Saturday, October 20, 2018

By His wounds, many shall be healed.

"Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear." 
(Isaiah 53: 11).

When you hear "Christ the Redeemer", what comes to your mind?  The type and shadow of our Redemption was shown in various places in the Old Testament.  Example: Exodus and here in the Book of Numbers:
"The Lord said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover."  (Numbers 21: 8 - 9).

Our sins would cause severe suffering to the Suffering Servant of God.  Our sins will also cause us to be severely bitten by the punishing serpents.  But God will not abandon us.  When we cry out to God, He will come to our aid.

"And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”  (John 12: 32).

God sent His Son born of woman to redeem us from sin and the effects of sin.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin."  (Hebrews 4: 15).

Our redemption and salvation is great gift of mercy from God.  What is your response?
Look at the image of Christ on the Cross and:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Thank You Jesus.  By Your stripes I am healed. (Isaiah 53: 5).

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Holy Spirit is the Voice that speaks in court.

"The holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”  (Luke 12: 12).

If I have not personally experienced this promise several times in my life, I may hesitate in believing it.  In truth, I started experiencing the guidance of the Holy Spirit long before I considered myself a committed Christian.

Here is one example.
#1.  On a Saturday night in college, I was attacked by a mob of a fraternity cult.  They threw a broken bottle on me which cut my tendon.  Charges were filed and the cult was put on trial by the university court.  It appeared that all the members of the court from the Law faculty were ex members of one fraternity or the other.  Very soon, I was treated as the culprit instead of the plaintiff.  At one point, very angry, I turned and faced the lawyers and said:  "There is no basis in law for what you have said."  That was all that I said. You could have heard a pin drop in the room.  To make a long story short, the cult was proscribed and I was paid damages.  Where did my words come from?  I know today.  From the Holy Spirit, the Voice that speaks in court. 

There is no space here for more examples but I have enjoyed regularly this sweet interventions of the Awesome Spirit.  Later when I got to know the Holy Spirit, I try to invoke His help in everything I do. My favorite prayer to the Holy Spirit is the Veni Sancte Spiritu (Come Holy Spirit...).

"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be recreated
--And You will renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray:
O God, Who did instruct the hearts of Your faithful people by the Light of Your Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Forget your foolish fears.

"Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.  Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows."  (Luke 12: 6 - 7).

How many times do we find the injunction:  "Do not be afraid" in the Bible? A cursory search gives 350 times. While this may not be exact, it is enough to demonstrate that we are too fearful and that God is deeply concerned about our foolish fears.  On one occasion, the People of God were so fearful about their future and accused God of having forsaken them. God's defense is one of the most tender words you can read anywhere:

"But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget, I will never forget you."  (Isaiah 49: 14 - 15).

Even if it were possible for a rogue mother to cast away her child, it is impossible for God to do that.  In today's Scripture, Jesus says that God is concerned about one sparrow which costs less than one penny.  His providential care for us notices every hair on our head. 

Yet in spite of such assurances, our life is full of worry.  Worry about health, family, job, possessions, etc.  In the Scripture from Hebrews, God gives us the killer word on worry about money:
"Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”  Thus we may say with confidence:
“The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?” (Hebrews 13: 5 - 6).

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."  (Cf Psalm 95: 8)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

St Luke is the beautiful feet on the road bringing the Good News.

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him
who brings glad tidings of peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation!"
(Isaiah 52: 7).

Those beautiful feet upon the mountains are the feet of St Luke the Evangelist whose feast we celebrate today. St Luke abandoned his profession as a medical doctor to become an Evangelist of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He wrote two books in the New Testament, the Gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles, an inspired and reliable history of the early Church.

St Luke besides being a faithful and true chronicler of the events in his books has a character that appeals to me very much.  He is reliable!
"Luke is the only one with me," says Paul after listing the people who abandoned him. (2 Timothy 4: 11).
This may be why God  chose Luke "to reveal by his preaching and writings
the mystery of your love for the poor."

The core of the message of St Luke is that magnificent obsession of Jesus the Christ:
"The Lord sent out disciples to proclaim throughout the towns: The kingdom of God is at hand for you."  (Cf Luke 10: 1, 9).  Through our words and works we can propagate the glorious splendor of God's Kingdom. Making known to men God's love, justice and might.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

St Ignatius of Antioch was filled with the Holy Spirit.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."   (Galatians 5: 22 - 23).

The above Scripture paints the image of Jesus Christ who is filled with the Holy Spirit. It portrays also St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, Martyr and Father of the Church.  (35 - 108 AD).
St Ignatius of Antioch was the first to use the word "Catholic" to describe the universal Church.  In letters he wrote on his way to Rome for his martyrdom under Emperor Trajan, Ignatius affirmed unequivocally the hierarchical nature of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Below is one of his famous quotes:

"I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire."  (St Ignatius of Antioch).

In the Liturgy celebrating his life today, the Church uses one of his famous quotes:
"I am the wheat of Christ to be ground by the teeth of beasts,
that I may be found to be pure bread."  (Communion Antiphon).

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit."
(Galatians 5: 25).

Monday, October 15, 2018

Where is the victorious living?

"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law."  (Galatians 5: 1).

Free from fears, worries and doubts.

I believe the Scriptures that Christ has set us free through His redemptive death. Why don't I feel this freedom and victory always in my life?  The Letter to the Galatians teaches that we appropriate this freedom by faith. When I am attacked by fear, worry or doubt, I declare by faith that Christ has set me free.  I walk by faith and not by sight or feeling.

What is the pathway to this freedom? Through the Spirit, we pray to receive the mercy and grace that we need.  Therefore the pathway to victory and freedom is prayer, grace and mercy.

"For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness."  (Galatians 5:5).

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Sign of Jonah.

"Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation."  (Luke 11: 30).

Jesus is a Sign to our generation.  Today is the Memorial of St Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.  She was a bright sign to her generation. Of her the Church prays  "that we may always be nourished by the food of her heavenly teaching and fired with longing for true holiness."

What does it mean that Jonah is a sign to the Ninevites?  A sign points to a significant post or event in the horizon. Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale. It points to the 3 days Jesus was to stay in the grave.

Other important signs in the Scriptures are:
#1. Sabbath / Sunday (Ezekiel 20: 12, 20: 20).  It points to the Resurrection of Jesus and the permanent Day of Rest which is a rehearsal for Eternal life.
#2 "Between me and the Israelites it is to be an everlasting sign; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day he rested at his ease."  (Exodus 31: 17).

Scripture urges us not to forget "our ancient landmarks."
(Proverbs 22: 28). These are wonderful Signs that God scatters along our Journey of Faith.  These landmarks in our Timeline give us great confidence and consolation in a period of desolation and depression. 

St Teresa of Avila left us one such precious gem from her life.

"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila).