Saturday, July 24, 2021

They all ate and were satisfied.

"When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do." (John 6: 5 - 6).

Sunday, 25th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time.

The miracles in the first Reading from 2 Kings 4 and the Gospel of John 6 foreshadow the Eucharist. From creation, God opened His hand and fed all living things generously from His bounty. Our Responsorial Psalm 145 puts it beautifully: "The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs."

There is something different in what happens today with the feeding of the 5000 people.

Providentially in this deserted place, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”

What Jesus did next reminds us of the Eucharist.
"Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”

It was not Moses who fed the multitude in the desert with manna. It was God the Father who fed the people as a prefiguration of the Eucharist, the Bread of life.

"If the reality of heaven has become vague and far from the thoughts of so many in My Church, it is because they have forsaken the very mystery of heaven already present and given to them in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Eucharist is heaven on earth; the Eucharist is My Church on earth already assumed into heaven. Heaven is wheresoever the words of consecration have been pronounced over the bread and wine in the holy oblation, for there I am present, even as I am present in the glory of My Ascension, adored by the angels, praised by all the saints, held in the divine gaze of My Father, and burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. Believe this and you will find heaven on earth, while waiting and hoping to see My Face in glory." (IN SINU JESU page 250).

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Friday, July 23, 2021

The Feast of St Sharbel, the Hermit.

"Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well." (Matthew 13: 24 -).

Saturday 24th July 2021, 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Sharbel Makhlouf. (1828 - 1898). Lebanese Catholic priest, monk and hermit. Sharbel is known for his great devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Blessed Sacrament and his filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was a great miracle worker during his life and after his earthly life. Sharbel died a Hermit in the ardor of sanctity in 1898.

In our key Scripture for today, the Church is likened to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ is the Sower of the Seed. What happened after Jesus sowed good seed in the vast terrain?

‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

There are people in the Church that are eager to pull up all the bad eggs in the Church right away. The adulterers, abortionists, thieves, etc right away. Listen to how Jesus answered the slaves.

"No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

What is the takeaway from today's Gospel? God's merciful and powerful Providence governs all things. God will deal with all manner of sinners at the end of the world.
"The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21: 18).

Let the Church trust in the Plan of God. Amen!

"When you are weak, come to Me. When you are burdened, come to Me. When you are fearful, come to Me. When you are assailed by doubts, come to Me. When you are lonely, come to Me. Let nothing separate you from My Heart, which is ever open to receive you. It is the Evil One who seeks to turn souls away from My Heart. It is the Evil One who sows the seeds of doubt, of fear, of sadness in souls, so as to turn them away from Me and drive them into the cold pit of darkness and despair that he himself inhabits." (IN SINU JESU page 203).

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Feast of St Bridget of Sweden, mother and religious.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Hear the parable of the sower..... The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit." (Matthew 13: 18 - 23).

Friday 23rd July 2021 is the feast of St Bridget of Sweden (1303 - 1373). Housewife, mother of 4 boys and 4 girls. One of the girls, St Catherine of Sweden is a canonized saint. Bridget persuaded her husband to become a Franciscan Tertiary with her. When the husband died, St Bridget moved to Rome where she founded the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer. St Bridget meditated long on the suffering and death of Jesus. God revealed to her the secrets of heaven. St Bridget is a mystic and authored books on ascetical and mystical theology. She is the patron saint of Sweden and co-patron of Europe.

Why do we pray and get no answer?  Why do we read the Bible and our lives do not improve? Because the word we receive maybe sown in thorns. The thorns come very tiny like the mustard seed. But they grow rapidly with time. They grow to become worries of the world, lure of riches and cravings for other things. They become masters and may take complete control of our lives. No wonder they choke the word.

St Bridget is an examplar of our key Scripture for today.

Jesus said that in order for the word to produce a harvest, it must be sown in a good and rich soil. Our soul is like a garden. We must cultivate it and maintain it everyday. An unmaintained garden is soon overgrown with weed. Jesus has given us abundant means for maintaining the soil of our soul. Some of these means are:
· Word of God
· Prayer
· Eucharist
· Sacrament of Reconciliation
· Frequent examination of conscience
· Spiritual reading

What are the fruits of the word that falls on a good soil?
Peace, tranquility, joy, consolations, light and guidance, confident and victorious living. We recognize that these are also the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

"When you feel the onset of anxiety or fear, turn to My Immaculate Mother, the Mediatrix of all graces and your Mother of Perpetual Help. It is enough to call upon her sweet name. She will understand and she will do what is necessary for My work to go forward." (IN SINU JESU page 76).

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Feast of St Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles.

"Jesus said to her [Mary Magdalene], “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”......."But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he told her." (John 20: 11 - 18

Thursday 22nd July 2021, 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Mary Magdalene. Jewish. One of the hand full of women who followed Jesus as He tramped everywhere preaching the Gospel. These women took care of the welfare of Jesus and His Apostles from their purse. But Mary Magdalene was unique and exceptional among these ladies. Jesus healed her of demonic possession and Mary could not forget this favor all her life.

Mary Magdalene trekked the Via Dolorosa with the other Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus. Both women stood under the Cross and watched Jesus die slowly. While the Blessed Virgin Mary did not hurry to the tomb on Easter Sunday because she heard and believed what her Son said about "rising from the dead on the third day," Mary of Magdala hurried to the tomb. She became the first human being to see the Risen Jesus. This is how St Mary Magdalene became the "Apostle to the Apostles."
"Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he told her." (John 20: 17 - 18).

Mary Magdalene loved Jesus with a pure love that comes from the depth of gratitude for what Jesus did for her. If but we know 1% of what Jesus is doing for us every day, our love for Him will astonish us.

"With Me and from Me you have nothing to fear. I am here, in the Sacrament of My love, to be your comfort, your peace, your light, your refreshment, and your joy. Know this! Take it to heart. Believe it and act upon it. If souls believed this of Me, nothing would be able to keep them from seeking Me out in the Sacrament of My love and from remaining in My presence." (IN SINU JESU page 97).

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Feast of St Lawrence Brindisi, Doctor of the Church.

"And Jesus spoke to them [the crowd] at length in parables, saying, “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.... Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 13: 1 - 9).

Wednesday 21st July 2021, in the 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Lawrence Brandisi (1559 - 1613). Priest and Doctor of the Church. Italian. He belonged to the Capuchin Order of the Franciscan family. Lawrence is an extraordinary man who used well the lavish gifts God bestowed on him. The Church remembers him for his profound knowledge and love for Sacred Scripture, the Holy Spirit, Prayer and Mary.

A propos Sacred Scriptures, Lawrence says:
“The Word of the Lord is a light for the mind and a fire for the will, so that man may know and love God.… It is a weapon against a heart stubbornly entrenched in vice. It is a sword against the flesh, the world, and the devil, to destroy every sin.”
Quote from Lawrence.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus  says that we too can be knowledgeable and fruitful in Scripture if we become good soil. Lawrence did just that and became an authority in the sacred Word and was recognized all over Europe during his time.

"I am present to you when you open the Scriptures and I want to enlighten you and instruct you. When you read My word, seek My Heart. When you read the Scriptures, seek My Face. You will find My Heart hidden in My word like the treasure hidden in the field, and you will discover My Face shining through the text and illuminating the eyes of your soul." (IN SINU JESU page 30).

How much time do you give in reading the word of God every day?
"The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever." (Alleluia Verse).

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Monday, July 19, 2021

The Feast of St Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr.

"While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”...... Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12: 46 - 50).

Tuesday 20th July 2021, 16th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Apollinaris. (Bishop and Martyr). Syrian. Died 79 AD in Ravenna, Italy where he was Bishop. Two things are fascinating about our saint:
#1 The Apostle Peter himself ordained him a Bishop.
#2 St Apollinaris had an extraordinary gift of healing. The pagan Roman priests were so jealous of him that they persuaded Emperor Claudius to put him to death.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus reveals the secret of a happy, peaceful Christian life: "Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

In the Father's will is our peace. Peace here is to be understood as Shalom which encompasses peace of soul, mind and body, prosperity and contentment.

When you pray: YOUR WILL BE DONE in the Our Father, are you willing to see God's Will fully accomplished in your life in everything, always and everywhere?

God's will is gracious but it can also be mysterious for many of us. Let us consider what we know about Abba Father:

#1. God watches over us night and day and not a hair falls from our head without His permission.

#2. In God's infinite wisdom, He knows what is best for us and His Will sanctions this for us.

#3. In God's infinite power, He can bring good out of evil. St Augustine teaches that God can never permit evil unless He plans to draw a greater good from it.

Whence comes the fear and resistance to God's will?
#1. Ignorance about God and His love and plan for our life.
#2. The Big Lie of the Devil who deceived Adam and Eve and continues to deceive us today.

"To be attuned to My Heart is to be attuned to My will, for My will is all love: love in its origin, love in its realization, love in its reward." (IN SINU JESU page 129).

Father, in Your will is our peace.

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Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Lord Himself will fight for you.

"Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them. In great fright they cried out to the Lord..... “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” (Exodus 14: 5 - 18).

Monday 19th July 2021, in the 16th Week in Ordinary Time.

The first Reading today from Exodus 14: 5 - 18 is one of the compulsory Scripture Reading in the Solemnity of the Easter Vigil.

It is also most important Scripture in my life. “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

Through the above words read from a Gideon Bible on a nighttable in a hotel room, the Lord God freed me from crushing fear, worry and doubt. My job was on the line. I had little money and no friends in the company. I was the representative of my company in a foreign country.

Why did I pick up the Gideon Bible? How did it open to the page, 'When you are afraid, read this....?'
Divine Providence! It is written: "Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Man's security is Satan's opportunity."
On that night, God said to me clearly: 'In this matter, I am the Actor. You are the spectator.' I agreed. The whole matter was resolved in such a way that is nothing short of the miraculous.

"I will sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him; the God of my father, I extol him." (Exodus 15: 1 - 2).

Moses is the man God chose to lead His people out of Egypt. Our Savior Jesus Christ is the New Moses who leads us to Eternal Life.
"It also resoundingly demonstrates the truth that when God chooses one out of many—when He chooses an Abraham or a Moses, the blessed Virgin Mary, or the founders of monastic movements and religious congregations—He always does so in order to bless a multitude, fashion a people, form a nation. He does something extraordinary for one, so that His word may radiate outward to countless souls and His grace be sought with renewed eagerness. He chooses the one not as an isolated exception or arbitrary preference, but as the humble centre around which a great circle will be drawn, a blazing hearth around which many can gather, be warmed, and find fellowship." (IN SINU JESU page 56).

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