Saturday, August 24, 2019

Endure your trials as discipline from God.

"Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?" (Hebrews 12: 7).

Sunday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time. My paper castle was tumbling right and left when I heard our Scripture for today in a Sunday Mass at the beginning of my second journey of faith. It was sweet music to my ears. I was happy because I knew for sure that somebody was aware of where I was and what I was suffering.

Whatever trial you may be going through at the moment, our Scripture for today is certainly a word of knowledge and comfort. A sage said: "Correct thought is the key to correct action." This is the great gift God bestows on us in His word: "The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword." (Hebrews 4: 12).

David is happy because the Lord disciplines him. The Apostle James writes: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1: 2 - 4).
"Those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines."

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Friday, August 23, 2019

When you are not keen to meet Jesus...

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” (John 1: 45).

Saturday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the Feast of the Apostle Bartholomew. Bartholomew who is the same as Nathaniel was introduced to Jesus by his friend Philip. Jesus said of him: "There is no duplicity in him." What an accurate description of a man who was not keen to meet Jesus because he believed "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Be that as it may, Jesus praised Bartholomew when the two men shook hands and Jesus accepted him as one of the 12 Apostles.

This interesting episode gives us food for thought: Is the Lord Jesus waiting for you to bring that friend to Him? Invite him to Mass? To enter the RCIA? Go to Confession? Regularize her marriage?

The response of those who are called and anointed should be:
"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters." (Psalm 17: 50 ; 21:23).

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wherever you go, I will go.

“Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1: 16).

Friday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Rose of Lima, Virgin. (1586 - 1617). Great beauty and talent but gave up all for the love of Jesus. The Lord rewarded her devotion by making her the first canonized saint in the Americas.

Our key Scripture for today are the brave words of Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Unknown to Ruth, she had been chosen to be the great grandmother of King David and to become one of the three women in the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.

What can we learn from the character of Ruth? A spirit of sacrifice, hard work, loyalty and faithfulness. Although a stranger to the monotheistic religion of Israel, she no doubt fulfilled the ancient law enunciated by Jesus in our Gospel of today: "You shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself." (Cf Matthew 22: 34 - 40).

"Teach me your paths, my God,
guide me in your truth." (Psalm 25: 4, 5).

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

"The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son." (Matthew 22: 2).

Thursday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Queenship of Mary. The kingship of David is the type and shadow of the kingship of Christ. Jesus was called the Son of David. During the reign of King Solomon, Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon was the Queen mother and played a prominent role in the court of King Solomon. This historical reality throws some light on the Queenship of Mary. Here is what the Church says on Mary Queen:

"The feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1954 and commemorates participation in the glorious and universal kingdom of Christ through her special role in His Redemption. Though not the source of grace, she is the channel through which all graces are received, our mediatrix." (Roman Missal). The elevation of Mary as Queen encourages us to approach her with confidence in all our needs.

"Blessed are you O Mary who have believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord will be fulfilled." (Cf Luke 1: 45).

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

There is plenty of work in my Vineyard.

"Why do you stand here idle all day?’  They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard." (Matthew 20: 6 - 7).

Wednesday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Pius X, Pope (1835 - 1914). Pius X is known best for two reasons:
His vigorous defense of the Church against modern heresies and his extension of Holy Communion to young children and encouragement of frequent Communion.

The Church on earth is the seed of the Kingdom of God. In this Kingdom, there is no unemployment. There is work for everyone in the Vineyard. The Owner of the Vineyard is an equal opportunity Employer. He will be fair and generous. But do not be surprised and bitter if every worker is paid the same. Why were the late workers paid first?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55: 7 - 8).

Now the punchline:
"What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?" (Matthew 20: 14 - 15).

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Give me Jesus.

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19: 29).

Tuesday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 - 1153),Abbot and Doctor of the Church. Apostle Peter on behalf of the Apostles and ourselves asked Jesus: “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” (Matthew 19: 27).

St Bernard was a French Cistercian monk who is well known in the history of the the Church. Among peers, he was a towering giant. He was immensely learned, holy, cultivated, gentle, a great teacher and a highly effective preacher. St Bernard gave the world the MEMORARE Prayer. (Remember O Most Blessed Virgin Mary...).
Should you ask St Bernard: You have given up everything to follow Jesus, what is there for you? St Bernard would have answered like another great teacher and Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas: Give me Jesus and that will be enough.

Jesus is the Top Prize. He is the great Reward! Give me Jesus.

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

He went away sad.

"Jesus said to him [the rich man] “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19: 21).

Monday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time. The rich young man turns down the opportunity to become a disciple of Jesus.

Some people are born poor.
Others become poor by their own mistakes.
Some people have poverty thrust upon them.

The vocation to follow Jesus implies embracing poverty of one degree or another.  Some people are committed to radical poverty like Franciscans. The Apostles and immediate disciples of Jesus were called to this type of poverty. Those who enter consecrated life take vow of poverty. They depend on the providence of God to provide all their necessities. God rewards them with deep peace and God Himself becomes their security in everything.

Jesus loves the rich man and invited him to join this intimate circle. "When the young man heard this statement, [about giving up his wealth] he went away sad, for he had many possessions." (Matthew 19: 22).

Do you own your money or does your money own you?

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