Saturday, July 18, 2020

The challenge of the moment.

"For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved; and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity." (Wisdom 12: 17).

Sunday 19th July 2020, 16th Week in Ordinary Time.

The first Reading today appears to speak to a world that lacks moral and spiritual leadership and influence in the time of worldwide pandemics. What is the challenge of the moment? Very simple. Moral and spiritual renewal. Is this what you hear from the messaging systems? How do we confront the evil in our world that is exposed by the pandemics?

When God sent the Prophet Jeremiah to a world that is arrogant, rebellious and stubborn in its evil ways, He warned Him:
"To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the Lord." (Jeremiah 1: 7 - 8)

Where are the Jeremiahs of our day? Who can read the signs of the times and tell us what is happening? God rebukes temerity and cowardice in those who know His power and decide to take cover in a crisis. "Do not be terrified on account of them, or I will terrify you before them." (Jeremiah 1: 17).

The challenge of the moment is intimidating but we have the promise of God to be with us.
"You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity." (Psalm 86: 16).

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Friday, July 17, 2020

Feast of St Camillus, the Priest - Nurse.

"When Jesus realized this [the plot on His life] he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known." (Matthew 12: 15 - 16).

Saturday 18th July 2020, 15th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Camillus de Lellis. (1550 -1614). Italian. Priest. Camillus gave his life to Jesus after a troubled youth. He worked in Giacomo Hospital. While working here, he heard the call from God to found an order dedicated to the care of the sick. God gave St Camillus a special love for the sick. He founded the Order of the Camellians and improved the treatment and care of hospital patients.

When Jesus retreated to the countryside to avoid his enemies, many sick people followed Him. He cured them all. People sought after Jesus because of His compassionate healing ministry. For Jesus, there was no need for hospitalization. He healed the sick instantly.

The Church founded early hospital systems and have been a key player in health-care services. San Giocomo Hospital was founded in in the 14th century by the Church to deal with the epidemic of syphilis in Rome.

Are you sick and in need of healing? Do you realize that you can lay hand on yourself, family, friends and call on Jesus with faith to heal . This should be the first step before going to the hospital. Medications and hospitals are gift of God to mankind. They should be used with deep gratitude to God.  Jesus is still active in the healing ministry and testimonies abound.

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

I want mercy.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (Matthew 9: 13).

Friday 17th July 2020, 15th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus answered the Pharisees accusing the disciples of breaking the Sabbath when they picked grains to eat: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice."
In case they do not understand who is speaking to them, He added: "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
The Law-giver is standing before you.

How many covenants did God make with His people? How many failed? All! The Eucharist is the new and everlasting covenant. (Matthew 26: 26 - 28).It is a pure gift of grace and mercy.

"I want mercy not sacrifice." What is mercy? The Church has made it easy for us by listing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Visit the sick
6. Visit the imprisoned
7. Bury the dead

1. Instruct the ignorant
2. Counsel the doubtful
3. Admonish sinners
4. Bear wrongs patiently
5. Forgive offences willingly
6. Comfort the afflicted
7. Pray for the living and the dead

Jesus teaches again and again, "I want mercy." Respond with the ABC of Mercy:
A: Ask for mercy.
B: Be merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

This is the Age of Mercy. Mercy may well be the Last Covenant of God with mankind.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

"Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light." (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

Thursday 16th July 2020, 15th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

What words do we associate with Mount Carmel? The Prophet Elijah, the Carmelite Order, St. Simon Stock.
On July 16, 1251 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Simon Stock, the Superior General of the Carmelites in England and gave him the brown scapula. Mary promised her protection to all those who wear the scapula. This is the origin of the devotion of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown Scapula. The brown scapula is one of the numerous sacramentals of the Church. What is a sacramental?

"Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy." (CCC 667).

Sacramentals dispose us to receive the Sacraments with deeper faith. If you bless yourself regularly with holy water, your faith in the Sacraments grow. Examples of Sacramentals: Bible, Crucifix, Rosary, Statues, Some medals, etc.

In our Gospel for today, Jesus invites all the tired and burdened souls to Him. He promises that His yoke and burden are tailor-made for each of us.

The Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit instituted the use of Sacramentals like the Brown Scapula, the Miraculous Medal and so forth to help excite our faith and dispose our hearts to the reception of the Holy Sacraments.

"When you remember Me, I will be there." Every blessed object which elevates our hearts and minds to Jesus is useful for our journey to eternal life.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Feast of a childlike and simple man: St Bonaventure.

"At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike." (Matthew 11: 25).

Wednesday 15th July 2020, 15th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bonaventure (1221 - 1274). Italian. Franciscan, Bishop, Cardinal and Doctor of the Church. Bonaventure is known as the Seraphic Doctor. He became friends with St Thomas Aquinas in the University of Paris.

There is a note of joy in the voice of Jesus as He talked about a secret of how the gracious and mysterious will of the Father works. We know that Abba Father has a tender love or preferential options for the widow, orphans and migrants. This is an Old Testament teaching. Jesus added another class of people to the preferential group: the "Childlike."

Who are the Childlike? Our saint of today, St Bonaventure will fall into this class. Although Superior General of the Franciscans for 17 years, Cardinal of the Church, eminent Theologian and Professor of Theology at the University of Paris, one of the 35 Doctors of the Church, Bonny is childlike in character. This is why it is the gracious will of the Father to reveal so much to him and to pile honors upon honors on him. The Father reveals to St Francis of Assisi a lot of truths and mysteries. Abba Father treats each of His childlike children differently. To some, He gives 10 talents of revelation, to others 5 and just one talent of revelation to others according to His gracious and mysterious Providence.

May we all benefit from the wisdom and simplicity of St Bonaventure whom we honor today.
"I am glorified when you honor my saints." Lord Jesus remember us who delight in honoring your saints.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

The Lily of Mohawk, Pride of the Americas.

"Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm!" (Isaiah 7: 9).

Tuesday 14th July 2020, 15th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Kateri Tekakwita (1656 - 1680). Born near New York. Daughter of a Mohawk chief. Kateri died at the age of 24. She had great devotion to the Eucharist and Jesus Crucified. She is known as the "Lily of the Mohawks" and is the patron saint of Native Americans.

"Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm!" God sent the Prophet Isaiah to King Ahaz and promised His full protection against the invading kings poised on destroying Ahaz and Jerusalem. Ahaz knew that Isaiah was a true and credible prophet of God. Ahaz did not believe the message of God from Isaiah.  St Kateri, a simple Mahawk maiden heard about the Gospel of Jesus Christ from a Jesuit missionary. She believed and asked for Baptism. There was much rejoicing on October 21, 2012 in the Vatican watching Mohawk warriors perform their dance during the canonization of the Lily of Mohawk.

"Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm!" How firm is your faith? Do you walk by faith and not by sight or feeling? Scripture teaches that the "Just shall walk by faith." Only through faith can you appropriate the promises of God.

Mary said: "Be it done to me according to Your promise." And it was done to her accordingly. Without faith, no man can please God. Therefore ask for faith. Walk by faith and not by sight or feeling. Enjoy the fruits of the Holy Spirit through faith. Ask St Kateri Tekakwita to obtain for you from Jesus whom she loved so much a gift of faith.

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

I have come to bring the sword.

"Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." (Matthew 10: 34).

Monday 13th July 2020, 15th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Henry. (973 - 1024). German. Crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014 by Pope Benedict VIII. How was a powerful man of the world, a man of war and international politics raised to the Altar as a saint? Henry used his wealth and power to promote the Kingdom of God by supporting missionary work. In spite of his cares of the earthly Roman Empire, his gaze was on Heaven, the eternal Kingdom.

Are you shocked by the words of Jesus in today's Gospel?
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." Scripture tells us that Jesus is not just Prince of Peace but Peace Himself. Yet the Prince of Peace tells us that that He came to bring the sword. This statement was made to the Apostles before their missionary journey. The statement is to underline the reality that missionary work is not a vacation in Monte Casino. It is very serious business. Our saint of the day was involved in many bloody wars. So was King David, "the man after God's heart." The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are prepared to fight and seize it by force. (Cf Matthew 11: 12).

"Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness." Challenges to the commitment of making the Kingdom of God first priority will come from families, friends, companies, governments, etc. The Christian must be prepared to draw his sword to fight the good fight.

“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12: 30).

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