Saturday, November 27, 2021

Behold I am coming soon.

"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah....... In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: “The Lord our ­justice.” (Jeremiah 33: 14.... 16).

Sunday 28th November 2021, is First Sunday of Advent.

What is Advent? Advent is a period of waiting and expectation for a big event. Advent is the Season we wait for the Coming of the Lord.  We wait for two Comings of Jesus:  The first Coming of Jesus as a poor child born in a Manger in Bethlehem.  This has happened. We celebrate the feast every year at Christmas. The second Coming is His Coming in majesty at the end of the ages to judge the world. When Jesus comes again in glory and majesty and we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise
in which now we dare to hope, teaches the Church.

How do we wait? "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come." (Mark 13: 33).

In order to be fully awake and take full advantage of all the blessings that God has prepared for us this Advent, we need an Advent Plan.
Your Advent may just be more of your daily devotions:
Prayer, Word of God, Eucharist, Adoration, Penance, etc.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap."

Lord Jesus, we are Your people and Your inheritance. Save us in Your mercy.

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Friday, November 26, 2021

Do not be careless and allow yourself be caught in a trap.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap." (Luke 21: 34.... 36).

Saturday 27th November 2021, in the 34th Week in Ordinary Time. We shall honor our Blessed Mother today as Mother of Perpetual Help.

Are you familiar with a trap? Mouse trap, bird trap, large animal trap? One thing they all have in common is camouflage, secrecy and built to spring and enclose the unsuspecting victim.

St Paul uses the image of a fully dressed and equipped Roman soldier to teach us how to be ready always so that we may not be surprised by the traps of the Devil.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For 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.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6: 10 - 17).

You may also consider the Full Armor as the 7 Daily Habits of Saints:

Prayer, Word of God, Eucharist, Confession, Examination of Conscience, Ministry or Faith Sharing, Spiritual Reading.

If you do this diligently, that day will  "not catch you by surprise like a trap."

"I want to draw a veil between your soul and the world. I want to reserve you for Myself alone, and hide you far from the gaze of demons and of men. I want to cover you with a veil and draw you into the sanctuary of My Heart, there to exercise with Me, through Me, and in Me, a hidden priesthood and a hidden victimhood." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, December 10, 2015).

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

The word of God is everlasting.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21: 33).

Friday 26th November 2021, in the 34th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus concluded the Parable of the Fig Tree in today's Gospel by asserting this great proclamation on the Word of God. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” The word of God is permanent. It is eternal. This world is temporary. It is vanishing as anybody can see from the consequences of global warming.

We are just a day away from the beginning of the Advent Season. A season of prayer. A season of waiting. A great season of opportunity. On 17th of December a couple of years ago, about a week to Christmas, I attended a noon Maas at the Cathedral. The celebrating priest whom I did not know well said something that caught my attention. "God the Father has a big gift for you this Christmas if you prepare yourself for the gift." The message was personal. I received it in faith. After the Mass, I asked for the identity of the priest and. I returned home and pinned the message on the wall.

The promise Abba Father made through Father M is still good for you and me today. What is the Big Gift in Scripture?
"And when they came together, he gave them this order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised." (Acts 1: 4 GNT).
The Big Gift, the Promise of the Father is the Holy Spirit. The greatest Gift.

God is faithful and fulfills all His promises especially if you ask for the Holy Spirit. Do not say 'But I have received the Holy Spirit.' Have you received the fullness of the Gift? Do you know that every morning can be a new Pentecost?

"The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning - great is your faithfulness!
The Lord is my portion, I tell myself,
therefore I will hope in him.
The Lord is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him;
It is good to hope in silence for the Lord’s deliverance." (Lamentations 3: 22 - 26).

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thank You Abba Father for the beauty and wealth of America.

"How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? The chalice of salvation I will raise, and I will call on the name of the Lord." (Psalm  116:12-13).

"Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts, always thanking God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus." (Ephesians 5:19 - 20).

"I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth." (Psalm 138 :1).

Thursday, 25th November 2021, in the 34th week in Ordinary Time is Thanksgiving Day in America.

America is God’s own country. God has blessed America mightily. Yes, everyone wants to come to America. Yes, everyone has the right to come to America to enjoy God's benevolence and thank our most loving God and Father.

On Thanksgiving Day, let us lift our hearts and minds to God in praise and thanksgiving:
"Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child, so that we may share your gifts in loving service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect, Thanksgiving Mass).
Let the Church say together AMEN!!!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions.

"Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." (Luke 21: 12... 19).

Wednesday 24th November 2021, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions martyrs.

St Andrew, a Vietnamese priest was martyred in 1839 along with 117 others, 96 of whom were Vietnamese. The rest were foreign missionaries. Has any other religion the same experience of martyrdom in modern history as the Christian faith?  Why do Christians accept martyrdom? Christians know that death is not the end of their life. We believe in the Resurrection. Jesus Christ has promised. His word is true.

Our key Scripture is from Luke 21: 12 - 19. This is one of the most powerful and comforting promises Jesus made to His followers. Soon after the experience of Pentecost, Peter and John confirmed the truth in their encounter with the Sanhedrin (the Supreme Court of Israel). Other Apostles including Stephen and Paul confirmed the reliability of this promise of Jesus in their ministry. This promise has worked for me in civil courts. Hence I call the Holy Spirit the Voice that speaks in Court.

Martyrdom is the badge of honor for Christians. Tertulian, the 2nd century African theologian stated that "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity."
See how the Church and vocations are flourishing in Vietnam today.

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 10).

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Monday, November 22, 2021

The Feast of Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, SJ, Martyr.

"While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” (Luke 21: 5... 11).

Tuesday 23rd November 2021, 34th Week in Ordinary Time. The Church affirms and honors three saints today:
St Clement 1 (+ 99) Pope and Martyr. Italian. Clement was the third Pope after St Peter and is famous in history for his letter to the Corinthian Church where he asserted the universal jurisdiction of the Pope. Clement was martyred under Emperor Trajan.

St Columban (545 - 615). Abbot. Irish. Columban founded monasteries in France and Italy.

St Miguel Augustin Pro (1891 - 1927). Mexican. Priest of the Society of Jesus and Martyr during the fierce Mexican persecution of the Church in the 1920s. Because of the demonic opposition to the Church in Mexico, Miguel traveled to Europe to do his theological studies. After his ordination to the priesthood, he returned to Mexico and ministered to the people in secret escaping arrests by hiding and disguises. He was eventually captured and executed by firing squad.  Miguel Pro spread his hands in form of a cross and shouted Cristo Rey (Christ the King) as the executioners rained bullets into his body.

From time to time, I walk through the downtown on my way to the noon Mass at the Basilica. There are always many shiny glass and steel constructions going up and up. I frequently stop at the sidewalk to stretch my neck and gaze at the towering skyscrapers. I remember Christ's  warning in today's Gospel. “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Is the prophecy of Jesus as applied to our era farfetched? Not at all. Rome was destroyed. Berlin was leveled to the ground. Moscow was burnt down by Napoleon. Of course the prophecy in the Gospel of today is specific to Jerusalem. Jerusalem met its nemesis in 70 AD when Emperor Vespatian and his son Titus executed God's judgment on Jerusalem.

What is the meaning of the prophecy for us today?
Don't take too seriously what is going on in this nation and the world  today. Watch rather the signs of the End Times. The End is near. Watch and pray that you may not succumb to vile temptations.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Feast of St Cecilia, the musician.

"When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21: 1 - 4).

Monday 22nd November 2021 of the 34th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cecilia. Italian. (+ 3rd century). Virgin and Martyr. St Cecilia is the patron saint of music and musicians. Her name is mentioned in the Roman Canon. Music plays a central role in the worship and liturgy of the Church. St Augustine says that to sing is to pray twice.

The Gospel today from Luke 21: 1 - 4 is not a parable but actual event, what Jesus observed in the Temple. Jesus is a great Teacher. He teaches from life's experiences and from parables.

Today I want to reflect on Tithes and Giving to God. Consider these three points:

#1. Everything we have comes from God.
#2. It is true that we can never out do God in generosity.
#3. To give God with generosity is a clear sign of our faith. Examples: The Widow in today's Gospel, Abel, Abraham, David, etc.
#4. We are not born generous givers. We learn to give.

As a Catholic I knew nothing about tithing until I ran out of money when I was building a house. I could not finish the house in the planned time. "If you want to finish this house at all, bring your tithe to God," advised my Protestant friend. Because I was desperate, I was disposed to believe. I paid my tithes to God and the house was completed at the stipulated time. God taught me a great lesson. This happened 30 years ago. Today I can not afford not to tithe. The rewards are huge. Just a few:
#1. Locusts cannot devour my money. Any attempt at this, I cry out to God and remind Him of this promise in Malachi 3.
#2. I have had minimal financial worries.
#3. Like the Widow in today's Gospel, generosity does not mean giving big. Sometimes I give $1 or $2. But I always try to give something. God says "Do not appear before me empty-handed." (Cf Deuteronomy 16: 16). I take this injunction seriously.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11: 9 - 10).

"I bless those whom you present to Me, lifting them into the light of My Face. I will give to each one according to his need, but also according to his readiness to receive My gifts. Those who are poor in spirit are those most ready to receive what I would give them." (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, January 8, 2008).

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