Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Feast of St Padre Pio, a Stigmatist and a man of Prayer.

"The word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:
Thus says the Lord of hosts: This people says: “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.”.... Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
(Haggai 1: 1...8.)

Thursday 23rd September 2021, 25th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Pio Pietrechina better known as Padre Pio. (1887 - 1968). Italian Capuchin Priest. Stigmatist. A highly gifted confessor and counseling guru. Padre Pio died and was canonized in 2002 in the lifetime of many people reading this.

The Lord God chides the People of Israel through the Prophet Haggai for putting God's Kingdom #2 and their welfare #1. The consequences for doing this are inescapable:

"Now thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed; And whoever earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it."

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches a simple way out of this anomaly:

"Seek first [Be concerned above all else with] God’s kingdom and ·what God wants [his righteousness]. Then all ·your other needs will be met as well [these things will be given to you]." (Matthew 6: 33 EXB).

Make God's Law and Kingdom #1 priority in everything.

"Consider your ways! Go up into the hill country; bring timber, and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory, says the Lord."

Then, it shall be well with you in everything.

"My way is one of gentleness, of mercy, and of compassion. I offer My Cross to souls, but I never impose it, and when a soul begins to say “Yes” to the sweet and terrible exigencies of My love, I fit My Cross to her shoulders, and then help her to carry it step by step, increasing its weight only as that soul grows in love and in the fortitude that comes from the Holy Spirit." (IN SINU JESU, September 23, 2011, Feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina).

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Twelve preached with power and enjoyed great success.

"Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic." (Luke 9: 1.... 6).

Wednesday 22nd September 2021, in the 25th Week in Ordinary Time.

The first missionary experience of the Twelve was such a huge success.  "Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere."

Why did they enjoy such outstanding success everywhere? They submitted to the instructions of the Lord with the obedience of faith. “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic."  They obeyed this. 

God rewards faith and obedience everywhere with success. Even we simple Christians will attest to this in our experience. Do you have an example of a situation where you obeyed God in faith and failed? Many people will testify to numerous occasions when they decided to go rogue and suffered.

Here is a great word of God that many choose to ignore:
"Seek first [Be concerned above all else with] God’s kingdom and ·what God wants [his righteousness]. Then all ·your other needs will be met as well [these things will be given to you]." (Matthew 6: 33 EXB).

The fruit of obedience is Peace. Peace, Shalom is the greatest gift that God can bestow on His children. It is the peace of mind and heart and body. It is peace of the purse and contentment. It is the peace that reigns in your family. Peace with your neighbors and colleagues. Peace always and everywhere.
The Church prays often:
"Father, in Your will is our peace."
This is true. If you want to enjoy Shalom, seek the will of God.

"I bless you and I bless those whom you entrust to the mercy of My open Heart. The light of My Face shines upon you. Believe in My love for you. I will never abandon you, never disappoint you. My plans are for your happiness, for your holiness, for your peace. Have no fear. I will do for you all that I have promised, and your heart will rejoice, and you will praise and glorify Me forever." (IN SINU JESU, Wednesday, December 19, 2007).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 20, 2021

Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

"As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples." (Matthew 9: 9.... 13).

Tuesday 21st September 2021, 25th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Matthew the Apostle. Jewish. Evangelist. Author of the Gospel according to St Matthew. Died a martyr.

A man named Matthew was called by Jesus to follow Him. The man left everything: job, money, house and property and friends and followed the stranger named Jesus. Matthew was not a saint when Jesus called him. But Jesus did not come to call saints.  Paul describes his calling thus:

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 1: 12 - 14).

Matthew could have written the above words.

Jesus delights in sinners because sinners give Him the opportunity to show off His mercy. Why did Jesus institute the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion? The Divine Mercy Devotion? Jesus delights in mercy. Mercy may well be the last covenant with mankind.

Matthew accepted the call with generosity and then lived in a manner worthy of the call he received.  He used his old skill as a tax recorder to pen the Gospel that bears his name.

The call of Matthew is a story of mercy. The unfathomable mercy of God.  “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
(Matthew 9: 12 - 13).

Have you received any mercies from Jesus lately? Do you know the ABC of Mercy?
+ A. Ask for mercy.
+ B. Be merciful.
+ C. Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Make it your first care to find the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33). The kingdom of God is present in all its fullness, though in a hidden manner, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. He who seeks out My Eucharistic presence is seeking the kingdom of God. He who approaches Me in the Sacrament of My love will find the kingdom and therein all that he desires according to My Spirit. Come first to Me in the Sacrament of My love. Let this become the supernatural instinct of your soul: always to come to Me, always to seek My Eucharistic Face."  (IN SINU JESU, Monday, August 25, 2008).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Feast of St Andrew Kim Taegon and the Korean Martyrs.

"Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light." (Luke 8: 16.... 18).

Monday 20th September 2021, in the 25th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr and the Korean martyrs. 103 martyrs gave their lives to Christ between 1839 and 1867. Among the martyrs were priests and laity and a full representative of the Church in Korea from all backgrounds.

A lamp is lit to be placed on a lampstand. The light here in the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel for today represents the precious word of God planted in your heart.

We celebrate today the witness of the martyrs of Korea to this truth. A Korean traveler in China heard the Good News in that country. He returned home to Korea with tracts of the Catechism. He brought the light of the faith to Korea.

Examples of those who spread the light:
1. Mary heard the word of God and hastened with it to Elizabeth.
2. Anna the Prophetess saw the light at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and became an evangelist spreading the message to everyone she meets from that point.
3. Philip met the Light and heard Him speak and hurried off to share the Good News with Bartholomew.
4. Saints Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Ignatius, Teresa of Kolkata heard and saw the Light. They founded religious orders which continue to spread the word throughout the world.

Jesus says that there are dire consequences for hiding your talent.
"Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

Use it or lose it!

"I have chosen you to live in My friendship. Let Me respond, as I see fit, to all your heart’s desires. In what I will give you, there is no bitterness, no poison, no deception—I will give you only My light, My truth, My sweetness, My love, and a participation in all My states and in all My mysteries. I will take you into the innermost sanctuary of My Heart where I adore My Father as His eternal priest, and offer myself to Him as a perpetual victim of love."  (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, January 8, 2008).

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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Jesus started teaching the Twelve core lessons about the Kingdom of God.

"Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him."  (Mark 9: 30 - 37).

Sunday 19th September 2021, in the 25th Week in Ordinary Time.

We see Jesus in our key Scripture for today performing His core ministry. Jesus feeds people. Jesus heals the sick. He casts out evil spirits. He raises the dead. But what is the core ministry of Jesus? It is teaching people about the Kingdom of God. 40 days after His Resurrection, Jesus continues teaching about the Kingdom of God.

The core message of the catechesis on the Kingdom is simple: Jesus is dead. Jesus is risen. Jesus will come again. This is what Jesus is teaching His core disciples, the Twelve on this occasion.

What do you know about Jesus? Many of us know that Jesus is:
The Good Shepherd.
The Bread of life.
The Son of God.
The Son of Mary.
The Good News.

What we know about Jesus is very important for our relationship with Jesus. Fortunately for most of us, we know the most important facts about Jesus, that is:
Jesus is God.
He suffered. He died. He rose again on the third day.

Most of the facts about Jesus that we need for our salvation are found in the Creed which is intentionally planned to be repeated during Mass every Sunday. Most of us know the Creed by heart. The Creed is the minimum knowledge you need for salvation. Saints go beyond this. St Ignatius Loyola prays to know the Heart of Jesus intimately so he can love Him passionately and follow Him everywhere. This should be our prayer too.

"You see, I am also directing your prayer to Me by the movements of the Holy Spirit in your soul. Thus will you pray as I would have you pray. Thus will you ask of Me the things that I myself desire to give you. Trust in the Holy Spirit to animate and form your prayer when you come into My Eucharistic presence. Even as you pray to Me, I am instructing you and teaching you the secrets of My merciful love. The desires of My Sacred Heart are immense and I so long to share them, above all, with My priests. I have chosen you to be the intimate friend of My Heart." (IN SINU JESU - - Saturday, March 29, 2008).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com


Friday, September 17, 2021

Mary is the Exemplar of the good soil.

"When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. “A sower went out to sow his seed..... And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a ­hundredfold.” After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”  (Luke 8: 4.....15).

Saturday 18th September 2021, in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. We celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday.

The good Seed fell on the good soil
"and when it grew, it produced fruit a ­hundredfold.”
Think about this:
"The angel of the Lord declared onto Mary....And Mary answered "Be it done to me according to Your word." At that moment, the Seed became Flesh in the womb of Mary. Mary is the Exemplar of the Good Soil. We all have the opportunity of imitating Mary in her openness to the word of God. Let us do so and enjoy the happy ending:

"But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

"Above all there is My Holy Mother, My all-beautiful and Immaculate Mother Mary. She is where I am. She is close to the priest who is close to Me in the Sacrament of My love. Nothing gives so much joy to her Immaculate Heart as seeing one of her priest sons in adoration before My Eucharistic Face. She opens her hands over him—as she is doing over you at this very moment—and causes a shower of graces to fall into his soul. Love My Mother, love My Mother more and more. You will never approach the love of My own Heart for her by yourself, but I, by My free gift, can and will unite you to the love of My Sacred Heart for her. Thus will you come to experience the ineffable union of our two Hearts in your own heart." (IN SINU JESU - THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2008).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Feast of Saints Robert Bellarmine & Hildegard of Bingen, Doctors of the Church.

"Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources." (Luke 8: 1 - 3).

Friday 17th September 2021, in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. We have two great saints to celebrate today. One man. The other woman. One Italian. The other German. One a Benedictine. The other a Jesuit. Both are Doctors of the Church.

St Robert Bellarmine: (1542 - 1620). Italian. Bishop, Cardinal, Apologist, Doctor of the Church and Patron Saint of Catechists.

Hildegard of Bingen: (1098 - 1179). German. Benedictine. Virgin and Doctor of the Church. Theologian, scientist, gynecologist, musician, etc.

Our Gospel for today demonstrates what Pope Francis called the feminine genius in Gaudete et Exsultate, (Rejoice and Be Glad). A group of women took upon themselves the responsibility of providing the day to day necessities of Jesus and the Twelve as they perform their ministry. Pope Francis writes:

"Indeed, in times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigour and important reforms in the Church. We can mention Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Bridget, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. But I think too of all those unknown or forgotten women who, each in her own way, sustained and transformed families and communities by the power of their witness."

"Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Feast of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian.

"A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment." (Luke 7: 36.....50).

Thursday 16th September 2021, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cornelius. Pope. Martyred under Emperor Gallus in 253. We also honor today St Cyprian. Bishop and Martyr. Cyprian from Carthage (Tunisia) was martyred in 258 under Emperor Valerian.

The two saints we honor today were acquainted with one another. They lived under one of the most severe persecution of the Church. Tens of thousands were martyred. Rome was determined to stamp out once and for all Christianity in the empire. Many Christians did not have the courage to face martyrdom. So they denied Jesus in order to preserve their lives. When the violent persecution abated, those Christians who denied Jesus wanted to be received back into the Church.  Some Bishops said Yes. Other Bishops refused them a second chance. The controversy nearly split the Church asunder. Pope Cornelius wanted the Christians who apostasized to confess their sins and do appropriate penance and be allowed to rejoin the Church. Many Bishops opposed him. St Cyprian from the powerful African Church in Carthage came to his support. Their side won and schism was prevented. The Lord was impressed by their good work and awarded the two the crown of martyrdom.

In the Prayer over the Gifts, the Church affirmed that the Eucharist gave Saints Cornelius and Cyprian the courage to offer their lives for Christ. The same Eucharist can keep us faithful in all our trials the Church prays. If you can receive the Eucharist more than once a week and do not do so, how can you justify your abstinence from such a Gift?

The sinful woman who encountered Jesus in the house of Simon received Jesus in spiritual Communion by her actions. And Jesus said to her:  “Your sins are forgiven.... Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the ­disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19 : 25 - 27).

Wednesday 15th September 2021, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

"At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last." (Stabat Mater). Thus was the prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation of the Child Jesus fulfilled. "Your own soul a sword will pierce."

By the Cross of Jesus, the Mother of Sorrows received her everlasting vocation:
“Behold, your mother.”  Mary may have murmured silently: "Be it done to me according to Your word." And she became our Mother too from that instance.

What do you make of the Seven Sorrows of Mary? Was it necessary? Superfluous? An overkill? The Church teaches: "Our Mother Mary teaches us to live, together with her, beside the cross of her Son. In her suffering, she reminds us of the malice of sin and shows us the way of true repentance." (Roman Missal).

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows follows the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Back to back we celebrate the mystery of suffering in the economy of salvation.  In the first Reading of today, St Paul writes to Timothy :
"Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh."

How do we summarize the dynamics of Cross and Crown, Test and Testimony, Trial and Triumph? The Apostle Peter says it best in the Communion Antiphon:

"Rejoice when you share in the sufferings of Christ, that you may also rejoice exultantly when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4: 13).

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Monday, September 13, 2021

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

"Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3: 13.... 17).

Tuesday 14th September 2021, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Why celebrate the feast of Exaltation of the Cross?

#1 There is a divine necessity for the Son of Man to be lifted up on the Cross in order to save mankind.

#2 The crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus transformed the Cross into a true sign of salvation. The Cross transformed our trials into possibilities of triumphs and testimonies.

#3  "Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe" (CCC 272)

The Cross has become a synonym for the trials of life. Jesus says: If you want to follow Me, pick up your own cross and follow Me. Hence we find plastic cross, gold cross, silver cross, wooden cross, etc. We find crosses in homes, cars, schools, hospitals, churches, cemeteries. We find crosses in every country in the world. The ubiquitous presence of the Cross everywhere is significant and providential. It signifies that grace and mercy are everywhere we accept trials and situations we can not avoid.

We are baptized with the sign of the Cross: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. This reminds us of the Trinitarian character of our faith.

As the catechumens are reminded in the RCIA Rite of Acceptance,  embracing our cross is embracing the will of God. It is the most assured route to sanctity and the good life. The will of God is our shalom, our peace. Peace is the first and greatest gift of salvation.
"Father, in Your will is our peace."

Man has always rejected the Cross as we see in the first Reading:

"With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” (Numbers 21: 4 - 5).

If like Jesus, we humble ourselves under the mighty hands of God and accept our crosses, in the fullness of time, God will lift us up. (Cf 1 Peter 5: 6).

Jesus came to undo the disobedience of Adam and Eve by embracing the prescribed means of salvation by the Father.
"When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself, says the Lord." (John 12: 32)

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Feast of St John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed." (Luke 7: 1.... 10).

Monday 13th September 2021, in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a Giant in our faith: St John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople and Doctor of the Church. (349 - 407).  Syrian. As the Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom could have chosen a quiet, comfortable and non controversial life. Not Chrysostom, a great admirer of St Paul the Apostle, he worked very hard for the cause of the poor and the marginalized people in his See. "When fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).
John Chrysostom was fully trained and became a great preacher and teacher in addition to his other ministries.

Bishop Chrysostom is known for his patience in great suffering in the course of his life and left us an example of invincible courage and patience. He died on his way to his last exile. We continue to enjoy today the vast writings he left behind.

Do you recognize where you hear our key Scripture for today?
"Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed."
Of course at the Mass before Holy
Communion. These are the extraordinary affirmation of faith of the Centurion that astonished Jesus. These words are part of the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist used worldwide.

When Jesus heard the centurion say this, He was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

Below is a tiny bit of what St John Chrysostom wrote on the Eucharist:

"O miracle! O goodness of God! He that sits above with the Father…gives himself to all who desire to embrace and receive him. At that moment all do this with the eyes of faith."

St John Chrysostom is the patron saint of preachers.
St John Chrysostom pray for us.

"Many priests do not have a real and practical faith in My Eucharistic presence. Do they not know that the Eucharist encloses within itself all the merits of My Passion? Let them recover the faith of their childhood. Let them come to find Me there where I am waiting for them and I, for My part, shall work miracles of grace and holiness in them." (IN SINU JESU page 26).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Who do you say that I am?

"Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8: 27... 35).

Sunday 12th September 2021, in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time.

What happened in Caesarea Philippi in today's Gospel marks a pivotal moment in the ministry of Jesus. The Apostles have been with Jesus about three years. Now the ministry of Jesus is coming to a close. How much do they know about their Leader after three years? To Jesus' question: “Who do people say that I am?” The Apostles answered:  “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” From their response we know that the people think highly of Jesus because Elijah and John the Baptist were two of the most important prophets in the history of Israel.

“But who do you say that I am?" You who are reading this, most probably a baptized Christian, who is Jesus to you? Every year we read this Gospel, we are supposed to show growth in the knowledge of Jesus.

When I was a child, Paul would say, I answered like a child. But today I answer thus: Jesus is my Savior, who reconciles me again and again with the Father after my sins. Jesus is Emmanuel who promised to be with me always and I know He keeps this promise. I am also updating my answer with this fact: Jesus is faithful to His promises as we expect God to be. Jesus is the God who heals me. He answers every prayer regardless of the lies of the Devil to the contrary.

Peter answered correctly, “You are the Christ.” The same Peter got the rebuke below for thinking like the world. If you think like the world, you will act like the world.

“Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

"If you could have heard the urgency and sorrow of My plea to Peter, James, and John! I did not merely ask them to watch and pray, I begged them to do so. I needed their prayer at that hour, just as I need the prayer of all My priests in this final hour that is coming and that is already upon My Church." (IN SINU JESU page 233).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 10, 2021

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built."  (Luke 6: 43.... 49).

Saturday 11th September 2021, in the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us honor Mary today as Queen of Peace.

We have in our key Scripture for today basic common sense message about building a family home. Common sense is not common. Every hurricane season, we see homes swept away by flood. Then we listen with incredulity the owners face the television camera and announce proudly: "We shall rebuild."

One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 127: 1:  "Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain."

Jesus ends this ominous teaching by saying:
"But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

Floods and hurricanes are part of life. Houses are simple enough to be replaced. But lives are much harder. He who builds on the word of God builds on a solid foundation.

"The riches of My kingdom are for all whom I have redeemed with My own Blood, but it pleases Me to bestow them through My Mother, the Queen and Mediatrix who stood at the foot of My Cross, offering Me and offering herself with Me. Today she reigns with Me in paradise.  All that I won for souls from My Father on the altar of the Cross, with My Mother at My side, I will now pour out on souls through her Heart and through her hands. This, too, is the secret of a fruitful priesthood. In every priestly act and in all of life, place your hands in the hands of My Mother and your heart in her Heart." (IN SINU JESU page 35).

Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Christ Jesus has shown me great mercy.

"I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."
(1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14).

Friday 10th September 2021, in the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time.

The first Reading from 1 Timothy 1 is a power Scripture for everyone who is unsure of his choice, call and anointing in the ministry he is doing. When I encountered this Scripture for the first time, I was ecstatic. I took it as a personal revelation from Christ Jesus to me. I read it every week and it has not stopped to amaze me. The grace and mercy of our God is boundless. Below are three other Scriptures that help to confirm me in God's mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence towards me.

#1. "My grace is sufficient for you." (2 Corinthians 12: 9).
#2. "If God is with us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8: 31).
#3. "Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged." (2 Corinthians 4: 1).

"My divinity, and My pierced Heart, eternally open, a wellspring of healing mercy and of inexhaustible life for souls. For now, this is all that I will say to you. My Heart speaks to your heart. It is My joy to speak to you in this way. Trust Me with everything. Be at peace. Allow Me now to bless you from the tabernacle before you, in which I am hidden, but living and full of mercy for all who approach Me here." (IN SINU JESU page 81).

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Wednesday, September 08, 2021

The Feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6: 27.... 38).

Thursday 9th September 2021, in the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus  (1580 - 1654). Spanish. Priest, Religious and Missionary. St Peter Claver served for over 40 years African slaves dumped at the South American seaport of Cartagena now Colombia. During 40 years, he fed the slaves, cared for the sick and dying. He preached the Good News to them and baptized over 300,000.

Peter Claver and the slaves he served watched the powerful slave dealers and the Spanish bureaucratic officials eat, drink and dance while they were hungry.

It would be humanly impossible for the slaves and Peter Claver to heed Jesus' word in today's Gospel and Obey it: 
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."
But they did. Jesus showed the example from the Cross.

St Peter Claver is called the "Slave of slaves." God gave him great love and patience for the suffering slaves. Peter took many of them with him to heaven. Today we have the opportunity to be different from the slave dealers and Spanish officials by loving our neighbors in deed and in truth.

"There are graces destined for My priests in this the night of My agony and of My betrayal that are not given at any other time. I am bound tonight. I have already been taken, and My captors led Me away as a lamb to the slaughter. I am silent but My Heart watches and waits for My priests. If only they would come to Me, I would undo the bonds that hold them in slavery. I would give them light in the spiritual darknesses that oppress them. I would speak to them words of comfort and of compassion." (IN SINU JESU page 48).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1: 1 - 16, 18 - 23).

Wednesday 8th September 2021 is the great feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her birth marks the moment when she who was to conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to our Savior Jesus - Emmanuel was born.

Who is Mary?
Why is her cult so passionate and universal?

Mary is the Only Child of Saints Joachim and Anne. She is the Mother of Emmanuel, God-with-us, Jesus "who will save his people from their sins."
The Blessed Virgin Mary was held in reverence by the Apostles and disciples in the earliest Christian communities. That may be why so little was said about her in the Gospels. In His mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence, it pleased God to keep Mary hidden for most of her 60 years on earth.

The Mother of Emmanuel was the only person who knew Jesus from womb to tomb. She was always there in the most important moments in the life of Jesus:
* Annunciation.
* Visitation to Elizabeth and Zachary.
* Birth of Jesus in the Manger.
* Visit of the Magi, the 3 kings.
* Presentation in the Temple and the encounter with the Prophet and Prophetess Simeon and Anna.
* The Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross).
* The Sacrifice of the Lamb of God at Calvary when it pleased the Father to make the Mother of His Son, our Mother through John the Evangelist.
* The Birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday.

Mary was faithfully there in all the great moments! Accident or Providence? Mary's role in salvation history was planned by the Most Holy Trinity before the beginning of the world.

It is with great joy that we honor Mary on her Birthday. Happy Birthday Mother. We your children love you very much. We join all the generations that have called you blessed to hail you:
Holy Mary full of grace, the fruit of your womb, Jesus is blessed forever! 🌹🌹🌹🎂❤️

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 06, 2021

Christian, believe what you read in the word of God. Practice what you believe.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021 in the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time. Our Scripture for today is from the Responsorial Psalm 145: 8 - 9.
Consider this truth. The Devil distorts the truth about God. If Christians know and believe the truth about God, the Devil will be out of business. The Devil flourishes because He makes us believe concocted falsehood about God. For example: God is not all powerful. God is mean and wicked.
Christian, read and study the word of God. Believe what you read and practice what you believe and ALL will be well with you.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Jesus healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath.

"On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him." (Luke 6: 6 - 11).

Monday 6th September 2021, in the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time is Labor Day in the USA.

What day and hour can one work is the subject of the controversy between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. For the opponents of Jesus, almost no work is permitted on the Sabbath. On this point, Jesus asked them:
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”

The scribes and Pharisees refused to answer the question. Jesus then turned to the man with the withered hand and said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored."

On Labor Day, we remember that God commanded man to work in order to participate in the work of creation. Like the scribes and Pharisees, there is always a great temptation for the people that control work to use labor to enslave workers.

May the work we do contribute to real progress on earth and the growth of the Kingdom of God.

"The work will begin slowly and it will encounter every manner of opposition, criticism, and resistance, but the merciful love of My Heart will prevail, and the light of My Eucharistic Face will shine in places long claimed by the powers of darkness. Continue to trust Me, and have recourse to My Mother, to Saint Joseph, and to Saint John, for I have given them to you to watch over you, to protect you, and to obtain for you an abundance of treasures from My Eucharistic Heart." (IN SINU JESU page 167).

Lord Jesus, bless and prosper the work of our hands.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Your God comes to heal you.

"Thus says the Lord: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing." (Isaiah 35 : 4.... 7).

Sunday 5th September 2021, in the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time.

The first Reading and the Gospel deals with the all important subject of healing. What are the consequences of sin for humanity broken by sin?  Bodily suffering, tortured minds and sick hearts. Jesus teaches that not everyone who is sick is responsible for his state. The illness might have been caused by family, community or the actions of the wider community like abuse of the environment.

In the Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf and dumb man.

"And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”—that is, “Be opened!”—And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly." (Mark 7: 31.... 37).

The prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading is fulfilled in today's Gospel. Jesus Christ is still healing in the world today. He is healing through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Through a Benedictine mystic, Jesus tells us below:

"Let My adorers take their place before Me. Their faith, their hope, and their surrender to My merciful love will cause a great tide of healing love to pour forth from My sacred side and radiate from My Face. Thus will My adorers, without leaving My sanctuary, become also My apostles: messengers and instruments of My merciful love and of My burning desire to gather in the lost, to bind up the bruised, to tend the wounded, and to heal the broken-hearted." (IN SINU JESU page 231).

Do you sincerely want to be healed? Trust completely in the mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence of God and ask Jesus with boldness to be healed.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 03, 2021

First Saturday in September. Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry?" (Luke 6: 1.... 5).

Saturday 4th September 2021, First Saturday in September, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Why is Saturday dedicated to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary?
This is an ancient custom dating back to the time of Emperor Charlemagne in the 800s. Some date the custom earlier than Charlemagne.

Most great medieval Doctors of the Church endorsed the practice, viz:
Saints Bernardine of Sienna, Thomas Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux and Bonaventure.

One interesting reason for this practice:

After the Crucifixion on Friday, everyone had lost faith in Jesus and went home. On Saturday, Mary continued the Vigil alone waiting for the Resurrection of her Son. Tradition believed that Jesus appeared to His mother first after the Resurrection. Not surprising!

In the Gospel for today from Luke 6, Jesus reminded the Pharisees God’s purpose for the Sabbath.

"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy." (Exodus 20: 8). The command to set apart the Sabbath is very important as seen from the way it is treated in Sacred Scriptures. It is the exaggerated concern for the obligation and sanctity of the Sabbath Rest that gave rise to hundreds of minutiae rules concerning the basic command to keep holy the Lord's Day.

Throughout the Christian history, the Magisterium of the Church has not only expounded on the sacred character of the Sabbath but has taught that the Sabbath was instituted for the enjoyment of the People of God. It is a day of worship of God. A day of rest for the whole family from the hustle and bustle involved in making a living. It is a day to enjoy the parks, watch Christian movies. It is a day to visit the sick in the hospital.

The Sabbath Rest is Rehearsal for Eternal life. One day, there will be no work. By obeying the law of the Sabbath, you build up your faith in this promise of God. God plans to redeem man and creation from the present servitude.

It is more enjoyable to keep holy the Lord's Day than to do anything unlawful on the Sabbath Rest.

"With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing. The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God. "The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath."  (CCC 2173).

Rejoice in God's generous provision of the Sunday Rest and use it to grow in spiritual and human maturity.

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
"Yes, my beloved little son, the eighth sorrow of my maternal and Immaculate Heart is that my Son is so offended in the Sacrament of His love. This sorrow of mine will endure until the end of time, when the real presence of my Son in the Most Holy Sacrament will give way to the sight of His divine majesty. Then will faith give way to vision, and hope to possession. Then will love be secure and everlasting for all who will have died in the embrace of His divine friendship." (IN SINU JESU page 183).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 02, 2021

The Feast of St Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church.

"The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” (Luke 5: 33 - 39).

Friday 3rd September 2021, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time is the First Friday in September. We honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of every month. Today is also the feast of the Servant of the Servants of God, St Gregory the Great. (540 - 604). Pope and Doctor of the Church.  When God chose and anointed David, He exclaimed with delight: "I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong." (Psalm 89: 21 - 22). This Scripture can be applied to Pope Gregory the Great. Gregory was the David of his days. 

St. Gregory the Great was called from the City Hall where he was the Mayor of Rome to be fisher of men. He left everything and followed Jesus.
He used his wealth to found six monasteries before he was elected Pope. He is noted in history for instituting liturgical reforms and initiating missionary endeavors. It was due to St Gregory that missionaries were first sent to England.

"Meditate daily on the words of your Creator.  Learn the Heart of God in the words of God, that your soul may be enkindled with greater longing for heavenly joys." One of the many wise sayings of St Gregory the Great.

The Gospel of today deals with fasting. Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving are the 3 pillars of Christian spiritual life.
Do you fast? How often? What do you fast from?

On the three pillars of the spiritual life, the Church teaches:
CCC 1434: "The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: efforts at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”

Some Christians abstain from meat and alcohol on Friday and Wednesday. Others abstain also from television, movies and gambling.

"The prayer of adoration at night has the power and efficacy of that prayer made with fasting that I recommended to My apostles as the means of expelling demons from the souls whom they torture and oppress. For this reason, the demons fear and hate adoration made at night, while the angels rejoice over it, and place themselves at the service of the soul who desires to do it." (IN SINU JESU page 240).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on First Friday in September 2021.

September 3, 2021 - First Friday in September.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Jesus made through St Margaret Mary Alacoque to all who honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month. In the 9th month of the year 2021, we look at Promise #9.

#9.  "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

Do you have an image or statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a prominent place in your home?
The 9th Promise is a very easy condition to fulfill.  Buy the Sacred Heart of Jesus picture or statue from a Catholic Bookstore or Amazon and place it in a prominent place in your home.  "Bless my home as You promised, Jesus".

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

Holy Aspirations you can repeat throughout any day:

"O SACRED Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come. EUCHARISTIC Heart of Jesus, increase in us faith, hope and charity."

"HEART of Jesus, burning with love of us, inflame our hearts with love of Thee."

"O DIVINE Heart of Jesus, convert sinners, save the dying, free the holy souls in Purgatory."

For the Sacred Heart of Jesus Promises, Prayers, Prayer intentions, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Peter exercised obedience of faith and received his calling from Jesus.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing." (Luke 5: 1... 11).

Thursday 2nd September 2021, in the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

Our Scripture today is one of my favorites. It deals with all the themes that build me up: Faith, Obedience of Faith, Inspiration and power.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Peter obeyed the command which seemingly did not make sense to an experienced fisherman. Do you remember Mary's counsel to the stewards in the Marriage Feast at Cana? "Do whatever He tells you." They did what Jesus told them and water was made into high quality wine.

Our faith is expressed in obedience. Peter exercised obedience of faith and a big miracle took place.
When God speaks His word to you through the Scriptures, locution, inspiration, prophetic individual and you do not respond with obedient action, what is wrong? You did not believe the word of God. Recognize this. God will increase your faith if you ask Him. How about using the aspirational prayer below.

"O SACRED Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come. EUCHARISTIC Heart of Jesus, increase in me faith, hope and charity."
The key to the effectiveness of this type of prayer is critical mass. That is, say it as often as possible and continue with it until you get result. God wants us to persevere in prayer.

When Peter responded in faith, he received his calling.
“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him."

Jesus is calling everyone of us to intimate friendship with Him.

"Priests and religious who are tempted to follow a false philosophy of activism, pragmatism, and utilitarianism, or who waste their time on entertainments and distractions, will suffer God’s loving judgments. He will make bitter their false delights, destroy their enterprises, and weaken the efficacy of their work in order to wake them up to their calling of intimate friendship with Him as the source of happiness and the condition for all fruitfulness." (IN SINU JESU page 266).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

What is the missionary purpose of Jesus?

“To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea." (Luke 4: 38...44).

Wednesday 1st September 2021, in the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

At the end of the Gospel for today, Jesus declares His missionary purpose. “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” In another statement of His purpose, Jesus declares: "For this I was sent: to bear witness to the truth."

We too must bear witness to the truth in the other towns. 

The Kingdom of God is here and now. The Kingdom of God is the reign and sovereignty of the King over His subjects. Jesus is the King. We are His subjects. To His subjects, Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

Our King is gentle and humble of heart. This is the Good News that must be proclaimed to everyone. Do not be an outsider. Be involved. Be catechized and sacramentalized. Be an evangelist.

"I am Jesus. Mine it is to save, to heal, to vivify, and to make lovely in the sight of My Father the souls that consent to the operations of My mercy and to the secret action of the Holy Spirit. When you speak to My priests, remind them of the power and efficacy of a single act of confidence in My merciful love. Confidence opens the door to all the treasures of My kingdom. To one who has confidence in My merciful love, I can refuse nothing." (IN SINU JESU page 105).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 30, 2021

Jesus spoke and acted with authority and power.

"Jesus went down to Caper­naum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority."
(Luke 4:31-37).

Tuesday 31st August 2021, in the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

In today's Gospel, people were amazed that Jesus spoke with authority. Authority means power. Jesus quotes no teacher or scholar to back His teaching. Unlike the rabbis or their modern cousins who constantly quote doctors and experts. Jesus simply says: "I Jesus tell you..."

What is authority? Authority means power. The word dynamite is derived from power. Listen to Jesus in the promise of the Gift of the Father in Acts 1: 8. "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes." Only then can you bear witness to Me and do My work. The Holy Spirit power is critical to witnessing and evangelization.

The Holy Spirit is therefore the Spirit of power above every other attribute. The miracles of Jesus which are the works of Jesus like in the Gospel of today are works of authority or power. The words of Jesus in the Gospel are words of authority or power. The words or sayings of Jesus are authoritative. That means they produce at once what they say. The miracle itself or works of wonders clarify the words of Jesus. In Jesus, words and actions form a mysterious unity.  "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19: 10). Whatever Jesus says must happen!

We the Baptized do not have the spirit of fear. Many of us act in fear as if possessed by the spirit of fear. In Baptism, we receive the Spirit of power. This is the Spirit that marks the children of God the Father and not the spirit of cowardice, which is evil and impure spirit.

How then do we activate the Holy Spirit in our lives? Faith acting through Prayer is the Activator of the Holy Spirit. Mary says: "I believe what you have told me. Now let it be done to me according to your promise." (Cf Luke 1: 37 - 38).
Following this declaration of Mary, Jesus became instantly incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus says in IN SINU JESU:
"Be faithful to her Rosary. It is the shield and sword of spiritual combat. It assures your victory over the powers of darkness. Why? Because it is a humble prayer, a prayer that binds the soul who prays it to the victory of My Mother over the ancient serpent." (IN SINU JESU page 59).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com


Sunday, August 29, 2021

His town's folk became envious of Jesus.

"Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written." (Luke 4: 16 - 30).

Monday 30th August 2021, in the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

Our Gospel for today is the rejection of Jesus in His hometown Nazareth. Jesus read the passage below from the Prophet Isaiah which previews the ministry of the Messiah.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."

The congregation was impressed by Jesus' delivery of the message and "all in the synagogue looked intently at him.. ... And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth."
Then they wondered “Is this not the son of Joseph?"

Why did the admiration of Jesus suddenly turn to envy?  Envy is listed as one of the 7 Deadly Sins and is defined as: "Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation." It is a sin that is surprisingly found in the Church: Bishops, priests, religious, monks, nuns, etc.

Envy is such a human sin. Wives envy their husbands and vice versa. Sibling envy can be deadly as we see from Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob.

What makes you feel envious? How do you handle the deadly sin of envy that spares none of us? How will you feel if you are the target of envy at school or in the workplace?

"The redemption is the work of love. I loved in the face of hatred. I loved in the face of death. I loved even in the netherworld, where the just of the ages awaited My coming among them. It is by love that I vanquished hell, by love that I triumphed over death, by love that I undid what Satan, in his envy, had plotted against the creatures whom I so love and whom My Father destined for the praise of His glory." (IN SINU JESU page 135).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 28, 2021

God is the Giver of ALL Good things.

"Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change." (James 1: 17 - 18).

Sunday 29th August 2021, in the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

I encountered our key Scripture from the James 1: 17 - 18 in a hymn/poetic format in Liturgy of the Hours and it truly changed the way I see God and the operations of Divine Providence. This is how I see the teaching of James in the poetic format:
"T'is not from chance springs any of our comforts but from Your gracious ordaining..."

It means that not even the least comfort, joy, kindness, break, cool breeze, smile of the supermarket checkout cashier, nurse, etc is an accident. God has arranged all these events to make you happy.
The same idea appears in 2 Corinthians 1: 3:

"Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1: 3 AMP).

What is the above verse saying?
God our Father is the Father of ALL mercies. ALL mercies and ALL comforts. Not some mercies and some comforts.
The words  "accident, chance, coincidence, luck" do not appear in the Bible. Everything is governed by God's mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence. There is absolutely no exception to this rule.
To understand and believe this is life changing.

These spiritual writers have expounded brilliantly on the mystery of Divine Providence:
Augustine, Alphonsus Ligouri, Jean Pierre de Caussade, Claude de la Columbière, Jacques Philippe, John Flavel, Jean-Baptiste de Jure, etc.  Divine Providence is a subject of predilection in the Catholic tradition. French saints and spiritual writers of the 18th century truly delight in the Doctrine of Divine Providence.

When I owned this truth, I became free of bad lucks. There are no bad lucks. There are no good lucks.
"ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God."
ALL THINGS MEANS ALL THINGS.

This knowledge increased my joy and gratitude in life. I went to a store two days ago. All the staff, about 6 of them greeted me with smiles and fist bump. I felt very happy not only when I was in the store but most of the day. Why? I knew without doubt that it was Jesus Himself showing me friendship through the staff of the store. Do not forget this hymn we sing in Church: "Ubi caritas, est ibi Deus." It means "Where love is, God is there." Where joy, friendship, kindness is, God is there.

When you believe this truth, you find yourself thanking God more than you had done all your life.

Speaking in IN SINU JESU, Jesus says: "What matters is not what you are thinking or saying, for I am pleased and comforted and glorified by your simply being with Me. Be present in My presence. This is what I ask of you. So many others among My priests leave Me alone in the Sacrament of My love. They grow cold, indifferent, and hard-hearted. An hour spent in My presence would be enough to reinflame their hearts, to move them to gratitude and love, and to open their souls to the grace of My friendship." (IN SINU JESU page 237).

To learn more about the God of ALL Providence, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/09/abba-father.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Feast of St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away." (Matthew 25: 14 - 30).

Saturday 28th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine. (354 - 430). African. Bishop, Doctor of the Church. Son of St Monica and Patricius.
Augustine was a prodigal in his youth. He kept a mistress for many years. He belonged to the heretical sect, the Manichaens for years. Monica shed bitter tears for his conversion and waited on God for many years before it happened.   St Augustine was baptized by St Ambrose of Milan, the great Bishop and Doctor of the Church.
St Augustine is a prolific writer and without doubt one of the greatest doctors of the Church. His greatest works are: THE CONFESSIONS and THE CITY OF GOD.
His influence on Church doctrine has not diminished with time. He is vastly quoted in the Documents of Second Vatican Council.

Our Gospel for today is the Parable of the Talents. God gives everyone gifts of time, talent and treasure according to His merciful and mysterious Providence for each human being. God demands an accounting at the end of the Ages for the use of the talents.
The wise and diligent who used their gifts well will hear from the Supreme Judge of all mankind:
"Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy."

The lazy and delinquent will hear:
"You wicked, lazy servant!....
"Throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

Our saint of today, St Augustine is an exceptional genius. The solidity and integrity of his teaching was irrefutable. During the Reformation debacle of the 16th century, the reformers try to pick and choose from Augustine's many doctrines.  Augustine is known as the Doctor of Grace. They claimed the Catholic Church abandoned the truth of the Gospel.
Ask yourself:  How can the Catholic Church abandon its mission and survive for 2000 years? Show me any other institution on earth that abandoned its mission and survived for 50 years. St Augustine is one of the greatest apologist of the divine institution of the Catholic Church.
Jesus' promise that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church is ironclad.

St Augustine is the patron saint of printers and theologians.

Quotes from St Augustine:
"God who created you without your cooperation will not save you without your cooperation" (Sermon 169, 11).
"Our entire life on earth should take the form of praise of God, for the never-ending joy of our future life consists in praising God, and no one can become fit for that future life unless he trains himself to render that praise now". (Enarrationes in Psalmos, 148).

"O God, You have made us for Yourself. Our hearts are restless till they rest in You."

Jesus says to the mystic:
"Conversions that are sudden and excessive are not My habitual way of leading souls in the way of holiness. I prefer to see souls advance by little steps along a way of spiritual childhood, trusting in Me to bring them to Calvary and to the fullness of joy in My presence and in the presence of My Father." (IN SINU JESU page 189).

St Augustine, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Feast of St Monica.

"Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep."  (Matthew 25: 1 - 13).

Friday 27th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Monica (331 - 387). African. Mother of St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

Almighty Father accepted the motherly tears of St Monica for the conversion of the once prodigal Augustine. St Monica also handled a difficult husband, the once alcoholic Patricius, a pagan city councilor. He died a baptized Christian.

Our Gospel for today is the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Five foolish and five wise. The bridegroom was delayed in his coming. The wise Virgins anticipated a delay and provided extra oil for their lamps. Because the foolish Virgins did not anticipate a delay, they provided no extra oil.

How do you deal with the Delay Factor in your life? The Second Coming of Jesus will be delayed. Most likely than not, the fulfillment of God's precious promise to you will be delayed. What do you do?

There are 106 occurrences of WAIT in the Bible. The message is uniform: Wait for the Lord.

“For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, Because it will certainly come; it will not delay." (Habakkuk 2: 3 AMP).

"Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you." (Psalm 27: 14 TLB).

Those who waited for the Lord:
Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, David, Elizabeth and Zachary, Simeon and the Prophetess Anna.  St Monica waited patiently for God for the conversion of her son, Augustine. 

The Lord does not delay. All His actions are guided by His mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence. God is not even one second late for His appointments. Always on time.

"In this Sacrament I wait for you. So many emphasize that they must wait for Me, and yet I am already present, close to them, and disposed to reveal to them the secrets of My Heart. They forget that it is I who wait for them to come to Me. How often did I say to My disciples, “Come to Me.” They understood, at least most of them did, the intensity of My longing for the company of souls. I would have all souls come to Me and remain with Me." (IN SINU JESU page 94).

Wait for the Lord!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Be Awake! Be Vigilant!

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." (Matthew 24 :42 - 51).

Thursday 26th August 2021, in the 21st Week in Ordinary Time.

What is the central message in today's Gospel? Jesus teaches the absolute necessity of being Always Ready! Always Prepared! For what? To meet our God. God decided in His mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence not to reveal the precise time He comes to take us home. You will not get a text message from God saying: Be ready on Thursday, August 21st at 9.30am at the Starbucks on Divine Ave.
No. The moment will come like a thief in the night. Very suddenly!

How do we prepare?
#1. Form a habit of daily prayer.
#2. Form a habit of daily feeding on the word of God.

Always be prepared!

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Feast of St Louis, the King of France.

"Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing." (Matthew 23: 27 32).

Tuesday 25th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time. We celebrate the lives of two saints. Remember that in honoring these two saints, we are in fact glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ who is King of all the saints.  He promised that those who follow Him will reign forever with Him. And those who honor the saints glorify Him. Never miss an opportunity to glorify Jesus through honoring the saints on their feast day.

St Louis of France (1214 - 1270). He lived a simple life characterized by prayer and penance. God was pleased with Louis and raised him from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of heavenly kingdom.

We celebrate also today:
St Joseph Calasanz (1557 - 1648). Spanish Priest who dedicated his life in charity and patience to the education of poor children.

What is the common factor between King Louis and Father Joseph? They were separated by nearly 300 years. The key is in the first Reading for today:
"As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory."  (1Thessalonians 2: 9 - 13).

St Louis the king of France had eleven children. As king of a great European power in the 13th century, Louis lived a life of penance and prayer and treated the French people as his children as St Paul treated the Thessalonians. (Cf First Reading). His people loved him much. St Louis perished near Tunis in North Africa in the 2nd Crusade.

St Joseph Calasanz dedicated his life in charity and patience to the education of poor children. He founded a religious order to cater for the poor and the abandoned children of Rome. His confrères hated him and the problem precipitated the abolition of the religious order St Joseph founded.  He surrendered the situation to God. His attitude was: God gives us everything.  He takes them away whenever He wants. Blessed be the name of God forever!

Our key Scripture for today deals with hypocrisy and lawlessness. We live in a time that seems to be marred by both vices. St Philip Neri teaches that frequent Confession will lead us to truth and humility. The Church teaches that frequent Holy Communion will transform us into the copy image of the Person we receive in the Eucharist.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle.

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” (John 1: 45 - 51).

Tuesday 24th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr. St Bartholomew also known as Nathanael is one of the Twelve Apostles. Tradition says that St Bartholomew worked and was martyred in India.

Here is the amazing faith of Philip in Jesus who had just launched His public ministry:  “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” Philip believes that Jesus is the Messiah.
When Philip told his friend Bartholomew that they found Jesus, he said:  “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
But Philip, a great evangelist said to Bartholomew, “Come and see.” Both Philip and Bartholomew spent some friendly time with Jesus that afternoon and both became His disciples. The interaction with Jesus closed the sale. And Bartholomew declared: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Who is Jesus planning to draw near Him through you? Evangelization   could be likened to seeing a great deal or sales promotion in the supermarket or Amazon and sharing that information with a friend. You share with family and friends what you value highly.

The first step in evangelization might be sharing Scripture or spiritual content with someone. For example, sharing Christian posts that move you from Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, etc with family or friends. You can follow up with inviting the friend to a special event in your church.

Be a Philip. Introduce somebody to Jesus today. Share your faith.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 22, 2021

First canonized saints in the Americas: St Rose of Lima.

"Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves." (Matthew23: 13 - 22).

Monday 23rd August 2021, in the 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Rose of Lima. (1586 - 1617). Lima, Peru. Virgin and a Dominican tertiary. Rose admired St Catherine of Sienna from her youth and was deeply inspired by the Doctor of the Church who was a Dominican tertiary also. St Rose of Lima became a model of penitence, prayer and simplicity. St Rose of Lima was canonized less than 50 years after her death in 1671. She became the first native born saint in the Americas.

Here is what Jesus said to the crowds and His disciples in today's Gospel:  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves."

The sharp words of Jesus lead us to reflect on the Power of Example.
Bad example corrupts.
Good example edifies.
St Rose of Lima read the life of St Catherine of Sienna and became fired up by her zeal for evangelization.
St Ignatius Loyola while recovering from a serious wound from a war read the life of St Francis of Assisi and became highly motivated to do for Jesus what Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscans did. Ignatius underwent a profound conversion, did adult education and became the founder of the Society of Jesus.

If you are a teacher in the Church: Bishop, priest, catechist or theologian, you must shudder when you read the words of Jesus in today's Gospel.

"Until now, the precious grace of Eucharistic adoration has remained unknown to far too many of My priests. This accounts for the weaknesses, the scandals, the shame, and the falling away of so many. The world has grown cold, and it will become even more cold as the darkness of the Enemy enfolds it and turns to ice the hearts that I consecrated to be for Me hearts of love." (IN SINU JESU page 216).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 21, 2021

They heard about the Bread of life and did not believe.

"As a result of this, [Bread of life talk] many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6: 60 - 69).

Sunday 22nd August 2021, in the 21th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus had probably said some provocative things in His ministry but for many of His disciples, the Bread of life Discourse was the limit of their tolerance. "I am the bread of life. I am the living bread. You must eat My flesh and drink My blood."  What does Jesus mean? Are we cannibals? Many of His disciples decided to leave Him and regretted the time they invested in the enterprise.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”

Think about this: How many people left the true Church because of the Child Abuse crisis? How many people left because they disagreed with their Bishop's teaching or regulations and decided to leave the Church to spurn the Bishop? Or left for some other petty reasons?

What will happen in the Church today to make you decide: "I have had enough. I am quitting."
Sacred Scripture says that those who leave the true Church never really belonged to the Church.
"They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number." (1 John 2: 19).

The truth of the Gospel is the fire that purifies and tests the caliber of the metal.  The "me too's" were found wanting.

At the challenge of Jesus to the Twelve, Peter replied: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
If today you have not come to believe and are convinced that Jesus is true God and true Man and that He is what He claims to be: the Bread of life, the Light of the world, the Way, the Truth and the Life, why are you still in the Church?

"My Eucharistic presence meets with coldness, with indifference, and with a chilling ingratitude, even on the part of My priests and of consecrated souls. They fail to recognize in the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist the pearl of great price, the treasure once hidden in the field but now offered freely to all who would partake of its inexhaustible riches." (IN SINU JESU page 215).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com