Saturday, December 29, 2018

Imitating the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

"The shepherds went in haste,
and found Mary and Joseph and the Infant lying in a manger."  (Luke 2: 16).

Today is the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

We celebrate the shining example of family peace, love and harmony the last Sunday of the year.  Why do we celebrate this feast? So that we may imitate and practice the virtues of family life so richly portrayed in this family.  We may be sure that this family observes the first rule of family togetherness and charity: "A family that prays together stays together."  Now that you have been reminded of this heavenly wisdom, blessed are you if you do it.

"God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them."  (Sirach 3: 2).

Blessed is the one who teaches his children this golden rule.

"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." 
(Colossians 3: 15, 16).

Friday, December 28, 2018

Good has fulfilled His big Promise.

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled."  (Luke 2: 29).

Who spoke this famous words which the Church uses in its nightly prayer?  His name is Simeon and his profile by Luke the Evangelist is below:

"Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God."  (Luke 2: 25 - 28).

Simeon is an old prophet who is righteous, devout and had waited for the coming of Christ with unflinching constancy. No wonder he was a good friend of the Holy Spirit who is mentioned 3 times in the short passage above.  Simeon is famous for his accurate prediction of the role of Mary in salvation history:

“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  (Luke 2: 34 - 35).

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple brings together in one holy place important Bible characters: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Simeon and Anna.
God fulfills His word in His own way and His own time.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Who are the Holy Innocents?

“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”  (Matthew 2: 13).

December 28th is the Feast of the Holy Innocents.  These are about 20 babies whom Herod slaughtered in an effort to kill the the Infant Jesus.

"The innocents were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb, and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord."  (Entrance Antiphon).

"[Herod] ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under." (Matthew 2: 16).

Consider this: Even after the heinous infanticide of Herod, God is prepared to forgive him completely if he acknowledged his sin and asked for mercy.
"If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing."  (1 John 1: 9).

No sin is too great to be unpardonable.
"But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.  He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world." (1 John 2: 1 - 2).

"We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the white-robed army of martyrs praise you."  (Cf Te Deum).

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist.

"This is John, who reclined on the Lord’s breast at supper,
the blessed Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed
and who spread the words of life through all the world."  (Entrance Antiphon).

Today is the feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist. John penned the 4th Gospel, 3 New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation.

John gives us the eye-witness account of the majestic mystery that is Jesus Christ, the Word of life:

"What was from the beginning,
what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life." (1 John 1: 1).

He waxes stronger: 
"What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1: 3).

Christmas is a good time to commit fully to Jesus Christ so that your fellowship with us will be complete.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Feast of St Stephen, the first martyr.

"You will be hated by all because of my name." 
(Matthew 10: 22).

December 26th, a day after Christmas is the feast of St Stephen, the 1st martyr of the Christian Era.

We still have 3 full weeks of the Christmas season. A season of festivities, rich food and choice wines, music and merry making.  Why spoil the fun with a gory story of bloody and cruel killing?  Is it because birth and death are opposite sides of the same coin?  Listen to the Book of Ecclesiastes:
"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die."  (Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 2).

Jesus Christ promised His followers that "You will be hated by all because of my name."   (Matthew 10: 22).

Stephen was the first disciple to bear witness. The word witness in Greek means martyr.
Who is Stephen?  His profile is Christ-like:
"Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people."  (Acts 6: 8).

He [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  (Acts 7: 55).

What can we learn from the life of St Stephen?
#1.  There is a price to pay in honest and genuine Christian life.
#2.  Nobody can live this life without the help of the promised Paraclete (Helper).
#3.  Jesus Christ is the "true and faithful witness."  He leads by word and example.  He fulfills every promise He makes.

So do not be afraid....
"When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say."  (Matthew 10: 19).

Jesus Christ will be the rock of refuge, a stronghold to save you.  He will always be your rock and fortress.  Trust in His holy and powerful name. (Cf Psalm 31: 3 - 4).

Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Birthday Jesus!

  “Your God is King!”  (Isaiah 52: 7).

Happy Birthday O Emmanuel! We celebrate today the wondrous mystery of Your Incarnation, God born Man in the tiny village of Bethlehem. You did not disdain to be born of Your Virgin Mother.  You became God-with-us, God-in-us and God-for-us.

My friends, today is the day we have been waiting for.

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news,
Announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation." (Isaiah 52: 7).

Now, let us celebrate!
"With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout with joy to the King, the Lord." (Psalm 98: 6).

SeekFirst Community wishes you and your family and friends a very joyful and holy Christmas.  We pray you will receive Jesus, the Child God who is our King with great joy.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

God will fulfill every promise He makes.

"Behold, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son into the world."
(Cf. Galatians 4: 4).

The Church exalts in the truth of God's faithfulness in the proclaimed word today:
"Behold, everything is fulfilled which the angel promised to the Virgin Mary."  (Antiphon to the Benedictus on the 4th Sunday of Advent).

The 2nd Reading today lists some of the promises of God to King David (2 Samuel 9 - 16).  Behold everything is fulfilled which God promised to David:

"And I will make your name like that of the greatest on earth......
I will not withdraw my favor from him as I withdrew it from Saul who was before you.  Your house and your kingdom are firm forever before me; your throne shall be firmly established forever."  (2 Samuel 9 - 16).

My friends, behold everything will be fulfilled which God promises you.  Let us chant our Yes and Amen and gratitude with the Psalm below:

"The favors of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. For you have said, “My kindness is established forever;” in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness."  (Psalm 89: 2 - 3).

This too God has fulfilled.
"Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant."  (Luke 1:  70 - 72).

"O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal ligt, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death."