Saturday, July 20, 2019

Martha, why are you so anxious and distracted?

"The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 41 - 42).

Sunday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time. The good news of Jesus today is a word for our time. Go for something that you can always keep.

Martha and Mary are sisters and live in the same house. Their differences in outlook gives Jesus a teaching opportunity to address a problem that harrasses our society today. Our lives are distracted by too many gadgets, information overload and mindless multitasking.

Jesus invites us:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

What if Jesus gives you every morning a list of what to do with the empowerment to accomplish everything on the list with time to spare? This gift can be easily yours if you pray with the Church:
"Help us to know what we should do and give us the courage to do it."
What if you say this prayer every morning?

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

My Servant shall not brawl or shout in the street.

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles." (Matthew 12: 18).

Saturday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. Isaiah tells us that our chosen Scripture verse applies to Jesus the Messiah. Jesus makes a tactical withdrawal from Galilee in order to avoid head on collision with the Pharisees who had decided that Jesus must die. Huge crowd followed Him. He healed all those who were sick. Isaiah affirms the healing ministry of Jesus the Messiah whose mission is to make man whole in body, mind and soul.

Our Responsorial Psalm for today coaches us on how to respond to such a God whose mercy endures forever.

"O give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love is everlasting!
"He remembered us in our distress.
His love is everlasting!
And he snatched us away from our foes. His love is everlasting!"

"He will not brawl or shout,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smouldering wick." (Psalm 136: 11ff).

Although Jesus did not brawl or shout during His public ministry, nor did anyone hear His voice in the street, He was nevertheless tried as a public criminal and suffered the death reserved for the worst criminal. What does this tell us about the plan of our salvation?

Have you not understand that just as the Son of Man must suffer before His victory and triumph, so must we suffer and accept some suffering in our life.
Do you not remember all the miracles performed by Jesus to prove that He is truly God and all His miraculous interventions in our life.

Let us give thanks to God with a shout!

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

I desire mercy.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (Matthew 12: 7)

Friday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. The Lord desires mercy and not sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the face of mercy of God the Father.

Jesus appeared to St Maria Faustina, a simple Polish nun in 1931 and declared to her:
"I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy." On April 30th 2000, Maria Faustina was canonized a saint by Pope St John Paul II. John Paul fulfilled the desire of Jesus and proclaimed the Second Sunday in Easter the Solemnity of the Divine Mercy. From that day, Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated every 2nd Sunday in Easter.

What is Divine Mercy? Divine Mercy is the mystery of the heart of God who desires mercy for mankind more than any sacrifice or reparation. Jesus commissioned St Maria Faustina to produce the image of Divine Mercy, a sacred image of Himself showing two rays of lights, red and white emanating from His Heart. Jesus wanted these words written at the bottom of the ankle-length priestly robe He was wearing at the time:

Today millions of people all over the world celebrate the Divine Mercy Devotions primarily through the Divine Mercy Rosary. The essence of this devotion can be summarized through the ABC OF MERCY:

A. Ask for Mercy.
B. Be Merciful.
C. Completely Trust Jesus for Mercy.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (Matthew 12: 7).

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Your yoke is tailor-made to fit you alone.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

Thursday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. The Church commemorates the life of the St Camillus de Lellis, mercenary soldier, homeless down and out, priest, founder of religious order and last but not the least a canonized Saint. It would seem as if the word of life for today was proclaimed solely for the benefit of St Camillus. In fact this word is for all of us.

How many people today find the yoke of marriage unbearable? Or their daily employment? Think about the burden of debt or financial insecurity? Will this century turn out to be the century with the highest suicide rate among the youth? Yet Christ Jesus proclaims in the short Gospel of today: 'Listen to me! O that you will listen to Me! I have a solution to your dilemma. The Good News is that what you call unbearable yoke and burden are tailor-made to fit you alone.'

Four simple steps to turn around your unbearable yoke and transform it into a goldmine:

#1. Embrace God’s gracious will every moment of your life.
#2. Enjoy the Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Present Moment.
#3. Learn to offer continuously a Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving.
#4. Learn the power of Sweet Surrender.

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Revelation 3: 20).

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

God reveals His ways to Moses.

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike." (Matthew 11: 25).

Wednesday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. Who are the childlike that Jesus speaks about in our Scripture verse for today? What has the Father revealed to them?

"I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." (Exodus 3: 6). God reveals to Moses in the burning bush. Then we read from Psalm 103: "He has made known His ways to Moses."

The childlike therefore are people like Moses, David, Elijah, Mary, Paul, Mother Teresa, Sister Angelica whom God makes known His inner life and His ways. God who does not ration His Holy Spirit is pleased to make the same revelation to any of His children.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Who do you turn to in your needs?

"Turn to the Lord in your needs, and you will live." (Responsorial Psalm 69).

Tuesday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This feast started in England in 1251 with the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St Simon Stock, the Superior General of the Carmelite Order. It did not become a universal feast till 1726. Catholics still wear the blessed Scapula everywhere to honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

"Turn to the Lord in your needs, and you will live" exhorts our Scripture pick for today. If you are needy in any way, you will not fail to be struck by this word of God. Why does the Eternal Father counsel us to turn to Him in our needs in order to live? Two important reasons occur to me:

#1 "Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Man's prosperity is Satan's opportunity."

#2 Turning to God in prayer, worship, praise and thanksgiving is God's ordained means of receiving His favors and blessings.

Psalm 69 continues:

"This is my prayer to you, my prayer for your favor. In your great love, answer me, O God, with your help that never fails.

"As for me in my poverty and pain let your help, O God, lift me up. I will praise God’s name with a song; I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

"The poor when they see it will be glad and God-seeking hearts will revive; for the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains. (Responsorial Psalm: 69:14, 30-31,33-34).

I thank You Father that You drew me out when I was sunk in the abysmal swamp where there is no foothold. I cried for help through this Psalm and You saved me.

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

What to do when a new sheriff is in town.

"Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, rose to power in Egypt." (Exodus 1: 8).

Monday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bonaventure, Franciscan, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. When you meet the new atheists who no longer believe in God because they have advanced degrees in science, you may ask them: Are you more learned or educated than St Bonaventure, St Thomas Aquinas, St Albert the Great or St Augustine. God continues to bless the Church with great scientists who have blessed the world. Our saint of today, Bonaventure is one of them.

What do you make of our key Scripture? "Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, rose to power in Egypt." (Exodus 1: 8). When a new sheriff comes to town, a new king comes to the throne, what do the little folk do? God shakes up history through one man.

"Accordingly, they set supervisors over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. ...... Pharaoh then commanded all his people, “Throw into the Nile every boy that is born, but you may let all the girls live.” (Exodus 1: 11, 22).

The Israelites suffered "the whole cruel fate of slaves." This suffering prepared them to cooperate for the historic event of the Exodus.

God did not abandon Israel to the cruel power of their oppressors. The Exodus is seared in the memory of the Israelites.
"If the Lord had not been on our side,’ this is Israel’s song.
‘If the Lord had not been on our side when men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive when their anger was kindled." (Psalm 124: 1 - 3).

Remember: When a new sheriff comes to town, cry out to God for protection. God hears always the cry of the poor. The Lord our God Almighty is King. Not Pharaoh. Not Caesar.

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