Saturday, August 01, 2020

The superabundant, super satisfying food.

"Thus says the Lord:
"Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come!
Buy corn without money, and eat,
and, at no cost, wine and milk." (Isaiah 55: 1).

Sunday 2nd August 2020, 18th Week in Ordinary Time. The first and Gospel Readings point us squarely to that incredible Banquet that is a celebration: the Eucharist.

"[Jesus] Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds." (Matthew 14: 19).

What did Jesus do above?
#1 He took the loaves.
#2 He blessed it.
#3 He broke it.
#4 He gave it to His disciples.

If you have not noticed, these are the same actions, Jesus did at the Last Supper. These are the same steps every priest takes at Holy Mass. Confirm this for yourself in your next Mass.

This is not the only thing we need to notice at the feeding of the 5000 which is type and shadow of the Eucharist. Matthew 14: 20 below gives an insightful commentary on the Event:

"They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full." (Matthew 14: 20).

The Eucharist is a meal of the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It never fails to satisfy. It is a superabundant gift. Look at the first Reading which points to the Eucharist:

"Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention, come to me;
listen, and your soul will live." (Isaiah 55: 2)

Jesus said that the Eucharist is an Everlasting Covenant. We find this promise too in our first Reading from Isaiah.

"With you I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favours promised to David." (Isaiah 55: 3).

If you do not find the Eucharist absolutely satisfying, have a conversation with your spiritual director.

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Feast of St Alphonsus Liguori, Founder of the Redemptorists.

"Then the princes and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve a death sentence; it is in the name of the Lord, our God, that he speaks to us.” (Jeremiah 26: 16).

Saturday 1st August 2020, 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Alphonsus Liguori (1696 - 1787). Italian. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). Trained in civil and canon law, he was a great moral theologian and sought after for his gifts as a confessor. St Alphonsus Liguori is the patron saint of moral theologians.

Our Scriptures for today's Mass present us the predicament of the call to be God's spokesperson in a world that simply doesn't want to listen to Him.  In the first Reading, the Prophet Jeremiah was condemned to death by priests and temple prophets. He was saved by officials who had the courage to exercise their oversight authority. Saint John the Baptist was not so lucky in the Gospel text. Herod had absolute power and no subpoena or oversight could constrain him. He was as wild as King Henry VIII who beheaded two of his six wives.

Jesus warned His followers to be prepared for persecution and execution. Those who persevere to the end will be rewarded with everlasting life. John the Baptist and Jeremiah persevered to the end.

"Happy those who are persecuted
in the cause of right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 10).

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Feast of St Ignatius Loyola.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2: 10 - 11).

Friday 31st July 2020, 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, SJ (1491 - 1556). Priest. Spanish. Today is the patronal feast of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus. His Spiritual Exercises which has been a potent force for spiritual renewal of individuals and groups is still very popular after 500 years.

Our key Scripture for today from the Entrance Antiphon speaks to the incredible love and attachment of Ignatius to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ our Lord. The personal motto of St Ignatius Loyola, Everything "For the Greater Glory of God" became the motto of the Society of Jesus.

It is this personal objective of St Ignatius Loyola that captured my heart and mind as a young college student:
#1 To know the Heart of Jesus intimately.
#2 To love Him passionately.
#3 To follow Him everywhere.

These lofty ideals produced giants of our faith like: Saints Francis Xavier, Peter Canisius, Robert Berllamine, Paul Miki, Edmund Campion, Aloysius Gonzaga and so many others.

St Ignatius Loyola pray for us.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Feast of St Peter Chrysologus.

"Jesus said to His disciples: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.  When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away." (Matthew 13: 47 - 48).

Thursday 30th July 2020, 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Chrysologus. (406 - 450). Italian. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Peter Chrysologus was the Bishop of Ravenna. At a time when the Church was faced with the scourge of the Monophysite heresy, St Peter defended the two natures in Jesus Christ: Human nature and Divine nature. His theological teaching and preaching are characterized by exceptional clarity. Peter came down to us from history as a great homilist and his theological work on the nature of the Incarnation and the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in salvation history has lasting value.

We have seen a number of parables on the nature of the Kingdom of God of which the seed is the Church. Today we see the membership of the Church compared to the catch of fish by fishermen. The haul of fish contains good and bad fish. Isn't this the true picture of every diocese, every parish everywhere?. There are Church members who are so offended by this mixture of good and bad Christians that they want to get rid of the "bad eggs" at once.

Let us see what Jesus says about this:

"Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." (Matthew 13: 49 - 50).
God’s ways are not our ways. His thought is not our thought.

May God open our hearts to accept the words of His Son. (Cf Acts 16: 14).

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Feast of St Martha.

"Jesus told [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,  and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25 - 26).

Wednesday 29th July 2020, 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Martha. (Jewish). Along with Mary her sister, Mary Magdalene, a couple of other Marys, Anna the Prophetess and of course the Blessed Virgin Mary are women mentioned by name in the Gospels who knew Jesus in the flesh. What a great privilege! Our Martha whom we honor today is the Matriarch of Martha's Vineyard. Busy and efficient, she provides for Brother Lazarus and Sister Mary.

Martha's response to Jesus astonishing revelation to her: “I am the resurrection and the life," is almost incredible:

“Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (John 11: 27).

The whole ball game of our Christian religion hinges on faith. God called Abraham and made a great promise to him. He responded in obedience of faith. God announced the Incarnation to Mary. She too responded in obedience of faith. Chapter 11 of Hebrews is a list of Who is Who in the Bible. The common thing among all of them is Faith. They all accomplished impossible things because of Faith.

How strong is your faith? What are you doing on daily basis to increase your faith? A few examples:

#1 Daily Prayer.
#2 Daily Word of God.
#3 Daily Examination of Conscience.

Faithfulness to the above will launch you far.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Be prepared for spiritual warfare.

“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” (Matthew 13: 36).

Tuesday 28th July 2020, 17th Week in Ordinary Time.

The disciples asks Jesus to explain the Parable of the weeds in the field. What do you do when you do not understand a Bible verse or teaching? The Holy Spirit who is the Author of the Scriptures is using today's Gospel as a teaching moment to coach us to dig deeper in order to understand the message of Sacred Scriptures. Only the Scripture that you understand can benefit you. You can't apply to your life a message you have no clue about. What can we take away from the Parable of the weeds in the field?

First note the six elements:
“He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,  the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one,  and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels." (Matthew 13: 37 - 39).

We have six distinct elements in the Parable: The Sower, field, good seed, weeds, enemy, the harvesters.
This Parable reflects the state of the Church today. While we are asleep, the enemy sneaks into the field and sowed lies, falsehood, misinformation. Through this, the Devil sets Bishop against Bishop, priest against priest, nuns against nuns. Lay man against lay woman. The clear teaching of Jesus Christ becomes muddled.

What can you do? First, did you activate the Holy Spirit when you were baptized or confirmed? If the answer is Yes, get engaged. Get into Bible Study. The Holy Spirit will lead and guide you and teach you.
Nobody goes into this battle with empty head and raw emotions. Jerome teaches: "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."
Eliminate this shameful ignorance.

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Sunday, July 26, 2020

God's Law of the Mustard Seed.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches." (Matthew 13: 31 - 32).

Monday 27th July 2020, 17th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus in our key Scripture for today gives a critical insight into the mystery not just of the kingdom of God but of all life. The principle of the mustard seed is the law of Biology. All life obeys the life cycle concept: birth, growth, maturity, decline and death follow each other. Everything is created small. "The word was made flesh" and got in-planted in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a tiny seed like a mustard seed. In the fullness of time, the seed became a little baby, then a boy and then the Man Jesus.

"The seed and beginning of the Kingdom" of God is the Church. (CCC 674). It began as a mustard seed. A few disciples. Today, billions of disciple Christians spread all over the world.
A great experience I still cherish was when I attended Micro Computer Technology fare in Paris in 1985. Microsoft and Apple also attended. They weren't well known then. I visited their 12 feet by 12 feet cubicles. Their beginnings were a mustard-seed-like startup. Today they are global giants.

How do we apply the principle of the Mustard to our life purpose, goals and projects?

#1 Water it by daily prayer.
#2 Get wisdom and insights via the Word of God.
#3 Trusting in God to see you through, walk by faith and not by sight or feeling.
#4 Perseverance. Nothing good is ever accomplished without perseverance. It takes a mango seed about 1400 days from planting to your dinner table.

God chose Steve Job and Bill Gates and used them to give the world two great products. These products are simply indispensable today in the new Evangelization. God Never Fails nor does He make a mistake. Trust Him.

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