Saturday, July 13, 2019

Our neighbor is every person in need.

“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10: 25).

Sunday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. A scholar of the law tests Jesus with a tricky question. 'You are a scholar. Tell us what you think.' Our Master and Teacher asks the scholar.

 “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10: 27). The scholar answered correctly. Note carefully what Jesus said to him: "Do this and you will live." St James amplifies in his letter:  "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Jesus ends what we call the Parable of the Good Samaritan by saying to the scholar of the law: Go and do as the Good Samaritan. Every person in need is our neighbor.

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Let us be your slaves.

"Let us be your slaves!" (Genesis 50: 18).

Saturday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Our key Scripture today is the voice of guilty conscience. The brothers of Joseph terrified of what Joseph might do to them after their father Jacob had died cried out: "Let us be your slaves!"

"But Joseph replied to them: “Do not fear. Can I take the place of God?  Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people." (Genesis 50: 19 - 20).

Recall the post Resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples who abandoned Him during His passion. Jesus called them "My brothers." And later, He would explain to them as Joseph did here the meaning of His gruesome passion and death:

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?.......
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”........
“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: 38 - 48).

St Paul gives us the full understanding of the radical Providence of God in Romans 8: 28 - 30:

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified."

Do not be afraid. I am Joseph your brother. (Cf Genesis 45: 4).

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

What does it mean that God is a Father who keeps His promises?

"Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that you are still alive.” (Genesis 46: 30).

Friday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. How do you grow in your faith? How do you grow in faith that God is a Father who keeps His promises?

As you read the word of God, note and mark the verses and passages that celebrate God's faithfulness to His promises. In our key Scripture for today, when Israel (Jacob) saw his son Joseph face to face, he celebrated God's faithfulness. God promised Simeon that he would not die until he sees Jesus. When Simeon carried Jesus in his arms, he said:
"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace." (Luke 2: 29).

As you start storing the truth of God's faithfulness in your mind, the power of the word of God starts affecting the way you think and act. "His words are spirit and life; they effect what they mean as does any divine word," says  Blessed Charles de Foucauld.

God kept all His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Israel, David, Mary, Simeon, etc. God is a Father who keeps His promises. Trust Him.

"The word of the Lord remains for ever: What is this word?
It is the Good News that has been brought to you." (1 Peter 1: 25).

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

You planned evil against me. God worked it around for the good of many.

“I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  But now do not be distressed, and do not be angry with yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you." (Genesis 45: 4 - 5).

Thursday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Benedict, Abbot (480 - 547). Educated in Rome, St Benedict chose solitary life. Then he organized a group of men into monastic life. He founded monasteries in Europe. He is pivotal in the development of European Christian culture. No wonder he is the patron saint of Europe.

Our key Scripture today from Genesis 44/45 is important in understanding the doctrine of Divine Providence. Divine Providence is one of the sweetest revelations in Sacred Scripture. This is how the Church states the doctrine:

"Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.

"Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf.Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps55:23). [CCC 321 & 322]

Joseph, the Prince of Egypt who is one of the most recognizable types of Jesus in the Scriptures says to his brothers who sold him into slavery: God permitted you to sell me into slavery in order to save lives and further His purposes in world history. God is doing similar things today. Nobody can thwart the will of God. Do not be afraid.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2019

When life is protected, the Kingdom of God is at hand.

"Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 6 - 7).

Wednesday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Jesus had a magnificent obsession with the Kingdom of God. Jesus wants you and me to develop such an obsession. Various opposing but not contradictory statements describe the Kingdom:

#1 It is here and now and there and then.
#2 The Kingdom is immanent and transcendent.
#3 It is visible and invisible.

One thing that is absolutely clear and certain is that everyone is expected to be involved in bringing about the dawn of the Kingdom. How?

"When the hungry are fed, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When the cry of the poor is heard, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When life is protected, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When the sick is healed, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When truth is told, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When immigrants are defended, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When offenses are forgiven, kingdom of God is at hand." (Inspired from LIVING FAITH).

Every single thought, every single word and every action either contributes to the coming of the Kingdom of God or the delay of it. The Kingdom of God comes through your thought, word and deed.

"The kingdom of God is close at hand: repent and believe the Good News." (Mark 1: 15).

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Monday, July 08, 2019

Look at the harvest! Where are the workers?

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Matthew 9: 37 - 38).

Tuesday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. The Vineyard of the Lord is one place where there is no unemployment. Jesus said to the man searching for work at 4 pm: "You too, go to my Vineyard and you will find work."

The world has never been in such a dire need of the message of salvation as at the present moment. We see despair everywhere like the crowd in today's Gospel. Jesus says: "The truth will make you free." Where is the messenger to proclaim the truth that gives freedom and victory from hopelessness that we see everywhere?

"You too, go to my Vineyard and work and I will pay you a fair wage." At the end of the work day, Jesus paid the man who worked only for one hour the same as everyone.

Is the Lord calling you to join His workforce? What are you waiting for? What are your excuses?
"You too, go to my Vineyard. I will pay you a fair wage."

"May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us." (Ephesians 1: 17, 18).

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Sunday, July 07, 2019

If God will be with me and protect me in this journey, He will be my God.

"In you and your descendants all the families of the earth will find blessing.  I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you." (Genesis 28: 14 - 15).

Monday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Our Daily Bible Verse is from Genesis 28. God chose Jacob instead of Esau to carry forward the Covenant and promises made to Abraham. We shall see that Jacob with developed commercial instincts is a worthy heir of Abraham. Listen to his answer to God:

“If God will be with me and protect me on this journey I am making and give me food to eat and clothes to wear,  and I come back safely to my father’s house, the Lord will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a sacred pillar will be the house of God. Of everything you give me, I will return a tenth part to you without fail.” (Genesis 28: 20 - 22).

How will God respond to this counter offer?

Our God is a Father who keeps His promises. Nothing is too marvelous for Him to do for those who love Him. God Never Fails.

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