Saturday, December 30, 2017

Feast of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

"The shepherds went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger."  (Luke 2: 16).

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  The Holy Family of Nazareth besides sharing their joys, hopes, griefs and the anxieties of daily living shared those of their neighbors.

Nobody can pretend that marriage and family life is easy. It is particularly under great stress today.  The Church points to many successful and happy families among her children. Let us consider a few of the habits of these families:

1. Prayer  (Absolute Necessity, Fountain of grace and mercy).
2. Word of God (God’s Manual). Source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Secret of the saints.
3.  Eucharist (Bread of life & Food for the Journey)
4.  Sacrament of Reconciliation (Medicine for the Journey).  Add some self-denial.
5.  Examen (Look at your soul in the spiritual mirror at the end of the day).
6.  Spiritual Reading (GPS). When you pray, you talk to God. When you read, God talks to you.
7.   Ministry (Sharing your gifts & making them more abundant).
8.  A family that prays together stays together.

Prayer for a balanced family life: 
"Grant our family Lord, the gift of balance,  the grace of due proportion. May we pray when it is time to pray, work when it is time to work, laugh when it is time to laugh.  May our lives be whole, 
and wholly given to you."  Amen.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Consider making Jesus first in everything as your New Year Resolution.

"Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.  Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." (1 John 2: 15 - 17).

On the 6th Day in the Octave of Christmas, the Holy Spirit gives the Church a chilling warning as we hasten to make plans and New Year resolutions for 2018.

Simply put:
Whoever does not seek the Kingdom of God above all else and adopt Jesus' way of doing and being righteous and His whole character does not have the love of the Father in his heart. (Cf Matthew 6: 33).

"For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift]."  (John 1: 16 AMP).

Thursday, December 28, 2017

This Child is destined to be a sign of contradiction.

"Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted  (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  (Luke 2:  34 - 35).

The above incident is one of the Infancy Narrative to feature Joseph and Mary.  Let us reflect on two other Bible incidents involving Mary :

"Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus."  (Luke 1:  30 - 31).

"Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"  (Luke 1: 41 - 43).

Simeon predicted that Jesus would be a sign of contradiction.  Jesus Himself said that families will be divided on account of Him. (Luke 12: 53; Matthew 10: 37). Mary shares the fate of His Son. Mary's blessedness has been challenged throughout history. Many Christians believe that Mary is the obstacle to Church unity.  Consider for a moment this prophecy:

"Then the Lord God said to the snake:.... .. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel."  (Genesis 3:  14-15).

The above passage has been interpreted since the early Church as the Proto-Gospel, predicting battles to be waged between Jesus and the Satanic Kingdom.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."  (John 3: 16).

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

There are still many dark sides to ourselves.

"Beloved:  Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all."  (1 John 1: 5 RM).

God is absolute light in whom there is no shadow of darkness.  But we Christians are not light. There are still many dark sides to ourselves.
Therefore, we need discernment of spirits to help us know when the good spirit is at work in us and when the dark spirit is in control. Whatever brings fear, worry or doubt in you is not from the Father of Light.

"Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness,  idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,  occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like."  (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).

The spirit that causes such behaviors as above causes sadness, depression, fear, worry and doubts.

"In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."  (Galatians 5: 22 - 23).

Beloved, learn to discern the spirit at work in you in all things, always and everywhere.

"Almighty God, your incarnate Word fills us with the new light he brought to men. Let the light of faith in our hearts shine through all that we do and say. 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. Amen." (Prayer, Vespers Thursday in the Octave of Christmas).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

John saw, heard and touched. He was therefore an eye witness.

"What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."  (1 John 1: 3).

Today is the Feast of of St John the Divine, Apostle and Evangelist.

What is the Bible, Sacred Scripture all about?  REVELATION! God the Father revealed His eternal love for mankind through His Beloved Son, Jesus the Christ.  No human messenger captured this truth as did St John, the author of the 4th Gospel, the Book of Revelation and 3 epistles.  St John's account of his Jesus experience is eye witness.
He saw. He heard. He touched. He then bore witness.  His witness which is faithful and credible have unlocked for us the secrets of the Word of God.

Father, grant that we may grasp with proper understanding what John so marvelously brought to us.

Prayer of St Francis de Sales

My yoke is tailored precisely for you.

Prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman had a great belief in Divine Providence.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Stephen trusted the promise of Jesus on the Holy Spirit.

"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.  Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedman...... came forward and debated with Stephen,  but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke."  (Acts 6:  8 - 10).

The Church celebrates today the feast of St Stephen, the 1st Martyr of the Christian Faith.  Coming right after the joys and festivities of Christmas jolts us into the true meaning of the Christ Event.  Joys and sorrows will be mixed in our Journey of Faith.

In this reflection, we shall dwell on one fulfilled promise of Jesus Christ during His public ministry.

"When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.  For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."  (Matthew 10: 19-20).

The Holy Spirit is called the Voice that speaks in court.  If you trust Him, all is well.  All manner of things will be well.  Jesus Christ has given us His unfailing words:
"Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."  Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36).
Stephen trusted the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Birthday 🎂 Jesus!

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which means God is with us” (Matthew 1:23)

Jesus, Our Emmanuel is born tonight.  If God is with us  and for us, who can be against us?  What can we not accomplish through His immense power?

Rejoice O Christians because Jesus Our Savior has come to save us.

Happy Birthday 🎂 Jesus! We the redeemed love you so much.

Merry Christmas family.  Peace and joy and mercy to you all and to all men of good will.