Saturday, February 23, 2019

Ask for mercy and be merciful.

#1 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6: 36).

#2 "Forgive and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6: 37).

#3 "For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6: 38).

Jesus Christ, the face of mercy of Abba Father speaks to us of mercy this Sunday in the Scripture readings:

In Psalm 103, we read of great testimony to the mercy of God:
"The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

"He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion.

"Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes." (Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13).

Experience of God's mercy produces trust and confidence in God's mercy.

Remember the ABC of Mercy:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Cain's sacrifice was rejected; Abel's was accepted.

"By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s." (Hebrews 11: 4).

Two brothers, Cain and Abel offered gifts to God. Abel's was accepted but Cain's was rejected. Why? Abel believed that God was the source of all his blessings. So he was confident in offering God the best of his first fruits knowing that he could never out do God in generosity. We can reap 3 possible lessons from this Scripture:

#1 Correct thought is the key to correct. Are your thoughts based on the revealed truths of the Bible? Are they based on the certain and solid teaching of the Sacred Magisterium? Or are they based on newspapers and TV?

#2 Your faith constitutes your world-view, what the Germans call weltangshaung. "By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible" (Hebrews 11: 3).

#3 Is faith the missing ingredient in your life? "But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11: 6).
Without faith, it is impossible to receive the greatest Promise of the Father: the precious and awesome Spirit.

"Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might." (Psalm 145: 10-11).

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Peter, you must strengthen the faith of your brothers.

"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16: 18).

Today is the feast of the Chair of St Peter, Apostle. From the Roman Missal, we learn what this feast is all about.

"This Feast brings to mind the mission of teacher and pastor conferred by Christ on Peter, and continued in an unbroken line down to the present Pope. We celebrate the unity of the Church, founded upon the Apostle, and renew our assent to the magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, extended both to truths which are solemnly defined "ex cathedra" and to all the acts of the ordinary magisterium."

"The Lord says to Simon Peter:
I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and, once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22: 32).

One of the key duties of the Petrine office is to confirm the faith of his fellow Bishops. We should encourage and confirm the faith of our fellow Christians.

We have below a great catechesis on the office of the Pope:

"Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep." The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom." (CCC 553).

Thank You Jesus for the Office of Peter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

You are the Messiah. You are Satan.

 “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Mark 8: 33).

The above is a sharp rebuke to Peter after he articulated a revelation on the question below:

“But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to Jesus in reply, “You are the Messiah.” (Mark 8: 29).

Peter's Confession that Jesus is the long expected Messiah was the awaited signal for Jesus to start presenting His catechesis of the Cross. This is a very difficult subject for the disciples of every age.

"He [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days." (Mark 8: 31).

The formulation above constitutes the entirety of the early apostolic teaching. Note the sentence below:
"He spoke this openly." (Mark 8: 32).
The Apostles and followers repeated these catechesis until the New Testament was composed over 50 years after the Ascension of Jesus. Origen, first and eminent Christian theologian of the 2nd century wrote that this formula of faith was enough to sustain Christianity till the 2nd Coming of Christ. It shows that the power of the Gospel is the Cross.

"Wasn't it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?" (Luke 24: 26 NLT).

Rejection of the Cross is rejection of Jesus Christ says Pope Benedict XVI.

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2: 2).

The tree of the Cross bears the fruits of eternal life. "By this Cross you shall conquer."

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Do not even go near that village.

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him." (Mark 8: 22).

Then followed a remarkable sequence of steps:
#1. Jesus led the blind man by the hand outside the village.
#2. He put spittle on the blind man's eyes.
#3. "Do you see anything?"
#4. Yes, but the images are distorted.

"Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly." (Mark 8: 25).

Now Jesus instructs the man:  “Do not even go into the village.” (Mark 8: 26).

What are we to make of this remarkable incident? To say that for Jesus these steps and instruction to the man are unusual is to say the very obvious.
The blind man's situation is unique. He probably has heard of Jesus and intensely desired to be healed like Bartimaeus. (Mark 10: 46 - 52).
The blind man lived among people who probably were wicked and scorned faith and spiritual things.

Two possible lessons from this miracle:
#1. Never doubt your genuine spiritual experiences. The doubt has the power to rob you of your miracle.
#2. Move away from people who are cynical about your faith and values. They could influence and infect you more than you realize or can resist.

After you receive your miracle, give thanks in order to consolidate your faith and miracle:

"To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
 and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people." (Psalm 116: 12-14).

Monday, February 18, 2019

Do you still not understand?

“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember?...... “Do you still not understand?” (Mark 8: 17 - 18, 21).

How much spiritual things do you understand? Jesus laments the dullness of heart of His disciples. When he was trying to teach them to be on guard against the pernicious teachings of the Pharisees and the religious teachers, their minds turn to familiar things - bread and food simply because Jesus mentioned "leaven of the Pharisees and Herod." Are we not like the disciples?

We are grateful for this incident because Jesus used it as a teaching moment to coach us on the importance of understanding, remembering and having an open mind and heart if we are to grow in religious truth.

"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18: 3).

St Therese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower understood and remembered the little things. She delighted the Heart of Jesus so much that Jesus taught her the mysteries of the Kingdom of God and made her a Doctor of the Church. St Therese continues her ministry of teacher of little things and missionary from heaven.

"The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." (John 14: 26).

This promise of Jesus is the ground for my hope when it comes to understanding and remembering the teachings of Jesus. How does this work? I ask the Holy Spirit to give me understanding and bring to my memory the wonderful things God has done for me.
I resolve never to forget "my ancient landmarks." (Proverbs 22: 28). I keep a journal.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Why are you full of doubts?

“Why does this generation seek a sign?” (Mark 8: 12).

Why was Jesus sad that the people of His generation were still asking for a sign? They did not believe that Jesus is the Messiah or the Son of God. Jesus is the Way they must walk to eternal life. He is the Truth everyone must believe. He is the Life that begins here and meshes to eternal life. Yet this truth appeared absurd to His contemporaries and to many today.

The evidence for the claims of Jesus is manifest to all people of good will. Jesus gave us the Beatitudes which together is the way, the life and truth of Jesus. He founded the Church which is the seed of the Kingdom of God on earth. He gave the Church the Sacraments, the inspiration and power for the Journey to eternal life. He performs many miracles which can not be denied or wished away. Ultimately, He was crucified, died and was buried. Then He performed the greatest miracle: His Resurrection.

Do you still not understand? Why are you full of doubts? Stop doubting and believe!