Saturday, August 22, 2020

The hordes of hell will fail in their assault on the Church.

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16: 16).

Sunday 23rd August 2020, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The Gospel of today Matthew 16: 13 - 20 celebrates the investiture of Peter and his successors as the unshakable rock on which the Church founded by Jesus Christ is built. It is the confession of Peter inspired by God the Father that unleashed this privilege. The first Reading from Isaiah 22: 19 - 23 foreshadows today's Gospel when Isaiah writes about the newly promoted Eliakim:
"He [Eliakim] shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one will shut, what he shuts, no one will open. I will fix him as a peg in a firm place, a seat of honor for his ancestral house." (Isaiah 22: 21 - 23).

Jesus now makes Peter the Eliakim of the seed of the kingdom of God on earth.
"You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it." (Matthew 16: 18).

If the Church is not of divine origin, it could never have survived the coup d'etat of Martin Luther. Many of the princes of Europe at the time predicted that the Church was finished. At the Council of Trent, things went badly for the Church and its official representatives for over 90% of the time. Almost at the last moment through divine intervention, the Church upheld its faith that it is the will of God that Divine Revelation comes to us from three sources:
#1 Sacred Scripture.
#2 Sacred Tradition.
#3 Sacred Magisterium.

Not just Sacred Scripture but the other two as well.

These three are co-dependent like a three-legged stool. The gates of the underworld can never hold out against the Church.

Thank You Jesus.

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Friday, August 21, 2020

The Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"Blessed are you who have believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord will be fulfilled. (Luke 1: 45).

Saturday 22nd August 2020 is the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What are we celebrating today? We are celebrating the truth that the Father gave us the Mother of His Son Jesus to be our Queen and Mother. (Cf the Collect of this Feast).

Mary prophesied during her visit to Elizabeth that all generations shall call her blessed. All generations indeed call her blessed for two principal reasons:

#1 She is the Mother of the Son. (Divine Maternity).
#2 She is the Mother of the King of the Universe and therefore the Queen Mother.

From the Cross, Jesus said to the Apostle John representing humanity: "This [Mary] is your mother."

The Church recently revised the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loreto) and added these three praises to this ancient and popular prayer of the Church:

*MOTHER of Mercy.
*MOTHER of Hope.
*COMFORT of Migrants.

I say the Litany every morning after the Rosary. I am so delighted by these new titles because the world today is desperately in need of the mercy of God and the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Here are my favorite titles of Mary as Queen:

Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace.

Here are my favorite titles of Mary as Mother:

Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
*MOTHER of Mercy
Mother of divine grace,
*MOTHER of Hope,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women." (Cf Luke 1: 28 Gospel Acclamation).

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Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Pope of the Eucharist - St Pius X. Happy Feast Day.

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind..... The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22: 37, 39).

Friday 21st August 2020, 20th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Pius X (1835 - 1914). Italian. Pope. The Church and the world owe St Pius X a great deal for these innovations that we take for granted today: Frequent Holy Communion, children receiving Holy Communion from the age of 7. For these two, he is called the Pope  the Eucharist. He defended stoutly the integrity of the Catholic faith against modern heresies. He updated the Catechism. His papal motto: "To restore all things in Christ" became truly his magnificent obsession.

In answer to the question of a Pharisee scholar as to the greatest commandment in the Book, Jesus answered with our key Scripture for today. Love God and love neighbor always, everywhere and in everything. Sounds a bit intimidating and impossible. How can we keep this lofty commandment? For man, it is impossible but for God "all things are possible." What is the key here?

In the first Reading (Ezekiel 37: 1 - 14), the Word says:  "I will put my spirit in you that you may come to life." (Ezekiel 37: 14). Yes, the Holy Spirit in us makes it possible for us to love God and neighbor. The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Liberty to always choose the best. And the best is love.

For the Christian, love of God and love of neighbor is the way of life. It is the beginning of eternal life here and all the way to eternity.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Feast of St Bernard of Clairvaux.

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come." (Matthew 22: 1 - 3).

Thursday 20th August 2020, 20th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a Giant: St Bernard of Clairvaux. (1090 - 1153). French Cistersian Abbot. A man of great zeal for the Church. Renowned theologian and orator. I remember Bernard best because of the Memorare Prayer that he left the Church. The Memorare is one of the most popular prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary recited by many Catholics daily.

Our key Scripture for today from the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22: 1 - 14) is for me the saddest parable in the Gospels. Let us see why. The Wedding Feast represents the Eucharist,  a type of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. The Host is Abba Father and the Wedding is for the Son, Jesus. The honored and invited guests are you and me. The invited guests ignored the invitation and went about their businesses none of which was urgent. They delivered the ultimate insult to the King who invited them to come and feast sumptuously without cost. (Cf Isaiah 55: 1 - 3).

This is how the most Holy Eucharist is treated today. It is reckoned that less than 25 % of Catholics answer the weekly invitation to the Weeding Feast of the Lamb. Some who show up manifest a high degree of disrespect by not wearing the wedding garment. At the end of the Mass, many rush out without the courtesy of a simple "Thank You Jesus."

My friends, you see why this parable is an invitation for us to examine our conscience and resolve to do what is right and honorable. Honor Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Feast of St John Eudes, Promoter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion.

"[My sheep] became food for all the wild beasts." (Ezekiel 34: 5).

Wednesday 19th August 2020, 20th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Eudes (1601 - 1680). French Priest. Gifted preacher. John had great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He founded the Society of Jesus and Mary. He was declared by Pope Leo XIII as “father, doctor, and apostle of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.”

Our key Scripture for today is from the first Reading Ezekiel 34: 1 - 11.
Jesus is greatly offended that the shepherds of His flock allow His flock to scatter everywhere and became easy food for wild animals.

Before you jump to indict Bishops and pastors, let us consider the list of all those who may qualify as pastors in this sacred text: Bishops and priests in the first place no doubts. Others are: Parents, teachers, catechists, evangelists, journalists, politicians, doctors and nurses, etc.

The malpractice and dereliction of duty of pastors have reached such level that the Good Shepherd must step in before further harm can be done.
"I swear I am coming against these shepherds. I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for their mouths." (Ezekiel 34: 10).

How has the Church come to this?

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Monday, August 17, 2020

All things are possible for God.

"Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19: 24).

Tuesday 18th August 2020, 20th Week in Ordinary Time.

The rich young man of yesterday who wanted eternal life and at the same time clung to all his material possessions was told to get rid of them and come and follow Jesus. That was too much for him. He walked away from the Pearl of great Price very sad.

In our Scripture for today, Jesus warns about the dangers of unbridled desire to be rich. To put it starkly, just as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So does wealth corrupts and extreme riches corrupt extremely. For proof of this, let us head to the first Reading today from Ezekiel 28: 1 - 10. The prince of Tyre became haughty of heart because of the vast wealth he amassed by trading. He came to see himself as: “A god am I! I occupy a godly throne in the heart of the sea!” And his attitude about his wealth and kingdom is:
“Our own hand won the victory;
the Lord had nothing to do with it."

St Paul warns: "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." (1 Timothy 6: 9).
Do not despise the wisdom of the Scriptures on the lure of money. Some play lottery to get rich quick.  "Why do you play the lottery, my friend?" You may be surprised to receive an answer like this: "When I win millions of dollars, I will distribute half to the poor and use the balance to build homeless shelters." An ex taxi driver told me about some of his cabby friends who actually won millions from lottery. They all became homeless in a few years.

God knows what we need and when we need it. This is why Jesus gave us the shortcut to the good life in this great promise: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and the rest will be given to you."

God who is so faithful and true has never failed in his promises.

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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Have we forgotten God who gave us birth and prosperity?

"You have forgotten God who gave you birth." (Deuteronomy 32: 18).

Monday 17th August 2020, 20th Week in Ordinary Time.

In the Gospel for today from Matthew 19: 16 - 22, Jesus said:
“If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions."

The rich young man represents the world today. He has built his security on material prosperity.  God's response to this pervasive attitude is in Deuteronomy 32: 18 - 21, the Responsorial Psalm for today?

"You have forgotten God who gave you birth."
It seems as if the world has forgotten the Savior who died for us. Very few are thinking of following Him and even these few have not recognized Him as the Pearl of the greatest Price. The Lord's complaint continues below:

"You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you. You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the Lord saw this, he was filled with loathing and anger toward his sons and daughters."

Who dares blame God if He is full of loathing for His children?

“I will hide my face from them,” he said, and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!”

“Since they have provoked me with their ‘no-god’ and angered me with their vain idols, I will provoke them with a ‘no-people’; with a foolish nation I will anger them.”

The rich young man of today's Gospel desires eternal life but loves the present material world more. This world cannot produce the peace he hungers for. The anti-dote to his sadness is laid out clearly by Jesus:
"Come follow me and make my Kingdom your first priority and its kind of holiness. I promise you that that you will have everything you need." (Cf Matthew 6: 33).

The world and the Church are today at a cross-road. Quo vadis?

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