Saturday, February 02, 2019

I appoint you my prophet to the nations.

"The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you."  (Jeremiah 1: 4 - 5).

We may call the theme of the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time the tale of two prophets: Jeremiah and Jesus. The first Reading from Jeremiah 1 is an interesting dialogue between God and Jeremiah that resulted in Jeremiah accepting his mission to be a prophet. God truly piled on the incentives.  I am moved whenever I read this 1st Chapter of Jeremiah.

"But do you gird your loins;
stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; for it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land." (Jeremiah 1: 17 - 18).

How would you react to such motivation?

"They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD."  (Jeremiah 1: 19).

From the Gospel of Luke we see the experience of the Prophet Jesus in the synagogue. The situation started with praise and admiration for Jesus and quickly turned to hostility and threat to His life.

What are we to make of the prophetic vocation?

If the Lord sends you to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives, thank Him for the honor and privilege. He will support you fully.  His faithfulness and love never fails.

Friday, February 01, 2019

The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

"Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord." (Luke 2: 22).

Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  Christ was presented in the Temple to the Father in the substance of human flesh: One Person, God. Two natures: God and man.
Christ had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way.

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the manifestation of the Child Jesus to the People of Israel.  There were four representatives of the People present to witness this key event in salvation history: Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna.  Only Simeon, the Prophet spoke on this occasion.  He said that the event marks the fulfillment of the promise of God to Israel. God is faithful and fulfills every promise He makes.

The Presentation in the Temple gives us hope.  If you are waiting for God to fulfill any promises to you, you are now encouraged to believe that God will do it. He fulfilled His promises to Simeon, Mary, David and Abraham. Sacred Scripture records that God has fulfilled every single promise He has ever made.
Trust Him.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

You need endurance to do the will of God.

"You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised."  (Hebrews 10: 36).

Our reflection today is from the first Reading, the 10th Chapter of Hebrews.  If the message is not familiar to everyone, the experience is.  You know from experience that the Journey of Faith is a constant spiritual warfare.  When you are emerging from a brutal struggle with your health, you are hit with another with your finances. And then you are challenged in a different war zone: family, job or anxieties about the future.

The Letter to the Hebrews is written to Christians like ourselves.  But we have a great advantage.  We have the solid inheritance of 2000 years of Christianity.  We have the Church, the Hierarchy, the Sacraments, the Magisterium. We have the full Canonical Scriptures. They had none of these.  But nonetheless, they were expected to be firm and steadfast in their faith. How about us? Even more so, we are expected to be unflinching even before the most desperate circumstances.  Because:
"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."  (Luke 12: 48).

How long shall we be required to endure the trials?
We have great encouragement from Sacred Scriptures:
"For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come shall come; he shall not delay."  (Hebrews 10: 37).

Therefore my brothers and sisters,  "Do not throw away your confidence. It will have a great reward."  (Hebrews 10: 35).

Remember that the "Just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back [God] takes no pleasure in him." 
(Hebrews 10: 38).

Let us confess together in confidence:
"We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life." 
(Hebrews 10: 39).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

February 1, 2019  -  First Friday in February.

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 2nd  month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #2.

#2.  "I will give peace in their families."

My friends, many people like this promise because peace in the family is the foundation of health and prosperity. Moreover, if there is peace in the family, there will be peace at work and school, peace in the nation and peace on earth!

Jesus is our peace. He is the Prince of Peace.  Would you accept today His generous offer of peace in your family?

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, January 30, 2019

I will shine my little light.

"Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?"  (Mark 4: 21).

In Baptism, we receive the light of Christ.  As we participate in the Sacraments and the life of the Church, the little light we receive in Baptism grows.  Where do you place this light?  In the lampstand or in the closet?
To hide your is futile.  Like a barren fig tree, you will be found out.

"For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light."  (Mark 4: 22).

It is more exciting to share the light you have.  Imagine the people who are desperate for it here and now. But you may say: I don't know what to say.  You have the Holy Spirit. Ask Him. Do you have the desire? If not, ask the Holy Spirit.  Jesus makes two promises with regard to your engagement with His word:

#1.  "The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you." 

#2.  "To the one who has, more will be given."

And a warning:
"From the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”  (Mark 4: 24 - 25).

Friends, just shine your light and it will grow. Most people can share messages through their phones.  Why don't you share the word of God?

"A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path."  (Psalm 119:105).

Jesus invites us to "approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust" to participate in the work of Evangelization. (Cf Hebrews 10: 22)
His promise is trustworthy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

ADL will intrude and choke the word of God.

“Hear this! A sower went out to sow."  (Mark 4: 3).

Today's Gospel presents us with one of the most important and consequential parables of Jesus.  Consequential because it can be life transforming if we get the message.  The question is:  Does the life, Good News of Jesus Christ mean anything to you? Do you believe there is a life after death? Where are you on the Journey of Faith to the Next Life?

The Sower sows the seed.  "Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain." (Mark 4: 7).
The seed is the word of God. The Master Sower is Jesus Christ.  Today pastors, evangelists, missionaries and spirit-filled Christians are sowers of the seed.

Consider those seeds that fell among thorns:
"Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word,  but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit."  (Mark 4: 18 - 19).

Do you know anybody with excessive anxiety about family, health, money, job, tools and possessions, food and the future? Could that person be you?  The Lord Jesus says that ADL or Anxieties of Daily Living will "intrude and choke the word."  And you will bear no fruit. In other words, you will be barren.

"Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions according to your good pleasure, that in the name of your beloved Son we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect Wednesday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time).

Monday, January 28, 2019

You gave me ears open to obedience.

"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but ears open to obedience you gave me."  (Psalm 40: 7).

Friends, do you have ears open to obedience? I mean obedience to the commandments of God? Obedience to His laws?  Obedience to the Church and its lawful teaching authority? Read below the blessings of such obedience:

“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”  (Mark 3: 35).

Jesus made such a delightful pronouncement when He was informed that Mary and some relatives wanted to see Him while He was teaching the word of God.  Jesus loves His mother Mary and His relatives very much.  But the will of the Father was for Jesus to continue His ministry of the word of God at that time.

Was it a slight to Mary? Not at all.  Mary understands that the will of God takes precedence over everything. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1: 38).  On another occasion, Jesus said to Mary and Joseph:  “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

We Christians have been baptized and consecrated to do the will of God and abandon our futile habits of conforming to the world by choosing our own will.  When a teenager is adamant always and everywhere to prefer his will in everything, everybody knows the rest of the story. When you delight in doing God's will, you are brother and sister of Jesus and here is another promise you can claim:

"I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me.
And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God."  Psalm 40: 2).

The Lord will never forget anyone who delights in His will.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

He is insane.

"The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”  (Mark 3: 22).

The scribes filled with envy accused Jesus of being insane. (Mark 3: 30).  Jesus used the opportunity of this drama to teach us the reality of two kingdoms in constant war with each other. Jesus came to usher in the Kingdom of God.  And He Jesus is the "mediator of a new covenant" made by His blood. (Hebrews 9: 15).

Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed Satan, the author of death and brought life to light through the Good News. (Cf 2 Timothy 1: 10).
Unfortunately brothers and sisters, many Christians live today as if this promise is something for the future.  This promise is for here and now. If you are not enjoying all the privileges, be good to yourself and ask:

What is going on?
Why am I often sad?
Where is the victorious life promised by Jesus?
Why am I not enjoying it?

Now listen to Jesus:
"No one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house."  (Mark 3: 27).

Which king reigns in your house? The strong man Satan or the Stronger Man Jesus? You must give Jesus all the keys in your home: health, family, finances, job, tools/possessions, food and your future.

You remember the song:
"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, 
What a glory He sheds on our way! 
While we do His good will, He abides with us still, 
And with all who will trust and obey.…"

Trust, Obey and Surrender are the Only way to enjoy life in the Kingdom.  Jesus is in control.