Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

"The shepherds went in haste,
and found Mary and Joseph and the Infant lying in a manger." (Luke 2: 16).

Sunday 29 December 2019, within the Octave of Christmas is the Solemnity of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

We pray with the Church:
"O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practising the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.. ."

In the fullness of time, when all was ready, God sent His Son to dwell among us in time and space and be obedient to the human and natural laws in the world.

As long as I can remember, the sacred blessing below is the gift of God to every family on Holy Family Sunday. God's gift is to be appropriated with joy and faith.
"May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts; let the message of Christ find a home with you." (Colossians 3: 15, 16).

"The Christian family is a Communion of persons. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task." (CCC 2205).

A family that prays together stays together.

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Friday, December 27, 2019

The blood of the Holy Innocents.

"If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 5 : 9 - 10).

Saturday 28th December 2019 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It is surprising how fast we transitioned from the joyful birth of Jesus to the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt and to the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. This is perhaps a rude reminder to all of us that the Mission of Jesus is to be Savior and a Redeemer. Salvation from Sin and Redemption from the debt of Sin.

Our Scripture pick for today lays down clearly the part we must play for the Salvation and Redemption that Jesus Christ accomplished for us.
"If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 5 : 9 - 10).

We must acknowledge our sins. We do in every Mass. How about other occasions? Remember the ABC of Mercy?

Ask for Mercy.

Be Merciful.

Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

"Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD." And You forgave the guilt of my sin." (Psalm 32: 5).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is also the beginning of redemption and salvation.

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

What I have seen and heard this week.

"What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1: 3).

Friday 27th December 2019 is the Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist. John wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Book of Revelation. John is an eye witness and a credible witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the will of God that we learn the truth of the Gospel from credible witnesses. The Church is the credible witness for over 2000 years. Countless crowds of witnesses.

Our Scripture text for today challenges me to ask: What have I seen?
+ I have seen the Church gathered for the Eucharist on Christmas Eve to celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ.
+ I have seen people come up to receive the Eucharist with great reverence.
+ Today, I saw the majestic Cathedral, the Seat of the Bishop, a successor to St John the Evangelist, whose feast we celebrate today.
+ I have seen Jesus Christ in the person of the priest at the Altar.
+ I have seen Jesus in a homeless woman in the train station.

What have I heard?
+ I have heard the Good News proclaimed from the Altar.
+ I have heard it proclaimed on television, radio and music.

Father, we pray that with St John the Evangelist we may share in the hidden wisdom of your eternal Word which You reveal to us at the Eucharistic table. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Feast of St Stephen, the first Martyr.

"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6: 8).

Thursday 26 December 2019 is the feast of Saint Stephen, the first Martyr. "St Stephen was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles (Acts 6: 1 - 6) and was filled with faith and the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude" (Acts 6: 5, 8). Stephen died praying for his executioners. The similarities between Stephen's martyrdom and the crucifixion of Our Lord emphasize his imitation of Christ even up to the complete gift of self." (Roman Missal).

We learn from the brief summary of the life of St Stephen from the Roman Missal that Stephen must have been a very important witness in the early Church. Consider why:

#1 Stephen's life and experience shows that the promises of Jesus are true. "When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say." (Matthew 10: 19).

#2 Stephen died like Jesus forgiving his executioners.

This vindication of the promises of Jesus and fearless embrace of martyrdom made a deep impression on the Church. The Church included the name of St Stephen in the Canon of the Mass to intercede for the Church.

"As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7: 58).
The prayer and blood of martyrs are very powerful. God works through prayers. Especially of saints.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Solemnity of the Nativity of Christ the Lord.

"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, Upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains By judgment and justice, both now and forever." (Isaiah 9: 5 - 6).

Wednesday December 25th, the Solemnity of the Nativity of Christ the Lord. Listen to Isaiah's joyous proclamation: "For a child is born to us!"

Who is this Child that is born to us?
He is Jesus the Savior!
He is Emmanuel, God with us.
But why is He born to us?
He became man that we may become God. The process of our becoming God starts in Baptism when we receive the Holy Spirit who makes us the adopted children of the Father. This process of becoming continues all our life. What is the end game? Eternal life. Everlasting life. Endless life of bliss with God. Where there is no more death or sorrow. No anger or war. Endless Liturgy, music and feasting.

Thank You Jesus. We love You. We welcome You.

SeekFirstCommunity Team wish all of you the best Christmas ever! Peace and joy!

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Monday, December 23, 2019

The Coming of the Prince of Peace.

"A mighty Savior..... to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1: 69, 79).

Tuesday 24 December, Christmas Eve. At last Advent is almost over.  At the heart of the Christmas celebration is the promise of peace and joy, twin gifts that are unmistakable gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Christian and a sure sign of His presence.

Do you know the peace of Christ? This is how Sacred Scripture describes the peace of David in the 1st Reading:
"Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest [peace] from all the enemies surrounding him." Note that God bestows peace on David. "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (Isaiah 26: 3).
The Infant Child of Bethlehem promises us:
"A mighty Savior..... to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1: 69, 79).

Jesus declared in His public ministry that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Way that leads to peace is the way of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. If there is no peace in your home, at work, in your church or in the world,  look at the Beatitudes. (Matthew 5: 3 - 11). The Way of Jesus is the sure guide to peace.

"O Morning star, radiance of eternal light, sun of justice, come and enlighten those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death."

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You too, you are my messenger.

"Thus says the Lord God: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way be­fore me." (Malachi 3: 1).

Monday 23 December 2019 is the feast of St John Kanty (1390 - 1473), Polish priest. University professor and noted for his great humility. The Church teaches that if we pay attention to the example of the saints, we grow in the wisdom of the saints. The example of St Fulton Sheen has helped me in my writing and publishing. Good biography exerts great power over us.

Our key Scripture says that the Lord is sending His messenger to prepare a way for the Coming of Jesus Christ. Has it ever occurred to you that you might be one of the  messengers? What do you make of the Dismissal Rite of the Mass? It can come in one of these words:
"Go forth, the Mass is ended."
"Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord."
"Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life."
"Go in peace." They all mean the same thing. You are being sent forth to prepare the way of the Lord.
We respond:
Thanks be to God.

I was astonished when I learned that this is one of the most important parts of the Mass. How? It is the time the Lord Jesus is sending us out to share the gifts we receive at Mass.

You too "I am sending you as my messenger to prepare the way be­fore me."
O that today you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.

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