Saturday, April 28, 2018

How do we bear much fruit in the Kingdom?

"Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing."  (John 15: 4 - 5)

How do we bear much fruit? Remain in Jesus.  What is the principle of productivity?  Abide in Christ.  How do we abide in Christ?

We live in Christ through the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a holy exchange of gift. Through it, Jesus shares with us His divine life. Another word for God's divine life in us is sanctifying grace.

We also live in Christ through his words. "If you remain in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free."  (John 8: 31 - 33).

Our fruitfulness depends therefore on this dynamic relationship with Christ living in us.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Jesus promises true freedom on one condition.

"If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8: 31 – 32)

Jesus here makes a promise that I find very attractive and irresistible.
Who on earth does not want to be free? Free of worries, fears and doubts. Free from debt.  Free from crippling worries over health and financial problems.

The promise has an easy to fulfill condition: Feed on the word of God, season out of season. Be constant, steadfast, plugged into the word of God.  To do this is evidence of faith and perseverance. The longer you make the word of God your home, the more your faith grows. Then you come to understand what Jesus means by freedom. Then you come to taste and relish the peace that passes all understanding.  (Philippians 4: 7).

When Jesus sets you free you will be free indeed (John 8: 36).  The fears, worries, doubts and addictions are over.
You are at the same time freed from sin (Romans 6: 18) because you are free from the principle of sin and death (Romans 8: 2). Jesus Christ has freed us from our sins by his blood (Revelation 1: 5)

You have become a new person; indeed a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5: 17).  Go for Freedom!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

"JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me."  (John 14: 1).

Will having faith in God and Jesus relieve you of your burdens? Pay the mortgage? Bring home your estranged husband? Heal your son of opioid addiction?  Most crisis we have in society today has roots in a crisis of faith.   When we cease to believe or our belief is very weak, the foundation of our moral and social center become fragmented.  Things fall apart and the center cannot hold tightly.  Pope Benedict  and most of recent popes recognized this phenomenon for many years.  Alas, science and technology have not delivered on their promised Paradise.  Automation, microwaves, smart phones, smart cars, smart homes have all failed to procure us the peace of mind and soul and body we yearn so desperately for.

Jesus came to bring us a simple message of salvation.  Jesus Christ has complete power to save us from these evils.  (Acts 4: 12; Romans 1: 16). Do you believe this? YES or NO?

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10: 9).

The alternative is unthinkable.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

No ambassador is greater than the king who sent him.

"When Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, He said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger  greater than the one who sent him.  If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it."  (John 13: 16 - 17).

No slave is greater than his master.  Absolutely. We know this.  No ambassador is greater than the king who sent him.  Of course!  But human nature being what it is, Ann Boleyn usurped the bed of mistress Queen Catherine of Aragon and became queen.  You don't want to know what happened to Ann Boleyn.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He came to show us a simple and new way to the full life we hunger for. He is the truth who can never deceive.
Two deep truths marked His entire life:
#1 Necessity of Prayer. (Luke 18: 1).
#2 Necessity of suffering. (Cf Luke 24: 26).

"If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it."  (John 13: 17).

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The ABC of Evangelization

"Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:  "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."  (Mark 16: 15 - 16).

Today is the Feast St Mark the Evangelist. Happy feast day to all my friends named Mark.  God endowed Mark with the grace not just to preach the Gospel but to be author of what is considered the first Gospel and mother of all the Gospels.

Jesus gives us the Great Commission:  "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."  What exactly are we to proclaim?  We are to proclaim Christ crucified as the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1: 23 - 24).  Note that we are not called to be philosophers or theologians but simply to share the Good News that Christ was dead. Christ is risen from the dead. Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.  It is as simple as ABC because God wants everyone to be involved.

"They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs."  (Mark 16: 20).
Amen. Alleluia!
God Never Fails. He is faithful.
"Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28: 20).

Monday, April 23, 2018

Evangelization is the core mission of the Church.

"Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews."  (Acts 11: 19).

After Pentecost, it appeared that the infant Church went temporarily into a sleeping mode. But not for long. The Holy Spirit like the mother eagle had to wake them up by fluttering over them with loud shrieks.  The tool the Holy Spirit used was persecution. It worked. Henceforth, evangelization became the mission of the Church.

The Hebrew linguistic group evangelized the Jews wherever they sought refuge.  The Greeks evangelized their patriots. (Cf 11: 20).

The Holy Spirit is the Master and Leader of Evangelization.  He is the Principal Actor.  Our role is docile spectators.

As needs arose, the Holy Spirit sent the missionaries help from Jerusalem in the person of Barnabas who "was a good man, filled with the holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord."  (Cf Acts 11: 22 - 24).

Jesus says, "The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me."  (John 10: 25).

We lay people are called upon to become the tip of the spear in the work of Evangelization in the 22nd century.   The work we do in our Father's name must testify to us. (Cf John 10: 25).  Are you ready? Listen to the Church:

"Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world."  (CCC 905).

The Church continues:
"This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful."  (CCC 905).

When you say yes, you will find that God will supply everything you need for the mission.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Holy Ghost is the Abundant life that Jesus promised.

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."  (John 10: 10).

In John 18: 37, Jesus told Pontius Pilate that the purpose of His coming is to bear witness to the truth.  In John 10: 10, He said that His purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life.  Do you believe that He who came to bear witness to the truth is telling the truth about coming to help us live life to the fullest? Are you living a great full life?

What really is Christ promising here? He is promising the unrationed gift of the Holy Spirit. (John 3: 34).  The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life.  (John 10: 10).

Deepak Chopra wrote in his book, "CREATING AFFLUENCE": "Affluence is the experience in which our needs are easily met and our desires spontaneously fulfilled. We feel joy, health, happiness, and vitality in every moment of our existence."  Our prayers are answered and we feel the pure joy of answered prayer.  The Holy Spirit is Abundant Life and the Creator of Affluence in our lives.

In the Veni Creator Spiritu (Come O Holy Spirit and fill the hearts...), we ask Abba Father to grant that we may always rejoice in the consolations of the Holy Spirit.  We are asking that our lives will overflow with abundant goods and affluence.

If you do not know what I am talking about, please prepare yourself for Pentecost. Pentecost 2018 is Sunday May 20th.