Saturday, October 23, 2021

The reward of the faith and persistence of Bartimaeus.

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”.... Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way." (Mark 10: 46.... 52).

Sunday 24th October 2021 in the 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

We have the beautiful story of Bartimeus for our reflection.

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” (Mark 10: 47).

This is the desperate cry of a blind man called Bartimaeus.  First lesson in today's Gospel:
#1.  Man's extremity is God's opportunity.  Man's security is Satan's opportunity.

Jesus encourages Bartimaeus to step forward to his presence. Jesus asks him:
“What do you want me to do for you?”  (Mark 10: 51).

#2.  Bartimaeus did not beat about the bush after he was told:
"Jesus is calling you." (Mark 10: 49). 

Bartimeus had waited for this opportunity since the day he heard the story of Jesus and His miracles from his family. He rehearsed what to do when the opportunity presents itself:
“Master, I want to see.”  (Mark 10: 51).

The ever merciful Jesus never redeems in halves. With Him is always full redemption:
“Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."  (Mark 10: 52).

The enduring lesson is the faith and persistence of Bartimaeus.

Hand over your extremities to Jesus and see what happens.

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Friday, October 22, 2021

The Feast of the Soldier Priest, St John Capistrano.

"And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13: 1... 9).

Saturday 23rd October 2021, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Capistrano.  (1386 -1456). Italian Franciscan Priest. His charismatic preaching brought about great revival in the countries of Eastern Europe. John was one of the few clerics in history who led an army into battle. He did so to defend Europe against the menacing advances of the Turks.

Our key Scripture is the Parable of the barren Fig Tree. This is an allegory for the People of Israel. God wants a good return on His investment in Israel, the Church and in you and me.

How do we bear much fruit? Remain in Jesus.  What is the principle of productivity?  Abide in Christ.  How do we abide in Christ?

We live in Christ through the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a holy exchange of gift. Through it, Jesus shares with us His divine life. Another word for God's divine life in us is sanctifying grace.

Our fruitfulness depends therefore on this dynamic relationship with Christ living in us.
"Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit."  (John 15: 14, 15).

Fruitfulness is not addiction to activity.  It is believing God. It is knowing the will of God for you and doing it. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. He will accomplish the work.

"I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion that he may live." (Ezekiel 33: 11).

"I am the source of all fruitfulness in the vineyard that is My Church. Apart from Me, you can do nothing. Come to Me, then. Remain with Me. Act for Me, guided by My Holy Spirit, and return to Me with thanksgiving. This is the secret of a priestly life that will be pleasing to Me, will build up My Church, and will glorify My Father." (IN SINU JESU page 103).

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Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Feast of Pope St John Paul II.

"Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain —and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to ­interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?" (Luke 12: 54.... 59).

Friday 22nd October 2021, in the 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of of our beloved Pope St John Paul II. (1920 - 2005). Polish. First non-Italian Pope in 455 years.  Beatified May 1, 2011 and canonized April 27, 2014. Accomplished writer. He traveled all over the world to promote understanding between nations and between different cultures and religions.  He and President Ronald Regan contributed to the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

John Paul II wrote many important encyclicals. His enduring legacy is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which he promulgated in 1992.

In our key Scripture, Jesus reproached the crowd for being able to predict the coming of storms, tornados and hurricanes and failing to see the more important signs of the times. What are the Signs of the Times? The following historical events can be listed as examples of Signs of the Times:
1. Founding of the USA.
2. Ending of Slavery.
3. Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima.
4. World War II.
5. The Papacy of John Paul II.
6. The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
7. The Dissolution of the Soviet Union.
8. The Corona Virus Pandemics.
All that is required to know the Signs of the Times is Faith. Faith that God is the Author of history. He is the Alpha and Omega of history. You do not need a high school diploma or PhD to read and interpret the signs of history. Jesus asked:
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?"

Pope St John Paul II is adept in reading the Signs of the Times as you can see when you read his biography. The Devil did not like this. He got him shot in Rome and caused him to suffer a lot. The Blessed Mother saved his life.

"My bishops, too, must give the example of a personal devotion to My Mother’s Rosary. Let them look at the example given, in this regard, by My servant Pope John Paul II. The desire of My Heart is that every bishop should live in the intimacy of My most pure Mother, and learn the meaning of belonging entirely to her, Totus tuus." (IN SINU JESU, January 10, 2008 Thursday Hour of Adoration and Reparation).

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The wicked are like chaff.

"Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the Lord watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes." (Psalm 1: 3).

Thursday 21st October 2021, in the 29th Week in Ordinary Time.

We use today the Responsorial Psalm 1 for reflection. The theme of this beautiful and short Psalm can be: God’s Promises, Faith and Fulfillment.

"Blessed are they who hope in the Lord." Do you hope in the Lord? Or do you place your hope in the Government, Dollar, Supreme Court? Are you a happy person? Are you fulfilled?

Psalm 1 declares happy or blessed
"the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the Lord
and meditates on his law day and night."

That man is "like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers."

When does the promised fruit come? "In Due Season." That is in the fullness of time.

How about the wicked?
"Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes." (Psalm 1: 4).

I recently read two books on Hitler and Napoleon back to back . These men were the two most powerful and wicked men in their time. What did I learn from the study? The wicked are indeed like chaff. They will not last. Their memories will not endure.

"I will not abandon or forsake you. I am faithful. I have chosen you and you are Mine. Why do you doubt My love for you? Have I not given you signs of My favour? Have I not shown you that My mercy has prepared for you a future full of hope? Did I not promise you years of happiness, of holiness, and of peace? My blessing is upon you and the designs of My Heart are about to unfold for you. You have only to trust Me. Believe that I will keep you as the apple of My eye." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, February 14, 2008).

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Feast of St Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”  (Luke 12: 39.... 48).

Wednesday 20th October 2021, in the 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Paul of the Cross. (1694 - 1775). Italian. Priest, mystic, Founder of the Passionists. The charism of St Paul of the Cross is a profound understanding of the mystery of the Cross and translating this understanding into a plan of life. The Passionists founded by St Paul of the Cross were noted for preaching and retreat. I have been blessed to attend a Parish Mission preached by a Passionist.

The core theme of our key Scripture is:  "You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” This Scripture will be a perfect delight to the Passionists. The whole point of a retreat is the transformation of life and readiness for transition to the next life. Nobody knows when the hour or the place the call will come. What we know is that it is not negotiable.

What do you do if you can not negotiate your final moment or place of transition from this world? Pray always. Pray everywhere. Pray for everything. Scan the word of God every day. Receive the Eucharist as often as you can.
Jesus Christ, the Leader of our Faith has bestowed a lot on His Church.

"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

"You did the right thing in coming to Me with your feelings of aloneness. I am here for you, and you, you are here for Me, only for Me, and for no other. Do you think that I will not honour the sacrifice you made in coming to live here for Me, with Me, close to Me by day and by night? Understand just a little the sorrow of My Eucharistic Heart that is utterly forsaken in countless tabernacles all over the world. Why do I multiply My glorious presence in so real and miraculous a way, if not to be close to the souls whom I love with a burning passion and with a consummate tenderness? And I am left alone. Often I am forgotten from one week to the next or, worse yet, I am treated like a thing, like a commodity kept in reserve in case of need. This was not My intention in instituting this Sacrament of My redeeming love." (IN SINU JESU, Sunday, October 19, 2008 Saint Paul of the Cross).

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Monday, October 18, 2021

The Feast of St John de Brebeuf, Isaac Joques and the Companion Martyrs.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them."

Tuesday 19th October 2021, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the North American Martyrs: John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions. All French and all of the Society of Jesus. 8 in all, 6 priests and 2 brothers. They labored day and night under harsh conditions with almost the certainty of martyrdom to bring Jesus Christ to the Native Americans. In faith these martyrs believed Jesus that He came to found an everlasting Kingdom of peace, joy and happiness for ever and ever. It is God's will for all people to be saved. They lost their lives in bringing this message to Native Americans.

In today's Gospel, Jesus speaks of the urgency of the Kingdom of God.

#1. I stand by the door and knock. Please open to Me that I may come in and dine with you.

#2.  Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.

#3. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.

What is your attitude to the urgency of Christ's message?
The North American Martyrs we honor today were well educated young men from France. They heard the same message and each decided to respond to it with believing action.
"O that you will hear his voice today; harden not your heart."

"The attack on My priesthood that appears to be spreading and growing is, in fact, in its final stages. It is a satanic and diabolical onslaught against My Bride the Church, an attempt to destroy her by attacking the most wounded of her ministers in their carnal weaknesses; but I will undo the destruction they have wrought and I will cause My priests and My Spouse the Church to recover a glorious holiness that will confound My enemies and be the beginning of a new era of saints, of martyrs, and of prophets." (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, March 2, 2010).

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Feast of St Luke the Evangelist.

"At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it." (2 Timothy 4: 16 - 17).

Monday 18th October 2021, in the 29th Week in Ordinary Time.
Today, the universal Church celebrates the feast of St Luke the Evangelist and rejoices in his gift to the Church.

Who is Luke? "A physician from Antioch, he converted to Christianity and accompanied Paul on two of his missionary journeys. He is the author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke devotes attention to Christ's birth and childhood as well as to the universality of Redemption." (Roman Missal).
St Luke is the patron saint of physicians and artists.

When I first became acquainted with our key Scripture, I was in the midst of a struggle in a corporate company. What struck me was this sentence. "But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength."  I was storming heaven with prayers.  I received strength and encouragement from Jesus.  Since then, I have grown a bit in experience of the word of God and spirituality.

I have learned and I believe that Jesus strengthens us in our tribulations and struggles. The Scripture provides consolations and counsels:

#1. Do not put your trust in princes or any mortal man.
#2. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and mind and not in your experience, knowledge, contacts. Only God can stand by you come what may.

Jesus inside you and me is the hope of glory. There is nothing we cannot do because of Jesus who strengthens us from the inside. Call it INSIDE JOB. Jesus promises us:
"I will never leave you nor forsake you." I don't know about you but these proven promises make my heart palpitate with joy.

"Let every priest present himself as a friend of Jesus, and his ministry will soon take on the efficacy and fruitfulness that characterized that of Saint John, of Saint Paul, and of My first apostles. The friend speaks with the authority that only experience can confer." (IN SINU JESU, March 30, 2008 Sunday of Divine Mercy).

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