Saturday, March 16, 2019

Abba Father, I listened to Your Son.

“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” (Luke 9: 35).

On the Second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel is the Transfiguration of the Lord by St Luke. For me, the most important message is the command of the Father: Listen to my Son Jesus. With this in mind, I combed the Scripture Readings in today's Liturgy to hear what Jesus, the Word of God says to me. I share below what I hear:

#1 "Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith." (Genesis 15: 5 - 6).

#2 "I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD." (Psalm 27: 13 - 14).

#3 "But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself." (Philippians 3: 20 - 21).

Abba Father commanded us to listen to His beloved Son Jesus. I listened and heard three messages that will make me happy today and for a long time. How about you? What do you hear?

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
From the bright cloud the Father’s voice was heard: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Matthew 17: 5).

Friday, March 15, 2019

Be merciful and you shall receive mercy.

"Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, says the Lord." (Matthew  5: 48).

Saturday, the first week of Lent, there is so much wisdom from the word of God to spur us on our Lenten Journey.

"Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5: 44). Jesus set an unforgettable example with this commandment when still hanging from the cross, He forgave all those who nailed Him to the cross and left Him to die slowly. How do you feel when you demand that your enemies must show remorse and repentance before you forgive them?

"Jesus surrendered himself to death, letting himself be taken for a sinner.* He bore the faults of many while praying for sinners.
℣. Jesus said, Father, forgive them: they do not know what they are doing.* He bore the faults of many while praying for sinners." (Office of Readings).

Do not say: Jesus can do this because He is God. Stephen, the first martyr did exactly the same. So did every martyr down the centuries. They all forgave those who were executing them.

Nobody can claim that forgiving serious crimes or malicious fraud is easy. But try praying for the offenders and you will be surprised that you too can forgive. Jesus made forgiveness of your enemies the condition not only for your own forgiveness but for receiving special favors from God.
Remember the ABC of Mercy:
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! Blessed are those who,
with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance. Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Cf. Luke 8:15).

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Set me free from my sins, O Lord.

"Set me free from my distress, O Lord. See my lowliness and suffering, and take away all my sins." (Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 24: 17-18).

Friday in the first week of Lent: The dominant theme of today's Readings is Sin and Reconciliation.

"But if the wicked turn from the wickedness they did and do what is right and just, they save their lives;  since they turned away from all the sins they committed, they shall live; they shall not die." (Ezekiel 18: 27 - 28).

We remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The younger son turned from his wicked life style and returned home.
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.” (Luke 15: 18).

What did the other son, the "just son" do?
"He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.  But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf." (Luke 15: 29 - 30).

The first born and "just son" has turned away from righteousness to think evil in his heart.
"When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds." (Ezekiel 18: 26 NLT).

"As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner,
but rather that he turn back and live." (Ezekiel 33: 11).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and that the Lord God of hosts may really be with you. Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Cf Amos 5:14).

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

On the day I called, You answered me Lord.

"On the day I called, you answered me O Lord." (Psalm 138: 3).

You may call the theme of the Scriptures today, Thursday, first week of Lent "Ask and Receive Thursday." Thank You Jesus for the word You give us today to encourage us to be steadfast in prayer and assure us that Abba Father answers every prayer. We believe that You are faithful to every single promise You make.

In the first Reading from the Book of Esther, we learn from Queen Esther the practice of prayer: a perfect formula for effective prayer:
#1 Condition for prayer.
#2 Posture of prayer.
#3 Duration of prayer.
#4 Words of prayer.
#5 Importance of prayer partnership.

"Everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7: 8).

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 7: 7 - 8 that God's promise on prayer is infallible. What impresses me very much about Matthew 7: 7 - 8 is that from the very beginning of Christianity many saints appeal to this promise in their battle of prayer. You can do the same.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God! A pure heart create for me, O God, and give me again the joy of your help. Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Psalm 50:12,14).

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Ninevites heard the Prophet Jonah and believed the word of God.

"The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:  Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you." (Jonah 3: 1 - 2).

On Wednesday in the first week of Lent, we ask: What can we learn from the story of Jonah?

“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown,”  the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth." (Jonah 3: 4 - 5).

The people of Nineveh heard the word of God from the Prophet Jonah that their city will be destroyed in forty days and they believed the word of God. This is classic definition of faith. Faith is to believe that the word of God is true. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. But the Ninevites did more than believe.  "They proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth."

"When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out." (Jonah 3: 10).

One week since the beginning of Lent 2019, are you hearing any word from God? Are you believing anything you hear? Is what you believe producing works of righteousness?

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Joel 2: 12 - 13).

Monday, March 11, 2019

Jesus, thank You for giving us the Lord's Prayer.

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6: 8).
He also knows when you need it.

Tuesday of the first week of Lent, our Lord and Teacher gives us the gift of this wonderful prayer, the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father. In Matthew 6: 8 above, we have one of the most comforting Scripture, the most unforgettable promise in the entire Bible. Thank You Jesus.

What will you do if you ask your dad for a special gift and you are aware of these facts:
#1 He is willing.
#2 He is able.
#3 He has the means to satisfy every desire of your heart.
#4 He is your father.

Awareness of the above facts changes the dynamics of the interaction with your father. You are confident, expectant and bold. Right? Jesus wants you to feel exactly this way when you approach Abba Father for anything.

Lent is the spring time of harvesting the crème de la crème of the Sacred Word. Do not fail to read and appropriate these promises during Lent 2019.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Fix your eyes on God till He shows you mercy.

"Like the eyes of slaves on the hand of their Lord's, so our eyes are on the Lord our God, till he show us his mercy. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy." (Cf Psalm 123 : 2-3).

Monday in the first week of Lent 2019, our word for today is from the Entrance Antiphon. We are exhorted to fix our eyes on the Lord as the servant fixes his eyes on the hands of his master while he serves him at table.

At the beginning of Lent, we hear that this Season is the most favorable Season to obtain mercy and favors from God. We do so through expectant and persistent prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Do not say: "I have no sin. I do not need mercy." You do not want to call God a liar?

Remember the ABC of mercy:
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" ( 2 Corinthians 6:2).