Saturday, October 13, 2018

The word of God is the wisdom of God.

"The word of God is living and effective."  (Hebrews 4: 12).

Four of the 7 characteristics of living things learned early in grade school are: respiration, growth, reproduction and nutrition.  The word of God is all these plus:  It is mighty effective.  The word of God has sustained Christianity for over 2000 years.  The first book of the New Testament was not written till perhaps 40 years after the Ascension of Christ. It was the living spoken word that sustained the Christians for about a generation.  Origen, an early Church Father of the 3rd century, writes that the Church would have survived till the Second Coming of Jesus without a written New Testament.

The word of God is the Wisdom of God.
"I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me."  (Wisdom 7: 7).

The word of God is tested by fire and is more precious than silver and gold.
"I preferred her to scepter and throne, And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a bit of sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire."  (Wisdom 7: 8 - 9).

When Jeremiah and the prophets found the word of God, they ate it up.
"Yet all good things together came to me with her, and countless riches at her hands; I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is their mother." 
(Wisdom 7: 11 - 12).

In today's Gospel, Jesus said to the Rich Young man:
“You are lacking in one thing."  (Mark 10: 21).
He lacks the word of God, the wisdom of God.
Is it possible to be attached to money and be saved? Jesus answers:
"All things are possible for God.”  (Mark 10: 27).

The word of God proclaims that:
"The rich suffer want and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." 
(Psalm 34: 11).  Amen!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Before Faith came, there was...

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it."  (Luke 11: 28).

The word of God, the Promise of God is the source of every blessing. And Faith is confidence in the Promise of Jesus.

Nobody understands the promises of God as much as Mary, the Mother of God.  At the event that launched the salvation history and the New Genealogy,  "Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1: 38).

Do you know that Faith is one of the key revelations in Sacred Scripture? Listen to Paul explain:
"Before faith came, we were held in custody under law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed."  (Galatians 3: 23).

There was a time when what we call Faith was unimaginable.   People thought that to be OK with God, you need to do certain things.  Then Abraham appeared.  God said to Abraham: Leave your country. Migrate to a new country. I will provide for you and protect you and your family. Abraham had confidence in the Promise of God and God was pleased.  Abraham's confidence and the pleasure of God constitutes the revelation and revolution of Faith as prime mover in salvation history.

"For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus."  (Galatians 3: 26).
Do you believe that this is true?
And this:
"Through faith in Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe."  (Galatians 3: 22).

The old genealogy technically stops here:
"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).
Jesus Christ heads the new genealogy of which your name is inscribed.

"And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise."   (Galatians 3: 29).

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I will return to the house I left.

 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left."

When it returns, behold the house clean and empty.  Amazed, the evil spirit invites seven of his friends.

"And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”  (Cf Luke 11: 24 - 26).

What is your attitude towards evil spirits, demonic possessions, addictions? Skepticism, fairy tales or half doubt, half belief? If your attitude is any of this, then it is far from that of the Bible, the official Magisterium and the tradition of the Church.

Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem mankind. What is Redemption?
"The restoration of man from the bondage of sin to the liberty of the children of God through the satisfactions and merits of Christ." (Catholic Encylopedia).

There is a connection between Sin > > Suffering >>Salvation.

When someone is saved, and does not fill the vacuum with good works and disciplined living, relapse is inevitable. This time around, the condition may be worse.

When the evil spirit arrives the second time and finds the house swept clean and put in order.  It departs and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself.  And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.  (Cf Luke 11: 24 - 26).

The Alcoholic Anonymous has great understanding of this dynamics through decades of working with alcoholics.

Let us never underestimate the power of faith and prayer in dealing with all types of demonic infiltrations and substance abuse and addictions.

"O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption, look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters, that those who believe in Christ may receive true freedom and an everlasting inheritance.
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, Monday 23rd Week in Ordinary Time).

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ask, Seek, Knock and Receive. The Church trusts the Promise of Jesus.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  (Luke 11: 9).

The Gospel this Thursday, October 11 contains the most important and beautiful promise of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Church believes absolutely in the Promise of Ask, Seek, Knock and Receive. How do I know?  Because in the prayers of the Church in Sacred Liturgy, you see the Church constantly reminding Jesus of this promise.  Do not hesitate in imitating the Church in your own prayers.

"For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?  Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?" (Luke 11: 10-12).

Abba Father is a most loving Father.  How can He give us something that will hurt us when He invites us to pray with expectant faith?

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  "Luke 11: 13).

We are distracted by many things, our moods change quickly. Last but not the least, we are profoundly selfish.  But because God has planted into our being parental instinct, we know how to give good gifts to our children. 

Ask the Father of mercy and God of all consolation the best of all gifts: the Holy Spirit!  He will give you instantly. This is the experience in all Christian traditions.  Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals have all experienced the Holy Spirit and His love and power.  The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Your Kingdom come.

“When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
(Luke 11: 2 - 4).

Our Gospel today is the Lucan version of the Lord's Prayer.  Let us reflect on the petition:
"Your Kingdom come." (Luke 11: 2).

We noted that Jesus has a magnificent obsession for the Kingdom.  He used the term more than any other in the Gospel.  After the Resurrection, it appeared that He spoke of nothing else but the Kingdom.

"Until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.  He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God." (Acts 1: 2 - 3).

What is the Kingdom?
The Kingdom is the reign of the King [God] in the hearts and minds of men and women in the world.  The seed of the Kingdom is the Church.

"Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to "know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven". For those who stay "outside", everything remains enigmatic," teaches the Church (CCC 546).

People who are searching for shortcut to the fulfilled life, the abundant life, Jesus gives this formula:
"Make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life, and all these things will be given to you as well."
(Matthew 6: 33 NTE).

Monday, October 08, 2018

How did the Church become so distracted?

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” (Luke 10: 40).

Is Martha the symbol of a Church distracted by many things? The compromising Church? Too busy to sit still and listen?

"She [Martha] had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak."  (Luke 10: 39).

How did the Church today got to be burdened by many distractions?  The Church that works and not prays is a weak Church.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10: 41 - 42).

I know a couple that spent countless hours running between food banks and homeless shelters but too busy to pray.  They were praised by the priest at a Sunday Mass for their exemplary conduct. A few months later, they were burned out and stopped coming to Church.  Prayer is a vital necessity.

Anxious and distracted Church reminds us of the Parable of the Sower:  "The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit."  (Matthew 13: 22).

Mary has intuited the Sacrament of the Present Moment.  The Power of the Now!

The Church teaches:
"Prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God."  (CCC 2725).

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Where is your steadfastness and loyalty?

"I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel, not that there is another.  (Galatians 1: 6)

The reflections today is from the first Reading on Monday, 27th Week of Ordinary Time.  The Scripture is full of succulent meat.  If your ministry is in the field of evangelization/catechesis, you would certainly have experienced Paul's frustration in Galatians 1: 6.  You stamp your feet on the ground and ask:  Where has loyalty gone?

The answer is plain.  You work hard during the day and sow good seeds.  At midnight, the enemy sneaks in and sows weed.
"But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1: 7).

Salvation cost Jesus His life. Sometimes, you need to pull out the dagger for a hand to hand spiritual combat.  Paul never hesitates.  So does Peter, James and the other Apostles.
Perversion of the truth of Revelation is the worst possible crime.
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!"  (Galatians 1: 8 - 9).

Why do people compromise or soften the truth of the Gospel? To make quick and easy converts?  They never last. Don't curry favors.  If you are real, they will treat you like they treated Jesus.

"Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ."  (Galatians 1: 10).

If necessary, be prepared to give proof of your authenticity.
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.  For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ."  (Galatians 1: 11- 12).