Saturday, October 29, 2022

Zacchaeus is irresistibly drawn to Jesus.

Zacchaeus succumbed to the charm of Jesus.

“At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.

"Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.

"So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

"When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

And Zacchaeus came down quickly and received him with joy.

"When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”

"But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”

"And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19: 1 - 10).

Sunday 30th October of the 31st week of Ordinary Time.

Zacchaeus experiences the irresistible power of the Presence of Jesus. Result: Instant and profound conversion. What do you think of the encounter of Jesus with Zacchaeus in Jericho? Accident or Providence? Accident, chance, coincidence are not part of Bible vocabulary or worldview. In the Scriptures, the teaching of the Church and the Church Fathers, everything is Providence.
It is therefore interesting to note that Zacchaeus was ready for this moment. Abraham was ready when God called. David was ready. Mary was ready when Archangel Gabriel came knocking. Are you ready now if Jesus is passing by your house?

Many thieves and fraudsters who are caught red handed try to negotiate the terms of the settlement. Not Zacchaeus. His attitude is: Lord, I give up everything to be a part of You and Your Enterprise.

Taking a cue from the conversion of Zacchaeus, the Church teaches:
"Jesus calls to conversion. This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."......... It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life." (CCC 1427).

"But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook sins for the sake of repentance." (Wisdom 11: 23).

I will praise Your name forever my King and my God.

10. 30 "As for you, dear brother, beloved friend, and priest of My Heart, attach yourself firmly to My Mother by means of her Rosary, and she will never forsake you. Call upon her in every need of yours, great or small, of soul or of body, and you will understand that she is in truth your Mother of Perpetual Help." (IN SINU JESU).

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Friday, October 28, 2022

The Proud and the Arrogant may be illegal citizens of the Kingdom of God.


"On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.

"He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,

"‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.

"Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say,

"‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 14: 1, 7 - 11).

Saturday 29th October 2022 of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time.

In our Gospel of today, Jesus is in a dinner party and the principal guests recognized Him and were observing Him to see what He would do or say. Jesus was observing their manners too.

The crowd justled to get prominent places in order to show who is who. Jesus did not pass the opportunity to teach about social manners and humility. He teaches here that humility is a prudent virtue that will serve us well even in social life.

Humility is a key spiritual virtue to possess. St Augustine says that while you can enter the Kingdom of God without some other virtues, you can never enter Heaven without humility.

Here is my definition of humility by example: Who do you consider the most humble person in Heaven? Here are my top five:

+ Jesus Christ.
+ The Blessed Virgin Mary.
+ St Martin de Poress.
+ St Andre Bessette. 
+ St Mother Teresa of Kolkata.

The saints model for us the best practice of the Gospel. If you imitate the saints, you will not be wrong.

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

"You, My priest adorer, will live in silence and humility, attentive to the sound of My voice and obedient to whatsoever I will say to you. Submit to the discernment of those whom I have set over you, and in all things prefer the mind and sentiments of the Church to your own thoughts and attractions." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, August 7, 2008).

10. 29  "The Rosary will preserve you in purity, in humility, and in all the virtues pleasing to My Mother’s Immaculate Heart and My own Heart." (IN SINU JESU).

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Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles.

"I would make My priests resplendent with holiness. I would impart to their tongues and to their hands the very graces that I poured out upon My Apostles in the beginnings of My Church." (IN SINU JESU).

"Jesus went up 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."  (Luke 6: 12  - 16).

Friday 28th October 2022 of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of Saints Simon and Jude. They are among the 12 Apostles chosen by Jesus in today's Gospel.  "Tradition has it that they preached in Mesopotamia and Persia and there were martyred." (Roman Missal). St Jude is a very popular Saint. He is the patron saint of lost and impossible causes.

Jesus built His worldwide Church on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. Each year, we celebrate the glory of Saints Simon and Jude and the other Apostles. Why do we not celebrate the glory of Caesar, King Henry VIII, Napoleon, Churchill or Stalin?
The message of the Apostles still goes out throughout the world.

It is the mind of Christ that the Church He founded be built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. What are the characteristics of this Church by which she can be recognized all over the world? There are four marks. We profess every Sunday in the Apostles' Creed that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. What do these words mean?
#1 One:  One faith, one Baptism, one Shepherd.
#2 Holy: The Holy Spirit that indwells the Church is the source of her holiness. The Holy Spirit continually cleanses the Bride of Christ from defilements.
#3 Catholic:  Universal. Found in all the countries of the United Nations and every other place of human habitation.
#4 Apostolic:  Every Bishop is directly traceable to the original 12 Apostles who were constituted in today's Gospel. Many Bishops would have their lines run through Saints Simon and Jude, our saints of today.

"Simon and Jude are the holy men
whom the Lord chose in his own perfect love; to them he gave eternal glory." (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

10. 28 "As for you, dear son of mine, persevere in praying to me. Hold fast to my Rosary and beware of every ploy of the Evil One to separate you from it. My Rosary is your safeguard and your weapon in the fight against the forces of evil. At the same time, for you it is a remedy and a comfort. Do you not see how the Rosary has stabilized you? Do you not experience its healing and all its benefits? Pray my Rosary and teach others to do the same." (IN SINU JESU).

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The armor of God is far more powerful to dismantle all the nuclear weapons.

“O sinner, be not discouraged, but have recourse to Mary in all your necessities. Call her to your assistance, for such is the divine Will that she should help in every kind of necessity.”
“As the sun surpasses all the stars in lustre, so the sorrows of Mary surpass all the tortures of the martyrs.” (St. Basil the Great).

"Brothers and sisters: Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.

"Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.

"For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.

"Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.

"So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace.

"In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

"With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all ­perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must. (Ephesians 6: 10 -  20)

Thursday 27th October 2022 of 30th Week of Ordinary Time.

Do you realize that we are in covert spiritual warfare? The first Reading today Ephesians 6: 10 - 20 is a call to arms especially  to the brethren who do not know the meaning of the Signs of the Times.

Christians are constantly in spiritual warfare and Jesus our Captain promises: <I Jesus promise to be your strength in proportion to the trust you place in Me.>

Do you doubt the severity of the warfare? The power of darkness is everywhere.  "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Ephesians 6: 12).

Consider a few of the great ones of this world that had been used by the Evil One and then discarded: Judas, Nero, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. These are some of the high priests of Satan. 

In another passage, St Paul elaborates on our weapon:
"For the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments  and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10: 4 - 5).

Our faith is our shield in this warfare. For God promises that His faithful promises are our armor and protection. (Cf Psalm 91: 4).

So brothers and sisters, "Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground." (Ephesians 6: 13).

Thank You Jesus for two special weapons You added to my spiritual armory this year:
1. Renewing my Baptismal Promises every morning.
2. Anointing my body from head to toe with the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. (Both armors take less than 2 minutes to put on).

10. 27 "The rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies." (The 3rd Promise of Mary to Devotees of the Holy Rosary).

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Never Play Games with the Way, the Truth and Life.

Say No to Compromise!

“Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.

"Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”

"He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.

"After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’

"He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

"And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’

"Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’

"And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.

"For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”  (Luke 13: 22 - 30).

Wednesday 26th October of the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

In following Jesus, the choice is clear but challenging for most of us. The narrow door is the Beatitudes, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. This is how Jesus lived and the example "The Way, the Truth and Life" set for us.

For Christians, there is no alternative.  "For many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough."  (Luke 13: 24).
Many will be tempted to compromise and will fall short of the Way.

What does it profit a man to get everything he wants in life but to be confronted with this scenario:
"Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from." (Luke 13: 25).

The regret will be unspeakable.
"And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out."  (Luke 13:  28).

I will rather be last now and enter the kingdom than be first and lost.
"For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”. (Luke 13: 30).

10. 26 “You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.”  (Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche).

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Monday, October 24, 2022

The tiny mustard seed compared to the origin of the Church.

Do not despise small beginnings

“Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’”

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” (Luke 13: 18 - 21).

Tuesday October 25th of the 30th week of Ordinary Time. Why does Jesus compare the Kingdom of God with a mustard seed? To teach future generations of Christians never to despise small beginnings. Everything is created small.

The mustard seed is a very tiny seed and therefore liable to be lost without regret, thrown away without remorse. Jesus gives us the best analogy of the the humble beginning of the Church in the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

After a night of prayer to His Father, Jesus chose, called and anointed 12 Apostles to go and announce the Kingdom of God. Imagine that you were there in the crowd on the day that Jesus appointed Peter, Simon and Jude and others as Apostles. Could you believe that 2000 short years later, this tiny mustard seed will be a family of billions of people spreading out branches throughout the earth?

The Kingdom of God is a mystery. The life inside the tiny mustard seed is a mystery. The tiny spermatozoon is packed with a DNA that is a mystery.

Do not despise the small beginning. Do not thrash the Church and its mysteries because you do not understand them.

The mystery of faith calls for only one response: Belief. When you believe, you stand the chance that you can understand. Believe always comes first.

"Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the Kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Accept the Kingdom of God like a little child.

10. 25  "The Rosary is the glory of the Roman Church.... It takes its place ... after the Mass and the Sacraments." (Pope St John XXIII).

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Sunday, October 23, 2022

Feast of St Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop, Founder and Missionary.

"Behave like God as his very dear children."  (Cf Ephesians 5: 1).

"Brothers and sisters: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

"Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

"Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.

"Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

"Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light." (Ephesians 4: 32 - 5: 8).

Monday 24th October 2022 of the 30th week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Anthony Mary Claret (1807 - 1870). Spanish missionary and Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. He founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians).

St Anthony Mary Claret was no stranger to the type of cruelty inflicted on the poor and marginalized people in most countries of the world. He fought for the rights of these people in Cuba and at the end of his life, he wrote: “I have fulfilled my mission, I have preached the Gospel, I have kept holy poverty.”

Wow! We know that by Baptism, God has adopted us as His children.  But is it part of the Covenant of Baptism to agree to behave like God?  Apparently so.  Today's Gospel on Monday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time shows us how to behave like God and how to behave like the natural man born of flesh.  Read with me:

“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God." (Luke 13: 12 - 13).
Jesus healed a woman crippled for 18 years on the Sabbath in full view of Law Enforcement.
Compassion and courage is behaving like God.

"But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” (Luke 13: 14).
Heartless legalism is behaving like man of flesh.  

Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?" (Luke 13: 15).

Making your interests paramount in every situation is thinking like man. Selfishness.  A fake politician thinks and acts, "I think of whatever concerns me as top priority."

But for Jesus, "This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”(Luke 13: 16).
This is Why the Savior and Redeemer came. And the Sabbath Day is the best day for the work of healing and restoration.

Is it possible to behave like children of God?

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3: 13).

Prayer is the key and efficient cause of blessings.
"Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect: Monday 30th Week in Ordinary Time).

10. 24 “The Rosary is the scourge of the devil” (Pope Adrian VI).

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