Saturday, October 06, 2018

Can a man put asunder what God has joined together?

“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10: 2).

This is the big question in the Gospel of the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time.   Jesus responds:
"But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife],  and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh."  (Mark 10: 6 - 8).

And then Jesus adds:
"Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”  (Mark 10: 9).

Marriage and Holy Orders are two Sacraments of Service in the Church.
Through these Sacraments, married people, bishops, priests and deacons take a solemn vow to build up the Church.  Both institutions are in dire crisis today.  Listening to the loud accusations of some people about the clerical sex crisis, one could ask the question:  What is the state of marriage in our society today? Less than 40% of married couples who have been married for 35 years or more are still married to the same person.  This is no excuse for the clerical sex abuse (less than 2% of all priests are accused).  What is going on?

"The Lord God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him."  (Genesis 2: 18).

Lord grant us holy marriages and holy homes.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Great reason for rejoicing.

"Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10: 20).

The 72 disciples of Jesus on their return from their missionary journey were full of joy because they cast out demons in the name of Jesus.  Jesus tells them that there is a greater joy waiting for them.  Their "names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10: 20).  Your name too is written in heaven and this is a matter for great joy.  The Christian has the Holy Spirit, who is the source of joy.  Jesus Himself rejoiced constantly in the Holy Spirit.
"At that very moment he [Jesus] rejoiced in the holy Spirit."  (Luke 10: 21).

At the time of Job [Book of Job], people rejoiced in their material possessions.
"Thus the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his earlier ones. For he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-assess. And he had seven sons and three daughters."  (Job 42: 12 - 13).

Revelation was progressive.  Jesus was not yet born to reveal the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Trinity and Heaven.
Now we know the source of true and everlasting peace and joy.

"Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom."  (Cf Matthew 11: 25).

To get hold of this peace and joy, we need the awesome Holy Spirit:
"Teach me wisdom and knowledge, for in your commands I trust."   (Psalm 119: 66).

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."  (Matthew 7: 7 NLT).

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Whoever listens My anointed one listens to Me.

"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”  (Luke 10: 16).

There seems to be a crisis of authority everywhere today? When you refuse to listen to your Bishop, do you ever imagine that you you are refusing to listen to Jesus Himself?

One of the Signs of the Times is the almost universal challenge to authority.  Especially in the Church.  Why is it that people who dare not challenge the authority of the physician, judge, teacher or law enforcement official, will not hesitate to challenge their pastors?  Is this one of the Signs of the Times?  This is what Paul wrote to Timothy in the first century AD:

"For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers."  (2 Timothy 4: 3).

We should all be grateful for authority in the Church because authority protects the Church from false teachings and heresies as Peter writes below.

"There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Pet. 2:1).

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak." (Matthew 12: 36).

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

October 5, 2018 - First Friday in October.

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 10th month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #10.

#10.  "I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts."

Do not think: "I am not excited by this promise.  I am not a priest."  Error! We are all baptized and by virtue of this Baptism are priests, princes and prophets. Of course, Jesus Christ chose a tiny percentage of men and configured them to be ministerial priests to celebrate the Sacraments.  The first mission of the Church is evangelization.  You see where the 10th Promise is relevant for you?  Moreover, the first 3 Spiritual Works of Mercy instruct us:
#1. Instruct the ignorant.
#2. Counsel the doubtful.
#3. Admonish sinners.

Jesus promises to give you power to touch the most hardened of these.  They could be family. They could be friends or neighbors.  Will you refuse such a gift?

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, October 03, 2018

The Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

"Behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way."  (Luke 10: 3 - 4).

Today is the feast of St Francis of Assisi (1181 - 1226), the founder of the Franciscans.
"Francis, the man of God, left his home behind,
abandoned his inheritance and became poor and penniless,
but the Lord raised him up." (Entrance Antiphon on the Memorial of St Francis of Assisi).

What comes to your mind when you hear of St Francis of Assisi?  Many people would think of a man of peace. "Lord, make me an instrument of peace..." Others will think of radical evangelical poverty... "The little poor man of Assisi." Both are salient attributes in the profile of this exceptionally gifted holy man. I want to mention too Francis' deep love of creation and care of the earth.  Most people that are aware of the impending disaster from Global Warming will know Francis of Assisi and his contribution to this topical debate.

As gifted as Francis is, the Church recognizes in the Liturgy celebrating his life today that his gifts, talents, conformity to Jesus in poverty and humility all came from God.  All saints are saints because they are open to receive God's gifts.

You too can be a saint. You too can be an instrument of Peace. You too can be committed to preserving the beauty and goodness of the environment for future generations and an apostle of Climate Change.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 3).

"We thank you for the beauty of creation: may the work of man not disfigure it, but enhance it to your greater glory."  Amen.

I will follow you when I am ready.

“I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”  (Luke 9: 61).

I will follow You Jesus but...
What is your "But"?  For the young man above, it is family. People have held back their commitment with excuses like:
I will follow you but let me complete my education or my home...
I will follow you but I want to get married first...

Do you know that Jesus knows exactly what you need and when we need it?
Jesus seems to say that the invitation cannot wait.  When the call "Follow me" comes, leave everything and follow Him. Jesus knows when you are ready enough for His purpose.  Go.  Forward Ever, Backward Never.  “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9: 62).

The Kingdom of God and establishing Jesus' manner of righteousness is the top priority for Jesus throughout His public ministry.  Should it be less for us?

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides."  (Matthew 6: 33).

Do not be afraid. No one can outdo Jesus in generosity.  He was faithful to His first disciples. He is faithful today. He will always be faithful.
"Remember your word to your servant by which you give me hope.  This is my comfort in affliction, your promise that gives me life."  (Psalm 119: 49 - 50).  That promise never fails!

Monday, October 01, 2018

The Friend always at your side.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18: 10).

With these words, our Lord  confirms the existence of the Guardian Angels (GA). The Guardian Angels are part of the rich heritage of our faith tradition.  There are some Christian ecclesial communities who believe that angels and saints are distraction from the purity of their faith.  Only Jesus!

The Church believes and teaches that God in His unfathomable providence gives us holy Angels to guard and protect us.  How fortunate has been my destiny to have learned about the Guardian Angels from my early years and to have bonded with my GA throughout my life.  I invoke him in the morning when and at night when I am ready to go to bed.

Today is the feast of the Guardian Angels .

"Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for ever."  (Cf Daniel 3: 58).

One of the great things the Guardian Angels do for you and for me apart from protection is intercession.  They intercede for us continually before the Throne of Mercy.  We owe a great debt of gratitude to our GA for this ministry.

"Bless the Lord, all you his hosts, his ministers who carry out his will."  (Psalm 103: 21).

King David who is always exuberant sings:
"I thank you, Lord, with all my heart; in the presence of the angels to you I sing."  (Psalm 138: 1).

Honor your Guardian Angel today and every day.

Feast of St Therese, the Little Flower.

"An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.  Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side  and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."  (Luke 9: 46 - 48).

October 1st is the feast of St Therese of Lisieux, also called St Therese of the Child Jesus. She is indeed the little child of Jesus. She entered Carmel at the age of 15 and died at the age of 24.  Although she had no formal academic degrees, Therese is one of the 35 Doctors of the Church. How and why? The Lord Jesus taught Therese Himself, tested her by rigorous examinations and at the end conferred the Doctorate on her.  Who dare question the authority of Jesus?

"The Lord led her and taught her, and kept her as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle spreading its wings he took her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her guide."  (Cf Deuteronomy 32: 10 - 12).

In the Liturgy celebrating her life today, the Church proclaims with astonishment the wonders that God wrought in the Little Flower. (Cf Offertory Prayer).

"Thus says the Lord:
Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven."  (Matthew 18: 3).