Saturday, September 08, 2018

The Lord sustains the fatherless and the widow.

"My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ."
(James 2: 1).

Many RCIA Teams all over the world will be drawing from today's Scriptures to address the topic of Social Justice in their catechetical work.  This is the Scripture the Holy Spirit gives the Church for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The Holy Spirit is not liberal or conservative.  He is simply the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of life, the Author of the Sacred Scriptures, the Sanctifier.  The Church is not progressive or traditional. The Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  Where the Spirit leads, the Church follows. With this in mind, let us listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches this Sunday.

"The God of Jacob keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free.

"The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down. The LORD loves the just; the LORD protects strangers.

"The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations.
(Psalm 146: 7, 8 - 9, 9 10).

Psalm 146, the Responsorial Psalm highlights the themes of the mission of the Messiah.  They are also the themes of the mission of the Church.

"Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you."  (Isaiah 35: 4 - 1st Reading).

There are too many insecure and frightened people in the world today.  What can you do to calm their fears?

Friday, September 07, 2018

Happy Birthday Sweet Mother!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”  (Matthew 1: 23).

The Universal Church celebrates the Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary was chosen, called, prepared and enabled to be the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Cf Romans 8: 30). Mary said Yes immediately to the Archangel Gabriel.  She did not say:  "Let me ask my husband about this.  I will also like to talk to my mother."  It was this openness to grace that made Mary:  "Blessed among women."  (Cf Luke 1: 45).  And every generation continues to call her blessed. (Luke 1: 48)

According to Matthew the Evangelist, Jesus Christ descended directly from Abraham:
"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob........... (Matthew 1: 1 - 2).

After the birth of Jesus, the line of genealogy comes abruptly to an end.
"Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,  Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah."  (Matthew 1: 15 - 16).

A new genealogy begins from Jesus Son of God and Son of Mary. This genealogy includes you and me as royal sons and daughters.

"Let us celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
for from her arose the sun of justice, Christ our God."  (Entrance Antiphon, Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

Thursday, September 06, 2018

How you delight in the LORD.

"Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire."  (Psalm 37: 4).

Our Bible verse for today is taken from the Responsorial Psalm from the Liturgy of Friday in the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time.

Before we tackle how we can find our delight in the Lord, we want to know what "delight" means. The dictionary defines "delight" by example thus:   "to make (someone) very happy : to give (someone) great pleasure or satisfaction."

We can find our delight in the Lord by being happy in the Lord. We can enjoy friendship with God.  Do you enjoy serving the Lord? I see here the idea of companionship.  Before the Fall, God and Adam enjoyed  walks together in Paradise.  Moses enjoyed friendship with God and talked with God as one friend to another.

Mary sings:  “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."  (Luke 1: 46 - 47).

Do you enjoy praying, reading the Bible? These are key activities that cement friendship with God. Do you like hanging out in Churches?  The Sanctuary is a place where the presence of God is felt.

"Delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart."  (Psalm 37: 4 AMP).
Remember: God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.

Constantly seek your happiness in the Lord, and the Lord promises to give you your heart's desire.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of September.

September 7, 2018 - First Friday in September.

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 9th month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #9.

#9.  "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

Do you have an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a prominent place in your home? Are you ashamed to displace it? Or do you consider it a childish devotion?
"Jesus replied, "Your mistake is that you don't know the Scriptures, and you don't know the power of God." (Matthew 22: 29).

Jesus Christ 100% God and 100 % Man is proud of His human heritage. He wants His brethren to be reminded of this.  So Jesus mandated His image to be rendered by an artist for the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy devotions. The Church approved these devotions and images.

Patronize the ministry of the Catholic Bookstore by purchasing these images there.

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, September 05, 2018

We worked hard but accomplished nothing.

“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”  (Luke 5: 10).

Today's Gospel shows how Jesus called His first disciples.  There are plenty of lessons for everyone.

"After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5: 4).

Where you are and what you are doing now is no accident. You are where you are meant to be.  Jesus sees you.  He knows all about your successes and frustrations.

Jesus tested Simon, a seasoned fisherman to do something that professional fishermen would consider absurd.
"Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”  (Luke 5: 5 - 6).

Mary said to the servants at the first miracle at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you.”  (John 2: 5).  Would you do ridiculous things if Jesus asks you to?
Remembering Peter and the miraculous draught of fish and the servants at the Wedding at Cana would be a great inspiration at your moment of testing.  This sacred memory will be grace to anyone when such opportunity comes. It also helps greatly to know who Jesus is:
"The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it."  (Psalm 24: 1).  Jesus is the Lord of the earth.

“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  (Luke 5:  8).  Most of us will react like Peter in the presence of manifest holiness and power.
Let not thoughts of your unworthiness discourage you.  Remember this:
"And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified."  (Romans 8: 30).

"Lord Jesus, You came to set the world on fire with the good news, Your Gospel. You prayed that its flames would race through our hearts. Send Your Holy Spirit upon us to give us the courage to spread the Good News of Your burning love for us.  May all our hearts be open to change as the light of Your love and message reaches every corner of Your holy Church. May it chase away the darkness of sin and lead even those most distanced from You back into Your loving arms.
We pray to You, Lord Jesus through Mary Your Mother whose plea You will never refuse.  Amen."
(Office of Evangelization. Archdiocese of NY).

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Not many people appear to be looking for Jesus.

"The people were looking for him." [Jesus] (Luke 4: 42).

Why was everyone looking for Jesus?  Because He feeds them, heals them and teaches them?  Much more than that.  They are irresistibly drawn to Jesus as iron particles are drawn to a magnet.  Historians say that Rome from its earliest history as the See of St Peter attracts tourists.  Spiritual gurus say that holiness draws people to the holy one in the same manner.

Today, not many people appear to be attracted to Jesus.  On the surface, they appear to be more attracted to money, pleasure, leisure, spots.  This is just on the surface.   St Augustine who is great with words summarized the whole of the Bible on human longing thus:  "O God, thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."

How do we know that St Augustine is correct?  Today it is:  Addiction. Addiction. Addiction.  Nothing will ever satisfy the heart of man except God who stamped His DNA on man when He created Adam.

My friend, where do you fit into this picture?  Jesus says:
“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”   (Luke 4: 43).

Jesus has turned over this great Enterprise of evangelization to you and me.
"For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building."  (1 Corinthians 3: 9).

"Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard." (Matthew 20: 6 - 7).

You are hired.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Why is His word so powerful?

“What is there about his word?" (Luke 4: 36).

The surprised people of Capernaum asked after Jesus cast out an evil spirit with one word. The answer to their question is simple.  What is there about the word of Jesus? It is the word of God. God is inside His word.

Who else felt the power of this word?
"The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed."  (Matthew 8: 8).

Have you ever asked Jesus to say one word and heal any area of your life?

"For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”  (Luke 4: 36).

A father has authority over his children.  He exercises this authority through his words. Does the word of God have authority over you?

"Martha had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to all He said."  (Luke 10: 39). Mary wanted the words of Jesus to have authority over her. So she listened attentively to every word of Jesus.  (Cf Luke 4: 32).
You can do the same.

One of the most creative words in the Bible is Mercy. The word "mercy" occurs 276 times in the Bible. This is a magic word that the Heart of God cannot resist. Everyone that approaches Jesus in the Gospel and pleads for mercy receives mercy instantly.  Listen to the number of times "mercy" is used in Holy Mass.  We hit God at His softest spot.  How many times do you use mercy in your prayers?

Including the very words of God makes our prayers more effective.

"Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I cry to you all the day long.
O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of mercy to all who call to you." (Psalm 86: 3,5).

"The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works."  (Psalm 145: 8 - 9).

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and the whole world.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

The Manifesto for the Kingdom

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  (Luke 4: 18 - 19).

Jesus Christ launched His campaign for the Kingdom of God appropriately in His native town, Nazareth.  Everyone in the synagogue including you and me thought they heard this manifesto (Luke 4: 18) somewhere, sometime.  Jesus is quoting from a familiar passage of Isaiah 61 about the Messiah and His mission.  The manner in which He read the passage and concluding words:  “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 21) startled everyone in the synagogue.

What does this living word of God mean for you and for me today? We too have been chosen, called and anointed by the Holy Spirit.  Anointed for what?  Anointed to accomplish a purpose in life with the power of the Holy Spirit.

But you may object:  I am too old. I am too poor. I am uneducated. I am too sick. I am too young.  The Lord Jesus answers:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

Faced with this answer, Paul says "I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.  Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 
(2 Corinthians 12: 9 - 10).

Do you trust Jesus or do you prefer to trust your own understanding?  (Proverbs 3: 5 - 6).

I sympathize and pray for Archbishop ViganĂ³

Why I sympathize and pray for Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó

Archbishop Viganó has succumbed like most of us to the great temptation of today:

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."  (Romans 12: 2).

He sowed the wind. Now he is reaping the whirlwind.  (Hosea 8: 7).

Many prelates, priests and lay people who have stopped reading and believing the word of God, who have stopped praying believe that journalists and the ways of the world are wiser than the Scriptures and the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Pope Francis prophetically writes about this below:

"Inner strength, as the work of grace, prevents us from becoming carried away by the violence that is so much a part of life today, because grace defuses vanity and makes possible meekness of heart. The saints do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters, and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others. Saints hesitate to treat others harshly; they consider others better than themselves"
(cf. Phil 2:3).  Gaudete et Exultate #116.