Saturday, December 10, 2022

John the Baptist is the greatest prophet.

“He must increase; I must decrease.” (St John the Baptist).

“When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

"Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

"As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:

"Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.

"Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11: 2 - 11).

Sunday 11th December of the 3rd Week of Advent. Gaudate - Rejoice Sunday!

In today's Gospel, the disciples of the Baptist asked Jesus:
Are you Jesus the Messiah or who are you in fact?
The way Jesus answers the question gives us an insight on how to think about ourselves as disciples of Jesus.

Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

Jesus queried the disciples of John the Baptist:
What have you noticed about Me?
What do I do from day to day?
What do you hear me say?
What type of people hang out with Me?

Let us put the answer of Jesus in a little lullaby:
If you bark, you are a dog.
If you sing, you are a mockingbird.
If you fly, you are an eagle.

Jesus told His adversaries: If you do not believe that I am the Messiah, check out what I do and say and be honest and believe that I am the Genuine Article. By your fruits, you shall be known.

Friends, what do you do to show that you are a follower of Jesus? How would your non-Christian neighbor suspect that you are a Christian? By the fruits you manifest, you will show who you are. The fruits are the fruits the Holy Spirit produces in us:
Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control and Chastity.

Before you think this is impossible, note well that it is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit to produce these fruits in us. Jesus said: Without Me, you can do absolutely nothing. (Cf John 15: 5).

Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard.

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Friday, December 09, 2022

Feast of Our Lady of Loreto.

"Litany of Loreto,
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
Etc." (The Litany of Loreto has been in use in the Church since the 15th Century under Pope St Pius V).

“As they were coming down from the mountain, the ­disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”

"He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.

"So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.  (Matthew 17: 11 - 12).

Saturday 10th December 2022 of the 2nd Week of Advent is the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto.
What is Loreto? According to tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived, born and raised in the Holy House of Loreto. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary in Loreto. This is how Loreto became a Holy House of Prayer.

The House of Loreto which was completed in the 16th century became a famous pilgrimage site. All the three recent popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have all made pilgrimages to the Holy House of Loreto.

Elijah the great prophet is the subject of the first Reading and the Gospel of today. Elijah came back in the persona of John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight His paths. There is a striking similarity between Elijah and John the Baptist. Both messianic prophets called for repentance.

People did not recognize the hour or the opportunity John the Baptist represented.  Although he appeared like a fire whose words were as a flaming furnace, yet people took little notice. The noise in the world was too loud and impenetrable for the message of salvation to get through.

In less than fourteen days, we shall be in the season of Christmas and the Season of Advent with its opportunities and graces will be over. Arise from your sleep.  Do not allow Christmas shopping and any other frenzied activities to obscure the true meaning of the Season.

The Lord is surely coming in splendor to visit His people. Prepare to welcome Him.

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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Feast of St Juan Diego, Apostle of Mexico.

“Let not your heart be disturbed… Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.” (Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego).

"Jesus said to the crowds:

“To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matthew 11: 16 - 19).

Friday 9th December 2022 of the 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Juan Diego. (1474 - 1548). Mexican. Hermit and visionary. Our Blessed Mother appeared to this humble and simple Mexican Indian and used him to transform the nation of the Aztecs. "Behold the humble maid servant of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Your promise." God can use you and me to accomplish great things in the world. All He needs is humility and faith.

When Jesus compares us to little children in the marketplace who refuse to play the game according to rules, what is He saying? If you want to be an adult Christian, you must learn one truth and abide by it. Nobody can please the world. The world has no gold standard. It has rather arbitrary rules strung together to satisfy their selfish whims. The world controls people through Opinion Polls. Many people are terrified of adverse opinions from their neighbors, peers and from the public.

Jesus did not care what people think about Him. His greatest desire is to do the will of His Father. In His teaching in today's Gospel, Jesus is not theoretical. He gives examples:

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matthew 11: 18 - 19).

"Be on your guard, then, and be prudent, but without fear, because I am your Mother and, just as I said to my beloved little son Juan Diego, I hold you beneath my protecting mantle, in the crossing of my arms, close, very close to my Immaculate Heart. Trust in my protection. Yes, I am your Mother of Perpetual Help, ever ready to come to your rescue, ever ready to provide for your needs, to deliver you from danger, and to console you in sorrow. Approach me with childlike confidence and you will never be disappointed." (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, December 9, 2008).

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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

“The Immaculate Conception shines like a beacon of light for humanity in all the ages. At the beginning of the third millennium, it guides us to believe and hope in God, in his salvation and in eternal life. In particular, it lights the way of the Church, which is committed to the new evangelization.”  (Pope John Paul II on Dec 8).

"And coming to her, he [the Archangel] said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus."  (Luke 1: 26-
.... 38).

Thursday 8th December 2022 of the 2nd Week of Advent is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is the patronal feast of the United States of America. It is a holy Day of Obligation. Honor our Divine Mother by attending Holy Mass on her very special Feast Day.

What is the Immaculate Conception and why does it matter?  In the first Reading today from Genesis, God said to the Serpent: "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." (Genesis 3: 15). This is the promise of our Redemption after the fall of Adam and Eve. God chose Mary before the foundation of the world and prepared her to be the sinless Mother of His Son. God preserved the Blessed Virgin Mary from original sin by virtue of the Death of her Son, Jesus the Christ which God foresaw.

Only a pure Vessel can hold a pure God. Why does this matter? Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man. Although Mary is 100% human, it is absolute necessity that the Mother of the Redeemer be not tainted with the least sin.

Mary's generosity in giving her Yes made the Incarnation possible.
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38).

The total faith and surrender that Mary displayed here is rewarded by God's special revelation to Mary:

"For nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1: 37).
Let this words nourish our faith today and always. When you are afraid, when you worry, when you are tempted to doubt God's power and promises, redouble your trust in God and remember that nothing will be impossible for God.

"Honour My Mother in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception. This is a mystery full of grace and of light for those who ponder it. It is the remedy for many of the ills that afflict My priests and poison their souls. Invoke My Mother conceived without sin and she will communicate to you something of the purity and brightness of her all-holy and immaculate Heart." (IN SINU JESU, November 29, 2008 After First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent).

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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Feast of St Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"A good youth ought to have a fear of God, to be subject to his parents, to give honor to his elders, to preserve his purity; he ought not to despise humility, but should love forbearance and modesty. All these are an ornament to youthful years." (St Ambrose of Milan).

"To whom can you liken me as an equal? says the Holy One.

"Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them, calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!

"Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

"Do you not know
or have you not heard?

"The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.

"He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.

"Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall,

"They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
"They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint. (Isaiah 40: 25 -31).

Wednesday December 7th 2022 of the 2nd week of Advent is the feast of St Ambrose (340 - 397). Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Ambrose was still unbaptized and mayor of the imperial city of Milan when he was elected the Bishop of Milan. Aided by the Holy Spirit, Ambrose quickly rose to the challenges of his calling. God gave him the courage of an apostle and made him an outstanding teacher in the Church. He was famous for his care of the poor and his apostolic zeal and opposition to the Arian heresy which was the scourge of the Church in the 4th and 5th century. St Ambrose converted and baptized St Augustine.

The first Reading from Isaiah 40: 25 - 31 is one of the sweetest and most encouraging words in Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures say everywhere that it is good to wait for the Lord. This is the core message for us today.

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Do you wait for the Lord for anything? Health, family well-being, a new life, financial peace, job, a new car, home? You should find much comfort in today's word of God. Do you know that nothing happens on earth unless God okays the event? Do you know that for everything, God has assigned a particular time for it? If God permits you to be sick, lose your husband or job, it is for the best purpose for you. This is because ALL THINGS work out for good for those who love God. (Cf Romans 8: 28). Since nothing can happen without God willing it, it is impossible for God to will what is evil unless He plans to draw greater good from it.

"Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you....
Neither in my youth, nor now in old age have I seen the righteous one abandoned or his offspring begging for bread.
All day long he is gracious and lends, and his offspring become a blessing. (Psalms 27: 14, 37: 25 - 2y).

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Monday, December 05, 2022

Feast of St Nicholas, Bishop.

"The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic Gods giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves."  (St. Nicholas of Myra).

"Jesus said to his disciples:

“What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.

"In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”  (Matthew 18: 12 - 14).

Tuesday 6th December 2022 of the 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Nicholas (270 - 349 ). St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in present day Turkey. He was one of the 318 Bishops at the Council of Nicaea and signed the famous document, the Nicene Creed.
His anonymous gift-giving around Christmas to the poor and destitute could not be secret for long. This custom became a tradition around the Feast of St Nicholas and today Santa Claus is a favorite feast of children in many countries of the world.

The Lord puts before us the parable of the Lost and Found Sheep. How do you feel when you lose or misplace something valuable? I do not consider myself a miser. I confess that I embarrass myself how diligently I search for something until I find it. Or I am forced to stop searching because the search has become absurd and ridiculous.

Friends, I call the Gospel of today the Power of One. You may not believe it, our God cares a lot about details. One sheep, one coin, one little child. The world does not waste time on details. They are only interested in the arithmetic of large numbers: millions, billions, etc.

I still regret the years when I apply this arithmetic to my ministry. Write, teach only to large groups. I am deeply impressed that in many parishes where I have attended week day Mass, sometimes only a handful of people are present. Yet the priest celebrates the Eucharist and preaches with gusto. This makes me remember:

"In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

"Paris is worth a Mass," so the saying goes. If bringing home one lost sheep causes rejoicing in Heaven, God forbid that I will deny Heaven such a joy!

"My Heart is moved to pity for this little flock and My love is stirred to help them according to the desires that I have placed deep within them." (IN SINU JESU, Friday, February 8, 2008 At D., Ireland).

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Sunday, December 04, 2022

My friend, your sins are forgiven you.

"My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light."
(#1725:  St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul).

"One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.

"And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus.

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

"Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?”

"Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

"He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.” (Luke 5: 17 - 20).

Monday 5th December 2022 of the 2nd Week of Advent.

Our key Scripture for today has one fascinating line for me.
"The power of the Lord was with him for healing.... When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Two things are linked in a cause and effect manner. Faith provokes the power to heal, the power to unleash miracles.

Look at this incidence in Acts of the Apostles:
"At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked.  He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him, saw that he had the faith to be healed,  and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.” He jumped up and began to walk about." (Acts 14: 8 - 10).

We see clearly that faith in the subject unleashes the power of miracle in the agent. Whether the Agent is Jesus, God, St Paul or any Christian. We conclude: No faith, no miracle.

Advent is a time of preparation. We prepare to meet the Lord by making sure our house is as clean as possible. How? Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Do you believe in the power of God to heal through the Sacrament of Penance? I am a prime witness. Jesus healed me instantly from demonic oppression from alcohol through the Sacrament of Penance. He can heal anyone from anything if you demonstrate faith. Advent and Lent are the seasons of favor. The appointed time to come to Jesus and ask and you shall receive. Forget your foolish pride. Come to Jesus and be healed.

"I want you to go to confession weekly. This is necessary for the health of your soul and even of your body. You will experience the benefits of My merciful pardon and the saving power of My precious Blood. Prepare your confessions well. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and repent of the sins that He will show you. The work to which I have called you requires a great delicacy of conscience and an uncompromising purity of heart." (IN SINU Thursday, July 31, 2008 Saint Ignatius of Loyola).

To see an example of Examination of Conscience which you can use, click the link below. Permission is granted for printing anything you like on the website:

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