Thursday, November 15, 2018

“The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. It beckons us to gamble all, to trust radically, to come and die so that we might live--to give our lives away. Giving life away is a paradox. It's losing so we can win. It's giving so we can receive. It's risking for security. It's faith. The kingdom of God means living that tension.”


Modern prophets say that our economics have failed us. No! It is not our economics which have failed; it is man who has failed-man who has forgotten God. Hence no manner of economic or political readjustment can possibly save our civilization; we can be saved only by a renovation of the inner man, only by a purging of our hearts and souls; for only by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Justice will all these other things be added unto us. - Fulton J. Sheen: (1895 – 1979: was an American bishop (later archbishop) of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio.)

Gospel Text: (LK 17:20-25)
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
"The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.'
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you."

Then he said to his disciples,
"The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
'Look, there he is,' or 'Look, here he is.'
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation."

The Kingdom of God is, indeed, among us.  God is the vine, and we are the branches. God is with us and in us.  We are his instruments, and the living Kingdom, especially when we carry out his greatest commandment -- love one another.   Provide food for the hungry; set captives free; protect strangers. These acts desperately need to be done. The Kingdom of God is among us. We should make it as evident as a flash of lightning, but possibly, more lasting.     

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

“The more grateful we are, the more beauty we see.”


“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (1906 – 1945: was a German pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident,

Gospel Text: (LK 17:11-19)
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
And when he saw them, he said,
"Go show yourselves to the priests."
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
"Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"
Then he said to him, "Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you."

What makes us remiss in expressing gratitude and praise to God for all the good gifts he has given us? Are we just too busy? Do we not appreciate the goodness of his gifts, that our life and all else are his free loving gifts to us? Or do we feel at times that these talents and achievements are really ours, and ours alone?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

When I was young, I was sure of many things; now there are only two things of which I am sure: one is, that I am a sinner; and the other, that Christ is an all-sufficient Saviour. He is well-taught who learns these two lessons.


How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man. - Johnny Cash: (1932 – 2003: was an American singer-songwriter)

Scripture Text:PS 37:3-4, 18 AND 23, 27 AND 29
R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart's requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

During the last weeks of the Church year—which more or less correspond with the month of November—the Church asks us to turn our attention to what she calls the “Last Things”. Each Christian needs to focus his or her attention upon Heaven and Hell, death and judgment.

A lot of people like to think, and lead their lives, believing that only one of these four things even exists. Of course there is a Heaven. Heaven is the place where everyone goes when they die: this is what some people believe. This is what some people teach. But this is not what Jesus taught.

Jesus taught that people, if they do not follow Him, will go—not to Heaven, but to that other place, called Hell. King David, in composing today’s psalm, puts it this way: “The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.” Salvation—being saved, which is another way of saying, “getting to Heaven”— does not come from ourselves, but only from the Lord. If we try to get to Heaven by ourselves, or if we try to make our own Heaven, we will fail, and end up forever without God. We are responsible for doing many things, and at the end of our lives, we should be able to give an account of what we have done. Still, none of those things are what get us into Heaven. 



Monday, November 12, 2018

One of the greatest distinguishing marks of false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade; he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like a six flags over Jesus.


For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions – St Timothy: (was an early Christian evangelist and the first first-century Christian bishop of Ephesus, who tradition relates died around the year AD 97.)

Gospel Text: (LK 17:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples,
"Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,'
you should forgive him."


And the Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

False teachers and false prophets have been and will always continue to be a very serious threat to the Church and to each and every baptized Christian. Jesus warns us in his Sermon on the Mount about false teachers and false prophets and describes them as wolves in sheep’s clothing and not has harmless people who should be ignored—or worse—tolerated. Here’s what our Lord said:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15–20)

Notice that Jesus warns us that false teachers and prophets disguise themselves to look like Christians. But also notice that Jesus says the sheep-like camouflage won’t work too well because we will be able to recognize the wolves by their fruits. So what are these bad fruits that make wolves easy to recognize? Answer: their messages.

The fruit of false teachers, prophets and ravenous wolves is easy to spot. If they preach themselves, not Christ, then they’re wolves.

Wolves preach about their lives, their victories, their dreams, their visions, their ideas, the tips and tricks they’ve discovered to achieve success. Jesus, if He’s mentioned at all by them, is merely held up as an example to be followed. The goal of their preaching is to convince you to apply the pastor’s insights and life tips so that you can be successful, just like the pastor is successful.

Faithful teachers of the one true faith, on the other hand, are not like wolves but are like the apostle Paul who said:

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God….For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4:2, 5)