Saturday, November 10, 2018

Who are the Anawim ?

[Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.  Many rich people put in large sums."  (Mark 12: 41)

"A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents."  (Mark 12: 43).

The Scripture of this Sunday,(1 Kings, Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel) focuses on the Anawim.   Who are the Anawim?  These are “the poor who depend on the Lord for deliverance.”  For survival! The Responsorial Psalm spells out who belong to this class:

"The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts....The LORD gives sight to the blind.  The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; The LORD loves the just.  The LORD protects strangers. " (Psalm 146: 7, 8 - 9 ).

"Elijah said to the widow of Zarephath , “Do not be afraid."  A familiar phrase of Jesus. God would provide fully for her and her son until the end of the drought.
"For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth." (1 Kings 17: 14).

What are we to make of today's message of the Holy Spirit on the Anawim?  A number of lessons come to mind:

#1. Do not forget the Anawim. They are special to Me.
#2.  I am a God who keeps faith forever.
#3.  Nobody can out do Me in generosity.
#4.  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 3).
#5.  I am the Good Shepherd of all Mankind. It is not from chance your comfort springs. It is from My gracious ordaining.

Brothers and sisters, make a place for the Anawim in your heart and it shall be well with you.

Friday, November 09, 2018

If you know these truths about money, you will be blessed.

"No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”  (Luke 16:  13).

I need to hear the deep truths of the first Reading and the Gospel of today on money on my knees every day.  May God give us spiritual understanding and faith in these great teachings.  Help us to stand firm in these truths O Lord so that we may
know the protection of lasting peace.

Are you worried about money? Most of us are.  For many, money means security.  A word of wisdom says that "Man's security is Satan's opportunity."
Your extremity about money, not anxiety may often be God's opportunity to penetrate your mind and heart with healing truths on God's plan for your provision.

Whatever your life situation brothers and sisters, "Keep your lives free from love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never leave you, I will never abandon you'" (Hebrews 13:5).

For years, I have made the Scripture below my shortcut to the good life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

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

The appropriation of the divine promise in Matthew 6: 33 depends on obedience to the command in Matthew 6: 34.

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

God can never supply you the bread you will eat on November 10, 2020 today because you ask and are very anxious about it.

Even the great Teacher and Apostle Paul had to learn a few lessons on God's radical faithfulness in providing our needs:
"I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances.  I know also how to live with abundance."
(Philippians 4: 12).

In a few words, that is the lesson of Times and Seasons in God's order and governance of the world.
"In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need."   (Philippians 4: 12).

When you have learned the lesson well, you can dance for joy and exclaim:
"I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."  (Philippians 4:   13).

Today is the Feast of a giant amongst priests:  St Leo the Great - Pope, Church Father and Doctor of the Church.
St Leo pray for us.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

You are God’s Building.

"I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared like a bride adorned for her husband."  (Cf Revelation 21: 2).

The Church celebrates today the Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran, the Cathedral of Popes.  The beautiful readings in the Liturgy teaches us of the nature and destiny of the Church.  God chose to foreshadow for us
the heavenly Jerusalem
through the sign of His Church on earth and He calls His Church the Bride.  We the Bride are living and chosen stones from which God prepares an eternal dwelling for Himself.

Brothers and sisters, "You are God’s building." (1 Corinthians 3: 9).  And God is the wise Master Builder.  We are also the Temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
(1 Corinthians 3: 16).

Therefore beloved 1 Pt 2: 5
"Be built up like living stones,
into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood."  (1 Peter 2: 5).

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

There is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner.

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."  (Luke 15: 7).

The Pharisees and the scribes were jealous because tax collectors and sinners were soaking up every word of the teaching of Jesus.  Their complaint was the occasion for the parable of the the Lost Sheep.  The politician understands that one vote counts.  Jesus is teaching the same lesson to His disciples.  One lost sinner is precious in the eyes of God.

There are so many lost sheep everywhere today. How do we help them to come home?  Consider the 7  Spiritual Works of Mercy:

1.Instruct the ignorant.
2.Counsel the doubtful.
3.Admonish sinners.
4.Bear wrongs patiently.
5.Forgive offences willingly.
6.Comfort the afflicted.
7.Pray for the living and the dead.

Ignorance is probably the key reason for people's alienation from God.  The truths below attest to this:

#1. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  (St Jerome).
#2.  "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations." (CCC 2087).
#3.  Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God."  (Matthew 22: 29).
#4. "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief."  (1 Timothy 1: 13).
#5. "Ignorance nourishes vices and is the mother of all errors"
(St Isidore of Seville).
#6. "Brothers and sisters, I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;  darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart." (Ephesians 4: 17 - 18).

The New Evangelization is an ambitious program for lay people to evangelize, catechize and sacramentalize the lost sheep.   The first 3 Spiritual Works of Mercy is a good place to start:
1.Instruct the ignorant.
2.Counsel the doubtful.
3.Admonish sinners.

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."  (Luke 15: 7).

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The truth shall make you free and wise.

"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."  (Luke 14: 27).

One thing is absolutely certain in the economy of salvation: Cross, Cross Cross!  Once you understand this truth, you can now enjoy the Journey of Faith.

Your cross might be health or tough love with regard to family or people you call friends. Are you called to renounce all your possessions?  Or to take a vow of celibacy or to the single life or infertility in conjugal union? Whatever is your sweet yoke, the word of God is most comforting in these verses:
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work."
(Philippians 2: 12 - 13).

After you are blessed with the understanding and acceptance of the truth, the Divine Scriptures encourage you every day to:
"Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!"  (Psalm 27: 14).

If you have absolute confidence in the promises of Jesus, those who are waiting for you to fail will never say:
"This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish."  (Luke 14:  30).

Monday, November 05, 2018

They sold their inheritance for a bowl of soup.

 "Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame." (Luke 14: 21).

Jesus was a guest at a dinner when He told the parable of guests invited to a sumptuous dinner by a man. That man is Jesus. That dinner is the Wedding of the Lamb.  Those invited were His friends, the baptized and supposedly redeemed.  Listen to their excuses for turning down the invitation:

"I have purchased a field and must go to examine it.... And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them... ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come."  (Luke 14: 18 - 20).

Tell me if you are this King, what would you do?  Unfortunately, this parable plays out Sunday after Sunday across the world where the Prince of Peace summons His friends to the Eucharistic Feast and the invited guests turn down the invitation.

The judgment on the foolish guests is understandably severe.  Like Esau, they sold their inheritance for a bowl of soup. (Cf Genesis 25: 29 - 34).
"For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner."  (Luke 14: 24).

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Weep my beloved Church!

"Complete my joy brothers and sisters by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing."  (Philippians 2: 2).

Church unity had been a big heartache for Peter and Paul and for all the successors of the  Fisherman throughout the centuries.  In 1054, there appeared a major crack in the unity of the Church between the Western and the Eastern Church.

Today's first Reading addresses the principal causes of Church disunity:
"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,  each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others."  (Philippians 2: 3 - 4).

The Lord Jesus left us in the Eucharist, Sacrament and Symbol of unity.
In the middle of the 16th century, the Church was splintered into Protestant and Catholic entities.  The Catholic Church representing the ancient Church and the Protestant branch further splintering to today's estimated 60,000 units.

The whole of the New Testament is full of shrill call for unity and warnings and anathemas against agents of disunity.  Paul warned the Roman Christians to put their house in order  "so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."  (Romans 15: 6).

"All the believers were one in heart and mind."  (Acts 4: 32).
This is the will of God for the Church.

The night before He died, Jesus prayed passionately to His Father:
"That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."  (John 17: 21).

Brothers and sisters, pray for Church unity every day.