Saturday, August 29, 2020

Get away from Me Satan!

"From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." (Matthew 16: 21).

Sunday 30th August 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus first prediction of His passion, death and resurrection marks a turning point in His ministry. The disciples did not understand His prediction. Perhaps they did not even want to hear Him speak of bad news at all, certainly not suffering and death.
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Peter remonstrated with Jesus.

What is your opinion about the Crucifixion? Suffering in your life? Suffering in the world?
The Cross is God's will and path for our salvation. No Cross, No Crown. “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24: 25 - 26).

So we are foolish to imagine that there could be salvation without suffering. Suffering is a divine necessity. Look around you and see the truth in nature. A seed must die in the ground before it sprouts to bring new life. A woman at childbirth wonders whether her end has come. But soon, she is smiling with the child in her arms.

One of the most powerful truths I learned from the Gospels is this: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 32).
The reverse of this is equally astonishing. You are imprisoned by the falsehood you believe. The Devil is the Father of lies. He sows falsehood and lies everywhere. That is why Jesus rebuked Peter sharply on this occasion.
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16: 23).

How do we protect ourselves from the deadly lies of the Devil? The answer is in the 2nd Reading today:
"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12: 2).

#1 Read and meditate on the word of God every day.
#2 Pray every day.

"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later." (Romans 8: 18).

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Friday, August 28, 2020

The Feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

“I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” (Mark 6: 25).

Saturday 29th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

Who is John the Baptist? John is the son of Zachary and Elizabeth. When Mary visited Elizabeth, John  leapt in her mother's womb in recognition of Jesus. When he came of age, he retired to the desert to prepare for his exacting ministry. In the fullness of time, he came to the River Jordan and began preaching and baptizing people for repentance in preparation for the ministry of Jesus Christ. It was here that he condemned the adulterous life of King Herod. Herodias, the concubine of Herod took revenge on the Baptist and demanded his death when a good opportunity presented itself.

John's martyrdom is a cause of joy and hope for Christians. John died about the age of 32. Was his life in vain? Of course not. You think of the hundreds of martyrs that the Church honors every year. We honor them to remind everyone that Heaven is real for the faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Hell is also real for those who reject Jesus completely.

If someone asks you: How do you know that Heaven is real? Your answer could be among others: Look at the martyrs. Intelligent and beautiful men and women! Could they have thrown away the only life they had for nothing? Think of all the Apostles, Saints Cecilia, Agatha, Thomas More, Lawrence, etc.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28)

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Feast of a Celebrity - St Augustine.

 "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25: 13).

Friday 28th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine. (354 - 430).African. Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church. Son of St Monica who procured his conversion through copious tears. Once God the Father willed that St Augustine "will serve us," St Augustine was baptized by St Ambrose of Milan, great Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Augustine is a prolific writer and without doubt one of the greatest doctors of the Church. His greatest works are: THE CONFESSIONS and THE CITY OF GOD.

How do we tie our key Scripture of today to the life of this great man?
At the very end of the Parable of Ten Virgins, Jesus said: "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25: 13). In short, this may well be the summary of the teachings of Jesus. "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" The 5 foolish virgins made sure their dresses, hair, finger nails, etc were perfect. But they neglected the most important thing. To anticipate the delay of the Bridegroom and prepare for the delay accordingly. The wise virgins did not neglect their appearances but asked the question: "What if there is a delay?" This question made the difference.

My friend, are you wise or foolish? How prepared are you for the inevitable? Let us be clear of one thing: There is a likelihood of delays in the promises of God. Check this out in the Scriptures. Early Christians complained to the Apostles that the Second Coming of Christ was delayed.

Test your Preparedness for delays:
How willing are you prepared to embrace God’s gracious and mysterious will for you in these areas:
#1 Health versus Sickness.
#2 Poverty versus Wealth.
#3 Children versus Childlessness.
#4 Job versus No Job.

"Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Daily Bible Verse @

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Feast of St Monica, Mother of St Augustine.

"The woman who fears the Lord will herself be praised. Her children have called her most blessed, her husband has sung her praises." (Cf. Proverbs 31: 30, 28 - Entrance Antiphon).

Thursday 27th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Monica (331 - 387). African. Mother of St Augustine, Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church.

The Church cannot praise our saint of the day enough. Look at our key Scripture taken from the Entrance Antiphon from the special Mass for St Monica. Almighty Father accepted the motherly tears of St Monica for the conversion of the once prodigal Augustine. St Monica also handled a difficult husband, the once alcoholic Patricius, a pagan city councilor. He died a baptized Christian. At a time when wife beating was not considered a crime, Monica counseled her married friends how to handle their husbands. According to Monica, despite the fact that her husband was both a pagan and alcoholic, Patricius  never threatened her.
The Church made Monica the patronness of married women and a model for Christian mothers.

Who will doubt that we need many Monicas today.  We need women who are strong in Christian virtue and able to supervise a Christian household. How can the young preserve purity and chastity? Maternal advice can look like this. Call it a 5 - WAY Plan:
#1 Daily Prayer: Vital Necessity.
#2 Daily word of God.
#3 Frequent Holy Communion.
#4 Frequent Confession.
#5 Spiritual Reading.

If you do this, "God will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." (Cf 1 Corinthians 1: 9).

Daily Bible Verse @

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Do not deny food to those who need it.

"In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat." (2 Thessalonians 3: 10).

Wednesday 26th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture for today thrust us into the all important question of work and benefits. Work is a divine command. (Genesis 3: 19). Jesus worked as a self-employed small business man in the carpentry trade. But work is also a privilege. "The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it." (Genesis 2: 15).

In God's Divine Providence, He designed that certain people may desire work but are unable to work because of one disability or another. These include groups named several times in the Scriptures: widows, orphans and migrants. Others are: the old and the sick. Governments and the Church support these people through the food pantries. The Church have supported these groups through the centuries through groups like St Vincent de Paul. And internationally through Caritas International.

What is the message of the first Reading? To remind us that there are a chunk of our fellow human beings who go to bed without food every day.
Why can't God give them food Himself directly? God can of course provide each human being (7 Billion) every necessity. Church Fathers like St John Chrysostom say that God wills our participation because that is how we atone for our sins and are sanctified. God wills that every Lent, we fast, pray and give alms for this reason. The Church affirms that nothing is more effective in dealing with Sin than Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving. (FPA). Don't wait till Lent 2021. The hungry needs you today.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Two great examples of holding fast to traditions.

"Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." (2 Thessalonians 2: 15).

Tuesday 25th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time. We celebrate the lives of two saints. Remember that in honoring these two saints, we are in fact glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ who is King of kings and Lord of lords. He promised that those who follow Him will reign forever with Him. And those who honor the saints glorify Him. Never miss an opportunity to glorify Jesus.

St Louis of France (1214 - 1270). He lived a simple life characterized by prayer and penance. God was pleased with Louis and raised him from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of heavenly kingdom.

We celebrate also today:
St Joseph Calasanz (1557 - 1648). Spanish Priest who dedicated his life in charity and patience to the education of poor children.

What is the common factor between King Louis and Father Joseph? They were separated by nearly 300 years. The key is in the first Reading for today: "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." (2 Thessalonians 2: 15).

If you do not stand firm and steadfast in the ancient faith in which you were baptized, you will be unable to resist all the modern heresies.

What are the core spiritual practices handed down to us to help us be steadfast?:
#1 Prayer.
#2 The word of God.
#3 Eucharist.
#4 Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The above are the minimum. Then, you must nourish your faith constantly by the Creed (Credo). Knowing the Creed well will provide you with the sword and shield of the spirit that will enable you to cut to pieces the modern heresies.

Stand firm and hold fast and tightly to the Faith.

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle.

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” (John 1: 45).

Monday 24th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr. St Bartholomew is also known as Nathanael. Tradition says that St Bartholomew worked and was martyred in India.

When Philip told his friend Bartholomew that they found Jesus, he said:  “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
But Philip, the excellent Evangelizer said to him, “Come and see.” Both Philip and Bartholomew fellowshipped with Jesus that afternoon and both became His disciples.

Who is Jesus planning to draw near to Him through you? Evangelization should not be a scary topic. It could be likened to seeing a deal or sales promotion in the supermarket or Amazon and sharing that information with a friend.

For Evangelization, the first step might be sharing Scripture or spiritual content with someone. For example, sharing this post with a friend. Then you can invite the friend to a special event in your parish or Mass. You start with one person and before you know it, you have dozens from family, friends and co-workers in your list. And your list continues to grow. A lady teacher I met in an early morning Mass in my parish many years ago sent me an inspiring Bible verse by text message later that day. She did the same thing the next day. After about seven days, I got the message and started sending out daily Bible verse.

Be a Philip. Introduce somebody to Jesus today. Share your faith.

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