Saturday, August 11, 2018

Take my life, O Lord!

"This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”  (1 Kings 19: 4).

Elijah, the great Prophet is in big trouble. Jezebel has placed a price on his head. This provoked a depression and a burn out.  Can this happen to a great man of God? It can happen to anyone.  It happened to Jeremiah, John the Baptist. From the Cross, Jesus cried out:  ""Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"  (Matthew 27: 46).

The mystery of Divine Providence is profound. But God never forsakes His servant.  And He brought food to the weary Elijah.
“Get up and eat!”  (1 Kings 19: 5)
"Get up and eat!" reminds us of "Take and eat."  (Matthew 26: 26). In the later, the food is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

“Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!”  (1 Kings 19: 7).
The food that Elijah was offered and the Eucharist has this thing in common:  Both are food for the Journey.

"Elijah got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb."  (1 Kings 19: 8).

Jesus offers us the living bread that comes down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that He gives is His flesh for the life of the world.”  (Cf John 6: 51).

Everyone is invited to taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who trusts in Jesus (Cf Psalm 34: 8).

Friday, August 10, 2018

It is God's plan that we learn to wait.

"Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision
clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late."  (Habakkuk 2: 2 - 3).

Recently a young friend shared with me a story about a woman who is waiting for Mr Right. She is now 56.   Habakkuk 2: 2 - 3 is one of the great Scriptures on waiting for God's timing.  Habakkuk's lesson is timeless.
It proclaims the truth that God is faithful to all His promises. It teaches the profound mystery of Divine Providence.  It affirms that the Razor Precision Providence of God is Never Late!  Mind you, God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.  God is like a Super GPS taking us to our destination. (Cf Jeremiah 29: 11).

"They trust in you who cherish your name, for you forsake not those who seek you, O LORD."  (Psalm 9: 11).
God will never forget those who trust Him.
"The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live."  (Habakkuk 2: 4).

In the Gospel of today, Jesus our Teacher points to the infinite value of even a tiny grain of faith:

"Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  (Matthew 17: 20).

Thursday, August 09, 2018

God loves a cheerful giver.

JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit."  (John 12: 24).

When we are ready to submit our puny will to the gracious will of God, everything in life becomes possible.  In God's will is our peace and prosperity.  Why do we struggle to have our way in everything?  There must be a dying to our will in order to live fully the life that Christ the Redeemer died for us all.

Whatever it is O man, surrender your will to God and live. "God loves a cheerful giver."  (2 Corinthians 9: 7). Trust, Surrender and Obey.

"Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me."  (John 12:  26).

Jesus our Leader and Captain asks us to follow where He leads.

When you follow Jesus, you shall not fear an ill report; your heart is steadfast, trusting the Lord. Your heart is tranquil, without fear, till at last you look down on his foes.  (Cf Psalm 112: 7 - 8).

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Who is Jesus?

“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16: 13).

The mystery of Jesus.
Who is He?
Whence did He come?
Why did He come?

These and similar questions exercised the minds of the disciples of Jesus and the Jewish leaders who watched with amazement the ministry of Jesus Christ.  The time has come at last to confront these questions.  Jesus took the initiative and asked His disciples.

"They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  (Matthew 16: 14).

Jesus apparently not satisfied with generalities asked pointedly:

“But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  (Matthew 16: 15 - 16).

Then Jesus revealed an astonishing truth:
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father."  (Matthew 16: 17).

Many people in the Church today have stopped believing.  The honest ones are those who have stopped coming to Church.  There is a phenomenal problem of faith in the world today.  Jesus is saying in Matthew 16: 17 that faith is a gift of God.  Those who have stopped asking and practicing their faith may be losing their faith.

 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."  (Matthew 7: 7 NLT).

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

O woman, great is your boldness!

"Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour."  (Matthew 15: 28).

Blessed are the desperate, for they shall have their miracles.
O man, your extremity is God's opportunity. Know too that your security is Satan's opportunity.

The Canaanite woman whose daughter was tormented by a demon understands what faith is all about. True faith is driven by desperate need.  Mother Angelica, the EWTN founder taught me that faith is boldness.  Be bold with God's promises. Be bold with the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

Gross materialism in the culture gives us a false sense of security.  Your security is Satan's opportunity.  The Canaanite woman's desperation is an opportunity for Jesus.

How many things have you prayed and cried? God hears the cry of the poor.

Monday, August 06, 2018

In their fear, they thought Jesus was a ghost.

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  (Matthew 14: 27).

The disciples of Jesus were terrified when they saw Jesus walking toward them in the foaming sea.  They thought it was a ghost. To calm them down, Jesus assured them that it was He.

When our heart is gripped by whatever fear, we need to remember those calming words of Jesus.  Can you draw money from an empty account? To withdraw money, you must first deposit funds.  It is when things are calm that you fill your mind with the word of God.

On the subject of fear, St John Chrysostom, a 4th/5th century Church Father and Doctor of the Church who admired St Paul the Apostle said that Paul was inimitable. He added that Paul was so bold and fearless that even the devil was afraid of Paul.  We can all say that Jesus, the God-Man is fearless and the devil is terrified by His Name. And Jesus is the source of the fearlessness of every Christian.

Here are a few of the Scriptures that help me to fight fear:

#1 Deuteronomy 31:  8
"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

#2  Psalm 27:1
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

#3  Isaiah 41:10
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

"And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20 NLT).

I like this petite but powerful Scripture:
"Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."  (Luke 8: 50; Mark 5: 36).

And here is word of wisdom and courage from the Carmelite mystic:
"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila)

Sunday, August 05, 2018

What do you hear when you listen?

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17: 5).

The Church celebrates today the great feast of the Transfiguration. What happened at the Transfiguration?  In the presence of credible eyewitnesses, Peter, James and John, Jesus was transformed in His essence into a heavenly Being. But that was not all.

"Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”  (Mark 9: 7).

Just as John the Baptist identified Jesus at the Baptism as the Lamb of God, the Father Himself pointed out Jesus as His only beloved Son.
The Father added an authoritative command which should catch our attention. "LISTEN TO HIM."

What do you hear when you listen to Jesus? What I hear clearly is this:
"Make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life, and all these things will be given to you as well."  (Matthew 6: 33 NTE).
I like what I hear. It is clear from the Gospel that Jesus has a magnificent obsession for the Kingdom of God and righteousness.  I ask Abba Father every day to grant me a magnificent obsession for the Kingdom so that I can accomplish my mandate.

When you listen to Jesus, what do you hear?