Saturday, September 01, 2018

You can feel secure about your gifts.

"Dearest brothers and sisters:  All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change."  (James 1: 17).

I have received emails that have in the subject line: "Information that you can use now."  The Scripture from James 1: 17 is Scripture that we can use right here and right now.  In the hustle and bustle of life,  we need to pause to consider the source of the blessings we enjoy: good health, family, great job, strong bank account, etc.  How do you feel when you read that all your blessings actually come from God?
Sacred Scripture wants us to count our blessings:

"Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts, Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills, Who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion, Who fills your days with good things, so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."  (Psalm 103: 1 - 5).

If every good gift we enjoy comes from God, then we should feel very secure about the gifts we have. (Cf Romans 11: 29).

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Congratulations My good and faithful servant.

"Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability."  (Matthew 25: 14 - 15).

Have you ever met a human being with zero gift of time, talent or treasure?  No! God gives to each human being a gift of some time, talent or treasure "each according to his ability."  That is, each according to his predestined purpose.

No matter how long it takes the Master to come, be assured that there will be settling of accounts sooner or later.
"After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them." 
(Matthew 25: 19).

Those servants who have made good yields on the investment will be congratulated and promoted. Losers will be severely reprimanded and punished.
"Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy."  (Matthew 25: 21).

To be faithful is to be steadfast, constant in a task. Mary is faithful to prayer.  Mother St Teresa of Kolkata says that God does not expect us to be successful but expects us to be faithful.

"Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters."  (1 Corinthians 1: 26).
Who are you before the Master employed you?  Never forget why you were chosen, called and anointed.

Although we started off being nobodies and having nothing, we have been richly endowed, resourced and placed in good positions to yield rich harvest for our Master.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I do not know you, madam.

"Amen, I say to you, I do not know you."  (Matthew 25: 12).

These are the words of the bridegroom [Jesus] to the Five Foolish Virgins. God forbid that anyone of us will hear this sharpest of rebukes on the Last Day. Yet the Foolish Virgins behaved very foolishly.  They were duly warned.  Be prepared.  The Bridegroom has a reputation for being delayed. Expect this. They failed to heed the warning.

Here is another warning:
"Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.  But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."  (Matthew 10: 32 - 33).

Those who are perishing call such warnings foolishness but to us who are being saved it is the wisdom and mercy of God.  (Cf 1 Corinthians 1: 18).

"Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”  (John 18: 37).
Do you belong to the truth? Do you recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd?

"Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."  (Matthew 25: 13).

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You also must be prepared.

"Jesus said to His disciples: 'Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come."  (Matthew 24: 42).

Two lessons I learned as a Boy Scout have served me well:
#1. "Be Prepared."
#2.  "Fortune favors the brave."  Or "Fortune favors the prepared mind."

Thank You Jesus for these nuggets of wisdom that have blessed us so much in life.  Make us ready and well prepared every moment for everything as we joyfully wait for Your coming.

Jesus wants us to be prepared for His coming anytime.
"So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."
(Matthew 24: 44).

St Augustine writes:  "If you pray well, you live well. If you live well, you die well. If you die well, all is well."  Prayer is core to all preparation.
My brethren, "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" (Mark 8: 36).

"My master is long delayed." 
(Matthew 24:  48). Wrong attitude!

Here is a comforting promise:
"He [God] will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."  (1 Corinthians 1: 8 8 - 9).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I grant you half of my kingdom.

 “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”  (Mark 6: 23).

This is the boast of King Herod, a mere mortal.  Do you see why it is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? 

Here is the promise of the Father to His Son Jesus:
"Ask it of me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, and, as your possession, the ends of the earth."  (Psalm 2: 8).
Is Herod playing god?

The young princess who delighted Herod by her dance knew how to manipulate men.
“I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”  (Mark 6: 25).
This is what her mother wanted in order to remove once and for all the menace of John the Baptist.

"So he [Herod] promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison." (Mark 6: 27).

The true story:  God,  willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of His Son both in his birth and in his death.  The martyrdom of John the Baptist is in accordance with the gracious plan of God.

"John answered and said:
He must increase; but I must decrease."  (John 3: 27, 30). He sacrificed his life completely for Jesus.  We too must decrease if Christ will increase in us.

"And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.... Even all the hairs of your head are counted.  So do not be afraid."  (Matthew 10: 28, 30 - 31).

Monday, August 27, 2018

The man who said - Receive what you are and become what you receive.

"Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours."  (2 Thessalonians 2: 15).

The Church celebrates today the feast of St Augustine, the son of St Monica whose feast day is August 27th.  Our key Scripture teaches about holding fast to traditions both oral and written.  As Bishop, Church Father and Doctor of the Church, Augustine knows a great deal about Sacred Scripture, Traditions and Church authority.

Augustine had great passion for Jesus, truth and the Church.  He evangelized relentlessly by preaching and writing. Some of his best known words are:
"O Lord, You have made us for Yourself. Our hearts are restless until they rest in You."  How true!
On the Eucharist, Augustine writes:
"Receive what you are and become what you receive."  Great challenge but this is the Christian vocation.  To become like Jesus.

Saints Monica and Augustine pray for us.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

When you are under trials, do not reduce your prayers and good works.

"We ought to thank God always for you, brothers, as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more."  (2 Thessalonians 1: 3).

St Paul congratulates the Thessalonian Christians on their growing faith. Very interesting.  But how does St Paul know that their faith is flourishing?
Because of their "endurance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions" they experience. (2 Thessalonians 1: 4).

So when you endure in your prayers, word of God and good works under afflictions and persecutions, rejoice because your faith is surely growing.  If you give up your practice of faith under God’s afflicive providences, you put your faith in reverse gear. Don't do it.

"This is evidence of the just judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are suffering."  (2 Thessalonians 1: 5).

St James joined Paul in teaching the great lesson of perseverance under trial:
"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  (James 1: 2 - 4).

So brothers and sisters,  "Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?"  (Hebrews 12: 7).