Saturday, January 04, 2020

The 3 Magi came. They saw. They believed.

"They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2: 10 - 11).

Sunday 5th January 2020 in the Season of Christmas is the Solemnity of the Epiphany." "The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation." (CCC 528).

The three magi from the East, rich and highly educated men entered the unassuming house and saw the child with Mary and  instantly  recognized the humble child as Christ the Lord. How is this possible? The star is the secret. The star of Bethlehem. When God leads you, He gives you signs.

When the magi recognized the child, they came to faith. "They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

Faith is critical whenever you encounter God. "This is My Body. This is My Blood." You encounter the Risen Jesus in the Eucharist. What do you do? What will the shepherds do? What will the three magi do? Faith is seeing with the heart.

What have you seen at Christmas?
"We have seen his star in the East,
and have come with gifts to adore the Lord." (Matthew 2: 2).

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Friday, January 03, 2020

We honor today St Elizabeth Ann Seton.

“We have found the Messiah” (John 1: 41).

Saturday January 4th in the Season of Christmas is the feast of St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 - 1821), Religious. Elizabeth is blessed as wife, mother, educator and founder of a religious order. She was born in New York. Why is she significant in the Church in America? She founded the Sisters of Charity, a teaching order that has made a significant contribution to education and the American parochial school system. Secondly, she was the first person born in continental United States of America to be canonized a saint.

But more to the point is that Elizabeth Ann Seton found the fullness of Jesus Christ and His teaching in the Catholic Church. Like Andrew and John in our Scripture of today, Elizabeth must have exclaimed when she converted to Catholicism and received into the Church: "I have found the fullness of knowledge and faith in Jesus. I have found the Eucharist!"

Be that as it may, John the Baptist is great but he is not Jesus the Christ.

"Behold a wise woman who has built her house. She feared the Lord and walked in the right path." (Proverbs 14: 1 - 2).

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Thursday, January 02, 2020

The Power of the Holy Name of Jesus.

"She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 21).

Friday 3rd January, 2020 in the Season of Christmas is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. It is also the First Friday of January 2020. Even before the Gospels were written, the Name of Jesus has been revered and venerated. In fact, the power of the Name of Jesus is one of the four pillars of Apostolic Witness. Others are:
#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#3 The Witness of Sacred Scriptures to these events.

Is there any wonder that this hymn from Philippians below is the earliest liturgical hymn recorded. This hymn is a historical testament that Liturgy (the Mass) precedes the written Gospels.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2: 10 - 11).

Demons fear the Name of Jesus. Use it often as an armor of protection. The Jesus Prayer, "Jesus have mercy on me" is a full prayer. Use it when you need a quick prayer.

Jesus, I Trust in You.

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, 1st in 2020!

January 3, 2020  -  First Friday in January.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 1st  month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #1.

#1.  "I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life."
What is your state of life?
A.  Married
B.  Single
C.  Divorced
D.   Adolescent

Each state has its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Jesus promises us here:  sufficient grace to cope with whatever happens.  We know that anything can happen anytime.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Who are you?

“Who are you?” (John 1: 19).

Thursday, January 2, 2020 in the Season of Christmas is the feast day of two great Doctors of the Church: St Basil the Great (329 - 397) and St Gregory Nazienzen (329 - 389). Besides being contemporaries, they were great friends. God promises that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the Church. Whenever the Church is under great distress, God raises up great saints as bulwark against the forces of evil. Gregory and Basil were the answer God provided to deal with the scourge of the Arian heresy in the 4th century.

The Jewish leaders who were unsure of the identity of John the Baptist sent a delegation to ask him: "Who are you?" John the Baptist knew who he was: “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord.” (John 1: 23).

Do you know who you are? I don't mean: I am a teacher, nurse, doctor, housewife, soldier, etc. Do you know who you are in Christ? Do you know your identity in Christ Jesus? Next to the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, which constitute eternal life, your true identity may be the most important knowledge you need. I struggled for a couple of decades on this question. I begin to suspect only recently that I am an evangelist and a catechist. My one desire after my metanoia is to know the Heart of Jesus intimately, to love Him passionately and to share my knowledge and experience of Jesus Christ. This has been an exciting adventure. I can report that Jesus is a great Friend and Leader full of joy, kindness, generosity and compassion.

How do you know who you are? How do you discover your ID? Each of the 7 billion people on earth has their identity in the Scriptures.
"Read some chapter of a devout book every day..... It is very easy and most necessary. For just as you speak to God when you are at prayer, God speaks to you when you read." (St Vincent de Paul; St Ambrose of Milan). Especially when you read Sacred Scripture. God is waiting to reveal things to you including who you are.

Armed with your identity, you are ready to contribute to the building of the Kingdom of God on earth.

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January 1, 2020 is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God.

"When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." is (Galatians 4: 4 - 5).

January 1, 2020 in the Octave of Christmas is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

"Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord". In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos)." (CCC 495).

Our key Scripture says that in the fullness of time, God fulfilled the promise He made long ago. Are you waiting for the fullness of time on anything? Health, family, finances, job, tools and necessary resources?
Our Scripture today indicates that nothing happens until the fullness of time, the Kairos time. Do you have a relationship with the Mary the Mother of God? Mary who after Jesus is our greatest intercessor in Heaven by the gracious and mysterious will of God is waiting to embrace and help you.  Mary is key to our knowledge and relationship with Jesus her Son. Mary is the only human being who knew Jesus from conception to His death.

Mary Mother of God pray for us.

SeekFirstCommunity Team wishes you a 2020 full of faith, patience, prayer, peace and prosperity.

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Have you seen the Antichrist?

"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." (1 John 2: 18).

Tuesday 31st December 2019, 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas is also the feast of St Sylvester 1. Elected Pope in 314 and died about 335. Sylvester served the Church at a very turbulent period in Church history. Arian heresy and the Donatist schism threatened to destroy the Church. Then Constantine appeared and offered peace. After this, Pope Sylvester contributed a great deal in the expansion of the faith in the Roman Empire.

This is the last hour warned the Apostle John and he went further:
The "Antichrists have appeared." Have you seen any? These are some of the characteristics from the Christian Scriptures:
Temporary success
Mass seduction
Son of perdition
Opposed Christ.
(Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 3 - 12; Matthew 24: 23 - 26).

Pope St John Paul II warned in 1976 at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia (before he became pontiff) that we are now facing the final confrontation between the Antichrist and the Church. Remember how King Henry VIII caught over 300 English Bishops napping in 1535? Only Bishop St John Fisher earned the crown of Martyrdom. Below is a prophetic teaching of the Church on the Antichrist:

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh."   (CCC 675).

Do not be asleep. Be vigilant and pray at all times so that you may not fall into severe temptation. Do not become an Anti-Witness.

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Who is Anna the Widow?

"There was a prophetess, Anna... She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." (Luke 2: 36, 37).

Monday, December 30 2019, 6th Day in the Octave of Christmas. Our Gospel today is about  Anna, the widow. Married young and lost her husband after only seven years of marriage, Anna decided not to remarry but rather to dedicate the rest of her life serving God in the Temple. She did this through worshipping, and continuous fasting and prayer. Anna is the first Evangelist mentioned in the Gospels, as she "spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem." (Luke 2: 38).

When she was 84 years old, the Lord rewarded Anna for her long faithful service. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, she walked into the Temple when Mary and Joseph were in the Temple to present the Child Jesus to the Lord. "And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem." (Luke 2: 38).

Brethren, the story of Anna teaches us that it is good to serve the Lord faithfully. Anna and Mary are two examples of great faithfulness in serving God not for one year or 10 years or 50 years but day after day all life long. But what is most admirable is the faithfulness of God. The Bible says that faithfulness is the essence of who God is. Both Anna, Mary and Joseph responded to the faithful love and mercies of God to them.
May we do the same.

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