Friday, December 23, 2022

Allow the Lord to build for you.


"When King David was settled in his palace, and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
"[David] said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”

"Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind, for the LORD is with you.”

"But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?

“‘It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel.

"I have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;

"I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.

"I will give you rest from all your enemies.

"The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.

"And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm.
"I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever." (2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16).

Saturday 24th December 2022, Mass in the Morning of Christmas Eve.

My brothers and sisters, after listening to the first Reading in today's Liturgy, I believed At Once that I have an inspiration and a message.

God says to David: I chose you. I called you. I anointed you. I will do everything for you.

Do you see what I am seeing?
There are two types of people in the world:
#1. Type one wants to do everything for themselves. Example: I built my company. I built my business, my family. I built America.

#2. Type two wants God to build for them. Type 2 recognize the profound truth of this divine revelation:

"Unless the Lord build the house,
they labor in vain who build.
Unless the Lord guard the city,
in vain does the guard keep watch." (Psalm 127: 1).
It is called A song of ascents. Of Solomon.
Remember that Solomon is the wisest person in the world. Remember too that Solomon built a lot of things. So he knows something about building.

As I get older, I like to lay back and allow the Lord to build everything for me. I pray every morning: O HOLY SPIRIT, I SURRENDER THIS MOMENT AND EVERY MOMENT OF THIS DAY TO YOU. I SURRENDER ALL MY ACTIVITIES TO YOU. TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING.

Since I started saying this prayer in April 2022, I can describe my new life as abundant life.

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Thursday, December 22, 2022

The Feast of St John of Kanty, Priest and Scientist.

"Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause." (St John Kanty).

"When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.

"Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.

"When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.”

"But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.

"He asked for a tablet and wrote,

“John is his name,” and all were amazed.

"Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.

"Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1: 57 - 66).

Friday 23rd December 2022 of the 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St John Kanty. (1390 - 1473). Polish. Kanty is a priest, professor, philosopher, physicist and theologian. What is striking about the life of St John Kanty is that this brilliant and highly educated man spent his entire priestly vocation in the ivory tower. Yet, he had the heart of a pastor of flocks. He seized every opportunity to help his needy students and the poor he encountered.

Our key Scripture for today are the words of the parents of John the Baptist affirming almost with vehemence that the name of their son is John and not something else. But what is in a name?

In ancient Hebrew theology, a name denotes and contains a person, a presence and a power.
No one assigns names to offsprings lightly. The name John means God is gracious. In this child, God promises to be gracious to the world through the birth of a holy Prophet who would herald the birth of His Son Jesus.

As we near the Solemnity of Christmas, we thank God for the life and work of St John the Baptist. We remember too St John Kanty our saint of the day who continue to inspire us by his teaching and exemplary life.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

I prayed for this child and the Lord granted my prayers.

God answers every prayer.
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request." (Hannah - mother of the Prophet Samuel).

"In those days, Hannah brought Samuel with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him at the temple of the Lord in Shiloh.

"After the boy’s father had sacrificed the young bull, Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said: “Pardon, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the Lord.

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request.

"Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.” She left Samuel there. (1 Samuel 1:  26 - 28).

Thursday 22nd December 2022 of the 4th Week of Advent.

This Thursday, our key Scripture is taken from the first Reading (1 Samuel 1: 24 - 28). This is the story of the extraordinary generosity of Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel. We know the story. This is the testimony of Hannah, the mother of Samuel to the high priest Eli.

Hannah is one of my favorite Bible characters. Why?
+ Hannah believes in prayer.
+ She believes in miracle.
+She has an incredible spirit of gratitude.

Hannah was barren. She pleaded with God for a son. At last, the Lord heard Hannah and granted her the little Samuel. When Samuel was 3 years old, Hannah brought Samuel to the Temple of the Lord and dedicated him to the Lord.  Look at the accompanying image in this narrative. The little boy had never seen anyone like the high priest with his huge beard and robed in the high priestly vestment. Little Samuel was frightened and clung tightly to his mother's gown. After the dedication, Hannah went home and left Samuel at the Shrine.

Where have we noticed such extravagant generosity to God in the Bible? We notice it in people who respond to God's Call and Mission AT ONCE. We may call these people the AT ONCE People.

The AT ONCE people hear the Call or Inspiration from God. They respond At Once. No going home to consider it. The Blessed Virgin Mary is an At Once person.  She heard the message from the Archangel Gabriel, she said YES AT ONCE. She learned that Elizabeth was pregnant and the Holy Spirit inspired her to visit Elizabeth. Mary said Yes again At Once.

Other At Once People in the New Testament are: Simeon and Anna who waited for the birth of Jesus for decades. John and James, Peter and Andrew. All these people responded At Once to the Call of God. They marked their response with total dedication and generosity.

The Widow's Mite. (Mark 12:41–44, Luke 21:1–4). This is a story of another big generosity to God.

What are the lessons for us from Hannah's gesture to God?

#1 You can never out do God in generosity.
#2 Do not be afraid to offer all your time, talent and treasure to God.

God raises the needy from the dust; from the dung heap He lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage. (Cf 1 Samuel 2: 8).

"O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!"

"The Virgin Mary, my Mother of Perpetual Help, the Mediatrix of all graces, will look after all the details, even as she did in Saint John’s home when she lived with him." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, October 4, 2007 Saint Francis of Assisi).

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Tuesday, December 20, 2022

St Peter Canisius SJ, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

“We ought to instruct with meekness
those whom heresy has made bitter and suspicious
and has estranged from orthodox Catholics,
… Thus, by whole-hearted charity and goodwill, we may win them over to us in the Lord.” (St Peter Canisius SJ, Doctor of the Church).

"Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

"When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said,

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

"And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1: 39 - 45).

Wednesday 21st December 2022 of the 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St Peter Canisius SJ, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"Besides being a sage, Qoheleth taught the people what he himself knew, having weighed, studied and emended many proverbs. Qoheleth took pains to write in an attractive style and by it to convey truths(Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10).

Peter Canisius was born in Nijmegen, Holland in 1521. Peter studied canon law at Cologne University and Louvain. After his studies, he joined the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and distinguished himself in teaching, preaching and writing. Peter Canisius became a type of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10, 12). He was a sage who shared liberally the fruits of his arduous studies in many books. "When I discovered your teaching, I devoured it. Your words brought me joy and gladness; you have called me your own, O Lord my God." (Jeremaiah 15:16) Peter Canisius could say the same thing.

In 1555, St Peter Canisius published his famous Catechism, (Summa Doctrinae Christianae), which was the Catholic answer to Luther's great work. This Catechism which was translated into more than 16 languages during Peter Canisius's life became a model for catechisms up to this day. The Lord sustained Peter in the priesthood till the end of his life: "The Lord has sworn an oath and he will not retract; you are a priest forever, in the line of Melchisedech" (Psalm 110:4)

St Peter Canisius died in 1597 and was canonized and declared a saint and Doctor of the Church in 1925. "He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob." (Psalm 24: 5-6) His feast day is today, December 21.

In our key Scripture from Luke, Elizabeth made two revelations through the power of the Holy Spirit :
#1. The Mother of my Lord visits me. Christ Jesus is Lord and God.
#2. Mary, you are made completely righteous because like Abraham and David you dared to believe the promises of God to you. Faith is the passport to righteousness and eternal life.

And you Reader, do you believe in the promises of God to you?
The period of waiting and expectations will soon be over. You receive in proportion to your desire and expectations. Believe! Believe! Believe!

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Monday, December 19, 2022

Mary, do not be afraid.


"In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

"And coming to her, he 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.

"He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his ­father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

"But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

"And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

"Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

"Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her." (Luke 1: 26 - 38).

Tuesday 20th December 2022 of 4th Week of Advent.

The Scripture for the 4th Sunday of Advent, December 18th 2022 dwelt on the Call and Mission of St Joseph, the man of dreams and the foster father to Jesus Christ. Today, the Sacred Scripture focuses on the Call and Mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Lord.  Who is Mary of Nazareth and why is she a powerful person in the history and life of the Church?

#1. Mary is the only daughter of Joachim and Anne. A sweet joy of answered prayer to Joachim and Anne. The couple sensed her uniqueness and destiny and dedicated her to God and after she was weaned brought her to the Temple where she was educated by priests.

#2. The Church draws most of her knowledge of the infancy narrative of Mary from credible non-biblical sources called Apocrypha. Remember that the Church discerns the truth of of Revelation from not only Sacred Scripture but also Sacred Tradition and Sacred Magisterium.

#3. The biblical sources of our knowledge of Mary are not voluminous but they contain all we need to know for our devotion and salvation.

#4. The four Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, viz: Annunciation, the Luminous Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries tell the whole story of who Mary is. If you do not pray the Rosary every day, you miss the acres of diamonds in your backyard.

#5. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the only human being who knew Jesus Christ from the Visitation of the Angel Gabriel (the Annunciation) to the death of Jesus on the Cross, His burial and Resurrection. Mary was present in the Upper Room waiting and praying for the Holy Spirit to descend on Pentecost Sunday, the Birthday of the Church.

#6. Mary continues to intervene in the lives of simple people in significant apparition events throughout Church history, viz: Guadalupe, Fatima, Lourdes, etc.

We read today of how God sent the Angel Gabriel to a young woman with an astonishing promise. Gabriel told Mary that through the power of God, she will become the Mother of God. Once Mary fully understands the implications of the message, she replies:  "I am the handmaid of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me. (Luke 1: 38).

The Church elaborates:
"To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role." The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace." (CCC 490).

The Child we are expecting in five days will "be ruler in Israel."
He is the King of the Universe and His origin is "from ancient times."  (Micah 1: 1).
He is the Lord who is always with us. The Emmanuel. He is the Lord who is Peace.

"O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!"

"I am your Mother, the Mother given you by my Son Jesus, from the Cross, in the solemn hour of His sacrifice. And you are my son, dear to my Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, precious to me, and ever under the mantle of my protection. Let me live with you as I lived with John, the second son of my Heart and the model for all my priest sons down through the ages. Speak to me simply and with complete trust in the compassion of my maternal Heart and in the power given to my maternal intercession." (IN SINU JESU, Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Annunciation).

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Sunday, December 18, 2022

Do not be afraid Zachariah.

“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.” (Luke 1: 25).
God is always on time. Always faithful to His promises.

"In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.

"Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

"But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

"Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

"Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

"Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.

"After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.” (Luke 1: 5 - 25).

Monday 19th December 2022 of the Week of Advent.

God intervened miraculously to heal the wife of Manoah, Samson's mother of advanced barrenness. First Reading (Cf Judges 13: 2 - 25). God did the same wonders for Elizabeth, the wife of the priest Zechariah. Both women conceived and gave birth to miracle kids who played significant role in salvation history.

What God does once, He can replicate. (Cf Revelations 19: 10). These miracle stories are not just historical narratives. They are personal word of God to us. We find our place in the narrative, insert our situations and emulate the faith that is demonstrated. When we do this, we receive our miracle and everyone glorifies God.

"O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!"

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