Saturday, August 18, 2018

My flesh is true food.

"Jesus said to the crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  (John 6: 51).

Once again we savor the Bread of life Discourse.  This teaching is so important for the life of the Christian and the Church that Mother Church is never tired of serving this menu again and again.

"For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."  (John 6: 55 - 56).

Those who come to the Table of the Lord must leave their lofty learning behind. This Food is for the simple of heart, the childlike, the lowly.

“Let whoever is simple turn in here;
to the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9: 4 - 6).

What is your response to Jesus? Come to the Table and "taste and see the goodness of the Lord."  (Psalm 34: 9).

Friday, August 17, 2018

Jesus who did not sin died for the sins of the world.

"Only the one who sins shall die!"  (Ezekiel 18: 4).
The word of the Lord.

"But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."  (Genesis 3: 3).

In today's first Reading, the Prophet Ezekiel corrects the mistaken notion of the People of God on sin and responsibility.  The people believed that they suffer for the sins of their fathers and mothers.  O no, says the Lord God.  "Only the one who sins shall die!"  (Ezekiel 18: 4).

The wages of sin continue to be death. (Romans 6: 23).  But God has no pleasure in the death of anyone.  He wants everyone of His children to be converted to Him and live!  (Ezekiel 18: 32).

"A clean heart create for me, O God;
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me."  (Psalm 51: 12 - 13).

"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..." (Prayer at Vespers, Friday, 19th Week of Ordinary Time).

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Is divorce permitted?

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”  (Matthew 19: 3).

Is divorce permitted? The Pharisees asked Jesus.  Jesus used this question to teach us God's original plan for marriage between one man and one woman.  God joined man and woman together to become one for life.
If this is so, what is the reason for the prevalent heart-wrenching divorces? Hardness of heart or sin is the cause, Jesus answered.  This is how the Church explains the progression of the hardness of heart:

"The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay".Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground", for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history."  (CCC 400).

What sin has torn asunder, Jesus Christ has reconciled in His body by giving man and woman the means and tools to live in harmony.  The Church accompanies the married couples on their journey of faith with the Sacraments: Matrimony, Eucharist, Reconciliation. The Church provides a number of effective tools as aid to harmony: marriage preparation classes, counseling, Cursillo, Encounters, etc.

Like any vocation, it is impossible for marriage to work outside the framework of sacraments, tools and resources provided by the Providence of God for the institution today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I forgave you your entire debt because you begged Me.

"The servant fell down, did him  homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’  Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan."  (Matthew 18: 26 - 27).

The above verses are from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer: Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (Matthew 6: 12).

Forgiveness or Mercy is at heart of the Gospel.  Not only did Jesus teach this message every opportunity but He demonstrated it practically from the Cross.  He forgave the Good Thief.  And while still experiencing the terrible agony of the Cross, He forgave everyone who played a part to place Him on the Cross including yourself and me.

Some people think that to forgive a grievous offense is so hard. Perhaps it is.  Can you try this prayer every morning?
"Father, forgive all my sins.  I forgive completely everyone who has ever offended me.  I pray you grant the grace to all those I have ever offended to forgive me and release me from their anger. I ask for this in the Name of Your Son Jesus who commands us to forgive."

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to."  (Matthew 18: 32).

Remember the ABC of Mercy:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rejoice O Most Blessed Virgin Mary!

"The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name."  (Luke 1: 49).

The Mighty God has truly done great things for Mary.  The Church throughout the world rejoices today as she celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Let us consider four of the stupendous things the Mighty God has done for Mary:

#1 The Immaculate Conception:  Mary, chosen before the foundation of the world to be the Mother of Jesus was preserved from the curse of Original Sin. She was born without the taint of sin.
#2 The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel brought the message of salvation to Mary. Mary said YES!
#3  The Assumption:  At the end of her earthly life, Mary is taken up to heaven as chorus of angels exulted.
#4  Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and earth.

Mary was declared by the Archangel Gabriel, messenger of God to be "full of grace." (Luke 1: 28).  Mary in the Magnificat prophesied "Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed." (Luke 1: 48).  Billions of Hail Marys are said every day proclaiming Mary blessed.

On the occasion of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, let the Church rejoice with all the angels and saints in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Who is a little child?

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18: 3).

We have noted the magnificent obsession of Jesus for the wonderful place and state He calls the Kingdom of God.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2: 9).

Throughout His public ministry, Jesus laid out the qualifying principles for entrance into this Kingdom.  We shall look at one today:  A childlike attitude.  What is this?

+ Innocence (sinlessness)
+ Simple
+ Humble
+ Trusting
+  Forgiving
+  Living here and now

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”  (John 3: 4).

"Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit."  (John 3: 5).

Here is the secret! The Holy Spirit must affect the transformation.  If this transformation is not completed during your allotted life span, it will be finished in Purgatory, the Church teaches.

"It is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18: 14).

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Why did the disciples forget 3 predictions of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus?

"As they [disciples] were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 17:  22 - 23).

How is it possible that the disciples of Jesus could ever forget such a prediction? If you are in the inner circle of the leadership of an important person, can you forget this type of warning from your leader?  The disciples understood clearly what Jesus meant because their "hearts were filled with sorrow and dread."  (Matthew 17: 23 TLB).

Consider also two other predictions of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus:
"From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." (Matthew 16: 21).

And a 3rd prediction:
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20: 18 - 19).

Why did the disciples forget 3 predictions of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus?  Why were they so unprepared for the gory events of Good Friday?  Why was their initial reaction to the news of the Resurrection complete unbelief?

Jesus predicted His Second Coming.  Will the Church remember? Will Christians be ready?  If Jesus knocks on your door tonight, how do you welcome Him?