Saturday, April 27, 2019

Solemnity of Divine Mercy.

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." (Lamentations 3: 22 - 23).

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Easter. We celebrate today the Solemnity of Divine Mercy. What is Divine Mercy? According to St Maria Faustina, the Apostle of Mercy, Divine Mercy is simply God's loving mercy for all men and women especially for sinners. This is a marvelous good news for all of us especially those in most need of mercy here and now. Imagine souls that are departing this world at this moment. What better good news could lift them up than to hear that God is rich in mercy and is waiting for them to turn to Him to blot out all their sins and receive them into Paradise.

The Divine Mercy devotions consist of Divine Mercy Novena (9 days of praying the Divine Mercy Rosary) and the Divine Mercy Rosary which can be prayed every day on its own. It takes about 10 minutes. Very powerful!
The Divine Mercy devotion is best remembered by its acronym ABC of Mercy:
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

Jesus I trust in You.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Sheep are ransomed by the Lamb.

"Christians, to the Paschal Victim
offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled, hath sinners to his Father reconciled." (The Easter Sequence).

Saturday in the Octave of Easter. The Lord Jesus in the Gospel (Mark 16: 9 - 15), rebuked the Apostles for not believing the credible witnesses who informed them of His Resurrection. Our reflection today however is from the Easter Sequence.

We offer the Paschal Victim [Jesus] our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving through our prayers but especially through immersion in His word and the Eucharist. At Calvary, we the Sheep are ransomed by the Lamb[Jesus].

What does Ransom mean? It means Redemption. Because of our sins, we owe a debt to God that no man or all men can redeem. Jesus paid the Ransom through His death. This is the meaning of Redemption. Now we are reconciled to God and therefore qualified for the fruits of Salvation.

At Calvary, we are redeemed but now wait for the Promise of the Father in Pentecost to enjoy the fruits of Salvation. What is Salvation?

"The Lord led his people to freedom and they shouted with joy and gladness. Alleluia!" This is Salvation.
Salvation is freedom from slavery to sin, fear, worry, doubt.
Redemption plus Salvation equals Spirit-filled Christian. This is the Good News we must share.
Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior.

As we march towards the Promise of the Father in Pentecost, let us sing:
"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What do you know about the Name of Jesus?

“By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4: 7).

Friday in the Octave of Easter. The healing of the crippled man landed Peter and John in trouble with the authorities. It also gave them the opportunity to bear witness to the power of the Name of Jesus.

Remember: "You are witnesses of these things." Jesus had said to His disciples:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

Today is the opportunity to bear witness explicitly to the awesome Name of Jesus. The Name of Jesus contains the Person, Presence and Power of Jesus.

"Then Peter, filled with the holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders:.... then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed." (Acts 4: 8, 10).

The Name of Jesus is a sacramental. When evoked with faith disposes you to feel the Presence of Jesus. The Name of Jesus protects us from evil spirits who are terrified by that mighty Name. The Name of Jesus is the shortest and very effective prayer. It is one of my favorite prayers. "Jesus, Jesus!"

"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

You are witnesses of these things.

"And he [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day  and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 26 - 28).

Thursday in the Octave of Easter. The Risen Jesus appears in the midst of His disciples with doors locked and bolted. They were understandably terrified. But Jesus calmed them down and convinced them that it was He. And Jesus said to them and us: "You are witnesses of these things."

What things are we to be witnesses of? Consider the following:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

This is the core of the apostolic catechesis. It has not changed. We bear witness to these truths by the witness of our daily lives.

"O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him,
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, alleluia." (1 Peter 2: 9).

Easter is a 50 day celebration and so we continue to sing:
"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Nobody can give that which he has not.

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you." (Acts 3: 6).

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter 2019. Peter and John on their way into the Temple healed a lame man in the name of Jesus. "In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk." (Acts 3: 6).

The Latins say: "Nemo dat quod non habet." Translated: "Nobody can give that which he has not." Makes sense? Absolutely!

I have often been empowered by the above Scripture. (Acts 3: 6).
God has blessed us with many gifts and talents but not everyone with  silver and gold. "Why don't I have lots of silver and gold pieces to fill my purse?" This was the dilemma of Peter in this narrative. This is my dilemma too. As a consequence, I did not know how to share my many blessings. One day, light and understanding came from above. "Your situation is not an accident but divine providence." Therefore,
#1 Accept who you are.
#2 Accept all that has happened.
#3 Accept everything that is happening.
#4 Cooperate with everything except what is sinful.

Do you struggle to understand why you do not have what you consider crucial to abundant life?
The truth below can set you free:

#1 "Your Father in heaven knows you need all these things." (Matthew 6: 32). God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
#2 "Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!" (Psalm 23: 1 TLB).

Can't you see how the Lord in His kindness and mercy provides you everything you need? Share your blessings. Do not bemoan what you don't have.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

Monday, April 22, 2019

I have seen the Lord.

"Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her." (John 20: 18).

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter. Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Jesus at the graveyard and did not at first recognize the Lord. Sent by Jesus to His brothers, Mary Magdalene became the first bearer, missionary of the Good News.

"I have seen the Lord", announced Mary. Have you encountered the Lord this Lent or Easter Season? I encountered the Lord on Holy Thursday when I walked into the Church for the Holy Thursday Liturgy. Deacon Ralph rose from his seat in the Sanctuary and said to me: "The Lord will be washing your dirty feet tonight." I beamed with smile and said Yes. I knew instantly that I was experiencing a wonderful encounter with the loving and merciful Jesus. A couple of years ago, while preparing for the Holy Thursday service, I had reacted to Peter's hesitation that the Lord will wash his feet by saying: "Lord, I will allow you to wash my feet." I walked into the Church (a different one) and the sacristan came to me and asked me to be one of the those whose feet will be washed. "Certainly not." I answered. Ten minutes later the sacristan came back to me and said: "Are you sure you will not want your feet to be washed?" I said firmly "No." Later I was convicted of my behavior. By the mercy of Divine Providence, I remembered the incident on the morning of Holy Thursday last week. So I was ready for the Lord. Deacon Ralph must have wondered the reason for the smile and joy of the Lord washing my feet.

"Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember?" (Matthew 16: 9).

Yes Lord, I remember. I understand.

"If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God; mind the things that are above, alleluia." (Colossians 3: 1 - 2).

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Crucifixion of Jesus was no accident of history.

"This man, [Jesus] delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.  But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it." (Acts 2: 23 - 24).

Today is Monday in the Octave of Easter. Easter is the greatest feast in the Church liturgical calendar. Each of the first 8 days after Easter Sunday is a solemnity (high feast). 50 days from Easter to the Feast of Pentecost on June 9th are all feast days of Easter. If during the 40 days of Lent, you fasted, abstained or disciplined yourself in any way, then you can appreciate the 50 days of Easter feast. If you did nothing during Lent, then you acted as an unbeliever, and may not enjoy the change of Season. (Cf Psalm 1).

Our key Scripture today (Acts 2: 23 - 24) teaches us a very important truth. This is a truth that can fill you with knowledge and wisdom that you can use every day. I will use another strategic Scripture to convey the lesson:

"And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.  For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers." (Romans 8: 28 - 29 AMP).

Brothers and sisters, remember: Easter is not a one day celebration. It is a Season. That is why it is also called Eastertide. Enjoy the holy joyful Season.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm Psalm 117: 24).