Saturday, August 17, 2019

My message will be contentious.

"In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death:
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” (Jeremiah 38: 4).

Sunday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time has a message of strife, contention and extreme courage in following Jesus.

The people got King Zedekiah to condemn Jeremiah to death for doing his work as a prophet. In the Gospel, Jesus proclaims how He came to set the earth on fire. "From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.” (Luke 12: 52 - 53).

The 2nd Reading from Hebrews 12: 1-4 confirms the message of Christ on the nature of the Enterprise He has given his life for. A great crowd of witnesses has already paid the price with their life: John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and all the Apostles, Stephen, Lawrence, Cecilia, Agatha, Thomas More, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King Jr, etc. These are the heroes of our faith. All these witnesses belong to the Communion of the Saints, the holy ones who day and night are interceding for us before the Throne of grace and mercy and urging us to persevere in running the race that lies before us.

Brethren, this saying is trustworthy:
“Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Corinthians 2: 9).

The reward for faithfulness and perseverance will be extraordinary.

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Let the children come to Me.

“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19: 14).

Saturday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Have you ever been annoyed by unrestrained and noisy children during Mass?  I discovered something curious and very beautiful about this annoyance recently. Little children love the house of God in a natural way. At first, I thought that little children might mistake the Sanctuary for a super market like Walmart. A little reflection convinced me that this is not the case. They know something, they see something that we distracted adults don't know and see. After the noon Mass at the Cathedral today, I saw a young child suddenly detach himself from the gripping hold of the mother and ran to the side altar. I caught his eyes and winked at him. I have learned to leave them alone.

"Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

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272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe". (Catechism of the Catholic Church 272).

Thursday, August 15, 2019

It was not your sword or your bow.

"It was not your sword or your bow." (Joshua 24: 12).

Friday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. The first presidential address of Joshua to the people of Israel is the subject of the first Reading in today's Liturgy. It is sobering. Joshua went down memory lane to the very beginning of the nation: The choice and the call of Abraham. At the conclusion of his address, God speaking through Joshua to the people said:

"I gave you a land you did not till and cities you did not build, to dwell in; you ate of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant." (Joshua 24: 13).

The point of the talk is to warn the people against hubris. The Responsorial Psalm instructs us of the attitude of praise and thanksgiving we need before God:

"Give thanks to the God of gods.
Great is his love, love without end.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
Great is his love, love without end.
Through the desert his people he led.

"Great is his love, love without end.
Nations in their greatness he struck. Great is his love, love without end.
Kings in their splendour he slew.
Great is his love, love without end.
He let Israel inherit their land."
Great is his love, love without end. (Psalm 136: 1- 3, 16 - 18, 21 - 22).

It was not our sword or our bow that built the nation but God's gracious ordaining. Give thanks to the Lord.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

"Almighty, ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray, that, always attentive to the things that are above, we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

Thursday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. What is the Assumption?
"The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians." (CCC 966).

The Collect of the Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption expresses the constant and ancient faith of the Church.
"Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi." As the Church prays, so does she believe. So does she live. Teaches this ancient dictum. St Augustine, a theological genius expresses so succinctly: I believe because the Church taught me to believe. I believe based on the credible authority of the Church. Yes indeed. No Church, no confirmation of our faith.

Mary who bore Christ in her womb was raised body and soul in glory to be with Him in heaven. This is the ancient and constant faith of the Church.

"All generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me." (Luke 1: 48 - 49).

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Who is St Maximilian Kolbe?

"Greater love has no one
than to lay down his life for his friends, says the Lord." (Cf John 15: 13).

Wednesday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941), Franciscan Priest and Martyr. St Maximilian exhibited a greater love for his co-prisoner, picked by lot to be executed by the Nazis at Auschwitz. The condemned man broke down and wept bitterly. "My wife and children."  Maximilian who was a priest and unmarried asked the Gestapo to spare the man and take him. The Gestapo found the bargain to their liking since they hated priests more than Jews. They executed St Maximilian Kolbe.

"Greater love has no one
than to lay down his life for his friends, says the Lord." (Cf John 15: 13). The love and example of Jesus compels us to imitate Him. "Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me." (John 12: 26). St Maximilian Kolbe is enjoying his well deserved reward in heaven and is honored today throughout the world in the anniversary of his martyrdom.

St Maximilian Kolbe pray for us.

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Monday, August 12, 2019

The Lord Himself goes before you in this Journey.

"It is the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31: 8).

Tuesday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Who goes before you in the Journey of life? Whom do you depend on as your provider and  leader?

When Moses was handing over the leadership baton to Joshua, he assured the people that God Himself remains the real Leader. Therefore they should not be afraid. God will never fail them.

God gives names to their leaders and ministering angels which contains His sacred name "EL" to remind them of His promise to be with them and provide for them.

El = God

Isra-El: God contends/fights.
Gabri-El: God’s strength” or “Power of God”.
Rapha-El: “God heals”.
Micha-El: Who is like God?
Emmanu-El: God with us.
Ishma-El: God hears.

If God is with you, the Journey is accomplished.

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

3 dire predictions of the Passion of Christ which noone remembered.

"As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,  and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief." (Matthew 17: 22 - 23).

Monday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. The subtext of the word we have picked for today reads "The Second Prediction of the Passion."

How can we begin to understand the fact that Jesus predicted His Passion in such graphic terms three times and non of His disciples was prepared for it or even seemed to remember? It seems impossible to be true.

Be that as it may, how about ourselves? The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is taught and preached with vigor. We know that the Second Coming is the sub theme of Advent. Right?

Now what will be our defense if Jesus Christ comes tomorrow? Are we ready? How will our defense attorney plead for us?

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