Saturday, January 25, 2020

The laity are the tip of the spear in the New Evangelization.

"He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people." (Matthew 4: 23).

Sunday 26 January 2020, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the Word of God Sunday. How does this affect the lay faithful? Here is how according to the teaching of the Church:

"Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world."

"This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful." (CCC 905).

The 2nd Reading from 1 Corinthians 1 spells out how and with what attitude this evangelization will be carried out:

"For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning." (1 Corinthians 1: 17).
Lay evangelists are not clergy. Our responsibility is to be the tip of the spear for the army of Christ and carry the Word of God to the nooks and corners that are normally inaccessible to the clergy.

The essential elements of this evangelization are 4:
1. Jesus Christ died.
2. Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
3. Both truth and facts are recorded in the Sacred Scriptures.
4. The Name of Jesus is the most powerful name in the world. Amazing things happen when this Name is invoked in faith.

The above facts and truths are within the grasp of everyone. All are called to be evangelists.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Lord what shall I do?

"What shall I do, sir?" (Acts 22: 10).

Saturday 25 January 2020 is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. The Church has recognized it as a major feast since the 6th century. In the 12th century, it was made a universal feast. Below is how the Church reflects on this feast.

"As St. Paul affirms, "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us "righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin:

Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man's inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love... " (CCC 1848).

Paul asked the Lord Jesus who appeared to Him on the road to Damascus: "What shall I do, sir?" Jesus answered: "Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do." (Acts 10: 10).
Do you know all the Lord has appointed you to do for Him?

"I chose you from the world to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last,
says the Lord." (John 15: 16).

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Gentleman Saint - Francis de Sales.

"I will not raise a hand against my master, for he is the Lord’s anointed." (1 Samuel 24: 10).

Friday 24 January 2020 in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Born in France, he was the Bishop of Geneva where he combatted Calvinism. He founded with St Jane Frances de Chantal the Order of the Visitation Nuns. St Francis de Sales is an accomplished author and the patron saint of authors and journalists.

Our Scripture to live by today gives us another insight into the character of David, the man after the heart of God: "I will not raise a hand against my master, for he is the Lord’s anointed." King Saul had been hunting for David like a quarry. By an act of Providence, David found Saul asleep and alone in a cave. David was urged to kill Saul by his personal security guards. Nobody would know. David said: "I will not raise a hand against my master, for he is the Lord’s anointed."

We celebrate today the feast of a giant of the Faith, St Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists and writers. We know that our Bishop is also the Lord's anointed. Do you know that it could be a very grave sin to criticize your Bishop publicly. See Canon Law: 212, 227 & 1373. The Bishop is not a president, governor, senator or mayor. He is a successor to the Apostles, the Lord's anointed and guardian to the doctrine and morals of the Faithful. Unguarded criticism could undermine the faith of many. For the same reason, be careful how you criticize your pastor publicly.

Be like David the man after God's heart and respect the "Lord's anointed."

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Who is your security?

"In God I trust; I shall not fear." (Psalm 56: 5).

Thursday 23 January 2020 in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time.

Our Scripture today is from the Responsorial Psalm 56: "In God I trust; I shall not fear." What do you do when your foundations are shaken and are collapsing before your eyes. Consider for a moment the following areas the foundations of your life:
Family, health, money, job, tools and possessions, food and future.

Who is your security? If your security is not God, you will not be unable to fall sleep. I have been there. I know the Before and After experience. When I made the Lord Jesus Christ my Security, after a couple of years, I came to understand what true peace is. Peace that passes all understanding. It passes all understanding because all your foundations may have collapsed but it doesn't matter because you know your Security is in firm control of the situation. Your calm and peace is how you know that God is on your side.

The measure of true peace and security is not a feeling of "peace" when everything is rosy in all your boundaries: Family, health, money, job, tools and possessions, food and future. Jesus promises that in the world, we shall have trouble. But Jesus also promises that because He has overcome the world, we can experience a new type of peace. A peace that exists in the depth of our soul irrespective of external circumstances. This type of peace is one of the sweetest experiences in life. When you experience it, your faith and love for Jesus will grow deeply.

The Lord is my security, I shall not fear.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The fight is not yours but the Lord's.

“The same Lord who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17: 37).

Wednesday 22 January 2020 in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Vincent the Deacon (+304). Vincent was born in Spain and earned his martyr's crown in Valencia under the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. Vincent showed great courage and endurance under torture.

January 22 is observed as a day of prayer and penance for all prolife causes.

The Church continues teaching us today the profile of David in the 1st Reading. One great attribute of this man is that he never forgets anything God does for him. He knows that sooner or later, he will meet the same challenge again. This is one characteristics of very successful people. They remember favors.

"All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves. For the battle belongs to the Lord, who shall deliver you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17: 47).

God favored David at such an early age with wisdom. There are people today in their 70's and 80's who believe that life's battles are won by big tanks and armies and billions of dollars. Not David. The Bible teaches that wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. It is His gift to those who honor Him and respect His laws.

"Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine dead, and did it without a sword in his hand." (1 Samuel 17: 50)

How did David overcome Goliath?
With sling and stone. The victory of Christians will come through faith in the name of Jesus. Not through $$ dollars and hard work. The Holy Spirit gives us this Scripture to inspire us.

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Monday, January 20, 2020

I have found David my servant.

"I have found David, my servant." (Psalm 89: 21).

Tuesday 21 January of the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Agnes (+304) virgin and martyr. Agnes was martyred at the age of 13. She is the patron saint of purity.

"I have found David, my servant." (Psalm 89: 21). The figure of David dominates the three liturgical Readings today. What is common between Agnes and David. They both show how God does not choose as man chooses. God chooses what is weak to confound the world.

Who is David?
* The youngest shepherd son of Jesse of Bethlehem.
* He slew Goliath with a sling shot.
* He founded Jerusalem as the capital of unified Israel.
* Committed adultery with Bathsheba.
* To cover up adultery, had Uriah killed.
* Psalmist and liturgist.
* Priest, Prince and Prophet
* Calls God his Father.
* God calls David champion.
* God calls David "a man after my heart."

Is it surprising that David is the most illustrious in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David? The choice, the call and the anointing of David increases our trust and confidence in Divine Providence.

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Disobedience is rebellion and idolatry.

"Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15: 22).

Monday 20 January 2020, 2nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Fabian (+250), Pope and Martyr. St Fabian is famous in history for dividing Rome into seven diaconates for the effective distribution of aids to the poor. He was martyred under Emperor Decius.
Also honored today is St Sebastian (+286), martyr. Sebastian was an officer under Emperor Diocletian. He was martyred when he converted to Christianity.

Our lead Scripture today is: "Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams." It is the word that the Church and Christians need to hear today and every day. Why? Because disobedience is rebellion. It is idolatry to prefer your will to the will of God. Here is the attitude and character of our Savior Jesus Christ:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God." (Hebrews 10: 6 - 7).

Anything short of obedience is displeasing to Abba Father. The "will of God" seems to have disappeared from the language of the Church. In former times, it is the bench mark for all decisions and discernment. If we want God to guide and bless our decisions and projects, the will of God must return to our thinking and decisions. If not, we must be prepared to be treated like King Saul in our first Reading today:
"Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?” (Psalm 50: 16 - 17.

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