Saturday, June 01, 2019

Why are you standing there looking at the sky?

“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1: 11).

Sunday of the 7th week of Easter, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus. Forty days after His Resurrection and at the end of His instructions on the Kingdom of God, it was time to depart for Heaven. His disciples were filled with joy as they returned to Jerusalem to await "the Promise of the Father", the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus talked a lot in His last discourse before His passion.

We do not have time to stand here or there looking at the sky. Now is the time to busy ourselves through prayer and study preparing for the the feast of the Holy Spirit which is next Sunday.

"Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who believe that your Only Begotten Son, our Redeemer,
ascended this day to the heavens,
may in spirit dwell already in heavenly realms.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever." Collect of the feast of Ascension).

Friday, May 31, 2019

No Prayer, No Experience of God.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.  Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete." (John 16: 23 - 24).

Saturday of the 6th week of Easter. Jesus tells us to approach the throne of grace and mercy of Abba Father and ask for whatever we need with boldness and expectant faith. If you never ask in prayer, you may never experience the pure joy of answered prayer.

"Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7: 7 AMP).

Jesus teaches that Prayer is a vital necessity because Prayer is the only thing that gives us the direct and irrefutable experience of God.
But to pray with the guarantee of receiving, you must pray like Jesus. You must pray as the Church has learned to pray. "According to Your will and not mine for I do not know what is the best for me."

When you pray and receive answer to your prayer, do you think it is a coincidence? Perhaps the first time. Or the first few times. The cause and effect of prayer is no accident. No prayer. No answer.

The Father wants you to experience the pure joy of answered prayer so that your joy will be complete.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mary said YES to an incomprehensible mystery.

"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1: 45).

Friday of the 6th week of Easter is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "The Visitation is the meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of St John the Baptist. Mary's "Magnificat" is another testimony of her humility before God. Her readiness to serve Elizabeth is a good lesson on charity." (Roman Missal).

Mary said YES to an incomprehensible mystery. Like Abraham, she believed and hoped against hope. Like Abraham, Mary was richly rewarded for her faith...  “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb," cried out Elizabeth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit....."Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed," Mary cried out with exuberance. (Luke 1: 48). Yes indeed. Billions of people call Mary blessed amongst women.

"Blessed is the Virgin Mary, who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Luke 1: 45).

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

He laughs best who laughs last.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy." (John 16: 20).

Thursday of the 6th week of Easter. Many of us have probably heard this: "He who laughs last, laughs best." Jesus promises us the last laugh. This laugh will be filled with joy and will last forever. In the short time, our Savior and Redeemer is asking us to endure all the trials, deprivations and persecutions with the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit.

"I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I go, but I will come back to you, and your hearts will be full of joy." (Cf John 14: 18).

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

When the Holy Spirit is Jesus..

"I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever." (John 14: 16).

Wednesday of the 6th week of Easter. The drums are sounding louder for the celebration of Pentecost. What do we expect?
#1. The Parakletos who in 1 John 2: 1 is the Lord Jesus Himself.

#2. In John 14: 16, the Holy Spirit is the Advocate, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity whom the Father will give us to abide with us forever!

#3. In John 14: 26, He is the Advocate that the Father will send in the name of Jesus to teach us all that we need to know for our ministry and remind us everything Jesus has taught us.

#4. In John 15: 26, the Advocate the Spirit of truth whom the Father will send "in my name." He will bear witness to Jesus and enable us to bear witness to Jesus too.

All these promises are ours for the desire and the asking.

"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord. I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters." (Cf Psalm 17: 50; 21: 23).

Monday, May 27, 2019

What must I do to be saved?

 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16: 30).

Tuesday of the 6th week of Easter. We The Holy Spirit is building up the Body of Christ. Paul and Silas were incarcerated in a maximum security prison in Philippi, a Roman colony. God responded to their praise,  thanksgiving and songs through a powerful earthquake that smashed all the jail doors and unshackled all the prisoners. The statled goaler was shocked that Paul and Silas did not escape. This action coupled with the their prayers and songs led him to faith.

The prison guard perceived that Paul and Silas are in truth free while he the goaler is in fact imprisoned by fears, anxieties and doubts. With the help of grace of the Holy Spirit, he decided that he needs what Paul and Silas enjoys. That is, the Shalom of Jesus.

Where do you feel deep pain, fears, worries and doubts in your life?

Paul answered the goaler's question:  “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” (Acts 16: 31).
The same truth can set you free today.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Words to remember the next time you are in crisis.

“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith." (John 16: 1).

Monday of the 6th week of Easter. Stark warning of the cost of discipleship. Severe tests and persecutions that will be provoked by witnessing to Jesus Christ.

On the three occasions I had a serious crisis of faith, I wished I had remembered this warning of Jesus. If it were not for the timely intervention of the Holy Spirit, my faith would have been in the past tense. On one of the three occasions, I heard these words in my heart: "Who is your security?" I answered correctly "Jesus Christ." The Tempter sneaked away.

On the two other occasions, I felt like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Hope was vanishing. I felt sad and foolish for trusting Jesus. Again the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit restored faith and hope. My heart was burning within me as I heard:
“I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead."

Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to experience how God works in our lives and even to remember to share the experience with others.

"It was ordained that the Christ should suffer and rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory." (Luke 24: 46, 26). So must we.