Saturday, January 02, 2021

The big Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is today.

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2: 2).

Sunday 3rd January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the great Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Have you seen the star or are you still searching and asking: "Where is the newborn king of the Jews?"

Brothers and sisters, this is really a beautiful feast that offers us great insight into the mystery of salvation. Our salvation, redemption, assumption into Christ depends on one thing, only one thing: FAITH! Examples:

#1 The Magi, wealthy lords from the East entered the room where Christ lay with His simply clad mother and father in a sparsely furnished room . They saw and Believed that this is He.
#2 Simeon and Anna entered the Temple during the Presentation of Jesus to His heavenly Father. They saw a simple couple with two small pigeons, the offering of the poor. They saw and they Believed that this is He.
#3 At the crucifixion, Jesus battered body was hanging between two thieves. One of the thieves turned his head slightly and looked at Jesus. He saw and Believed that this is He, the Savior of the world.

In all three examples, our stars walked by faith and not by sight or feeling. 

In the feast of the Epiphany, we celebrate the fullness of time when God revealed His only Begotten Son to the nations through the Magi by the guidance of a star.

All nations become coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Cf Ephesians 3: 6).

When you became a member of the Body of Christ through Baptism, you were asked: What do you seek from the Church of the living God? We know that the first thing we seek is Faith. Faith opens the door to every good thing in the world.

I believe in God the Father.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I believe in life everlasting.

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Friday, January 01, 2021

The Feast of two great friends and saints: Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen.

"Remain in Him."  (1 John 2 : 27 & 28)

Saturday 2nd January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of two great friends, saints, Bishops and Doctors of the Church: Saints Basil the Great (329 to 379)and Gregory Nazianzen (329 to 389).  Both men, great friends in this world "proclaimed Christ crucified; Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God." (Cf 1 Corinthians 1: 23 - 24).

One of the words the Spirit gives the Churches today is: Remain. (1 John 2 : 22 - 28)  Several places in the first Reading, the Spirit urges us to "remain in Him."   (1 John 2 : 27,28)
What does remain in something or somebody mean? A few examples from the dictionary.
#1. Stay in the place that one has been occupying.
#2. Continue to possess a particular quality or fulfill a particular role. Eg: Constancy and fidelity.
#3. I'll treat you well, as long as you remain loyal.
#4. Abide in something or dwell in something.

The Spirit instructs us to remain in Jesus.

How do we remain in Jesus?
#1.  We remain in Jesus when we remain or abide in His word every day.  Jesus is in His word.
#2.  We remain in Jesus when we converse with Him in prayer.  When we pray, we talk to Jesus.  When we read the Word or a spiritual book, Jesus talks to us.
#3.  We remain in Jesus when we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is the source, center and summit of the Christian life.
#4.  We remain in Jesus when we are aware of His promised presence in us as Emmanuel, the God who is always with us.

"And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming."  (1 John 2: 28)

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Remember the Sacred Heart of Jesus - First Friday 2021.

January 1, 2021, Solemnity of Mary Mother of God is also -  First Friday in January, 2021.

In the 1st  month of the year 2021, we look at Promise #1.

#1.  "I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life."
What is your state of life?
A.  Married
B.  Single
C.  Divorced
D.   Adolescent

Jesus promises us here:  sufficient grace to cope with whatever happens.  We know that anything can happen anytime.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus every First Friday.

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

The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God: Happy 2021!

"When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." (Luke 2: 21).

Friday 1st of January 2021, in the 8th Day of the Octave of Christmas is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. As we celebrate the New Year, the beginning of the secular calendar, Mother Church celebrates the feast of St Mary as the Mother of God.

In our key Scripture for this Solemnity, we reflect on the important occasion of the naming of Jesus. On the eighth day of His circumcision, the Infant Child of Mary was named Jesus. In the Hebrew world, naming a child is a big deal. The name of the child is even a bigger deal. The child of Elizabeth and Zachary was named John in a ceremony surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors and they named the little boy John, a name which means "God is gracious."

Mary and Joseph named their little Son, Jesus. A name that was bestowed by the Angel Gabriel at His conception. Jesus means "God saves." The name indicates who Jesus is and what Jesus will do as a person. He will be always our God who saves us from sin.

In her great joy at the conclusion of the Council of Ephesus in 431, by a universal acclaim by the people, Mary was bestowed the title Theotokos, a name which means "God Bearer."
This confirms the prophetic utterance of Elizabeth:
"Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1: 41 - 43).

Hail, Holy Mother! Happy Feast Day! You gave birth to the King, who rules heaven and earth for ever.  (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

This may be the Last Hour.

"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." (1 John 2: 18).

Thursday 31st December 2020, 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas is also the feast of St Sylvester 1. (+ 335). Roman. Elected Pope in 314 and died about 335. Sylvester served the Church at a very turbulent transition in Church history. Arian heresy and the Donatist schism threatened to destroy the Church. Then Constantine appeared and offered peace. After this, Pope Sylvester contributed a great deal in the expansion of the faith in the Roman Empire.

This is the last hour warned the Apostle John and he went further:
The "Antichrists have appeared." Have you seen any? These are some of the characteristics from the Christian Scriptures of the Man of lawlessness:

Temporary success
Mass seduction
Son of perdition
Opposed Christ.
(Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 3 - 12; Matthew 24: 23 - 26).

Before he became Pontiff, Pope St John Paul II warned in 1976 at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia that we are now facing the final confrontation between the Antichrist and the Church. Remember how King Henry VIII caught over 300 English Bishops napping in 1535? Only Bishop St John Fisher earned the crown of Martyrdom. Below is a prophetic teaching of the Church on the Antichrist from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh."   (CCC 675).

Do not be asleep. Be vigilant and pray at all times so that you may not fall into severe temptation. Do not become an Anti-Witness. This is the Last Hour.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Anna, Prophetess and Evangelist.

"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." (Luke 2: 36 - 37).

Wednesday 30th December 2020, 6th Day in the Octave of Christmas.

Anna, the Prophetess dominates the Gospel Reading as if today is her patronal feast day. Who is Anna and why is she one of the humble and powerful evangelists in the Gospel?

#1 Anna had lived in the Temple for decades and gave herself completely to worshiping God, praying and fasting.
#2 Apart from Mary, Joseph and Simeon, Anna was one of the very first Christian who saw Jesus as an Infant, recognized Him and carried Him in her arms! Wonderful? Oh Yes!
#3 Anna is one of the very first Evangelist to announce the Good News. Listen to the testimony of the Scriptures:
"And coming forward at that very time, she [Anna] gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem." (Luke 2: 38).

What can we say about the character of Anna? The answer is from the first Reading: 1 John 2: 15 - 17).

"Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." (1 John 2: 15 - 17).

Anna retired to the Temple after she lost her husband as a young maiden. She chose not to remarry or hang around and enjoy her husband's wealth.

We have a lot to learn from Anna. St Anna, pray for us.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Simeon the Prophet saw with his own eyes the Infant Jesus promised centuries ago.

"There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord." (Luke 2: 25 - 27).

Tuesday 29th December 2020, 5th Day in the Octave of Christmas is the feast of St Thomas Beckett. (1118 - 1170). English. Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr.

Our key Scripture introduces us to a man whose name is Simeon. Who is this holy old man? According to the testimony of holy Scripture, Simeon was:
#1 A righteous and devout man. (Reminds us of Joseph, Stephen, Barnabas).
#2 Simeon was one of the faithful who were actively awaiting the coming of the Messiah Jesus foretold over 700 years ago. With the appearance of John the Baptist, this expectation was now at fever pitch.
#3 Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit promised Simeon that he would not die until he sees Jesus with his eyes.

Simeon is immensely important in salvation history. This is why:
He was inspired to present himself in the Temple the very day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus for His presentation to the Lord, His Father. Here is what Simeon said, words that are used by the Church in prayer every night:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).

Simeon gave an eloquent testimony to the faithfulness of God. God made a promise over 700 years ago. He had not forgotten it. In the fullness of time, God fulfilled His promise to the letter and here is the Prophet Simeon to bear witness to the truth.

Whenever I read this Scripture, I am reminded of the radical faithfulness of God. Our God is a Promise Maker and a Promise Keeper.

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Feast of the Holy Innocents.

"The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” (Matthew 2: 13).

Monday 28th December 2020, in the Octave of Christmas is the feast of the Holy Innocents.

Why this feast and why does it matter?

#1 The Church celebrates the memory of about 20 babies whom King Herod slaughtered in his attempt to kill Jesus. These children are martyrs who gave their lives for Christ and are members of the Communion of the Saints.
#2 The massacre of the Holy Innocents teaches us the mystery of God's in-penetrable sovereignty and providence.

God could have eliminated the tyrant Herod, but instead He willed His Son and family to go into exile in Egypt in a cold winter.
Other instances of God's mysterious providence:
#1 God allowed Adolf Hitler to rule for 12 years and caused the suffering and death of millions.
#2 God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and Pharaoh's stubbornness caused the death of many Egyptians.
#3 Other tyrants that were given long ropes are: Nero, Stalin, etc.

Long-suffering is part of God’s divine attributes. Some people have taken this for God's weakness. It is not because Scripture says:  "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Corinthians 1: 25).

The Church honors the Holy Innocents because they "were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord." (Entrance Antiphon).

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