JESUS IS LORD. ALWAYS!

Monday, October 03, 2022

The Feast of St Francis of Asissi, OFM.

“I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.” (St Francis of Asissi).

"Francis, the man of God, left his home behind, abandoned his inheritance and became poor and penniless, but the Lord raised him up." (Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi).

Tuesday, 4th October 2022 of the 27th week of Ordinary Time is the great feast of St Francis of Assisi, the Little One.

Who is St Francis of Assisi? (1182 - 1226). Italian. Deacon and Founder of the Order of Friars Minor, popularly known as the Franciscans. We Salute all our Franciscan friends all over the world who have labored in the Lord's Vineyard since the 1220s in all fields of the Apostolate. Persevere to the end and your reward will be huge.

Francis became famous for imitating closely the poverty of Jesus Christ in spirit and in deed. Holiness always attracts. After Francis was seized by Jesus and said Yes to the Lord, Francis soon attracted a group of like-minded young men who bound themselves together to live evangelical poverty, chastity and obedience. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Head of the Church has used simple men like Francis and the Franciscans to renew the Church which is ever in need of reform.

What comes to your mind when you hear of St Francis of Assisi in 2022?  Many people would think of a man of peace. "Lord, make me an instrument of peace..." Others will think of radical evangelical poverty... "The little poor man of Assisi." Both are salient attributes in the profile of this exceptionally gifted holy man. I want to mention too Francis' deep love of creation and care of the earth.  Most people that are aware of the impending disaster from Global Warming will know Francis of Assisi and his contribution to this topical debate.

Other pivotal figures raised up by the Holy Spirit for the renewal of the Church are:
Benedict, Clare, Dominic, Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Kolkata, etc.

Are you the next great Saint? You too can be a saint. You too can be an instrument of Peace. You too can be committed to preserving the beauty and goodness of the environment for future generations and become an apostle of Care for Creation and Safe Environment.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 3).

"We thank you for the beauty of creation: may the work of man not disfigure it, but enhance it to your greater glory."  Amen.

10. 4  "Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother." (St. Padre Pio).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Who is my neighbor?

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" (MARTIN LUTHER KING JR).

“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,  “A man fell victim to robbers."

"A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight."

"Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:25-37 RM)

Monday 3rd October of the 27th Week of Ordinary Time.

A scholar of the law tests Jesus with a tricky question.  Our Master and Teacher answers the scholar.

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10: 27).

Jesus tells the scholar the parable of the Good Samaritan and ends the story by asking the lawyer:

"Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:25-37)

Jesus concludes by saying to the man: "Do this and you will live."
St James amplifies this in his letter:  "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2: 26).

Jesus ends what we call the Parable of the Good Samaritan by saying to the scholar of the law: Go and do as the Good Samaritan. Every person in need is our neighbor.

You may call this Parable a story of mercy.
What is mercy? From the Parable, we may say that mercy is when someone shows you pity in a moment of great need.

Be a good neighbor.
Allow someone to be a good neighbor to you. Jesus is always a good neighbor.
Our neighbor is every person in need.

Jesus gave us the Divine Mercy Devotion through St Maria Faustina to teach us that initiative of mercy starts from God. This devotion is summarized through the ABC of Mercy:

A = Ask for mercy.
B = Be Merciful.
C = Completely trust Jesus for
mercy.

10.3  “If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins “you shall receive a never fading crown of glory.” (St Louis Marie de Monfort).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com


Saturday, October 01, 2022

Write your vision down. It shall be fulfilled in the fullness of time.

"YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD; I WILL EXULT IN THE VICTORIOUS GOD OF MY SALVATION!" (HABAKKUK 3: 18).

"How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.

"Then the LORD answered me and said:

"Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.

"For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.

"The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live." (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4).

Sunday October 2, 2022 of the 27th week of Ordinary Time.

What a feast of Sacred Scriptures we enjoy this Sunday.  Our first Reading from Habakkuk has remained one of my 10 Top Scriptures for a long time. When one need is fulfilled by God, a new need emerges.
Our God is the God of Divine Providence and not of Chance. The word Chance or Luck or Lottery is not found in the Sacred Scriptures.

In the first Reading today, God asks the Prophet Habakkuk to write down the answer to what He plans to do in the future. Every plan, vision of God is for its intended time.  (Cf Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11).

Abraham and Sarah were promised a son. When this promise was fulfilled 25 years later, Sarah sang that it had pleased God to fulfill His promise at the time of His own choosing. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist praised God for answering her prayers for a son at His chosen time.
In the fullness of time, the Angel Gabriel visited Mary of Nazareth and announced the birth of the Messiah.

Search throughout Sacred Scripture, you will not find anything  happening by haphazard. Our God is a Father of Divine Providence and not a god of Chance. Your future and your destiny has been planned with meticulous care. Your future does not belong to lottery or gambling. It is not from any chance that your comfort and happiness springs. Every joy, every good thing you enjoy in life comes from God's gracious ordaining.

Thank You O Faithful Father. I have learned that You are a Father who keeps His promises. You asked me to write down my dream so that I do forget it. I nearly forgot it but You reminded me and restored my dream. Thank You Father.

"Within your will, O Lord, all things are established, and there is none that can resist your will. For you have made all things, the heaven and the earth, and all that is held within the circle of heaven; you are the Lord of all." (Cf Esther 4: 17).

10.2 :"The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary."  ( Pope Saint Pius X.)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 30, 2022

Feast of the Little Flower, St Therese of the Child Jesus.

"OH JESUS, HOW LITTLE KNOWN IS THE MERCIFUL LOVE OR YOUR HEART!" (ST THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS).

"At that very moment Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.

"Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.

"All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”  (Matthew 11: 17.... 25).

Saturday 1st October 2022 of 26th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of the Little Flower, St Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as St Therese of Lisieux. (1873 - 1897). French Carmelite Nun. Pope Leo XIII granted Therese to enter Carmel at the age of 15 and she died at 24. In 1927, Therese was named the co-patron saint of the Mission. Pope John Paul II made Therese a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

October 1st is also First Saturday in October. October is the month dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. There will be inspiring quotes on the mystery of the Holy Rosary in the Blog  for each day of October.

St Therese is one of the most beloved saints in the Church. She is a powerful intercessor and her contribution to spirituality can be summarized thus:

#1 Utter simplicity in everything.
#2 Profound trust in Divine Providence.

St Therese you may say was chosen to be St Therese before she was born. At the age of 6, she had a profound faith in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and in the Blessed Sacrament. Asked one day how she was so sure of this, her response was disarming and profound: Jesus said: "This is My Body. This is My Blood." Since Jesus is God and Almighty, nothing is impossible for Him. Does this not remind us of the Blessed Virgin Mary? To the word that She would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God, she replied: "Be it done to me according to Your word." No fear. No worry. No doubt.

Is there a connection between faith and simplicity?  Simplicity in thoughts and habits may facilitate the habit of believing. This seems to be the witness of many saints.
"Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 18: 3).

Be simple like Jesus and Therese. Dare to Believe.

"The Rosary is very pleasing to our Mother in heaven; she herself has recommended it. There are two elements of the Holy Rosary: meditation on its mysteries and vocal prayer. The Rosary surely reaches the motherly heart of Mary and moves her to obtain abundant graces for us." (Roman Missal).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Feast of St Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"GOOD, BETTER, BEST. NEVER LET IT REST. 'TIL YOUR GOOD IS BETTER AND YOUR BETTER IS BEST." (ST JEROME, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH).

"Blessed indeed is he who ponders the law of the Lord day and night:
he will yield his fruit in due season." (Cf Psalm 1: 1 - 2. Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Jerome).

Friday 30th September 2022 of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Jerome (342 - 420). From Dalmatia in former Yugoslavia. Priest, Doctor of the Church. Jerome translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate, which became the official version of the Bible for the Church for over 1000 years.

We chose our key Scripture for today from Psalm 1, the great promise of God for those who love His word and study it season and out of season. Note that a similar promise is made to Joshua:
"Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed." (Joshua 1: 8).

If you are still not excited by the promises of investing in the word of God, consider this:
"When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart." (Jeremiah 15: 16).
When Jeremiah devoured the word of God, what did he find? Incomparable happiness and joy.

I too discovered the word of God in a career crisis while working for a large  company. The word that was waiting for me to discover was Exodus 14: 13 - 14. I was blown away by God's utter faithfulness to His gracious promise. I resolved to read the Scriptures everyday from that day.

I am delighted by these quotes from St Jerome:

+  "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."

+ "As often as the world’s vain ambition delights you, as often as you see in mundane affairs something that vaunts itself, transport yourself in your thoughts to paradise: begin to be what you shall be. And you shall hear from your Bridegroom: Put me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm."

Lord, help us to follow the example of St Jerome in reflecting on Your word day and night. May Your word prepare us to offer You a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving always and everywhere. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

The Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

"THE BATTLE AGAINST THE DEVIL, WHICH IS THE PRINCIPAL TASK OF SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL, IS STILL BEING FOUGHT TODAY, BECAUSE THE DEVIL IS STILL ALIVE AND ACTIVE IN THE WORLD."  (POPE ST JOHN PAUL II).

"Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”

"Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”

"Nathanael ­answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”

"And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1: 47 - 51).

Thursday 29th September 2022 of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

Angels are mentioned many times in the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus' encounter with Nathanael (Bartholomew) in the Gospel of today confirms the existence of angels. A fact that is known in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Here is the meaning of the names of the Archangels:

Micha-El: Who is like God?
Gabri-El: God’s strength” or “Power of God”
Rapha-El: “God heals”
El means God.

By the ministry of the angels, our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving come before the presence of Almighty God. The Archangel Michael is assigned to guard the Church. ( Cf Daniel 12: 1). Pope Leo XIII who had a vision of this in the Sanctuary of his Church composed the Prayer to St Michael which became an inspired and principal prayer in spiritual warfare. Many Catholics say this prayer daily.

United with the angels, we will conquer the Great Deceiver by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. (Cf Revelations 12: 7 - 12).

How do we enter into personal relationship with the angels? Exactly the same way we enter into relationship with our patron saints. We honor the saints by praying to them, asking them favors and their protection. We celebrate their feast as we do this day. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Saints says that when we honor the saints and angels, we glorify Him. Besides the three Archangels we honor today, each human being is assigned a Guardian Angel when he is created. We celebrate the feast of the Guardian Angels on October 2nd.

Click the link below for the St Michael the Archangel Prayer:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/09/st-michael-archangel-prayer.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Feast of Saints Lorenzo Ruiz & Wenceslaus, Martyrs.

"I AM A CATHOLIC AND WHOLEHEARTEDLY DO ACCEPT DEATH FOR GOD; HAD I A THOUSAND LIVES, ALL THESE TO HIM SHALL I OFFER." (ST LORENZO RUIZ).

"As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

"Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

"And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”

"But Jesus answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”

"And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”

"Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9: 57 - 62).

Wednesday 28th September 2022 of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of two martyrs:  St Wenceslaus (907 - 927). King and Martyr. Saintly monarch. Murdered by his own brother in a sibling rivalry that reminds us of Cain and Abel.
St Lorenzo Ruiz (+1630). Filipino layman and his companions were martyred in Japan with other Christian missionaries.

Our Gospel today shows how Jesus handles applications for a spot in the group of His disciples. Each applicant is treated differently. But to each, Jesus says:

You must count carefully the cost of discipleship.  How far and how long are you prepared to follow Me? What will you do when the going becomes tough?  A prudent and faithful disciple must be prepared to follow always and everywhere to the End.

“What sort of servant, then, is faithful, wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at his employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns.” (Matthew 24: 45 – 48)

Faithfulness is key to Discipleship.

Pope St John Paul II writing on faithfulness teaches that: It is good to be faithful for one day, but
better to be faithful for ten years.
It is excellent and blessed to be faithful day after day to the end of the Journey.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is called the most excellent and faithful disciple of Jesus.  She received the message of salvation from the Archangel Gabriel. She followed Jesus everywhere in His public ministry learning everything she could. She walked the Via Dolorosa with her Son to Calvary.  She received the body of her Son from the Cross from the Roman soldiers. She laid Him in the tomb and witnessed the sealing of the tomb. This is examplary faithfulness. From womb to tomb.
A disciple of Jesus must be prepared to give all.

Daily Bible Verse @
SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 26, 2022

The Feast of St Vincent de Paul, Priest and Founder.

"GO TO THE POOR AND YOU WILL FIND GOD." (ST VINCENT DE PAUL).

"On the way [to Jerusalem] they [Jesus and His disciples] entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village." (Luke 9: 51- 56).

Tuesday 27th September 2022 of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Vincent de Paul, Priest (1581 - 1660). French.

For many people around the world, St Vincent de Paul needs no introduction. His name and prestige blesses the world-wide charitable organization that ministers spiritually and materially to the needs of the poor, the homeless and the very needy. St Vincent de Paul is known in history for his love of the Poor and for deep humility.  He also had great interest in the formation of priests.
St Vincent de Paul founded the Daughters of Charity with St Louise de Marillac. After this, he founded the Congregation of the Mission.

St Vincent de Paul discerned after his ordination to the priesthood that the greatest need of the Church in France was the training and formation of the clergy. He threw himself into preparation for this ministry. Imagine his dismay when his Bishop sent him hundreds of miles from Paris to the provinces to the home of a prince, a friend of the king of France. He remained in the castle for several years teaching the two young sons of the prince.
St Vincent de Paul went to this mission in obedience. For the years he spent in the castle trying to teach the boys who did not want to learn anything, he wondered the strange ways of Divine Providence. He was soon to learn on his return to Paris.

St Vincent de Paul soon learned that in the eyes of God true greatness is: humility, a loving concern for the little ones, the poor and the needy and homeless. This became the new ministry of St Vincent de Paul in Paris. Because of the connection with the Prince and his family, St Vincent de Paul got to know who is who in the court of the king of France. These nobles provided the funds for the ministry of St Vincent de Paul to the poor and downtrodden of Paris. St Vincent de Paul did not forget the second love of his life: the formation of the clergy.

Throughout his life, Vincent marveled and then trusted God's mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence. St Vincent de Paul is the patron saint of the St Vincent de Paul Society founded in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam.

“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village."

"My way is one of gentleness, of mercy, and of compassion. I offer My Cross to souls, but I never impose it, and when a soul begins to say “Yes” to the sweet and terrible exigencies of My love, I fit My Cross to her shoulders, and then help her to carry it step by step, increasing its weight only as that soul grows in love and in the fortitude that comes from the Holy Spirit." (IN SINU JESU, September 23, 2011, Feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs.

"AT SUNSET, ALL WHO HAD PEOPLE SICK WITH VARIOUS DISEASES BROUGHT THEM TO JESUS. HE LAID HIS HANDS ON EACH OF THEM AND CURED THEM." (LUKE 4: 40).

"An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

"Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to ­prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9: 46 - 50).

Monday 26th September 2022 of the 26th week of Ordinary Time is the feast of two great physicians. Cosmas and Damian were twins.  They combined a supernatural gift of healing with sound medical training and practice. What is extraordinary about these two doctors is that they offered their services completely free of charge. They were martyred under Emperor Diocletian (+305).
Christ, the Divine Physician worked through Cosmas and Damian to heal body and soul. Jesus was pleased with the Twins and crowned their life with a martyr's crown and raised them to eternal glory.

After the Twelve heard the Second Prediction of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, we were told that they did not understand what Jesus was talking about. They did not want to ask Him any questions. They however launched into a worldly competition as to who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God.

"Jesus took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

True greatness in the eyes of Jesus is: humility, a loving concern for the little ones, the poor and the needy and homeless.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Lazarus and the Rich man.

"BLESSED THE ONE CONCERNED FOR THE POOR; ON A DAY OF MISFORTUNE, THE LORD DELIVERS HIM." (PSALM 41: 2).

The Liturgical readings this Sunday focus on the Lazarus Principle.

Sunday September 25th of the 26th week of Ordinary Time.
All four readings in today's Liturgy address social conditions and justice. The poverty, ignorance and disease all around us cry for remedy.

"Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.

"And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.

"When the poor man died, he was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

"And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented."  (Luke 16: 19.... 31).

The likes of the Rich man in today's Gospel was castigated by the Prophet Amos in the first Reading:

"Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall." (Amos 6: 1, 4).

In all the hopelessness today in the world, we are comforted by the truth of Scripture which reminds us of these perennial truths:

#1 God keeps faith forever.
#2 He gives food to the hungry.
#3 The Lord sets captives free.
#4 The Lord protects strangers.
#5 He sustains the widows and the orphans.
#6 God's mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence is firmly in control of everything in the world.

God our Father can remedy the world's problems of poverty, ignorance disease directly by Himself immediately. Why does He need our collaboration? God wants us to share in His work and glory. He wants us to build up credits for ourselves in heaven. The poor that we help here will speak up for us on the last day. Lazarus could not offer one good word in defense of the selfish rich man.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 23, 2022

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin on Saturday

"LOVE AND DEATH ARE SO MINGLED IN THE SAVIOR'S PASSION THAT WE CANNOT HAVE ONE IN OUR HEARTS WITHOUT THE OTHER. UPON CALVARY, WE CANNOT HAVE LIFE WITHOUT LOVE, OR LOVE WITHOUT THE REDEEMER'S DEATH." (ST FRANCIS DE SALES, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH).

"While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying."  (Luke 9: 43 - 45).

Saturday 24th September 2022 of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday.

Our short Gospel for today is the Second Prediction of the Passion  of Jesus. Jesus instructs us to pay attention to the predictions of His Passion. "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”

Here are other rendition of this text:

"Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” (NIV).
“Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” (NLT).
"Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men [whose conduct is opposed to God]." (AMPC).

Did the Apostles heed Jesus advice? They did not and this is the reason why they all took to flight at Gethsemane.

Note carefully that the Father allowed His Son to be delivered into the hands of wicked men. Why? The Father had decided that the Cross is the Means of Salvation for all mankind.

How does the message of the Cross seat with the 21st century Christians? The Cross contradicts totally all prosperity gospels. All wishful thinking about how we want the kingdom of God to be. The Cross is at the Center of the Salvation Drama.

God the Father wills that All men should be saved. How? Through the Cross. Take up your cross and follow after me, Jesus pleads.  Our daily cross may relate to health, family, job, money, children, house, car, etc. All the myriad of issues that trouble and deplete us. No cross is an accident. Every cross is preordained, tailored to fit the individual. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the mystery of the Cross in our lives. He assists us to bear the gentle yoke of Christ.

The Blessed Virgin Mary whom we honor today understands the Cross very intimately. She is the only human being that knows Jesus from womb to tomb. For that, she deserves our profound respect and gratitude.

"Yes, my beloved little son, the eighth sorrow of my maternal and Immaculate Heart is that my Son is so offended in the Sacrament of His love. This sorrow of mine will endure until the end of time, when the real presence of my Son in the Most Holy Sacrament will give way to the sight of His divine majesty. Then will faith give way to vision, and hope to possession. Then will love be secure and everlasting for all who will have died in the embrace of His divine friendship." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, September 15, 2011).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Feast of St Padre Pio, the Priest who Prays.

"PRAYER IS THE BEST WEAPON WE HAVE; IT IS THE KEY TO GOD'S HEART." (ST PADRE PIO).

"Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.” He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

"He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9: 18 - 22).

Friday 23rd September 2022 of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Pio Pietrelchina better known as Padre Pio. (1887 - 1968). Italian Capuchin Priest. Stigmatist. A highly gifted confessor and counseling guru. Padre Pio died in 1968 and was canonized in 2002 by Pope St John Paul II in the lifetime of many people reading this.

Padre Pio entered the Capuchin Monastery at the age of 15. A mere boy, he had little in the way of this world's goods, education or spiritual riches. He soon showed immense appetite for genuine riches or spiritual treasures. And in accordance with the spiritual law laid down by Jesus, Padre Pio grew into a giant.
"To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Luke 8: 18).

“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised,” proclaimed our Gospel of today.

Padre Pio knew what it is to suffer. He suffered almost constantly from ill-health throughout his long life. He was maligned by some members of the Church hierarchy and even by his confreres. In all these sufferings, Padre Pio never doubted for a moment his faith in Divine Providence. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Rosary sustained him in the many crisis of his life. He describes himself as "a priest who prays." St Padre Pio is one of the most popular saints in the Roman calendar.

"My way is one of gentleness, of mercy, and of compassion. I offer My Cross to souls, but I never impose it, and when a soul begins to say “Yes” to the sweet and terrible exigencies of My love, I fit My Cross to her shoulders, and then help her to carry it step by step, increasing its weight only as that soul grows in love and in the fortitude that comes from the Holy Spirit." (IN SINU JESU, September 23, 2011, Feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Herod about the ministry of Jesus and refused to believe.


"Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”

"But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.." (Luke 9: 7 - 9).

Thursday September 22nd of the 25th week of Ordinary Time.

Faith comes from hearing. Hearing and believing the testimony of a faithful and credible witness is God's plan for transmission of faith.
"Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen." (Mark 16: 14).

Those who have desperate needs come to faith much easier than people with no problems. King Herod heard about the miracles of Jesus and was greatly perplexed. He did not believe that something supernatural was happening in his backyard. Why? He felt he had no need that Jesus could relieve. See below people who heard about Jesus and believed:

#1. Syrophoenician woman: The woman heard about Jesus from neighbors or friends and went in search of Jesus. (Mark 7: 26, Matthew 15: 22).
#2. Zacchaeus:  The diminutive and very wealthy Zacchaeus heard about the miracles and teaching of Jesus and cast aside all self respect climbed a sycamore tree to get a good view of Jesus. (Luke 19: 1 - 2 10)
#3. Timaeus: Timaeus the blind man heard so much talk about Jesus probably from his family members. He prayed earnestly that Jesus would pass by his way. His prayer was answered. (Mark 10: 46 - 52).
#4. Father of the Demoniac: The father of the Demoniac heard about Jesus, walked a long way to see Jesus. He believed that where the disciples failed, Jesus will certainly succeed. (Matthew 17: 14 - 20, Mark 9: 14 - 29, Luke 9: 37 - 43).
#5. Jairius: Jarius, the civil servant heard about the miracles of Jesus and hastened to meet Jesus. (Mark 5: 21 - 43, Matthew 9: 18 - 26, Luke 8: 40 - 56).
#6. "The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant." (Luke 7: 3 NIV).

All these people heard about Jesus and believed because they trusted the people who witnessed to them about Jesus.

Principle: These people had serious needs. They heard about the miracles of Jesus. They believed. They sought out Jesus. They obtained their miracle. Jesus is still in the business of miracles.

"Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”

Herod did nothing and died in his sins.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

"I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE."

"As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.”

"And he got up and followed him.

"While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.

"The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

"Jesus heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”" (Matthew 9: 9 - 13).

Wednesday 21st September 2022 of 25th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Matthew the Apostle. Jew. Evangelist. Author of the Gospel according to St Matthew. Died a martyr.

A man named Matthew was called by Jesus to follow Him. The man left everything: job, money, house and property and friends and followed the stranger named Jesus. Matthew was not a saint when Jesus called him. But Jesus did not come to call saints.  Paul describes his calling thus:

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 1: 12 - 14).

Matthew could have written the above words.

Jesus delights in sinners because sinners give Him the opportunity to show off His mercy. Why did Jesus institute the Most Holy Eucharist? Jesus delights in mercy. Why did our Lord and Redeemer Institute the Sacrament of Reconciliation? To embrace sinners in His merciful love. Why did Jesus institute the
Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion, the Divine Mercy Devotion? Jesus delights in mercy. Mercy may well be the last covenant with mankind.

Matthew accepted the call with generosity and then lived in a manner worthy of the call he received.  He used his old skill as a tax recorder to pen the Gospel that bears his name.

The call of Matthew is a story of mercy. The unfathomable mercy of God.  “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
(Matthew 9: 12 - 13).

Have you received any mercies from Jesus lately? Do you know the ABC of Mercy?
+ A. Ask for mercy.
+ B. Be merciful.
+ C. Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Make it your first care to find the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33). The kingdom of God is present in all its fullness, though in a hidden manner, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. He who seeks out My Eucharistic presence is seeking the kingdom of God. He who approaches Me in the Sacrament of My love will find the kingdom and therein all that he desires according to My Spirit. Come first to Me in the Sacrament of My love. Let this become the supernatural instinct of your soul: always to come to Me, always to seek My Eucharistic Face."  (IN SINU JESU, Monday, August 25, 2008).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Feast of Saints Andrew Kim, Paul Chong and 103 Korean Martyrs.

"HE WHO SHUTS HIS EAR TO THE CRY OF THE POOR WILL HIMSELF CALL AND NOT BE HEARD." (PROVERBS 21: 13).

"The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” (Luke 8: 19 - 21).

Tuesday 20th September 2022 of the 25th Week  Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr and Paul Chong Hasang, catechist and 130 Korean martyrs. They all gave their lives to Christ between 1839 and 1867. Among the martyrs were priests and laity and a full representative of the Church in Korea from all backgrounds.

We celebrate today the witness of the martyrs of Korea to the truth that the message of Jesus of mercy, peace and promise of eternal life can resound in every heart in the world. A Korean traveler in China heard the Good News in that country. He returned home to Korea with tracts of the Catechism. He brought the light of the faith to Korea.

In the Gospel of today, we hear:
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it." Is this true? Let us check the experience and history of Christianity.

The saints hear the word of God and act on it. The saints are doers of the word and not just hearers. This is why they are saints and according to the word of the Way, the Captain of our faith are His "mother and brothers."

A lamp is lit to be placed on a lampstand.

Our saints of today Saints Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Chong Taegon Hasang and their companion Korean martys heard the message of Jesus Christ and believed it. Not just believed it to be true, they acted on it. The proof of how much they believed the Good News and craved for the promises is that they sacrificed their lives for the Truth.

"The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by laypeople. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast 10,000 martyrs. The years 1791, 1801, 1827, 1839, 1846, and 1866 are forever signed with the holy blood of your martyrs and engraved in your hearts." (Pope St John Paul II).

Consider this astonishing fact about the faith and the courage of this Korean martyrs. They lacked the infrastructure of faith that we take for granted. In the city where I live, there are about six Catholic Churches within twenty kilometers radius of my home. The Churches are well connected by a network of good roads, bus and train services and mobile internet towers.
Go to any of these churches on Sunday and you will never see every seat occupied. Go on a week day, you find few people.

What is wrong? Are we losing the faith? How come it that we have grown so lukewarm about the promises and excitement of the Gospel?

"Christianity came to Korea through Christian books which had been brought across the border from China. In 1784 the small community of Koreans who had been converted through what they read in the books sent one of their own to Beijing to receive baptism."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Feast of St Januarius, Bishop and Martyr.

"YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. ONCE AGAIN, "OF THE WORLD"; NOT OF ONE NATION OR TWENTY CITIES, BUT OF THE WHOLE WORLD....." (ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH).

"Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.

"Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away." (Luke 8: 16 - 18).

Monday 19th September 2022 of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Januarius. (+ 305). Italian. Bishop and Martyr under Emperor Diocletian. His dried blood liquifies miraculously several times a year. Even science and agnostics are confounded by this. Jesus our Savior still presents believers more than sufficient proofs like the liquification of the the blood of Januarius to strengthen their faith.

A lamp is lit to be placed on a lampstand. The light here in the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel for today represents the precious word of God planted in our heart.

Examples of those who spread the light:
1. Mary heard the word of God and hastened with it to Elizabeth.
2. Anna the Prophetess saw the light at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and became an evangelist spreading the message to everyone she meets from that point.
3. Philip met the Light and heard Him speak and hurried off to share the Good News with Bartholomew.
4. Saints Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Ignatius, Teresa of Kolkata heard and saw the Light. They founded religious orders which continue to spread the word throughout the world.

Jesus says that there are dire consequences for hiding our talent.
"Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

Use your light or lose it!

"I have chosen you to live in My friendship. Let Me respond, as I see fit, to all your heart’s desires. In what I will give you, there is no bitterness, no poison, no deception—I will give you only My light, My truth, My sweetness, My love, and a participation in all My states and in all My mysteries. I will take you into the innermost sanctuary of My Heart where I adore My Father as His eternal priest, and offer myself to Him as a perpetual victim of love."  (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, January 8, 2008).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 17, 2022

You cannot serve God and money.

"MAN DOES NOT LIVE ON MONEY ALONE." (CF MATTHEW 4: 4).

"Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’

"The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’

"He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’

"And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.....

"The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?

"If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” (Luke 16: 1....13).

Sunday September 18th of the 25th week of Ordinary Time.

God ordered us to manage time, talent and treasure that He bestows on us. In this Sunday's Gospel, we see that there will surely be accountability for this enterprise. Money or mammon in this context has always been an area of the greatest trial for most people. Why? Because money in many ways represents "Bread". Bread is the staple of life. When Jesus was tempted about Bread in the Desert, He teaches us:

"Man does not live on bread [money] alone. There is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Cf Matthew 4: 4).

How do you know if you are trying to serve God and mammon?

#1 Do you worry too much about money?
#2 Do you do non-essential work on Sunday?
#3 Are you burdened with debt?
#4 Do you give God time every day for prayer?
#5 Do you gamble? Play the lottery?
#6 Do you begrudge the Church your contributions?
#7 Do you worry about the stock market?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6: 21).
"They multiply their sorrows who court other gods [mammon]" (Psalm 16: 4).

Remember:
"We brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it." (1 Timothy 6: 7).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 16, 2022

Feast of Saints Robert BELLARMINE & Hildegard of Bingen: Doctors of the Church.

"WHOEVER FINDS GOD, FINDS EVERYTHING; WHOEVER LOSES GOD LOSES EVERYTHING." (ST ROBERT BELLARMINE, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH).

“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 as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 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: 5......14).

Saturday 17th September 2022 of the 24th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Robert Bellarmine of the Society of Jesus. (1542 - 1620). Italian. Bishop, Cardinal, Apologist and Patron Saint of Catechists.

Robert Bellarmine resided in Rome during most of his work life. The poor of Rome came to know him well and called him "the new poor one," reminiscent of St Francis of Assisi, the original poor man of Assisi. Bellarmine shared his table regularly with the poor of the city of Rome.

Bellarmine was the nephew of Pope Marcellus II.  St Robert Bellarmine was a renowned scholar, a great apologist and contributed immensely to the Council of Trent and the reforms mandated by the Council.
In spite of all these encomiums, Bellarmine could say with Paul:
"By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective."

September 17th is also the feast of Hildegard of Bingen: (1098 - 1179). German. Benedictine. Virgin and Doctor of the Church. The incredibly talented Hildegard wore many hats: Mother superior, theologian, teacher and preacher, scientist, gynecologist, musician, etc. St Hildegard is the patron saint of musicians and writers.

Did you guess that the Sower in the Gospel for today (Luke 8: 4 - 15) is Jesus the Farmer? The seed is the word of God.
The seed that fell among thorns may be likened to those living today in western societies. Unbridled affluence and materialism have eroded the faith of Our Fathers. People hear the Pearl of the Gospel: "Seek first the kingdom of God and holiness of life above every other thing and all your needs shall be met. Stop worrying about tomorrow which you cannot control. Trust firmly in my Divine All Powerful Providence. (Cf Matthew 6: 33 - 34). We hear the word and prefer to be hearers only and not doers of the word.

Our ever merciful Savior continues to sow the word every day through the Sacred Scriptures, teachings from Sacred Tradition and Magisterium. But you too, you are a sower of the word whether you are a teacher, catechist, evangelist, nurse, housewife, politician, gabage collector, etc. Whatever you are or do, the Lord has entrusted you to partner with Him to transform the world today. How do you respond?

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Feast of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, Pope and Bishop and Martyrs.

"THE SOULS OF THE SAINTS ARE REJOICING IN HEAVEN, THE SAINTS WHO FOLLOWED THE FOOTSTEPS OF CHRIST..." (ENTRANCE ANTIPHON).

"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 16th September 2022 of the 24th Week of 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 (modern 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 persecutions 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.

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?

In the Gospel of today, we see that
women who benefited from the ministry of Jesus provided for His needs and those of His disciples. They provided for them "out of their means." The widow of Zarephath provided for Elijah out of her meagre resources. God blessed this source and it never dried up.

This incidence is typical of God's arrangement for providing the future disciples of Christ. In the Old Testament, we see many instances of God providing for His servants through people. This principle was established with the levitical priesthood. Elisha, the prophet was likewise provided for by a couple in the course of his work. In the New Testament, we find abundant examples from the works of the Twelve and St Paul.

What are the lessons for us? God makes adequate provisions for the needs of those who preach the gospel. God prefers a situation of weakness and dependence for His servants so that His wisdom and power can triumph through their work. God infact wants His collaborators in the work of salvation to imitate the simplicity of Jesus Christ. He appoints people to supply the needs of His workers.

How do the disciples of Christ today appropriate God's blessings and provisions for them? First, they must be aware of these provisions in the Bible. They must understand what God's word or promise is saying to their particular situation. Disciples of Jesus must believe his word and act on this word.  Prayer, trust and obedience activate the power of the word.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Memorial of Mary, Mother of Sorrows.

"WHILE OTHER MARTYRS SUFFERED IN SACRIFICING THEIR OWN LIVES, THE BLESSED VIRGIN SUFFERED BY SACRIFICING HER SON'S LIFE, A LIFE SHE LOVED MORE THAN HER OWN......." (ST ANSLEM, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH).

"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).

Thursday 15th September 2022 of 24th Week of 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? Our 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).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.

"THE CROSS IS THE WAY TO PARADISE, BUT ONLY WHEN IT IS BORNE WILLINGLY." (ST PAUL 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.”

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3: 13 - 17).

Wednesday 14th September 2022 of 24th Week of Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Triumph of the Cross.

Why celebrate the feast of Triumph 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).
In the first Reading from Numbers, we see futile insurrection against the will of God.

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)

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).

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

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com


Monday, September 12, 2022

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

"THE PLEASANT AND SORROWFUL THINGS OF THIS PRESENT LIFE ARE ALTOGETHER PASSING AWAY." (ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP & DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH).

"Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a ­widow.

"A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

"The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.” This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region." (Luke 7: 11 - 17).

Tuesday 13th September 2022 of the 24th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of a Giant of 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. He 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.

We see the great compassion of Jesus in our Gospel of today. His heart went out to the widow whose only son and hope for support died. “Do not weep.” Jesus stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
"The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother."

Jesus said to Martha, the sister of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead:  If you believe, you will see great signs. The greatest of the Signs is the Holy Eucharist.

Below is 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 Monday, October 29, 2007).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

"HAIL MARY FULL OF GRACE...
HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD..."
ONLY SHE WHO IS FULL OF GRACE CAN BECOME THE THEOTOKOS.

"When Jesus had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave.

"They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”

"And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “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. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

"When Jesus heard 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.." (Luke 7: 1 - 10).

Monday 12th September 2022 of the 24th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

Almost back to back on the celebration of the Birthday of Mary (September 8th) is the feast of her Most Holy Name. The Church in her teaching authority interpretes for us the role of Mary in the economy of salvation. Here is what the Church teaches about the feast of today, the Most Holy Name of Mary:

"God the Father is glorified by the exalted role in salvation of the Blessed Virgin Mary." Thus her name is a name of honor, to be venerated and called upon with filial trust and devotion." (Roman Missal).

We read of the amazing and enviable faith of the Roman Centurion in the Gospel of today.
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.

Jesus is always amazed when He encounters strong faith in people. “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish,” Jesus exclaimed to the Canaanite Woman.  "And her daughter was healed from that hour." (Cf Matthew 15: 21 - 28).

The Roman Centurion and the Canaanite Woman were foreigners and outsiders to historic religion of Israel. They provided us examples to imitate on Faith.

Our faith grows through prayers. "Lord increase our faith." The Apostles pleaded. The fruit of prayer is faith teaches St Teresa of Kolkata. Reading and meditating on the word of God increases our faith. God exists in His word and the sacred text affords us countless opportunities to affirm our faith: "Amen. Amen."

"Above all, I renew for you the words I uttered for Saint John from the Cross: “Behold your Mother.” Live in her presence. Honour her at every occasion and in every way possible. Every time you show love and devotion to My most holy Mother, you honour the words I spoke from the Cross, and you put them into practice. “Behold your Mother.” She desires nothing more than to look after you, just as if you were her only son. Her attention for you is not divided, nor is it in any way impaired by the attention she gives to the vast multitude of her children through the ages. Trust in her care for you. Pray her Rosary. Honour her as you have been doing." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, January 31, 2008).

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Saturday, September 10, 2022

The merciful Father and the return of the Prodigal.

9 - 11

THE PRODIGAL AND THE ABC OF MERCY.

"Coming to his senses he [the Prodigal] thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger." (Luke 15: 17).

Sunday 11th September of the 24th week of the Ordinary Time.

The Scriptures this Sunday is so rich in spiritual nourishment. The first Reading from Exodus 32 can be summarized thus: The Lord relented in the punishment He planned for His people.  I see myself here as Moses the sinner and intercessor.

In the 2nd Reading from 1 Timothy, Paul exclaimed how mercifully Jesus treated him. First, all his sins were wiped out. Then Jesus appointed Paul as a top Apostle. I am here Paul the Apostle. With absolutely no merit but pure grace, Jesus lifted me up from grave sins and gave me a ministry.

In the Responsorial Psalm 51, I am David. Forgiven of heinous crimes, I prayed that God will not take away His Holy and friendly Spirit from me.

But it is in the Gospel that I see God’s face of mercy in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Sin leads sooner or later to brokenness. Brokenness softens the heart to receive the mercy waiting for the sinner. Without the hunger and misery of the Prodigal, he would never have come to the point where he said:

"I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers." (Luke 15: 18 - 19).

The Scriptures reveal to us this Sunday:
Jesus Christ the Face of mercy of God the Father. How do we apply this truth to our needs?

Reconciliation! No Reconciliation, No personal experience of Mercy!
The ABC of Mercy:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Friday, September 09, 2022

The Church is built on Rock.

MEMORIAL OF THE
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,

QUEEN OF PEACE
QUEEN OF PROPHETS
QUEEN OF APOSTLES
QUEEN OF MARTYRS
QUEEN OF ALL SAINTS
QUEEN OF PEACE
PRAY FOR US.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built."  (Luke 6: 43.... 49).

Saturday 10th September 2022 of the 23rd Week of Ordinary Time. Let us celebrate the Memorial of Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Peace.

In the Choice and Call of Peter, James and John, Jesus asked them to cast the net into the deep water. We know the result. In today's Gospel, Jesus asks us to dig Deep in into the rock to build a safe home that will withstand flood and hurricane and other natural disaster.

We have in our key Scripture for today basic common sense message about building a family home. This is the word of God. It is true.

One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 127: 1:  "Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain."

Jesus ends this ominous teaching by saying:
"But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

Floods and hurricanes are part of life. Houses are simple enough to be replaced. But lives are much harder. He who builds on the word of God builds on a solid foundation.

"The riches of My kingdom are for all whom I have redeemed with My own Blood, but it pleases Me to bestow them through My Mother, the Queen and Mediatrix who stood at the foot of My Cross, offering Me and offering herself with Me. Today she reigns with Me in paradise.  All that I won for souls from My Father on the altar of the Cross, with My Mother at My side, I will now pour out on souls through her Heart and through her hands. This, too, is the secret of a fruitful priesthood. In every priestly act and in all of life, place your hands in the hands of My Mother and your heart in her Heart." (IN SINU JESU page 35).

Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us.

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Thursday, September 08, 2022

The Feast of St Peter Claver SJ, Priest and Missionary.

A PHARISEE IS A PERSON PRACTICING OR ADVOCATING STRICT OBSERVANCE OF EXTERNAL FORMS AND CEREMONIES OF RELIGION OR CONDUCT WITHOUT REGARD TO THE SPIRIT; SELF-RIGHTEOUS; HYPOCRITICAL. (DICTIONARY).

"Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?

"No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.

"Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6: 39 - 42).

Friday 9th September 2022 of the 23rd Week of Ordinary Time.

Friday 9th September 2022 of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus  (1580 - 1654). Spanish. Priest, Religious and Missionary. St Peter Claver served for over 40 years African slaves dumped at the South American seaport of Cartagena now Colombia. During 40 years, he fed the slaves, cared for the sick and dying. He preached the Good News to them and baptized over 300,000.

It would be humanly impossible for the slaves and Peter Claver to heed Jesus' word and obey it:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."
But grace overcame nature and they loved their persecutors as Jesus did from the Cross.

St Peter Claver is called the "Slave of slaves." God gave him great love and patience for the suffering slaves. Peter took many of them with him to heaven.

Whom did Jesus call the blind in today's Gospel?
"Let them alone; they are blind guides (of the blind). If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15: 14).

Do you know any  Pharisees in your community?

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6: 6).
When a blind judge guides another blind judge, will not the two judges fall into the ditch? Jesus defines His mission thus:

"I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me." (John 18: 37).

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Wednesday, September 07, 2022

The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"BLESSED ARE YOU, HOLY VIRGIN MARY, DESERVING OF ALL PRAISE; FROM YOU ROSE THE SUN OF JUSTICE, CHRIST OUR GOD. ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA." (ALLELUIA VERSE). 

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1: 1 - 16, 18 - 23).

Thursday 8th September 2022 of 23rd Week of Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her birth marks the moment when she who was to conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to our Savior, Jesus-Emmanuel was born.

Who is Mary?
Why is her cult so passionate and universal and controversial to non Catholics? 

Mary is the Only Child of Saints Joachim and Anne. She is the Mother of Emmanuel, God-with-us, Jesus "who will save his people from their sins."

Mary is the Woman of Genesis 3: 15:
"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."
Satan hates Jesus and Mary with a deadly hatred. Satan, the Father of lies had his revenge in the 16th century in the Protestant Reformation.  Satan spread lies about the Blessed Virgin Mary and her cult. The lies persist till today.

The Blessed Virgin Mary was held in reverence by the Apostles and disciples in the earliest Christian communities. That may be why so little was said about her in the Gospels. In His mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence, it pleased God to keep Mary hidden for most of her 60 years on earth.

The Mother of Emmanuel was the only person who knew Jesus from womb to tomb. She was always there in the most important moments in the life of Jesus:
* Annunciation.
* Visitation to Elizabeth and Zachary.
* Birth of Jesus in the Manger.
* Visit of the Magi, the 3 kings.
* Presentation in the Temple and the encounter with the Prophet and Prophetess Simeon and Anna.
* The Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross).
* The Sacrifice of the Lamb of God at Calvary when it pleased the Father to make the Mother of His Son, our Mother through John the Evangelist.
* The Birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday.

Mary was faithfully there in all the great moments! Accident or Providence? Mary's role in salvation history was planned by the Most Holy Trinity before the beginning of the world.

It is with great joy that we honor Mary on her Birthday. Happy Birthday Mother. We your children love you very much. We join all the generations that have called you blessed to hail you:
Holy Mary full of grace, the fruit of your womb, Jesus is blessed forever! 🌹🌹🌹🎂❤️

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Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Blessed are you who seek first the kingdom of God and its blessings.

"WHAT KIND OF POVERTY, THEN, IS BLESSED? THE KIND THAT IS NOT IN LOVE WITH EARTHLY THINGS AND DOES NOT SEEK WORLDLY RICHES: THE KIND THAT LONGS TO BE FILLED WITH THE BLESSINGS OF HEAVEN." (POPE ST LEO THE GREAT).

"Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.

"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.” Luke 6: 20  - 26).

Wednesday of the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

In Luke's Beatitudes (Sermon on the Plain), Jesus promises the kingdom of God to those who are poor, not necessarily those deprived of material goods and comforts but those whose treasure is in heaven. These are the holy ones who have heard the message of the kingdom of God, of eternal life that is ushered in by the ministry of Jesus Christ and seeks it as first priority. These Christians start right here on earth and right now to enjoy the eternal life that is the kingdom of God.

But those whose hearts are in their wealth receive their compensation here on earth for 50, 70, 90 or at most 100 years. And here on earth, they must defend their wealth from taxes, robbers, rust, inflation, etc. They will be weary defending their excess riches. Jesus promises a better way in the Beatitudes:

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are you who are poor [in spirit, those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for the kingdom of God is yours [both now and forever]. (Luke 6: 20 AMP).

Seek the "Better Part".

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Monday, September 05, 2022

Jesus chooses the Twelve after a night of prayer.

AFTER A NIGHT SPENT IN PRAYER, JESUS CHOSE THE 12 OFFICERS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH.

"Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:

"Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

"And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.

"A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.

"Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all."  (Luke 6: 12 - 13).

Tuesday of the 23rd week of Ordinary Time. It is time for Jesus to choose and call His close friends.

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus undertakes one of the most important tasks in His mission: Choosing His 12 Apostles. No nation takes lightly the choice of its leaders. Elections are organized and campaigns undertaken for a couple of years.

We see a variety of gifts and personalities in the 12 men chosen to be close associates of Jesus. All the men were from lower class of society, poor, uneducated, untraveled and timid. Jesus Himself would be their Teacher and Master while He remained with them. Then the Holy Spirit will finish the job of preparing them for their lives' work.

Consider for a moment this stupendous fact:  These 12 chosen men are sent out to convert and transform the world. This world includes the Roman and Greek empires! Are you kidding me? Well it happened. This is to show us that it is the power of God in them, the power of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of the Father that did the job. That same power is still available for you and for me. The chosen Apostles chose to use the power and the seed of the kingdom of God on earth was established.

Pray for your Bishops. They are the legitimate successors of the Twelve. Be careful how you criticize and condemn them because as you judge so shall you be judged. (Cf Matthew 7: 2).

"You are just, O Lord, and your judgement is right; treat your servant in accord with your merciful love." (Psalm 118: 137, 124).

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