Saturday, September 15, 2018

But you, who do you say that I am.

"And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.”  (Mark 8: 29).

Caesarea Philippi marks a watershed in the Gospel narrative.  What happens at Caesarea Philippi and why does it matter?  First, the Father reveals the identity of Jesus as the Son of God and the expected Messiah.  Secondly Jesus looks you in the eyes and asks you:  “But who do you say that I am?”
The answer you give to this test determines your life here and now and your eternal destiny.

St Jerome, Church Father and Doctor of the Church says:  "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."   Jesus made so many promises during His public ministry.  Each of His promise shows us who He is.  Which of these promises do you appropriate that helps you to answer the question: Who is Jesus?

1.  "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."  (John 15: 13).
2.  "For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him."  (2 Corinthians 5: 21).
3.  "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides."  (Matthew 6: 33).
4.   "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son."  (John 14: 13).

You can know who Jesus is through His words. He is the word of God and He is in His word.

From the Gospel, I know that Jesus is my Lord and my God, my Savior and my Redeemer. He is my Good Shepherd. Jesus is the Promise Maker and the Promise Keeper.

"Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.”  (Mark 8: 29).

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Heart that is pierced with a sword.

"When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19:  26 - 27).

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.  Coming right after the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The Church remembers the Heart of Mary  "pierced with a sword."

"Simeon said to Mary: Behold, this child is destined for the ruin and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign of contradiction; and your own soul a sword will pierce."  (Cf Luke 2: 34 - 35).

On the Cross, Jesus gave us His mother as our mother. (John 19:  26 - 27).  A precious, priceless Gift.

"How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me through His Blessed Mother? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

"To You Jesus will I offer sacrifice of Thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people." 
(Cf Psalm 116:12-13, 17-18).

"O God, who willed that, when your Son was lifted high on the Cross, his Mother should stand close by and share his suffering, grant that your Church, participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ, may merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."
(Collect, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows).

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lift high the triumphant Cross!

"Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover." (Numbers 21: 8).

Friday, September 14th is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.  Today, the universal Church lifts high the triumphant Cross from which came the salvation of the world.  What happened in the Desert in Numbers 21 prefigures the real and gruesome sacrifice of Jesus on the altar of the Cross.  Here Jesus is the Victim, the Priest and the Altar of Sacrifice!

"When I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself, says the Lord."  (John 12: 32).

Thank You Jesus!

Brothers and sisters:  "We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered."
(Galatians 6: 14).

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mercy droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven...

"Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful."  (Luke 6:  36).

Mercy is the preeminent attribute of God.  In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare shows that mercy can also be a human attribute:

"The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes the thronèd monarch better than his crown."

Like the Unforgiving Servant, Shylock in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice ignored the plea for mercy.
Jesus urges us to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is always merciful.  But Abba Father's mercy comes with a condition: "Forgive and you will be forgiven."  (Luke 6: 37).  And again: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."  (Matthew 6: 12).  We see that it is Father's intention to make mercy a human policy.

"Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes.....

I will teach the wicked your ways,
that sinners may return to you."
(Psalm 51: 3 - 6, 15).
The reformed sinner has not only become merciful but is now an evangelist of Mercy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Congratulations to you who are poor.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours."  (Luke 6: 20).

St Luke gives his version of the Beatitudes in Luke 6: 20 - 26).
The Beatitude is a faithful portrait of the character of Jesus the Messiah, the Faithful Servant. It begins with a key attribute: material poverty.  Jesus was born of poor parents in a manger. He lived in a poor neighborhood of Nazareth. After he attained the age of puberty, He became an apprentice carpenter in His father's workshop.

When Jesus began His teaching with "Congratulations to you who are materially poor..." His audience would have been delighted. Let us head to the Catechism to see what the Church teaches us on the Beatitudes.

"The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the promise and live from it in faith." (CCC 1719).

Man does not live on bread alone. Man does not live on money alone. There is life for man in every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Cf Matthew 4: 4).

"God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us "partakers of the divine nature" and of eternal life. With beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ and into the joy of the Trinitarian life." (CCC 1721)

The Beatitude is the blueprint of our Journey of Faith.  Follow it as faithfully as you follow the GPS and it will lead you to our true Homeland.

Monday, September 10, 2018

I will see you in court.

"How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the holy ones?"  (1 Corinthians 6: 1).

St Paul upbraided the Corinthian Christians who were new and baby Christians for behaving in a manner completely outside "our manner of doing things."  Every family, every household has its "manner of doing things."  With time, your family manner of doing things become the tradition of your family.  The Christian Church is the Household of God. She too has its manner of acting and doing things.

"If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing in the church?"  (1 Corinthians 6: 4).
No! No! No!

"Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers?  But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers?"  (1 Corinthians 6: 5 - 6).
Yes there are many among us who can settle our grievances against one another. O Holy Spirit help us!

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  (Romans 12: 2).
Got it! When we conform to the "manner of doing things" of the world, we sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

"I chose you from the world,
that you may go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord." (John 15: 16).
It is our vocation and mission to make the world conform to our manner of doing things not the other way around.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Jesus is still speaking through the Scriptures and Magisterium.

"Jesus knew what they were thinking." (Luke 6: 8).

Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking in their hearts.  They condemned Him for healing a man with a withered hand on a Sabbath. (Luke 6: 6 - 11).
Will it scare you to know that Jesus knows what you are thinking about everything?

One of the attributes of God that delights my heart is His omniscience.  God knows everything before it happens.
Jesus knew Judas' treason before it happened. He knew Peter's betrayal before it occurred.  After the Resurrection, Jesus is more willing to forgive Peter than for Peter to accept the clemency and forgive himself.

What do you think is the purpose of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David and Son of Abraham?  (Matthew 1: 1 - 16)  To confound the likes of Pharisees who know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? (Matthew 22: 29).

"My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10: 27).

Jesus is still speaking through the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Magisterium.

"One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?"
(Acts 19: 15).