Saturday, March 24, 2018

Today is Palm Sunday of the Passion of our Lord Jesus.

"Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  (Mark 11: 9 - 10).

Today is the Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. On this day the Church celebrates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to accomplish His mission, called the Paschal Mystery.  The Paschal Mystery is the core of the Gospel. Jesus suffered. Jesus died. Jesus rose from the dead.  Jesus ascended into Heaven.  Before the Gospels were written many years after the Ascension of Jesus, this was the only creed the first and early Christians were expected to know.  It was called the Apostolic Proclamation or Kerygma.

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”  (Cf Mark 11 - 12).
The Kingdom that Jesus came to establish will fulfill and complete the "kingdom of our father David."
The summary of the Church's teaching on the kingdom is:
"The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. "This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter. (567).

"Almighty and ever-living God,
who as an example of humility for the human race to follow
caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect of Palm 🌴 Sunday).

Friday, March 23, 2018

What are we going to do about this man?

“What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs."  (John 11: 47).

The works or signs performed by Jesus are proofs that He comes from God.  (John 10: 38). But the leadership of the Jewish people appears to see it differently.  The high priest Caiaphas quickly discerned the significance of the moment and made a dramatic prophecy.

“You know nothing,  nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.”   (John 11: 49 - 50).

Caiaphas "prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,  and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God."  (John 11: 51 - 52).

This is in accordance with the ordained will of God.  We can apply the words of Isaiah on the powerful providence of God to this event:
"You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them, just as you said!"  (Isaiah 25: 1).

"O Lord, do not stay afar off;
my strength, make haste to help me!
For I am a worm and no man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people."  (Psalm 22:  20, 7).

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Many believed in Jesus on account of the testimony of John the Baptist.

"Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”  And many there began to believe in him."  (John 10:  41 - 42).

Many believed in Jesus on account of the testimony of John.  John the Baptist gave a compelling and credible testimony about Jesus Christ through his uncompromising word and austere lifestyle.  Even King Herod respected John and liked to listen to him. (Mark 6: 20).

What is your faith in Jesus based on? Our faith is either based on eye-witness experience or eye-witness account of a credible witness.  Since we did not experience Jesus in His earthly life and ministry, our faith is based on the faith of the Apostles and their credible successors.

"Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”  And many there began to believe in him."  (John 10:  41 - 42).

Let us thank God for the prophetic and credible testimony of John the Baptist which laid the foundation of the Christian faith.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Who do you make yourself out to be?

"Who do you make yourself out to be?” (John 8: 53)
A blunt challenge to Jesus! Jesus in His public ministry is never shy of such a confrontation.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”  (John 8: 58).
Without mincing a word, Jesus gave them the stunning truth. He said in effect, "I AM THE GREAT I AM."  His audience understands perfectly what He means.

How about you? Do you believe that Jesus is God? Savior and Redeemer? The Alpha and the Omega?  St Augustine says that if you confess these truths in the morning, the truth will transform your entire day.  Try starting your day confessing these truths.

On Day 37 of Lent 2018, are you ready to renew your Baptismal Promises at Easter?

Please forgive one another.

Please look at the speech that was read yesterday at retirement by the Pope.
Regardless of religion, see how Pope Francis has beautifully written about the family.


©  There is no perfect family.
©  We do not have perfect parents,
- we are not perfect,
We do not marry a perfect person or we do not have perfect children.
©  We have complaints from each other.
©  We are constantly disappointed.
©  There is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness.
©  Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival. Without forgiveness, the family becomes an arena of conflict and a fortress of evil.
©  Without forgiveness, the family becomes sick.
©  Forgiveness is the asepsis of the soul, the purification of the spirit and the liberation of the heart.
He who does not forgive does not have peace in his soul or communion with God.
©  Evil is a poison that intoxicates and kills.
©  Keeping heartache in your heart is a self-destructive gesture. It's autophagy.
©  Those who do not forgive are physically, emotionally and spiritually ill.
For this reason, the family must be a place of life and not a place of death;
a place of paradise and not a place of hell;
A healing territory and not a disease;
an internship of forgiveness and not guilt.
Forgiveness brings joy where sorrow has brought sadness;
Healing where sorrow has caused the disease.

¤ Pope Francisco

Please send to all the families you know. This could help extinguish some family battles!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sin enslaves.

"Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin." (John 8: 34).

Sin enslaves.  Sin is addictive behavior. This is what makes the sinner a slave to his sin.  Here are examples of addictive behaviors:  pornography, alcoholism, anger, etc. This is what the Church teaches in this regard:
"Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root. (CCC 1865).

The price of freedom is fully paid by Jesus Christ.  "So if the son frees you, then you will truly be free."  (John 8: 36).  Only the disciples of Jesus Christ can  truly be free. How?
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8: 31 - 32).

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
"Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance."  (Luke 8: 15).

Monday, March 19, 2018

We are redeemed by the Cross.

"But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”  (Numbers 21 : 4-5 RM)

No matter your frustration or anger, remember this one thing: Thou shalt not complain or criticize the Lord your God.

In punishment for sinning with their tongue, "the Lord sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died."  (Numbers 21:  6). The punishment worked.   “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray to the Lord to take the serpents from us.”  (Numbers 21 : 7).

The Lord instructed Moses:  "Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover."  (Numbers 21: 8)

A long time after the incident in the desert, Jesus teaches the true meaning of what happened in the desert:
"And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”  (John 3: 14 - 15).

On Day 35 of Lent 2018, we realize that soon Jesus must be lifted up on the cross. What does the cross mean to you? Pope Benedict XVI writes:  "Man is redeemed by the cross." And in another place, he continues:  "Rejection of the cross is rejection of Jesus Christ."

"Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!  The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;  all who come to Him will live forever." (Gospel acclamation, Tuesday 5th Week of Lent 2018).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Feast of St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1: 20 - 21).

Today is the Solemnity of St Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This is a feast day in Lent. Who is St Joseph and why does he matter in salvation history?

Church tradition has attributed to St Joseph the following attributes:
+ Patron of the Church.
+ Patron of a happy death (CCC 1014).
+ Patron of workers.
+ Foster father of Jesus.
+ Great man of faith.

"Behold a faithful and prudent steward, whom the Lord set over his household." (Cf Luke 12: 42).

"Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that by Saint Joseph’s intercession
your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.
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 St Joseph).