Saturday, February 01, 2020

The Mystery of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

“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).

Sunday 2nd February in the 4th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It is hard to believe that forty days have sped by since Christmas.

The Presentation of the Lord is a Joyful Mystery because Jesus is presented to us as Christe Lux Mundi.  Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light that enters our mind and heart and drives out darkness.

This light is first given us at our Baptism when a lighted candle is given to the parents of the child. This is a symbol of the true light that has been kindled in the new child of God. The parents promise to fan this light through Christian formation.

What does the light of Christ mean?  As Christians, we receive the light of Christ through the word of God. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. When the Gospel is proclaimed in Church at Mass, it is Jesus Christ Himself speaking to us.  Lighted candles on both sides of the lectern indicate the presence of Jesus who is speaking to the Church through the deacon or priest.

The word that we receive from the proclamation of the Gospel and the breaking open of the proclaimed word (homily) should light up our mind with the truth we need to guide us. We carry this light to our homes, work, everywhere.

Lord help us to shine our light without fear.

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Friday, January 31, 2020

You have despised Me David.

“I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12: 13).

Saturday 1st February 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time.

The confession of our hero, the man after God's heart whom the Father calls a champion is pithy and full of sorrow. First, let us consider what is sin from God's point of view:

#1 "You have despised me." (2 Samuel 12: 9). Sin is showing contempt to God, despising the Lord. A pretty strong language. If you report that someone has despised you, one may wonder whether a  shameless racist or sexist language was used.

#2 "You have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed [sin"] (2 Samuel 12: 14).
The dictionary defines SPURN as "Reject with disdain or contempt."
Did David decide in his heart to disdain God? Of course not. He wanted some fun. But God sees sin as disloyalty, unfaithfulness and outrage. God sees sin too as ingratitude. Consider all that He does for us as His adopted children. (Psalm 103: 1-5). Do not listen to the false teachers on television who tells us that sin doesn't matter. God loves you just as you are. Look rather to the Cross for 15 seconds and you will understand sin.

But in sin and repentance, David shows himself a true hero, a champion and the man after God's heart.

"A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me... ." (Responsorial Psalm 51).

The repentance of David is immortalized in Psalm 51. The Church prays the entire Psalm every Friday. Kings and queens, Popes and Bishops, soldiers and common man have used this penitential Psalm given to us by David down the centuries.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Champion commits a mortal sin.

"From the roof David saw a woman bathing; she was very beautiful." (2 Samuel 11: 2).

Friday 31 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Bosco (1815 - 1888), Priest. John Bosco is called the "Apostle of Youth." He was a great educator and father to the young. He founded the Salesian School to educate boys and girls.

David our hero and man after God's heart commits a grievous sin. "From the roof he saw a woman bathing; she was very beautiful."
David saw a woman. What does woman mean here? Woman here is a type for money, luxurious car, flashy clothes, food, great paying job, etc. In short, anything that entices the eye.

"For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world." (1 John 2: 16 NLT).

The Sacred Text above implies that we shall never be totally free of concupiscence although we become children of God by our immersion in the waters of Baptism. Hence the necessity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22: 31 - 32).
Just as the sin of King David contributed in making him a humble and great King, so the terrible betrayal of the Lord by Peter helped to make him a great Apostle and Pope.
Where there is abundance of sin, be sure there is abundance of mercy. Never forget the ABC of Mercy:

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

To the one who has, more will be given.

"To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mark 4: 25).

Thursday 30 January in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time.

In Baptism, the baptized become the adopted children of God with gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you develop your gifts of time, talent and treasure, you receive more and grow. If you bury your gift, even the one talent you may have will be taken away from you. Every gift you possess has an expiration date on it. Use your gift and receive more or hide your gift and lose it.

It also matters a great deal how you use your gifts. In companies, only workers who are observed to consistently work extra hours without pay or observation are flagged for promotion. Listen to Jesus:
"The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you." (Mark 4: 24).

Is the word of God the light that guides your investment of your time, talent and treasure? When you make the Kingdom of God and His righteousness your top priority, then ask what you may, you will receive it.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

He who finds the word of God has found an everlasting treasure.

"But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4: 20).

Wednesday 29 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Last Sunday is the Word of God Sunday. Today, we have a delicious menu of the word of God. "But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
Allow yourself to be excited by the promise. To produce a sixty and a hundred fold harvest is in your hands. Nobody can make it otherwise. What can I do, you may ask.

Answer: Remain the good soil you were made in your Baptism. What if I have soiled my Baptismal garment? Ask for mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Lord promises to make you new again with sanctifying grace. God our Creator and Father knows our weaknesses and has provided adequately tools to help us remain a Good Soil. If you choose life today and choose to use the time tested tools God has given us, you will bear much fruit season out of season. Here are the 7 Daily Habits of Saints:
#1 Prayer
#2 Word of God
#3 Eucharist
#4 Penance/Reconciliation
#5 Examination of Conscience
#6 Ministry/Faith Sharing
#7 Spiritual Reading

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace and the perseverance to live and remain the Good Soil. Your reward will be huge and unbelievable.

"The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower; whoever finds this seed will remain for ever." (Gospel Acclamation).

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Monday, January 27, 2020

The military champion becomes a priest.

"David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the City of David amid festivities. As soon as the bearers of the ark of the Lord had advanced six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. Then David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon." (2 Samuel 6: 12 - 14).

Tuesday 28 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274), Dominican Priest and one of the greatest theologian in the history of the Church. But the Church sees his title to fame as Thomas' holiness and faith. His master work is the Summa Theologica. The Eucharistic hymns he wrote is still in use by the Church.

We continue the profile of our hero whom God calls a Champion. David is not only a king and prophet but also a priest. He becomes a type and shadow of what all Christians are anointed to be: Prince, Prophet and Prince. It is David the priest that we see today in the 1st Reading from 2 Samuel. "David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon."
Dressed as a priest, David is not ashamed to dance before the Lord in presence of all the people.

Here is the witness of Scriptures below about people who have learned the great lesson of praise and worship:

"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness." (Psalm 89:15–16).

Praise, worship, sacrifice and thanksgiving, unadulterated religion are some of the qualities we have seen that have endeared David to the Heart of God. No wonder David is so blessed and has such an unmatchable legacy among all historic figures.

"He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night will yield his fruit in due season." (Psalm 1: 2 - 3).

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

If God is for us, who can be against us?

"David grew greater and greater, and the Lord, the God of Hosts, was with him." (2 Samuel 5: 10).

Monday 27 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Angela Merici (1474 - 1540), Virgin. Born in Italy, she founded the Ursuline Order, "the first women teaching order approved by the Church... St Angela believed that the formation of Christian women is society's greatest need." (Roman Missal).

The story of the life of David in the Bible could never adequately be likened to the stories of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It is much more. Our saint of today St Angela Merici was a trail blazer. The religious order she founded in 1535 is still serving women and the Church. Jerusalem that David founded about 3000 years ago is still standing. Why is David such a powerful personality in the Bible?

"I have found David my servant
and with my holy oil anointed him.
My hand shall always be with him
and my arm shall make him strong." (Psalm 89: 21 - 22).

David had a special anointing of God for his office. In spite of his adultery and murder of Uriah, husband of Bathsheeba, David never compromised the purity of the religion of Israel.

"My faithfulness and mercy will be with him; through my name his horn will be exalted." (Psalm 89: 25).

David understood profoundly his utter dependence on God. If God is for us, who can be against us. If God is with you, it is accomplished.

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