Saturday, January 15, 2022

Trust my Son and do whatever He tells you.

"There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you." (John 2: 1 - 11).

Sunday 16th January 2022, in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time.

When wine ran out at the Wedding at Cana, Mary's advice to the servants was simple and precise:  "Do whatever He tells you."  (John 2: 5)  Mary did not know what Jesus would do.  But her motherly instinct knew that Jesus would do the best thing under the circumstances.   She taught the disciples to open their hearts to Jesus in confident trust.

Today's Gospel shows us the power of the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for her children. We reflect on this passage in the Second Luminous Mystery of the Holy Rosary. St Luis Marie de Montfort, Apostle of the Rosary gives us this slogan: TO JESUS THROUGH MARY. Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. If it pleases Jesus to dispense all graces and favors through His Mother the Virgin Mary, who can say nay to Jesus? He is free to order the means of salvation as He wishes.

"And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."  (1 John 5 : 14).

"I am your Mother of Perpetual Help and I am the Mediatrix of all graces for my dear children. My eyes of mercy are turned toward you. My Heart is open to you. My hands are ever raised in prayer for you, or open over you to shower abundant graces upon you and upon those for whom you pray." (IN SINU JESU, Monday, December 10, 2007).

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Friday, January 14, 2022

I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

"Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus." (Mark 2: 13... 17).

Saturday 15th January 2022, in the first Week in Ordinary Time.  Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Gospel of today is the amazing Call of Levi also known as Matthew to the Apostolic ministry. We read:
"While he [Jesus] was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him."  (Mark 2: 15).

Some scribes who were Pharisees became scandalized when they saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors.

Jesus heard their murmuring and said to them: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  (Mark 2:  16 - 17).

Matthew 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).

What do you think?
#1. The Church is a 5-star hotel for saints.
#2. The Church is a hospital for sinners.

Let us consider a few Scriptures on  Mercy in the word of God:

" For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."  (Hosea 6: 6).

"Blessed are the merciful: for  they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5: 7).

"But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’  you would not have condemned the guiltless." (Matthew 12: 7).

The word Mercy is found in the Bible countless times.  Abba Father Himself is described as the "Father of mercy and God of all consolation."  (2 Corinthians 1: 3).  

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we find abundant mercy waiting for everyone.  To receive mercy is as simple as ABC:
+Ask for Mercy.
+Be Merciful.
+Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Jesus delights in sinners because sinners give Him the opportunity to show off His mercy. Why did Jesus institute the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion? The Divine Mercy Devotion? Jesus delights in mercy.

"My apostles wanted for nothing so long as I was with them.  In having Me in their midst, they had the very Source and Creator of all that is, that was, and that ever will be. You have Me close to you. I am here before you in the Sacrament of My love. Remain with Me for My sake; I will provide for you." (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, February 3, 2009).

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Son of Man has power to forgive sins.

"Many gathered together [to hear Jesus] so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying." (Mark 2: 1....12).

"The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth." (Cf Mark 2: 10).

Friday 14th January 2022, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

Is it easier to heal the body or the soul?

How do you reckon with sin?
"She [Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mary's Son will be named Jesus (Yeshua, that is Savior) because He will save His people [us] from sin.

In our key Scripture for today, we see Jesus answer the challenge of the lawyers as to His power to forgive sin. The background of the story is the crippled man lowered from the ceiling to the presence of Jesus. Jesus could have commanded the man to stand up and go home. But instead He said: “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2: 5).
Why did Jesus do this? Perhaps to teach that there is a connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

The doctors of the law who challenged Jesus believe that the authority to forgive sins belongs to God alone. Jesus answered them by saying: I will prove to you that as Messiah, I can forgive sins by healing this crippled man. “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”  He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone." (Mark 2: 11 - 12). Jesus dealt first with the root and source of illness.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world knows more than anyone the intricate connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

Every Sunday, we repeat in the Creed:
"I believe in the forgiveness of sins."
There is no salvation without the elimination of sin. Sin is the one cancer that blocks the benefits of salvation in our lives. When Jesus appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room after His Resurrection, He first said to them: "Peace be with you." Then He said: "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20: 23). Thus Jesus gave us the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confession or Penance.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Feast of St Hilary Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean." (Mark 1 :40....45).

Thursday 13th of January 2022, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Hilary Poitiers. (315 - 368). French. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Why is France called the eldest daughter of the Church? Look at the dates of St Hilary and you will see why. Before 315 AD, the Church hierarchy already existed in France.

Hilary is remembered in history especially for these reasons:
#1. Hilary helped us understand and profess
the Divinity of Jesus Christ. This is contained in the Nicene Creed.
#2.  He worked to undermine the Arian heresy which had plagued the Church for a long time.
#3. Hilary developed an authoritative doctrine on the Holy Trinity.
#4. He helped the Church understand the deeper significance of the Incarnation.

Hilary understood that bad theology inevitably leads to heresy. The bad theology of  Luther, Calvin, Zwingli led to the unnecessary fragmentation of the Church. They created a version of Christianity where freedom of choice seems to be the operating principle. "I choose what to believe. I choose my pastor. I choose my denomination. I choose what to do with my body. I choose what to do with my money, etc, etc ad infinitum).

Let us pray through the intercession of St Hilary Poitiers to learn the truths of our faith and express it in gentleness and works of charity.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The three habits of Prayer of Jesus.

"On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.....

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." (Mark 1: 29.... 39).

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, first Week of Ordinary Time.

In today's Gospel, we see Jesus heal Peter's mother-in-law.  After sunset on the same day, Jesus went on a healing spree: casting out demons and healing many with various diseases.

Our key Scripture for today reveals something of the habit and prayer life  of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus taught a great deal about Prayer. He called Prayer a vital necessity. Jesus taught us to pray with expectant faith, with persistence and humility. Prayer is key to the life of faith.  Here is the ABC of the life of Prayer of Jesus:

#A. Prayer is a priority for Jesus and not an after thought. He connects with His heavenly Father through prayer. We connect with Jesus through prayer.

"Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." (Mark 1: 35).  Jesus preferred to pray early in the morning.
#B. No prayer, no power for Ministry. Jesus worked in the power of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is the Activator of this Power.
#3. Jesus prayed in a solitary place. Other translations describe the place as: a desert place, a secluded place, a lonely spot, a place where He could be alone, a place in the wilderness, etc.

Spiritual writers write about the 3 S of Prayer:
#1. Sacred Place: We see this in today's Gospel: Deserted place.
#2. Sacred Time: We also see this in Mark's narrative. While everyone is snoozing, Jesus slipped out of the house to seek solitude in prayer very early before dawn.
#3. Sacred Intention: The intention is always the same. Communion with the Father.

To pray like Jesus, we must realize that Prayer is a sacrifice we must be willing to make. This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls Prayer a battle. The devil wages an intense war to dissuade us from Prayer.  (CCC 2725). St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church writes that if you pray, you are saved. If you do not pray, you are lost.

"Your prayer pleases Me. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit in you. The Holy Spirit facilitates the conversation with Me that is the expression of our friendship. Those who draw near to Me with confidence and simplicity, seeking My Face and longing for the warmth of the fire that blazes in My Heart—they are led and moved by the Holy Spirit."  (IN SINU JESU, Sunday, December 9, 2007)

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Monday, January 10, 2022

Jesus taught with amazing authority.

"Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes." (Mark 1: 21... 28).

The people of Nazareth noticed something exceptional about Jesus the first time He walked into the synagogue as a public figure, a Rabbi.  Their eyes were transfixed on Him as He applied Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah to Himself.

On another Sabbath, Jesus "entered the synagogue and taught.  The people were astonished at his teaching, "for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes."  (Mark 1: 21 - 22).  On this occasion, Jesus cast out the demon from a man possessed by an unclean spirit which made the people exclaim: “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”

Jesus taught with the authority of Moses and all the prophets combined plus something different: "A new teaching with authority."  (Mark 1: 27). The people did not fail to notice His authority. "It is said [in the law] but I teach this..."

Jesus taught with authority during His public ministry.  He is still teaching  with authority today through the Church.  It is ridiculous  to imagine that Jesus founded a Church without giving the Church real authority to teach.  "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”  (Luke 10: 16).

The name of this authority  is the Magisterium.  It comes from the Latin word magister, which means "teacher."  The divine teaching role of the Church stands on 3-legged stool:
#1  Sacred Scriptures
#2  Sacred Tradition
#3  Magisterium

Like the 3-legged stool, each of the legs need each other to support the superstructure.  The teachings of the Magisterium cannot contradict Sacred Scriptures or Sacred Tradition and vice-versa.

Thank You Jesus for making Your Church "the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Timothy 3: 15).

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Sunday, January 09, 2022

Come follow Me. I will teach you to be Fisher of men.

"After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1: 14... 20).

Monday 10th January 2022, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture this first day of Ordinary Time appeals deeply to me. Why? I love the concept "Fullness of time."  My favorite themes in Sacred Scripture are: Divine Providence, Destiny, Prayer and Mission. In God's loving Providence, nothing happens until the fullness of time. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1). In the fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11).  You think that God is very slow in fulfilling His promises? God answers: "In the fullness of time I shall move fast." (Isaiah 60: 22). Jesus asks us to trust His timing of ALL THINGS.

Jesus says to us in today's message:  This is your Kairos moment, that is, the fullness of time moment for you to hear and act on His word. The time is up. So listen carefully.

“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” (Mark 1: 15 TPT).

After Jesus made this critical proclamation, he called those who will help Him in proclaim the Good News. To Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, He said:  “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1: 17). Jesus recruited James and his brother John with the same promise. We see from this that the proclamation of the imminence and urgency of the kingdom of God is the primary duty of all Gospel workers.

Jesus is still passing by. He is still calling. He has tremendous good news to share. For example:

#1. "I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10).

#2. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Romans 10: 14-15).

How beautiful are the feet of those who respond to the invitation of Jesus to be fishers of men. Do not be anxious for a moment about your qualification. Jesus qualifies everyone He calls as He qualified Peter.

"Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2: 38).

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