Wednesday, December 30, 2020

This may be the Last Hour.

"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).

Thursday 31st December 2020, 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas is also the feast of St Sylvester 1. (+ 335). Roman. Elected Pope in 314 and died about 335. Sylvester served the Church at a very turbulent transition 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 of the Man of lawlessness:

Deceit
Temporary success
Mass seduction
Adversary
Son of perdition
Opposed Christ.
(Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 3 - 12; Matthew 24: 23 - 26).

Before he became Pontiff, Pope St John Paul II warned in 1976 at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia 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 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"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. This is the Last Hour.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Anna, Prophetess and Evangelist.

"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." (Luke 2: 36 - 37).

Wednesday 30th December 2020, 6th Day in the Octave of Christmas.

Anna, the Prophetess dominates the Gospel Reading as if today is her patronal feast day. Who is Anna and why is she one of the humble and powerful evangelists in the Gospel?

#1 Anna had lived in the Temple for decades and gave herself completely to worshiping God, praying and fasting.
#2 Apart from Mary, Joseph and Simeon, Anna was one of the very first Christian who saw Jesus as an Infant, recognized Him and carried Him in her arms! Wonderful? Oh Yes!
#3 Anna is one of the very first Evangelist to announce the Good News. Listen to the testimony of the Scriptures:
"And coming forward at that very time, she [Anna] gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem." (Luke 2: 38).

What can we say about the character of Anna? The answer is from the first Reading: 1 John 2: 15 - 17).

"Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." (1 John 2: 15 - 17).

Anna retired to the Temple after she lost her husband as a young maiden. She chose not to remarry or hang around and enjoy her husband's wealth.

We have a lot to learn from Anna. St Anna, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, December 28, 2020

Simeon the Prophet saw with his own eyes the Infant Jesus promised centuries ago.

"There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord." (Luke 2: 25 - 27).

Tuesday 29th December 2020, 5th Day in the Octave of Christmas is the feast of St Thomas Beckett. (1118 - 1170). English. Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr.

Our key Scripture introduces us to a man whose name is Simeon. Who is this holy old man? According to the testimony of holy Scripture, Simeon was:
#1 A righteous and devout man. (Reminds us of Joseph, Stephen, Barnabas).
#2 Simeon was one of the faithful who were actively awaiting the coming of the Messiah Jesus foretold over 700 years ago. With the appearance of John the Baptist, this expectation was now at fever pitch.
#3 Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit promised Simeon that he would not die until he sees Jesus with his eyes.

Simeon is immensely important in salvation history. This is why:
He was inspired to present himself in the Temple the very day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus for His presentation to the Lord, His Father. Here is what Simeon said, words that are used by the Church in prayer every night:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).

Simeon gave an eloquent testimony to the faithfulness of God. God made a promise over 700 years ago. He had not forgotten it. In the fullness of time, God fulfilled His promise to the letter and here is the Prophet Simeon to bear witness to the truth.

Whenever I read this Scripture, I am reminded of the radical faithfulness of God. Our God is a Promise Maker and a Promise Keeper.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Feast of the Holy Innocents.

"The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” (Matthew 2: 13).

Monday 28th December 2020, in the Octave of Christmas is the feast of the Holy Innocents.

Why this feast and why does it matter?

#1 The Church celebrates the memory of about 20 babies whom King Herod slaughtered in his attempt to kill Jesus. These children are martyrs who gave their lives for Christ and are members of the Communion of the Saints.
#2 The massacre of the Holy Innocents teaches us the mystery of God's in-penetrable sovereignty and providence.

God could have eliminated the tyrant Herod, but instead He willed His Son and family to go into exile in Egypt in a cold winter.
Other instances of God's mysterious providence:
#1 God allowed Adolf Hitler to rule for 12 years and caused the suffering and death of millions.
#2 God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and Pharaoh's stubbornness caused the death of many Egyptians.
#3 Other tyrants that were given long ropes are: Nero, Stalin, etc.

Long-suffering is part of God’s divine attributes. Some people have taken this for God's weakness. It is not because Scripture says:  "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Corinthians 1: 25).

The Church honors the Holy Innocents because they "were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord." (Entrance Antiphon).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Solemnity of the Celebration of the Holy Family.

"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." (Colossians 3: 15, 16).

Sunday 27th December 2020, Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Brothers and sisters, why does Holy Mother Church set the last Sunday of the year to celebrate the great feast of the Most Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph? A few reasons come to mind.

#1. Jesus did not drop from Heaven to earth. He was born into a human family.
#2. The home of Nazareth is the school to learn and understand the life of Jesus.
#3. Our teacher is Mary, the Matriarch of the Holy Family. Mary teaches us three lessons about family life: Silence, Prayer and Work.
#4. The family may be your pathway to holiness: its joys and sorrows are all providentially ordained. Dare not to reject any of it.

In our key Scripture for today from the Gospel Acclamation, I share with you a Rhema word received on Holy Family Sunday over 20 years ago and remembered every Holy Family Feast:
"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." (Colossians 3: 15, 16).

Receive this word as a special gift today as you make your way through the last moments of 2020. If the peace of Christ is in your heart and controls your health, job, money, family, food and if the word of Christ dwells in you richly, you will always have a great day, week, month and a grand 2021.
Go for Shalom brothers and sisters:
Peace and Word of God to you always!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, December 25, 2020

Day After Christmas, Feast of the First Martyr, St Stephen.

"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen...... came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke." (Acts 6: 8 - 10).

Saturday 26th December 2020, Solemnity of the Octave of Christmas, the Feast of St Stephen, the first Martyr.

How soon after His Ascension was Christ's prediction vindicated when He said in the course of instructing His disciples:  "But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.  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: 17 - 19).

We observe the power and faithfulness of Jesus in the trial and death of Stephen. What Jesus did for Stephen during his trial and execution, He has done for every single one of His martyrs. He has stood by their sides and sustained them to the last.
Do not be afraid. Jesus will do the same for us should the occasion arise.

"As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7: 58).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Today is Christmas! The Solemnity of the Nativity of our Savior Jesus the Christ.

"For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 11 - 12).

Our key Scripture for this Christmas Day proclaims how God's terrible and mysterious works comes to us. They come through SIGNS. God is a spirit and invisible. We humans are flesh and blood and material. This is why the Word of God became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary. So that we can see Him and touch Him.

What sign did God choose to give the simple shepherds by which to recognize the new born King of the Universe? An embarrassingly simple sign. Not a baby in shiny Women's Hospital in Jerusalem. Not a baby on the Queen's bed in the royal palace. But a child "in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

This sign you may say is true to the character of God as we discover  in Holy Scriptures. Take for example, the signs that Jesus left the Church. The Church calls these signs Sacrament (sacramentum), meaning mysteries. A few examples:

#1 "Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." (Luke 22: 19 - 20).

#2 Baptism is another Sacrament, a Sign, a Mysterium.

#3 The union of man and woman in holy matrimony is another Sign or Mysterium.

So has God in His mysterious will decided to communicate with human beings.
We welcome Jesus this Christmas in His utter simplicity and humanity.

The best joys of Christmas are the simple joys of the shepherds of Bethlehem. Enjoy the truth that we can touch God.
Merry Christmas 🎄🎂.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Eve 2020. A Wonderful and Merry Christmas!

"Behold, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son into the world." (Cf Galatians 4: 4 Entrance Antiphon).

Thursday 24th December 2020, 4th Week of Advent. Christmas Eve!

Here is the promise God made to David 100s of years before the birth of Christ the Lord. Our key Scripture proclaims that Jesus is the answer to the promise to David. But the promise was fulfilled in the fullness of time after several hundred years. This confirms the Scripture that no promise or plan of God is fulfilled until the fullness of time. (Cf Ecclesiastes 3: 1). But when that fullness of time comes, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11). And God acts with speed.

Look Brothers and sisters, this is Christmas Eve! God is faithful to all His promises. No matter how long it takes, God will fulfill everyone of His promises. The oak tree needs deeper roots than the sunflower.

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

A Wonderful and Merry Christmas to you all!   

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Feast of St John Kanty.

“No. He will be called John.”. ....“John is his name,” (Luke 1: 60, 63).

Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St John Kanty. (1390 - 1473). Polish. Kanty is priest, professor, philosopher, physicist and theologian. What is striking about the life of St John Kanty is that this brilliant and highly educated man spent his entire priestly vocation in the ivory tower. Yet, he had the heart of a pastor of flocks. He seized every opportunity to help his needy students and the poor he encounters.

Our key Scripture for today are the words of the parents of John the Baptist affirming almost with vehemence that the name of their son is John and not something else. So be it! But what is in a name?

In ancient Hebrew theology, a name denotes and contains a person, a presence and a power.
No one assigns names to offsprings lightly. The name John means God is gracious. In this child, God promises to be gracious to the world through the birth of a holy Prophet who would herald the birth of His Son Jesus.

As we near the Solemnity of Christmas, we thank God for the life and work of St John the Baptist. We remember too St John Kanty our saint of the day who continue to inspire us by his teaching and exemplary life.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, December 21, 2020

I dedicate this boy to serve You my God.

"Then Hannah spoke up: “Excuse me, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here near you, praying to the Lord.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request.  Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.” Then they worshiped there before the Lord." (1 Samuel 1:  26 - 28).

Tuesday 22nd December 2020, 4th Week of Advent.

How do I choose the key Scripture for our meditation? I read the passage for a number of times. I settle on the passage that contains a promise I desire or an action that I want to emulate. Or an event that is close to my experience. God uses the passage to nourish my faith.

This Tuesday, our key Scripture is the extraordinary generosity of Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel. We know the story. Hannah was barren. She pleaded with God for a son. At last, the Lord heard Hannah and granted her little Samuel. When Samuel was 3 years old, Hannah brought Samuel to the Temple of the Lord and dedicated him to the Lord. She went home empty handed.

Where have we noticed such extravagant generosity to God?
#1 The Widow's Mite. (Mark 12:41–44, Luke 21:1–4).
#2 The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:25–35).

What are the lessons for us from Hannah's gesture to God?

#1 You can never out do God in generosity.
#2 Do not be afraid to dedicate all your time, talent and treasure to God.

God raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap He lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage. (Cf 1 Samuel 2: 8).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Feast of St Peter Canisius of the Society of Jesus.

"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1: 45).

Monday 21st December 2020, 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St Peter Canisius of the Society of Jesus (1521 - 1597). Dutch. Priest and Doctor of the Church. Peter Canisius appeared in the European scene at a time when the 1550 year old Catholic Faith was battered from the outside by the so called Protestant Reformation and from inside the Church by teachers who watered down the doctrine of the Church in order to accommodate the world and protestants. Also from inside the Church were clergy who took vows of chastity but refused to live them.

Peter Canisius, a keen student of the Holy Bible took the word of God seriously. If Mary is blessed by believing God's promises to her, why not Peter Canisius?
"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Peter Canisius worked patiently as an author, preacher, catechist, teacher and succeeded in strengthening the Catholic faith in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and parts of Central Europe.

Never compromise the pure and authentic doctrine of the Church with the diluted renditions we find in the marketplace of religion today.

Persevere to the end. The Lord is coming soon.
"The Lord and Ruler will be coming soon, and his name will be called Emmanuel, because he will be called God-with-us." (Cf Isaiah 7: 14; 8: 10).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Mary teaches us how to respond to God's promises.

"I am the handmaid of the Lord:
let what you have said be done to me. (Luke 1: 38).

Sunday 20th December 2020, 4th Sunday of Advent.

In our key Scripture for today, we find an apt response to every good promise of God to us in Holy Scriptures. The Bible is a record of God's dealings and interactions with human beings across centuries and geographies. They contain also the word of God to these men and women and their responses to God.

This Sunday, we read of how God sent the Angel Gabriel to a young woman with an astonishing promise. Gabriel told Mary that through the power of God, she will become the Mother of God. Once Mary fully understands the implications of the message, she replies:  "I am the handmaid of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me. (Luke 1: 38).

When we read the Bible, we encounter promises that we like. How do we react to these promises? Pause. Read it again. Underline it. And then tell God that you like the promise and want it for yourself. "I am the servant of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me."
God is faithful and will always honor His word.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com


Friday, December 18, 2020

Do not be afraid. Your prayers have been heard.

"But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord." (Luke 1: 13 - 15).

Saturday 19th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent.

God intervened miraculously to heal the wife of Manoah, Samson's mother of advanced barrenness. First Reading. God did the same wonders for Elizabeth, the wife of the priest Zechariah. Both women conceived and gave birth to miracle kids who played significant role in salvation history.

What God does once, He can replicate. These miracle stories are not just historical narratives. They are personal word of God to us. We find our place in the narrative, insert our situations and emulate the faith that is demonstrated. When we do this, we receive our miracle and everyone glorifies God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Who is the just man Joseph?

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her." (Matthew 1: 20).

Friday 18th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent.

In the Christmas crib, we notice the Woman, Mary and then the Infant Jesus lying in the feeding trough of of lambs. Who is the man standing still and upright gazing at the Baby quietly? Our key Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew identifies him as: "Joseph, son of David."

Here is what we know about Joseph:
#1. Joseph is from the royal line of David.
#2. A carpenter by trade and a man of humble means.
#3. He is a just and honest man.
#4. Because it was not good for a woman with child to be alone, God chose Joseph to provide for Mary and Jesus, to protect them and to be foster father to Jesus and raise Him up in virtue and manly manners.

Joseph excelled in all the roles that Divine Providence entrusted to him.

Joseph is the patron saint of the Church and a powerful intercessor for the Church and us all. He is also the patron saint of a happy death. Do you know that we are in the Year of St Joseph? The Holy Father proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. To read the Apostolic Letter and see how to receive all the blessings and indulgences, click the link below:

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20201208_patris-corde.html

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The lessons of the Genealogy of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham........Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah."  (Matthew 1: 1 - 2 & 15 - 16).

Thursday 17th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent. From 17th December, we enter a different and fast rhythm in our Advent Journey. There is still time for a good housekeeping for example: Confession and Novena.

Do you consider the Genealogy boring? Not when you understand the purpose for its inclusion in Sacred Scriptures. The Holy Spirit, the Author of the Sacred Text does not waste words as human authors do. Here are a few reasons for the Genealogy or Family History of Jesus Christ:

#1 Jesus Christ is truly God and truly Man. He descended from the lines of Abraham and David.
#2 His human family is not perfect (like His Church). It contains saints and sinners. He was not ashamed of His family nor was He ever tempted to deny them.
#3 His family lineage was planned by God from the foundation of the ages. So do not be scandalized by what you see.
#4 By the time Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, gone were the days of the great patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and great kings like David and Solomon. What we have are common folks like Joseph and Mary. God has a plan that will lead us to the humble stable in Bethlehem where Jesus will be born, the King of the Jews.

"Wisdom of the Most High,
ordering all things with strength and gentleness,
come and teach us the way of truth." (Gospel Acclamation). 

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Monday, December 14, 2020

12 - 15 Tax Collectors and prostitutes responded to the call of repentance.

“Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you." (Matthew 21: 31).

Tuesday 15th of December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent. We are exactly ten days to Christmas. The grace laden season of Advent will soon slip out of our control.

What is possibly the best and most important thing you can do for yourself and your family in the next few days? Call your parish and schedule a time for Reconciliation for you and members of your family.

Jesus said to the proud and the self righteousness:
"When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him." (Matthew 21: 31 - 32).

Advent is a time of grace and mercy. Do not harden your heart. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. He is waiting for you with open arms. Rush to Him.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Feast of the Carmelite Mystic - St John of the Cross.

"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord." (Cf Matthew 16: 24 - Communion Antiphon).

Monday 14th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent is the feast of St John of the Cross. (1542 - 1591). Spanish Carmelite. Priest and Doctor of the Church. Called Doctor of Mystical theology because of the depth of his understanding and writings on mysticism. Author of the classic: "The Dark Night of a Soul."

St John of the Cross read our key Scripture for today as if it was addressed to him personally by Jesus. He took up his cross by embracing severe bodily mortifications. He endured terrible persecutions from his confreres in his religious community. They imprisoned him for nine months, flogged him publicly and imposed other forms of maltreatment.

You may be scared if you think that if you respond to Jesus to pick up your cross and follow Jesus, you may experience the same thing as John of the Cross. Not necessarily. Just like your DNA is unique to you, so is God's plan for your salvation. You are unique and irrepeatable. God has designed your own cross which will fit on you aptly. With the help of the grace God promises to provide, you will find your burden light and your yoke even sweet.

What do you like to boast about? Family, health and looks, bank account, job and status, houses, cars and boats? If you consider yourself the sheep of Christ and who hears His voice, you may hear like our Carmelite:
"May I never boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6: 14).

O that today you will listen to His voice, harden not your hearts.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Rejoice always and the miracle of knowing and doing God's will.

"Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5: 16 - 18).

Sunday 13th December 2020, 3rd Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday. It means simply rejoice Sunday or Sunday of rejoicing.

Why be joyful this 3rd Sunday of Advent? The answer is in the Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near." (Philippians 4: 4 - 5).

If you are one of those searching to know the will of God, we have plenty of answers this Gaudete Sunday. The Will of God is our peace and health and prosperity.  With regard to His Will, God says:
"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12: 2).

God's Will is what is good and pleasing and perfect. How do you enjoy the very best that God can offer you in life? By doing His Will especially in the 5 steps below:

#1 Rejoice always.
#2 Pray always.
#3 Give thanks always and for everything.
#4 Do not conform yourself to the standards of the world.
#5 Read the word of God every day so that the word of God will renew your mind and transform it.

Commit yourself to these simple steps and your joy, peace and prosperity will overflow.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Saturday 12th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Church honors the Mother of the Redeemer with the title of Lady, Mother, Queen, Virgin, etc. Different titles to honor and show our love and devotion to the Holy Mother of God. Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the preeminent titles of Mary because of the significance of the event in Guadalupe, Mexico in 1531 and its continued relevance to the faith of Christians in the Americas because Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the the Americas not just Mexico. The Blessed Virgin Mary's apparition to St Juan Diego on December 12, 1531 set off a series of events, conversions, miracles and the building of a great Church which has since become a Basilica. It is estimated that annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Guadalupe is about 10 million.

In our key Scripture for today, the Archangel Gabriel gave Mary a testimony of God's marvelous miracle for Elizabeth in order to confirm Mary's faith. I love to hear stories of miracles. They build my faith. You too should cherish miracle stories. Better still, don't hide the wonderful things God is doing for you. Expect a miracle every day and share the story.

Mary said to Gabriel after she heard of Elizabeth big miracle, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 36 - 38).

If you like to learn more about the Blessed Virgin Mary through her Litany, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/12/litany-of-blessed-virgin-mary.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Litany of Loreto

V. Lord, have mercy.

R. Christ have mercy.

V. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us.

R. Christ graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us. 

Holy Mother of God, pray for us. 

Holy Virgin of Virgins, 

Mother of Christ, 

Mother of the Church

*MOTHER of Mercy*

Mother of divine grace,

*MOTHER of Hope*

Mother most pure,

Mother most chaste,

Mother inviolate,

Mother undefiled,

Mother most amiable,

Mother most admirable,

Mother of good Counsel,

Mother of our Creator,

Mother of our Savior,

Virgin most prudent,

Virgin most venerable,

Virgin most renowned,

Virgin most powerful,

Virgin most merciful,

Virgin most faithful,

Mirror of justice,

Seat of wisdom,

Cause of our joy,

Spiritual vessel,

Vessel of honor,

Singular vessel of devotion,

Mystical rose,

Tower of David,

Tower of ivory,

House of gold,

Ark of the covenant,

Gate of heaven,

Morning star,

Health of the sick,

Refuge of sinners,

*COMFORT of Migrants*

Comforter of the afflicted,

Help of Christians,

Queen of Angels,

Queen of Patriarchs,

Queen of Prophets,

Queen of Apostles,

Queen of Martyrs,

Queen of Confessors,

Queen of Virgins,

Queen of all Saints,

Queen conceived without original sin,

Queen assumed into heaven,

Queen of the most holy Rosary,

Queen of families,

Queen of peace,

-----

Queen of the Americas, 

Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Our Lady Undoer of knots. 

SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Can you please everybody in the world?

"Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’"

Friday 11th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Damascus 1 (305 - 384). Pope. Born in Rome but of Spanish descent. Damascus presided over the See of Peter when the Church was rocked by many heresies. Arian heresy had not yet been crushed. He defended the Church against schismatics, against those who opposed the veneration of idols and so on. Damasus is the Pope who commissioned St Jerome to translate the Bible into common Latin. This translation called the Vulgate made the Latin language the official language of the Church.

When Jesus compares us to little children in the marketplace who refuse to play the game according to rules, what is He saying? If you want to be an adult Christian, you must learn one truth and abide by it. Nobody can please the world. The world has no gold standard. It has rather arbitrary rules strung together to satisfy their selfish whims. Jesus was not theoretical. He gave examples:

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matthew 11: 18 - 19).

Pope St Damasus refused to humor heretics and schismatics who refused to abide with the gold standard laid down by Jesus as the Canon of Truth in the Church. Preserving the integrity of Sacred Doctrine still remains one of the most important task of the Sacred Magisterium.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

How to seize the kingdom of God by force.

"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force." (Matthew 11: 12).

Thursday 10th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent.

In the Gospel for today (Matthew 11: 11 - 15), Jesus praised His cousin John as the greatest prophet. No surprise when you line up all the prophets along with their profiles. From the prophecy of the birth of John to his naming and dedication, there were many supernatural signs. His lifestyle and ministry were extraordinary.

After praising John the Baptist, Jesus said something curious and difficult to understand: "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force." (Matthew 11: 12).

What does Jesus mean? The kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force?
First, we know that the Church is the seed of the kingdom of God on earth. We know that the Church suffers lots and lots of persecutions? But how are the violent taking the kingdom of God by force? The kingdom of God is the ultimate destination of all men. Men should set their hearts, minds and energy to reach it by all means. And people who understand this urgency are seizing the kingdom of God by force.

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world (kingdom of man) which is temporary and limited and misses the kingdom of God which is limitless and everlasting?

John the Baptist left us an example of how to take the kingdom of God by force: Singleness of purpose, tremendous courage, radical evangelical poverty, humility and martyrdom.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

The Feast of St Juan Diego, Apostle of Mexico.

"He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40: 29 - 31 TLB).

Wednesday 9th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Juan Diego. (1474 - 1548). Mexican. Hermit and visionary. Our Blessed Mother appeared to this humble and simple Indian and used him to transform the nation of the Aztecs. "Behold the humble maid servant of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Your promise." God can use you and me to accomplish great things in the world. All He needs is humility and faith.

Our key Scripture for today is one of my 10 favorite Scriptures. Why? It deals with a theme that I think of every day. WAIT! If you can wait for God, you will accomplish your destiny. Good things come to those who can wait. "Wait for the Lord. Be stouthearted and wait for the Lord."

Why is waiting for the Lord so important? The most obvious reason is in God's plan and government, nothing happens until the fullness of time. (Ecclesiastes 3 :1). And when you are able to wait for that fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11). If you want to enjoy the very best from God, you must learn to wait for the Lord.

"He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40: 29 - 31 TLB).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, December 07, 2020

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

"For nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1: 37).

Tuesday 8th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is the patronal feast of the United States of America.

What is the Immaculate Conception and why does it matter?  In the first Reading today from Genesis, God said to the Serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel." (Genesis 3: 15). This is the promise of our Redemption after the fall of Adam and Eve. God chose Mary before the foundation of the world and prepared her to be the sinless Mother of His Son and kept Mary sinless from the first moment of her conception. Mary said Yes to God's plan to use her body for this mission. Only a pure Vessel can hold a pure God. Why does this matter? Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man. Although Mary is 100% human, it is absolute necessity that the Mother of the Redeemer be not tainted with the least sin.

Mary's generosity in giving her Yes made the Incarnation possible.
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38).

The total faith and surrender that Mary displayed here is rewarded by God's special revelation to Mary:

"For nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1: 37).
Let this words nourish our faith today and always. When you are afraid, when you worry, when you are tempted to doubt God's power and promises, redouble your trust in God and remember that nothing will be impossible for God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 06, 2020

My friend, your sins are forgiven you.

"My friend, your sins are forgiven you." (Luke 5: 20).

Monday 7th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Ambrose of Milan (340 - 397). Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Italian. Ambrose was a high civil servant in the Roman imperial government in the city of Milan when Jesus Christ tapped him to shepherd His Church.
A man of immense talent and holiness, he brought along all his gifts to his new vocation of priest and Bishop. Great preacher, he touched the cold heart of the young Augustine and converted him. He was also a great politician who dealt with emperors without fear. Last but not the least, he left the Church volumes of theological works that continue to nourish the Church.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus addressed a paralytic: "My friend, your sins are forgiven you." I call this 'straight talk'. I like the Lord to talk to me like this so that I can understand Him clearly. Once upon a time, a woman made me a gift of money after a group Rosary in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I said to her: "I can never accept this." The Lord Jesus who was watching the whole incident from the Blessed Sacrament Altar about 6 feet away said to me: "Forget your foolish pride." This is 'straight talk'. Whenever I remember the incident, I laugh and thank the Lord for the straight talk.

Advent is a time of preparation. We prepare to meet the Lord by making sure our house is as clean as possible. How? Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Because of the Pandemics, the Eucharist and Confession are restricted. For the Eucharist, we can make a Spiritual Communion. For Confession, we can make a detailed examination of conscience and make a direct act of contrition.
To see an example of Examination of Conscience which you can use, click the link below. Permission is granted for printing anything you like on the website:

https://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-good-examination-of-conscience.html

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Prepare the way of the Lord.

"A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” (Mark 1: 3).

Sunday 6th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent.

Who is this voice crying out in the desert? He is the one who was consecrated in his mother's womb to fulfill this historic event. His name is John, the only son of Zachary and Elizabeth. To show that he had been prepared from eternity to be the Herald of Jesus the Christ, John understood the need for total detachment and singleness of purpose in his mission. Read the steps John took to align his ways with the will of God:
"John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey."
In order words, John built his house, secured his water supply, grew his food, weaved his garment.
You ask: Is all this necessary to assert his independence in order to fulfill his mission? Absolutely! Look at Church men that have been compromised by gifts of money, etc.

In the Second Week of Advent, we ask God to remove the things that hinder us from receiving Jesus with joy. For example: Sin, fears, worries and doubts, greed and laziness.
If you say this prayer daily during Advent with expectant faith, God will answer you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, December 04, 2020

Lord Jesus, send laborers to Your Church.

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;  so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Matthew 9: 37 - 38).

Saturday 5th December 2020, 1st Week of Advent.

Jesus talks about Harvest and Laborers in our key Scripture for today. Are you harvest or laborer? Are you waiting to be nourished day after day with the Eucharist and the word of God? Decide when to transition from a child Christian who is fed on milk to a harvester who starts bringing home the food.

"So ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” The shortage of Apostolic workers today has reached crisis proportion. The Church is in dire need of priests, deacons, consecrated sisters, catechists, evangelists, prayer warriors and all types of lay ministers.

Jesus looked at the crowds and "His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9: 36).
What do you see on the faces of the crowds you see in the supermarkets, airports, train stations? Anxious, troubled and perpetually in motion?

I like the hopeful way this Bible incident ended:
"Then he [Jesus] summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness." All authority and salvation flow from Jesus. Let us pray constantly to Jesus in expectant faith to send laborers to His Church.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Be it done to you according to your faith.

"Two blind men followed [Jesus], crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!..... “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”  And their eyes were opened." (Matthew 9: 27 - 30).

Friday 4th December 2020, 1st Week of Advent is the feast of St John Damascene. (675 - 749). Religious Priest and Doctor of the Church. Born in Damascus. John earned his place in history by his hard fought battle to preserve sacred images in our Churches. A heresy called iconoclasm falsely claimed that having images made Christians worship the images instead of the true God. John also authored many many books of theology including hymns.

The Gospel Reading deals with the instant healing of two blind men. “Let it be done for you according to your faith." Jesus said to them and touched their eyes which opened instantly. Can you have the strong faith of these blind men? Why not? If you desire a strong faith, you must work for it. Although faith is a supernatural gift from God, robust faith comes from familiarity with the word of God and constant petitioning God for it.

Faith is possibly one of the most precious spiritual assets we can have. It truly makes everything possible. Faith opens you to the other world. The world of God and the saints.

“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this First Friday, December 4th.

December 4th, 2020  -  First Friday in December 2020.

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 12th and last month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #12.

#12. "The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour."

Friends, this is a tremendous promise. Let us thank our Lord Jesus Christ for such a generous offer.  I was once close to death.  My priest came and brought the healing Presence of Jesus in His precious anointing.  Whenever I think of Promise #12, I remember that awesome occasion and privilege. You will appreciate this promise when you are close to death. No fear. No worry. No doubt about your eternal destiny. Because of the pandemics, many may not be able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion this First Friday. You can make a Spiritual Communion. You can click on the link below to see the Prayer for Spiritual Communion:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/12/prayer-for-spiritual-communion.html?m=1

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:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Prayer for Spiritual Communion.

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, 
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 
I love You above all things, 
and I desire to receive You into my soul. 
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, 
come at least spiritually into my heart. 
I embrace You as if You were already there 
and unite myself wholly to You. 
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Amen.

(EWTN. COM). 

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

The Feast of St Francis Xavier, SJ - A great Missionary.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock." (Matthew 7: 24 - 25).

Thursday 3rd December 2020, 1st Week of Advent is the feast of St Francis Xavier of the Society of Jesus (1506 - 1552). Priest and Missionary. Spanish.

Francis Xavier is one of the seven men along with leader St Ignatius Loyola who founded the Society of Jesus popularly known as Jesuits. Francis Xavier will rank as one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the Church. We know who has the title #1: St Paul. Francis is said to have baptized over 30,000 souls in his 10 years of missionary endeavors. He worked in India and Japan and died facing the coast of China in 1552 at the age of 46.

Our key Scripture instructs us to build our lives on rock. That Rock is Jesus. If we do not build on Him, we build on sand. St Francis Xavier heard this message when he made the 30 day retreat called Spiritual Exercises which was administered to him by Leader St Ignatius Loyola. He also learned a maxim which made him excel as a missionary. To the question: What is your greatest desire in life?

#1 To know the Heart of Jesus intimately.
#2 To love Him passionately.
#3 To follow Jesus everywhere.

If you adopt the above maxim as many Jesuit saints did, it will be written of you too:

"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."  (Colossians 1:27).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Come hungry to the banquet of the Lord.

"Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15: 32).

Wednesday 2nd December 2020, first Week of Advent.

Our key Scripture for today is the background to the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. The entire Liturgy of the word today centers on food, banquet and celebrations. Let us capture them one by one.

#1. Collect (Opening Prayer).
"Prepare our hearts, we pray, O Lord our God, by your divine power,
so that at the coming of Christ your Son we may be found worthy of the banquet of eternal life and merit to receive heavenly nourishment from his hands."

How do we prepare our hearts for the eternal banquet?

#2. First Reading (Isaiah 25: 6 - 10).
"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines." (Isaiah 25: 6).

This mountain is type and shadow of the Sanctuary where the Lord God prepares for us a banquet of the word of God and the holy Eucharist.

#3 Responsorial Psalm:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." (Psalm 23: 1).

Do you find yourself in constant want or need? I need a new car, shoe, job, suit, whatever? If the Lord is truly your Good Shepherd, you will be pretty content most of the time. The restless spirit harbors the spirit of the world. We are warned not to compromise with the spirit of the world but to allow the word of God to shape our vision of the world. (Cf Romans 12: 2).

#4 The Gospel:
"They all ate and were satisfied." (Cf Matthew 15: 29 - 37).

How do you feel when your Good Shepherd feeds you? If you are not satisfied, then what and who can satisfy you? The spirit of the world is a restless spirit, full of discontentment. Reject him. Tell him boldly:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 30, 2020

Jesus laughs!

"At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do." (Luke 10: 21 - 22 NIV).

Tuesday 1st December 2020, First Week of Advent.

Jesus rejoices! Jesus is full of joy as He thinks of the Holy Spirit. What in your experience makes you full of joy? For me it used to be memories of answered prayers. Now as I get to know the ever present Holy Spirit, the thought of Him fills me with joy.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. Spiritual life and abundant life. He is our ever present and near Helper. He is our Advocate and the Voice that speaks in Court for us. Actually, I have enjoyed Him in this role several times in my life.

How do we receive and enjoy the Holy Spirit? Nothing can be easier:

#1  Desire! Desire! Desire!
#2. Then confess your sins
#3. Ask Him in bold prayer to come and reside in you.
#4. Believe that you have received and start giving thanks immediately. Remember you walk by faith and not by sight or feeling.

For the titles of the Holy Spirit, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/11/the-titles-of-holy-spirit.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

The Titles of the Holy Spirit


Titles and Names of the Holy Spirit: 

  • Breath of the Almighty
    (Job 33:4)

  • Comforter
    (John 14:16,26; 15:26)

  • Eternal Spirit
    (Hebrews 9:14)

  • Free Spirit
    (Psalms 51:12)

  • God
    (Acts 5:3,4)

  • Good Spirit
    (Nehemiah 9:20; Psalms 143:10)

  • Holy Spirit
    (Psalms 51:11; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30)

  • Lord, The
    (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

  • Power of the Highest
    (Luke 1:35)

  • Spirit, The
    (Matthew 4:1; John 3:6; 1 Timothy 4:1)

  • Spirit of the Lord God
    (Isaiah 61:1)

  • Spirit of the Lord
    (Isaiah 11:2; Acts 5:9)

  • Spirit of God
    (Genesis 1:2; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Job 33:4)

  • Spirit of the Father
    (Matthew 10:20)

  • Spirit of Christ
    (Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11)

  • Spirit of the Son
    (Galatians 4:6)

  • Spirit of life
    (Romans 8:2; Revelation 11:11)

  • Spirit of grace
    (Zechariah 12:10; Hebrews 10:29)

  • Spirit of prophecy
    (Revelation 19:10)

  • Spirit of adoption
    (Romans 8:15)

  • Spirit of wisdom
    (Isaiah 11:2; Ephesians 1:17)

  • Spirit of counsel
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of might
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of understanding
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of knowledge
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of the fear of the Lord
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of truth
    (John 14:17; 15:26)

  • Spirit of holiness
    (Romans 1:4)

  • Spirit of revelation
    (Ephesians 1:17)

  • Spirit of judgment
    (Isaiah 4:4; 28:6)

  • Spirit of burning
    (Isaiah 4:4)

  • Spirit of glory
    (1 Peter 4:14)

  • Seven Spirits of God
    (Revelation 1:4)

http://bible.christiansunite.com/

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Come and I will make you fishers of men.

"Jesus said to them [Simon Peter and Andrew], “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4: 19).

Monday 30th November 2020, First Week of Advent is the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, brother of Simon Peter. (+ 60). Martyred in Greece circa 60 AD. Patron saint of Greece, Russia and Scotland.

Andrew is my Evangelist par excellence. He hears the Gospel. He believes in it. Immediately he goes to share this treasure with the first person he meets who happens to be his brother Simon Peter. How do we respond like Andrew and become committed and enthusiastic evangelists? There are two necessary steps:

#1. Formation or Training: Spending time with Jesus in prayer and His word. This enables you to become like Jesus. Before you can start acting like Jesus, you must spend time listening to Him and watching His every move.

#2. Practicum: The student teacher or nurse needs to ground the theory she learned in the classroom in the real world. This is the Practicum.

The core mission of the Church is to evangelize. Pope St Paul VI writes that the Church exists in order to evangelize. This is a profound statement. Where is your place in this scheme? In the first Reading we hear:

"For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?  And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10: 13 - 15).

How can people hear of a new product unless there is a salesman or advertising? Friend, Jesus invites you to be the sales person. You can do this through word of mouth, text messaging, emails and sharing social media Catholic Blogs.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Wake up from sleep. Christ is here.

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come." (Mark 13: 33).

Sunday 29th November 2020, First Sunday of Advent.

At last we are here. It is Advent. The season of waiting and preparation. Here is an Advent Scripture and rallying cry:

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5: 14).

In order to be fully awake and take full advantage of all the blessings that God has prepared for us this Advent, we need an Advent Plan. I had a plan for Advent for many years with one exception. The new pastor in the parish said: "You don't need to fast or do anything special. Just say a little more prayer and enjoy yourself." I took his advice and had a tepid Christmas. After that one year, I make sure I have an Advent Plan every year. Below is my tentative Advent 2020 Plan. I revise the plan a couple of times during the four weeks of Advent.

Grace sought:
Lord prepare my heart to welcome Jesus at Christmas.

1.  Review the commitment every day.
2.  Tuesday Mass - Grace of a good Advent and Christmas Seasons.
3. No movies Mon to Sat.
4. No news /media: Monday, Wednesday, Friday:
5.  No sugar: Mon to Sat.
6. No meat: Mon, Wed, Fri.
7. No lemon tea.
8. Yard work twice during Advent.

"Lord, strengthen the wills of your people to be more active in doing good works, and so gain from your loving-kindness more abundant healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, November 27, 2020

Remember I am coming soon.

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21: 36).

Saturday 28th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time and the last day in the Liturgical Year.

This is what the Lord, the Yes and the Amen is saying to the churches in the last day of this Liturgical Year.

#1. Do not become sluggish with low energy with Christmas shopping, parties and silly worries and distractions that mark this season.
#2. Pray and pray and pray all the time. Pray everywhere and pray for everything. Your prayers will keep you vigilant and alert.
#3. Not even a single individual on earth will be spared of these tribulations. It will come without warning like a thief in the night.

Yesterday, we heard Jesus tell us that: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Luke 21: 33). We showed four reasons to prove that so far the words of Jesus have not passed away. The word that Jesus is speaking to the churches today will not pass away. Respond to this word with faith and gratitude.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, November 26, 2020

My words will never pass away.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Luke 21: 33).

Friday 27th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time.

So far, the words of Jesus have not passed away after 2000 years. How do we prove this?
#1 Preachers still preach this word day and night in churches, on TV, Radio and Blogs.
#2 Missionaries leave their countries every day to bring this word to people who have not heard this word before.
#3 People search constantly on the Internet for this word, making the Bible one of the most searched key word.
#4 Printing presses all over the world keep rolling out millions of copies of the Bible.

Friends, do you consider this phenomenon an accident? Can you find a parallel for this in history?

Consider this question:
If Jesus Christ could be so absolutely correct in His prediction about the iteration and durability of His word, what else could He be correct about? Other prophecies of Jesus Christ:
#a. I am surely coming back.
#b. I am with you always.
#c. The gates of hell shall try very hard but cannot prevail against my Church.
#d. My Kingdom is universal. It is also everlasting.
#e. No eye has seen, no ear has heard of the eternal plan I have for you who believe in Me and follow Me.

"Be alert; stand firm in the faith; be valiant and strong, and the God of peace will be with you." (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

"But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21: 28).

Thursday 26th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is Thanksgiving Day in America.

The first Reading and the Gospel message today from the universal lectionary are grim messages. They deal with the last days. They may seem unpalatable for Thanksgiving celebrations but they are tonic and nourishment for the soul. Why? Because the Bible warns by example and narrative that it is during wining and dining that disaster strikes.

Which would you prefer? To be called to the wedding feast of the Lamb or sit down before a table piled high with roasted turkey, deserts and wine?

The message of the End Times whether from the Prophet Daniel, Jesus or John in the Book of Revelation is the easiest Scripture to understand. It is concise and straightforward:
ARE YOU READY TO GO?

How to be ready and fired up to go in a moment's notice:

#1 Pray all the time.
#2 Pray everywhere.
#3 Pray about everything.

To prayer add daily nourishment from the word of God. Do not be tired of doing good to your neighbor.

For a list of good works mandated by the Church, click the link below:

https://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/11/works-of-mercy.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Feast of the Patron Saint of Lawyers, St Catherine of Alexandria.

"Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." (Luke 21: 14 - 15).

Wednesday 25th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Catherine of Alexandria. (+ 310). Virgin and Martyr. African. What can we say about Catherine or what can I say about Catherine? When I got to know St Catherine a little bit, I added her to the list of my patron saints.

Catherine was well educated and articulate.  No surprise because she was from the upper class of society in Alexandria, one of the foremost center of learning and culture at that time. She was courageous and fearless. She defended the faith before Emperor Maxentius. The Emperor was taken aback at the erudition and courage of the young girl. He flew into a rage and condemned Catherine to death. Catherine is the patron saint of philosophers, lawyers and preachers.

Where does the power, eloquence, wisdom of St Catherine of Alexandria come from? We don't have to look far. See the key Scripture in today's Liturgy:
"Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." (Luke 21: 14 - 15). We see the same power and wisdom working in Peter and John, Stephen and Paul in Acts of the Apostles.

You can be the next Catherine if you let the word of God nourish you daily. If you trust in Jesus to lead you to your purpose in life. If you accept His unconditional love for you and embrace His gracious will for you.

Here is something I learned about Catherine today:
Before St Catherine was executed, she promised to obtain favors for all those who seek her intercession on personal problems. This reminds us of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower who promised to be a powerful intercessor in Heaven for any person who seeks her help.

"Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, martyrs.

"Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

Tuesday 24th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions martyrs.

St Andrew, a Vietnamese priest was martyred in 1839 along with 117 others, 96 of whom were Vietnamese. The rest were foreign missionaries. Has any other religion the same experience of martyrdom in modern history as the Christian faith?  Why do Christians accept martyrdom? Christians know that death is not the end of their life. We believe in the Resurrection. Jesus Christ has promised. His word is true.

Our key Scripture from the Alleluia Verse encourages us not to fear those who kill the body and can do no more. "Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

What are the common obstacles to Christians to faithful walk with Jesus and persevering in the face of great trials and persecution?

#1 Lack of a solid prayer life.
#2 A life of too much ease and pleasure.
#3 Compromise with sin.

These conditions are great obstacles to a life of perseverance which looks forward to the joys of Heaven and Eternal life.

"Be faithful and I will give you the crown of life."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The lessons of the Widow's Mite.

 Jesus said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;  for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21: 3 - 4). 

Monday 23rd November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time. The Church affirms and honors three saints today:
St Clement 1 (+ 99) Pope and Martyr. Italian. Clement was the third Pope after St Peter and is famous in history for his letter to the Corinthian Church where he asserted the universal jurisdiction of the Pope. Clement was martyred under Emperor Trajan. 

St Columban (545 - 615). Abbot. Irish. Columban founded monasteries in France and Italy. 

St Miguel Augustin Pro (1891 - 1927). Mexican. Priest of the Society of Jesus and Martyr during the fierce Mexican persecution of the Church in the 1920s.

Our Gospel for today is the Widow's Mite contribution. Jesus was in the Temple during the Liturgy when He "saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins."

This Gospel has many lessons for us:
#1 The widow was able to give her all because she had experienced God's faithful provisions.
#2. It is not the largeness of the gift that counts but what the gift costs you.
#3 The poor contribute more to the upkeep of the Church than the rich.
#4 "Give and there will be gifts for you." You can never outdo God in generosity.
#5 Wherever your treasure is, there lies your heart.
#6. Insecurity for tomorrow is the curse of the rich who are ignorant of the biblical blessings of giving.

The annual Thanksgiving is a few days away. Read some Scriptures on the blessings of giving and rendering thanks for the blessings you have received from God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Hail Jesus! King of the Universe.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him." (Matthew 25: 31 - 32).

Sunday 22 November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is also the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.

What are we celebrating today? We celebrate the truth that Jesus is truly Lord and King. When you read the Gospel, this is not obvious. The humble kingship of Jesus is different from the pompous kingship of Herod.

Earthly kings are notorious for their love of pomp, splendor, majestic palaces, pride and cruelty.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd King. Jesus is the gentle King. He promised that His yoke is light and easy. Think of how the King Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the humblest of animals.

What are the attributes of the kingdom of Christ? It is global, eternal and humble. Our King reigns from the Cross. It was on the Cross that Jesus Christ vanquished the kingdom of Satan.

Let us hail our Lord and King Jesus!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Feast of the Presentation of Mary.

"That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;  and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20: 37 - 38).

Saturday 21st November 2020, 33rd Week in Ordinary is the feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

What are we celebrating in this feast?  This feast celebrates an event in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is not recorded in the Scriptures. It is nonetheless an ancient feast of the Church. This feast remembers the occasion when Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne presented the little girl in the Temple to be educated by priests.

The Church affirms that along with Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition and the authoritative Magisterium are the sources of the truth we subscribe to in the Church. The Church has this ancient sacred maxim:
"Lex credendi, lex orandi, lex vivendi." It means that the rule of prayer is the rule of faith and the rule of living. As you pray, so you believe. As you believe, so you live.

Some Protestant groups believe unfortunately that the Church is wrong in honoring Mary because they say she is dead and remains dead. Catholics honor dead people they believe. But Jesus Himself knocked out the unbiblical assertion in today's Gospel:
"That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;  and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20: 37 - 38).

The Holy Spirit who is promised to lead the Church into the fullness of the truth of everything that Jesus taught and did will not allow the Church to teach and practice idolatry for over 2000 years.

Mary is full of grace. She is the Mother of the Son and our Mother.
Mother of Mercy, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com