Saturday, July 31, 2021

I AM the Bread of life.

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." (John 6: 35).

Sunday 1st August 2021, in the 18th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus claims to be the Bread of life and then adds: If we believe His words and come to Him, hunger and thirst will be things of the past for us. To understand what Jesus means, we shall draw from two Scriptures from today's Liturgy.

#1. "... as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires." (Ephesians  4:17, 20-24).

Bad desires are deceitful. They corrupt the mind. Beware of all the ideas you receive especially through TV advertising. They sow unhealthy desires in your heart.

#2. "One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4: 4).

Man is made of body, soul and mind. Physical bread alone cannot satisfy man. Man needs relationship, love, music, arts, sports, etc to satisfy his composite personality. God who created man knows exactly what satisfies man.

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." Jesus is talking about the Eucharist here. What proof do we have that Jesus can satisfy our human hunger and thirst through the Eucharist. For this, we have to see the teaching and experience of the Church has of the Eucharist.

The Bread of life is the Flesh and Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, given for the salvation of the world. This Sacrament contains the full Body, Soul and Divinity of the Savior. It is the Medicine of life and Food for the Journey to Immortality.

Jesus Christ presents the Eucharist in the Bread of life Discourse as a Sign. For John the Evangelist, a Sign is a Miracle, a Sacrament. The crowd who ate the multiplied loaves wanted more of the same. They misunderstood completely the "Sign" that points to the Sacrament.

The Church has consistently taught and defended the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist as received from Jesus. The Eucharist is a great mystery of faith. "Whoever believes in Me," will know the truth.

"The emptiness of My churches is an affront to My love, to the love that compelled Me to give Myself by the hands of My priests, under the forms of bread and wine, so that no one might perish from hunger or thirst on the road to eternity. I am all love in the Sacrament of My love. My Heart is open to receive all, even those who have in their souls no more than the faintest spark of faith in My real presence. Let them come to Me, and that little spark will become a shining flame, giving joy and hope to all who perceive its light." (IN SINU JESU page 214).

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Companions of Jesus.

What are the characteristics of men who had been with Jesus?
#1. They go to Confession regularly.
#2. They go to the Eucharist frequently.
#3. They trust in God's mighty and merciful Providence.
#4. The Will of God is the standard for their actions.
#5. They support the mission of the Church. 

The Feast of the Founder of the Society of Jesus, St Ignatius Loyola.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2: 10-11).

Saturday 31st July 2021, 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, SJ (1491 - 1556). Priest. Spanish. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus. (Jesuits). Today is the patronal feast of the Society of Jesus.  The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola has been a potent force for spiritual renewal of individuals and groups in the Church. It is still very popular after 500 years. It has become a pillar of the apostolic ministry of the Society of Jesus today.

Our key Scripture for today from the Entrance Antiphon from the feast of St Ignatius speaks to the incredible love and attachment of Ignatius to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ our Lord and to His name, Jesus. The personal motto of St Ignatius Loyola, Everything "For the Greater Glory of God" became the motto of the Society of Jesus.

What did St Ignatius Loyola bequeath the Church?
#1. Spiritual Exercises
#2. Methods of examination of conscience
#3. Principles of Discernment of Spirits.
#4. Methodology of Education

This prayer of St Ignatius Loyola shows the inner principles that drove him:

"Lord Jesus, grant that I may know Your heart intimately, love You passionately and follow You everywhere." Amen.

These lofty ideals produced giants of our faith like: Saints Francis Xavier, Peter Canisius, Robert Berllamine, Paul Miki, Edmund Campion, Aloysius Gonzaga, Claude de la Colombière, Peter Clavier, Miguel Pro and so many others.

St Ignatius is the patron saint of soldiers and retreat masters.

Motto: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam: For the Greater Glory of God.

"In 2007, Our Lord and Our Lady began to speak to the heart of a priest who was greatly in need of their intervention—something that could truthfully be said of all of us in our spiritual poverty. The priest was prompted to write down what he heard, first and most obviously for his own benefit, but increasingly, for the benefit of others who would be touched by these words and find light and strength in them." (IN SINU JESU page v Introduction).

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Feast of St Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him." (Matthew 13: 54 - 57).

Friday 30th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Chrysologus. (406 - 450). Italian. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Peter Chrysologus was the Bishop of Ravenna. At a time when the Church was faced with the scourge of the Monophysite heresy, St Peter Chrysologus defended the two natures in Jesus Christ: Human nature and Divine nature. His theological teaching and preaching are characterized by exceptional clarity. Peter came down to us from history as a great homilist and his theological work on the nature of the Incarnation and the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in salvation history has lasting value.

Our key Scripture for today is the sad rejection of Jesus in His hometown. Jesus taught in the Synagogue with eloquence and clarity. Yet He was rejected. Not because of the content or style of His teaching but because of who He is. First, the Messenger is rejected. Then the Message is discarded.

How can we find meaning on what happened in Nazareth on this Sabbath day?
"Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’  He answered, ‘An enemy has done this." (Matthew 13: 27 - 28).

The Devil, deceiver of all mankind pursued Jesus relentlessly during His public ministry. The murderer and father of lies continues to pursue the Church today everywhere. Jesus asks us to have courage because He has overcome the world.

"The redemption is the work of love. I loved in the face of hatred. I loved in the face of death. I loved even in the netherworld, where the just of the ages awaited My coming among them. It is by love that I vanquished hell, by love that I triumphed over death, by love that I undid what Satan, in his envy, had plotted against the creatures whom I so love and whom My Father destined for the praise of His glory." (IN SINU JESU page 135).

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Feast of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

"Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 40 - 42).

Thursday 29th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Friends of Jesus.

Martha was so anxious to offer Jesus her renowned gift of hospitality that she missed the big picture: gift of the word of God which Jesus brought to her home.
Allow God to bless you with His gifts.

All who hears Jesus wondered at these gracious words. They marvelled at what the Lord was saying, reports the Gospel. Except one person today: the hostess, Martha too busy cooking and washing up dishes and pots.

"For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel:
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust shall be your strength. But this you did not will."  (Isaiah 30: 15).
Mary seems to understand this condition.

In today's Gospel Reading, Jesus invites us to consider carefully our priorities. Martha hurriedly welcomed Jesus in her home and dived right back into the kitchen. When she emerged after some thirty minutes, she said: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

How do you welcome the presence of Jesus in your home, Prayer? When you read the word of God? In the Blessed Sacrament and in the Eucharist? With an eye on your watch? Anxiously trying to anticipate the next deadline?

Is Martha the symbol of a Church distracted by many things? The compromising Church? Too busy to sit still and listen? How did the Church today got to be burdened by many distractions?  The Church that works and not pray is a weak Church.

"She [Martha] had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak."  (Luke 10: 39).

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10: 41 - 42).

"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."

Trust Jesus to guide and to provide.
"The time that remains after prayer, you will devote to the work of serving your brothers, to rest, and to the ordinary necessities of life, trusting in Me always to provide you with all that is necessary. Thus will you avoid the reproach addressed to Martha when I said, “You are busy about many things, but one thing alone is necessary.” (IN SINU JESU page 81).

Jesus promises the Church:
If you seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness as a first priority, not only will I provide everything you need, My Holy Spirit will direct your work.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

She searched for the Pearl of Great Price and found Him.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matthew 13: 44 - 46).

Wednesday 28th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture talks about the importance of finding the hidden treasure. Consider this question:
What is there about the kingdom of God and the idea of hiddenness?
Jesus led a hidden life for 30 years. The Blessed Virgin Mary led almost her entire life of about 60 years hidden from the public. Great saints are protected from the prying eyes of the world by hiding them when they are alive.
In summary, great things like diamonds are formed in a hidden state. The narrow, hidden way finds the kingdom.

Are you searching for a great treasure?  Faith, love, meaning, peace, contentment?

Jesus Christ is the Pearl of great price.  What must we give up in order to acquire in the fullest sense this priceless treasure?

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life."  (Matthew 19: 29)

Here are some who heard the promise, believed it and searched and found the great treasure:

St Mary Magdalene: Found the Great Pearl and thereafter got attached to the Pearl.
St Ignatius Loyola: Loved the Pearl passionately and abandoned everything and followed the Pearl everywhere.
St Thomas More:  Gave his life happily for the Pearl.
St Teresa of Kolkata:  Traveled the whole world spreading message about the Pearl. St Paul the Apostle says:

"More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ"  (Philippians 3: 8)

When you find the Pearl of Great Price, all these things will be added to you: peace and genuine prosperity, contentment and fulfillment in life.

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Monday, July 26, 2021

Words to live by. Words to die for.

"Thus the Lord passed before him [Moses] and cried out, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity, continuing his kindness for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin; yet not declaring the guilty guiltless, but punishing children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for their fathers’ wickedness!” (Exodus 34: 6 - 7).

Tuesday 27th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary.

Our key Scripture today Exodus 34: 6 - 7 is one of the most important passages in the entire Bible. Why? Because without responding to prayer or constraint, God willed to reveal Who He is to us. This He did for one excellent reason. God wanted His new family to know Him so that they can love Him. Knowledge precedes love. Why did God make us? We answered as kids: God made us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him so that we can live with Him forever. No knowledge, No love. No love, No service.

To live a balanced life, we need every single day the reassurance of God's steadfast love. Jesus, the night before He died, said to His Apostles nestled with Him in the Upper room (the writer's rendition):
Remain /Abide in Me. Cling tightly to My love for you, come what may. Believe firmly in My mighty and merciful Providence. Do not depend on yourself or your strength.

Like Exodus 14: 6 - 7, it is impossible for the Apostles to forget such language. The sacred words would be made operational when the Apostles became baptized with the Holy Spirit. These are the words to live by. These are the words to die for.

Jesus yearns to see us abide in His Eucharistic Presence.
"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." (IN SINU JESU page 54).

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Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Feast of Sts Joachim and Anne, Grandparents of Jesus Christ.

"Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.” (Matthew 13: 31 - 32).

Monday 26th July 2021, in the 17th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the Church says about Anne and Joachim:

"It was in the house of Joachim and Anne that the Virgin Mary received her training to be the Mother of God. Thus, devotion to Anne and Joachim is an extension of the affection Christians have always shown toward our Blessed Mother. We, too, owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for their help in our Christain formation." (Roman Missal).

"I came to you today as the little grandchild of Joachim and Anna. Tell Me that you are happy to have Me in this house, and invite Me to rule over your heart and in your life." (IN SINU JESU page 239).

The Parable of the Mustard Seed gives us an insight into God's law in creation. Everything is created small. The tiny mustard seed like the tiny acorn seed is born very small. Its laws or principles of growth are written inside the seed by its Creator. The seed receives the early and later rain and continues to unfold following the laws of its nature. The farmer does not control the process. When the mustard seed is fully grown, it is ready to fulfill its destiny. It welcomes the birds on its branches.

The Church is the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The seed of the Kingdom of God on earth is the Church. (Cf CCC 249). It started very small in a tiny corner of the vast Roman Empire. Today the tiny Acorn has grown branches and spread throughout the world.

The Church as the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit needs the transformative power of the Holy Spirit to form it into its destiny.

"The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
(James 1: 18).

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