Saturday, April 15, 2023

Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

Celebrate the Mercy of God. 

"Jesus said to them [Apostles] again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  (John 20: 21 - 23).

Sunday April 16th, 2023, 2nd Sunday of Easter. Sunday of Divine Mercy.

The universal Church celebrates today the Solemnity of Divine Mercy. (Always 2nd Sunday of Easter).  Jesus is the Face of Mercy of Abba Father.  Mercy is the name and essence of God the Father revealed to us through His Only Son, Jesus the Christ. The open Heart of Jesus is the symbol and seat of Mercy.  Mercy is promised to all.

To demonstrate that the powerful gift and message of Mercy that Jesus shared in His public ministry will remain in the Church after His Ascension, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation and gave His Apostles and their successors the power to forgive sins.

To prepare ourselves to receive and retain Mercy, the ABC OF MERCY is very useful.  It is called  ABC because, it is an acronym that can be remembered easily and secondly it is as simple as ABC.

A:  Ask for Mercy.

B:  Be Merciful.

C:  Completely Trust Jesus for Mercy.

God is rich in mercy and is waiting for us to turn to Him to blot out all our sins and receive us in His merciful love.

Mercy, mercy. Nothing but mercy!

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection.

I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by."  (Psalm 57: 1)

"Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself." (The Diary of St Maria Faustina, #950).

To learn how to recite the Divine Mercy Rosary, click the link below:

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Friday, April 14, 2023

Why we must not backdown on our evangelization.

We must speak about what we have seen and heard. 

"Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the ­leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.

"Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply. 

"So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, and conferred with one another, saying, “What are we to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign was done through them, and we cannot deny it. But so that it may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name.”

"So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

"Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”

"After threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened."  (Acts 4: 13 - 21).

Saturday 15th April 2023, Easter Saturday in the Octave of the Solemnity of Easter.

Why does God use the weak and unlearned people to produce the amazement that leads to faith and conversion? The answer is in the chosen Scripture of today. Imagine two rustic and uneducated men from the fishing community standing before the Supreme Court of Israel and arguing why the Church is from God. This is exactly what Peter and John did in the first Reading of today. Their argument before the Supreme Court was forceful enough. Now comes the checkmate.

"Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply." (Acts 4: 14). The Justices became speechless. But that wasn't the end. Peter and John drove a nail into the coffin of the proud argument of the Justices who dared to raise their voice against the Holy Spirit:

"Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4: 19-20).

My brethren, the current tumult over the rights of Christians to practice the faith freely and openly presents a great opportunity to bear witness to the truth we hold dear. 

That is the answer. Pray to God to release His Holy Spirit so that we can fulfil the mandate of Jesus Christ. 

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?" (Luke 24: 38).

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Thursday, April 13, 2023

Friends, breakfast is ready. Come along.

Come and have breakfast children.

"Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.”  So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish." (John 21: 5 - 6).

Easter Friday, 14th April 2023 in the Octave of the Solemnity of Easter.

Our Gospel of today (John 21: 1 - 14) is one of my favorite passages in the Gospel. It is one of the post Resurrection appearances of Jesus to His brothers. He seeks them out everywhere to be with them and encourage them. He prepares a breakfast for His disciples.

Why do I find this passage comforting?

#1. As a self-employed person, I knew what it means to toil a whole week and catch nothing. Isn't it comforting to know that Jesus knows the hideouts of all the fish? The fishermen obeyed the advice of the Stranger on the shore and their disappointment was turned into comfort and joy.

#2. “Come, have breakfast.”

In the Gospels, a number of important teachings of Jesus happened around the dinner table. An African proverb says that "LOVE ENTERS THROUGH THE STOMACH."

Good food and eating are essential to a healthy spirituality.

Jesus invited the Apostles to come and eat and there was an unforgettable party there at the shore.

#3. The Eucharist is compared to a wedding banquet. 

Can thunder strike twice in the same place? Jesus reveals Himself to His disciples through familiar words and actions. John was the first to make the connection of this miraculous catch of fish to the earlier incident when Jesus called Peter to follow Him. 

Jesus is constantly invading our spaces trying to catch our attention. He is the great Hound of Heaven.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Peace be with you. Be strong and resolute to spread the Good News.

Why are you still fearful and full of doubts?

“The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 

And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 

While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” 

"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 

And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 35 - 48 ).

Thursday 13th April 2023, Easter Thursday in the Octave of the Solemnity of Easter.

The Apostles gathered in the Upper Room could still not shake off the gruesome events of Good Friday from their minds. Good Friday is days ago. Jesus had since appeared to Mary Magdalene and some women, to Peter and some Apostles, to Cleopas who was present with his companion reporting the encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. In spite of all these, the Elect were still frightened with questions and doubts arising in their minds.

The 9 - 11 Attack on the Twin Towers in NY shook the confidence of Americans to the core. The crucifixion of Jesus had a similar effect on the disciples of Jesus. 

The gruesome flagellation, crowning with thorns, nailing to the Cross and Jesus left to hang on the Cross for hours until He died was an unparalleled emotional, psychological and physical torture for the Apostles. 

 We can take comfort in today's Gospel.  We confess our fears, weaknesses, worries and doubts to Jesus who is in control of all events. Jesus is the Sole Master of the Future. 

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8). Jesus promises.

The Holy Spirit and the power in the name of Jesus are the two Easter promises. We need the two today more than ever.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The Cross is an absolute necessity for Jesus.

The Cross is the only way to salvation.

"That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

 He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”

 "And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

"They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.

"Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. 

"Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” 

"And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 

"Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. 

"As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.

"But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” 

"So he went in to stay with them. 

"And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. 

"Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” 

"So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” 

"Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread." (Luke 24: 13 - 35).

Easter Wednesday 12th April 2023, in the Octave of Easter.

Our Lord and Teacher, Jesus Christ called the two disciples He met on the road to Emmaus foolish and slow of heart. Why? Cleopas and his companion were foolish because they did not believe faithful and credible witnesses in Jerusalem that Jesus has risen from the dead. They knew that some disciples of Jesus said that Jesus had risen from the dead. Why did they not believe these people? 

Jesus founded a Church and wants us to believe the Teaching Authority of the Church. 

Our key Scripture for today from Luke 24: 13 - 35 may well be the interpretative key to Salvation History. 

"Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 

Sin causes Suffering. Redemptive Suffering leads to Salvation. 

Jesus Christ suffered for the Sin of all mankind. 

When I suffer, it may be for my own personal sins. It may be for example the sins of someone in Russia that is waging unnecessary war against its neighbors. 

The truth of the matter is that there is a divine necessity that Jesus must suffer before He enters into His glory. There is no other way Jesus could save the world but through sufferings. 

What is a divine necessity for Jesus is divine necessity for Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, John the Baptist, and you and me. Sin introduced suffering into the world. 

No cross, no crown. No trial, no triumph! It is a hard lesson.

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Monday, April 10, 2023

Who is the first witness to Easter faith?

Who is Mary Magdalene? 

"Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. 

"And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. 

"And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” 

"When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.

"Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 

"She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”

"Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. 

"Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

"Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her."  (John 20: 11 - 18).

Tuesday 11th April, 2023. Easter Tuesday in the Octave of the Solemnity of Easter.

Who is this woman, Mary Magdalene?

#1. Certainly not the wife of Jesus as alleged by the silly fiction of Da Vinci Code.

#2. Probably the woman of Mark 16: 9 who had 7 demons expelled from her. Once released from demonic oppression, Mary clung tightly to Jesus and His ministry. 

#3. Jesus and His disciples received no salary, stipends or gifts for their ministry. How did they survive? Mary of Magdala headed a group of women who supplied the needs of Jesus and the disciples from their resources.

#4. Mary Magdalene stood with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostle John under the Cross and witnessed the agony of the Crucified from the very beginning to the end.

#5. Jesus rewarded Mary for her love and loyalty and made her the first eyewitness to see Jesus after His Resurrection. He commissioned Mary to take the great news to His brothers. Any wonder Mary is called the "Apostle to the Apostles."

What are the lessons from the profile of Mary Magdalene?

Mary has a heart that returns love for love. She never forgets a favor done to her. 

Pope Francis recently made the feast of St Mary Magdalene a Memorial feast, just below a Solemnity. 

Mary Magdalene is one of my patron saints. I pray through her intercession for the grace to know the Heart of Jesus intimately, to love Him passionately and to follow Him everywhere.

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Sunday, April 09, 2023

You killed Him. God raised Him up.

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus is a Marvelous Plan of the Father. 

"This man, [Jesus] delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. 

"But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it." (Acts 2: 23 - 24).

Today is Monday April 10th in the Octave of Easter. 

Easter is the greatest feast in the Church liturgical calendar.

Each of the first 8 days after Easter Sunday is a solemnity (high feast). 50 days from Easter to the Feast of Pentecost on May 28th 2023, are all feast days of Easter. 

If during the 40 days of Lent, you fasted, abstained or disciplined yourself in any way, then you can appreciate the 50 days of Easter feast. It is 50 days of feasting and celebrating your faith. 

Fasting and abstinence are suspended till after Pentecost. The Bridegroom is with us. Sorry, we cannot fast. We want to enjoy the promised change of season. (Cf Psalm 1).

Our key Scripture today (Acts 2: 23 - 24) teaches us a very important truth. This is a truth that can fill you with knowledge and wisdom that you can use every day. I will use another strategic Scripture and the AMP Bible translation to convey the lesson:

"And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.  For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers." (Romans 8: 28 - 29 AMP).

The Crucifixion of Jesus was no accident of history. It was pre-planned. It was necessary that Christ should suffer and die for the salvation of all people. 

Just as your entire life is pre-planned from your birth to your tomb. This is the doctrine of Divine Providence. 

Brothers and sisters, remember: Easter is not a one day celebration. It is a Season. That is why it is also called Eastertide. Enjoy the holy joyful Season.

"Alleluia, alleluia!

This day was made by the Lord:

we rejoice and are glad.

Alleluia!" (Psalm Psalm 117: 24).

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