Saturday, September 29, 2018

The word of God is the blessed assurance of God.

"Never forget your promises to me your servant, for they are my only hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!"  (Psalm 119: 49 - 50 TLB).

The Communion Antiphon in this Sunday's Sacred Liturgy is from Psalm 119: 49 - 50.  The whole of this extra long Psalm celebrates God's Law.  What is God's Law?  Synonyms for God's Law are: decrees, statutes, commands, commandments, promises. I like particularly "promises" as equivalent for God's Law.  Below are synonyms for Promise:

"assurance, pledge, vow,
 guarantee, oath, bond, undertaking, agreement, commitment,
contract, covenant"

From Psalm 19, the Responsorial Psalm for today, we get a beautiful testimony of the word of God:
"The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye."  (Psalm 19: 8 - 9).

Although we have not always been faithful to our covenant with God, He is always full of mercy anytime we come back and say: "Abba Father, I am sorry."

"O God, who manifest your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy, bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us
and make those hastening to attain your promises heirs to the treasures of heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time).

Friday, September 28, 2018

I will worship You O Lord in the presence of the angels.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  (John 1: 51).

The Church celebrates today the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
The angels are messengers of God perpetually in His presence ministering to Him.
"Bless the Lord, all you his angels, mighty in power,
fulfilling his word and heeding his voice." (Cf Ps 103: 20).

There is ample testimony in Sacred Scripture of the role of angels in salvation history. The most famous, the one most Christians are familiar with is the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary:  "In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary." (Luke 1: 26 - 27).

What do angels do?  They are continually in the presence of God worshipping Him.  The Church militant joins the Choirs of Angels in her Sacred Liturgy on earth in this joyful and glorious task. The Liturgy is where Heaven touches the earth.

When did the cult of the angels begin?  The existence, character and mission of angels is solidly attested by the witness of Divine Scriptures.  We can say that the cult of the angels made a smooth transition from the Old Testament to the Church Age.

"I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name."  (Psalm 138: 1 - 2)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

There is an appointed time for everything.

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens."
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1).

Time in the Scriptures is either Chronos, calendar time or Kairos, time of grace, that is time set by the Providence of God for His breakthrough or intervention in human events. Below are a few of such times:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time."  (Habakkuk 2: 2 - 3).

2. "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?" (Job 7: 1).

3.  "Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared."  (Matthew 2: 7).

4.  "Therefore Jesus told them, "My time is not yet here; for you any time will do." (John 7: 6).

5.  "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."  (Revelation 1: 3).

Time and Season are God’s Appointment.
"God has made everything appropriate to its time." 
(Ecclesiastes 3: 11).

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

All things are vanity.

"Who, then, is this I hear such things about?”  (Luke 9: 9).

This is the troubled conscience of King Herod who beheaded John the Baptist on the altar of lust. It is remarkable that Herod appeared well informed about the activities of Jesus.

Why do so many today appear apathetic about Jesus and His mission?  Many on the streets appear weary and lost.  They  almost scream for Redemption.  How do we reach them with the light of the Redeemer?

Herod kept trying to see Jesus. (Luke 9: 9). Why do so many appear to ignore Jesus?

Jesus has an answer for the likes of Herod.  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  (John 14: 6).

The Teacher has a word of wisdom for these sheep without shepherd:
"Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!"  (Ecclesiastes 1: 2).

St Paul cried out when his life was dominated by this type of futile behavior:
"Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?"  (Romans 7: 24).

Vanity of vanities!  All things are vanity!
"The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world."  (1 John 2: 16).

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Every word of God is tested.

"Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him."  Proverbs 30: 5).

How much do you trust the word of God?  A little or a lot? That Bible somewhere in your home may be like acres of diamond in your backyard.

"Two things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, “Who is the LORD?”
Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God."  (Proverbs 30: 7 - 9).

I have been poor. I have been rich and I have been poor again.  Two things I have learned:
#1.  God knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
#2.  God Never Fails!

Today I trust the Lord to provide what I need.

Every promise of God is tested. God is a shield to those who trust Him and take refuge in Him.  (Proverbs 30: 5).

"Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favor me with your law.

"The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces."

Your word, O LORD, endures forever; it is firm as the heavens." (Psalm 119: 29, 72, 82).

Monday, September 24, 2018

Mary My Mom hears the word of God and keeps it.

“Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.”  Jesus said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  (Luke 8: 20 - 21).

Did Mary and the brethren of Jesus make a mistake in visiting Jesus at work? Be that as it may, Jesus seizes the opportunity to point to His mother Mary as a model of a servant of God who hears the word of God and observes it. (Cf Luke 11: 28).

Mary heard the proposal to become the mother of the Redeemer and replied at once:
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled." (Luke 1: 38).

The word of God says: 
"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37: 4).
Mary replies:  "How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." 
(Luke 1: 47).  Jesus made Mary Mother, Teacher and Queen.

Simeon the old Prophet says to Mary:  "A sword will pierce your very soul." (Luke 2: 35).  Mary bowed her head in acceptance and complete surrender to the will of God.
At the foot of the Cross where Mary stood still like a statue, she heard Jesus moan:  "Where is my mother?"  Mary groaned in silence accepting the immolation of her Son and offering Him to the Eternal Father.

At every moment of Mary's life, we see a woman who lives by this word of God:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of God, and he will make straight your paths." 
(Proverbs 3: 5).

No wonder all generations continue to call Mary blessed. (Luke 1: 48).
The promise of Jesus is still true for you and for me:
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
(Luke 8: 21).

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Use your light or it will be taken away.

 “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light."  (Luke 8: 16).

Baptism places the light of Christ in us.  Like one lighted candle, this light becomes many lighted candles in us as we grow in our Christian life through prayer, word of God, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Examination of Conscience, Spiritual Reading and Ministry.

Do you conceal your light or do you share it through how you talk and act?  How we talk and act is a witness to who we are. Jesus has given us His light for a purpose.

We also are called to witness through special gifts.
"He gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,  to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ."  (Ephesians 4: 11 - 12).

Jesus concludes today's teaching with a warning:
"To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

Use it or lose it.