Saturday, December 02, 2017

Watch and Pray.

"Jesus said to His Disciples: "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come."  (Mark 13: 33).

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. The above Scripture is the core message of the Advent Season.

How do we watch? How do we keep alert?

#1. By spending time in prayer.  Prayer is not just a vital necessity, it is the cause and source of grace and mercy.
#2. By spending time in the word of God.  Sacred Scripture is the Manual written by God for a purposeful and successful living.
#3.  By worshiping God in a Christian Community and Assembly on Sunday.

"God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."  (1 Corinthians 1: 9).

Friday, December 01, 2017

Don't allow the day to catch you by surprise. Be prepared.

 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise  like a trap."  (Luke 21: 34).

We are in the season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year! It is one big celebration.  Yet the Church gives us the above Scripture always at this time.  Why?
Today is the last day of the Church Year.  The Church starts a New Year on Sunday with the Beginning of Advent.

Advent is the Season we wait for the Coming of the Lord.  Two Comings of Jesus are always in our mind.  The first Coming of Jesus as a poor child born in a Manger in Bethlehem.  The second Coming is His Coming in majesty at the end of the ages to judge the world.  Just as it is impossible to be unaware of a brilliant sunrise ☀, so will it be impossible to mistake the Second Coming of Jesus.  His Second Coming will be thousands of times more dazzling than the most brilliant sunrise 🌅 you have ever experienced.

This season of joy and festivities cause anxiety to some people.  Instead of trusting God and enjoying the present moment, they are filled with anxieties about the future. Some others see the season as a time of indulgence in sinful and carnal pleasures. Scripture warns that the Second Coming of Jesus the Christ will catch them unprepared as a trap catches a prey.

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:  36).

First Friday in December 2017.

December 1st, 2017 First Friday in December.

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

#12. "The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour."

"I was dead but now I am alive for ever."  (Revelation 1: 18).
Many years ago, I was in a hospital ready for death. They called a priest, whom I chose and he came promptly for the Last Rites. He heard my confession and administered the Viaticum.  I was peaceful as he bid me goodbye and left the room for his work.  I recovered after a short time.

Now, when I read the 12th Promise, I remember this incident and thanked Jesus for His faithfulness. Jesus knew that I would not die then, but He wanted to impress upon that He is truly the Faithful Witness.

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

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jesus Christ is in His word. That is why it will never pass away.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."  (Luke 21: 33).

This is an amazing promise for the word of God. Everlasting stability and infinite staying power.  One of the attributes of God I love is His staunch faithfulness. Always faithful to His word, His promises and all His decrees.  Semper Fidelis!

But what is this word of God that will never pass away? Let us learn from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament" which hand on the ultimate truth of God's Revelation. Their central object is Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son: his acts, teachings, Passion and glorification, and his Church's beginnings under the Spirit's guidance."  (CCC #124).

The word of God is ultimately and finally Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Jesus Christ is in His word. This is why it will never pass away.

Praise, honor and glory be to You, LORD Jesus Christ, Word of God, Son of the Eternal Father. Amen!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Is Jesus calling you as He called Peter and Andrew?

"As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him."  (Matthew 4:  18 - 20).

Today is the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle.  Jesus caught Andrew and his brother Peter as they were catching fish and promoted them beyond their dreams to be fishers of men.

"And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,  to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ."  (Ephesians 4: 11 - 12).

Is Jesus calling you to use your talent, training and experience to build up His Body?  There is no unemployment in the Vineyard of the Lord.  Jesus is hiring all the time.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!”  (Romans 10:  15).  Those beautiful feet may be yours.

“Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”  (Romans 10: 18).
The Apostles and their disciples did their part.  The Lord Jesus is still saying:
"Why do you stand here idle all day?"  (Matthew 20: 6).

"They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard."  (Matthew 20: 7).

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Henry the 8th executed Saints John Fisher and Thomas More. The rest of the English Bishops ran for their lives.

"They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.  It will lead to your giving testimony.....By your perseverance you will secure your lives." (Luke 21: 12 - 13,  19)

Persecution, small, big and unto death comes with the territory of being Christian. In 1534, St Thomas More opposed King Henry the 8th over his self declaration as head of the Church in England.  All the English hierarchy, that is all the Bishops of England out of fear of death succumbed to the threat of Henry the 8th except for Bishop St John Fisher and St Thomas More who was the Lord Chancellor of England.  Both were executed. Both were canonized as saints.  This is what Jesus is saying in today's Daily Bible Verse. Persecution can come suddenly.  As in the case of England in the 1530s, how the mighty may fall.

"By your perseverance you will secure your lives."  (Luke 21: 19).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Daniel foretold the future of the Church.

"But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth."  (Daniel 2: 35).

Daniel interpreted to King Nebuchadnezzar the course of future events which was revealed to the king in a dream.  Throughout the Old Testament, God's plan for the Church was revealed in stages using different communications techniques.  King Nebuchadnezzar had a mysterious vision of various political powers vying for supremacy. One power displacing the other and occupying center stage for a brief moment until a mysterious stone fell out of heaven and shattered the myth of earthly powers. This stone is the Church. No historian will deny the enduring power of the Church.

"In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever." (Daniel 2: 44).

Christians rejoice in this truth:  The Church of God shall endure forever and ever.

"The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future; this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.”  (Daniel 2: 45).

"Remain faithful till death, and I will give you the crown of life."  (Revelation 2: 10).

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This poor widow gave everything she had because she trusted God to remain faithful.

"When he[Jesus] looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury  and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins."  She offered all that she had. (Luke 21: 1 - 2, 4).

Today we consider the story of the poor widow and her offertory contribution.  Have you noticed that God has a preferential option for widows?  What does Sacred Scriptures teach us about how God regards widows?

"For the Lord, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes,  who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing." (Deuteronomy 10: 17 - 18).

"You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.  If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely listen to their cry." (Exodus 22: 21 - 22).

"The Lord protects the resident alien, comes to the aid of the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked."  (Psalm 146: 9)

"The Levite who has no hereditary portion with you, and also the resident alien, the orphan and the widow within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied; so that the Lord, your God, may bless you in all that you undertake."  (Deuteronomy 14: 29).

We have seen how the Lord cares so tenderly for the widow. Is it surprising to see that the poor widow in today's Gospel is aware of this from her life experiences and shows her gratitude and trust in a God who has provided all her necessities since her husband died.

"Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."  (Mark 5: 36; Luke 8: 50).