Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sin>>>>Suffering >>>>>Salvation.

"Coming to his senses he [the Prodigal] thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger." (Luke 15: 17).

Sunday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. The Scriptures this Sunday is so rich in spiritual nourishment. The first Reading from Exodus 32 can be summarized thus: The Lord relented in the punishment He planned for His people. In the 2nd Reading from 1 Timothy, Paul exclaimed how mercifully Jesus treated him. First, all his sins were wiped out. Then Jesus appointed Paul as a top apostle. But it is in the Gospel that we see God’s face of mercy in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Sin>>>Suffering >>>Salvation.
Sin leads sooner or later to brokenness. Brokenness softens the heart to receive the mercy waiting for the sinner. Without the hunger and misery of the Prodigal, he would never have come to the point where he said:
"I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers." (Luke 15: 18 - 19).

The Scriptures reveal to us this Sunday: Jesus Christ the Face of mercy of God the Father. How do we apply this truth to our needs?
Reconciliation! No Reconciliation, No personal experience of Mercy!
The ABC of Mercy:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

"We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered." (Cf Galatians 6: 14).

Saturday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, also called the Triumph of the Cross. This ancient feast dates back to the 4th century.

How do you see the Cross? An instrument of torture and Roman execution of criminals? Or an altar of sacrifice of the Son of God for the Salvation of the world?

Jesus Christ embraced the Cross the Father decreed for Him and thus triumphed over sin, evil and death. Jesus reigned as King of the Universe from the holy Cross. A concept difficult to understand. Take it as truth from the Church.
How about you my brother and sister? Are you tempted to reject your Cross? To reject your Cross is to reject Jesus Christ and the Father's ordained means of salvation. Or are you tempted to think that your Cross is too heavy? Then think of this:

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

When you embrace God’s gracious and mysterious will for you in everything, everywhere and always, you will know the peace of Jesus.

"We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your cross you have redeemed the world." (Gospel Acclamation).

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

St John Chrysostom of Constantinople, great teacher and preacher.

"No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).

Friday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (349 - 407). As the Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysistom could have chosen a quiet, comfortable and non controversial life. Not Chrysostom, a great admirer of St Paul the Apostle, he worked very hard for the cause of the poor and the marginalized in his See. "When fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).
John Chrysostom was fully trained and became a great preacher and teacher in addition to his other ministries. We continue to enjoy today the vast writings he left behind.

Bishop John Chrysostom is known for his experience of great suffering in the course of the his ministry and left us an example of invincible patience. He died in exile.
St John Chrysostom, pray for us.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Love your enemies.

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6: 27 - 28).

Thursday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To those who love Mary, no honor is enough. To those who do not love her, they begrudge her even the Blessedness that Scripture says is her entitlement for being full of grace and the Mother of the Redeemer.

Jesus proclaims: "I am the Way." That Way is the Way of the Cross. Could there be possibly any other way? If there is, the Holy Spirit would have revealed it to the Church. When you love those who hate and injure you, you behave exactly like Jesus. When you bless those who curse you, you bear your cross like Jesus, St Stephen the martyr and the saints.

When the tiny Christian community encountered the imperial power of Rome, they offered no resistance to the inhuman brutalization of imperial power. The Christians remembered  the ancient creed of the Church:

"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." (CCC 272).

In other words as Jesus teaches in our Gospel of today (Luke 6: 27 - 38), evil can only be overcome through the Cross. Wherever this doctrine is applied, the Cross has always been exalted.
"Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you." (Colossians 3: 15).

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours......But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation." (Luke 6: 20,.. 24).

Wednesday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. In Luke's Beatitudes (Sermon on the Plain), Jesus promises the kingdom of God to those who are poor, not necessarily those deprived of material goods and comforts but those whose treasure is in heaven. These are the holy ones who have heard the message of the kingdom of God, of eternal life that is ushered in by the ministry of Jesus Christ and seeks it as first priority. These Christians start right here and right now to enjoy the eternal life that is the kingdom of God.

But those whose hearts are in their wealth receive their compensation here on earth for 50, 70, 90 or at most 100 years. And here on earth, they must defend their wealth from taxes, robbers, rust, inflation, etc. They will be weary defending their excess riches. Jesus promises a better way in the Beatitudes:

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are you who are poor [in spirit, those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for the kingdom of God is yours [both now and forever]. (Luke 6: 20 AMP).

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Monday, September 09, 2019

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus chose the 12.

"Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles." (Luke 6: 12 - 13).

Tuesday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. It is time for Jesus to choose and call His close friends.

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus undertakes one of the most important tasks in His mission: Choosing His 12 Apostles. No nation takes lightly the choice of its leaders. Elections are organized and campaigns undertaken for a couple of years.

We see a variety of gifts and personalities in the 12 men chosen to be close collaborators of Jesus. All the men were from lower class of society, poor, uneducated, untraveled and timid. Jesus Himself would be their Teacher and Master while He remained with them. Then the Holy Spirit will finish the job of preparing them for their lives' work.

Do you find it fun criticizing your Bishop? Do you realize that they are the direct successors of the Apostles? They need your prayers and not your acidic criticisms. Have you removed the beam in your eyes so that you can see clearly before you try to remove the beam in your Bishop's eyes? Be careful because as you judge so shall you be judged. (Cf Matthew 7: 2).

"You are just, O Lord, and your judgement is right; treat your servant in accord with your merciful love." (Psalm 118: 137, 124).

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Sunday, September 08, 2019

Can we really fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church." (Colossians 1: 24).

Monday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus (1580 - 1654), Priest and Religious. As a Jesuit missionary in South America, he was placed by Providence to care for thousands of African slaves as they arrived in the Americas to start their enforced slavery. Peter fed the hungry, cared for the sick and dying. It is estimated that he baptized about 300,000 in his 40 years of ministry.

Our Scripture of today is puzzling. Jesus Christ overcame evil not by fight or flight but my total submission. The Church goes on to teach:
"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". (CCC 272).

We share in the Exaltation of the Cross today by embracing God's gracious and mysterious will in our life. You may think that this is easy. If you commit to doing it always, everywhere and in everything, you are on your way to sainthood. When you learn to offer up all your sufferings in union with Jesus, it is powerful and can be the one single thing that breaks any yoke.

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