Saturday, October 03, 2020

The Vineyard of the Lord is the Church.

"Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." (Matthew 21: 43).

Sunday 4th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary Time.

The Church is the seed of the kingdom of God in this world. The Prophet Isaiah foresaw this when he said: "The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel." Why then is the Vineyard of the Lord planted with such care and equipped with all the wherewithal to produce great fruits be unproductive and utter disappointment? Because the shepherds/managers who were hired to manage the business looked after themselves and not the sheep or the vineyard? They feast on the fattened sheep and drank from the choicest grapes but neglected the sheep and the vineyard.

The day of reckoning and accountability came suddenly without warning and the tenants were not ready.

How can we escape such fate? By commitment to work and grow the Lord's Vineyard. The Kingdom of God and the holiness of life that goes with it must be the first priority in our lives  We must believe firmly that the Lord of the Vineyard will compensate us generously.

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Friday, October 02, 2020

The demons are subject to us in the name of Jesus.

"The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” (Luke 10: 17).

Saturday 3rd October 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time. First Saturday in October, the month of Mary.

The jubilant disciples declared to Jesus: "The demons are subject to us because of your name." This is what impressed most the student missionaries. Do you believe in demons? Today, belief in demonic spirits seems to have gone out of fashion. Note that the heart of our faith are truths revealed by Sacred Scripture, embedded in Sacred Tradition and confirmed by the authoritative teaching of Magisterium. So this truth about demonic spirits cannot be in fashion or out of fashion.

Here is what the Holy Church teaches about demons:
"Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God." (CCC 414).

Rebellion, disobedience are characteristics of the evil one and its minions. Another universal character trait of the devil is falsehood, lies and distractions. The devil is is incapable of telling the truth.

Every Christian by virtue of his Baptism is anointed and empowered to subjugate  demons in the Name of Jesus. How do we come to this power? Faith. Faith comes by hearing, hearing the word of Christ. The more you hear the word, the more it makes an impression on your mind until one day, it reaches the critical mass and you find that you have come to believe what you have been hearing. At this point, you are ready to act.

Act in trust and confidence and you will rejoice that the demons are subject to you in the Name of Jesus.

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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Feast of the Guardian Angels.

 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18: 10).

Friday 2nd October 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Guardian Angels.

Our Father God in His loving Providence has provided each of His children a Guardian Angel. Are you aware of this stupendous fact? Fortunately for us, whether we are aware of our Guardian Angel that accompanies us on the journey of life or not, the Angel still performs all its duties lovingly towards us. Our Guardian Angels report to God not us. Here is what the Church teaches about our Guardian Angel:

"Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God." (CCC 336).

Your Guardian Angel is a friend who protects you in danger and can direct your steps when you are lost. It shepherds you away from moral dangers from situations that can imperil your soul. When you have a warm and personal relationship with your Guardian Angel, you enjoy more privileges. Saints recommend praying to your Guardian Angel when you wake up in the morning and when you are ready to go to bed at night.

For a Guardian Angel Prayer, click the link below:

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Guardian Angel Prayer

Angel of God, 
my guardian and my friend, 
To whom I have been entrusted by God's merciful love. 
Enlighten, guide, direct and protect me this day/night. 

First Friday in October 2020. Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

October 2, 2020 - First Friday in October.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 10th month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #10.

#10.  "I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts."

Do not think: "I am not excited by this promise.  I am not a priest."  We are all priests by virtue of our Baptism. Jesus Christ chose and ordained a tiny percentage of men to celebrate the Sacraments.  The first mission of the Church is evangelization.  You are an evangelist. Moreover, the first 3 Spiritual Works of Mercy instruct us:
#1. Instruct the ignorant.
#2. Counsel the doubtful.
#3. Admonish sinners.

Jesus promises to give you power to touch the most hardened of sinners.  These sinners could be in the family. They could be friends or neighbors.  Will you refuse such a gift?

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass if you can or reciting the Sacred Heart Prayer and meditating on the 12 Promises below.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sacred Heart Prayer, click the link below:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Feast of the Simple One: St Therese of the Child Jesus.

"Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Thursday 1st October 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Little Flower, St Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as St Therese of Lisieux. (1873 - 1897). French. Carmelite Nun and Doctor of the Church.

St Therese is one of the most beloved saints in the Church. She is a powerful intercessor and her contribution to the history of spirituality can be summarized thus:

#1 Utter simplicity in everything.
#2 Profound trust in Divine Providence.

St Therese you may say was chosen to be St Therese before she was born. At the age of 6, she had a profound faith in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and in the Blessed Sacrament. Asked one day how she was so sure of this, her response was disarming and profound: Jesus said: "This is My Body. This is My Blood." Since Jesus is God and Almighty, nothing is impossible for Him. Does this not remind us of the Blessed Virgin Mary? To the word that She would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God, she replied: "Be it done to me according to Your word."

There is a direct connection between faith and simplicity. The more complicated you are in your mind, habits and behavior, the more difficult it is to believe.
"Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 18: 3).

Be simple like Jesus and Therese. Dare to Believe.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Feast of St St Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"Blessed indeed is he who ponders the law of the Lord day and night:
he will yield his fruit in due season." (Cf Psalm 1: 1 - 2. Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Jerome).

Wednesday 30th September 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Jerome (342 - 420). From Dalmatia in former Yugoslavia. Priest, Doctor of the Church. Translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ" is his famous saying.

We chose our key Scripture for today from the great promise of God to those who love His word and study it season and out of season. Note that a similar promise is made to Joshua:
"Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed." (Joshua 1: 8).

If you are still not excited by the promises of investing in the word of God, consider this:
"When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart,
Because I bear your name, Lord, God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15: 16).
When Jeremiah devoured the word of God, what did he find? Incomparable happiness and joy.

I too discovered the word of God in a career crisis while working for a large multinational company in Paris. The word that was waiting for me to discover was Exodus 14: 13 - 14. I was blown away by God's utter faithfulness to His gracious promise. I resolved to read the Scriptures everyday from that day. It has been over 35 years and God is still blessing me through His word.

Lord, help us to follow the example of St Jerome in reflecting on Your word day and night. May Your word prepare us to offer You a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving always and everywhere. Amen.

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Monday, September 28, 2020

The Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1: 51).

Tuesday 29th September 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Jesus' encounter with Nathanael (Bartholomew) in the Gospel of today confirms the existence of angels, a fact known in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Here is the meaning of the names of the Archangels:

Micha-El: Who is like God?
Gabri-El: God’s strength” or “Power of God”
Rapha-El: “God heals”
El means God.

By the ministry of the angels, our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving come before the presence of Almighty God. The Archangel Michael is assigned to guard the Church. ( Cf Daniel 12: 1). Pope Leo XIII who had a vision of this in the Sanctuary composed the Prayer to St Michael which became an inspired and principal prayer in spiritual warfare. Many Catholics say this prayer daily.
Click the link below to print a copy for yourself.

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St Michael the Archangel Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Who is the greatest amongst us?

"An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest." (Luke 9: 46).

Monday 28th September 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of two martyrs:  St Wenceslaus (907 - 927). King and Martyr. Saintly monarch. Murdered by his own brother in a sibling rivalry that reminds us of Cain and Abel. St Lorenzo Ruiz (+1630). Filipino layman and his companions. Martyred in Japan with other Christian missionaries.

Who is the greatest among us? The Apostles were caught asking this question. You recognize this sin as the spirit of rivalry condemned as one of the works of the flesh by St Paul in a letter to the Galatian Christians:
"Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like." (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).

Jesus praised St John the Baptist as the greatest person born of a woman in the Kingdom of God. You may rank St Wenceslaus and St Lorenzo and companions whom we honor today as great in the Kingdom of God. They heard the word of Jesus Christ and believed Him and laid down their lives for Him. All the Apostles whom Jesus reproached in our Gospel of today repented and went on to lay down their lives for Jesus and became great in the Kingdom of God. They give many of us hope. The game is not over.

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