Saturday, September 21, 2019

Do you worry about money?

"You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16: 13).

Sunday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time. How do you know if you are trying to serve God and mammon?

#1 Do you worry about money?
#2 Do you do non essential work on Sunday?
#3 Do you pay your debt in time?
#4 Do you give God time every day for prayer?
#5 Do you gamble? Play the lottery?
#6 Do you begrudge the Church your contributions?
#7 Do you worry about the stock market?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6: 21).
"They multiply their sorrows who court other gods." (Psalm 16: 4).

"We brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it." (1 Timothy 6: 7).

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Follow Me. I will make you righteous and fisher of men.

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him." (Matthew 9: 9).

Saturday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. With regard to the call of Matthew, Jesus said:
"I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 13)

Other saints Jesus called who were not righteous:
Augustine, Francis, Dominic, Ignatius, Teresa, etc.
"Their message goes out through all the earth." (Cf Psalm 19).

"I have opened a door for you that no one can close." (Revelation 3: 8).

Lord Jesus, lead us , guide us and use us. Amen.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

How rich do you want to be?

"Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction." (1 Timothy 6: 9).

Friday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr and the Korean martyrs. 103 martyrs gave their lives to Christ between 1839 and 1867.

Our Scripture for today is wringing indictment of love of money.  When I was in college, it was vogue and smart to want to be rich. Still the same today. "Make all the money you can and then retire early." Even without knowing what I needed all the money for, I fell for the madness. Also in fashion at the time were self-help books like: THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON and THINK AND GROW RICH.
I am glad to say that God in His mercy rescued me from such evil thoughts.

Sacred Scripture has a lot to say about money both as filthy lucre and genuine riches. Let us take a few sampling from the first Reading from 1Timothy 6:

"For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it."

"If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that."

"For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains."

These are plain truths for anyone to see.

The Korean Martyrs we celebrate today attained to everlasting life because they rejected the culture of money, money, money.

How happy are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

God loves sinners who confess their sins.

"Her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”  (Luke 7: 47).

Thursday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. How often do you go to Confession? The more often, the closer you are to God. The closer you are to God, the more effective your life, your ministry, work.

Those who love much because their many sins have been forgiven them:
#1 Peter the Chief Apostle.
#2 Paul the Greatest Apostle.
#3 Mary Magdalene the Apostle to the Apostles.

God loves sinners who confess their sins. Do you need one more example:
#4 David, the Greatest King of Israel.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the pathway to deep peace, joy and holiness. Go for it. It is free!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Church is the Pillar and Foundation of truth.

"The church of the living God, [is] the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Timothy 3: 15).

Wednesday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. Our Scripture for today makes a huge claim for the body we call the Church: It is the Pillar and Foundation of truth. The Church in fact claims authority to teach the truth. Only one Church claims this authority. Below is how the Church stakes its claim:

"The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth." "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls." (CCC 2032).

Why would God give such sweeping authority to the Church made up of sinful men like the Apostle Peter or Pope Francis? To understand the mind of Christ, let us see the authority that God gave to sin-prone human beings at the first creation:

"God blessed them [humans] and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth." (Genesis 1: 28).

In the first creation, God gave humans dominion over the earth. Men went ahead and built the Tower of Babel, went to the moon and experimented with eugenics. Today, man's stewardship of the earth is highly compromised.

The Church is the Baby of the second creation. Here is the charge from Jesus:
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18 - 20).
The Church therefore has the authority to teach all nations what Jesus Christ taught the Apostles.

Could the Church have lasted for decades without this authority?
"Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed." (1 Timothy 3: 14).
"How great are the works of the Lord." (Responsorial Psalm 111 Refrain).

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Monday, September 16, 2019

A Bishop must be irreproachable, not a lover of money.

"[A] Bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,  not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity." (1 Timothy 3: 2 - 4).

Tuesday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Robert Berllamine of the Society of Jesus. Our Scripture for today listed the qualities of a Bishop of the Church. It seems as if the author of 1 Timothy studied the life of St Robert Berllamine before writing the profile of the Bishop. The only difference is that Berllamine was celibate. As a Bishop and a Cardinal, he had a large household and treated members of his household with exemplary kindness and generosity. Born in 1542 in Tuscany, he lived during the tumultuous years of the Reformation. A highly respected scholar, he was also a very effective apologist. Because of his gentle and winsome character, he was listened to on both sides of the Reformation controversies.
St Robert Berllamine wrote a very successful Catechism.

St Robert Berllamine was irreproachable, celibate, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,  not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.
May God bless and prosper His Church with Bishops like St Robert Berllamine.

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Lord, say but a word.

“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed." (Luke 7: 6 - 7).

Monday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cornelius, Pope and St Cyprian, Bishop. Both were martyred in the 4th century.

In our Gospel pick for today, we marvel at the faith of the Roman Centurion. It is said that our faith grows when we read Sacred Scripture. The Centurion heard of the miraculous powers of Jesus and understood from his army experience that Jesus could heal his slave by a word of command given from anywhere.

Blessed John Henry Newman writes that when God asks us to trust Him, He does not demand the impossible. He gives us signs and at other times inner certitude to strengthen our faith. Think of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Abraham, David, Paul, etc. Our trust in God brings delight to the Heart of God. "When Jesus heard these words [of the Centurion] he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.’ And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health." (Luke 7: 9 - 10).

Inspired by the professed faith of the Centurion, the Church says before Holy Communion:
"Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." Just one word!

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