Saturday, December 08, 2018

Prepare your heart for the Lord.

"I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1: 6).

This Sunday, we reflect a bit on the profile of a true and faithful witness. This person was called to ministry before the foundation of the world, sanctified in the womb, preserved from the corruption of society and at the right moment paid the full price for his calling. His name is John the Baptist.  God who began a good work in John was faithful and brought it to a splendid completion.  May the ever faithful God bring the good work He started in you and me to an excellent completion.

"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths"  (Luke 3: 4).

Brothers and sisters, this is the holy task laid before us this Advent.  Although today is the second Week of Advent, it is not too late to get on board.
How do you prepare the way of the Lord? Exactly the way you prepare yourself for the Coming of Jesus:  Increased prayer, more word of God, more Eucharist during the week.  Good examination of conscience and Reconciliation are of paramount importance.  A house that is untidy and smelly is a gross insult to the King of kings.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy.
Those who go forth weeping,
carrying sacks of seed, will return with cries of joy,
carrying their bundled sheaves."  (Psalm 126: 5 - 6).
Those who prepare the way of the Lord by preparing their hearts will be surprised by the delights of the Lord and will sing:
"The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy." (Psalm 126: 2 - 3).

Friday, December 07, 2018

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. (Ephesians 1: 3 - 4).

Mary was chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish as the Mother of the Son of God.
The Church all over the world rejoice with Mary on the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception, today December 8th.

When the Archangel Gabriel told Mary the astonishing news of the Incarnation, she said:  “How can this be..... And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you... "  (Luke 1: 34 - 35).  No problem said Gabriel. The Holy Spirit will do the job.  I will like to remember this whenever God is asking me to do what I consider impossible.  God also hastened to reassure Mary and strengthen her faith:

"Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;  for nothing will be impossible for God.”  (Luke 1: 36 - 37).

Do you notice:  "nothing will be impossible for God?” This is a word of God we should never forget.

I like Mary's humble response:  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”   (Luke 1: 38).

Let us join the Choir of Heaven and  "Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done marvelous deeds" for us in Mary. (Psalm 98: 1).

Our God has indeed done great things for Mary.
"He has clothed her with a robe of salvation, and wrapped her in a mantle of righteousness, like a bride adorned with her jewels."  (Cf Isaiah 61: 10).

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Lord increase our faith.

"On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a scroll; And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.  The lowly shall again find joy in the Lord, the poorest rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."  (Isaiah 29: 18 -19).

This is a fitting Scripture to honor the life of a big man whose feast we celebrate today:  St Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (337 - 397). The Lord filled St Ambrose with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory. St Ambrose used his immense talent to shine the light of Christ on many souls. One of these souls is St Augustine whose mother, St Monica convinced to meet St Ambrose. The rest is history so to speak.

"And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!”  (Matthew 9: 27).
Never forget that man's necessity is God's opportunity. These two blind men who have hanged out together for some time probably discussed what it would be like to meet this Jesus. Then without warning, it happened.

“Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him."  (Matthew 9: 28).
Sometimes the Lord gives this little test. These two blind friends were ready with the answer.

"Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”  (Matthew 9: 29).

Note carefully what Jesus said to them: “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
An Advent prayer intention could be:  Lord increase my faith.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

December 7th, 2018  -  First Friday in December.

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 12th and last month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #12.

#12. "The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour."

Friends, this is a tremendous promise. Let us thank our Lord Jesus Christ for such a generous offer.  I was once close to death.  My priest came and brought the healing Presence of Jesus in the Last Sacraments.  Whenever I think of Promise #12, I remember that awesome occasion and privilege.

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, December 05, 2018

Where and how do you build your family home?

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock."  (Matthew 7: 24 - 25).

Any architect, building contractor, surveyor would hail the above divine word as absolute truth and common sense.  When I visited a small town near Corpus Christi after a huge hurricane, I realized that common sense is not so common.  There are still many who built their houses on "sand" and expect them to survive hurricanes and cyclones.  The real point of the teaching of Jesus today is about the choices we make that affect our eternal destiny.  In today's Mass Readings, there are no shortage of good advice to help us. Let us sample a few:

"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes." (Psalm 118:  8 - 9).

"A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in you.”  (Isaiah 26:  3).
You can substitute man or woman.

"Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock."  (Isaiah 26: 4).
When you build your life on the Rock that is Jesus, your life will be safe, solid and secure.

"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call him while he is near." (Isaiah 55: 6).
That means Today. You are not guaranteed Tomorrow.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." 
(Matthew 7: 21).
God does not deceive any person and He cannot be deceived. Don't even try it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

What will the Lord provide on this Mountain?

"On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines."  (Isaiah 25: 6).

We see spectacular promises of what awaits us in the New Heaven and the New Earth which in the Gospel is understood as the Kingdom of God in its fullness. The Mountain of the Lord of Hosts will provide rich food and choice wines to the guests.  But there is more:

"He will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken."  (Isaiah 25: 8).

On the Mountain in today's Gospel, Jesus cured the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. (Matthew 15: 30).  Signs pointing to the Messianic Kingdom.

"On the same Mountain, "[Jesus] took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full."  (Matthew 15: 37).  One more Messianic Sign.

The rich food and choice wines of Isaiah and the baskets of bread and fish are types of the Eucharist which will provide sufficient and super satisfying nourishment in the Kingdom of God.

Does this vision seem unrealistic? Not at all! God will fulfill all His promises as Isaiah declared below:

"On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain."  (Isaiah 25:  9 - 10).

Trust in God forever!

Monday, December 03, 2018

It is the Father's gracious will to give you a magnificent Kingdom.

"Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike." (Luke 10: 21).

Abba Father has revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom to the childlike. What are these mysteries?  Since Jesus spoke incessantly about the Kingdom of God in His public ministry, may be these mysteries have to do with the inner workings of the Kingdom.

What do we know about the Kingdom?  The Kingdom is already here and now. The seed of the Kingdom is in the Church.  Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe and we know His Kingdom is everlasting.  Citizens of that Kingdom will be anointed by the Spirit of the LORD: a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and all shall delight in the fear of the Lord.

We know too that in that Kingdom, there will be no death, sickness, wars, hunger, any type of weather catastrophes, etc.  Isaiah captures the perfect peace and serenity that will permeate life in the future Kingdom in these verses:

"Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall graze, together their young shall lie down; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the viper’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
(Isaiah 11: 6 - 10).

When you pray "Thy Kingdom Come!" you understand that
Yes, it is the Father's  gracious will to give us such a wonderful Kingdom.  (Cf Luke 10: 21).

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Go preach the Gospel to all the World.

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you."  (John 15: 16).

Today is the feast of St Francis Xavier (1506 - 1552). St Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus with St Francis Xavier.  Francis heard Jesus calling him through St Ignatius and appointing him to go and bear fruit that will last through St Ignatius. His response to Jesus was most generous.

"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters.  (Psalm 17: 50 ; 21:23 RM).

St Francis traveled to India, Japan and China out of longing for the salvation of souls.  He converted hundreds of thousands of people to Jesus.

Jesus is still calling today:  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." 
(Mark 16: 15).

The Internet and smartphone have made it easy today for everyone to respond to the call of Jesus from your home, work, bus, train, plane. In the park, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.

If you do not create contents like blogs or articles, you can distribute contents. How? You receive a daily scripture verse, you share it with friends, family or co-workers via text, email or Facebook or any of the Social media.  Imagine if your friend shares the same scripture verse with one friend.  In 365 days, you may have enabled over 1000 people to read Scripture and become Internet missionaries.  It is not difficult at all. All you need is to say Yes to Jesus.