Saturday, July 11, 2020

The seeds that fell on rich soil.

"Some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 13: 8 - 9).

Sunday 12th July 2020, 15th Week in Ordinary Time.

Today the Church presents us a key parable in the Parable Discourse of the teachings of Jesus.
A sower goes out to sow and encounters four types of soil:

#1 Pathway.
#2 Rocky ground.
#3 Thorny Shrub.
#4 Rich soil.

The Responsorial Psalm 65 reveals how God carefully prepares the ground for sowing:

"You [God] have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it. God’s watercourses are filled; you have prepared the grain.  Drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods, softening it with showers,
blessing its yield."

God cannot be blamed for the hardness of heart found in soils that failed. It is a mystery that out of the four types of soil, only one produced a harvest. The harvest of a hundred, sixty, thirtyfold depend on the understanding of the message of the Gospel and the commitment to it.

Why did Jesus say à propos the Parable of the Sower? "Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Faith comes from hearing the word of God. In the first Reading from Isaiah 55, God promises "My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it."
God has promised to be merciful to everyone who seeks Him. That promise will not return to God void.

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

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Friday, July 10, 2020

The Lord says to us three times today: Do not be afraid.

 “Therefore do not be afraid of them." (Matthew 10: 26).

Saturday 11th July 2020, 14th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a pivotal figure in the history of Christianity: St Benedict of Norcia, Abbot. (480 - 547). Italian and founder of the Benedictine Order. How many people do you know that has founded something that has lasted about 1500 years and is still going strong? Or have written a book that is still in circulation after 500 years? That is the true mark of greatness.
St Benedict is the co-patron saint of Europe. His rules for monastic life is still widely used. I am inspired by this rule: "Pray and Work."

#1 “Therefore do not be afraid of them." (Matthew 10: 26).
#2 "And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Matthew 10: 28).
#3 "So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10: 31).

Three times Jesus said to His missionary disciples: Do not be afraid. We need to hear this many times a day. Most of us are too ashamed to admit how much fear rules our life: fear of the boss, illness, poverty, loss of job, etc.

God's loving and constant Providence is the overwhelming reason why we should not be afraid.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.  Even all the hairs of your head are counted.  So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10: 29 - 31).

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Thursday, July 09, 2020

You can not come down from the cross.

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves." (Matthew 10: 16).

Friday 10th July 2020, 14th Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture for today is from the Missionary Discourse of Jesus. Jesus continues to train His disciples for future missionary work. He tells them and us what to expect. They are:

#1 The mission field is Wolfland. Their shrewdness will come from their awareness that they are not alone. "Behold I am with you always."

#2 They will be arrested and arraigned before courts. They should not be anxious about how to defend themselves. "For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10: 20). The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete and Advocate is the Voice that speaks in Court. Be calm and confident and allow Him to do His job.

#3 "You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10: 22).
The missionary is not a baby kissing politician, a movie star or a socialite. He is the ambassador of the One who calls Himself "the Truth, the Way and life." Caesar may be offended by these credentials. So do not expect to be welcomed everywhere with open hands.

Don’t plan to come down from the cross. Once you put your hands on the plough, it is forward march to the very end. Salvation belongs to those who persevere to the very end.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

China continues to oppose the Kingdom of God.

"As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 6).

Thursday 9th July 2020, 14th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine Zhao, Chinese priest and martyr and 119 of his companion martyrs. China continues to persecute the Church with unabated severity. Does China want to achieve a goal that the mighty Roman Empire failed to accomplish? The Third Reich of Adolf Hitler tried to suppress the Church but was suppressed.  Joseph Stalin died while trying to crush what the Bolsheviks called the opium of the people.

The missionary effort of the Church continues worldwide uninterrupted by persecutions and pandemics.
"As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

What is the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven?
Where is it?
Who is in it?
How does it work?

Jesus Christ is the King. Where the King is, there is the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is unlike the Kingdom of David. The Kingdom of David was limited by geography and was temporary. The Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaims is universal and eternal. Jesus today exercises His kingship in the heart and mind of everyone who accepts Him and welcomes Him.

The seed of the kingdom exists in the Church. (CCC 671). The Church is the community of the Mystical Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

The Church welcomes everyone who presents himself for Baptism. The new Christian is instructed in all that Jesus has taught the Apostles. He is then admitted to the Sacraments of Salvation and begins his growth into the mysteries of Christ.

Our response to the gift of the kingdom should be intense gratitude and full commitment to the growth of the kingdom.
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28–29).

Let me share with you the shortcut to the Good Life: Make the Kingdom of God your first priority in everything and the holy life that it calls for. Then believe without a single doubt that God who is so faithful and true will provide ALL your NEEDS. God who created you knows what you need and when you need it. 

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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Israel is a luxuriant vine.

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain down justice upon you.” (Hosea 10: 12).

Wednesday 8th July 2020, 14th Week in Ordinary Time.

My brethren, has prosperity become a snare for us? The wise say: "Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Man's security is Satan's opportunity." Consider this:
At a time when the richest nations of the world have experienced unimaginable prosperity, less than 25% of the population care to worship God on Sunday. There are significant pockets of poverty in the wealthy nations. The gaps between the haves and have nots continue to widen. This is the profile of Israel when God sent Hosea the Prophet to the nation of Israel to announce that He the Lord will put an end to this nonsense one way or the other.

"Israel is a luxuriant vine whose fruit matches its growth. The more abundant his fruit, the more altars he built; The more productive his land, the more sacred pillars he set up." (Hosea 10: 1).

What shall we do my brethren? The Responsorial Psalm in today's Liturgy reminds us that God is a merciful God and that if we humble ourselves before Him, He will relent and restore us to His favors.

It is time to abandon consumerism and seek the Lord.
It is time for the rich man to open his eyes and see the Lazarus starving on his door steps.
It is time to bring an end to the culture of death and embrace the right to life from the womb to the tomb.
It is time to wipe out universally poverty, ignorance and disease.

"Seek always the face of the Lord.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!" (Psalm 105: 2 - 3).

The Lord is merciful and gracious.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Do not sow the wind.

"When they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind." (Hosea 8: 7).

Tuesday 7th July 2020, 14th Week in Ordinary Time.

The Prophet Hosea warned Israel bluntly of the inevitable consequences of their choices and actions: "When you sow the wind, you will reap the whirlwind." Why is God so displeased with Israel?
"They made kings, but not by my authority; they established princes, but without my knowledge." Are we better?

When was the last time you heard about the will of God; what is God's will on this matter? Can we pray to discern God's will on this decision?
I suspect that there were prayers both individually and collectively to ask God for light and guidance before the lock down of Churches? We lost Masses, Confessions, Sacraments and Sacramentals, Holy water, etc. All this happened even before the government woke up to the threat of the pandemics?

St John Henry Newman says that God did not create human beings to be independent. He created man to depend on Him.
"But Israel has rejected what is good; the enemy shall pursue him." (Hosea 8: 3).
If you want a new king, consult your God O Israel. But when you do not,
you sow the wind, you will reap the whirlwind.

The Holy Spirit gives the Church the gift of the Discernment of Spirits to bless the Church with godly and wise decisions.

Daily Bible Verse @

Sunday, July 05, 2020

My daughter, your faith has saved you.

“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” (Matthew 9: 22).

Monday 6th July 2020, 14th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maria Goretti (1890 - 1902). Italian. Virgin and Martyr. Maria was barely twelve years old when she was attacked by Alessandro Serenelli, a 19 years old man who tried to rape her. Maria resisted fiercely.  Alessandro stabbed her to death.

Maria forgave him in her death bed. Alessandro spent 27 of 30 years in prison. Maria appeared to him in a dream and brought him flowers. Alessandro Serenelli was in the audience at the Vatican when Maria was canonized in 1950. He later joined the Capuchin monastery.
St Maria Goretti is the patron saint of purity, young women, rape victims and youth.

In our Gospel verse for today, Jesus said to another desperate woman: “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” This could have been said to St Maria Goretti.
Without faith, we can do nothing. "The just shall live by faith."

"What is Faith and why is it so important?
"What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead." (Hebrews 11: 1 TLB).

Everyone who matters in the Bible from Abraham, David, John the Baptist, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Peter and Paul were not just people of faith but lived by faith. St Maria Goretti bore witness to her faith by accepting her martyrdom.
The woman with the issue of Blood in today's Gospel exercised her faith:
“If I only touch him, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned around and spoke to her. “Daughter,” he said, “all is well! Your faith has healed you.” And the woman was well from that moment." (Matthew 9: 21 - 22).

We are saved by grace through faith. You can start living by your faith right here and now.

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