Saturday, December 15, 2018

Be satisfied with your wages.

"The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?”
He said to some in reply:....
"Be satisfied with your wages.”  (Luke 3: 10, 14).

What you have here is Good News to rejoice your heart and bring you peace on the subject of money.  Let us try to unpack it by stepping aside and allow Scripture to speak.

"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).

Do you trust that God will fully provide for you come what may? If you do, you should live in the truth below:

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."   (Philippians 4: 6 - 7).

The word of God has warnings for the lover of money:

"Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income."  (Ecclesiastes 5: 10 NIV).

What does it profit you to be a billionaire at the cost of losing eternal life?

"For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains." (1 Timothy 6: 10).

Because the Lord always provides for His own, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near." (Philippians 4: 4 - 5).

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lead me. Guide me. Teach me.

"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.  If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea."  (Isaiah 48: 17 - 18).

O Lord, my Redeemer and Savior, lead me, guide me and teach me.  I have wandered most of my life and learned nothing useful. Now I want to be docile to You.  I will bend my heart to your commandments. I desire your promised prosperity.
You promised that those who follow you will have the light of life.  Yes Lord, I will follow you.

You promised that those who delight in Your word will be like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever they do, prosper.  Lord God, I delight in Your word, let it be done to me according to Your word. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Some men are born great. Some achieve greatness.

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist." 
(Matthew 11: 11).

John the Baptist like the Blessed Virgin Mary was chosen from the womb and sanctified for his lofty ministry.  Son of the priest Zechariah and Elizabeth, John had a comfortable career lined up for him by inheritance.  He did not allow this to distract him from his predestined vocation:  "Prepare the way of the Lord."  Speaking of "distraction", why did John chose the lifestyle he embraced? He lived in the desert, cultivated his food, made his clothes, etc.  St John the Baptist saw his mission as unique and critical to the success of the Mission of the Redeemer.  For him, no compromise, no distraction would be tolerated.

As we head to the last two weeks of Advent, let us savor the consolation of the Scriptures from the first Reading today.

"I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” Fear not, O worm Jacob, O maggot Israel; I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel."  (Isaiah 41: 13 - 14).

Our gracious and merciful God kept this promise to John the Baptizer to the very end of his life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

They will be my people.

"Sing and rejoice, daughter Zion! Now, I am coming to dwell in your midst—oracle of the Lord.  Many nations will bind themselves to the Lord on that day. They will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst. Then you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you." (Zechariah 2: 14 - 16).

The Scripture above from the Prophet Zechariah seems made for the feast we celebrate today in the Church in the Americas:  Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.  The Blessed Virgin Mary was sent by her Son to evangelize the people of Mexico. She appeared to St Juan Diego in 1531.  From this encounter, several millions were baptized in a few years. The Mexicans renounced human sacrifice. They became evangelists of the faith all over S. America and the United States of America.

Incredible fulfillment of what Zechariah wrote:  "Many nations will bind themselves to the Lord on that day. They will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst. Then you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you." (Zechariah 2: 14 - 16).

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico City attracts millions of pilgrims yearly.  Pilgrimage to this Shrine is one of my wishlist. I have a consolation price however. I visited a replica of the Shrine in Port Arthur, Texas some years ago.  Two pictures from that visit  hang on my wall.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus."  (Luke 1: 30 - 31).

Monday, December 10, 2018

Jesus rejoices over one repentant sinner.

"What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray..... And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost."  (Matthew 18: 12 - 14).

Heaven rejoices over one repentant sinner.  In Heaven,  Every vote for Jesus counts.  Sadly, I did not figure this out.

Many years ago, I was asked to teach Young Adults Confirmation Class.  I prepared assiduously for it for a couple of months.  On the first day of class, I was excited.  Then the surprise.  There was just one candidate.  I engaged the young man for the the planned two hours.  I had taught the same class for some years. Why was I not told that there would be only one candidate.
To make a long story short, I told the director that I could not continue.

A couple of Sunday after this, a lady met me after Mass and said:  "I am Patrick's mother. I worked so hard to persuade my son to attend the Confirmation class. Now it is all for nothing."

Some time after this, I heard the reproach of the Master Himself from the Altar:  "In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!"  (Luke 15: 7).

I confessed my sin and promised Jesus that in future, I will teach just one person, minister to one person. If every vote counts for the politician, and every dollar for the merchant, one soul should count for me.

"Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated."  (Isaiah 40: 1).

Send Your Holy Spirit upon us O Lord to give us the courage to spread the Good News of Your burning love for us.  Amen.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

As for you, your sins are forgiven.

“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”  (Luke 15: 20).

Before Jesus healed the paralytic man who was lowered from the roof, He forgave his sins.  The healing of the paralytic is part of the healing ministry of Jesus which we read in the first Reading today:

"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing.  (Isaiah 35: 5 - 6).

The Readings today are meant to prepare our hearts for Advent and the joys of Christmas.

"It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk."  (Isaiah 35: 9 - 10).

A good examination of conscience and Reconciliation can bring healing to our minds, souls and hopefully body and deliver peace and joy for Christmas and beyond.

"Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; declare it to the distant lands:
Behold, our Savior will come; you need no longer fear."  (Cf. Jeremiah 31: 10; Isaiah 35: 4).