Saturday, May 11, 2019

I am the Good Shepherd.

"My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10: 27).

4th Sunday of Easter is the Good Shepherd Sunday.
"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack." (Psalm 23: 1).

A dear friend told me of siblings who are not the sheep of Christ. They make themselves unknown to Jesus and refuse to listen and follow Him.
Do you have kids, siblings, friends, colleagues in the same situation? Do you feel any responsibility to help them? By virtue of your Baptism, the answer is unqualified Yes. (CCC 2472). These are the first steps:

#1 Intercessory prayers.
#2 Fasting, Almsgiving, Rosary.
#3 Masses.

Today is Mother's Day. One mother who understood that any foolish sheep outside the Shepherd's control is in mortal danger is St Monica. St Monica is the mother of the great St Augustine: Bishop, Doctor and Father of the Church. Through many prayers and tears, she was able to snatch her wayward son from the jaws of hell.
Augustine understood as few men have done that the so-called pleasures of this world are slippery and illusory. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8: 36).

Abba Father, attune our minds to the voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus the Son. Lead our steps to the path He has shown that we may enjoy the light of Your presence for ever! Amen.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Now enters the Holy Spirit..

"It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail." (John 6: 63).

Saturday in the 3rd week of Easter. We reach a critical point in the Bread of life Discourse when Jesus declared the absolute necessity of chewing His flesh and drinking His blood. Many of His disciples were scandalized and left Jesus and went home to continue with their former business. Jesus however did not call them back to say that He was using a hyperbole or a metaphor. Instead He challenged the few remaining disciples to go home too if they wish.

Then enters the Holy Spirit:  "It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail." The Holy Spirit is the heart and life of the Church. In the 1st Reading today from (Acts 9: 31 - 42), we learn of the rapid growth of the Church everywhere as they enjoyed peace and the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

We are almost four weeks to the great Solemnity of Pentecost. It is time to start thinking of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is Lord and Giver of life, the same substance with the Father and the Son. Together with the Father and the Son, He is adored and glorified. It is He who will turn our lives upside down. Not in a bad sense. He is the cause of the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

"Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!" (John 6: 63,68).

Thursday, May 09, 2019

My flesh is real food.

"He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him,says the Lord."  (John 6: 56).

Friday in the 3rd week of Easter. The Bread of life Discourse is a very important theme for the Gospel of St John, so today Jesus continues this most important topic.

Remain in Me and I remain in you, Jesus pleads. The only way you can bear fruit in My work is if you remain in Me and I in you. We have heard this enough to excite our interest. But Lord Jesus, how do we remain in You?

#1 You must eat My flesh and drink My blood.
#2 You must dwell in My word. Make it really your home.
#3 You must remain in sanctifying grace.

Lord, how do I remain always in sanctifying grace? Sounds impossible. Not at all. Use frequently the Sacrament of Reconciliation and examination of conscience. Receive Me often in the Eucharist.

Lord Jesus, grant that everything we do may be directed by the knowledge of Your truth. May these mysteries which You have revealed to us give us new purpose and bring us to a new life in You. Amen.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Whoever believes has eternal life.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life." (John 6: 47).

Thursday of the 3rd week of Easter. Jesus continues the Bread of life Discourse. He makes an astonishing statement about belief. Everyone who is acquainted with the Bible knows that faith or belief is absolutely necessary for a relationship with God. But in (John 6: 47), we learn that eternal life begins here and now for everyone who believes.

What does Jesus mean when He says that "whoever believes has eternal life?" What is eternal life? Eternal life is Jesus Himself. "Eternal life is to know you the one true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17: 3). In another place, Jesus says: "I am the truth, the way and the life." (John 14: 6).

To have the quality of belief in Jesus that gives you the enjoyment of the peace and affluence of the kingdom of God here and now, you need:

#1 To believe everything that Jesus teaches. No cafeteria Christian. "He who picks up one end of the stick picks up the other end."

#2 To observe everything that Jesus teaches and commands.
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18 - 20).

"Christ died for all, that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for him, who died for them and is risen, alleluia." (2 Corinthians 5: 15).

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.

"But the believers who had fled Jerusalem went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus!" (Acts 8: 4 TLB).

Wednesday in the 3rd week of Easter. The persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen scattered the first Christians everywhere. Just like the death of Jesus and Stephen, this persecution was no accident.

The circumstances of your call and answer to the ministry may not always be neat and planned. Hurricane, flood or fire may chase you into the land of your ministry. It could be the providential downsizing of your company or the death of a spouse.
Whatever the circumstances, you must be prepared to say Yes at the first call.

Philip, the Deacon fled Jerusalem and landed in Samaria. What did he do? He preached the Good News in his new home and converted a large number of people to Christ the Lord. (Cf Acts 8: 5 - 8).

Necessity is the mother of invention. The mother eagle shakes out the nest so that the complacent little eaglets will embrace their life's mission.

Be alert. Be vigilant. Jesus may come like a thief in the night.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
It is my Father’s will, says the Lord,
that whoever believes in the Son shall have eternal life,
and that I shall raise him up on the last day. Alleluia!" (John 6: 40).

Monday, May 06, 2019

I am the Bread of life.

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." (John 6: 35).

Tuesday in the 3rd week of Easter. In the Bread of life Discourse, Jesus told those who were beginning to develop faith in Him that [I AM + BREAD OF LIFE]. I AM is of course the name that Yahweh revealed to Moses in the Burning Bush as His sacred name.

Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man will give us Himself as our Bread. Not just bread but Bread of life. What does the Church teach about the Bread of life?

"It [Eucharist] refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us......The Eucharist is our daily bread. The power belonging to this divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and made members of him, we may become what we receive.  This also is our daily bread." (CCC 2837)

In the Eucharist, we receive who we are, the Body of Christ. Now we must become what we receive, the Body of Christ.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

What does belief in Jesus mean?

"Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6: 29).

Monday in the 3rd week of Easter. In our key Scripture above, the disciples asked Jesus what to do to accomplish the work of God. Jesus answered them: Only one thing is necessary. Believe in Jesus. Period.
We need to unpack what Belief in Jesus entails. Belief in Jesus means radical trust in Jesus. It means making Jesus and His Kingdom number one reality in your life.

Our second Reading today from Acts 6: 8 - 5 gives us a concrete example of a man that has a radical faith in Jesus and the result of such a faith.

"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6: 8).

When you truly believe in Jesus and the power of His name, you will be filled with grace and power and will be able to work miracles.

Stephen was surrounded by antagonists who wanted to punch holes in his claim that Jesus is the Lord and long expected Messiah "but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke." (Acts 6: 10).

The Spirit prompted what Stephen said in the debate.

Stephen's witness to Jesus showed clearly that Jesus Christ kept the promises He made to His disciples.
Do not be afraid to bear witness to Jesus.

"Alleluia, alleluia! ‘You believe, Thomas, because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe. Alleluia!" (John 20: 29).