Saturday, August 04, 2018

What is this food?

"My Father gives you the true bread from heaven." (John 6: 32).

Jesus and His followers are having an interesting conversation about the Bread of life.  First, what is this Bread of life? Answer:  "For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  (John 6: 33).

We know from Isaiah 25: 1 that every plan of God in salvation history is conceived "long ago." Nothing is improvised. The Eucharist is prefigured in today's first Reading from Exodus 16.
"What is this?" the people asked Moses. “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat." (Exodus 16: 15).

The manna the Lord provided the people in the desert was to be the grandfather of the Eucharist in the fullness of time.  The Israelites greeted the manna initially with scorn, "They spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!" (Numbers 21: 5).

Today some Christians sadly treat the Holy Eucharist with gross misinterpretation and levity.

"Brothers and sisters, I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;  darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart." (Ephesians 4: 17 - 18).

Friday, August 03, 2018

Seek the gift of Prophecy.

“It is not lawful for you to have her.” (Matthew 14: 4).

The speaker of the above words is the Prophet John the Baptist.  He paid supreme price for these words.  An English author wrote:  "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."  Prophets in the Bible and in history have suffered the brunt of angry women whose loves were threatened. Let's consider a few:

#1. Jezebel would have skinned the Prophet Elijah alive if she had caught him. 
#2.  "And he [Herod] had John beheaded in the prison." (Matthew 14: 10).
#3. King Henry VIII beheaded St Thomas More in order to marry Anne Boleyn.

Clearly the vocation of a Prophet would rank one of the most dangerous in the world.  The concluding verse in today's first Reading is: "But the hand of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah, so they did not hand him over to the people to be put to death."  (Jeremiah 26: 24). Yet in spite of these clear dangers, the Holy Spirit urges us:

"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy." (1 Corinthians 14: 1).
That is, pray especially for the gift of prophecy. What is your response?

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Do not forget your ancient landmarks.

"And Jesus did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith." (Matthew 13: 58).

Familiarity amongst Jesus' kith and kin did not only breed contempt but bred unbelief as well.  Result? No faith, no miracle. Let us take stock of our faith.

Rule #1: How aware are you of all the good things God has done for you?  St John the Evangelist calls miracles signs. A sign is something that points to something else. Some modern commentators call miracle divine intervention.  I like this definition.  Scripture urges us:
"Do not forget your ancient Landmark."  (Proverbs 22: 28).
I decided recently to review the Timeline of my life to check on my ancient landmarks.  I was shocked at what I discovered. The least active decades had more than half a dozen landmarks.  Each of them, very impressive divine intervention.   Take for example when I received a major and transformative promotion which I had not expected.  I still look at it today as a miracle.

"Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts." (Psalm 103: 2).
Help me gracious God never to forget any of Your benefits. I will recall the wondrous deeds You have done for me. (Cf 105: 5).

Jesus chides His disciples:
"Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember?" (Matthew 16: 9).

Remembering and understanding God's marvelous deeds in your life is the key to affluence or living the Abundant life promised by Jesus. (Cf John 10: 10).

Keep a record of God's mercies. Never forget your ancient landmarks.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

August 3, 2018 - First Friday.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 8th month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #8.

#8.  "Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection."

Who are fervent souls?
Are there hierarchy or grades of reward in Heaven? How would you feel to realize that although you made it to Heaven, you have not realized your fullest potential?

There are hierarchy of angels and choir.  Therefore there must be hierarchy of saints.  Some of the ministries or celebrations in Heaven are likely to be:  Choir and Intercessions.  Leading the ministries of Intercessions is Jesus our Eternal High Priest and His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Saints who will have pride of place in these two Heavenly Ministries are saints who have gone extra mile while on earth to please the Lamb and had washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 22: 14).

So my friends, being fervent is good but why not aim for perfection.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Do you know better than God?

"Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done?—oracle of the Lord. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel." (Jeremiah 18: 6).

God challenged the arrogant and independent minded Israelites with the reminder that their destiny is squarely in His hands.  Think about it: Aren't you happy that your destiny is in God's hands? I am.

"Whenever the vessel of clay he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making another vessel of whatever sort he pleased." (Jeremiah 18: 4).

You recognize that God is the potter.  God knows the plan He has for you and me.  He says under oath (oracle of the Lord) that this plan for our welfare is excellent.   (Jeremiah 29: 11).

Consider this:
"If that which God Himself chooses for you does not content you, from whom do you expect to obtain what you desire?.... Do you know better than God?" (Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ).

We are clay in the potter's hands and our attitude should be  like a weaned child in its mother’s arms. (Cf Psalm 131: 2).

These are some of the clay vessels which were transformed by the Master Potter:
St Paul
St Francis of Assisi
St Louis Marie de Montfort

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Where is this Pearl of Great Value?

"Jesus said to his disciples: "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."  (Matthew 13: 45 - 46).

Are you a seeker? Are you searching for more value in your life? More meaning? More peace and joy? More capacity for faith, hope and love?
Welcome to the the Good News of Jesus Christ.  The Pearl of Great Price.

Is it possible to find such a treasure? Let us look at some of the best of the children of men who searched and found this Pearl of Great Price:
St Mary Magdalene: Found the Great Pearl and thereafter got attached to the Pearl.
St Ignatius Loyola: Loved the Pearl passionately and abandoned everything and followed the Pearl everywhere.
St Thomas More:  Gave his life happily for the Pearl.
St Teresa of Kolkata:  Traveled the whole world spreading message about the Pearl.

How about you? What is your passion in life? Do you have any magnificent obsession? Jesus has a magnificent obsession for the Kingdom of God. He desires to get you involved in this beautiful project.
Will you say YES to Jesus?
Nobody who said YES had any regrets.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Every knee must bend at the Name of Jesus.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  (Philippians 2: 10 - 11).

The Scriptures say that at the Name of Jesus, every knee should bend in worship.  This will happen at the Eschaton, the End of the Age.  When the Kingdom of God is made manifest, there will be no choice for any person but to bend the knee.  When Christ comes to take possession of His Kingdom, He will come not like a helpless poor baby but like a mighty King.  When the sun is up and shining, nobody asks "where is the sun?" You see the sun from wherever you may be.

Today is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.  Ignatius contributed deep insights into the Discernment of Spirits.  His insights are still used in retreats all over the world.  Ignatius had such an intimate love for Jesus and left us this great desire of his heart:

+  To know the Heart of Jesus intimately.
+  To love Him passionately.
+   To follow Jesus everywhere.

Ignatius counsels his spiritual children to do everything for the greater glory of God.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Where is the Kingdom of God?

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches."  (Matthew 13: 31 - 32).

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Mustard Seed at the beginning of the Church Age.  At Pentecost about 120 disciples of Jesus were in the Upper Room, praying and waiting for the Promised of the Father, the Holy Spirit.  2000 years after, there are over 2.5 billion Christians in the world.  Is the Kingdom of God still like a Mustard Seed? Yes, it has grown but yet to reach its potential.

Jesus Christ came to the world to establish the Kingdom of God. The Church is the seed on earth.
The Kingdom is mentioned 342 times in the entire Bible.  119 or 34% in the 4 Gospels.  Jesus had a magnificent obsession about the Kingdom.  He talked of nothing as much as the Kingdom.

"Jesus presented himself alive to them [Apostles] by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God."  (Acts 1: 3).

After the Resurrection, Jesus continued His catechesis on the Kingdom.

The Kingdom is here and now.  The fullness of the Kingdom is in the future.  Until the full realization of Kingdom, it is like a Mustard Seed. Jesus wants us to be obsessed with the Kingdom just as He was in the days of His public ministry.  We participate in the the work of the Kingdom by growing daily in Faith, Hope and Charity.

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."  (Matthew 6: 10). 
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."  (Matthew 6: 33).