Saturday, October 27, 2018

Man's extremity is God's opportunity.

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” (Mark 10: 47).

This is the desperate cry of a blind man called Bartimaeus.  First lesson in today's Gospel:
#1.  "Man's extremity is God's opportunity.  Man's security is Satan's opportunity."

Jesus who encourages Bartimaeus to step forward to his presence asks him:
“What do you want me to do for you?”  (Mark 10: 51).

#2.  When you are in a court filled with a crowd of hostile jury, realize that your only hope is the mercy of God.  Don't beat about the bush.  You have a few seconds, allowed a few words to state your case.
"Jesus is calling you." (Mark 10: 49).  So far, so good for Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus who had waited for this opportunity since the day he heard the story of Jesus and His miracles from his family had rehearsed what to do when the opportunity presents itself:
“Master, I want to see.”  (Mark 10: 51).

The ever merciful Jesus never redeems in halves. With Him is always full redemption:
“Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."  (Mark 10: 52).

It is possible that the fortunate Bartimaeus ended up being a Bishop in the early Church.

Hand over your extremities to Jesus and see what happens.

Friday, October 26, 2018

We are builders and living stones of God's House.

"Brothers and sisters: Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift."  (Ephesians 4: 7).

Christ gives us grace to build up the Church, His Body.
"Some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers."   And also the numerous ministries that serve the People of God.
(Ephesians 4: 11).

Just as  building a family home or a Cathedral needs the skills of carpenters, roofers, electricians, plumbers, architects, construction managers, etc so does the building the Church, the House of the Living God.  The Church is a spiritual House where each of us is both builder and living stone.

We are building a strong fortress to combat the evils of this age principally fake news.  But also "every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming." 
(Ephesians 4: 14).

Therefore "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes."  (Ephesians 6: 10 - 11).

Thursday, October 25, 2018

What can God do about the present state of the world?

"Jesus also said to the crowds, “When you see cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain—and so it does;  and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is."  (Luke 12: 54 - 56).

Jesus calls us hypocrites in today's Gospel for pretending that we do not notice that the world is changing rapidly and radically around us. St Augustine in his epochal prodigious work, THE CITY OF GOD expounds a Theology of History.   In summary:  Once upon a time, Rome was master of the world.  After over 500 years of continuous power, the warning signs of decay was everywhere. People decided to ignore it.  One day, the empire collapsed and tumbled down. For the next 100 years or so, the grief stricken Romans blamed Christianity for the tragedy. Since Rome fell in 407 AD, no world event similar to it has occurred.

Now we are at an inflexion point in history.  We do not have any empires today.  Are we going to witness the collapse of Christianity during our lifetime?  Pray to be open to see the Signs of the Times.  God entered a Covenant with the Israelites and they were unfaithful. Prophets after prophets warned them to come back to God.  They refused.   Their response to the prophets:  "Your message is extreme. God could never possibly do what you are saying."  One day, the northern kingdom was sent into exile and never heard of again.  In 70 AD, Rome destroyed the southern kingdom and scattered the remaining population all over the world.  In 1948, the state of Israel was formed. Today, the population of Israel is less than 3 million, a shadow of its former self.  Nothing is impossible for God.

"You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"  (Luke 12: 56).

Times and Seasons are God’s Appointment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

I pleaded and the Spirit of Wisdom was given to me.

Paul prays that God "may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self."  (Ephesians 3: 16).

What do you know about the Holy and Awesome Spirit?  At  the lowest point in my life, a true, reliable and credible person told me that all that I "needed is the Holy Spirit."  Although I did not see how a holy spirit could resolve all the urgent and real world issues that I faced at the time, I listened because of the authenticity of the witness.  At a book fair a couple of months earlier, I purchased a hefty book with the unglamorous title "HOLY SPIRIT" and left it in my book case to gather dust.  Call it coincidence or Providence.

After the encounter with destiny that I label today:  "All you need is the Holy Spirit", I devoured the Holy Spirit book. About ten years prior to this event, I invested heavily in self development literature of the kind of: THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON, HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, THINK AND GROW RICH, etc.
I discovered that the HOLY SPIRIT book promises everything the popular psychology literature is selling.  The self development literature genre is still very popular today and sells $ billions every year.  People are searching for meaning, peace and happiness but are looking in the wrong places.

After reading the HOLY SPIRIT, I made a 9-day Novena.  On the 9th and final day, I followed to the letter the instructions of the slim booklet I bought for the Novena.  VoilĂ !  That was how the Holy Spirit which I received in Confirmation as a careless teenager was activated in me.

Paul continued to pray for the Ephesians "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." (Ephesians 3: 17).  This reminded me of what happened to me after the Holy Spirit Novena. I declared by faith that I had received the Holy Spirit.  It was confirmed minutes later from a text from the Book of Wisdom:
"I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me."  (Wisdom 7: 7).

I have never doubted this experience.  After the encounter with the Holy Spirit, I was filled with incredible joy and peace that lasted for months. I thought it would last forever.  Peter asked Jesus to allow them stay on the Mount of Transfiguration forever. It never happened.  There is work to be done.  (Matthew 17: 4).

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Has the Lord entrusted you with much?

"When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."  (Luke 12: 48).

Has the Lord entrusted you with any ministry?  St Paul was very proud to say:
"You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit." (Ephesians 3: 2).
Who would blame Paul for crowing about his promotion.  He is promoted to serve the King of the Universe in a high position.

No matter what your ministry is, you also have been called to serve Jesus in His Church using the gifts He has given you. Like St Paul you will depend entirely on Jesus for the high fidelity expected of the mission.

"God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation." 
(Isaiah 12: 2 - 3).

To succeed, you must be vigilant and pray constantly. Also:
"Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come."  (Matthew 24: 42, 44).

But should you fail, God forbid,  your delinquency will provoke the humiliation of seeing the Redeemer relieving you of your duties and completing the task Himself.

"I will pasture My sheep; I Myself will give them rest, says the Lord." (Ezekiel 34: 15).

Monday, October 22, 2018

Come Lord Jesus

 “Gird your loins and light your lamps  and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks."  (Luke 12: 35 - 36).

It is easy to see that the master here is Jesus Christ and the master's return from the wedding the Second Coming of Jesus or the end of your life which may occur suddenly without warning.

If you are ready when He knocks on your door, He will be very pleased and serve you.  Should He delay His coming which is probable in most cases, He expects you to open the door at the first knock.  Are you ready? How do you wait for Jesus?

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21: 36).

A Christian who does not give time to prayer as a minimum is not ready to meet Jesus.

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

Come Lord Jesus!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Make much money and retire in luxury.

"Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”  (Luke 12: 19).

These are the words of the foolish rich man whose land produced abundant harvest.  He did not know the source of his blessings.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1: 17).  No wonder thanksgiving was far from his mind. We live at a time when many people pursue recklessly the mammon of this world through relentless and punishing overwork, lottery and gambling.  What is the end game? To make much money rapidly and then retire in a fairytale island and live like King Louis XIV forever.

O foolish man, who believes he can outsmart the strict unbending law of Divine Providence, listen to the word of God:
"You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?"
(Luke 12: 20).

What do you make of these divine injunctions?
#1. Gather the manna you need for one day.  The next day, I the Lord Your God will supply fresh manna for the new day. (Cf Exodus 16: 21 - 35).

#2. "Give us today the food we need."  (Matthew 6: 11).

#3.  "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."  (Matthew 6 : 34).

Do not allow wealth to be a snare for you.  Rather put your wealth in trusting God's promises. Not even a single one of them has failed.