Saturday, November 14, 2020

Use your talents or lose them.

"For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 25: 29).

Sunday 15th November, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture is from the Parable of the Talents. Here are the main points: The principal in the story distributed money for investment to three of his chief executives according to their talent. Then he left on a long journey. When he returned home, he demanded each executive to show return on investment. Two of the three showed profits on their investments and were rewarded with promotions. The third man buried his money and was severely rebuked.

The message in this parable is easy to discern. God bestowed every human being with gifts at birth. How do you use the time, talent and treasure that God has given to you?

The law of the spirit implies continuous growth. Use your muscles and they become stronger. Do not use them at all, they grow weak and weaker.

But how do we exercise our time, talent and treasure? Consider these list from the Church:

1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Visit the sick
6. Visit the imprisoned
7. Bury the dead

1. Instruct the ignorant
2. Counsel the doubtful
3. Admonish sinners
4. Bear wrongs patiently
5. Forgive offences willingly
6. Comfort the afflicted
7. Pray for the living and the dead

"For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Pray with Trust, Confidence and Persistence.

"Then Jesus told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary." (Luke 18: 1).

Saturday 14th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time.

The Lord Jesus teaches us to be persistent in prayer. When you come to our Heavenly Father to ask for your needs: restoration of health, family peace, a new job, husband or wife, how do you go about it? "Abba Father, I need a wife. This is Sunday the 15th of November. Kindly provide by Sunday the 22nd of this month." Jesus our Lord and Teacher says that there is a better way. A wife is a considerable investment in life, perhaps one of the hugest. You should pray always for it without becoming weary. Jesus promises that your faith shown by your persistence will be rewarded.

A fragile widow in the Parable of the Persistent Widow in our Gospel Reading today was able to overcome a ruthless corrupt judge through the power of persistent prayer.

Prayer is one of the greatest gift bestowed on the Christian. It is like God's own special cell phone with all His numbers handed to you free of charge. Jesus teaches that Prayer is a vital necessity. St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church teaches that he who prays is already saved. He who does not pray is lost.

Consider this maxim on Prayer a rule of life:
+ Pray always.
+ Pray everywhere.
+ Pray about everything.

Ask your Heavenly Father boldly for big things in accordance with His gracious will. Pray with trust and confidence that God will fulfill His promises to you.

The Bible teaches that the just man lives by faith. He also lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4: 4). Therefore nourish your life constantly with the word of God.

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Feast of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patroness of Immigrants.

"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it." (Luke 17: 33).

Friday 13th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Frances Xavier Cabrini. (1850 - 1917). Virgin. Italian. Patroness of Immigrants.

We glorify Jesus when we honor any of His saints. Each of His saints reflects an aspect of the beautiful character of Jesus as encoded in the Scriptures. What aspect of the word of God does St Frances Cabrini personify?
"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it." (Luke 17: 33).

Before she came to the United States as a missionary to serve immigrants, Frances was terrified of water. But once she heard the call of Christ which came to her through Pope Leo XIII, she plunged into the waters and arrived at New York to start a very fruitful missionary service to immigrants in America. God in His economy of Salvation made immigration a necessity for humanity. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were all immigrants. America is populated by immigrants. The life of the immigrant is not easy. At least in the first few years. So God gave a strict order in the Scriptures not to molest these vulnerable: widows, orphans and migrants.

Our saint for today overcame the first obstacle to her vocation: fear of drowning to serve the immigrants. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to serve immigrants in schools, hospitals and parishes. Before she died in 1917, St Frances Xavier Cabrini had traversed the seas about 30 times planting missionary services to the vulnerable in many countries of the world.

Jesus Christ chose St Frances Xavier Cabrini to be a symbol of His tender care for immigrants. This is why the Church honors her today. In honoring her, we glorify Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of all immigrants.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Feast of St Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr.

"Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17: 20 - 21).

Thursday 12th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of St Josaphat. (1580 - 1623). Bishop and Martyr. Born in Poland, ministered and martyred in Ukraine. Josaphat spent his life working for the reconciliation and unity of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church. He paid the supreme price for this with his life.

The Kingdom of God is among you.
What does this mean to you?
What is the Kingdom?
Where is the Kingdom?
Why the Kingdom?
How does the Kingdom operate?
Any signs of the Kingdom here and now?

One fact is absolutely certain:  Jesus spent most of His preaching and teaching ministry talking about the Kingdom. Even after His Resurrection, Acts 1 informs us that Jesus continued to speak about the Kingdom. How do we address the questions above on the identity and operations of the Kingdom?

The Kingdom is the King Jesus. Where the King is, there is His Kingdom. The Kingdom has certain similarities with earthly kingdoms. But the differences are striking.
The Kingdom of God is the reign of God in hearts and minds of people who believe in Jesus and have committed to allow Jesus to reign in their hearts and minds. The Kingdom of Mexico for example comprise all the people who live in the geographical area that is recognized as Mexico. They obey the laws of Mexico whether they like it or not. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Mexico have officers and structures for their operations. That is where the similarities end.

The Kingdom of God is worldwide. It is eternal and indestructible. Some days ago, we saw the destruction of the Roman Empire, the mightiest in history. The Kingdom of God launched by Jesus Christ in the course of His earthly ministry would be wrapped up in His Second glorious Coming.

What does all this mean to you here and now? There are two types of people: those who are aware only of the earthly, material and fleshy kingdom. Others who belong to the the Kingdom of God whose seed is the Church. St Josaphat spent his life building up the Church, the Kingdom of God on earth which we can see and touch.

May we be inspired by the example of St Josaphat.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Feast of St Martin of Tours - Veteran Day.

"I shall raise up for myself a faithful priest who will act in accord with my heart and my mind, says the Lord." (1 Samuel 2: 35 Entrance Antiphon).

Wednesday 11th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Martin of Tours. (316 - 397). Bishop. St Martin was born of pagan parents in modern day Hungary. 

Martin was a soldier in the imperial army of Rome. After he encountered Jesus Christ, he became a Christian and a man of peace. Today is also Veteran Day in the USA, Armistice Day in other countries. November 11  served in the past as a day of memorial of signing peace treaties.  The treaty to end World War 1 was signed on the Feast of St Martin of Tours, November 11th. Hail Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace. Happy Veterans Day!

Our key Scripture for today is taken from the Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Martin of Tours. The Lord made Martin a faithful priest who embraced God's will in everything. Martin founded a monastery in France and was consecrated later as the Bishop of Tours. He sent missionaries to evangelize France. France is one of the earliest Christian countries in the world and is known as the Elder Daughter of the Church.

St Martin de Tours can help us appreciate the truth that God's gracious and mysterious will is our peace and prosperity. Some people have a contrary view. This is a big lie of the Devil.

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Monday, November 09, 2020

The Feast of St Leo the Great.

"The Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever.
By the Lord are the steps of a man made firm, and he approves his way." (Psalm 37: 18, 23).

Tuesday 10th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a giant of our faith: St Leo the Great. (+ 461). Pope. The life of this great man reminds me of this quote from Shakespeare:  "Some men are born great. Others achieve greatness. Others have greatness thrust unto them." Leo was from a Roman aristocratic family. He was the first of three popes in the history of the Church to be called "the Great." Not by the Church but by the consensus of the faithful.

Pope Benedict XVI said that Leo's papacy "was undoubtedly one of the most important in Church history." Leo is remembered in history for many things. Two things stand out for me:
#1 Leo put his stamp on the authoritative definition of who Jesus Christ is: Jesus Christ is true God (100%) and true Man (100%).
#2 The mighty Roman Empire was collapsing right and left during the pontificate of Pope Leo. Leo persuaded Attila the Hun to turn back from the gates of Rome and Rome was spared destruction.

Our key Scripture for today is from the Responsorial Psalm 37.
Read this and see how this applies to St Leo:
"The Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever.
By the Lord are the steps of a man made firm, and he approves his way." (Psalm 37: 18, 23).
Leo's devotion to Jesus Christ and the Church was complete and wholehearted. The Lord approved of his ways and made him a high priest forever.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
you will dwell in the land and be fed in security.
If you take delight in the Lord,
He will grant you your heart’s requests. (Cf Psalm 37).

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Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

"I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband." ( Cf Revelation 21: 2 - Entrance Antiphon).

Monday 9th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. The Church of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome. The Lateran has been known as the "Mother and head of all churches of Rome and the world."

Why is this an important feast and why are we celebrating it?
#1 The Church is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The destiny of the Church is prophesied in the key Scripture for today: "A new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband."
#2 The Lateran Basilica is the Church of the Pope, Successor St Peter and Universal  Pastor of the flock of Jesus Christ.
#3 This feast is celebrated worldwide and makes the faithful remember these important truths of our salvation.
#4 It is God's desire to dwell with us. The physical church is a symbol of this mystery. (Cf Revelation 21: 3).

As we celebrate this feast with joy, we remember that we are the chosen and living stones that form  the eternal Temple of the Most Holy God.

Let us pray especially today for the growth of the Church, for the unity of all Christians, for many vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, missionaries, catechists and evangelists.

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