Saturday, December 11, 2021

Rejoice! Rejoice! And Rejoice Sunday!

"Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!  (Zephaniah 3: 14... 18).

Sunday 12th December 2021 of the 3rd Week of Advent is Gaudete Sunday. What is Gaudete? Gaudete means rejoice. Why be so joyful this 3rd Sunday of Advent? The Holy Spirit who assigns the Scriptures for the Liturgy urges us to rejoice and be glad. I will not interfere with any exposition of this Sunday's Scriptures. Read it slowly for yourself. Savor the word of God. Remember the word of God is Divine Command.  It accomplishes what it says. As you obey it and rejoice, joy will fill your heart and you will become aware of many reasons to be joyful. Here are my four reasons to be joyful this Sunday:

#1. "Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation." (Isaiah 12).

#2. "Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4: 4 - 7).

#3. "Alleluia, alleluia. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. Alleluia, alleluia." (Alleluia Verse).

#4. “What should we do?” He [John the Baptist] said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” (Luke 3: 10.... 18).

"Whenever you want to intercede with Me for another, it is enough for you to make your prayer as it comes to you through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, knowing that I will hear you and that My Heart is, at every moment, open to your supplications. I am more attentive in listening to your prayers than you could ever be in making them. Trust in Me. Believe in My tender and faithful love for you. I am your Friend, and I have chosen you to be the friend of My Eucharistic Heart. Why then would I not listen to your prayers and, in My infinite wisdom and merciful love, respond to them as I see fit?" (IN SINU JESU, December 13, 2009 Gaudete Sunday).

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Friday, December 10, 2021

The Feast of St Damasus, Pope.

“Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;  but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased."  (Matthew 17: 11 - 12).

Saturday 11th December 2021, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Damasus 1 (305 - 384). Pope. Born in Rome but of Spanish descent. Damasus presided over the See of Peter when the Church was rocked by many heresies. Arian heresy had not yet been crushed. He defended the Church against schismatics.  Damasus is the Pope who commissioned St Jerome to translate the Bible into common Latin. This translation called the Vulgate made the Latin language the official language of the Church.

Elijah the great prophet is the subject of the first Reading and the Gospel of today. Elijah came back in the persona of John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight His paths. People did not recognize the hour or the opportunity he represented.  Although he appeared like a fire whose words were as a flaming furnace, yet people took little notice. The noise in the world was too loud and impenetrable for the message of salvation to get through.

In less than fourteen days, we shall be in the season of Christmas and the Season of Advent with its opportunities and graces will be over. Arise from your sleep.  Do not allow Christmas shopping and any other frenzied activities to obscure the true meaning of the Season.

The Lord is surely coming in splendor to visit His people. Prepare to welcome Him.

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Thursday, December 09, 2021

The Feast of Our Lady of Loreto.

"Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea." (Isaiah 48: 17.... 19).

Friday 10th December 2021 is the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto.
What is Loreto? According to tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived, born and raised in the Holy House of Loreto. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary in Loreto. This is how Loreto became a Holy House of Prayer.

The House of Loreto which was completed in the 16th century became a famous pilgrimage site. All the 3 recent popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have all made pilgrimages to the Holy House of Loreto.

How do we respond to the reprimand of Jesus in the first Reading? "If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea."

Come Lord Jesus and renew my heart and my life. I had not paid attention to Your voice in the past. I was my own Lord and Master. You said to me Jesus: "Forget the past. I am doing a new thing in you. My Name is not I WAS. My Name is not I WILL BE. MY NAME IS I AM."
These words are very comforting Jesus. Come Lord Jesus!

"The Mystical Body of Christ needs the gentle and perfect ministrations of the most pure hands of Mary. She is sent from heaven—without leaving her glorious heavenly throne—to nurse the ailing members of the Mystical Body and to restore health to the Church wheresoever she is weakened by sin or poisoned by evil. There cannot be—and there will not be—a full restoration of unity until the divinely appointed role of the Mother of Jesus is recognized and confessed. The same is true when it comes to the healing of broken lives and of souls poisoned by sin." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, January 29, 2009).

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Feast of St Juan Diego.

"Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matthew 11: 11.... 15).

Thursday 9th December 2021, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Juan Diego. (1474 - 1548). Mexican. Hermit and visionary. Our Blessed Mother appeared to this humble and simple Indian and used him to transform the nation of the Aztecs. "Behold the humble maid servant of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Your promise." God can use you and me to accomplish great things in the world. All He needs is humility and faith.

In the Gospel of today, Jesus praised John the Baptist. "Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Pope St John Paul II in the Mass of canonization of St Juan Diego in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2002 praised Juan Diego as a great example of holiness for our times. Juan Diego, a lay man accepted the difficult mission that the Blessed Virgin Mary entrusted to him.

John the Baptist, the son of the Priest Zachary and saintly mother Elizabeth abandoned his rights to a priestly inheritance and a comfortable life to embrace the purpose of God for his life. He was the voice crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord." He accomplished his mission and at the end was martyred by King Herod.

Let us live justly and devoutly in this age as the two Johns in this message. Let us await the blessed hope and the coming of the glory of our great God. (Cf Titus 2: 12 - 13).

"Be on your guard, then, and be prudent, but without fear, because I am your Mother and, just as I said to my beloved little son Juan Diego, I hold you beneath my protecting mantle, in the crossing of my arms, close, very close to my Immaculate Heart. Trust in my protection. Yes, I am your Mother of Perpetual Help, every ready to come to your rescue, ever ready to provide for your needs, to deliver you from danger, and to console you in sorrow. Approach me with childlike confidence and you will never be disappointed." (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, December 9, 2008).

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Nothing is impossible for God.

"And coming to her, he [the Archangel] said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus."  (Luke 1: 26-
.... 38).

Wednesday 8th December 2021, 2nd Week of Advent is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is the patronal feast of the United States of America.

What is the Immaculate Conception and why does it matter?  In the first Reading today from Genesis, God said to the Serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel." (Genesis 3: 15). This is the promise of our Redemption after the fall of Adam and Eve. God chose Mary before the foundation of the world and prepared her to be the sinless Mother of His Son. God preserved the Blessed Virgin Mary from original sin by virtue of the Death of her Son, Jesus the Christ which God foresaw.

Only a pure Vessel can hold a pure God. Why does this matter? Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man. Although Mary is 100% human, it is absolute necessity that the Mother of the Redeemer be not tainted with the least sin.

Mary's generosity in giving her Yes made the Incarnation possible.
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38).

The total faith and surrender that Mary displayed here is rewarded by God's special revelation to Mary:

"For nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1: 37).
Let this words nourish our faith today and always. When you are afraid, when you worry, when you are tempted to doubt God's power and promises, redouble your trust in God and remember that nothing will be impossible for God.

"Honour My Mother in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception. This is a mystery full of grace and of light for those who ponder it. It is the remedy for many of the ills that afflict My priests and poison their souls. Invoke My Mother conceived without sin and she will communicate to you something of the purity and brightness of her all-holy and immaculate Heart." (IN SINU JESU, November 29, 2008 After First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent).

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Monday, December 06, 2021

Feast of St Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.  (Matthew 18: 12... 14).

Tuesday 7th December 2021, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Ambrose of Milan (340 - 397). Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Italian. Ambrose was a high civil servant in the Roman imperial government in the city of Milan when Jesus Christ tapped him to shepherd His Church.
A man of immense talent and holiness, he brought along all his gifts to his new vocation of priest and Bishop. Great preacher, he touched the cold heart of the young Augustine and converted him. He was also a great politician who dealt with emperors without fear. Last but not the least, he left the Church volumes of theological works that continue to nourish the Church.

Friends, I call the Gospel of today the Power of One. You may not believe it, our God cares a lot about details. One sheep, one coin, one little child. The world does not waste time on details. They are only interested in the arithmetic of large numbers: millions, billions, etc.

I still regret the years when I apply this arithmetic to my ministry. Write, teach only to large groups. I am deeply impressed that in many parishes where I have attended daily Mass, sometimes only a handful of people are present. Yet the priest celebrates the Eucharist and preaches with gusto. Remember:

"In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

"My Heart is moved to pity for this little flock and My love is stirred to help them according to the desires that I have placed deep within them." (IN SINU JESU, Friday, February 8, 2008 At D., Ireland).

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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Feast of St Nicholas, the Santa Claus.

"Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing." (Isaiah 35: 4 - 7).

Monday 6th December 2021 of the 2nd Week of Advent is  the feast of St Nicholas (4th century). St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in present day Turkey. He was at the Council of Nicaea and signed the famous document, the Nicene Creed. His deep concern for the poor and needy netted him the title of Santa Claus throughout the centuries.

In the first Reading today we hear some of those great prophecies and divine promises from Isaiah we tend to brush aside. Instead of hearing this word of God with unbelief, why don't ask the Lord: "When will these things happen?"
Jesus gave an answer to a mystic to a similar question:
"Trust Me with the TIMING of ALL THINGS." Personally, I am deeply satisfied with the answer.

In the Gospel Reading, we see the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy:
"Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”  He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God." (Luke 5: 23 - 25).

In the healing of the paralytic man, Jesus performed two miracles. He first healed the soul, which is the most important and then healed the body in front of the religious leaders.

In the Book of Revelation, the Spirit declares "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." What Jesus has done once in His earthly ministry, He continues to do today through the Church.

"In every priest I would speak and act, delivering souls from the powers of darkness and healing the sick—but most of all, I desire to offer myself in every priest and to assume every priest into My own offering to the Father." (IN SINU JESU, November 29, 2008 After First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent).

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