Saturday, January 26, 2019

They listened to the word of God from daybreak to midday.

"The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
and to proclaim liberty to captives."  (Cf. Luke 4: 18).

The 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time has a lot of juicy morsels on the word of God.  Luke informs us of "the certainty of the teachings" we receive from the word of God. (Cf Luke 1: 4). In the first Reading, we see the Assembly of the People of Israel wept as they were convicted as Ezra the priest-scribe read the word of God to them from daybreak till midday.

What does the Spirit want to communicate to us about the Bible?  Let us go to the Responsorial Psalm for today taken from Psalm 19:

"Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life."
"The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.

The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.
(PSALM 19:8, 9, 10, 15).

The Response sums up the big take away from the theme of the word of God.
"Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life."

Friday, January 25, 2019

My son, stir into flame the gift of God.

 "I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands."  (2 Timothy 1: 6).

We celebrate today the feast of Saints Timothy and Titus.  Paul describes Timothy as someone who inherited a rich reservoir of faith from his family, notably from his mother and grandmother.  He is a man of "sincere faith." But Timothy is lacking in one necessary thing. He is too timid and too afraid to stand up to the elders.  This is a serious problem for an apostle.  Fortitude or courage is indispensable gift of the Holy Spirit for the Apostle.

Paul set out like a good novice master to correct this serious fault:
"For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control."  (2 Timothy 1: 7).

How much do you know yourself?  If Paul were to write you this letter instead of to Timothy, what would he say to you? For a clue, review the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
1. Wisdom
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

Then ask the Father to grant you the missing ingredient.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

 ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’  I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’ (Acts 22: 7 - 9).

The Church celebrates today the feast of St Paul the Apostle.  Paul who is also evangelist and missionary was chosen and appointed by Jesus Christ Himself to exercise a great influence in the very early Church.  His journey to Damascus in his blind zeal to persecute the followers of Jesus was rudely interrupted by the Lord.

"What shall I do, sir?’ The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do."  (Acts 22: 10).

The compassion and gentleness of Jesus in the above scene is disarming.  A conqueror helping the conquered on the ground to his feet.  Note that this is always God's merciful attitude to the sinner.

"Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’ And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him."  (Acts 22: 13).
Paul was overwhelmed by loving mercy coming to him from Jesus, Ananias and the brethren.

Now Paul is ready to receive his mandate:
"The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;  for you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard."  (Acts 22: 14 - 15).

It does not end there. Every follower of Jesus must be involved in the worldwide evangelization:

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."  (Mark 16: 15 - 16).

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Jesus is always able and willing to save us.

"Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him." (Hebrews 7: 25).

This Scripture empowers us to approach Jesus with tremendous confidence with all our needs.  Whether the need is in the area of health, family, finances, job, tools and possessions, food and future.  Jesus Christ is able and willing always and everywhere to help us. If this is not good news, tell me is.

What is the qualification of Jesus for such an incredible claim?  From the same chapter 8 of Hebrews, our first Reading today, we read:
"We have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up."  (Hebrews 8: 1 - 2).

Friends, let nothing stop you from marshalling your faith and approaching Jesus to get the help you need.  When you come to Jesus for help, remember this:  Surrender when He answers you and how He resolves your problem. Be assured that you will get the very best.

Today is the the feast of a most gentle and most beloved Bishop and Doctor of the Church - St Francis de Sales. He is the patron saint of writers and journalists and everyone in social communications.
St Francis de Sales pray for us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

You are a priest forever.

“You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.”  (Hebrews 7: 17).

Our first Reading from Hebrews celebrates the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.  Some writers see Melchizedek as the pre-incarnation of Jesus. Scripture calls Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He is "without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever."  (Hebrews 7: 3).

Jesus Christ, our eternal High Priest offered Himself once and for all on the Cross for our salvation. (Cf Hebrews 7: 27, 4: 14 - 15). He continues His ministry as Priest in Heaven through intercession.  How about on earth?  The Church has the priesthood of the Faithful where every baptized member belongs.  The Holy Spirit endows us with many gifts for the building up of the Kingdom of God in the world.

The Church has also the ministerial or ordained priesthood who is charged to celebrate the Sacraments in the person of Christ.

Thank You Jesus our Eternal High Priest for endowing Your Church with great gifts.

Finding God in all things.

"Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work."  (John 4: 34)

"All that happens to me therefore will be food for my nourishment, water for my cleansing, fire for my purification, and a channel of grace for all my needs.  That which I might endeavor to find in other ways seeks me incessantly and gives itself to me through all creatures."  (John Pierre de Caussade, SJ)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.

 “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.”  (Mark 2: 27 - 28).

What is God's intention for the Sabbath?

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work."  (Exodus 20: 8 - 10).

The Sabbath is a day of Rest.
"With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing. The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God. "The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath."  (CCC 2173).

The Catechism continues:
"God entrusted the sabbath to Israel to keep as a sign of the irrevocable covenant. The sabbath is for the Lord, holy and set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on behalf of Israel."  (CCC 2171).

The Sabbath Rest is Rehearsal for Eternal Rest. "Great are the works of the LORD, exquisite in all their delights.
The Lord will remember his covenant for ever."  (Cf Psalm 111).