Saturday, September 03, 2022

Do not be afraid of the cost of discipleship.


"Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

"Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?

"Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’

"Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?

"But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14: 25..... 33).

Sunday September 4th of the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

When you embark on a new project: building a home, a new career, moving to a new city, volunteering for a new ministry, etc. Rule #1 is sit down and count the cost. This will save you embarrassment and mockery from friends, family and neighbors. "This fellow started something he is unable to complete. He is foolish."

How then can we escape such a fate? The answer is in the first Reading for today:

"Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans. For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns. .... Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your Holy Spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight." (Wisdom 9: 13.... 18).

To make good decisions, you need wisdom. Wisdom is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Solomon asked for wisdom rather than wealth, health and power. God answered him: "Here and now, I give you what you ask for." God added: And for what you did not ask for, I grant them to you in abundance!

The greatest wisdom is to know the shortcut to peace and prosperity:
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the rest will be given you."

If you are unwilling to renounce all your possessions to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, not only can you not be a disciple of Jesus Christ but you will be like the man who started a building he can never complete.

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Friday, September 02, 2022

Feast of Pope St Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church.


“While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.

Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”

"Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”

"Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.” (Luke 6: 1 - 5).

Saturday September 3rd 2022 of the 22nd week of Ordinary Time is the the Feast of St Gregory the Great. It is also First Saturday in September.

We honor today the Servant of the Servants of God, St Gregory the Great. (540 - 604). Pope and Doctor of the Church.  When God chose and anointed David, He exclaimed with delight: "I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong." (Psalm 89: 21 - 22). This Scripture can be applied to Pope Gregory the Great. Gregory was the David of his days.

St. Gregory the Great was called from the City Hall where he was the Mayor of Rome to be fisher of men. He left everything and followed Jesus.
He used his wealth to found six monasteries before he was elected Pope. He is noted in history for instituting liturgical reforms and initiating missionary endeavors. It was due to St Gregory that missionaries were first sent to England.

"Meditate daily on the words of your Creator.  Learn the Heart of God in the words of God, that your soul may be enkindled with greater longing for heavenly joys." One of the many wise sayings of St Gregory the Great. 

How do you spend your time on Sunday? The answer should be Praise and Worship and relaxation and napping and reading, etc. The Lord of the Sabbath would approve this plan for Sunday.

"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy." (Exodus 20: 8). The command to set apart the Sabbath is very important as seen from the way it is treated in Sacred Scriptures. It is the exaggerated concern for the obligation and sanctity of the Sabbath Rest that gave rise to hundreds of minutiae rules concerning the basic command to keep holy the Lord's Day.

Throughout the Christian history, the Magisterium of the Church has not only expounded on the sacred character of the Sabbath but has taught that the Sabbath was instituted for the enjoyment of the People of God. It is a day of Worship of God and Rest.

Sunday must be a day of rest for the whole family from the hustle and bustle involved in making a living. It is a day to enjoy the parks, watch Christian movies. It is a day to visit the sick in the hospital.

The Sabbath Rest is a Rehearsal for Eternal life. One day, there will be no work. By obeying the law of the Sabbath, you build up your faith in this promise of God. God plans to redeem man and creation from the present servitude.

It is more enjoyable to keep holy the Lord's Day than to do anything unlawful on the Sabbath Rest.

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Thursday, September 01, 2022

Fasting Repels Temptations.


"The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” (Luke 5: 33.... 39).

Friday 2nd September 2022 of the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time is also First Friday of September.

The Gospel of today deals with fasting. Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving are the 3 pillars of Christian spiritual life.
Do you fast? How often? What do you fast from?

On the three pillars of the spiritual life, the Church teaches:

CCC 1434: "The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: efforts at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”

As for the concern of the scribes and the Pharisees with regard to the fasting and prayers of Jesus and His disciples, Jesus has a short answer for His challengers:
"New wine must be poured into fresh wineskins." (Luke 5: 38). Meaning: Open your eyes and see. I am doing New Things!

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life." (John 8: 12)

Some Christians abstain from meat and alcohol on Friday and Wednesday. Others abstain also from television, movies and gambling. Fasting and abstinence are not options for a Christian. They are signs of a mature faith.

"The prayer of adoration at night has the power and efficacy of that prayer made with fasting that I recommended to My apostles as the means of expelling demons from the souls whom they torture and oppress. For this reason, the demons fear and hate adoration made at night, while the angels rejoice over it, and place themselves at the service of the soul who desires to do it." (IN SINU JESU page 240).

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion.

September 2, 2022 - First Friday of September.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Jesus made through St Margaret Mary Alacoque to all who honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month. In the 9th month of the year 2022, we look at Promise #9.

#9.  "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

Jesus Christ is proud of His human heritage. He wants His brethren to be reminded of this.  So Jesus mandated His image to be rendered by an artist for the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy devotions. The Church approved these devotions and images.

Do you have an image or statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a prominent place in your home?
The 9th Promise is a very easy condition to fulfill.  Buy the Sacred Heart of Jesus picture or statue from a Catholic Bookstore or Amazon and place it in a prominent place in your home.  You can also print an image of the Sacred Heart off the Internet or this website. Then tell Jesus: "Bless my home as You promised, Jesus".

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacred Heart devotional prayers and prayer intentions click the link below:

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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

From now you will be a fisher of men.


"While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.

"Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

"After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water [Duc in Altum] and lower your nets for a catch.”

"Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.

"They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking.

"When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

"For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon.

"Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

"When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him."  (Luke 5: 1... 11).

Thursday 1st September 2022 of the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time.

Our Scripture today is one of my favorites. Duc in Altum as St John Paul II like to call it. "Put out into the Deep" is the call of Jesus to follow Him into Deeper Waters.

My friend, may be the time for the Next & More Step in your life. Or perhaps in your ministry. Are you ready for the ride?

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Peter obeyed the command which seemingly did not make sense to an experienced fisherman. When Mary heard similar words from the Angel Gabriel, she answered: "Be it done to me according to Your Plan."

Do you remember Mary's counsel to the stewards in the Marriage Feast at Cana? "Do whatever He tells you." They did what Jesus told them and water was made into high quality wine.

Note that in this miracle, Peter, James and John recognized that a miracle has occurred. "For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon." Recognition of God's intervention in history is a sign of faith.

Our faith is expressed in obedience. Peter exercised obedience of faith and a big miracle took place. He fished all night and caught nothing. But at the words of Jesus, Peter was willing to try again. He took a second chance. Peter showed a disposition for obedience of faith. Is this why Jesus tapped him for leadership in the Church?

When God speaks His word to you through the Scriptures, locution, inspiration, prophetic individual and you do not respond with obedient action, what is wrong? Perhaps you think it is not worth the trouble trying a second chance. Our God is the Father of Second Chances.

When Peter responded in faith, he received his calling.
“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him."

Some saints who responded to Jesus and put out in Deep Water:
Maximilian Kolbe, Mother St Teresa of Kolkata, Mother Angelica of EWTN, Father Albert Lauer of Presentation Ministries, Maria Faustina of the Divine Mercy and many others.
Jesus is calling everyone of us to intimate friendship with Him in the great adventure of Evangelization.

"Priests and religious who are tempted to follow a false philosophy of activism, pragmatism, and utilitarianism, or who waste their time on entertainments and distractions, will suffer God’s loving judgments. He will make bitter their false delights, destroy their enterprises, and weaken the efficacy of their work in order to wake them up to their calling of intimate friendship with Him as the source of happiness and the condition for all fruitfulness." (IN SINU JESU page 266).

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

They interceded with Jesus to heal Simon's mother-in-law.


"After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.

"At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ." (Luke 4: 38...44).

Wednesday August 31st of the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time.

Simon Peter, his family and other disciples interceded with Jesus to heal his mother-in-law. Jesus stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.

Why do we not intercede more often with Jesus to heal our loved ones and friends?

On the same day at sunset, "all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ."

Some of the sick Jesus healed include demon possessed people. Jesus cast out the demons. When was the last time you interceded with Jesus with expectant faith to heal physical, spiritual, emotional or financial maladies of a loved one or friend?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

"I am Jesus. Mine it is to save, to heal, to vivify, and to make lovely in the sight of My Father the souls that consent to the operations of My mercy and to the secret action of the Holy Spirit. When you speak to My priests, remind them of the power and efficacy of a single act of confidence in My merciful love. Confidence opens the door to all the treasures of My kingdom. To one who has confidence in My merciful love, I can refuse nothing." (IN SINU JESU page 105).

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Monday, August 29, 2022

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Mission and Power.


"Jesus went down to Caper­naum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority.

"In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

"Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”

"Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.

"They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region."
(Luke 4:31-37).

Tuesday 30th August 2022 of the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time.

In today's Gospel, Jesus came face to face with a demoniac. Yesterday I started a book called THE SAINTS THAT BATTLED SATAN. Some of the saints in this study are: Anthony the Abbot, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Benedict, John of Vianney, Martin de Poress and others. I was depressed yesterday as a result of reading stories after stories of endless struggles with the powers of darkness. Today I am filled with consolation as I realized that this is a necessary knowledge for every true disciple of Jesus. Whether you like it or not, you cannot escape your own spiritual combats.

"Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
"Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm."

The people were amazed that with a word of authority, Jesus expelled the devil from the man.

What is authority? Authority means power.  Listen to Jesus in the promise of the Gift of the Father in Acts 1: 8. "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes."
Only then can you bear witness to Me and do My work. The Holy Spirit power is critical to witnessing and evangelization. Witnessing and evangelization involves spiritual warfare.

The Holy Spirit is therefore the Spirit of power above every other attribute He has. The miracles of Jesus which are the works of Jesus like in the Gospel of today are works of authority or power. The words of Jesus in the Gospel are words of authority or power. The words or sayings of Jesus are authoritative. That means they produce at once what they say.

The miracle itself or works of wonders clarify the words of Jesus. In Jesus, words and actions form a mysterious unity.  "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19: 10). Whatever Jesus says must happen!

We the Baptized do not have the spirit of fear. Many of us act in fear as if possessed by the spirit of fear. In Baptism, we receive the Spirit of power. This is the Spirit that marks the children of God the Father and not the spirit of cowardice, which is evil and impure spirit.

"Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake. He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us." (St Bede the Venerable).

How then do we activate the Holy Spirit in our lives? Faith acting through Prayer is the Activator of the Holy Spirit. Mary says: "I believe what you have told me. Now let it be done to me according to your promise." (Cf Luke 1: 37 - 38).
Following this declaration of Mary, Jesus became instantly incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus says in IN SINU JESU:
"Be faithful to her Rosary. It is the shield and sword of spiritual combat. It assures your victory over the powers of darkness. Why? Because it is a humble prayer, a prayer that binds the soul who prays it to the victory of My Mother over the ancient serpent." (IN SINU JESU page 59).

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Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.


"Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

"Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.

"She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.

"The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,“I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” (Mark 6: 17.....29).

Monday 29th August 2022 of the  22nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

Who is St John the Baptist?

John is the son of Zachary and Elizabeth. When Mary visited Elizabeth, John  leapt in her mother's womb in recognition of Jesus. When he came of age, he retired to the desert to prepare for his exacting ministry. In the fullness of time, he came to the River Jordan and began preaching and baptizing people for repentance in preparation for the ministry of Jesus Christ. It was here that he condemned the adulterous life of King Herod. Herodias, the concubine of Herod took revenge on the Baptist and demanded his death when a good opportunity presented itself.

John's martyrdom is a cause of joy and hope for Christians. John died about the age of 32. Was his life in vain? Of course not. You think of the hundreds of martyrs that the Church honors every year. We honor them to remind everyone that Heaven is real for the faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Hell is also real for those who reject Jesus completely.

If someone asks you:
How do you know that Heaven is real? Your answer could be among others: Look at the martyrs. Intelligent and beautiful men and women! Could they have thrown away the only life they had for nothing? Think of all the Apostles and Saints:  Cecilia, Agatha, Thomas More, Lawrence, Edmond Campion, Paul Miki, Miguel Pro, Maximilian Kolbe and others.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28)

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