherever the King is. The King is in the Church, which is a visible sign of His Presence and authority in the world. The King is in the hearts and minds and souls of everyone who accepts His reign and authority. The King is in every person who loves, as we are taught by the ancient liturgical hymn:  "Wherever there is love, there is God."  (Ubi Caritas).

The thought that Jesus is truly living in you and me is thrilling beyond measure.  One of the aspects of this Live-in that I enjoy most is this:  "I am not alone."  No matter wherever I am, I am not alone.  Earthquake can shake the city, I am not alone. The stock market can crash and all the banks fail at the same time, I am not alone.  The promise of Jesus to this effect can never fail!  Jesus Christ will always be with me, come what may.
"Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”  (Matthew 28: 20).

Thank You Jesus!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ten of you were blessed. Only one of you came on Sunday to give thanks.

“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”..
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”

"And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him."  (Cf Luke 17: 11 - 19).

God is glorified by our Thanksgiving.  Yet, less than 30% of our community is willing to thank God on Sunday for all His blessings of the past six days. God commanded us to do Eucharistein (Thanksgiving) on Sunday in order to honor and praise Him for all the benefits He provides us, viz: health, family, finances, job, homes and cars, computers and cell phones, food and security.  Every good gift comes from God including security.  (Cf James 1: 17).

Ingratitude offends sharply the Heart of God as it does to every parent.

“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”  (Cf Luke 17: 11-19).

"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High."  (Psalm 50: 14).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Jesus is the Master who calls us and equips us for service. Who should be grateful to who?

"Is he [the Master] grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?   So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do."  (Luke 17: 9 - 10).

Jesus Christ is the Master who calls us to service in His Kingdom on Earth and gives us every single gift we bring to the service.  "He equip you with everything good for doing his will."  (Hebrews 13: 21).

"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ."  (Ephesians 4: 11 - 12)

Now use your gifts to build up the Body of Christ.

"I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart."  (Psalm 34: 1 - 2).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Forgive Always. Forgive Everywhere. Forgive Everything.

"If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”  (Luke 17:  3 - 4).

Forgive always.
Forgive everything.
Forgive everywhere.
Forgive anyone that offends you.
Forgive immediately.  At once.

Why should you forgive?
#1. The Lord has commanded it.
#2.  He forgives everything.
#3.  Jesus blots out the record of your sins and gives you a clear conscience that enables you to to live in peace and sleep well.
#4.  If you refuse to forgive others, the divine forgiveness extended to you will be retracted and you will be required to pay your debt to the full.
#5. Without forgiveness, you may pray but you will gain no favors from God.
#6.  When you bury grievances and unforgivenness, you suffer alone. Your victim is unaware of the pain in your heart.
#7.  Finally, forgive immediately. At once. Don't wait to evaluate the harm done to you. Do it at once.

"Be on your guard!" (Luke 17: 3). Do not fall victim to the evil spirits of unforgivenness.