Saturday, February 27, 2021

Why we must listen to the Son.

 "Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is  my beloved Son. Listen to him.” (Mark 9: 7).

Sunday 28th February 2021, in the 2nd Week in Lent.

In today's Gospel of the Transfiguration, Abba Father acknowledged His Son Jesus as the dearly Beloved and urged us to listen to Him always and obey Him. 
What is the import of the Transfiguration in the ministry of Jesus? 
"The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body." But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God" (CCC 556).

How do we fulfill the command of the Father to always listen to His Beloved Son? 
#1. We listen to His voice in the Scriptures and obey it. 
#2. We listen to the Bishops and obey them.  "Jesus concluded his instructions to the seventy with these words: “Remember this: Whoever listens to your message is actually listening to me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me, and not only me but the one who sent me.” (Cf Luke 10: 16 TPT).

What is your experience of listening to Jesus? What do you hear? Has what you heard impacted your life?

“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. (Matthew 6: 33 TPT).

When I heard the above Scripture, I was totally captivated by it. I wrote it everywhere. I used SeekFirst +  as a business name. Today it is that hosts the Daily Bible Verse.

Listening to Jesus and obeying Him can change your life. Don't be afraid to try.

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Friday, February 26, 2021

Love your friends but do not hate your enemies.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." (Matthew 5: 43).

Saturday 27th February 2021, in the 1st Week in Lent.

To love your friends and hate those who hate you, a child might not have heard from anyone. The behavior is natural to fallen human nature. But as Christians, have you not heard:  "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you."

Jesus challenges us to be different from the world:
"Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes." (Romans 12: 2 TPT).

If you are today conforming to the habits and customs of the world, realize that on your own, you can never break out of this prison. The Holy Spirit, your Helper and Advocate is standing by to help you. He accomplishes this transformation when you become faithful and constant in daily prayer and daily nourishment with the word of God.

How long will it take for this transformation to happen? It depends on the intensity of your desire and the constancy of your prayer and study of the word of God. To those who manifest a great hunger for God, more will be given them. To those who are lukewarm, the little they have will be snatched from them.

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

I take no pleasure in the death of a sinner.

"Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord God. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?" (Ezekiel 18: 23).

Friday 26th February 2021, in the 1st Week in Lent.

Is there a common thread in the Eucharistic Scriptures today? I would say Sin and Reconciliation. What would life be if the world is full of vice and iniquity without the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation?

In the fullness of time, after waiting for the Father's signal to indicate the fullness of time to start His ministry, Jesus put His meagre belongings in a backpack and headed for the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist.

Why is Baptism the first act of Jesus' ministry? The answer is in the very first words Jesus uttered in His ministry. "At last the fullness of time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the GoodNews." (Cf Mark 1: 15).

So we see a direct connection between Sin and the GoodNews. (Salvation). No repentance, No GoodNews. No Salvation.

When we hear the call of Jesus and repent, we are baptized. The Baptism wipes out all the sins we have committed, restores us to friendship with God and makes us members of the the Christian community.

What if we commit sins after our Baptism? Jesus anticipated this in instituting the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Why is the Sacrament of Reconciliation necessary after Baptism?

"The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation: • sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed," teaches the Church.

"It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church." (CCC 980).

To make the most of this great Sacrament, spend some time in prayer and examination of conscience. For a sample of an Examination of Conscience, click the link below:

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Learn how to pray from Queen Esther.

"Everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7: 8).

Thursday 25th February 2021, in the 1st Week in Lent. 

I noted many years ago in my Roman Missal that Thursday in the 1st Week in Lent is the "Thursday of Ask and Receive." Why? Because in my opinion, the Scripture Readings today bring together the theory and practice of Prayer. Consider the first Reading from the Book of Easter. What do we learn about Prayer? 
#1. Condition for Prayer. 
#2. Posture of Prayer. 
#3. Length of Prayer. 
#4. Confidence in Prayer. 

I like the topic of Prayer. I am a student of Prayer. I pray a lot. Practically every good thing I have in life, I have received through Prayer. I pray more than I work. When I teach RCIA, I pray about 60% of the time for inspiration and power, light and guidance and the success of the class and work less than 40% in course preparation. 

Prayer is a great gift and anybody can have this gift if you ask for it. 
Jesus promises that when you pray with persistence, you receive what you ask for provided what you ask for is in line with God's will for you. God is a loving and wise Father. No father will give a 12 year old son a BMW Super Bike of 350 miles per hour for a birthday present. Only an insane parent would do that. 
Therefore when you pray, remember this word of God:

"And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours" (1 John 5: 14-15). 

Prayer is one of the greatest gifts. To what can we compare Jesus teaching on Prayer? It can only be compared to the unveiling of the secret of the good life. 
"Seek first the kingdom of God and the holiness of life above every other thing. Then ask and you shall receive." (Cf Matthew 6: 33). 

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

There will be no more signs for you.

"While still more people gathered in the crowd, he [Jesus] said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah." (Luke 11: 29).

Wednesday 24th February 2021, in the 1st Week in Lent.

In the first Reading, Jonah preached to the Ninivites and shared the testimony of his stay in the belly of the whale. The people and their king heard the message. They believed and repented.
St Paul preached to the Greeks in the Areopagus. They listened attentively but did not believe.

Jesus told the crowd today:  No more miracles for you. You keep looking for a big sign from heaven to prove that I am the Messiah. But what happened to Jonah is the only sign you will get.

My friends, where are you today in your spiritual walk? Are you still looking for more signs? Listen to what Abraham said to Dives, the former rich man who denied Lazarus the least sign that his life matters.
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead." (Luke 16: 31).

We have in the Church all the signs we need. The Church of the living God is the sign of salvation. This Church subsists in the One, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ. This Church has visible structures. It exists in almost every country in the world. The Church has one Shepherd, one Liturgy and holds the entire Deposit of Faith.

What more are we looking for? There will be no more signs till the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

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Monday, February 22, 2021

The Feast of St Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr.

"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.... If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6: 12...14 - 15).

Tuesday 23rd February 2021, in the 1st Week in Lent is the feast of an Apostolic Father, St Polycarp. (circa 69 - 155). Bishop of Smyrna in Turkey. Martyr. St Polycarp was instructed in the faith by St John the Apostle. He, Polycarp instructed St Irenaeus who became a Bishop and an early Church Father in France.

I hope my critics will not roast me alive as St Polycarp was roasted alive and finished off by swords when I make the statement below on our key Scripture for today:
Please leave a gentle comment. (Cf CCC 523). This is Lent. 

How do you deal with UNFORGIVENESS? This is what has worked for me:
#1. I try to forgive immediately. I try to forgive everyone: No discrimination as to sex, age, status, race or religion. No discrimination as to nature of offense.
#2. I pray for the offender: Father, forgive her for she knows not what she has done to me.
#3. Father, grant the grace to all the multitude that I have offended to forgive me.
#4. I perform this ritual every single morning during morning prayer. I finish by claiming the sweet peace of Christ.

"When I called, the God of justice gave me answer; from anguish you released me; have mercy, O Lord, and hear my prayer!" (Psalm 4: 2).

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16: 13 - 15).

Monday 22nd February 2021, Feast of the Chair of St Peter the Apostle.

What are we celebrating today?
+ The Papacy.
+ The Pope as Bishop of Rome.
+ St Peter, the Chairman of the Church and his successors to the Chair of St Peter.
+ The Teaching Authority of the Popes.
+ The universal Magisterium of the Roman Church.
+ The unity of the Church founded upon the Apostle Peter and his successors.

To the question of Jesus: Who do people say I am?
"Peter said to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus replied: You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." (Matthew 16: 16, 18).

Let us pray today especially for our Holy Father Pope Francis and for the unity of the Church.

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