Saturday, November 28, 2020

Wake up from sleep. Christ is here.

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come." (Mark 13: 33).

Sunday 29th November 2020, First Sunday of Advent.

At last we are here. It is Advent. The season of waiting and preparation. Here is an Advent Scripture and rallying cry:

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5: 14).

In order to be fully awake and take full advantage of all the blessings that God has prepared for us this Advent, we need an Advent Plan. I had a plan for Advent for many years with one exception. The new pastor in the parish said: "You don't need to fast or do anything special. Just say a little more prayer and enjoy yourself." I took his advice and had a tepid Christmas. After that one year, I make sure I have an Advent Plan every year. Below is my tentative Advent 2020 Plan. I revise the plan a couple of times during the four weeks of Advent.

Grace sought:
Lord prepare my heart to welcome Jesus at Christmas.

1.  Review the commitment every day.
2.  Tuesday Mass - Grace of a good Advent and Christmas Seasons.
3. No movies Mon to Sat.
4. No news /media: Monday, Wednesday, Friday:
5.  No sugar: Mon to Sat.
6. No meat: Mon, Wed, Fri.
7. No lemon tea.
8. Yard work twice during Advent.

"Lord, strengthen the wills of your people to be more active in doing good works, and so gain from your loving-kindness more abundant healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord.

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Remember I am coming soon.

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21: 36).

Saturday 28th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time and the last day in the Liturgical Year.

This is what the Lord, the Yes and the Amen is saying to the churches in the last day of this Liturgical Year.

#1. Do not become sluggish with low energy with Christmas shopping, parties and silly worries and distractions that mark this season.
#2. Pray and pray and pray all the time. Pray everywhere and pray for everything. Your prayers will keep you vigilant and alert.
#3. Not even a single individual on earth will be spared of these tribulations. It will come without warning like a thief in the night.

Yesterday, we heard Jesus tell us that: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Luke 21: 33). We showed four reasons to prove that so far the words of Jesus have not passed away. The word that Jesus is speaking to the churches today will not pass away. Respond to this word with faith and gratitude.

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

My words will never pass away.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Luke 21: 33).

Friday 27th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time.

So far, the words of Jesus have not passed away after 2000 years. How do we prove this?
#1 Preachers still preach this word day and night in churches, on TV, Radio and Blogs.
#2 Missionaries leave their countries every day to bring this word to people who have not heard this word before.
#3 People search constantly on the Internet for this word, making the Bible one of the most searched key word.
#4 Printing presses all over the world keep rolling out millions of copies of the Bible.

Friends, do you consider this phenomenon an accident? Can you find a parallel for this in history?

Consider this question:
If Jesus Christ could be so absolutely correct in His prediction about the iteration and durability of His word, what else could He be correct about? Other prophecies of Jesus Christ:
#a. I am surely coming back.
#b. I am with you always.
#c. The gates of hell shall try very hard but cannot prevail against my Church.
#d. My Kingdom is universal. It is also everlasting.
#e. No eye has seen, no ear has heard of the eternal plan I have for you who believe in Me and follow Me.

"Be alert; stand firm in the faith; be valiant and strong, and the God of peace will be with you." (1 Corinthians 16:13)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

"But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21: 28).

Thursday 26th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is Thanksgiving Day in America.

The first Reading and the Gospel message today from the universal lectionary are grim messages. They deal with the last days. They may seem unpalatable for Thanksgiving celebrations but they are tonic and nourishment for the soul. Why? Because the Bible warns by example and narrative that it is during wining and dining that disaster strikes.

Which would you prefer? To be called to the wedding feast of the Lamb or sit down before a table piled high with roasted turkey, deserts and wine?

The message of the End Times whether from the Prophet Daniel, Jesus or John in the Book of Revelation is the easiest Scripture to understand. It is concise and straightforward:

How to be ready and fired up to go in a moment's notice:

#1 Pray all the time.
#2 Pray everywhere.
#3 Pray about everything.

To prayer add daily nourishment from the word of God. Do not be tired of doing good to your neighbor.

For a list of good works mandated by the Church, click the link below:

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Feast of the Patron Saint of Lawyers, St Catherine of Alexandria.

"Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." (Luke 21: 14 - 15).

Wednesday 25th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Catherine of Alexandria. (+ 310). Virgin and Martyr. African. What can we say about Catherine or what can I say about Catherine? When I got to know St Catherine a little bit, I added her to the list of my patron saints.

Catherine was well educated and articulate.  No surprise because she was from the upper class of society in Alexandria, one of the foremost center of learning and culture at that time. She was courageous and fearless. She defended the faith before Emperor Maxentius. The Emperor was taken aback at the erudition and courage of the young girl. He flew into a rage and condemned Catherine to death. Catherine is the patron saint of philosophers, lawyers and preachers.

Where does the power, eloquence, wisdom of St Catherine of Alexandria come from? We don't have to look far. See the key Scripture in today's Liturgy:
"Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." (Luke 21: 14 - 15). We see the same power and wisdom working in Peter and John, Stephen and Paul in Acts of the Apostles.

You can be the next Catherine if you let the word of God nourish you daily. If you trust in Jesus to lead you to your purpose in life. If you accept His unconditional love for you and embrace His gracious will for you.

Here is something I learned about Catherine today:
Before St Catherine was executed, she promised to obtain favors for all those who seek her intercession on personal problems. This reminds us of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower who promised to be a powerful intercessor in Heaven for any person who seeks her help.

"Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

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Monday, November 23, 2020

The Feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, martyrs.

"Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

Tuesday 24th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions martyrs.

St Andrew, a Vietnamese priest was martyred in 1839 along with 117 others, 96 of whom were Vietnamese. The rest were foreign missionaries. Has any other religion the same experience of martyrdom in modern history as the Christian faith?  Why do Christians accept martyrdom? Christians know that death is not the end of their life. We believe in the Resurrection. Jesus Christ has promised. His word is true.

Our key Scripture from the Alleluia Verse encourages us not to fear those who kill the body and can do no more. "Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

What are the common obstacles to Christians to faithful walk with Jesus and persevering in the face of great trials and persecution?

#1 Lack of a solid prayer life.
#2 A life of too much ease and pleasure.
#3 Compromise with sin.

These conditions are great obstacles to a life of perseverance which looks forward to the joys of Heaven and Eternal life.

"Be faithful and I will give you the crown of life."

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

The lessons of the Widow's Mite.

 Jesus said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;  for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21: 3 - 4). 

Monday 23rd November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time. The Church affirms and honors three saints today:
St Clement 1 (+ 99) Pope and Martyr. Italian. Clement was the third Pope after St Peter and is famous in history for his letter to the Corinthian Church where he asserted the universal jurisdiction of the Pope. Clement was martyred under Emperor Trajan. 

St Columban (545 - 615). Abbot. Irish. Columban founded monasteries in France and Italy. 

St Miguel Augustin Pro (1891 - 1927). Mexican. Priest of the Society of Jesus and Martyr during the fierce Mexican persecution of the Church in the 1920s.

Our Gospel for today is the Widow's Mite contribution. Jesus was in the Temple during the Liturgy when He "saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins."

This Gospel has many lessons for us:
#1 The widow was able to give her all because she had experienced God's faithful provisions.
#2. It is not the largeness of the gift that counts but what the gift costs you.
#3 The poor contribute more to the upkeep of the Church than the rich.
#4 "Give and there will be gifts for you." You can never outdo God in generosity.
#5 Wherever your treasure is, there lies your heart.
#6. Insecurity for tomorrow is the curse of the rich who are ignorant of the biblical blessings of giving.

The annual Thanksgiving is a few days away. Read some Scriptures on the blessings of giving and rendering thanks for the blessings you have received from God.

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Hail Jesus! King of the Universe.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him." (Matthew 25: 31 - 32).

Sunday 22 November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is also the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.

What are we celebrating today? We celebrate the truth that Jesus is truly Lord and King. When you read the Gospel, this is not obvious. The humble kingship of Jesus is different from the pompous kingship of Herod.

Earthly kings are notorious for their love of pomp, splendor, majestic palaces, pride and cruelty.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd King. Jesus is the gentle King. He promised that His yoke is light and easy. Think of how the King Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the humblest of animals.

What are the attributes of the kingdom of Christ? It is global, eternal and humble. Our King reigns from the Cross. It was on the Cross that Jesus Christ vanquished the kingdom of Satan.

Let us hail our Lord and King Jesus!

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