Saturday, July 03, 2021

Jesus is rejected in His hometown.

"Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!" (Mark 6: 1 - 2).

Sunday 4th July 2021,in the 14th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus returned to Nazareth His hometown. On the Sabbath, He was in the Synagogue with His disciples. The congregation was astonished by His masterful teaching. Then came the disparaging remark. 'Is he not the carpenter? His mother is Mary. Right?' We may ask: Do people expect their leaders or teachers to come from the aristocracy with Harvard or Oxford credentials? 

Our First Reading from Ezekiel 2: 2 - 5 anticipates Jesus experience by 600 years after the priest-prophet was sent to the exiled Israelites in Babylon. 
"Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day." (Ezekiel 2: 3).
The reputation for rejection of the messengers of God is nothing new to Israel. Unlike Ezekiel and other prophets of Israel, Jesus might have come to the people as a former carpenter without the highly esteemed rabbinical education like Gamaliel and Paul, but Jesus came with impeccable credentials that His foes cannot deny or overlook. Jesus taught with wisdom and not like the rabbis. And "What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!" (Mark 6: 2).

What are the lessons for the followers of Christ from the Scriptures this 14th Sunday of the Year? A true disciple should not expect praise or honor from any quarters. Because:
"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6: 2).

Jesus knew what His true disciples would face in their calling:
"Those who would be My adorers must consent to live in My tabernacle, hidden with Me and, at the same time, loving as I love: loving the Father as I love Him, loving souls as I love them, suffering coldness, rejection, misunderstanding and abandonment with Me and for Me." (IN SINU JESU).

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Friday, July 02, 2021

The Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

"Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20: 27 - 29).

Saturday 3rd July 2021, 13th Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of St Thomas the Apostle. Missionary and martyr. Christians remember Thomas as the "doubting Thomas."

What is the error of Thomas?
Thomas refused to believe after he heard from Peter and the other Apostles that Jesus is risen from the dead. He heard the witness of Mary Magdalene who was the first to see the Risen Jesus. Thomas still refused to believe. Against reason, he refused to believe the testimony of true, faithful and credible witnesses.

In the plan of salvation, God wills that we believe the witness of faithful, true and credible persons. Jesus Christ cannot appear to 7 Billion people individually and preach the Good News to each.

There are just a few things in life we can see and touch and prove to our own satisfaction. Vast majority of things we believe because someone we trust tells us so. We believe our parents, teachers and friends on many things. Some believe whatever their doctor tells them but will not believe their Bishop.

Disbelief, unbelief, unreasonable doubt are crippling mental states. Can you believe that there are folks among us today who deny the Holocaust? Victims of these barbarism are still live among us.

"Satan hates those who, resisting his lies, have remained close to Me, adoring Me in the Sacrament of My love, and consoling My Heart that is so afflicted by the ingratitude of men and their lack of faith in the mystery of love that is My real Eucharistic presence." (IN SINU JESU).

Jesus told Thomas, "Stop doubting and believe.”  (John 20: 27).  This command was all that Thomas needed to make him a super believer.  Jesus too can command our doubts, fears and worries to disappear.  Let us ask Him:

Lord Jesus, command that we no longer be faithless but strong believers in You and Your mission.   Say but a word Jesus and our doubts will be gone. Amen.

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Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Call of Matthew the Tax Collector.

"As Jesus passed on from there, 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 - 10).

Friday 2nd July 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is also the First Friday in July.

Our key Scripture today narrates the Call of Matthew. From the narrative, it appears a happenchance, a natural coincidence.  Jesus was passing by and saw Matthew and called him. The meeting of Jesus with Matthew on this day is not a chance meeting. The Bible has no word for Chance. Everything is Providence. God governs the world He creates by His powerful and merciful Providence. You can term His Providence, God's grand Purpose, Blueprint or simply Plan.

Matthew met his destiny at the right time and place. How about you? Have you found your purpose? Consider this insightful piece from St John Henry Newman:

"God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next…. I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling."

Follow Me and Matthew got up and followed Jesus.

"When nothing is clear, when nothing is foreseeable, it is the moment to make many acts of confidence. You will repeat them as often as necessary and, in them, you will find peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (IN SINU JESU).

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this First Friday in July.

July 2, 2021 is First Friday in July.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 7th month of the year 2021, we look at Promise #7.

#7.  "Tepid souls shall become fervent."

What is tepid?  Tepid is defined as lukewarm, slightly warm, unenthusiastic, apathetic, half-hearted.
Listen to what Jesus says about such persons:
"Because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3: 16).

Are you lukewarm with regards to Jesus, to spiritual things? Regain your fire through devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
"We should, every morning, place our sufferings, prayers and labors in the pierced Heart of Jesus; there everything will be purified and perfected." (Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Feast of St Junipero Serra.

"God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering on a height that I will point out to you.” (Genesis 22: 1 - 22).

Thursday 1st July in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Franciscan, St Junipero Serra. (1713 - 1784). This Spanish Franciscan priest evangelized Mexico and California and firmly established the Church in these regions.

July is the month we honor the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our key Scripture for today, God surprised Abraham with a difficult test: I want you to sacrifice your son, your only son for me.
We know that nothing in this world happens without the express permission of God. God's merciful and powerful Providence governs all things. God directly or indirectly sends us tests.

What may God be asking you to offer up today? Health, a family member, job, money, home? Everything in the Scriptures is written for our instruction teaches St Paul. Consider the people whom God put to the test:
Isaiah: Wife.
Hosea: Gomer, the prostitute.
St John Paul II: Health.
St Josemaria: Health.
Joe Biden: Wife and children perished in accident, a son by health issue. 

Abraham passed his test.
“I swear by my very self—oracle of the Lord—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one, I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants will take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.”
(Genesis 22: 16 - 18).

There is great reward in submitting our will to the gracious and mysterious will of God.

We honor the Most Precious Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ in July.
"The Blood of my Son brings purity and healing and new life wherever it flows. Implore the power of the precious Blood over yourself and over all priests. Whenever you are asked to intercede for souls, invoke the power of the precious Blood over them, and present them to the Father covered with the Blood of the Lamb." (Mary, IN SINU JESU).

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Feast of the First Martyrs of the Roman Church.

"God heard the boy's [Ismael] voice, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not fear; God has heard the boy’s voice in this plight of his. Get up, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.”  Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink." (Genesis 21: 17 - 19).

Wednesday 30th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the
feast of the First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church. In 64 AD, the vicious Emperor Nero set Rome on fire. To escape the wrath of the Romans, he blamed the Christians. Then he ordered all Christians arrested and be put to death. We celebrate today the witness of the multitude of Christians who perished in the persecution of Emperor Nero.

Abraham's concubine, Hagar was driven away from home at the insistence of Sarah. When their food and water ran out in the desert, Hagar and her son Ismael cried. Ismael: means "Ishma-El: God hears"

The Lord hears their cry.

This may be the message of the first Reading from Genesis.
"When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them." (Psalm 34 - Responsorial).

What a great confidence we have in prayer to know that God hears us when we cry to Him in our distress.
The First Martyrs of the Roman Church were probably the first large group of martyrs who witnessed to Jesus, the faithful and true Martyr. It was a big spectacle for the Romans who were gathered in the Nero Circus to witness the sport.
Tertulian said: "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity." Rome became chosen by God to be the seat of the universal Church.

Mary, Queen of Martyrs tells us the power of the Blood of Jesus.
"The Blood of my Son brings purity and healing and new life wherever it flows. Implore the power of the precious Blood over yourself and over all priests. Whenever you are asked to intercede for souls, invoke the power of the precious Blood over them, and present them to the Father covered with the Blood of the Lamb." (IN SINU JESU).

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Monday, June 28, 2021

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

"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).

Tuesday 29th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

Why honor Saints Peter and Paul with a Solemnity? Because the most important accomplishment of Jesus Christ in His mission on earth is the CHURCH! The Church is the Sacrament and Instrument of SALVATION for all mankind.   Scripture teaches that the Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. (Cf Ephesians 2: 20). Peter and Paul are joint managing directors of the institution, which is called the Church.

"You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."  (Matthew 16: 18)

Paul got his mandate to be an Apostle directly from Jesus.
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.  For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ."  (Galatians 1: 11 - 12).

Peter and Paul were called to be friends and companions of Jesus before anything else.
"I ask you only to be My friend and to live at every moment in the grace of My divine friendship. All the rest follows. Perfection is the fruit of friendship with Me, not a precondition for it. You, and many souls like you, are confused about this. My friendship is not earned, it is not something acquired by measuring up to the standards of perfection that you have set for yourself. My friendship is pure gift." (IN SINU JESU).

Peter and Paul are the ones who, living in the flesh, planted the Church with their blood;
they drank the chalice of the Lord
and became the friends of God. (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Feast of St Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr.

"Another of [Jesus] disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8: 21 - 22).

Monday 28th June 2021, in the 13th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Irenaeus (125 - 203). Bishop and Martyr. St Polycarp was instructed in the faith by St John the Apostle. He, Polycarp instructed St Irenaeus who became a Bishop in France. He is an early Church Father. God called Irenaeus to uphold the revealed truth of the faith and bring peace to the Church.

Are you called to serve the Lord? The marching order is intimidating. Don't waste time about who died and burial rites. “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” On another occasion, Jesus commanded the disciples:
"More than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well." (Matthew 6: 33 CEV).

St Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr and Father of the Church did not play games with the truths of the holy Faith. He studied what Christ our Teacher handed down to us. For example, the Eucharist. His bold, clear and unambiguous teaching was respected even by foes and he brought peace to the Church. One of Irenaeus famous quotes is: "The glory of God is man fully alive." God is glorified when we develop our talents to the utmost.

"I want you to speak to the faithful of the Holy Mass as a true sacrifice. They have forgotten this. No one thinks any more to tell them that the action of the Eucharist renews My sacrifice upon the Cross, and that I am present upon the altar as upon the Cross, as both Priest and Victim. It is the whole of My sacrifice of love that unfolds before their eyes. You must tell them this." (Jesus to a Benedictine mystic: IN SINU JESU).

By the prayers of St Irenaeus, may God renew our faith and love for the Most Holy Eucharist.

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