The Corruption of Revenge

( A commentary on Matthew 5: 38-42 )

This is not done out of weakness, but out of love. The Lord says vengeance  belongs to Him. His justice is perfect. He loves the… | Evil person, Told  you so, Sayings
Daily Reflection – 6/14/2021

Sacred Scripture

You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5: 38-42)

Reflection

It would appear that Jesus is saying, when an evil corrupt King asks you for your ancestral land, give it to him, and give him your house, and your clothes and everything else besides. That’s certainly the way some people have misinterpreted this Gospel passage, but that’s not what Jesus is affirming.

Jesus’ message is highly challenging all the same — he’s calling us to live by his standards, to have our righteousness surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees as we read last week, but he’s not telling us to become a punching bag or a defenseless victim before those who would seek to harm us or others.

Jesus challenges us to be different in order to demonstrate that those who follow Jesus are distinctive from the rest of the world. He is teaching us that the commands to love God and neighbor are intimately related. It is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that reminds us that we share morally in that love. His words in this Gospel passage remind us of how completely we are to give ourselves to others.

When we act in a way that is beyond people’s expectations, when we act in a way that is different, we open the possibility for new things to happen. We open the possibility to live in a new way, in a way that is beyond all the dead-end options that our world continues to choose, in a way that is beyond the circle of violence that is gradually destroying us.

Moving away from hatred and revenge also will eradicate the effects of evil. Because revenge and hatred wind up consuming us more than any deed done against us. It saps every ounce of good will in us. It disfigures our perspective. In a subtle and insidious way, it truly begins to rot away all that we are intended to be.

Living as Christians, living by Christ’s standards and following his example, is not easy, but God doesn’t leave us along with demanding words. He gives us His holy Spirit to help us meet his standards, and he offers us his mercy to help us never give up

He calls us to follow him, to love others as he has loved us first, to live according to his standards and not give in to the corrupting standards of evil. He calls us to be a Christian witness by our lives and our love.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have commanded us to refrain from solving evil with evil. Fill our hearts with Your love so that we can spread this love throughout the world to annihilate all evil. 

Daily Note

Jesus is telling us that you cannot fight evil with evil. Evil is defeated by God’s Goodness and Love. Love is a very powerful force that pacifies all evil thoughts in human beings. When I say all, I mean all. Jesus tells us that if you want to solve all problems with your neighbor use love.  Speak with love, caution with love, rebuke with love, etc. It means if your neighbor has wronged you, don’t let your anger overcome you, make sure you communicate your displeasure but leave the situation solved with no hatred or hard feelings between you both.

Come, Gaze Upon His Broken Body

( A commentary on john 19:31-37 )

John 19:37 And again another scripture said, They shall look on him whom  they pierced.
Daily Reflection – 6/11/2021

Sacred Scripture

Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced. (John 19: 31-37)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel presents the scene which most of us have heard and read about in our journey as Christians. The last minutes of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Its vivid imagery should be foremost in our minds because it means so much to you and me.

So let’s “look upon him whom they have pierced.”

On Calvary, Jesus’ heart was pierced by a lance and from it “immediately blood and water flowed out,”. That water and blood symbolize how God wants to infuse us with the love of his heart. That begins by creating the conditions for us to “look upon him whom they have pierced,” to look on Christ’s outpouring love, taking upon him our sins and paying the price of our redemption. We need to behold Christ’s pierced side.

To honor Jesus’ heart means that we give homage to his entire sacred humanity, conscious that Jesus took our own nature in order to offer it for us, redeem it, and make it the sacred dwelling place of God once again. To honor his heart means that we want our humanity to be transformed by his, so that we may come fully alive and thereby give God glory.

Whenever we fail to align our heart and treasure with the love that beats in his heart for us, his heart is wounded. Jesus is not stoically indifferent to our rejection, but feels our unrequited love in the depth of his human heart and divine and human love. 

The cross produces the faith and repentance which it demands. If you cannot come to Christ with faith and repentance, come to Christ for faith and repentance, for he can give them to you. He is pierced on purpose that you may be pricked to the heart. His blood, which freely flows, is shed for many for the remission of sins. What you have to do is just to look, and, as you look, those feelings which are the marks of conversion and regeneration shall be wrought in you by a sight of him

Just as Jesus surrenders himself to the Father’s will, so too, we must surrender ourselves if we want to show our gratitude. After contemplating Christ’s love, we cannot go on loving the same as before. Every day we need to grow in love and appreciation for what Christ has done for me. We were like birds caught in a trap, and now we are free. Freely we need to communicate this love to all mankind through prayer, words and our example. Ask Christ for the decision to do whatever it takes to communicate his love to those around you.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, begin a new work of love within me. Instill in me a greater love and respect for your commandments. Give me a burning desire to live a life of holiness and righteousness. Purify my thoughts, desires, and intentions that I may only desire what is pleasing to you and in accord with your will.

Daily Note

“The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom” (Abbot Rupert of Deutz, early 12th century).

The Cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love.  It is also the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness.  By his cross Jesus has redeemed our sin and atoned for our punishment.  The way to peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God and the way to victory over sin, despair, and death is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  Do you willingly follow Jesus in his way of the cross with joy, hope, and confidence?

The Disease of Anger and Its Antidote

( A commentary on Matthew 5: 20-26 )

Daily Guidelines: June 14, 2018 - Verbum Dei Philippines
Daily Reflection – 6/10/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”( Matthew 5:20-26)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that our righteousness, our justice, must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, in order to enter into eternal life, in order not to go to Hell. The “justice” of the Pharisees was quite rigorous in terms of prayer, weekly fasting, tithing. But there were two things it lacked. First, it was external, focusing on acts rather than the heart; second, it lacked mercy.

That is akin to those who make a point of attending Church but whose hearts and actions do not follow the way of Jesus Christ.

Jesus points to the heart as the seat of desire and choice. Unless evil and forbidden desires are eradicated, the heart will be corrupted. Jesus points to forbidden anger with one’s brother. This is a selfish anger that broods and is long-lived, that nurses a grudge and keeps wrath warm, and that refuses to die. Harboring anger in the heart as well as anger in speech and action are equally forbidden by God.

What is the antidote to anger and resentment? Mercy, kindness, and forbearance spring from a heart full of love and forgiveness. God has forgiven us and he calls us to extend mercy and forgiveness towards those who cause us grief and harm. In the cross of Jesus, we see the supreme example of love and forgiveness and the power of goodness for overcoming evil. Only God’s love and grace can set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge.

We need to truly examine our hearts, acknowledge the reality of anger within us and ask the Lord to make us truly a follower of his way

Do you harbor any anger towards another person? And are you quick to be reconciled when a rupture has been caused in your relationships? Do you use labels to define another and turn away from them because they don’t think as you do? Ask God to set you free and to fill your heart and mind with his love and goodness. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). Through the grace and help of the Holy Spirit we can overcome malice with good, hatred with kindness, and injury with pardon.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, grant that this day that your way floods my heart, mind and body so that I live in accord with your teachings and I may be saved and protected through your love and grace.”

Daily Note

Since life is dynamic, there’s always an opportunity for us to turn away from whatever keeps us from God, turn toward him in mercy, and turn with him in life. But there’s likewise a chance that we can turn away from him, turn toward sin, and begin to walk in the way of sinners. If we seek justice from our adversary rather than reconciliation, we may very well end up receiving justice, being found guilty, and suffering the consequences. He says we anticipate that journey every time we come to pray and he calls us to live that reconciliation for us to pray well. “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” We can’t offer the gift of ourselves to God in a pleasing way if we seek to do so with unreconciled hearts and lives. It’s not enough that our external deeds are in conformity with God’s law, but he wants our hearts to be as well — not only not killing our brother but not being angry or insulting him or harboring any of the thoughts in which we treat our brother as dead within us.

Stepping Up To Our Obligation

( A commentary on Matthew 5: 17-19 )

Matthew 5:16 Let Your Light Shine Before Men - Free Bible Art Download -  Bible Verses To Go
Daily Reflection – 6/9/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

Reflection

As one biblical scholar says, the Old Testament was like an unfinished symphony waiting for Christ to come and bring everything together. That’s what Jesus himself describes in the Gospel today, taken from the Sermon on the Mount.

 He says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” He was coming to respond to all of the Old Covenant hopes, to be the “Yes” to all God’s promises, even the littlest:” He would do this not just by his words but also by his example.

He came to proclaim the Gospel, to give witness to the truth, and to enflesh that truth in such a way that he could say to us, “Follow me!”

He has opened for us the owner’s manual about the human being, the world he created and the way we’re supposed to connect with Him. It’s a great blessing to receive this gift. That’s why it’s essential for us to live in that gift and pass it on to others. That’s why Jesus says in the Gospel that the greatest in his kingdom are those who observe his commandments and teach others to do the same.

 When we pass on the teaching to the next generations, we are giving them the privilege, with us, to draw close to God, to experience his merciful teaching and to be blessed in manifold ways through it. If we fail to do so, we’re distancing ourselves from that communion with God and from his mercy — and dragging others with us.

These times cry out for each of us to pass on the love of God.

Everything is meant to help us to love God and love others, something that those who look at the law as a burden don’t grasp. Since Jesus’ kingdom is a kingdom of love, that’s why he would add: “Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” The greatest in the kingdom loves and teaches others to love. The least is one who doesn’t love and through those shows the face of darkness.

Jesus wants us to be a doer and teacher of the word! That is the path to greatness in his kingdom. We don’t get a “pass” from the law by living according to the Spirit as “spiritual” people rather than “religious.” We don’t get great by seeking to win human respect through watering down the challenging parts of the Gospel to suit modern tastes.

We are called at this moment, and every moment to stop and examine what we present to the world through our lives. Anger, scorn, diminishment of others and finding others who share that darkness not only creates greater darkness but assures that we will not enter his kingdom.

At times the world seems darker than yesterday but those are the very days we should grasp his two greatest commands of loving God and loving neighbor. It is only through our giving and passing on that love that a day grows brighter.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, give us the passion to obey Your commandments and teach them to others. Help us to continually become the salt and the Light of the World so that our actions and deeds may become good examples that glorify the Name of our Lord”.

Daily Note

Jesus speaks to us about how he has come to fulfill the law and how we will become great in his kingdom through participation in that fulfillment and helping others to do so. While Jesus wasn’t going to let the smallest part of a letter pass away, he also wasn’t going to get us to focus first on the smallest part of the letter — as many of his contemporaries did — but on the big, bold headlines that oriented every letter and every part of the letter: how God’s law is all about loving God with all we are and have, and loving our neighbor as totally as God has loved us. That’s what the law is and Jesus was coming to fulfill it.

You Are The Salt of the Earth

( A commentary on Matthew 5: 13-16 )

Encouraging Word: You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop  that cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:1… | Scripture verses, Book of matthew,  Biblical quotes
Daily Reflection – 6/8/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

Reflection

I love the imagery in today’s Gospel. It is vivid. It is descriptive. It applies to all of us.

It is especially apt in today’s world and it is especially needed.

Do you like salt? Do you use it in your cooking? Most probably you do. A little bit of salt can make a big difference between tasty or bland food.

 In a similar way, Christ came to give meaning to all experiences, no matter how bland or bitter, giving us his life to the full and instilling in us his joy. Christians, marked in this way by Christ’s mercy, are meant to bring this flavor, personality, joy and life to the environments we inhabit.

Our flavor must be distinctive so that we can season the world and change its dynamics. We know that being followers of Jesus means that we have to follow his teachings. And oftentimes his teachings run counter to what is expected and popular. When we run into someone who demeans other people because of their race or their religion, we must be the person that speaks up and says, “I don’t accept that. What you’re saying is neither true nor right.” When we encounter those who think that violence is the solution, we have to be people who propose, “Let’s look for another solution.” When people cling on to hurt and hatred, we have to be bold enough to say, “The way forward is by mercy and forgiveness.”

Now, of course, there is no guarantee that people will understand or accept our beliefs or our convictions. But that is not what Jesus asks us to do. Jesus understands that the only one that can change anyone’s mind is that person him or herself. What we are called to be is to be salt of the earth, to season our environment with Jesus’ teaching so that the world tastes different than it tasted before.

When we do that, we come into the meaning of light. There are two fundamental purposes for light. The first is to help people to see. The second is to warm. Christ has done both for us.

He has come and mercifully taught us in such a way that we may walk as children of the light and be true children of the light. So, the Christian life is supposed to be luminescent, like the lights on a landing strip at an airport on a foggy night that help planes land. In the midst of many walking in valleys of darkness, Christians are called to burn with the light so that others can follow us in following Jesus the Light of the World.

As he warmed us by his love, we in turn may warm others by the fire of divine love. When we approach Jesus and when others approach us, we and they should feel like someone cold approaching a lit fireplace.

In a world of bad news, you and I can be part of the good news of Jesus Christ. Affecting others by the kindness and warmth we bring to friend, neighbor and stranger.

The question is always there.  if it ever became a crime to follow Jesus, would anyone find enough evidence to convict you?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed”

Daily Note

The message: “that the world is basically good, that God is there and is good. That it is good to live and to be a human being!”  is needed! When our joy comes from trust in God and not mere optimism, when our joy comes from confidence in God and not mere positivity, then we can discover the greatest mystery, the ability to feel joy even in the midst of suffering. So, dig deep and find that “primordial trust” in God, and have the “courage to rejoice!” so that you may always have a reason ready to explain the “hope that is in you” to others. (1 Peter 3:15)

THE Path to The Kingdon

( A commentary on Mark 5: 1-12a )

Matthew 5:12 KJV | Scripture quotes, Inspirational quotes motivation, Faith  quotes
Daily Reflection – 6/7/2021)

Sacred Scripture

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven (Matthew 5: 1-12a)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the Magna Carta of the Christian life. The Beatitudes characterize his life and the life of any true Christian who aspires to be like him.

They tell us how God sees the world. God sees as blessed those who are poor in spirit. God sees as valuable those who mourn, those who are lonely, those who are persecuted. The Beatitudes reveal that God is committed to those who are in need and those who suffer. It is because God is present to them, they are blessed. The Beatitudes do not say that it is a blessed or wonderful thing to be poor, or to be grieving, or to be persecuted.

But they do assert that whenever any of these distressful things happen to us, God comes to us. God is attracted to us because God knows our needs. Because God is present in those distressful circumstances, those who are distressed are blessed. If God is with them, God will lead those who suffer to a better place: those who mourn will be comforted; those that are lowly will inherit the land; those who are poor or persecuted will rejoice in the kingdom.

So, this is the God that the Beatitudes reveal to us: a God who lifts up the lowly, who cares for the poor, who stands with the oppressed. It is this vision of who God is that stands at the center of Jesus’ ministry and forms the heart of Jesus’ teaching.

To be a disciple of Jesus, we must be a people of hope. Because we know that when we are poor, when we are grieving, when we feel rejected or worthless or in need, God comes to us. We believe this because we know that God is close to those who are poor or in need. We believe in a God who comes to us in our struggles, a God who is with us and leads us to a place of fullness and joy. Those who follow Jesus must be people of hope because God cares for us in our need. 

We must also be a caring people. If God is close to those who struggle, if God is close to those who are persecuted or in need, we must act towards them in the same way. We cannot worship God and ignore those for whom God cares. We must as followers of Jesus be people who are committed to eliminating poverty and injustice and oppression because those are the very things that our God is also committed to eliminate.

In each of these ways, Jesus beckons us “follow me!” The question for us today is whether we trust him enough to do so. To believe in Jesus means to believe in what he says. In this case, it means first to trust that following Jesus along the path of the beatitudes will truly lead us to the happiness Jesus promises and for which our hearts long. And secondly, it means to put that faith into action and follow Jesus along that challenging path. The path that leads to his kingdom.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you and show me the way that leads to everlasting peace and happiness. May I desire you above all else and find perfect joy in doing your will.”

Daily Note

Our daily prayer should ask Him to increase our trust in Him and to give us the grace he knows we’ll need to follow him along the path of the beatitudes. We ask him for his grace so that we may become poor in spirit, treasuring God as our greatest gift; so loving of others that we mourn whenever they suffer; meek and humble like our Master; hungry for a right relationship with Him and others; merciful and forgiving to those who have harmed us; pure in heart, so that we might see Him in everyone and everything; bearers of his peace, which is his farewell gift to the world; and willing to suffer out of love for Him, who suffered so much out of love for us. We ask him, in short, to make us men and women of the beatitudes, so that others, in seeing us, may see Him, and follow us and Him along the path of the beatitudes, which is the path that leads to happiness, the sure way that leads to the joy of heaven.

Fox or CNN? Pick Your Distortion.

(A commentary on Mark 12: 35-37)

Luke 12:37 "It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them  watching when He comes." thevoiceoftruthblog.weebly.co… | Comforting  scripture, Luke, Luke 12
Daily Reflection – 6/4/2021

Sacred Scripture

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said, “How do the scribes claim that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’ David himself calls him ‘lord’; so how is he his son?” The great crowd heard this with delight. (Mark 12:35-37)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus pointing out the deeper meaning of Scripture. After having been interrogated by the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees in the Temple area, Jesus finally asks a question himself, something to show that the scribes the reality of who the Messiah truly is.

Jesus affirms that the Holy Spirit inspired David in the writing of the Psalms, since “all Scripture is inspired by God.” But then he says that the Scribes themselves are unable to solve that enigma, as to why David’s descendent would be called “Lord.” It wasn’t just because he was the Messiah. Jesus, of course, is the answer to that question and he was trying to open them up for it.

Mark tells us at the end of the passage, “The great crowd heard this with delight,” not just because the proud Scribes were a little humbled, but because they were brought more deeply into the mystery and depth of Sacred Scripture.

They were brought into the truth. Not the “truth” of the Pharisees. Not the” truth” of the Sadducees. Certainly, not the “truth” of the Romans. Each of the groups saw their world through their own distorted lens.

Truth is that too many Christians today see the world through distorted lenses. Depending on whether you watch Fox or CNN, the distortion is magnified. Politicians delight at the gullibility of people who do not form their own opinion but rather spout the words of their favorite newscaster. And so, the “duping of America” goes on.

For the Christian, there is only one reality. One truth. The very words of Jesus Christ. Words that should not only illume our lives but bring us to a deeper peace and a deeper realization of how much we are loved. Words that should shape the manner in which we live our lives.

Those words are not burdensome. Those words are not difficult.

If they are then it means that we are rooted in the pleasures of the world. Rather than accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, we are saying that there is a more important Lord. And when those words “chafe,” it’s because our inner self, rooted in Jesus, is telling us that we are drifting.

If peace is eluding you, if happiness is only momentary, if you constantly feel at odds, you can know “delight” as the listeners in today’s Gospel did by opening your life to the words of Jesus Christ. His presence in your life will outweigh any other passing attachment or pleasure you may have.

The delight in knowing the Lord is something that continually draws you higher and fulfills you more deeply every day

So here is a suggestion for you. Tune off the media. Stop spouting their perceptions. They are peddling their perspective while they live, breathe, and sleep on ratings. Ratings bring them money.

A Christian’s rating comes from recognizing that she/he is living the words of Jesus Christ. That is what defines a Christian. Not an editorial opinion, not a conspiracy theory, not an earful or a mouthful of rants and raves.

Rather the inner peace that comes from knowing that the Lord walks beside you, fills you and will bring you home to His Father.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, I desire to delight in You. Help me to turn away from the many attractions and enticements of this world. Help me to seek You and Your Word always. In the discovery of Your Word, fill my soul with the greatest delight. Jesus, I trust in You. “

Daily Note

The Lord and Master of our lives is the person or thing we give our lives over to and submit to in a full way. We can be ruled by many things – our possessions, the love of money, our unruly passions, alcohol, drugs, and other forms of addictions. Only one Lord and Master can truly set us free to love and serve others selflessly and to be loved as God intended from the beginning. When we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord we invite him to be the king of our heart, master of our home, our thoughts, our relationships, and everything we do. Is the Lord Jesus the true king and master of your heart and do you give him free reign in every area of your life?

The Death Knell of Love ?

( A commentary on Luke 12: 28-34)

It is true..."Blessed people, bless people". God generously blesses us so  that we can bless others. As we … | Blessed quotes, Church quotes, Words of  encouragement
Daily Reflection – 6/3/2021

Sacred Scripture

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.( Mark 12:28-34)

Reflection

Today, a lawyer of Sacred Scripture, having heard Jesus answer the contrived questions from the Sadducees, approaches with a question designed to know the truth. It focuses on what is the most important thing we need to do, and Jesus replies, loving God with all we have and then adds a second command, similar to the first, loving our neighbor with all we have.

 The lawyer who asked the question responded with joy at Jesus’ answer. Jesus told him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God,” because knowing the truth and doing the truth are two different things. To enter the kingdom of God, the scribe needed concretely not just to know about the need to love God and neighbor but actually to love them.

We are all aware of that great command. When did we fall off the wagon? When did we forget how to love?

There is a growing trend toward isolation these days. It is often masked behind a false claim to one’s personal rights. We want to be the center of attention and we are so selective about our relationships.

The customs we had suppressed at the borders, we have applied along the margins of our own existence. It is becoming a popular way of treating others not only in politics but also in our way of life. The beauty of a reciprocal relationship is slowly being replaced by the obsession with our own egos. The other is no longer a pilgrim who crosses through our world but an enemy that we must banish.

We have glossed over the basic fact that loving is a question of the heart! But the heart, in the language of the Bible, means the whole person, the unity and the totality of the person.

You cannot love sometimes, just when you feel like it. If you love, you love always and with all your soul. Jesus says that the heart is where the spirit and the mind join; that is where what I feel truly expresses what I think. But we are often divided, fragmented and incoherent people.

Loving God is not only the first precept that we must accomplish so as to pass to the next level. Loving God is the foundation of the very possibility of loving anyone else for the simple reason that, only in the relationship with God can I feel fundamentally loved.

Once we fail to love God — and to love him with passion, to love him with our minds and come to know him, to love him with our hearts above over loves, to love him with our strength even when it’s hard, to love him with our soul and keep it clean, to love him with all we’ve got — then we fail to recognize him in our neighbor, we alienate ourselves from our neighbors, and then we basically begin to follow Satan’s ways rather than the Lord’s ways.

The great spiritual principle of the desert fathers was “anamnesis”, literally unforgetting. It means to remember that Christ is with us, that he reiterates his teaching in the present, that he gives us himself and his help so that we may love God with all we are and love our neighbor as Christ has loved us first. 

If I live a life where my personal freedom counts more than my neighbor, then I have forgotten how to love. It is only in loving the other as yourself that we truly live in  our foundational relationship with God.

Prayer of The Day

We love you, O our God; and we desire to love you more and more. Grant to us that we may love you as much as we desire, and as much as we ought. O dearest friend, who has so loved and saved us, the thought of whom is so sweet and always growing sweeter, come with Christ and dwell in our hearts; that you keep a watch over our lips, our steps, our deeds, and we shall not need to be anxious either for our souls or our bodies. Give us love, sweetest of all gifts, which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love, born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love, let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in your Son. (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)

Daily Note

The Christian faith rests on this twofold love. If we deny him, not just by outright apostasy but by choosing sin over him and persevering in sin, then he will deny us, because Jesus himself said that he will acknowledge before the Father those who acknowledge him before others. How important it is to “remind people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing!” How important it is to help them to remember Christ, to live with him, to reign with him, and to present themselves eagerly as acceptable to God.

There’s Life, There’s Death, There’s Life Again

(A commentary on Mark 12: 18-27)

The Gospel of the day: 6th June – Archdiocese of Malta
Daily Reflection – 6/2/2021

Sacred Scripture

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac, and (the) God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.” (Mark 12: 18-27)

Reflection

Now it’s the Sadducees turn to try and stump Jesus.

The Sadducees, who were a group of religious leaders from the upper classes in Jesus’ time, did not believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead to eternal life. They could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes!

Jesus is patient and answers their contrived question. But the greatest portion of his answer is spent on the importance of eternal life, which he came to reveal and make happen.

The Sadducees might have used their conversation as a means of tricking Jesus but the fact is that it’s part of the human condition to think about our mortality and perhaps even to question eternal life.

I believe there are two truths that we need to consider. They are both based on the present day.

First is the belief we did not begin to exist by chance but according to the deliberate plan of the Father who gave birth to us, who alone can create us. The very act of calling God our Father is to recognize that we have a purposeful beginning.

That belief opens us to the reality that we are not to arbitrarily live our lives but are called to bring to fulfillment God’s kingdom on earth as it is already in heaven. Therefore, to do the will of the Father is to recognize that we have a meaningful end.

So now the second belief. How many times in your life have good things happened to you? Sometimes they are profound – as in the birth of a child. Sometimes they are captured in the beauty of a sunset, or the ocean, or the view from a mountain top.

Now tie it all together with today’s scripture when Jesus used the present tense verb when he says: “I AM the God of Abraham ., , he is not God of the dead but of the living.”

He IS there with us, every step of the way. Through joys and sorrows, through the light filled moments of life and through its shadows. He does that because He loves you and me. Every present, ever loving, ever watching of us.

If you believe that. If that is part of the power of your life then why would we ever imagine that God would stop loving us and blessing us when our mortal life is over?

Prayer of The Day

“May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages.” (Prayer of Origen, 185-254 AD)

Daily Note

Through Christ’s resurrection we, too, can rise again to eternal life with God
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God’s unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity. Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The promise of paradise – heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God – is beyond human reckoning. We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you believe the Scriptures and do you know the power of the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and who gives us the assurance of everlasting life as well?

Peek-A – Boo. I See You!

( A commentary on Mark 12: 13-17)

583,738 God Stock Photos, Images | Download God Pictures on Depositphotos®
Daily Reflection – 6/1/2021

Sacred Scripture

They sent some Pharisees and Herodians to him to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him. (Mark 12:13-17)

Reflection

We humans are a strange lot. We go through all sorts of gyrations to twist a piece of logic. We hide behind slogans so that what we really believe can be covered up. We use labels to define us as well as to segregate others.

Trickery abounds and its most sad when it’s used to delude ourselves.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees were convinced they could trip up Jesus. They didn’t of course.

The answer given by Jesus is pregnant with meaning for you and for me. On its face, it has been used to justify the doctrine of the separation of church and state. But that’s the obvious answer.

What if we take it to a different level . . . to a different question? What belongs to God? That’s an easy one. Everything belongs to God. It is He who has given you and I all that we are and all that we have.

From that rock bed of thought, the separation of church and state does not apply to God, because God cannot be separated from creation or from all of humanity.

When we read this passage in this way, it is a reminder of our responsibility to exercise our rights to express the values that flow from our belief in God.

As followers of Jesus, we must approach things with a worldview. It is not sufficient for us only to be concerned about our country and “our people”, because God has created all people and has given to each person a basic human dignity. We must recognize that we belong to each other, within and outside of our geographic borders.

When people are persecuted, or hunted down or even murdered because they are of a different belief system, or of a different race, or of a different nationality, that is our concern, our collective concern.

Ignoring that might be okay with Caesar but it is not okay with God.

We must also be people concerned about the least among us. Anyone who knows the teaching of Jesus understands that Jesus’ ministry was among the most marginalized of people. As we examine national policies, we cannot ignore the child within his mother’s womb, the family without access to healthcare, or adopt a tax program that ignores the needs of the poorest among us.

 Doing that might be okay with Caesar, but it is not okay with God.

Adopting a worldview and showing concern for the least among us is not partisan. It is not political and it should never be used to justify a label.

The only source of abiding trust and faithfulness is our trust in God. God alone has made us, saved us, and promised to be with us. God alone will prove trustworthy in good times and in bad, in boom and in bust. As we face the future, we have to put our trust in God.

Jesus is calling us to a different way of living. He says to us, “Give to God the things that are God’s.” The gift that Jesus is asking of us is ourselves, and our supreme task in life is to make our lives fit to offer to him and with him for others.

That may not be okay with Caesar but it sure is okay with God.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you all my being. Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I, for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself. I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.” (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)

Daily Note

We, too, have been stamped with God’s image since we are created in his own likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). We rightfully belong, not to ourselves, but to God who created us and redeemed us in the precious blood of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul the Apostle says that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). Do you acknowledge that your life belongs to God and not to yourself? And do you give to God what rightfully belongs to Him?