Saturday, May 26, 2018

We celebrate today the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit."  (Matthew 28: 19).

The Church celebrates today the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. This is a great mystery, a great revelation and at the same time a great obstacle to faith to many people like Jews and Muslims.

But the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, One God in three Persons and Undivided Unity is not an object of idle speculation or a subject for futile doctoral thesis. The Trinity is a mystery for Credo and Adoration.

"We believe in one God, 
the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of all that is, seen and unseen. 

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father.

"We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified."

This is the Faith of our Fathers. The Faith revealed by Jesus Christ.
We believe!

I do not understand the mystery of the Trinity.  I pray to Abba Father using the Lord's Prayer, prayer taught us by Christ our Teacher.  I pray to our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary. I experience Jesus Christ in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. I experience the Holy Spirit in prayer, in His inspirations and power. This is how I know that the Trinity is real.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Behind the fervent prayer of a righteous person is a strong faith.

"The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.  Elijah was a human being like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land.  Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit."  (James 5: 16 - 18).

The Apostle James reveals here that God answers with speed when a righteous man calls on Him in supplication.  But who is a just man? A just or righteous man is a man of faith.  God teaches us through biographies of the saints in the Bible and Church. In the above Scripture, the Prophet Elijah is the example of a righteous man who moved God with his prayers.  Behind the prayers of Elijah is a strong faith.

The Spirit reveals:  "See, the rash have no integrity; but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live."  (Habakkuk 2:  4).
Who is "the rash man?" The rash man is one who has no faith.  Not only does he lack faith, but he has no integrity.

To be a man of prayer and a powerful intercessor for the needs of the Church, you must be a person of faith.  To be a person of faith, you must live in the word of God.  Because the living God speaks to you in His word and gives you the opportunity to respond. Your response is faith.

"Lord, I call to you; hasten to me;
listen to my plea when I call.
Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening offering."  (Psalm 141: 1 - 2).

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Why God is impatient with our grumbling.

"Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged."  (James 5: 9).

Complaining, criticizing and condemnation are severely rebuked in the Bible. When we find out why, we shall say: "No wonder!"

"Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because the Lord is compassionate and merciful."  (James 5: 10 -11).

We are urged to learn from Job and the prophets. The Bible teaches us through the power of biography:  A Bible character, a certain situation in the past. A similar situation or event repeats in the future. The message today is short and clear:  No Complain. No Criticize. No Condemn.  Was this the first time in the Bible for such an interdict against murmurings? Not at all. Read on:
"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)

Other examples to learn from:
"It was by faith that Abel obeyed God and brought an offering that pleased God more than Cain’s offering did. God accepted Abel and proved it by accepting his gift; and though Abel is long dead, we can still learn lessons from him about trusting God."  (Hebrews 11: 4)

If we have faith like Abel and learn to trust God, we shall never complain or grumble.

The Responsorial Psalm in today's Liturgy gives us ample reasons why God is trustworthy:

"Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion."

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever."  (Psalm 103: 1-2, 3-4, 8-9).

It is hard to find a reason to complain against such a loving Father.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Imagine what a cup of cold water can do.

Jesus said to His disciples:"Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward."  (Mark 9: 41).

Imagine what a cup of water can do! I have often been amazed at the low threshold of actions mandated by God in order to enter the Kingdom of God:
+ Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12: 31).
+ Be poor in spirit. (Matthew 5: 3).
+ Suffer persecution patiently for the sake of the Kingdom. (Matthew 5: 10).

None of the above or similar precepts in the Gospels can remotely compare with the grave hazards of the gold rush that happened in America about 150 years ago. A man packed his wife and children and transported them with all their property from New York for example to California for the promise of finding a gold mine in a desert.

Jesus, the true and faithful witness (Revelation 1: 5) promises that if you give a cup of cold water to any of His disciples, your reward will be great.  When I was a salesman knocking on doors often sweating from the summer heat, it had felt so sweet to be offered a bottle of cold water.  The cash value of the water would have been no more than 20 cents but for me, the value is inestimable.  I returned the favor by having Mass offered for the person and the company.

"O Lord, I trust in your merciful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me."  (Psalm 13: 6).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.

"Beloved: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”– you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”  (James 4: 13 - 16).

Are you one of those who tend to overplan for tomorrow? Perhaps this has been so habitual that you attribute all your success in life to your planning, foresight, due diligence and hard work. Our first reading today calls us to pause and give due consideration to the loving and powerful providence of God.  "You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears."  (James 4: 14).

I tell you the truth: You are not even sure you will be around in the next hour.  God has given us this present Moment to repent, acknowledge and praise Him.

"O Lord, I trust in your merciful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me."  (Psalm 13: 6).

Monday, May 21, 2018

What is Jesus teaching His disciples in secret?

"Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”  (Mark 9: 30 - 31).

We know that the public ministry of Jesus is teaching, healing the sick and feeding the hungry. We see Jesus in the above Scripture teaching His close disciples but in secret.  After three years of close fellowship, there were things the disciples were simply not ready to understand or accept.

Are there things about our faith and life in Christ that we simply refuse to understand and accept?  Is our relationship with God filled with such outbursts like:
Why cancer? Why me?
Why poverty? Why homelessness?
Why child abuse? Why this divorce?

“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”  (Luke 24: 25 - 26).

All these things are normal in the Journey of Faith.

No Cross. No Crown.
No Trials. No Testimony.

"I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message."  (John 13: 16).

Lord, I cast all my troubles on You. Sustain me according to Your promises for they are my only hope.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

"The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus."  (Acts 1: 14).

Today is the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church.  A brand new feast of Mary mandated by the Church to be celebrated Monday after the Feast of Pentecost from now till the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

"Happy are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise,
for from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. Alleluia!" (Gospel Acclamation, Monday, May 21, Memorial of Mary Mother of the Church).

It is a constant teaching of the Church that the Mission of Jesus is deeply interconnected with that of Mary. Remember that Mary is Theotokos, God bearer and the Proto Evangelion foresaw her mission in Genesis 3: 15.

"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: 15).

On the Cross, Jesus Christ gave His Mother to you and myself in the person of John the Apostle, the representative of mankind during the Sacrifice of Calvary.

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19: 25 - 27).

"O God, Father of mercies,
whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross,
chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also;
grant, we pray,  that with her loving help,  your Church may be more fruitful day by day, and exulting in the holiness of her children,  may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son... "  (Collect, Monday, May 21, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church).