The Power of The Letter “H”

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Daily Reflection – 10/30/2020

Sacred Scripture

On a Sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them, “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question. (Luke 14: 1-6)

Reflection

There is so much to learn from today’s Gospel passage.

The scribes and Pharisees were watching Jesus like a hawk, hoping to get something on him that will enhance their case against him. Jesus, on the other hand, is focusing in on the radical disconnect between the desires of God and the practice of their religion.

So, Jesus addresses their “sin” with a positive response that shows classically the true characteristics of the Christian faith – healing, humility and hospitality. The contrast between Jesus and the pharisees is vivid. Jesus brings hope and healing while his detractors bring rules and regulations to those who are seeking the presence of God in their lives.

Of the three virtues, humility is probably the most difficult for most followers of Christ.

Humility is one of the hallmarks of a person of authentic faith and a central principle in the kingdom of God. The apostle James spells out how it is that humility is the way of advancement with God. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” [4:10]. True humility is seeing yourself as God sees you. Humility is not having a poor self-image and thinking you are a doormat. It’s having an honest evaluation of who you are–as the Bible describes you. On one hand we are sinners –yet we are children of God. We are flawed but we are His children. He is there to greet us, to heal us and to always love us. Humility is found in the tension and the balance between those two realities.

Humility is not a medal we wear on a jacket. The only way to reveal your humility is if you treat others more highly than yourself. This concept is totally opposite of the way the world thinks. The world says if you want to be successful and be somebody you’ve got to push, fight and work your way to the top. But Jesus says just the opposite. He says if you try to promote yourself, you’ll end up humbled. James 4:10 says “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.”

Jesus humbled Himself to step down from the throne of heaven to become one of us–a human being. Yet, the night before Jesus was crucified, all of the disciples were too full of pride to perform the slave’s job of washing feet. Jesus humbled Himself and went to the disciples and washed their feet. He humbled Himself again and became obedient unto death–He died the death of a common criminal. What did God the Father do? Scripture says, “God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every name.” That’s still the way it works. The way down is up and the way up is down. That’s true for each of us. Without Jesus we are nothing, but in Christ, we can do all things. That’s humility.

Finally, true humility is refined through adversity. I think sometimes when God sees we are getting a little proud, He allows some humbling experience to come our way. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled.” Paul knew that. He wrote, “To keep me from becoming conceited, there was given me thorn in my flesh…” (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, may I always honor you, both in my work and in my rest, and in the way I treat my neighbor. Fill me with your love and keep me free from a critical and intolerant spirit that I may always seek to please you and to bring good to my neighbor as well.

Daily Note

Humility means far more than just welcoming others appropriately as good manners. It is to remind us that God has given us all good things for no good reason. It is to remind us that God invites us to do the same for others. It is an invitation to take our faith seriously enough to live and act differently. Because our faith is important only to the degree that it helps us navigate the daily decisions and situations that attend our lives.

Of Foxes and Hens, Oh My

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Daily Reflection – 10/29/2020

Sacred Scripture

At that time some Pharisees came to him and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”( Luke 13:31-35)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel passage, we come face- to-face with the reality of foxes and hens. It is an analogy that continues to give us wisdom even in this day.

Herod was the fox – an embodiment of cunning and deceit. Jesus publicly defies the fox’s intimidating death threats with the message that he won’t cower before the fox’s sharp teeth, but will continue on with his mission of casting out the forces of evil and offering healing and hope to the sick, the downtrodden and the marginalized.

Maybe you’ve seen the sly fox prowling around the hen house. You may have caught a glimpse of him in sly ways political leaders howl about freedom or concern for the poor, but conceal their real intents. Or maybe you have seen that fox instructing the roosters to manipulate the system to make everything go their way. The world of the fox is cruel, cold, calculated, and compassionless. In order to escape the teeth of this cunning predator we need to name the fox, as Jesus did, and seek a place of refuge from his cruel and cunning ways.

Maybe it’s not that dramatic for you. Maybe the fox is so subtle that you do not see him. Often times in life we are walking along a path that God has made for us. We are doing what we are supposed to do. We are cruising along and then, out of nowhere our distractors give us a temptation to leave what it is that we were born and meant to do.

Some of us get way laid by the promise of money. Some of us get way laid by the promise of fame. Some of us get way laid by unfounded conviction of guilt. Some of us get way laid by the importance of being busy. There are many other ways to get way laid, but none of them have to do with our purpose. Jesus knows his purpose: he has set his face to Jerusalem. It is Jerusalem which is his destiny. It is at Jerusalem, the place of sacrifices, that he will offer himself as The Sacrifice for all time, for you and me.

When that happens, the best way to deal with Satan is for us to remember who we are and whose we are. What are the gifts that God has given us – what talents do we possess? What are the opportunities in our area that fit those talents? What is it that we were born to do? We need to remain as focused as our Lord, Jesus Christ. We need to follow and live the words of Jesus Christ. We need to believe, with all of our hearts and intellect that the Christ filled life glorifies God. That Jesus himself prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

The Lord is knocking at the door of your heart (Revelations 3:20) and he wishes to enter into a close personal relationship with you. Receive him who is the giver of expectant faith, unwavering hope, and undying love. And always remain focused on the true home which God has prepared for you in his heavenly city, Jerusalem (see Revelations 21:2-4).

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, I place all my trust and hope in you. Let me abide with you. Fill my heart with love and mercy for others that I may boldly witness to the truth and joy of the gospel through word and example, both to those who accept it and to those who oppose it.”

Daily Note

To be a follower of Christ in name only is easy but to be a committed follower until the very last gasp of our breath is never easy. For it will require us to get out of our own comfort zones or to even sacrifice our very own lives so as to preserve and advance the teachings of Jesus.  So, we have to ask of ourselves – Am I a committed follower or follower in name only?

So, Why Pray?

Lifting Holy Hands - Benjamin Israel Robinson
Daily Reflection – 10/28/2020

Sacred Scripture

In those days he departed 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)

Reflection

The flip answer to that question is that if no less than Jesus prayed often and continuously then how could any of us minimize its importance in our lives?  But, of course, the answer is that prayer is and should be a healthy part of our daily lives. Why?

Prayer leads to our humility, our detachment and takes us to a deeper appreciation of love. All three lead us to a more complete human being and one closer to His wish for each of us.

The source of Christ’s power already originated within Him, but Jesus received extra strength, grace and support during the solitary times of prayer that he spent with his Father. He didn’t make any major decisions on his own, although he had every right to do so. God the Father guided his decisions, and strengthened him with the grace to accomplish the tasks that lay before him. Jesus Christ, the son of God, humbled himself before God, His Father, and sought His guidance.

Jesus made prayer the first priority in his life. Too often, our ego, our desire to be self-sufficient keep us from prayer.  Prayer is often the last thing on our mind when we have a problem, or need to make a decision about something. We work through it on our own, but everything seems so much harder.  We often second guess ourselves, wondering if we are really doing the right thing or not? 

Detachment? While the distractions of the world may be our reason for prayer, it is the very distractions of the world that fade away when we pray. It is the very nature of prayer that we seek to enter into a conversation with God who is not of this world. We seek guidance from God because He is above this world. We seek guidance from God because he understands how the conditions of this world affect us now and forever. We need God’s grace and His strength, to see us through the challenges and difficulties we face in life.  Without God’s grace, our best laid plans could fall apart if it wasn’t His will to begin with.  It is better to start laying our plans, in accordance with His will, right from the start, just like Jesus did in today’s gospel.

Right up there with humility and detachment is the effect on our ability to truly love that prayer brings. Again, we turn to Jesus as THE example.

In his joyful moments Jesus thanks God for opening the hearts of people to his word. He is very aware of God working with him in his ministry and he thanks God (Matthew 11:25-27). He grows in that appreciation. We become more loving when we stop to acknowledge the source of all love as the source.

Jesus also prays for forgiveness for those who put him to death. ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.’ We, too, in prayer learn to see God at work in our lives in prayer. In prayer we learn from Jesus’ example to forgive. In forgiving, by definition, we become more loving.

Jesus’ concern and compassion for others also find expression in his prayer. He understands the failures of Peter and prays for him: ‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail’ (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus final and farewell prayer is for his friends, his disciples. His prayer in John’s Gospel is that they may be one with God and with one another (John /7:11), that they may experience God’s love in this life and the next. We, too, like Jesus do not just say prayers for others. We bring them into God’s presence with us and look at our attitudes towards them in the presence of God.

Jesus prayed because prayer is a factor of our human condition. His Father is the Creator and the Sustainer of all. As a human being, Jesus was, like us, wholly dependent on this God.The prayer of Jesus alerts us to our dependence on and trust in God. And Jesus still continues to pray for us and with us to his Father.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, fill me with gratitude and generosity for all you have done for me.  Take my life and all that I have as an offering of love for you, who are my All.”

Daily Note

In our secularist world today dominated by high tech gadgets, news media and social media, Jesus still matters. Because Jesus gives hope, Jesus gives love and Jesus gives salvation. Embrace Jesus more than you embrace this world and let your life become a prayer to Him.

Humans Are Sure Peculiar

Hosea 10:12 | Hosea 10 12, Seek the lord, Scripture
Daily Reflection – 10/27/2020

Sacred Scripture

Then he said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person 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)

Reflection

At times I smile ruefully at the antics of the human race. I scratch my head and wonder why we keep getting it wrong. About what?

Let’s talk first about Christianity. From the outset, Jesus told everyone that God was coming to change the world — to bring the low high and the high low, to feed the hungry and send those who are regularly full away empty, to make the lowly proud and the proud lowly. That first doctrine was eminently calculated to call forth the enmity of the natural heart. It did. Its first movements brought down on its friends’ persecution from all quarters. Pharisees and Sadducees, Jews and Gentiles, ignorant idolaters and self-conceited philosophers, all agreed in hating and opposing Christianity.

But no matter how small it’s beginning, the Kingdom grew and spread throughout the world. The basic premise is that every human being carries the seed of eternal life, that we are called to be children of God. A grace of transformation has come through Jesus Christ for all of humanity.  The billions of non-Christians in the world also carry within themselves the seed or image or eternal life with God. The goodness and humanity in the non-Christian  world, represent a yearning for what is yet to be revealed.

Yet, our world is still topsy-turvy. Wars, famine and even plagues. In spite of all those who seek goodness and humility, we still face what we do.  In truth, it’s our fault. Yup. It is. Enough of us don’t allow that seed of eternal life to take root in our lives. Oh, yes, we read scripture, maybe even go to Church regularly, maybe even commit random acts of kindness. But truth is that we don’t commit to its growth. We sure care about the growth of our children. We certainly pay attention to the growth of our job or career. If we marry, we work hard at assuring our marriage grows in love. But we don’t cultivate the belief that we are significant in the growth of our world. Significant. You and me.

Yet Jesus says that God’s unexpected, order-upsetting kingdom will nevertheless infiltrate this world, spreading like mustard seed, attracting all kinds of unsavory and unlikely people into its realm, and infecting the whole batch of our lives. If you and I would nurture it, it will have life until it grows big. When others could benefit from it , you become God’s instrument of blessing for others. That sure makes me stand tall.

But not enough allow God’s Kingdom to take root in their hearts. They prefer the things of this world than God. They choose the temporary over what is eternal, the worldly over Godly. They choose the path of least resistance rather than the thorny path. Or even more concerning they drown it out because they live in a bubble of their own making.

Jesus called us to apply the parables on a personal level. When looked at this way, we see that even the small things we do to make ourselves presentable to God can make an enormous impact.

To live our lives to the full, we must nurture the hidden mustard seed of divine possibility within us. Like the woman who kneads the yeast into the dough that will be baked into life-sustaining bread, we can do our part to contribute freshness, life and dignity, wherever we are.

Even small acts of kindness can have an impact for good our expectations. We need not think they have to be big and impressive to count. The lesson Jesus drives home to our minds is that God’s Kingdom begins small in our hearts but can grow into something that can transform the world. 

So the question of the day and tomorrow’s tomorrow is “will you allow the kingdom of God to have a permanent dwelling in your life so that God could bless others through you?”

Prayer of The Day

“Dear God, overcome our defenses and infect us with your Spirit that sees good where most see evil and offers grace where others would offer condemnation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Daily Note

Our Lord himself is a mustard seed: so long as he had undergone no attack, the people did not recognize him. He chose to be hustled…; he chose to be pressed in such a way that Peter said: “The crowds are pressing in upon you” (Lk 8,45); he chose to be sown like a seed that a man takes and throws on his garden, for it was in a garden that Christ was both arrested and buried. He grew up in this garden and was even raised up again in it. You, too, sow Christ in your gardens, then Sow the Lord Jesus: he was seed when he was arrested, tree when he rose again – a tree overshadowing the world. He was seed when buried in the earth, tree when he rose up to heaven.

The Real Truth About Miracles

The Gospel of the day: 29th October – Archdiocese of Malta

Daily Reflection – 10/26/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified 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.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? 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?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him. (Luke 13: 10-17)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage tells another beautiful story of a miracle of Jesus. It also reminds us of how hypocrisy can affect our vision and our judgement.

But it really is about much more. It’s not about the miracle. It’s about teaching us a larger lesson … proclaiming a wider mercy, love, and grace not just because of what Jesus does in those magical moments – but because of how and why and when and where and for whom, in most cases, God does what God does through Jesus.

Think about it this way.

When Jesus restores the sight of a blind man, it was about showing that God doesn’t punish us with sickness or disability. It was about showing, perhaps that, even if you believed that his blindness was the result of some sin, God could and would and does delight in undoing that through the power of forgiveness. When he calmed a storm, he was revealing the power of God’s peace in the presence of our fear. When he cleansed the leper, it was about God’s love for the outcast and the outsider in our midst.

Jesus’ greater point and larger purpose then and today, is to heal and to comfort and to share love and grace at all costs. In excess of every expectation. At the expense of every rule. Because the only rule that matters to Jesus is the one about loving God and loving neighbor and living in any way and every way possible that brings that love to affect the world around us. And to remind us that we are called to live beyond the “rules”.

We can’t heal every disease, but we can love one another through the sickness and struggle and sadness of them all – and that’s a miracle. We can’t change the weather, but we can trust God’s presence when the storms of our lives come – and that’s a miracle. We can’t undo every sin, or change every sinner, but we can accept and offer forgiveness – and that’s no small feat. We can’t walk on water, but we reach out to an outcast or an outsider and welcome them in – and that work wonders in the lives of God’s people.

And the greatest miracle of all? In a world of rules, in the middle of a pandemic, in the midst of sadness, anxiety, depression, loneliness, we can be set free from all that emotional and physical bondage. Set free from the bitterness in our soul because we have succumbed to the ways of the world and not seen the light in front of us. We can live in the miracle of new life and new hope and second chances.

All we have to do is see beyond the miracle. To understand what Jesus told us through His life. When we live a life that is centered on loving God and loving our neighbor, we bring a love that affects our world and affect every fiber of our being. THEN, we have lived a miracle!

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you grant freedom to those who seek you. Give me freedom to walk in your way of love and to praise and worship you always. Show me how I can bring your mercy and healing love to those in need around me.”

Daily Note

Jesus healed on the Sabbath because God does not stop from showing his mercy and love, ever. God’s word has power to change us, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Is there anything that keeps you bound up or weighs you down? Turn it over. Turn it over again and again and again until it is gone. Turn it over by believing. Turn it over by never giving up hope. Turn it over knowing that His love exists for you and me. Forever.

The Nose On Your Face

Luke 12:54-56 NIV
Daily Reflection – 10/23/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain—and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” (Luke 12:54-59)

Reflection

When I was growing up, my father wanted to be sure that I was developing the ability to sense and to understand that which was happening around me. So, often,, he would challenge me as to what I saw in a certain event in my life or what I thought was happening. He would end most conversations with me by saying: “You see, it’s as plain as the nose on your face. It’s right there.”

In our Gospel today, Jesus forcefully reminds those listening to him that the truth about Jesus was plain before their eyes. They knew. They understood. But they refused to accept it. They were not ignorant, but they were deniers of the truth because they didn’t like what the truth meant for them.

His words invite us to meditate and reflect on our very own attitude and disposition towards God’s word and the coming of His kingdom.  His words invite us to question ourselves as to how we have responded to the teachings of our Lord Jesus. Have we been faithful to our covenant relationship with our God that should death come upon us in the middle of the night, would we be ready to face our Creator? Or are we living a life of sin that death could catch us unprepared

One of the truths of life in this world is that what we choose determines who we become. Choosing not only has consequences outside of us, it changes us. This is what we call the moral life.

We need to look in our own lives to see the effects of wrong choices. We need to honestly acknowledge the struggle we face as we try to choose to follow the Lord – but often choose against Him. The struggle to do what is good – even though we know it is right. We need to move away from making excuses about our lives. Yes, there are those events in life – often sad – that shape us but they do not mold us. We have the ability – through Jesus Christ – to move away from negative events in our past and choose a brighter future.

If we have faith in Jesus, there’s no need to consult anyone regarding our future. We only have to get closer to Jesus through prayer, by listening to Him who directly speaks to us when we read the bible and watching the change in our lives when we act as the hands and feet of Christ.

Jesus is always an ever-present friend who is always there for us. He will not predict our future based on the obvious signs of the times. But He will always be an omnipresent companion as we walk from our present going to our future. 

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, change my heart and my life that I may fully live for you.  Help me to choose what is right and to turn away from every sin and from every attachment to worldliness which keeps me from loving and serving you wholeheartedly.”

Daily Note

The capacity to make choices the Image of God, present within each one of us. That is why growth in true freedom requires a relationship with the God who is its source and the Savior, who alone can set us free from the law of death of which Paul writes. Jesus addressed this connection between freedom and truth: If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31)

Pass the Artificial Sweetener Please

Luke 12:49 (TPT) 49 “I have come to set the earth on fire. And how I long  for every heart to be already ablaze with this fiery… | Luke 12 49, Luke  12, Earth on fire
Daily Reflection – 10/22/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” ( Luke 12:49-53)

Reflection

Fire in biblical times was associated with God and with his action in the world and in the lives of his people.  Today’s Gospel reminds us that  Jesus came to set our hearts on fire, burning brightly with His love and motivating us to not only step out in faith but to step up to what our faith is about.

The problem is that often we draw near to God with asbestos around our hearts. We don’t draw near with the love we should. We can say our prayers, but rush through them without love. We go to Church and time the preacher’s sermon. We want our Christianity “light” please. Oh, and not a lot of rules either because we value our freedom.

Isn’t that the world most of us live in? We live in a world which does not want to feel guilty for embracing a life of uninterrupted pleasures. We want our meat drowned in gravy but minus the fat.  We want our drinks laced with sugar but minus the calories. We want low fat, less sugar, in short, a comforting Jesus minus the demands.

We want our Christianity to always be about Christmas. . . charming portrayals of a baby in a manger, animals standing meekly nearby, a remarkably well-recovered new mother looking on lovingly at her new-born child, shepherds gazing in wonder, wise men laying down their gifts, and a clear sky above with one star brighter than all others.

I like these images too. But they distract, and we forget that the one in that manger is God’s Messiah by whom the world will be judged, the one who will hang in bloody agony on a cross for our sins until dead.

The Gospel today reminds us that Jesus is challenging us to choose him and when we do, there is a cost to be borne. When we choose Jesus, Calvary is our home. But, when we shade Jesus grey, we will find excuses to stand in the shadow. When Jesus is watered down, then our task is to ensure that Jesus does not intrude into our lives. He can be there but he must not disturb our comfort. We want a Jesus to tell us that He loves us but we don’t want a Jesus to remind us that it is our sins that keep us away from his love.

Jesus’ message was hard but honest. No one who hears and considers His words could ever feel misled about the cost of discipleship. But also, no one who hears and considers his words could ever doubt that there is no other choice to make than surrendering to Him as Lord, no other life worth living than giving every day and every breath to him, no other destiny worth pursuing than eternity in his presence. His way is the only way.

If we are to choose the less travelled road of moral integrity otherwise known as the less travelled path of suffering then only Jesus can be our rock, our salvation. Nothing less is good enough to be a shield and an armor in the winds that blow against us. Choosing Jesus, means that we need to be prepared for stronger winds that blow, and to steel ourselves because the temptations will become more acute. But, as the author to the Hebrews says, let us persevere and keep running steadily in the race we have started. It is Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings us to the joy of eternal life.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, may your love consume me and transform my life that I may truly desire nothing more than life with you.  Make me strong in love and fidelity that nothing may hinder me from doing your will.”

Daily Note

The problem today is we will do nearly anything to avoid a confrontation or argument. ‘Play nice’, we are told, like small children, compromise, negotiate and keep the peace at any cost sacrificing even the Gospel. We become so accustomed to evil it hardly moves us. Is religious liberty more important, for example, than religion, a right relationship with our government rather than a right relationship with God? Jesus, however, directly confronted the powerful, questioning, challenging or condemning evil. No gospel writer knew this better the John who ten lines into his gospel acknowledged that Jesus, “was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not . . . .” And then incredibly we read, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1, 10-14). (You think the Gospel writer was not including our time?)

As Clear As Day . . .

Blog Posts - Verbum Dei Philippines
Daily Reflection – 10/21/220

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” ( Luke 12:39-48)

Reflection

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

There it is. His words clearly remind us of our obligation as Christians.. An obligation that should mark every moment of our day as well as guide every action and every word of our life. There is no way that we can evade that obligation by claiming nescience, or not being aware. As Christians, we know. Nor can we claim ignorance, Jesus’ words have been spoken to us.

The corollary to that is our recognition that we, as Christians, with the guidance of the word of God, bear far greater responsibilities for the wrongs we do than others, such as non-Christians or non-religious people, who have less guidance.

So, what we should do to claim that we are followers of Christ.

We are entrusted with three types of blessings – time, talents and treasures. All these three are free gifts and will be with us only for a limited period.

  • Time. God may not be always around to guard us and correct us, but each day we are given a gift that cannot be retrieved. We have to make the best of each opportunity that God allows us to have.
  • Talent/Treasure. Our position and authorities are privileges that carry responsibilities. To be a servant in charge of others is an acknowledgement and recognition that somehow, we have one over the other when it comes to abilities and skills.
  • Charity. God is love. As His servants, we have to be one with Him not only in his vision and mission, but also in his values.

Have we failed to care for our world, the planet earth as well as the social, political and economic structures of our time? Have we neglected to help our neighbors when they are in need? Let us continue to ask ourselves, who are much more blessed by God not only in material wealth but also in talent, time and in other ways, did we share to those who have less?

The joy and privilege of being a son/daughter of god carries with it an awesome responsibility. The Lord expects us to make good use of the gifts and graces he gives to us. The more God gives, the more God requires. The temptation while the Master is away is to put off for tomorrow what the master expects us to do today. Are you always faithful to God and ready to give him an account of your stewardship?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, you are faithful even when I fail.  Help me to remain ever faithful to you and to not shrink back when I encounter difficulties.  Make me diligent in the exercise of my responsibilities and wise and prudent in the use of my gifts, time and resources.”

Daily Note

When we  leave Church, we are Church, sent into the world which God still loves so much that he sends His only Son. (John 3:16). We are His arms, His legs, His message, for a world still waiting to be born again. We have the message of true freedom for an age which longs to be liberated from the shackles of relativism and nihilism. We are sent to a people who long to hear the words of the Master saying, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)

We are to become His voice. We live in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world.

Looking Through His Window

Luke 12:35-36 by Mickey-Mouse on DeviantArt
Daily Reflection – 10/20/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.” (Luke 12:35-38)

Reflection

Jesus’ master-servant parables seem to extol the virtue of preparedness.  But I think there is something deeper and equally as important behind it. 

There is a lesson here of fidelity or faithfulness which allows us to persevere in living out an unswerving commitment. The Lord is committed to us in a bond of unbreakable love and fidelity.  Faithfulness is a key character trait of God and one that He expects of us. 

Why ten  is fidelity, commitment, and faithfulness so difficult today?  Perhaps because modern society extols freedom over fidelity and doesn’t want to be bound to an unknown or uncertain future.  It’s also inconvenient and a burden to the pursuit of one’s own interests.  But followers of Christ are expected to rise above self-interest. We are expected to live up to our covenant with Him. We live up to our covenant by living out that faith. At times, that seems difficult for us.  

Then perhaps we need to think of it this way. Jesus is as a house, and we are inside, and from the windows of this house we look at the world. If we are to continue to dwell in that house, we do not close in on ourselves, we do not long with melancholy for a supposedly golden past.  Instead we look ever forward to a future that is not only our handiwork, but one which we are asked to helpco-create with our God. All that seems dark will one day become light. That is why we can’t abandon ourselves to the events of the world with pessimism, as if history were a runaway train. Resignation is not a Christian virtue !

And just as it is not Christian to shrug one’s shoulders or bow one’s head before a seemingly inescapable destiny, we are reminded to be his hands and feet in bringing hope to the world. One who brings hope to the world is never a submissive person. A submissive person is not a peace-builder but is an idler, one who wants to be comfortable. Meanwhile a Christian is a peacemaker when he/she takes risks, when he/she has the courage to take risks in order to bring good, the good which Jesus has given us, given us as a treasure. It’s not a one-and-done occurrence nor reserved just for the Last Day.

Jesus is knocking on your heart. He is continually coming to you seeking to come in and recline with you so as to converse, strengthen, heal and help. Reflect, today, upon how ready you are to open immediately every part of your life to the grace and will of God. Let Him in with great joy and enthusiasm and let His plan continue to unfold in your life.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, you are faithful even when I fail.  Help me to remain ever faithful to you and to not shrink back when I encounter difficulties.  May always live in your presence and be ready to meet you when you call me on the day of judgment.”

Daily Note

What a great arrangement we have here! We participate in kingdom work and Christ promises to serve us. You may wonder whether you have the time, strength, or ability to serve Christ, but you must remember this: You do not serve Christ, you do not do kingdom work, by your own strength. You do kingdom work with the strength Christ provides (1Pet. 4:11). Remember the words of our Lord in Mark 10:45: the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many “.

How Much Should A Dollar Cost?

Bible Truth & Prophecy | Thought for March 21st
Daily Reflection – 10/19/2020

Sacred Scripture

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”( Luke 12:13-21)

Reflection

The rich man’s fault was not in planning ahead; he was perfectly right to provide for what we would call “the rainy day.” Where he went wrong was in thinking only of himself, of his personal comfort and well-being. He forgot the responsibility we all have to the community at large.

We cannot forget a basic premise of Christian thinking and living. When we go down to the deepest level of where everything comes from, it’s all a gift from God. Our whole universe is a gift from God. So, everything we have is a gift. All of this gift is not just for you or me or any one of us, it’s for all. It’s to be shared. (I guess in today’s political climate, that might even sound socialistic!)

The second lesson in today’s parable is what greed has done to this man. He doesn’t understand that he lives closed in on himself, prisoner of a logic that dehumanizes him, emptying him of all dignity. He only lives to accumulate, store and increase his material welfare:

He builds his barns bigger, but doesn’t know how to broaden the horizon of his life. He grows his wealth, but diminishes and impoverishes his life. He accumulates goods, but doesn’t know friendship, generous love, joy or solidarity. He doesn’t know how to give or share, only hoard. What of humanity is there in such a life?

He failed to build up a relationship with God to start with. Our whole relationship to God should be one of thanksgiving. We are receiving it every moment from God. We are  being blessed at every instant because we wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for God. All that there is in this world is a gift from God and it’s intended for all and not for a few.

St. Paul in one of his letters says, “Be eucharists,” which is a Greek word meaning, be thanksgiving. So each of us, our whole being should be thanks — thanks for all that we have, all that we are, all that we can be. God has gifted you and me. When we get that sense and then we begin to understand that it’s the same for every person, we begin to build up a sense of yes, we have to share, we have to work for the common good, we have to try to bring about a fullness of life for every person. 

What happens to a society that erects a “god” focused solely on the mighty dollar or the economy? What does it say about the primacy of the value of life when  a dollar is prized more? If we try to store up riches only for myself, build more new barns, have it all for me, we destroy all our relationships with God. Isn’t maybe that the reason why we live in a world where there’s so much violence, hatred and war?

We can share what we have with others and look to God for our security. Let us do our work as God’s work, do it well for God’s honor, and do it in gratitude for God’s gifts to all of us. Ultimately, like the rich man in the story, one day, God will call each of us to His heavenly home and we will have to leave everything behind that we had achieved in this world.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, free my heart from all possessiveness and from coveting what belongs to another. May I desire you alone as the one true treasure worth possessing above all else. Help me to make good use of the material blessings you give.

Daily Note

To seek the Kingdom of God means more than just taking part in worship. It includes the service of others. demanded by membership of the Church. By giving of oneself we make treasure in heaven and become rich in the sight of God. The fault in the man who came to Jesus with the grievance against his brother, and likewise in the rich fool, was that they were thinking of nobody hut themselves, whereas the Kingdom of God is reached by sharing one another’s burdens. Whatever we give to others is not lost, but becomes treasure for eternity, drawing us forward into the Kingdom.