Saturday, September 18, 2021

Jesus started teaching the Twelve core lessons about the Kingdom of God.

"Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him."  (Mark 9: 30 - 37).

Sunday 19th September 2021, in the 25th Week in Ordinary Time.

We see Jesus in our key Scripture for today performing His core ministry. Jesus feeds people. Jesus heals the sick. He casts out evil spirits. He raises the dead. But what is the core ministry of Jesus? It is teaching people about the Kingdom of God. 40 days after His Resurrection, Jesus continues teaching about the Kingdom of God.

The core message of the catechesis on the Kingdom is simple: Jesus is dead. Jesus is risen. Jesus will come again. This is what Jesus is teaching His core disciples, the Twelve on this occasion.

What do you know about Jesus? Many of us know that Jesus is:
The Good Shepherd.
The Bread of life.
The Son of God.
The Son of Mary.
The Good News.

What we know about Jesus is very important for our relationship with Jesus. Fortunately for most of us, we know the most important facts about Jesus, that is:
Jesus is God.
He suffered. He died. He rose again on the third day.

Most of the facts about Jesus that we need for our salvation are found in the Creed which is intentionally planned to be repeated during Mass every Sunday. Most of us know the Creed by heart. The Creed is the minimum knowledge you need for salvation. Saints go beyond this. St Ignatius Loyola prays to know the Heart of Jesus intimately so he can love Him passionately and follow Him everywhere. This should be our prayer too.

"You see, I am also directing your prayer to Me by the movements of the Holy Spirit in your soul. Thus will you pray as I would have you pray. Thus will you ask of Me the things that I myself desire to give you. Trust in the Holy Spirit to animate and form your prayer when you come into My Eucharistic presence. Even as you pray to Me, I am instructing you and teaching you the secrets of My merciful love. The desires of My Sacred Heart are immense and I so long to share them, above all, with My priests. I have chosen you to be the intimate friend of My Heart." (IN SINU JESU - - Saturday, March 29, 2008).

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Mary is the Exemplar of the good soil.

"When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. “A sower went out to sow his seed..... And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a ­hundredfold.” After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”  (Luke 8: 4.....15).

Saturday 18th September 2021, in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. We celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday.

The good Seed fell on the good soil
"and when it grew, it produced fruit a ­hundredfold.”
Think about this:
"The angel of the Lord declared onto Mary....And Mary answered "Be it done to me according to Your word." At that moment, the Seed became Flesh in the womb of Mary. Mary is the Exemplar of the Good Soil. We all have the opportunity of imitating Mary in her openness to the word of God. Let us do so and enjoy the happy ending:

"But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

"Above all there is My Holy Mother, My all-beautiful and Immaculate Mother Mary. She is where I am. She is close to the priest who is close to Me in the Sacrament of My love. Nothing gives so much joy to her Immaculate Heart as seeing one of her priest sons in adoration before My Eucharistic Face. She opens her hands over him—as she is doing over you at this very moment—and causes a shower of graces to fall into his soul. Love My Mother, love My Mother more and more. You will never approach the love of My own Heart for her by yourself, but I, by My free gift, can and will unite you to the love of My Sacred Heart for her. Thus will you come to experience the ineffable union of our two Hearts in your own heart." (IN SINU JESU - THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2008).

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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Feast of Saints Robert Bellarmine & Hildegard of Bingen, Doctors of the Church.

"Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources." (Luke 8: 1 - 3).

Friday 17th September 2021, in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. We have two great saints to celebrate today. One man. The other woman. One Italian. The other German. One a Benedictine. The other a Jesuit. Both are Doctors of the Church.

St Robert Bellarmine: (1542 - 1620). Italian. Bishop, Cardinal, Apologist, Doctor of the Church and Patron Saint of Catechists.

Hildegard of Bingen: (1098 - 1179). German. Benedictine. Virgin and Doctor of the Church. Theologian, scientist, gynecologist, musician, etc.

Our Gospel for today demonstrates what Pope Francis called the feminine genius in Gaudete et Exsultate, (Rejoice and Be Glad). A group of women took upon themselves the responsibility of providing the day to day necessities of Jesus and the Twelve as they perform their ministry. Pope Francis writes:

"Indeed, in times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigour and important reforms in the Church. We can mention Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Bridget, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. But I think too of all those unknown or forgotten women who, each in her own way, sustained and transformed families and communities by the power of their witness."

"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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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Feast of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian.

"A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment." (Luke 7: 36.....50).

Thursday 16th September 2021, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cornelius. Pope. Martyred under Emperor Gallus in 253. We also honor today St Cyprian. Bishop and Martyr. Cyprian from Carthage (Tunisia) was martyred in 258 under Emperor Valerian.

The two saints we honor today were acquainted with one another. They lived under one of the most severe persecution of the Church. Tens of thousands were martyred. Rome was determined to stamp out once and for all Christianity in the empire. Many Christians did not have the courage to face martyrdom. So they denied Jesus in order to preserve their lives. When the violent persecution abated, those Christians who denied Jesus wanted to be received back into the Church.  Some Bishops said Yes. Other Bishops refused them a second chance. The controversy nearly split the Church asunder. Pope Cornelius wanted the Christians who apostasized to confess their sins and do appropriate penance and be allowed to rejoin the Church. Many Bishops opposed him. St Cyprian from the powerful African Church in Carthage came to his support. Their side won and schism was prevented. The Lord was impressed by their good work and awarded the two the crown of martyrdom.

In the Prayer over the Gifts, the Church affirmed that the Eucharist gave Saints Cornelius and Cyprian the courage to offer their lives for Christ. The same Eucharist can keep us faithful in all our trials the Church prays. If you can receive the Eucharist more than once a week and do not do so, how can you justify your abstinence from such a Gift?

The sinful woman who encountered Jesus in the house of Simon received Jesus in spiritual Communion by her actions. And Jesus said to her:  “Your sins are forgiven.... Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the ­disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19 : 25 - 27).

Wednesday 15th September 2021, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

"At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last." (Stabat Mater). Thus was the prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation of the Child Jesus fulfilled. "Your own soul a sword will pierce."

By the Cross of Jesus, the Mother of Sorrows received her everlasting vocation:
“Behold, your mother.”  Mary may have murmured silently: "Be it done to me according to Your word." And she became our Mother too from that instance.

What do you make of the Seven Sorrows of Mary? Was it necessary? Superfluous? An overkill? The Church teaches: "Our Mother Mary teaches us to live, together with her, beside the cross of her Son. In her suffering, she reminds us of the malice of sin and shows us the way of true repentance." (Roman Missal).

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows follows the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Back to back we celebrate the mystery of suffering in the economy of salvation.  In the first Reading of today, St Paul writes to Timothy :
"Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh."

How do we summarize the dynamics of Cross and Crown, Test and Testimony, Trial and Triumph? The Apostle Peter says it best in the Communion Antiphon:

"Rejoice when you share in the sufferings of Christ, that you may also rejoice exultantly when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4: 13).

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Monday, September 13, 2021

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

"Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3: 13.... 17).

Tuesday 14th September 2021, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Why celebrate the feast of Exaltation of the Cross?

#1 There is a divine necessity for the Son of Man to be lifted up on the Cross in order to save mankind.

#2 The crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus transformed the Cross into a true sign of salvation. The Cross transformed our trials into possibilities of triumphs and testimonies.

#3  "Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe" (CCC 272)

The Cross has become a synonym for the trials of life. Jesus says: If you want to follow Me, pick up your own cross and follow Me. Hence we find plastic cross, gold cross, silver cross, wooden cross, etc. We find crosses in homes, cars, schools, hospitals, churches, cemeteries. We find crosses in every country in the world. The ubiquitous presence of the Cross everywhere is significant and providential. It signifies that grace and mercy are everywhere we accept trials and situations we can not avoid.

We are baptized with the sign of the Cross: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. This reminds us of the Trinitarian character of our faith.

As the catechumens are reminded in the RCIA Rite of Acceptance,  embracing our cross is embracing the will of God. It is the most assured route to sanctity and the good life. The will of God is our shalom, our peace. Peace is the first and greatest gift of salvation.
"Father, in Your will is our peace."

Man has always rejected the Cross as we see in the first Reading:

"With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” (Numbers 21: 4 - 5).

If like Jesus, we humble ourselves under the mighty hands of God and accept our crosses, in the fullness of time, God will lift us up. (Cf 1 Peter 5: 6).

Jesus came to undo the disobedience of Adam and Eve by embracing the prescribed means of salvation by the Father.
"When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself, says the Lord." (John 12: 32)

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

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Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Feast of St John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed." (Luke 7: 1.... 10).

Monday 13th September 2021, in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a Giant in our faith: St John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople and Doctor of the Church. (349 - 407).  Syrian. As the Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom could have chosen a quiet, comfortable and non controversial life. Not Chrysostom, a great admirer of St Paul the Apostle, he worked very hard for the cause of the poor and the marginalized people in his See. "When fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).
John Chrysostom was fully trained and became a great preacher and teacher in addition to his other ministries.

Bishop Chrysostom is known for his patience in great suffering in the course of his life and left us an example of invincible courage and patience. He died on his way to his last exile. We continue to enjoy today the vast writings he left behind.

Do you recognize where you hear our key Scripture for today?
"Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed."
Of course at the Mass before Holy
Communion. These are the extraordinary affirmation of faith of the Centurion that astonished Jesus. These words are part of the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist used worldwide.

When Jesus heard the centurion say this, He was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

Below is a tiny bit of what St John Chrysostom wrote on the Eucharist:

"O miracle! O goodness of God! He that sits above with the Father…gives himself to all who desire to embrace and receive him. At that moment all do this with the eyes of faith."

St John Chrysostom is the patron saint of preachers.
St John Chrysostom pray for us.

"Many priests do not have a real and practical faith in My Eucharistic presence. Do they not know that the Eucharist encloses within itself all the merits of My Passion? Let them recover the faith of their childhood. Let them come to find Me there where I am waiting for them and I, for My part, shall work miracles of grace and holiness in them." (IN SINU JESU page 26).

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