Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Solemnity of All Saints, November 1st.

“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” (Revelation 7: 13).

Sunday 1st November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of All Saints.

In the vision, the two elders asked John: “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” The Church celebrates this Sunday the Feast of All the Saints, the countless people who have lived heroic lives on earth and survived countless persecutions for their faith. These are the Saints we honor today. They are now in Heaven enjoying the reward that Jesus Christ promised. What is Heaven? "Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness." (CCC 1024).

The Saints tell us that our experience of Heaven begins right here and now. If you are in sanctifying grace, you experience the presence of the Blessed Trinity living in you. What does this mean? You enjoy to the extent of your capacity the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is what the Saints in Heaven enjoy all the time. St Catherine of Siena says that the joy of Heaven begins here and all the way to eternity.

Jesus promises that He is glorified when we honor His saints. Communion of Saints is one of the most powerful and comforting doctrines in the Church. You can have as close friends as many of the canonized saints as possible. These friend saints take your petitions to the Prince of Saints who has promised to be favorable to their intercessions on your behalf.

We celebrated the feast of St Jude, the Apostle a few days ago. St Jude is a very popular and powerful intercessor who has followers all over the world because he is the patron saint of impossible situations. The reason St Jude has millions of followers is because millions of people have experienced his beneficial intercession. St Anthony of Padua, the Franciscan is the patron saint of of lost items. St Anthony has helped me recover a precious item. Because of this, he became one of my patron saints.

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Humility is the doorway to Paradise.

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14: 11).

Saturday 31st October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus is in a dinner party and the principal guests recognized Him and were observing Him to see what He would do or say. Jesus was observing their manners. The crowd justled for recognition in order to show who is who? Jesus did not pass the opportunity to teach about humility. He teaches here that humility is a prudent virtue that will serve you well in social life.

Humility is also a key spiritual virtue to possess. St Augustine says that you can enter the Kingdom of God without chastity. You can never enter Heaven without humility.

How do we acquire humility? Many books have been written on this subject. I can only say how I try to acquire this great gift. I became conscious that people consider me not just arrogant but conceited. Very well, what do I do about this?
I decided to adopt a simple method that has worked for me in other areas. Prayer. I ask Jesus to make me humble. I pray to the humble Virgin of Nazareth to obtain this gift for me. I ask a number of my patron saints who are noted especially for their humility like St Martin de Poress to intercede for me on this. I do this every day. While I cannot boast that I am now a humble man, it doesn't bother me any more if people remind me rudely of my deficiency. I was having a heated discussion with a lady at Church recently and she said that I was very proud. I told her that the Lord Jesus knows about this very well because I talk to Him about it every day.

"Behold the maid servant of the Lord." All generations continue to call the Blessed Virgin Mary blessed.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Hail the Finisher of Good Works!

"I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1: 6).

Friday 30th October 2020, 30th week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture for today is a very comforting Scripture on any day you are tempted to throw up your hands and give up. All the key resources I use for my work are acting up. First I was reminded by the Lord to consider the fact that if you are too sick to attend the Sunday Mass, you are exculpated. What can you do if you desperately want to be at work but you cannot because there is no means to go. You humble yourself and offer up the situation to God. We pray to God: "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Grant me the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

We need to remember often that without Jesus we can do absolutely nothing. Therefore be grateful for what He allows you to do. Be happy and confident that the good work He started in you, He will complete in the fullness of time because He is the great Finisher.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

We are in spiritual warfare. Put on the full armor.

"Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.  Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil." (Ephesians 6: 10 - 11)

Thursday 29th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time. We are in covert spiritual warfare. The first Reading today Ephesians 6: 10 - 20 should appear in the lectionary several times in the course of the year. But that is not the case.

We are constantly in spiritual warfare and Jesus promises: I Jesus promise to be your strength in proportion to the trust you place in Me.

Do you doubt the severity of the warfare? Consider a few of the great ones of this world that had been used by the Evil One and then discarded: Judas, Nero, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. These are the high priests of Satan. The power of darkness is everywhere.  "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Ephesians 6: 12).

In another passage, St Paul elaborates on our weapon:
"For the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments  and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10: 4 - 5).

Our faith is our shield in this warfare for God promises that His faithful promises are our armor and protection. (Cf Psalm 91: 4).

So brothers and sisters, "Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground." (Ephesians 6: 13).

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Feast of Saints Simon and Jude.

"Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.  When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles." (Luke 6: 12 - 13).

Wednesday 28th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of Saints Simon and Jude who are among the 12 Apostles called by Jesus in today's Gospel. Both Apostles suffered martyrdom. St Jude is a very popular Saint. He is the patron saint of lost and impossible causes.

Jesus spent a long night of prayer and discernment before He chose the 12. Why 12 and not 9 or 13? Because Jesus was already thinking of the Church and wanted the association with the 12 tribes of Israel. But the Apostles were to be different from the 12 founding Fathers of Israel. First, they will all be drawn from the eyewitnesses who knew Jesus from His Baptism to His Ascension. Secondly, they will constitute a tight knit Apostolic College. Last but not least, there will be a system of succession for vacancies that occur as a result of death.

It is the mind of Christ, the Church He founded would be built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets. What are the characteristics of this Church by which she can be recognized all over the world? There are four marks. As we profess every Sunday, the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. What do these words mean?
#1 One = One faith, one Baptism, one Shepherd.
#2 Holy = The Holy Spirit that indwells the Church is the source of her holiness. The Holy Spirit continually cleanses the Bride of Christ from defilements.
#3 Catholic = Universal. Found in all the countries of the United Nations and every other place of human habitation.
#4 Apostolic = Every Bishop is directly traceable to the original 12 Apostles who were constituted in today's Gospel. Many Bishops would have their lines run through Saints Simon and Jude, our saints of today.

"Simon and Jude are the holy men
whom the Lord chose in his own perfect love; to them he gave eternal glory." (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

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Monday, October 26, 2020

You are the mustard seed.

Then Jesus said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it?  It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches." (Matthew 13: 18 - 19)

Tuesday 27th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

What is the mustard seed? How did the kingdom of God come into my heart? Who sowed the seed? How was it nourished? What is the state of growth of the seed? I will share my experience to illustrate the principle of the mustard seed.

The seed is the word of God. Christ Jesus is the Sower. At the point of a great need in my life, Jesus sneaked in quietly and sowed the mustard seed of His word in my heart:

“Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the victory the Lord will win for you today. For these Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” (Exodus 14: 13 - 14).

The promise was fulfilled. I was impressed and opened my life to the Farmer. Not long after this experience, the Sower sowed what might well be the permanent seed in the garden of my heart:
"Seek First the kingdom of God and His holiness and all your needs shall be met." (Matthew 6: 33).

Jesus the Farmer watered the seed every day through prayer, the word of God, Eucharist, Penance, Spiritual Reading and Faith sharing. Through the power of grace, the mustard seed continues to grow. At first, few birds came and perched on its branches. Slowly, more birds are coming to dwell in its branches.

Brothers and sisters, you are the Mustard Seed. Do not be afraid. Trust Jesus the Farmer. He will not hurt you. He created you and knows intimately who you are, what you need and the purpose of your life on earth. His merciful love will always surround you with the most tender care.

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Woman, you are set free.

“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” (Luke 13: 12).

Monday 26th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus observed a crippled woman, bent over and badly deformed in the Synagogue in the course of His teaching. Who is this woman? Let us try to figure out who she is:

#1 She was not embarrassed to go to the weekly service in the Synagogue despite her sorry state.
#2  She is a woman of strong faith who believes that God is her Father and loves her deeply in spite of her handicap.
#3 She believes that in His infinite power, God can bring good out of every evil.
#4 She submitted her condition to the will of God. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done."

Is it surprising that Jesus noticed her?  “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” Jesus then laid His hands on her and she was healed at once. Notice what she did next: "She glorified God."

Signs and wonders point to the arrival of the Kingdom of God. At the time Jesus was ministering, we know that many in Israel were awaiting the manifestation of the Kingdom of God. Simeon and Anna in the incident of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple were some of the people expecting the coming of the Messiah.

How about us? The Messiah Jesus is with us. He is Emmanuel. He is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. He is present in the Blessed Sacrament in unique and very real manner. Thirdly, He is present in you and me in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. How is He working in us? Every single comfort, every mercy, every breakthrough you experience in life is from Jesus. Like the crippled woman in our Scripture today, glorify God and give Him thanks when you experience favor in your life. Do not delay in enjoying the benefits of the Emmanuel, the God who is always with you.

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