Saturday, September 24, 2022

Lazarus and the Rich man.


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.

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Friday, September 23, 2022

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin on Saturday


"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).

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Thursday, September 22, 2022

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


"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).

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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.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.


"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).

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Monday, September 19, 2022

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


"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."

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Sunday, September 18, 2022

Feast of St Januarius, Bishop and Martyr.


"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).

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