Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Son of Man is delivered to you in the Eucharist.

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.”  (Mark 9: 31).

"handed over" means:

"delivered into the hands of men." 
You know how UPS delivers a parcel to you.
"is to be betrayed into human hands."
"will be given to men"

It is sad to see that Jesus Christ is still being handed over, betrayed and delivered to us today?

The Son of Man is still being delivered to us every day in the Eucharist and in the Tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament. Instead of adoration and worship, He is neglected and sometimes despised.

"I was lonely and waiting for you in the Blessed Sacrament. You never visited Me." What will be your defense?  "Lord if I knew you were truly there, I would visit you every day."
"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
(John 13:17)

"God has called us through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 14).

Friday, September 21, 2018

You can deal with anxiety.

"The seed is the word of God."  (Luke 8: 11).

We are the soil.

The Parable of the Sower is one of the best known of Jesus' parables and can be considered the most consequential.  Each person can easily recognize himself as a type of soil. "The seed that fell among thorns" gives us a template of which novels and movies are made.  From rags to riches and riches to rags.
The world is full of anxiety, fear and doubt.  Jesus says that these emotions are lethal for the implanted life of God in the soul.

"As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit."  (Luke 8: 14).

How do we deal with anxiety? Two simple tools of Jesus:
#1 Prayer.
#2  Word of God.

Simple prayer of petition is always powerful. Example:  Lord help me overcome my anxiety. "Lord I am going to see the doctor, I am anxious. Please help me.  I am usually anxious at the end of the month because of the bills, help me Lord."  Make this simple prayer of petition habitual and you will be surprised to find how your stubborn anxieties are under control or completely eliminated.

The word of God is the promise of God.  God gives us these promises to help us live well.   I use the promises below frequently:

"Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."  (Isaiah 41: 10)

I count seven promises in the above Scripture verse. I claim them every morning.

"This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.  I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?"  (Psalm 56: 9 - 11 NLT).

It is powerful to remind God that you are asking for what He has promised. It gives you confidence.

The goal of the Christian life is to progressively make your soul a rich soil for the word of God.
"But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance." (Luke 8: 15).

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Matthew follow me.

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him."  (Matthew 9: 9).

Today is the Feast of St Matthew the Evangelist.

"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you,
says the Lord."  (Cf Matthew 28: 19 - 20).
Matthew recorded and carried out the above mission.  God chose Matthew into the intimate circle of Jesus with untold mercy.

Matthew accepted the call with generosity and then lived in a manner worthy of the call he received.  He used his old skill as a tax recorder to pen the Gospel that bears his name.

The call of Matthew is a story of mercy. The unfathomable mercy of God.  “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
(Matthew 9: 12 - 13).

Like Matthew, let us be ready at all times to be surprised by Mercy.  The Good News is the orchestration of Mercy. Be a part of that global orchestra.
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.

“Your sins are forgiven.....Go in peace.”  (Luke 7: 48, 50).

These are wonderful words of mercy to the sinful woman who bathed the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiped them with her hair. After kissing the feet, she anointed them with an expensive ointment.

What value do you place on sins?  Would you prefer to win a large lottery than to hear the words:
“Your sins are forgiven."  (Luke 7: 48).  St Paul gave this point blank message to the Corinthians: "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15: 3). If Christ died for our sins, then sin must be a pretty serious issue. Nobody dies for the outcome of a football game.

When you hear of Debt in Scriptures, you can safely substitute the word Sin.  A big Debt means a big Sin.  If a huge debt is wiped out, it means all sins, crimes, felonies have been forgiven in one merciful act of God.  How did the sinful woman able to figure out what Christ did for her?  The peace, joy and well-being she felt.

"How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me?"  (Psalm 116: 12).

Have you ever experienced the pure joy of reconciliation? How do you express your gratitude?

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.
Let Israel say: his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Aaron say,
his mercy endures forever.
Let those who fear the Lord say,
his mercy endures forever."  (Psalm 118: 1 - 4).

The woman in this narrative could have answered her critics with these words:
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective."  (1 Corinthians 15: 10).

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Love bears all things.

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  (1 Corinthians 13: 7).

If a newly married couple asks you for an advice on how to make a success of their marriage, what would you say to them?

Consider the truth and the power of this word of God:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,  it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,  it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7).

You might also consider putting this advice on a beautiful frame.  Make three copies: one for the bedroom, one for the living room and one for the dining room.  This is also good for examination of conscience before Reconciliation.  Your spiritual work of Mercy may be the best wedding gift anyone can receive.

"Love never fails."  (1 Corinthians 13: 8).  Of course!  Because God is love and God Never Fails!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Jesus says to the widow: Do not weep.

“Young man, I tell you, arise!” (Luke 7: 14).

At this command of Jesus, the dead man, the son of the widow of Nain sat up. Jesus was moved to pity for her sorrowful and weeping mother and said to her:  "Do not weep."  (Luke 7: 13).

We rarely hear mention of widows in our modern society.  What happened to the widows?  Widows are permanent landmarks of the Bible: Old and New Testament.  Along with orphans and strangers, they form the trio that enjoy God's preferential privileges.  A few verses on the testimony of the Scriptures:

1.  "You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt.  You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.  If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely listen to their cry."  (Exodus 22: 20 - 22).

2. "For the Lord, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes,  who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing."  (Deuteronomy 10: 17 - 18).

3. "He [Elijah] called out to the Lord: “Lord, my God, will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying by killing her son?”  (1 Kings 17: 20).

4. "The Lord protects the resident alien, comes to the aid of the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked."  (Psalm 146: 9).

5.  "A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents."  (Mark 12: 42).

We can now see what informed Jesus' heart for the widow and the marginalized of society: the word of God.

"How precious is your mercy, O God!  The children of Adam take refuge in the shadow of your wings."  (Psalm 36: 8).

Sunday, September 16, 2018

How do you use the power of the word?

"Say the word and let my servant be healed."  (Luke 7: 7).

The encounter of Jesus with the Roman Centurion teaches us two lessons:
#1. The power of the the word.
#2.  The power of faith.

Do you appreciate the power of the word?   How do you react when a police officer barks "STOP!"  You freeze at the location.  The authority of the army officer like the Centurion lies only in the power of his word.  Listen to the Centurion describes how it works:

"For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”  (Luke 7: 8).

How about power of the word of Jesus.   It will be like comparing a 0.45 caliber pistol to an atomic blast.  God's power is in His word.  He created the world through His word.  "Let there be light."  Wow!  There was light! 

How was the Centurion able to figure out the power of Jesus?  Theologians teach that "grace builds on nature."   God gave the Centurion the natural grace of being a commanding officer.  When he heard of Jesus and His miracles, he understood what was going on. He believed! Jesus was impressed and answered his prayer.

“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”  (Luke 7: 9).

We too have the power of the word. The word of God is the promise of God. The word of God is His decree or law.  God wants us to use His words in prayer with expectant faith.  "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."  (John 14: 14).  Ask!