Saturday, March 21, 2020

My head You have anointed with oil.

"God does not see as man sees: man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16: 7).

Sunday 22nd March 2020 of the 4th week of Lent.

How does man see?
#1 Jesse, father of David and his sons see David as insignificant shepherd boy. God sees David as a man after His heart, a future champion and king of Israel.

#2 The Jewish leaders saw Jesus as the stone they rejected but God saw Jesus as the Corner Stone of the Kingdom He was building.

#3 Jacob’s ten sons saw their brother Joseph as a master dreamer and a nuisance. God saw Joseph as the future Prince of Egypt whom He would use to save His people in Egypt.

#4 The Jewish leaders saw Peter as unlettered and uncultured fisherman. God saw Peter as the Prince of the Apostles on whose Confession of faith He plans to build His world-wide Church.

#5 The Jewish elite saw Mary Magdalene as a high class prostitute. Jesus saw her as key member of His Church, an Evangelist whom He entrusted the message of His Resurrection to the Apostles.

My friend, how do people see you? A little fish in the pond? Far more important is how God sees you. By virtue of your Baptism, God sees you as His adopted son or daughter and has infinite love for you. He has promised you eternal bliss with Him where you will enjoy a life that no eye has seen, no ear has heard of and totally beyond the imagination of man to contemplate.

To discover your identity in Jesus, soak yourself in Sacred Scripture every day. Do not neglect prayer and Holy Communion.

My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

The Public Sinner heard about God's Mercy and believes.

"O God, be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke 18: 13).

Saturday 21st March 2020 of the 3rd week of Lent. Our Gospel today is the narrative of the Pharisee and the Public Sinner. What are the lessons for us on this mid point of Lent.

#1 The Pharisee educated in theology and spirituality does not know the God he claims to serve. Jesus came to call the sinner and not the righteous. Heaven rejoices exceedingly over one sinner who repents. "It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice." (Hosea 6: 6).

#2 The Publican no doubt guilty as accused like the Good Thief beside Jesus on the Cross at Calvary has heard about the extraordinary mercy of God. He believes what he heard and came to the Temple to seek out the God of all mercies and the Father of every consolation. He seeks and found what he sought and went home transformed and justified.

Do you believe that God may be speaking to you now to believe in His mercies and come to Him for Reconciliation in this Lent?

Harden not your hearts today,
but listen to the voice of the Lord.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

No to Idols Friday.

"Assyria will not save us, nor will we mount horses; we will never again say, ‘Our god, to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion.” (Hosea 14: 4)

Friday 20th March 2020 of the 3rd week of Lent. You may call the message of this Friday "No to Idols." Why? Because the first Reading from Hosea, the Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel from Mark all blast idols. Below are some of the Scriptures:

#1 "Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, for you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God." (Psalm 85: 8, 10).

Only God is God. Not money, technology, good health, science, credit score, etc.

#2 "Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more."

The banks, the credit agencies cannot save us. Investments in stocks and property cannot save us in the day of wrath.

#3  "We will never again say, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion."

If you say the above and mean it, blessed are you.

#4 "What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?"

God promises to prosper us when we reject idols completely.

#5 "Let there be no foreign god among you, no worship of an alien god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt." (Psalm 81: 14).

This is Lent. Hear the word of God. Reject the idols that make a fool of us and come back to  God with all our heart.

#6 "Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12: 29).

The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower; whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Silent Man - The Solemnity of St 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.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 20 - 21).

Thursday 19th March 2020 is the Solemnity of St Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lent is suspended today to celebrate the Solemnity of St Joseph. Who is St Joseph?

The Church considers St Joseph the greatest Saint after the Blessed Virgin Mary. God chose St Joseph to be the guardian and protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"God called Joseph to "take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", so that Jesus, "who is called Christ", should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David." (CCC 437).

St Joseph is a man of faith and obedience. He heard the command of God in a dream. Joseph woke up from the dream and obeyed the word of God. He teaches us that faith is obedience. You hear the word of God and do it. This is obedience of faith. Joseph is a man of incredible humility. Throughout his life in the holy family, he kept entirely to the background. We see here that faith is humility. If you truly believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, your body language will automatically react to this truth just as it would if you are entering the Oval Office. Joseph also teaches us that faith is patience. Isaiah teaches that faith that is firm is also patient. Joseph did not insist that everything should be explained to him on the spot. Once he believed that God is in control, he surrenders everything to God's time and ways.

Joseph is a powerful intercessor and those who are devoted to him like St Teresa of Avila attest to this. St Joseph pray for us.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Catechist, Father and Doctor of the Church - St Cyril of Jerusalem.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 19).

Wednesday 18th March, 2020 of the 3rd week of Lent is the feast of a great Church Father and Doctor of the Church. His name is St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386). Cyril was Bishop of Jerusalem at a time when the Arian Heresy was wrecking havoc on the Church. A havoc far worse than the Corona Virus could ever do. The Corona Virus is yet to threaten outright the existence of the Church. Arian heresy with its pernicious virulent doctrine denied that Jesus is true God and true man. They sought to enforce their view through imperial decree, the power of Rome. Cyril was exiled three times.
Why is St Cyril of Jerusalem famous in history?

#1 As Bishop of Jerusalem, he made Jerusalem a center of pilgrimage for Christians.
#2 Through Cyril, God led the Church into deeper understanding of the mysteries of salvation.
#3 One can assert that Cyril was the first theologian who was a Catechist. He took personally and seriously the preparation of Catechumens that enter the Church on Easter Vigil.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 19). Our key Scripture for today appears to have St Cyril of Jerusalem in mind. Every Christian who obeys the commandments of God is able to share the same by word and example. 

St Cyril of Jerusalem pray for us.

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Monday, March 16, 2020

St Patrick, Great Missionary Saint.

"The servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’  Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan." (Matthew 18: 26 - 27).

Tuesday 17th March 2020, of 3rd Week of Lent is the feast of St Patrick (389 - 461) Bishop and Missionary. Patrick was captured by Irish pirates at the age of 16 and subjected to the harsh life of slavery for years. He escaped, went to Europe and became a priest. Then he came back to Ireland to convert the Irish people to Christianity. St Patrick is the Apostle of Ireland and patron saint of Puerto Rico and Nigeria and 29 dioceses all over the world.

In our Gospel story, the servant who was unable to repay his huge debt [sins] was forgiven everything by his master. [Jesus] 

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?" (Matthew 18: 32 - 34). Note that the servant was forgiven the huge debt [sin] because he asked his master.[Jesus] Nothing is too much for God to do for us.

St Patrick was magnanimous in his forgiveness of the Irish people who enslaved him and maltreated him. After his ordination to the priesthood in Europe, he chose to return to Ireland and labored for over 30 years and made Ireland a beacon of Christianity.

From the Gospel, we see that harsh punishment is the lot for one who is forgiven but refuses to forgive his neighbor. Remember always the ABC of Mercy:
A: Ask for Mercy.
B: Be Merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Fear is useless. What you need is trust.

"I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word; with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption." (Psalm 131: 5, 7 Gospel Verse for today's Mass).

Monday 16th March 2020, 3rd Week of Lent).

As this is written, it is unclear how many parishes are shuttered because of fear of the Corona virus. Jesus says: "Fear is useless. What you need is trust." Cowards die many times before their death but the valiant never taste of death but once, wrote Shakespeare. Below is the Collect (Opening Prayer) of the Church for today, Monday, 3rd Week of Lent:

"May your unfailing compassion, O Lord, cleanse and protect your Church, and, since without you she cannot stand secure, may she be always governed by your grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

Where are all the Retreat Masters, all the Doctors and PhDs in Spirituality, Discernment of Spirits and Church History? They taught us that Fear, Worry and Doubts are never from God. This truth and principle is the clearest and infallible rule of Discernment of Spirits. Where are the Church historians who taught how the Church coped with deadly and often rampant plagues in Church history?

Where are these learned divines hiding while the Bishops are making terrible decisions?

"O praise the Lord, all you nations, for his merciful love towards us is great." (Psalm 117: 1, 2).

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