Saturday, December 05, 2020

Prepare the way of the Lord.

"A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” (Mark 1: 3).

Sunday 6th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent.

Who is this voice crying out in the desert? He is the one who was consecrated in his mother's womb to fulfill this historic event. His name is John, the only son of Zachary and Elizabeth. To show that he had been prepared from eternity to be the Herald of Jesus the Christ, John understood the need for total detachment and singleness of purpose in his mission. Read the steps John took to align his ways with the will of God:
"John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey."
In order words, John built his house, secured his water supply, grew his food, weaved his garment.
You ask: Is all this necessary to assert his independence in order to fulfill his mission? Absolutely! Look at Church men that have been compromised by gifts of money, etc.

In the Second Week of Advent, we ask God to remove the things that hinder us from receiving Jesus with joy. For example: Sin, fears, worries and doubts, greed and laziness.
If you say this prayer daily during Advent with expectant faith, God will answer you.

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Friday, December 04, 2020

Lord Jesus, send laborers to Your Church.

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;  so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Matthew 9: 37 - 38).

Saturday 5th December 2020, 1st Week of Advent.

Jesus talks about Harvest and Laborers in our key Scripture for today. Are you harvest or laborer? Are you waiting to be nourished day after day with the Eucharist and the word of God? Decide when to transition from a child Christian who is fed on milk to a harvester who starts bringing home the food.

"So ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” The shortage of Apostolic workers today has reached crisis proportion. The Church is in dire need of priests, deacons, consecrated sisters, catechists, evangelists, prayer warriors and all types of lay ministers.

Jesus looked at the crowds and "His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9: 36).
What do you see on the faces of the crowds you see in the supermarkets, airports, train stations? Anxious, troubled and perpetually in motion?

I like the hopeful way this Bible incident ended:
"Then he [Jesus] summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness." All authority and salvation flow from Jesus. Let us pray constantly to Jesus in expectant faith to send laborers to His Church.

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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Be it done to you according to your faith.

"Two blind men followed [Jesus], crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!..... “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”  And their eyes were opened." (Matthew 9: 27 - 30).

Friday 4th December 2020, 1st Week of Advent is the feast of St John Damascene. (675 - 749). Religious Priest and Doctor of the Church. Born in Damascus. John earned his place in history by his hard fought battle to preserve sacred images in our Churches. A heresy called iconoclasm falsely claimed that having images made Christians worship the images instead of the true God. John also authored many many books of theology including hymns.

The Gospel Reading deals with the instant healing of two blind men. “Let it be done for you according to your faith." Jesus said to them and touched their eyes which opened instantly. Can you have the strong faith of these blind men? Why not? If you desire a strong faith, you must work for it. Although faith is a supernatural gift from God, robust faith comes from familiarity with the word of God and constant petitioning God for it.

Faith is possibly one of the most precious spiritual assets we can have. It truly makes everything possible. Faith opens you to the other world. The world of God and the saints.

“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this First Friday, December 4th.

December 4th, 2020  -  First Friday in December 2020.

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 12th and last month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #12.

#12. "The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour."

Friends, this is a tremendous promise. Let us thank our Lord Jesus Christ for such a generous offer.  I was once close to death.  My priest came and brought the healing Presence of Jesus in His precious anointing.  Whenever I think of Promise #12, I remember that awesome occasion and privilege. You will appreciate this promise when you are close to death. No fear. No worry. No doubt about your eternal destiny. Because of the pandemics, many may not be able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion this First Friday. You can make a Spiritual Communion. You can click on the link below to see the Prayer for Spiritual Communion:

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

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

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Prayer for Spiritual Communion.

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, 
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 
I love You above all things, 
and I desire to receive You into my soul. 
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, 
come at least spiritually into my heart. 
I embrace You as if You were already there 
and unite myself wholly to You. 
Never permit me to be separated from You.



Wednesday, December 02, 2020

The Feast of St Francis Xavier, SJ - A great Missionary.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock." (Matthew 7: 24 - 25).

Thursday 3rd December 2020, 1st Week of Advent is the feast of St Francis Xavier of the Society of Jesus (1506 - 1552). Priest and Missionary. Spanish.

Francis Xavier is one of the seven men along with leader St Ignatius Loyola who founded the Society of Jesus popularly known as Jesuits. Francis Xavier will rank as one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the Church. We know who has the title #1: St Paul. Francis is said to have baptized over 30,000 souls in his 10 years of missionary endeavors. He worked in India and Japan and died facing the coast of China in 1552 at the age of 46.

Our key Scripture instructs us to build our lives on rock. That Rock is Jesus. If we do not build on Him, we build on sand. St Francis Xavier heard this message when he made the 30 day retreat called Spiritual Exercises which was administered to him by Leader St Ignatius Loyola. He also learned a maxim which made him excel as a missionary. To the question: What is your greatest desire in life?

#1 To know the Heart of Jesus intimately.
#2 To love Him passionately.
#3 To follow Jesus everywhere.

If you adopt the above maxim as many Jesuit saints did, it will be written of you too:

"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."  (Colossians 1:27).

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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Come hungry to the banquet of the Lord.

"Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15: 32).

Wednesday 2nd December 2020, first Week of Advent.

Our key Scripture for today is the background to the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. The entire Liturgy of the word today centers on food, banquet and celebrations. Let us capture them one by one.

#1. Collect (Opening Prayer).
"Prepare our hearts, we pray, O Lord our God, by your divine power,
so that at the coming of Christ your Son we may be found worthy of the banquet of eternal life and merit to receive heavenly nourishment from his hands."

How do we prepare our hearts for the eternal banquet?

#2. First Reading (Isaiah 25: 6 - 10).
"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines." (Isaiah 25: 6).

This mountain is type and shadow of the Sanctuary where the Lord God prepares for us a banquet of the word of God and the holy Eucharist.

#3 Responsorial Psalm:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." (Psalm 23: 1).

Do you find yourself in constant want or need? I need a new car, shoe, job, suit, whatever? If the Lord is truly your Good Shepherd, you will be pretty content most of the time. The restless spirit harbors the spirit of the world. We are warned not to compromise with the spirit of the world but to allow the word of God to shape our vision of the world. (Cf Romans 12: 2).

#4 The Gospel:
"They all ate and were satisfied." (Cf Matthew 15: 29 - 37).

How do you feel when your Good Shepherd feeds you? If you are not satisfied, then what and who can satisfy you? The spirit of the world is a restless spirit, full of discontentment. Reject him. Tell him boldly:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

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Monday, November 30, 2020

Jesus laughs!

"At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do." (Luke 10: 21 - 22 NIV).

Tuesday 1st December 2020, First Week of Advent.

Jesus rejoices! Jesus is full of joy as He thinks of the Holy Spirit. What in your experience makes you full of joy? For me it used to be memories of answered prayers. Now as I get to know the ever present Holy Spirit, the thought of Him fills me with joy.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. Spiritual life and abundant life. He is our ever present and near Helper. He is our Advocate and the Voice that speaks in Court for us. Actually, I have enjoyed Him in this role several times in my life.

How do we receive and enjoy the Holy Spirit? Nothing can be easier:

#1  Desire! Desire! Desire!
#2. Then confess your sins
#3. Ask Him in bold prayer to come and reside in you.
#4. Believe that you have received and start giving thanks immediately. Remember you walk by faith and not by sight or feeling.

For the titles of the Holy Spirit, click the link below:

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The Titles of the Holy Spirit

Titles and Names of the Holy Spirit: 

  • Breath of the Almighty
    (Job 33:4)

  • Comforter
    (John 14:16,26; 15:26)

  • Eternal Spirit
    (Hebrews 9:14)

  • Free Spirit
    (Psalms 51:12)

  • God
    (Acts 5:3,4)

  • Good Spirit
    (Nehemiah 9:20; Psalms 143:10)

  • Holy Spirit
    (Psalms 51:11; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30)

  • Lord, The
    (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

  • Power of the Highest
    (Luke 1:35)

  • Spirit, The
    (Matthew 4:1; John 3:6; 1 Timothy 4:1)

  • Spirit of the Lord God
    (Isaiah 61:1)

  • Spirit of the Lord
    (Isaiah 11:2; Acts 5:9)

  • Spirit of God
    (Genesis 1:2; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Job 33:4)

  • Spirit of the Father
    (Matthew 10:20)

  • Spirit of Christ
    (Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11)

  • Spirit of the Son
    (Galatians 4:6)

  • Spirit of life
    (Romans 8:2; Revelation 11:11)

  • Spirit of grace
    (Zechariah 12:10; Hebrews 10:29)

  • Spirit of prophecy
    (Revelation 19:10)

  • Spirit of adoption
    (Romans 8:15)

  • Spirit of wisdom
    (Isaiah 11:2; Ephesians 1:17)

  • Spirit of counsel
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of might
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of understanding
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of knowledge
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of the fear of the Lord
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of truth
    (John 14:17; 15:26)

  • Spirit of holiness
    (Romans 1:4)

  • Spirit of revelation
    (Ephesians 1:17)

  • Spirit of judgment
    (Isaiah 4:4; 28:6)

  • Spirit of burning
    (Isaiah 4:4)

  • Spirit of glory
    (1 Peter 4:14)

  • Seven Spirits of God
    (Revelation 1:4)

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Come and I will make you fishers of men.

"Jesus said to them [Simon Peter and Andrew], “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4: 19).

Monday 30th November 2020, First Week of Advent is the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, brother of Simon Peter. (+ 60). Martyred in Greece circa 60 AD. Patron saint of Greece, Russia and Scotland.

Andrew is my Evangelist par excellence. He hears the Gospel. He believes in it. Immediately he goes to share this treasure with the first person he meets who happens to be his brother Simon Peter. How do we respond like Andrew and become committed and enthusiastic evangelists? There are two necessary steps:

#1. Formation or Training: Spending time with Jesus in prayer and His word. This enables you to become like Jesus. Before you can start acting like Jesus, you must spend time listening to Him and watching His every move.

#2. Practicum: The student teacher or nurse needs to ground the theory she learned in the classroom in the real world. This is the Practicum.

The core mission of the Church is to evangelize. Pope St Paul VI writes that the Church exists in order to evangelize. This is a profound statement. Where is your place in this scheme? In the first Reading we hear:

"For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?  And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10: 13 - 15).

How can people hear of a new product unless there is a salesman or advertising? Friend, Jesus invites you to be the sales person. You can do this through word of mouth, text messaging, emails and sharing social media Catholic Blogs.

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