Saturday, June 26, 2021

Woman, blessed is your faith.

"One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him." (Mark 5: 22 - 24).

Sunday 27th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time.

The Gospel for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time contains two important stories about the importance of faith in healing:
Woman with a Hemorrhage and Jairus’s Daughter. The afflicted woman and Jairus had heard about Jesus before they sought Him out and encountered the Lord.

Jesus praised the faith of the woman. “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” When the crowd wanted to pour cold water on the faith of Jairus, Jesus said to him: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” I like how one translation renders this: "Fear is useless. What is needed is trust." When Jairus heard this, his faith was strengthened. Jesus went into the house where He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded."

Your trust in Jesus is in direct proportion to your awareness of who He is and how much He has done for you.
"Love Me and believe in My unconditional love for you. Trust Me. Show Me that you have confidence in My merciful goodness, especially when you experience weakness, or shame, or fear, and I will renew the grace of My love in your heart. I will uphold you with the gift of My unfailing presence." (IN SINU JESU).

"Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old." (Hebrews 11: 1 - 2 Phillips).
The Woman with a Hemorrhage and Jairus have this type of faith.

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Friday, June 25, 2021

The Feast of St Josemaria, Founder of Opus Dei.

"And I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." (Jeremiah 3: 15).

Saturday 26th June 2021, 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Josemaria Escriva (1902 - 1976). Founder of the Opus Dei, a society whose members include men and women, married and single and priests. Unique in many ways among the community of consecrated men and women.

Opus Dei believes that it is God's will that people find their path to holiness no matter what their occupation is, viz: doctor, garbage collector, senator, office cleaner, professor, student, etc. The impact of Opus Dei and its spirituality in the modern Church is significant. They operate in some 80 countries in the world.
Josemaria is a saint of our time. He died in 1976 and was canonized in 2002 by Pope St John Paul II.

Our key Scripture is from the Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Josemaria.  We are all called to be pastors of souls.

Who is the Good Shepherd of our souls? Jesus Christ of course. Here is what Jesus says to a Benedictine mystic about the pastors He appointed.

"This is why it so grieves Me that churches are locked and that I am left for days on end alone in the tabernacle. I would draw souls to My open Heart, I would have them experience what it is to abide in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face, I would give Myself in intimate friendship to souls drawn to Me in the Sacrament of My love, but you priests, shepherds of souls, have forgotten that keeping open your churches is integral to your sacred ministry. I would pasture souls in My Eucharistic presence, but you, by continuing to close My churches to souls, frustrate and contradict the desires of My Eucharistic Heart." (IN SINU JESU).

The life work of St Josemaria is to remind us that we too are pastors no matter our individual calling in life. Keep the Churches open please.

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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Jesus continues to heal soul and body through the Sacrament of Penance.

"When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.  And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately."  (Matthew 8: 1 - 3).

Friday 25th June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus healed a leper instantly by touching him. Contrary to the beliefs of the time, Jesus did not contract any ritual uncleanness. Leprosy was one of the diseases that was considered physically and spiritually ugly and excludes the sufferer from the community and most importantly, from the houses of worship.

Mortal sin is analogous to leprosy. It is God's merciful Providence that humans do not see the soul.
The One who touched the lepers and healed them is still among us. He heals every day the most important ailment of man, sin. He does this through the Sacrament of Penance. A good Confession restores the soul fully to sanctifying grace. Sanctifying grace is the life of God in the soul. The soul becomes once again the home of the Holy Spirit.
Who cannot be moved by the words of Jesus below to a Benedictine mystic?

"I want you to go to confession weekly. This is necessary for the health of your soul and even of your body. You will experience the benefits of My merciful pardon and the saving power of My precious Blood.
Prepare your confessions well. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and repent of the sins that He will show you. The work to which I have called you requires a great delicacy of conscience and an uncompromising purity of heart." (IN SINU JESU).

For resource in preparing your conscience in order to make a good Confession, click the link below:

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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.

"When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.  Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her." (Luke 1: 57 - 58).

Thursday 24th June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.  How many Birthdays are celebrated in the Church's 365 days Liturgical Calendar?
1. Christ the Lord - 25th December. 2. Blessed Virgin Mary - 8th September.
3. St. John the Baptist - 24th June.

This indicates that John the Baptist is a significant persona in salvation history. Let us sketch a profile of St John the Baptist:

#1 His name is John: "God is gracious."
#2.  He was sanctified in his mother's womb. Kicked his mother hard in the womb with excitement when Mary visited Elizabeth.
#3. Chosen by the Father to be forerunner of Jesus Christ and to prepare His way.
#4. John baptized Jesus in the River Jordan.
#5. His humility is supreme. He said: "He [Jesus] must increase. I must decrease." And he allowed his disciples to switch allegiance and follow Jesus.
#6. John gave his life for Jesus. Think about it: If John was not deeply convinced that there is heaven, would he had been willing to make all the sacrifices he made for his vocation, viz: marriage and family, the priesthood, upper class life, a hermit, etc. He knew like all the prophets and saints of the Bible that no eyes have seen, no ear heard and that it has not entered the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love and serve Him.

John the Baptist did not expect his rewards in this life. Are you?

Jesus means Savior. John means God is gracious. The gracious favor of the Savior has given us John as a bright light for our Journey of Faith.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Beware of false teachers.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit." (Matthew 7: 15 - 17).

The false prophets may dress and talk like the genuine one. But ask which Way they promote? The Broadway in all likelihood. Follow the Narrow Way is the teaching of Jesus.

Our Lord and Teacher says that" "You will know them by their fruits."
Sometimes fruits take long in coming but they surely come. Look at religious people who abused children under their care. For some of them, the bitter fruits take decades to show but they come.

By contrast, the good fruits produced by good prophets are formed by the Holy Spirit and show up in the lives of the prophets. They are :

1. Charity   🍏
2. Joy        🍊
3. Peace     🍐
4. Patience 🍓
5. Kindness 🍍
6. Goodness 🥝
7. Generosity 🍉
8. Gentleness 🍎
9. Faithfulness 🍋
10. Modesty     🍠
11. Self-control 🌰
12. Chastity       🥔

The most destructive fruits of the false prophets are:
"Immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts and orgies." (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).

Beware of such prophets. You are warned. If you are uncertain of how to discern their fruits, ask a seasoned and approved pastor or teacher in your Church.

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Monday, June 21, 2021

Celebrate the lives of Saints: Paulinus of Nola, John Fisher and Thomas More.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."
(Matthew 7: 13 - 14).

Tuesday 22nd June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast day of three giants of the Christian Church:
St Paulinus of Nola (355 - 431). French Bishop. Over a thousand years separated him from the two English saints we honor today. St John Fisher (1469 - 1535). Bishop and scholar. And his friend, St Thomas More (1477 - 1535). Lawyer, Statesman and Chancellor of Exchequer of King Henry VIII. St Thomas More is revered all over the world as the patron saint of lawyers.
St John and St Thomas were martyred under Henry VIII for refusing to compromise the teachings of the Church.

Many of us are familiar with our key Scripture: Broadway and Narrow Way. Now that you know the way that leads to Heaven, blessed are you if you follow it. (Cf John 13: 17).
The choice is stark. Choose high life, pleasures and amusements, and all the deceits of the Devil called the good life, you are on the Broadway that many choose.
The opposite is the Narrow Way. This is the Way of Jesus who says: I am the Way, the Truth and Life. He who follows me is on the Way to eternal life.

Our saints of today give us excellent examples about the Broadway and the Narrow Way.
St Paulinus of Nola was from a prestigious patrician family of Rome. He was a high official in the Roman imperial system. When he discovered the Good News, he renounced everything and embraced the Narrow Way.
St John Fisher was one of the most learned men in Europe in his time. As a priest and prelate, he discovered the Narrow Way earlier in his life. This helped him to lay down his life rather than succumb to the bribery of the Broadway offered by King Henry VIII.
St Thomas More, also discovered the Narrow Way before the temptations of power, wealth and pleasure could destroy him. He too remained steadfast in embracing the Way and His Narrow Way.
All the three scholar saints are bright lights on the hill.

Do not be afraid to embrace the Narrow Way. This is the only way to life.

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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron saint of young people.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?" (Matthew 7: 1 - 3).

Monday 21st June 2021, in the 12th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga of the Society of Jesus. (1568 - 1591). Italian. Aloysius was heir to the Duke of Lombardy. He renounced his title and entered the Society of Jesus. Aloysius died at the age of 24 in the Jesuit House of Formation in Rome of the pandemic which he contracted while ministering to the victims.
Aloysius is known for his holiness, purity and chastity and humility. He had a powerful devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is the patron saint of the youth.

What is Jesus teaching us in the key Scripture for today? You may call it: No Complain, No Criticize, No Condemn. If you can deal with complaining in your life, it will help you to eliminate temptation to criticize and condemn people indiscriminately. If you find that you must reprove a sinful behavior, pray to discern whether the task of gentle correcting properly falls to you. If you must correct the offender, pray for the grace of wisdom and counseling. All these prayers can be made in minutes.

One way I deal with the fatal character flaw of complaining, criticizing and condemning is using the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. St Philip Neri who is a renowned confessor and spiritual director teaches that frequent and good Confessions is one of the best ways to acquire humility. Think about it: Isn't pride the cause of our complaining, criticizing and condemning other people.

Our saint of the day, St Aloysius Gonzaga had a passionate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. June is the Month we honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I learned this June that St Aloysius is also a powerful intercessor. What does this mean? He gets favors for us from Jesus speedily provided the request is in accordance with the merciful love and plan of Jesus for us.
St Aloysius Gonzaga pray for us.

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