Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cast all your burden and worries on your Good Shepherd, He will sustain you.

"Jesus said to them [Apostles], “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mark 6: 31).

The common thread in the Scriptures of this Sunday is the tender and great care of the Good Shepherd for us His sheep. If you come to the table of God's word hungry, you will be nourished and be satisfied by the rich menu of the Scriptures.  So come and eat rich food without money. (Cf Isaiah 55: 1 - 3).

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack."  (Psalm 23: 1).

What do you lack that Your Good Shepherd cannot provide you? If He has not provided, have you asked why?

"Cast all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]." (1 Peter 5: 7 AMP).

This is a promise that every person of good will should try and confirm.
After you have confirmed God's faithfulness, sing with the saints:
"See, I have God for my help.
The Lord sustains my soul.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart, and praise your name, O Lord, for it is good."  (Psalm 53: 6, 8).

"Show favour, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands..."  (Collect Sunday, July 22, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time).

Friday, July 20, 2018

They plotted to put the Prophet to death.

"The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death."  (Matthew 12: 14).

A shocking turn of events in the fortunes of the Prophet that  healed the sick, fed multitudes and taught the clueless masses. What is the crime of Jesus?  Let us turn to the Prophet Isaiah for the profile of the Prophet Jesus:

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”  (Matthew 12: 18 - 21).

Jesus predicted that His mission will be confronted by intense opposition culminating in His crucifixion.  And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.". (Luke 9: 22).

We are foolish in judging spiritual things too quickly.  "Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  (Luke 24: 26).

Jesus, Son of God, our Savior and our Redeemer have mercy on us.

"Holy Father and Lord, you willed that Christ your Son should be the price of our salvation. Give us grace so to live that through sharing his sufferings we may be strengthened by the power of his resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen."  (Prayer: Vespers Friday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Son of Man is Master of the Sabbath.

“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” (Matthew 12: 2).

The Sabbath is a sacred Covenant between God and His people.  "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20: 8). And then the Lord blessed the Sabbath Rest.

How the Sabbath is to be observed became a sore point of controversy between Jesus and the the Jewish leaders.  The Pharisees wanted a strict adherence to the Sabbath code. Jesus teaches God's intention in establishing the Sabbath.  He quickly enunciated His authority:

"I say to you, something greater than the temple is here."  (Matthew 8: 6).
And added in good measure:
"For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”  (Matthew 8: 8).

No need to ask who is right in the Sabbath debate.  The person who has authority on his side always wins.

A little time after the Ascension of Jesus, the Jewish leaders kicked out the Jewish Christians from the Temple.  After the Resurrection, the Christians observed the Sabbath law and still met on Sunday, the first Day of the Week to celebrate the Eucharist.  After they were expelled from the Temple, the Church used the authority given to the Church by Jesus to make Sunday the new Day of Rest.

Emperor Constantine made the Sunday Rest official day of Rest for the Roman Empire in 321 AD. Christians have been observing Sunday Rest before 321 AD for over 200 years. Constantine did not hallow Sunday.  The Church did.

Is the Sunday Rest threatened today? The consequences will be simply catastrophic.  For the Sabbath Rest is  Rehearsal for Eternal Rest. If Sunday goes, so goes our faith in Heaven.
Observe Sunday.  Protect Sunday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Come to me with your anxieties, fears and burdens.

"Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest."  (Matthew 11:  28).

Are you weary? Are you overburdened by life's struggles? Health, Family, Money, Job and Worries about the Future?

Today I am celebrating the 4th anniversary of Passport.  Four years ago, I woke up suddenly at 5 am burdened by many crisis.  Still lying in bed, like King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38: 2, I turned my face to the wall and prayed directly to Abba Father.  I find that my prayer thoughts and sentiments are similar to the first Reading and the Responsorial Psalm for today's Liturgy from Isaiah 26: 7 - 19 and Psalms 102 respectively.
I prayed thus:

Lord, oppressed by Your heavy hand , I cry out in anguish under your discipline.  (Isaiah 26: 16).

"Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress.
Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly."  (Psalms 102: 2 - 3).

I was sobbing as I made this prayer.   A friend of mine told me many years ago that if you want to get God's attention, you must mix tears with prayers. I had never tried the idea.  Like Hezekiah, mine were genuine tears.

I continued to plead earnestly.
"You will again show mercy to me; now is the time for pity; the appointed time has come. Please no more delays"  (Cf Psalms 102: 14).

God saw my tears and heard my prayers.  He gave me an answer in one word:  "PASSPORT."  At the word, my soul was filled with joy. I jumped down from bed and concluded my morning prayers on my knees.  Two days later, I left for the inspired city almost a thousand miles away.  Today, I am celebrating the 4th anniversary of Passport.

My friends, in my experience, nothing is as sweet as the pure joy of answered prayer.  Why am I celebrating the 4th anniversary? Because I got this Scripture from EWTN Journey Home program this Monday, July 16th:

"Do not forget your ancient Landmarks."  (Proverbs 22: 28).
Your Landmarks are the gracious providences of God in your life.
Note them. Celebrate them.

"For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea." (Psalms 102: 16 - 17).

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The SuperEye sees everything.

"Does the one who shaped the ear not hear? The one who formed the eye not see?" (Psalms 94: 9).

In Psalms 94: 9 God reminds us of His sovereign attributes: omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence. For this reflection, let us call God SuperEye and SuperEar.
God asks the question:
What in heaven and earth does SuperEye not see?  What sound in all the universe does SuperEar not hear?
The simple answer is:  God sees everything. God hears everything.

God sees the sick in the hospitals.
He sees all the homeless.
He sees all the widows and the fatherless.

God hears the cry of the poor.
He hears the cry of the immigrants.
God hears the cry of the hungry.

"Does the one who shaped the ear not hear? The one who formed the eye not see?" (Psalms 94: 9).

God sees your present situation.
God hears every prayer you utter even those hidden in the depth of your heart.  God wants you to trust in the plan He has for you.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Lord says: It will not happen.

“Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.”  (Isaiah 7:  6).

Have you ever been attacked by a gang of enemies bent on your ruin? Like King Ahaz of Judah in Isaiah 7: 6? This Scripture came to my aid years ago in the corporate world when a gang of managers swore to my destruction.

"Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood."  (Isaiah 7:  4).

The word of God urged me to be calm and fearless. Throughout the weeks of the crisis, I repeated the Scripture to myself and called my foes "smoldering stubs of firewood."

"The Lord says this:  "It will not take place, it will not happen. "  (Isaiah 7: 7).

I said to myself that their plans will not succeed because God has said that "It will not happen."  

"Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm."  (Isaiah 7: 9).

I learned the importance of faith and appropriating the promises of Sacred Scripture and standing firm on them.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."  (Psalms 127: 1 - 2).

"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord; the Lord will be their trust." [Security] (Jeremiah 17: 5).


Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is the the Cross?

"Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10: 38).

What is the Cross for me and for you?

The Cross is to seekfirst the Kingdom of God and to live righteously. In other words, make Jesus Christ the first in your home, work and play. Live as righteously as Jesus lived.

How do the deepest truths of the Gospel help us to pick up the Cross every day and follow Jesus?

#1. Believe that God is watching over us night and day and that not a hair falls from our head without His permission!

#2.  Believe that in His infinite Wisdom, He knows  better than you what is good for you.

#3. Believe that in His great power, He can bring good even out of evil. 

To carry your Cross today is no more than making Jesus first in your life, obeying His commandments and accepting with serenity always and everywhere God's disposal of events in your life.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can do it.

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
(John 13:17).