Saturday, May 01, 2021

My Father is the Gardener.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit." (John 15: 1 - 2).

Sunday 2nd May 2021, in the 5th Week in Easter.

The AMPC translation below seems to throw more light on the verses.
"Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit." (John 15: 1 - 2).

Note the following conditions:
#1. Disciples of Jesus may bear fruits at one time and then stop bearing fruits.
#2. The Divine Gardener "cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit."
#3 "Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing."

Do you desire to produce abundant fruits for Jesus? The conditions are above. Identify the dead branches in your life and ask Jesus constantly to prune them. The pruning could be painful but the fruits are sweet and lasting.

What are the fruits of the pruned vines? They are the fruits the Holy Spirit produces daily in our lives: Charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.

Now you can ask for anything and Jesus promises: "Ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." (John 15: 7 - 8).

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Friday, April 30, 2021

Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Patron Saint of Workers.

"Is he not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13: 55).

Saturday 1st May 2021 in the 4th Week of Easter. Today is May Day, the feast of St Joseph the Worker.
This Saturday is also the first Saturday in May. May and October are the months we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are celebrating the feasts of St Joseph and St Mary together.

The Church teaches that God laid down for human beings the law of work. Jesus Christ, a man in all things but sin was not exempt from the law of work. He followed the profession of His foster father Joseph the Carpenter. After Joseph died, Jesus became a self employed business man running the family carpentry shop until he was 30 years when he left Nazareth to start His ministry.

The feast of St Joseph the Worker "reminds us that honest work, no matter how seemingly menial, can be sanctified. Through work we can sanctify ourselves and others, making each of us participants in the work of redemption." (Roman Missal).

May the Lord prosper the work of our hands.

St Joseph the Worker, Pray for us.

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Feast of Pope St Pius V, great Reformer.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me." (John 14: 1).

Friday 30th April 2021, in the 4th Week of Easter is the feast of Pope St Pius V. (1504 - 1572). Italian. Dominican Friar. Pius had tremendous impact in the post Tridentine Church of the 16th century. Some of his accomplishments are: implementing forcefully the decrees of the Council of Trent, building seminaries, publishing the Roman Catechism and revising the Missal and the Breviary. 

On the night before His passion, Jesus was huddled together with His 12 Apostles in the Upper Room. He had revealed to them His departure from them through death. They were crushed. How on earth could they survive without Him with enemies everywhere? Then the Master said to them: Don’t be afraid or cowardly. As you believe in God and trust Him to protect and provide for you, you must believe in Me likewise. 

What would be the impact of these words on the extremely agitated disciples? Comfort! Such is the power of the word of God. The same Jesus is speaking to us today through the Scripture:

“You must not let yourselves be distressed—you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me." (John 14:1 Philips). 
How can you avoid worry and surrendering yourself to fear and doubt? Saturate your mind and heart with the creative words of Jesus. One thing I have found helpful is to keep repeating:
No fear. No worry. No doubt. Jesus is my Security now and always. 

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Feast of St Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.

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

Thursday April 29th 2020, 4th Week in the Easter Season is the feast of a giant of the faith: St Catherine of Siena (1347 - 1380). Italian Dominican Tertiary. Virgin and Doctor of the Church.

Catherine died at the age of 33 and accomplished for the Kingdom of God what most of us could never accomplish even if we live to be 190 years. 

She brought about the renewal of the Church in a period of moral laxity. She was instrumental in reuniting the Church during the great Western Schism. She authored a spiritual classic, THE DIALOGUE. Catherine is the first woman to be named Doctor of the Church. She is the patron saint of plagues and Italy. Co-Patron saint of Europe with St Benedict.

We skip the Gospel of today and use the Gospel of the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena to draw the fullest inspiration from the special Mass to honor St Catherine:
"Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

11 Quotes to nourish our faith from St Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church:

1. "What heart is so hard and stubborn that it would not melt contemplating the affectionate love divine goodness bears for it? Love, then, love!"

2. “Love follows knowledge.”
3. “The human heart is drawn by love.”

4. "Adam’s foolish children may well be ashamed. For is there any greater sight than to see God stooped down to humanity—as if humanity were in control of God rather than God having control over humanity? For humanity is nothing of itself; what we have, we have from God by grace, not because he owes it to us."

5. “God is more willing to pardon than we have been to sin.”.
6. “What father ever gave up his son to death for the sake of his slave!”.
7. “God was made man and man was made God.”.

8. "This is why the saints say that God’s servants are the ones who are free sovereigns; they have won the victory. There are many who have been victorious over a city or a fortress, but if they have failed to conquer themselves and their enemies—the world, the flesh, and the devil—one could say they have nothing at all…."

9. “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ...
10. “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.” ...
11. “All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, "I am the way.” ...

Let us finally note that St Catherine of Siena had no formal education, no PhD, no Doctorate. 

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

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Light of Christ in our world.

"I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness." (John 12: 46).

Wednesday 28th April 2021, in the 4th Week of Easter is the feast of two French saints:

#1. Louis de Monfort. (1673 - 1716). Priest.Among Monfort's books which are still in print are: TRUE DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN; SECRET OF THE Rosary. Louis de Monfort made the Rosary one of the most popular Catholic devotions throughout the world.

#2.  St Peter Chanel (1803 - 1841). Priest and Martyr. St Peter Chanel died a martyr in the island of Futuna in the Oceania.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus says that He came into the world as light. What does Jesus mean? The Easter Vigil Service starts at sunset outside the Church. The congregation is positioned around a huge fire of burning wood. After prayers, the Deacon lights the heavy Pascal Candle and leads the parishioners into the dark Church. The only light comes from the Pascal Candle. The Pascal Candle signifies Christ as the Light coming into a dark world. The gathered Church lights their candles from the Pascal Candle and their neighbors in the pew light from them. Soon the whole Sanctuary is lit from hundreds of candles.

Only those who believe in Jesus Christ find meaning from the Easter Vigil ceremony. Without faith, the whole ceremony may appear strange to unbelievers. Those who believe and trust Jesus are no longer in the dark with regard to the critical and existential questions of life: origin of life and the world, life and death, poverty and wealth, divine providence, racial diversity, eternal life, etc.
The light of Christ brought us knowledge of the Trinity, the Three Persons in One God. The meaning of the life and death of Jesus.
The carnal man with his 20/20 vision and all the scientific knowledge at his disposal does not understand 0.001% of the physical world and nothing at all of the spiritual domain.

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life." (Cf John 8: 12).

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Look at My works. They show who I AM.

"The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me." (John 10: 25).

Tuesday 27th April 2021, in the 4th Week of Easter.

In the Gospel of today, Jesus was in the Temple during the feast of the Dedication. The people accosted Him and challenged Him to tell them if He is the expected Messiah.
Jesus answered with our key Scripture verse for today:
"The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me." What does Jesus mean? His miracles: healing, casting out demons, raising the dead, feeding multitudes are evidence of who He is. These "works" should be sufficient proof to anyone who is well disposed towards Him. His sheep who are well disposed towards Him, hear His teachings and see His miracles and they believe in Him. This group do not waste time seeking for proof after proof about what should be obvious to men of good will. If you consider you are one of the sheep of Jesus, do you believe in these revealed truth about Jesus Christ below:

"I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead."
This is our Faith. The Faith of Christians who are the sheep of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus is your good Shepherd, He promises that His sheep will be fully provided for and fully protected from all dangers. Learn to trust in Jesus for all your needs.

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

What is the Abundant life Jesus promises us?

"A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10).

Monday 26th April 2021, in the 4th Week of Easter.

John 10: 10, our Scripture verse for today:  "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly," is one of the most quoted verses in the entire Bible. Why? It has the ring of a marketing slogan. Who is not attracted to Abundant Life? Abundant wealth, abundant health, abundant peace in the family, abundant quality food, abundant possessions and so forth. This is not what Jesus was thinking at all. I browsed on a number of English translations of this verse, I found that the Messengers' rendition is the closest to the mind of Christ:

"I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."  (John 10: 10 MSG).

In Acts 1, Jesus talked again about the "Promise of the Father" that will soon be bestowed on the Apostles. That Promise of the Father is also called the "Big Gift" of the Father. You know by now that we are talking about the Awesome Holy Spirit, "the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son." He is worshipped together with the Father and the Son. He is the Giver of the Abundant life. What is this Abundant life? You remember what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary? She is "full of grace" and "the Lord is with her." Yes, Mary has abundant life. She is full of the Gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

When you fan into flame the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit you received in Baptism and strengthened in the Sacrament of Confirmation, your life will be utterly transformed. Imagine if you exercise the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel and knowledge, you will be sought after by the whole world.  St Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, who is richly endowed by the Holy Spirit says that eternal life starts here and now and continues all the way to eternity. If you do not enjoy the love, peace, joy and contentment that come from the Holy Spirit indwelling in you, what is wrong? Two things possibly:
#1. Unconfessed sins.
#2. Unbelief.

Let us pray:
"O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord." Amen.

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