Saturday, January 16, 2021

I have found the Messiah.

“We have found the Messiah”... Then he [Andrew] brought Peter to Jesus." (Cf John 1: 41 - 42).

Sunday 17th January 2021, in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time.

Andrew found Jesus because his heart's great desire was to meet the expected Messiah. If your heart's great desire is to see millions of dollars in your bank account, you may miss Jesus even if He is knocking at your door. The Bible teaches: "Find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart’s desire." (Psalm 37: 4).

Our desires are very important. Watch your heart carefully to see the desires driving you. St Ignatius Loyola is a saint that understands a great deal about desires. He said "Desires make a man." There are two types of desires:
#1. Desires placed in your heart by the Holy Spirit.
#2. Carnal desires. You know where they come from.

Jesus draws us to His love and plan for us through our desires. Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus after he met Jesus. Another desire fulfilled. Andrew is one of my patron saints because he is a born evangelist. He sees the Good News. He seeks out his brother right away to share it. Every day, you hear the word of God. You read the Scriptures. Ask the Lord to give you the desire to share the Gospel. The Good News is the best News in the world.

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Go to Jesus with complete boldness in times of your failures.

"So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help." (Hebrews 4: 16).

Saturday 16th January 2021, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

What a great and beautiful key Scripture we have today! Read this carefully and impress it deeply in your mind. You will be happier for it.
From the Gospel of today Mark 2: 17, we know where to go when we are sick and need a physician. We know where to go when we have sinned and are depressed.

How do we go to the source of kindly and unfailing mercy? We go with complete boldness because
we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God.

Brethren, whenever we have needs: family peace, children's rebellion, health issues, money problems, your job, your car, your home, you now know where to go with fearless confidence to receive unmerited favors for our failures and needs.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins.

"The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth." (Cf Mark 2: 10).

Friday 15th January 2021, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

How do you reckon with sin?
"She [Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mary's Son will be named Jesus (Yeshua) because He will save His people [us] from sin.

In our key Scripture for today, we see Jesus' answer to the challenge of the lawyers as to His power to forgive sin. The background of the story is the crippled man lowered from the ceiling to the presence of Jesus. Jesus could have commanded the man to stand up and go home. But instead He said: “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2: 5).
Why did Jesus do this? Perhaps to teach that there is a connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

The doctors of the law who challenged Jesus believe that the authority to forgive sins belongs to God alone. Jesus answered them by saying: I will prove to you that as Messiah, I can forgive sins by healing this crippled man. “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”  He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone." (Mark 2: 11 - 12).

Every Sunday, we repeat in the Creed:
"I believe in the forgiveness of sins."
There is no salvation without the elimination of sin. Sin is the one cancer that blocks the benefits of salvation in our lives. When Jesus appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room after His Resurrection, He first said to them: "Peace be with you." Then He said: "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20: 23). Thus Jesus gave us the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confession or Penance.

If you do not use the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, it is impossible for you to taste the full salvation that Jesus Christ procures for us by His Death.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Jesus heals everyone who comes to Him.

 "A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” (Mark 1: 40).

Thursday 14th January 2021, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

Six days ago, we read from St Luke's Gospel the story of the man "full of leprosy" and saw how Jesus was delighted to heal him. Today we have the incident from St Mark. Let us see how The Passion Translation (TPT) renders our key Scripture for today:
"On one occasion, a leper came and threw himself down in front of Jesus, pleading for his healing, saying, “You have the power to heal me right now if only you really want to!” (Mark 1: 40).

Let us make some observations from what we have learned about Jesus from the Gospels:

#1. Jesus is always ready to do good.
#2. Jesus heals everyone who comes to Him.
#3. Jesus did not heal all the lepers in Israel. He healed only those who come to Him.
#4. The Bible teaches: "The nearer you go to Jesus, the nearer He comes to you." (Cf James 4: 7-8,10).
#5. If today you hear Jesus speaking to you, harden not your heart. (Cf Psalm 95).Remember the leper heard about Jesus and believed what he heard and got up to search for Jesus.

Conclusion: Nobody who comes to Jesus is turned away. Seek out Jesus today with expectant and confident faith and He will heal you.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Pray like Jesus.

"Rising very early before dawn, he [Jesus] left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." (Mark 1: 35).

Wednesday 13th of January 2021, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Hilary Poitiers. (315 - 368). French. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Hilary is remembered in history especially for three things:
#1. He defended the Divinity of Jesus Christ. He is 100% Man and 100% God.
#2. It is believed Hilary dealt the death blow to the Arian heresy which had plagued the Church for hundreds of years.
#3. Hilary developed an authoritative doctrine on the Holy Trinity.

Our key Scripture for today reveals something of the habit and prayer life  of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus taught a great deal about Prayer. He called Prayer a vital necessity. Jesus taught us to pray with expectant faith, with persistence and humility. Prayer is key to the life of faith. St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church says that if you pray, you will be saved. If you do not pray, assume that you are lost.

How is your prayer life? Let us consider 3 points:
#1. Time of Prayer: For Jesus, we see that His sacred time for prayer is early in the morning. First thing in the day.
#2. Place of Prayer: Our Guide to Prayer Jesus does not pray in the marketplace, café or restaurant. Jesus goes to an isolated place where He can be alone with His Father without distraction and interruption.
#3. Prayer Intention: Jesus prays a lot for His ministry and His followers. This is His persistent sacred intention in Prayer.

We can learn something from the prayer habits of Jesus to bless our prayer life. The Bible teaches us to:
#1. Pray always.
#2. Pray everywhere.
#3. Pray about everything.

If we can do the above, our faith will grow; our mental life will be healthy. We will be able to overcome most of the trials that life hurls at us.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the possessed man.

"In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1: 23 - 24).

Tuesday 12th January 2021, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

What do you know about demonic attacks and spiritual warfare? Our key Scripture for today gives us the opportunity to reflect on these important realities of Christian life and experience. If you are ignorant of these facts, you may accuse yourself of spiritual malpractice against yourself. What does Scripture say about this? A couple of examples:

#1. "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Ephesians 6: 12).
Discernment of Spirits can help pinpoint the source and cause of your problem.

#2. "Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5: 8).

Satan, Devil, Demon, Evil Spirit has been a force of contention for mankind since the Fall of Adam and Eve.
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” They know Jesus. They know who you are.

The Church has contended with demons since Jesus said to Peter:
"He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

How do you protect yourself from demonic attacks or engage in spiritual warfare? The Church has taught a number of strategies which have been helpful to people.

#1. Prayer: Exercise your vigilance through constant prayer. Watch and pray that you do not enter into spiritual combat.
#2. Scripture: When Jesus was in the desert facing off the Devil in spiritual warfare, He used Scripture three times to defeat Satan thrice. Ignorance of the word of God is one of the greatest problems of Christians.
#3. Use the Sacraments frequently especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These Sacraments are the heavy weapons in our spiritual arsenal.
"The weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10: 4 - 5).
#4. Do not neglect Sacramentals. Example: holy water, crucifix, bible,  chaplet/Rosary, holy pictures, Name of Jesus. If an enemy enters your house and sees these weapons of spiritual combat, the evil spirit may do a tactical withdrawal without engaging in combat.

If you are faithful to the above battle tested strategies from the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of the Church, you may never avoid spiritual warfare but you will win most battles and prove to yourself that these means are effective.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

This is your fullness of time.

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1: 15).

Monday 11th January 2021, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture this first day of Ordinary Time speaks to me deeply. Why? I love the phrase "Fullness of time."  In God's loving Providence, nothing happens until the fullness of time. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1). In the fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11).  Jesus says to us in today's message:  This is your Kairos moment, the fullness of time for you to hear and act on this word. God is saying the time is up. So listen carefully. I like the way the TPT translation puts it below.

“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” (Mark 1: 15 TPT).

After Jesus had made this critical proclamation, he called those who will help Him in proclaiming the Good News. To Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, He said:  “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1: 17). Jesus recruited James and his brother John with the same promise. We see from this that the proclamation of the imminence and urgency of the kingdom of God is the primary duty of all Gospel workers.

"But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?  And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Romans 10: 14-15).

How beautiful are the feet of those who respond to the invitation of Jesus to be fishers of men. Do not be anxious for a moment about your qualification. Jesus qualifies everyone He calls as He qualified Peter.

"Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit." (Acts 2: 38).

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