Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.

"The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!" (Cf Numbers 6: 22 - 27).

"Brothers and sisters: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

"As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God." (Galatians 4: 4 - 7).

Sunday January 1, 2023 in the Octave of Christmas is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

"Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord". In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos)." (CCC 495).

Our key Scripture says that in the fullness of time, God fulfilled the promise He made long ago. Are you waiting for the fullness of time on anything? Health, family, finances, job, tools and necessary resources?
Our Scripture today indicates that nothing happens until the fullness of time, the Kairos time. Do you have a relationship with Mary the Mother of God? Mary who after Jesus is our greatest intercessor in Heaven by the gracious and mysterious will of God is waiting to embrace and help you.  Mary is key to our knowledge and relationship with Jesus her Son. Mary is the only human being who knew Jesus from conception to His death to His Resurrection.

Mary Mother of God pray for us.

SeekFirstCommunity Team wishes you a 2023 full of Peace:
The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!

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Friday, December 30, 2022

Last Day 2022: Feast of St Sylvester, Pope.

"As in Christ dwells the fullness of the Godhead so in Antichrist the fullness of all wickedness. Not indeed in the sense that his humanity is to be assumed by the devil into unity of person...but that the devil by suggestion infuses his wickedness more copiously into him than into all others. In this way all the wicked that have gone before are signs of Antichrist."  (St Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church).

"Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.

"Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.

"Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.

"But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

"I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth."  (1 John 2: 18 - 21).

Saturday 31st December 2022, 7th Day in the Octave of the Solemnity of Christmas is also the feast of St Sylvester I. Pontiff.

On the Last Day of 2022, we celebrate the life and sanctity of Pope St Sylvester I. Sylvester was elected to the Papacy on the last day of 314 and he died on the last day of 335. Today is the last day of 2022.

Sylvester served the Church at a very turbulent transition in Church history. Arian heresy and the Donatist schism threatened to destroy the Church. Then Constantine appeared by Divine Providence and offered the Church relief and peace in 312 AD by legalizing and granting amnesty to Christians. Pope St Sylvester attended the famous Council of Nicaea where the Nicene Creed recited by Christians of all faith today was ratified and promulgated. Pope St Sylvester contributed a great deal in the expansion of Christianity in the Roman Empire.

This is the last hour. The Apostle John warned.
The "Antichrists have appeared." Have you seen any? These are some of the characteristics of the Man of lawlessness from the Christian Scriptures :

Temporary success
Mass seduction
Son of perdition
Opposed Christ.
Rival of Christ
(Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 3 - 12; Matthew 24: 23 - 26).

Before he became Pontiff, Pope St John Paul II warned in 1976 at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia that we are now facing the final confrontation between the Antichrist and the Church. Remember how King Henry VIII caught over 300 English Bishops napping in 1535? Only Bishop St John Fisher earned the crown of Martyrdom. Below is a prophetic teaching of the Church on the Antichrist from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh."   (CCC 675).

Is the current instabilities in the world the beginning of the Last Hour?
Do not be asleep. Be vigilant and pray at all times so that you may not fall into severe temptation. Do not become an Anti-Witness. This is the Last Hour.

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Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Feast of the Holy Family

The Holy Family took refuge in Africa. Protect all refugees

"When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

"When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”

"He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazorean." (Matthew 2: 13 - 15, 19 - 23).
Friday 30th December 2022 is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Brothers and sisters, why does Holy Mother Church set the last Friday of 2022 to celebrate the great feast of the Most Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph? A few reasons come to mind.

#1. Jesus did not drop from Heaven to earth. He was born into a human family.
#2. The home of Nazareth is the school to learn and understand the life of Jesus.
#3. Our teacher is Mary, the Matriarch of the Holy Family. Mary teaches us three lessons about family life: Silence, Prayer and Work.
#4. The family may be your pathway to holiness: its joys and sorrows are all providentially ordained. Dare not to reject any of it.

Receive this word as a special gift today as you make your way through the last moments of 2022. If the peace of Christ is in your heart and controls your health, job, money, family, food and if the word of Christ dwells in you richly, you will always have a great day, week, month and a grand 2023.
Go for Shalom brothers and sisters:
Peace and Word of God to you always!

Below is a link to an ACT of Consecration to the Holy Family

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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Feast of St Thomas Becket in the Octave of the Solemnity of Christmas.

"Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered... the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith..." (St Thomas Becket).

"When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”

"The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be ­revealed.” (Luke 2: 25 - 35).

Thursday 29th December 2022, 5th Day in the Octave of the Solemnity of Christmas is the feast of St Thomas Becket. (1118 - 1170). English. Martyr. St Thomas Becket, also known as St Thomas of Canterbury was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder on December 29th 1170 by King Henry II inside the Cathedral while St Thomas Becket was celebrating Mass.

Our key Scripture introduces us to a man whose name is Simeon. Who is this holy old man, Simeon? According to the testimony of holy Scripture, Simeon is:
#1 A righteous and devout man. (Reminds us of Saints Joseph, Stephen, Barnabas).
#2 Simeon was one of the faithful who actively awaited the coming of the Messiah Jesus, foretold over 700 years before. With the appearance of John the Baptist, the expectation for the coming of the Messiah became fever pitch.
#3 Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit promised Simeon that he would not die until he sees Jesus with his eyes.

Simeon is immensely important in salvation history. This is why:
He was inspired to present himself in the Temple the very day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus for His presentation to the Lord, His Father. Here is what Simeon said, words that are used by the Church in prayer every night:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).

Simeon gave an eloquent testimony to the faithfulness of God. God made a promise over 700 years ago. He had not forgotten it. In the fullness of time, God fulfilled His promise to the letter and here is the Prophet Simeon to bear witness to the truth.

Whenever I read this Scripture, I am reminded of the radical faithfulness of God. Our God is a Promise Maker and a Promise Keeper.

"My Immaculate Mother also knew sin in all its ugliness and horror. She saw all that sin wrought upon My Body, the very Body she bore in her virginal womb, and, in seeing the ravages of sin on My Body and on My Face, her Heart was pierced by a sword of sorrow in fulfilment of Simeon’s prophecy." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, March 31, 2016).

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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The First Martyrs to shed their blood for Christ are the Holy Innocents. The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity.

"When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,

“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

"Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

"When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

"A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more." (Matthew 2: 13 - 18).

Wednesday December 28th on the 4th Day of the Solemnity of Christmas is the feast of the Holy Innocents.

Who are the Holy Innocents?

These are about 20 babies whom Herod slaughtered in an effort to kill the the Infant Jesus.

"The innocents were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb, and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord."  (Entrance Antiphon).

"[Herod] ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under." (Matthew 2: 16).

Why this feast and why does it matter?

#1 The Church celebrates the memory of about 20 baby boys whom King Herod slaughtered in his attempt to kill Jesus. These children are martyrs who gave their lives for Christ and are members of the Communion of the Saints.
#2. This feast is perhaps a rude reminder to all of us that the Mission of Jesus is to be Savior and Redeemer. Salvation from Sin and Redemption from the debt of Sin was purchased at the cost of blood.
#3. The massacre of the Holy Innocents teaches us the mystery of God's mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence.

God could have eliminated the tyrant Herod, but instead He willed His Son and family to go into exile in Egypt in a cold winter.

Other instances of God's mysterious providence:
#1 God allowed Adolf Hitler to rule for 12 years and caused the suffering and death of millions.
#2 God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and Pharaoh's stubbornness caused the death of many Egyptians.
#3 Other tyrants that were given long ropes are: Nero, Napoleon, Stalin, etc.

Long-suffering is part of God’s divine attributes. Some people have taken this for God's weakness. NO!!! Scripture says:  "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Corinthians 1: 25). And "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8: 28).

The Church honors the Holy Innocents because they "were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord." (Entrance Antiphon).

"The movement of persecution that is about to break out against My Church will focus on three objects. In fact, this has already begun. I will be attacked in My priests; they represent My Eucharistic Face. The face of the priesthood is My Face, once again mocked and covered with mud, spittle, and blood. I will be dishonoured in the Sacrament of My Body and Blood. You will see an increase of sins against the mysteries of My Body and Blood: sacrileges, desecrations, and mockeries. I will be attacked in the weakest and most vulnerable members of My Mystical Body. This too has already begun, but it will increase until it reaches proportions that will oblige My Father to avenge the blood of His beloved innocents." (IN SINU JESU, Wednesday, November 12, 2008).

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Monday, December 26, 2022

The Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist.

"This is John, who reclined on the Lord’s breast at supper, the blessed Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed and who spread the words of life through all the world." (Entrance Antiphon).

"On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him.”

"So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

"They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.

"When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

"Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed." (John 20: 1a, 2 - 8).

Tuesday 27th December 2022, 3rd Day of Christmas in the Octave of Christmas is the Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist.

John wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Book of Revelation. John is an eye witness and a faithful and credible witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the will of God that we learn the truth of the Gospel from credible witnesses. The Church is the credible witness of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ for over 2000 years.

St John's writing of his Jesus experience is an eye witness account. He saw. He heard. He touched. He then bore witness.  His witness which is faithful and true have unlocked for us the secrets of the Word of God.

Our Scripture text for today challenges me to ask: What have you seen today?

Open your eyes of faith and see the Church as the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit and the living Sacrament of Salvation in our midst today.

What have you heard?
+ Hear the Good News proclaimed from the Altar.
+ Hear it proclaimed on television, radio, Internet and music.

"This is John, who reclined on the Lord’s breast at supper,
the blessed Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed
and who spread the words of life through all the world."  (Entrance Antiphon).

"Above all, I renew for you the words I uttered for Saint John from the Cross: “Behold your Mother.” Live in her presence. Honour her at every occasion and in every way possible. Every time you show love and devotion to My most holy Mother, you honour the words I spoke from the Cross, and you put them into practice. “Behold your Mother.” She desires nothing more than to look after you, just as if you were her only son. Her attention for you is not divided, nor is it in any way impaired by the attention she gives to the vast multitude of her children through the ages. Trust in her care for you. Pray her Rosary. Honour her as you have been doing."  (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, January 31, 2008).

Father, we pray that with St John the Evangelist we may share in the hidden wisdom of your eternal Word which You reveal to us at the Eucharistic table. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

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Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Feast of St Stephen, the first Martyr.

” …Like his Master, St Stephen died forgiving his persecutors
and thus makes us realise that the entry into the world of the Son of God gives rise to a new civilisation, the civilisation of love that does not yield to evil
and violence and pulls down the barriers between men and women, making them brothers and sisters
in the great family of God’s children.”  (Pope Benedict XVI, 26th December 2009).

"Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

"When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said,

“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

"But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.

"The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.

"As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 6: 8 - 10, 7: 54 - 59).

Monday 26th December 2022, Solemnity of the Octave of Christmas, the Feast of St Stephen, the first Martyr.

"St Stephen was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles (Acts 6: 1 - 6) and was filled with faith and the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude" (Acts 6: 5, 8). Stephen died praying for his executioners. The similarities between Stephen's martyrdom and the crucifixion of Our Lord emphasize his imitation of Christ even up to the complete gift of self." (Roman Missal).

We learn from the brief summary of the life of St Stephen from the Roman Missal that Stephen must have been a very important witness in the early Church. Consider why:

#1 Stephen's life and experience shows that the promises of Jesus are true. "When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say." (Matthew 10: 19).

#2 Stephen died like Jesus forgiving his executioners.

This vindication of the promises of Jesus and fearless embrace of martyrdom made a deep impression on the Church. The Church included the name of St Stephen in the Canon of the Mass to intercede for the Church.

How soon after His Ascension was Christ's prediction vindicated when He said in the course of instructing His disciples:  "But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.  When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say." (Matthew 10: 17 - 19).

We observe the power and faithfulness of Jesus in the trial and death of Stephen. What Jesus did for Stephen during his trial and execution, He has done for every single one of His martyrs. He has stood by their sides and sustained them to the last.
Do not be afraid. Jesus will do the same for us should the occasion arise.

"As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7: 58).

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Happy Birthday Dearest Jesus.

"When the angels went away from them to heaven,

"the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

"So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.

"All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

"And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

"Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them." (Luke 2: 15 - 20).

Sunday 25th December 2022, the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Solemnity of Christmas. Midnight Mass.

Our key Scripture for this Christmas Day proclaims how God's grand and mysterious works come to us. They come through SIGNS. God is a spirit and invisible. We humans are flesh and blood and material. This is why the Word of God became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary.  We can see Him and touch Him.

In the Christmas story, let us imagine ourselves for a moment to be Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, Jesus' grandparents Anne and Joachim, the Magis. All these people were able to touch Jesus physically. These people are exceptionally blessed.
We are also exceptionally blessed because we are able to touch Jesus in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, Jesus is fully present to us: His soul, body, blood and divinity.

Without faith, the touching of the infant Jesus by Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, Jesus' grandparents Anne and Joachim, the Magis is meaningless. Without faith, our receiving of Jesus in the Eucharist is totally meaningless.

Faith is the key to a Happy Christmas.

Have a Happy Christmas filled with faith, hope and love.

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