Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Samaritan Woman receives the gift of Faith.

“If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4: 10).

Sunday 15th March, 2020 is the 3rd Sunday of Lent.

Our reflection comes from the story of the Samaritan Woman. Jesus and the Samaritan woman talked about water near Jacob’s Well. At first, the woman thought Jesus was talking of ordinary water. Water in the Bible symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
The theme of this Sunday is the big "Gift of God", the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. He is the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.
Last Sunday we read and reflected on the Story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Peter, James and John experienced the splendor of the transfigured Jesus on Mount Tabor. This experience big as it is was, did not give them a robust faith in Jesus as the Messiah who must suffer death and rise from the dead. What was the missing ingredient?

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8).

On Pentecost Sunday, the "Promise of the Father" was delivered to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. The Holy Spirit was the game changer. He descended on the disciples with His 7 gifts:
Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. The disciples received too the fruits of the Holy Spirit which transformed their character. These fruits are:

Charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.
You see the gifts in action every day in Christians. Jesus promises that by these characteristics people will know that we are Christians.

Lord Jesus, Word of God give me the living water, so that I may never get thirsty.

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Friday, March 13, 2020

The return of the Prodigal.

"I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you." (Luke 15: 18).

Saturday 14th March, 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. The theme of the Scripture message from Micah and Luke is compassion. In Luke we have the Parable of the Prodigal Son where the Father of the Prodigal is an allegory for Abba Father who has always desired to be our Father come what may.

Let us savor the healing Scriptures from today's Liturgy which come to us directly from God's tender and compassionate Heart.

#1. "The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in mercy. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures." (Psalm 145: 8 - 9).

#2. "Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency." (Micah 7: 18).

#3. "Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. 
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion." (Psalm 103: 1 - 2).

#4. "He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion."  (Psalm 103: 3 - 4).

#5 "My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found." (Luke 15: 31 - 32).

"I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you." (Luke 15: 18).

Return to the Lord, your God.
For he is gracious and merciful.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Here comes the master dreamer!


"They said to one another: “Here comes that dreamer!  Come now, let us kill him and.... We will see then what comes of his dreams.” (Genesis 37: 19-20).

Friday 13th March 2020, of 2nd week of Lent. The first Reading from Genesis and the Gospel from Matthew serve us with intrigues, plots and murder. Any surprises? None. Especially when we remember that Cain committed the first murder in the Bible when he killed his brother Abel.

The Scriptures from Genesis and the Gospel end well. God writes straight lines with crooked lines.
"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes"?

God’s loving and powerful providence is always acting in disguise. All is well. All things are well. All manner of things are well, says the mystic, Julian of Norwich.

Trust in Divine Providence forever.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Choose blessings today.

"Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord." (Jeremiah 17: 5).

Thursday 12th March 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. Jeremiah offers us curse or blessing as Moses before him.
"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse." (Deuteronomy 11: 16).

What are the things that make our hearts turn away from the Lord? In one word: IDOLATRY! Something we love more than we love God. They could be any or all of the following:

#1 Money
#2 Job
#3 Health
#4 Family
#5 Possessions
#6 Food
#7 Worries

Prophet Jeremiah continues:
"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord; the Lord will be their trust.
They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It does not fear heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit." (Jeremiah 17: 7 - 8).

Things that move our hearts to trust in the Lord and receive blessings and be blessing to others:

#1 Prayer
#2 Word of God
#3 Eucharist
#4 Penance
#5 Ministry
#6 Spiritual Reading

"Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the Lord swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them." (Deuteronomy 30: 19 - 20).

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

How can we forget the promises of God?

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death,  and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20: 18 - 19).

Wednesday 11th March, 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. Our Gospel for today gives us the third prediction by Jesus of His coming Passion, Death and Resurrection, the Pascal Mystery.

Jesus predicted the unforgettable last events in His earthly life. Why was this most hard to forget prediction forgotten by all the Apostles in His intimate circle?
If your best friend tells you that he is traveling to the capital where he will be tried and condemned to death and executed through the electric chair, can you forget such words?

Think of this: Jesus promised several things to His beloved Church which are forgotten by a significant number of His friends today. Example:

#1 The Eucharist
#2 The Holy Spirit
#3 Eternal life

Ask yourself this question:
#a. What if the Eucharist is true? Can we afford to neglect it?
#b. What if the Holy Spirit is truly the best Gift and Friend He is promised to be? Will you turn your back on Him?
#c. What if Eternal life is our destiny?
Can anyone live as if everything ends here on earth?

The enemy of mankind who is the Father of lies will do the utmost to wipe out from our memories the wonderful memories of God's gifts and promises to us.
Don’t allow it to happen to you. Fight back. Lent is the time. 

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Monday, March 09, 2020

Resisting God's will is futile.

"If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; But if you refuse and resist, you shall be eaten by the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken!" (Isaiah 1: 19 - 20).

Tuesday 10th March, 2020 of the 2nd week of Lent. Our Scripture gift to live by today from Isaiah 1, is sweet music to the ears of everyone who believes that God is truly Abba, Daddy and desires our best.

One of the great insights I received in recent years is that it is futile to resist the will of God. Imagine if your doctors tell you that you have less than 3 months to live. You storm out of the office shouting: "I will not die. I will never die. You are liars. Fake news!" What difference does your childish tantrum make? It is like resisting God's will. My friend, it profits nothing.

The Scriptures teach that God's will is just, holy, gracious. Yet many occasions, for us spiritually blind mortals, God's will is mysterious. Mysterious or not, the holy teaching Church instructs us to embrace it always, everywhere and in everything. I am working on this and the effort has brought me much joy.

"I will recount all your wonders.
I will rejoice in you and be glad,
and sing psalms to your name, O Most High." (Psalm 9: 2 - 3).

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Sunday, March 08, 2020

As you receive mercy, be merciful.

"Be merciful, as your Father is merciful, says the Lord." (Luke 6: 36).

Monday 9th March, 2020 of the 2nd Week of Lent is the feast of St Frances of Rome (1384 - 1440), Religious. Frances brought up her three children in the fear and love of God. "A married woman must often leave God at the altar to find Him in her household care." St Frances founded an order of Oblates. She demonstrated a rare example of love and devotion in marriage as well as in religious life.

Jesus asks us today to be merciful as Abba Father is merciful. What is mercy? Mercy can be defined as unmerited: compassion, forgiveness, pardon. It is impossible for us to be merciful unless we have experienced mercy and are grateful for the mercy given to us. The temptation is to think that you received mercy because you deserved it by virtue of your character, faithfulness, integrity, etc. But how about the other person? Oh no. This is her habit. She is a habitual offender, a delinquent.
Jesus teaches that nobody merits the mercy of God. To be merciful is the character of God. But we must extend mercy when we receive mercy. Remember the ABC OF MERCY:

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