Sunday, October 27, 2019

Still Fighting

 In the last few years I have at best been intermittent at making the Sunday Mass posts. Not that there were ever too many personnel posts but last few years there have been none.
 Hopefully that will change in the coming time. I did mention a few years ago that I was diagnosed with Cancer and the last two years I have gone through a couple of surgeries  and some procedures along with chemo in pill form and liquid form along with radiation.
I have and I am still battling, currently I am in pretty good health in a holding pattern if you will but there are scars from the battle with some lingering or residual issues from the surgeries and treatment. To say in the very least it has been hard and scary and at times confusing. The one thing that has been there has been my faith and there were a couple of times where God swooped down and helped to keep me going for which I am grateful. Literally bringing me back from the edge as I am came close twice to not being here.
 It has been as mentioned and as any of you who have yourselves suffered through the dark world of cancer or know someone who has it has been very hard. Mentally I am exhausted and very confused and at times extremely bitter that this has happened to me.
 In the following weeks I will go through what did actually happen to me and how I am doing and hopefully this will help me, kind of be therapeutic and also help for anyone who might just be starting down this long road. Certainly the doctors despite the great work they did and are doing did not prepare me for the mental hit. Maybe it is just me but it is still hard for me to deal with this.
 Until I hit the keyboard again please enjoy the Sunday readings and homily that I put up and if you have anything to add to my story as it unfolds please let me know or anything that might also be of help to me please pass it along. Please take care and God Bless! 

Homily for This Week

The Homily is taken from a Catholic Moment;

The Psalmist today says that “The Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Ps 34); not just the weak and the oppressed but the poor in spirit. Thus the readings today teach us that the only key to unlocking the heart of God in prayer is humility; for the humble are not just admired by God, but they are the ones that he justifies.

First Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Isn’t this first reading so interesting as it introduces a beautiful theme about the justice of God?
This message of Ben Sirach addressed to his Jewish compatriots around 175 BC asserts that the just God has no favorites. But we are tempted to disprove this assertion owing to the imbalances and inequalities that exist among men. Even from the jewish background, wealth and good living was perceived as a blessing from God while poverty was seen as a curse. So how do we explain the notion of a just and loving God when one lives in extreme riches while the other lives in extreme poverty. Doesn’t it contradict Sirach’s notion that God has no favourite? On the other hand, when we dig deep in the whole of the Scripture, we often see the image of “the God of only the poor” because he always talks about justice to the poor as if he has a score to settle with the rich. Unfortunately it is not the case. God is the Father of all, but since human beings often use their advantage of good fortune in life to show how superior they are against the other, and sometimes at the expense of the poor, that is why God often manifest himself as the God who defends the rights of weak and advocates for those who have no one. The weakest in Sirach’s society were the widows and orphans. And he made it clear that since they were not often heard by people, God the just One often hears them. He allows their prayers to “pierce the cloud, until they reach him, the Most High.” This is a powerful word of encouragement from Ben Sirach to all who feel that life is unjust to them; those who have nobody to fight for their right; those who are left at the corridor of human society and those who feel they have no one to speak for them. Imagine the power in this word: “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;
it does not rest till it reaches its goal,
nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds…” What more do you need to worry about you who cry night and day? What type of consolation and assurance do you need that is not in this word? God is never far away. All around you may seem to be dark, but even darkness is never dark for him. Your prayers are safe. Your cry for mercy has reached heaven. And Sirach concludes that “the Lord will not delay” (v.18).

SECOND READING: 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18
This last letter of Paul to Timothy and the last chapter of the letters to Timothy is a corpus of “Adieu message” of “The Apostle” to his spiritual son. In the previous chapters, he encouraged Timothy to be faithful to his vocation, to hold firm to the faith he has received and to shepherd the flock as a true pastor. But today, he reminds him that his life (Paul) is taking another phase. He has ceased from public and active life, and being held in prison, he is about to pay the ultimate price for being faithful to Christ. Thus Paul sees his imminent martyrdom in terms of sacrificial worship. That is what he meant by the expression, “I am already being poured out like a libation.” The New Jerusalem Bible says, in a footnote to this verse, “Libations of wine, water or oil were poured over the victims not only in Gentile sacrifices but also in Jewish ones (Exodus 29:40 and  Numbers 28:7).
Paul writes with every conviction that his life merits a “Crown” which does not just symbolize victory but also an affirmation that he is a co-heir with Christ and a citizen of heaven. More than just instigating fear in the young Timothy about his passage from this life, it was a reminder for him to know that his faithfulness to Christ in this world can only have one unique end which is heaven.
How many of us can beat our chest with conviction like St. Paul that we are running the race on the right track?
How many of us are even convinced of the race? Do we still think that we can make it to the end with all the troubles that this life presents? What about the many times we grew weak and were discouraged? Paul calls us not to give up when we face “prisons and martyrdom” for our crown is sure and our home is heaven.
Finally, if we will have the gracious opportunity at the evening of our lives to bid farewell to people around us like Paul to Timothy, what testament are we going to hand over to them? Our will? Our bank account? Certainly these are good and necessary, but can we like St. Paul smile that we have lived well our lives and encourage others in the same way?
Friends let the race we have started not be nothing. Let us not spend our energy, our talent and our time in order to end at nothing. Let our target be the crown. It may be difficult but it is not impossible.

GOSPEL: Luke 18:9-14
The Gospel passage presents two famous men in the society: one was a pharisee popularly acknowledged as a man of honour, and well respected because of his strict adherence to the Law and probably a good moral standard. The other was best described by the public as a thief, a traitor (working with the Roman government against his people), and of course a sinner. This was the image of the two men according to the judgment of the people. But when they found themselves before God, the judgment took a different perspective.
Jewish Law required fasting only on the Day of Atonement-“Yom Kippur” (Lev. 16:31; 23:27), but this Pharisee fasted twice a week. Although he was required to pay tithe only from his agricultural produce (Dt 14:22; Nm 18:21), but he paid tithes on all his wealth. By every indication of the Law, he was very righteous. He did more than what was required by the Law. This gratified his soul, but unfortunately made him proud. Therefore he came to the Temple not really to pray but to tell God that he has done more than required. In other words, there is no reason why God should not justify him. In fact God should be owing him alot since he has done more than what the Law stipulated. By way of simple analyses, the Pharisee came to the presence of God already holy. Unfortunately, this blocked him from being touched by the holiness of God. Thus he left God’s presence remaining the same, that is, he appeared to be holy but in actual sense he was not. Of course he got what he asked for which is nothing: nothing because he had no need of God. He relied heavily on his personal effort, thereby forgetting that it is only God who can make one holy and not just ones good deeds.
This man was able to measure his state of life with the scale of God’s holiness, and immediately he discovered that the holiness of God has exposed his sinfulness. This is the reason why he hid his face and stood at a distance refusing to approach the sanctuary like the self-righteous pharisee. He begged for mercy. That is to say, his prayer was direct, straight to the point and expressed the true sense of prayer which is, man’s personal and humble relationship with his God. He acknowledged that his goodness does not depend on him but exclusively on God.
The two men ended their prayers, and guess what the result looked like:
1. Faithfulness to the Law; pharisee (80% he must have thwarted the law sometimes to his favour), tax collector (20% we cannot say he never did anything good in his life)
2. Public reputation; pharisee (80% not everyone will certainly admire him), tax collector (10% ofcourse he was admired by his friends and people of his type).
3. Humility before God; pharisee (0% he spoke to God as if he was in charge), tax collector (100% he saw himself as nothing before God).
4. God’s judgment; pharisee (0% he left home not justified), tax collector (100% went home justified).
We can be faithful to the law and so much loved by the people, but the end of everything we have and are is God. It is only God who determines who is holy. Men can give their judgment base on what they see, which is partial, but God’s judgement is total because he sees the heart of men.

We cannot pretend to have not seen ourselves as superior and well placed than others. And how often have we condemned others simply because we have got the grace of living differently. If you are successful in your marriage, business, thank God for it. And if your children are doing well in life, appreciate God. But sometimes I have heard people say; “look at her, she cannot even manage her family. Just look at her stupid mother like daughter…” Please graces are different and situations vary. If we can pray for people the same way we condemn them, I think we will have a better world.
We are all sinners. We have cheated God and men. Let the action of this man encourage us all to make a move for change. We must acknowledge ourselves sinners. This is the only pathway to holiness. Let the word, “Kyrie eleison” be part of our daily manners. When we humble ourselves in recognition that we are sinners, then there is an outpouring of the grace of God upon us, and God will be pleased with us in the sense that we acknowledge that we are nothing without him.
A. Tax Collector:
We should not bother ourselves so much because of how people see us to be. Certainly people will call us names simply because we are different from them. Listen, it doesn’t matter much how people see us because the judgment of men can never be free of sentiment (am not saying people’s observation about our lives are always wrong). We should rather be bothered of how God sees us. And no matter how we try to adjust base on people’s perception of us, it is only God who can make us better persons. Hence the need to find time to be at the presence of God always. The world could not change the tax collector, but immediately he found himself before God he felt differently.
B. Pharisee:
We should be on our guard the way we present ourselves to the public, creating the impression that we are truly good persons. We should equally be careful when people praise us as nice persons. It could just be mere flattery. It was not until the pharisee met the presence of God that we came to know the other side of him. And many a time, we paint our image very well in order to win public admiration (like the pharisees) . Let us be sure of this: we can succeed in deceiving people, but we can never deceive God. We can hide our true self from people, thus giving them the artificial part of us (because the world is attracted to the artificial than the real), but nothing about us is hidden from God.

Lord you are a God who hears the prayers of the poor and the broken-hearted. Hear me as I offer you myself today. Take me the way I am: change my situation and make me a better person. Amen.

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading
Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-19 ©
The humble man's prayer pierces the clouds
The Lord is a judge
  who is no respecter of personages.
He shows no respect of personages to the detriment of a poor man,
  he listens to the plea of the injured party.
He does not ignore the orphan’s supplication,
  nor the widow’s as she pours out her story.
The man who with his whole heart serves God will be accepted,
  his petitions will carry to the clouds.
The humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds,
  until it arrives he is inconsolable,
And the Lord will not be slow,
  nor will he be dilatory on their behalf.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33(34):2-3,17-19,23 ©
The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.
I will bless the Lord at all times,
  his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
  The humble shall hear and be glad.
The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.
The Lord turns his face against the wicked
  to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
The just call and the Lord hears
  and rescues them in all their distress.
The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
  those whose spirit is crushed he will save.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
  Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.
The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.

Second reading
2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18 ©
All there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me
My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.
  The first time I had to present my defence, there was not a single witness to support me. Every one of them deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it. But the Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel AcclamationMt11:25
Alleluia, alleluia!
Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.
Alleluia, alleluia!
God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself,
and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled.

GospelLuke 18:9-14 ©
The tax collector, not the Pharisee, went home justified.
Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Homily for Today

The homily is taken from A Catholic Moment;

“For I, Yahweh, your God, I grasp you by your right hand; I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid, I shall help you” (Isaiah 41:13). This is one of those beautiful passages that give us the assurance that we never walk alone on the path of the struggles of this life. God is with us as a Faithful Companion.
Therefore, if we must survive the “valley of war”, we must learn to climb the “mountain of prayer.” It is only in this secret place of prayer that God offers us his hand to hold for a connection capable of disconnecting us from the troubles of this life. The first reading and the Gospel reveal to us one of indispensable characteristics of a true believer; “A search for God through persistent prayers”. And the second reading highlights another important element; meditation and faithfulness to the “Word of God.” Thus constant prayer and love for the Word of God are two pillars in the life of a believer and sure ways to stay close to God always.

FIRST READING: Exodus 17:8-13
The distance between the Egypt of slavery and the promise land of salvation was characterised by a lot of ugly experiences. The wandering people of the desert had it rough and tough, but is was through these experiences that God communicated himself as their God who did not just set them free from the clutches of the Egyptians, but as one who was guiding their steps towards the promise land of “total freedom.” The first reading today reveals that the Israelites had barely left the “Desert of Sin” to Rephidim when the Amalekites decided to wage war against them. This was their first open confrontation since they left Egypt. And apart from the fact that they were less prepared for the war, they were also tired having wandered through the desert. If there is something they needed at this moment, it should be rest (which is the meaning of the name Rephidim-“a resting place”) and not war. However, the appearing of the Amalekites symbolizes an obstacle in this glorious journey. But since they have been destined for the promise land, they must fight every obstacle on their way come what may. God granted them victory over their enemies, thus revealing Himself as “Yahweh Nissi” because his banner was over his people to protect them (Ex 17:15).
In this narrative, the author pointed out few important figures who played significant roles:
Moses displayed his character of a true leader by taking the greatest part of the war (the spiritual warfare). He understood that in order to win the war, he must have recourse to God. Thus, as a great intercessor, the raising up of his hands which explains the image I used above was a way to connect with God’s hand. It is a physical sign of a spiritual connection. But the hand of Moses grew weak in the process. Yes it must grow weak. It symbolically reveals that the power of God is so enormous that no man can withstand it, and His strength exposes the weakness of man.

Aaron and Hur
These men were attentive to the role of Moses and cooperated with him. They understood that their climbing of the mountain was not for picnic neither was it to admire what Moses was doing. They took part in the spiritual warfare by providing Moses with the necessary help. Notice that, as good servants, they equally understood that it can only be the hand of Moses and no other hand. This is why they did not replace the hand of Moses with theirs, but rather supported it to remain up.

It is not for nothing that the reading mentioned the name of Joshua. In fact, it was the very first time in the history of the people that the name of Joshua was mentioned. And the role he played in the account is very symbolic. He will eventually be the successor of Moses and the one to lead the people into the promise land.

SECOND READING: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
From the tone of this letter, we can easily understand the circumstance that surrounded St. Paul’s message. At the time he was writing to Timothy who was the bishop of Ephesus, some groups were mounting pressure on him (Timothy), trying to force him to relax some of the doctrines of Faith. Therefore, Paul reminded him of the obligation he has got to “preach the word, stay with the task, whether convenient or inconvenient, correcting, reproving, appealing, constantly teaching and never losing patience.”  This he must do whether the time is favourable or not. By this message, St. Paul highlights the importance of the Word of God as a revealed truth about the Christian faith in God and as an instrument of salvation. Hence, a christian without the Word of God is empty. And in the language of St. Jerome, “ignorant of the Scripture is ignorant of God.”

GOSPEL: Luke 18:1-8
The background of this Gospel is culturally verifiable in the sense that although the Laws offer protection for widows, orphans and strangers (Dt 10:18-19, 24:17-21, Ex 22:22-24) but there wasn’t any clear cut Law that allows the widows to claim the property of their late husbands. Moreover, during this time, there were corrupt judges who were often bribed by the rich to thwart the Law and bend justice to their favour. Prophets like Isaiah, Amos and Malachi strongly opposed any form of oppression of the weak. This type of social inequality and injustice was equally obtainable at the time of Jesus. Thus, in the parable we are meant to understand that the widow was aware of her plight. She equally understood that the only way to puncture the conscience of the unjust judge is by making her appeal public. Therefore, the judge was forced to grant her justice not because he understood the need for justice but simply because of the constant disturbances from the widow and probably his pretentious display of a good public reputation. Meanwhile, the parable reveals two things: (1) God is the Judge who grants justice to the poor, and (2) They must learn to obtain this favour through perseverance. Thus, the virtue of perseverance is the heart of Jesus’s teaching in the parable.
What is the context of the message of this parable? Evidently, Luke wrote this Gospel when many Christians were losing faith as a result of the delayed Parousia (second coming of Jesus), and all was happening at the heat of their persecution by their Jewish counterparts as well as the Roman emperors. Thus, they were finding it very difficult to carry on since their faith in the promise of the imminent coming of Christ was failing them. Therefore employing this parable, Luke taught them the need to persevere in their faith even in difficult times. It is an assurance that God is not deaf to their persistent faith and prayers and that he will certainly grant them justice at last.

From the first reading we learn that:

1. The figure of Moses pre-figures the person of Christ who raised his hands on the Cross for our victory. And like Moses on the Mount of Rephidim, He did it at Mount Calvary. And as a perfect revelation of God, Christ differs from Moses in the sense that the battle at Calvary was exclusively His, and needing no one to help him fight for us.

2. It also reminds us that on our journey in this life, we must certainly fight battles and these battles are both physical (Joshua and the soldiers of Israel) and spiritual (Moses, Aaron and Hur). But more importantly, our victory depends on our spiritual strength, since God alone is our source of victory. Thus, we must never put Him aside in our daily struggles relying only on our physical strength.

3. Moses understood the logic of the battle. He took Aaron and Hur along. We must learn to seek the help of others when we climb “the mountain of prayer” because their prayerful support can be instrumental to our victory.

4. Similarly, we learn that sometimes if not always, great leaders need help. Without the cooperation of the subjects (ex. Aaron and Hur) their “hands of leadership” can grow weary to the point that they will not be able to handle public affairs. And once the hands are finally dropped, the subjects will suffer the consequences (whenever Moses drops his hands, the battle will go in the favour of the Amalekites).

5. The Gospel tells us to take our worries to God, the Just Judge. He understands our needs. Though He may take time to open the door, but that is because sometimes He wants to know if we are convinced of our faith. He equally allows us to go through persistent prayers in order to purify our intentions so as to understand that prayer is not what we want but what He wants best for us. It takes faith to understand this. We may be praying for a particular need thinking that it is truly a need for us, but we forget to ask God whether it is truly what He wants best for us. Jesus is our model of the will of the Father. We must learn first to seek for the will of God in our prayers than imposing our will on God. When we seek for the will of God in prayers then whatever be the outcome, we will persevere because His will is always for our good. But when we go into prayer to ask for our wish and it doesn’t come through, then crisis of faith may set in. Let us learn to say, “Father let your will be done” (Mt 6:10; Mk 14:36; Lk 22:42).

6. The second reading invites us to learn to discover the hidden treasure in God by meditating on his Word. If only we know the power in the Word of God, then we can’t afford to push it aside in our daily struggles. It bring consolation and comfort. It is a powerful instrument for our spiritual warfare. Jesus defeated the devil at the hour of temptation not because He fasted for forty days and nights but because he was equipped with the Word of God and was able to counter all the scriptural references of the Devil.

7. Finally, let us find consolation in the words of the Psalmist and know that when all around us become rough and tough, we must learn to look up to “The Mountain” (contemplate the face of God). For our help can only come from Him the maker of heaven and earth. Even if our conditions of life are asleep and stagnant, and we need to fight a battle of fear, let us be assured that the Lord, the guard of Israel never sleeps nor slumbers.


Meditation and Prayer

"Lord Jesus, increase my faith and make it strong that I may never doubt your word and promise to be with me always. In every situation I face - whether trials, setbacks, or loss - may I always find strength in your unfailing love and find joy and contentment in having you alone as the treasure of my heart."

 Lord Jesus, my Creator and Redeemer, everything good comes from you. You are the one source of peace and happiness. Thank you for bringing me into existence and insuring I received the inestimable gift of the faith. Thank you for accompanying me in every moment. I am grateful for your mercy and love and wish to respond more generously to you in my life. 

This Sunday's meditation is from Kairos;

What can a shameless and unjust judge pitted against a crusty and pestering woman teach us about justice and vindication (to restore what is right and just) in the kingdom of God?

Jesus tells a story that is all too true - a defenseless widow is taken advantaged of and refused her rights. Through sheer persistence she wears down an unscrupulous judge until he gives her justice. Persistence pays off, and that's especially true for those who trust in God. Jesus illustrates how God as our Judge and Vindicator is much quicker to come to our defense and to bring us his justice, blessing, and help when we need it. But we can easily lose heart and forget to ask our heavenly Father for his grace and help. 
Faith-filled persistence reaps the fruit of justice and grace
Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) to give his disciples fresh hope and confidence in God's unfailing care and favor towards us (grace). In this present life we can expect trials and adversity, but we are not without hope in God. The Day of the Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices perpetrated by a fallen world of sinful people and that God's love is stronger than death (Song of Songs 8:6). Those who put their faith in God and entrust their lives to him can look forward with hope and confident assurance. They will receive their reward - if not fully in this present life then surely and completely in the age to come in God's kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17).
Jesus ends his parable with a probing question for us. Will you and I have faith - the kind of faith that doesn't give up or lose hope in God - but perseveres to the end of our lives - and to the end of this present age when the Lord Jesus will return in glory as Ruler and Judge of All? Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. We could not believe, trust, and persevere with hope if God did not first draw us to himself and reveal to us his merciful love and care. If we want to grow and persevere in faith until the end of our days, then we must nourish our faith with the word of God and ask the Lord to increase it (Luke 17:5). When trials and setbacks disappoint you, where do you place your hope and confidence? Do you pray with expectant faith and confident hope in God's merciful care and provision for you?

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First readingExodus 17:8-13 ©
As long as Moses kept his arm raised, Israel had the advantage
The Amalekites came and attacked Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Pick out men for yourself, and tomorrow morning march out to engage Amalek. I, meanwhile, will stand on the hilltop, the staff of God in my hand.’ Joshua did as Moses told him and marched out to engage Amalek, while Moses and Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek. But Moses’ arms grew heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him and on this he sat, Aaron and Hur supporting his arms, one on one side, one on the other; and his arms remained firm till sunset. With the edge of the sword Joshua cut down Amalek and his people.

Responsorial PsalmPsalm 120(121) ©
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains;
  from where shall come my help?
My help shall come from the Lord
  who made heaven and earth.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
May he never allow you to stumble!
  Let him sleep not, your guard.
No, he sleeps not nor slumbers,
  Israel’s guard.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The Lord is your guard and your shade;
  at your right side he stands.
By day the sun shall not smite you
  nor the moon in the night.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The Lord will guard you from evil,
  he will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and coming
  both now and for ever.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Second reading
2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 ©
The man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work
You must keep to what you have been taught and know to be true; remember who your teachers were, and how, ever since you were a child, you have known the holy scriptures – from these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.
  Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching.

Gospel Acclamationcf.Ep1:17,18
Alleluia, alleluia!
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our mind,
so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.
Alleluia, alleluia!
The word of God is something alive and active:
it can judge secret emotions and thoughts.

GospelLuke 18:1-8 ©
The parable of the unjust judge
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’
  And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Homily for Today

A Homily from Catholic Moment;

Our God is a healing God. He is always ready to offer us the healing we desire. The readings today especially the first reading and the Gospel make us to understand that our healing lies only in God. And in the second reading, St. Paul affirms that God is not just our healer, but He is equally our salvation. Hence, every miracle is a manifestation of the salvific power of God made visible in Christ.
During the second half of the ninth century (around 852-841 B.C), Damascus spread its tentacles covering parts of Palestine and Syria. It is in this context that the story of Naaman was born. The pericope from which our reading today was extracted described him as the commander of the Aramean army (Damascus). He led a military raid in which the Arameans gained victory over the Israelites (not because they were stronger but because due to the infidelity of the Israelites God always subjected them to nations even smaller than them as a way of punishment). The Arameans could not claim sovereignty over Israel and that is why Israel still retained its kingdom and was never a colony of them.
The 2 Kings 5 presents Naaman as a powerful man but at the same time lacking wholeness because he suffered a virulent skin disease. Apart from Miriam the sister of Moses who suffered leprosy (Nb 12:10) and Gehazi the disciple of Elisha (2 Kgs 5:27), Naaman is always associated with leprosy in the Old Testament. Although in the text he represented the supremacy of Aram over Israel yet the irony is that his search for solution to his problem in Israel will eventually reveal the supremacy of Israel over Aram for so many reasons:
1. The little Israel slave girl: the girl was not just little, but she was a slave captured from Israel during the Aramean raid. Though she meant nothing but God revealed her “somethingness” since it was only through her that Naaman came to know about Elisha the great prophet of Israel.
2. Elisha: Elisha was presented in the reading as the symbol of the greatness of Israel. Certainly, there were prophets of Rimmon (v.18) and other gods in Aram, but they could not restore the health of Naaman; only the prophet of Israel did.
3. Jordan water: Elisha asked Naaman to bathe seven times in the Jordan (v.10). Even though Naaman claimed the supremacy of the rivers Abana and Parpar over the waters in Israel (v.12), yet he was only restored through the waters of Israel.
4. The God of Israel: After his healing, Naaman confessed the greatness of the God of Israel not just over the gods of Aram but over the whole earth (v.15). This is the core of the message of this passage. When Naaman found out that he was cured, he came back to offer gift to Elisha which he rejected (a reminder to Naaman that he was not healed by Elisha but by God, and that God’s healing is free). Naaman not only came back to appreciate God (a link with the Gospel..the samaritan came to thank Jesus) but he equally confessed the greatness of God. And from confessing the greatness of God, he carried him back to Aram: “I will not offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except the LORD” (v.17). Thus, the implantation of the presence of the God of Israel in Aram was symbolized by Naaman’s request of loads of earth (sand) from Israel. These post miraculous actions of Naaman reveal that every miracle is intended for the salvation of man. Hence, miracles are not end in themselves but means to a higher goal, salvation.
We detect that every aspect of the life of Naaman was really touched in the whole narrative. He came as a commander and with superior mindedness, but he left a humble person. How? As a warrior, he does not need the permission of anybody to carry any quantity of sand he wants from Israel. He would have done that without anybody’s concent; but this time, no. He rather pleaded with Elisha, “Please, let me, your servant have much earth as two mules may carry (v.16-17).

From the whole narrative, we learn that:

1. God is the only source of our restoration and completeness. Naaman was highly esteemed by his king and the people but he was incomplete until he encountered God. His defect was restored and his emptiness filled.

2. In order to encounter this God, we must make a move. Naaman refused to remain in Aram, but moved down to Israel. If we must have an extraordinary life-changing encounter with God, we must depart from our comfort zones and make a spiritual journey.

3. Obedience to the voice of God is the sure path to our healing. Even though Naaman hesitated at first, but the moment he obeyed the voice of God through Elisha, he was healed.

4. The miracle of God is sure and perfect. This is signified in the flesh of Naaman that turned to that of a little child (v.14-15).
No one who truly encountered God ever remained the same. Naaman was not only healed physically but spiritually. For this, he could not let go of God. He confessed him and carried him down to Aram.

5. Persons are gifts of God’s mediating power. Through the little girl and Elisha, Naaman was healed. We must learn to value others and never look down on them because of whatever we think we are. Even in his esteemed position, Naaman defeated his pride and never looked down on the slave girl nor belittle Elisha.

Paul writes the second letter to Timothy from prison, in Rome. He felt abandoned by many of his friends, and some even lined up against him (2 Tim 4:9-16). On the other hand, the pagans considered him an evildoer and to his Jewish counterparts, he was a betrayer of the tradition of their fathers. Can we now see that Paul was in no way different from Naaman and the ten lepers in the Gospel. The Gospel made him an enemy of the people and denied him freedom of association as he now lavish in prison (like lepers in camps away from the people). But the consolation Paul gets in this difficult moment is the fact that Christ also passed through the same sufferings and misunderstandings before entering into the Father’s glory! For this, he says to Timothy and to himself: “Remember Jesus Christ!” (v. 8). To arrive at salvation it is necessary to tread the same way. “If we have died with him, we shall also live with him. If we endure with him, we shall reign with him” (vv. 11-12). For he does not abandon his own.

GOSPEL: LK 17:11-19
In the time of Jesus some categories of persons were viewed as accursed: “the poor, the leper, the blind and the childless.”
The term leprosy in its ancient usage could mean any kind of skin disease that produces scales including non-contagious types (Nb 12:10). This is why the illness of Naaman (2 Kgs 5) never prevented him from having contact with others in the society. It is only the contagious ones that were banished from the society after being examined by the priest (Nb. 13:15-17). The book of Leviticus gives a succinct description of the diagnostic process of leprosy and any other skin conditions (Lv. 13:2-28, 38-39); and of the hair (v 29-37); and of the scalp (v 40-44); the isolation of the untreatable (v 45-46) and the ritual cleansing and reinstallation of the ‘well again’ (14:1-32).
The prescriptions concerning the ritual for the healed leaper is divided into separate ceremonies: The first day (14:2-8), the seventh day (14:9), and the eighth day (14:10-32).
The first day ritual cleansing is performed by the priest outside the camp or city. Requirements for this ritual include two live birds that are clean. On the eight day, the victim is expected to bring to the sanctuary, a jar of oil, and a lamb for various ritual offerings. And being placed at the entrance to the Tent by the priest, a sacrifice of his gifts is offered to Yahweh as reparation. The concept of reparation here gives us the understanding of how virulent skin diseases were perceived. There were often seen as a consequence of one’s sin. This can be seen in the case of Miriam who criticised Moses and was struck with a virulent skin disease by Yahweh (Nb 12:1-10). She was eventually shut out of the camp for seven days (v.15).This entails that anyone with virulent skin disease is quarantined and suffers social segregation. He is expected to wear torn clothing and unkempt hair; cover his upper lips and cry aloud, “Unclean, unclean”. As long as the disease lasts, the person will remain unclean and must live alone outside the camp, (v. 45-46). There must not be any contact with the rest of the people, because any contact with the victim makes the other unclean (an excerpt of the book…”Hour of Hope. Sermons on the healing power of Jesus).
From here, we are easily connected with the Gospel of Luke today. The ten lepers were hidden from the rest of the community.
The number ten in the Bible has a symbolic value: it indicates the totality.Thus Luke presents the ten lepers as an image of the entire human race far away from God, wounded by sin and bearing on their body signs of death that only the word of Christ can cure.

1. The lepers met Jesus while he was on his way towards Jerusalem. Evidently, Luke placed the healing while Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem where he will be crucified. Thus the healing of this ten lepers that represented the totality of the world (in the image of Jews and gentiles) was a foretaste of the ultimate healing that the world will receive when Jesus will mount the wood of the Cross. For they will only be healed by his wound (Is. 53:5).

2. They stood at a distance and begged him to have mercy on them. The lepers acknowledged their unworthiness to associate with the rest of the world and in humility asked for mercy. This is Luke’s way of saying that sin viewed in the image of leprosy creates a distance between God and man. Thus the lepers serve as perfect image of fallen humanity, and whose misery has not ceased to meet the mercy of God.
3. “Go and show yourself to the priests” was Jesus’s instruction to the lepers. This is Luke’s way of affirming that Jesus was a true Jew who knew the Law Lv. 13:2-28, 38-39; 14:1-32). He equally affirmed Jesus as the perfect revelation of God, the giver of the Laws.

4. One of the lepers came back to thank Jesus. Here we are tempted to limit the message to a simple gratitude, but more importantly, Luke wish to communicate that the action of this leper shows that Jesus is the high priest of the New Covenant. Therefore realizing that he has gained his healing, he did not see the need to present himself to any other person except Jesus who is the perfect priest on which every other priestly dignity depends. Certainly the other nine were obedient to the instruction of Jesus, but Jesus regretted their action not because they did not come back to thank him, but because they failed to see in him “The One and Perfect Priest and Mediator of the New Covenant.” They failed to understand that Jesus is the fulfilment of that particular Law. They were still stocked in the old order which has been completed in Jesus.

1. We must be aware of our condition of being a sinners: No one is excluded. we are all together in this “spiritual leprosy” called sin. It was the only thing that united the Jews and the Samaritan in the Gospel today. It silenced the voice of superiority. It rendered all of them helpless. They found themselves in this common disgrace and suffering needing the friendship and solidarity of one another.

2. “Miserere nobis” is a word of humility and of healing:
If one considers himself just and perfect, inevitably one raises the barriers against the mercy of God. If we realize ourselves as “lepers” then we will not be proud of anything. How often do we acknowledge that we are unworthy and humbly ask for God’s mercy.

3. Only His mercy can locate us:
The lepers by their condition were forced to live in a camp outside the community. Our sins hide us from God (symbol of living outside the community), yet God is not hidden from us (Luke says they saw Jesus).
Listen, the mercy of God cannot be exhausted. God is mercy himself, and to doubt his mercy is itself a sin. God is never tired of us. He does not condemn us ‘outside his camp’. We ourselves have willingly chosen to live outside him. Like the lepers, we must resolve to come to Jesus for a healing touch and we will hear him say; ‘I still accept you even in your broken life of sin. I cannot refuse you even if your sin has rendered you virulent. I am willing. And for your sake I am ready to pause my journey to Jerusalem until I restore you to normalcy.

4. Gratitude is in the heart of our Faith:
Only the Samaritan gave glory to God, that is, the only one who understood immediately that the salvation of God does not come to us from any other except from Christ.
Hear the cry of your people who are wounded by their human conditions and are bleeding in misery Oh Lord. And since it has pleased you to reveal to us your healing power today, draw us to yourself that we may be made whole again. Amen.

Meditation and Prayer

Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

"Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your loving kindness and mercy towards me. Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances."

Meditation is from Regnum Christi;

  1. Jesus Shows Pity: It is easy to forget at times what it meant to be a leper in Jesus’ time. Such a person had to separate himself from the community, live outside the town, and declare himself “unclean” when anybody started to approach him. Since illness was also equated with sin. According to the mentality of the time, God punished the sinner with physical illness. Thus, to have to shout “unclean” meant that one had to publicly declare he was a sinner. So, as miserable a state as leprosy was, worse still was the shame of it. From here we understand better the sense of desperation and urgency in the lepers’ petition: “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” There is such thing as spiritual leprosy too, but Jesus can heal the sickness in our soul within confession. As Christians we should look for this as ardently as the ten lepers looked to be healed of their bodily leprosy.
  1. The Lepers Were Cleansed: Jesus felt obliged to perform the miracle of curing these ten lepers; they truly believed he could do it. That is why Jesus so hastily tells them to go to the priest as prescribed by the law and have their return to health officially recognized; thus will end their banishment and disgrace. However, in their burst of joy nine of the cured ten forget to say, “thank you.” At first it seems strange to us that they would omit this, after being transformed in one moment from utter misery to a clean bill of health. However, we often do the same; we forget to say thanks in the joy of a moment when someone has really helped us or resolved a major problem for us.
  1. “Stand up and go.” It did occur to one leper, a foreigner, to come back and say “thank you”; it was the Samaritan leper. In Jesus’ time Samaritans and Jews normally despised each other, which probably makes his words of thanks to Jesus all the more remarkable. However, what really catches Jesus’ attention is the fact that only one person comes back to express his words of gratitude. Doesn’t this passage remind us of how rare is the virtue of gratitude in the human heart? The cured Samaritan’s faith has saved him, and it wouldn’t be rash of us to think that he used especially well the new gift of health the Lord had given him. Those who are really grateful for what they receive from God generally use more zealously and profitably the gifts they are given.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I realize now how many things I might take for granted in life. May this meditation really be a renewal in looking for spiritual healing in you and in using well all the talents and gifts you have given me.
Resolution: I will make a special effort to thank anyone who has assisted or served me in any way today or just recently.

Sunday, October 13 Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2nd book of Kings 5,14-17.
Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.
He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant."
"As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it," Elisha replied; and despite Naaman's urging, he still refused.
Naaman said: "If you will not accept, please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth, for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.

Psalms 98(97),1.2-3.4.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
Has remembered faithful love
toward the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.

Second Letter to Timothy 2,8-13.
Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel,
for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him;
if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 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."

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Homily for Today

From A Catholic Moment;

We recall that in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI wrote his first Encyclical letter on “Love” which he titled, “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love…1 John 4:16). And in 2007, he wrote his second Encyclical letter on “Hope” which he titled, “Spe Salvi” ( Saved in Hope). So having written on Love and Hope, it is logical to expect another Encyclical letter on Faith. Certainly he began his third Encyclical letter on Faith before his sudden resignation in 2013. However, it was not for nothing that the first Encyclical letter of Pope Francis in 2013 was on Faith, “Lumen Fidei” (The Light of Faith). And in this Encyclical he said, “Benedict had almost completed a first draft of an Encyclical on Faith. For this I am deeply grateful to him, and as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own.” This shows the progressive attention the Church gives to these three theological virtues (Faith, Hope and Love).
Thus, the liturgy of the word on this 27th Sunday calls us to reflect on Faith. The first reading shows that Faith must be patient and persevering even in the midst of troubles. The second reading is an invitation to set the Faith we have received on fire; the life of testimony by sharing in the passion of our Lord made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the question of the disciples, the Gospel makes us to understand that Jesus is the only source of our Faith. Thus, we must be bold enough to ask the Lord to increase our Faith like the disciples did.

FIRST READING: Hb 1:2-3; 2:2-4
The prophet Habakkuk lived at a time of considerable turmoil for his people. He witnessed threats coming from other nations – specifically from the rise of the Babylonians, who were in fact going to capture Israel into exile in the early 6th century BCE – and he saw a breakdown of honest administration and social justice within his own society. The prophet made a prayer intervention on behalf of the people over the impending doom, but God did not respond immediately. In fact his relationship with God at this point serves as a basis of the theological question as to why God seems to be silent sometimes to the plight of his people.
This experience of the prophet is a copy of the experience that we have sometimes: praying to God for a particular favor and nothing happens! Waiting upon the Lord, and he seems to be far away! And this could be quite discouraging. But this long complaint and worry of the prophet would immediately receive a life changing message that should touch the core of our faith. The word of God says: “For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.”
Yes the God of communication finally spoke to Habakkuk to wait patiently. He made him to understand that He (God is not an automated machine that should respond “robbotically” whenever he is clicked on. Thus the message is to wait on God’s own time with Faith.
We must wait on God. The prophet Isaiah captures this message otherwise as: “Those who hope in Yahweh will regain their strength, they will sprout wings like eagles, though they run they will not grow weary, though they walk they will never tire” (40:31). Thus the operational work of Faith is the call for us to believe that there is a personal God who really cares about us and in whose hands the whole world is resting. It calls us to believe that God is not a dead deity but alive and active in our world. It equally calls us to believe that God loves each one of us personally and that he is involved in our lives in a personal way. This is not easy to believe especially when all we see around us is darkness, pains, sufferings, challenges, setbacks, disappointments, sickness, death especially of people so dear to us. And what more? Job faced these challenges and did not give up. Even when it was obvious that it is foolish to still believe in God, he broke the silence by affirming the certainty that his Redeemer lives (19:25).
The prophet Habbakuk saw doom coming and his faith quaked. But he did not wish to be silent. He disturbed God in prayers, until God responded in a way that shows that when we are troubled and complain in prayers, he takes note. So his silence does not imply indifference, but to see if we have the faithful trust in him. That is why he concludes in today’s message that what is required of every ‘righteous’ person (one who is faithful to the covenant) is faith: a persevering trust that He (God) will eventually intervene at last.

SECOND READING: II Tm 1:6-8,13-14
This is another pastoral letter of St. Paul written within the four walls of the prison. The tone of this letter is a one of encouragement. Many scholars were of the view that this letter was written shortly before the death of Paul. During his active pastoral ministry, Paul made sure that he groomed Timothy to succeed him in the ministry, not just as a bishop of Ephesus, but an excellent witness to the Gospel. But in this letter, Timothy seemed to be disillusioned by two things: (a) The lukewarmness of the Christian community and (b) The present status of Paul as a prisoner. Aware of his worries, Paul as his spiritual father did not hesitate encourage him to persevere, stressing the need for a living Faith. Thus, the Faith cannot be lived in silence. It must be lived in total witnessing to Christ. And it can never be complete until it passes through passion. Hence, Paul draws the attention of Timothy that his imprisonment (Paul) is for the sake of his active Faith…
However, Paul calls us on need to “fan (that small fire we have received on the day of our baptism) into a flame” and keep it blazing. This takes grace, vigilance and effort. There is no place in the life of Christ and his Church for “lukewarmness”. Our world today needs radicality of Faith. As the world is going crazy with its lifestyle, we must go “crazy with love for Christ.” That is how to give a counter witness. The Church does not need “A sit down and look” members. We must be on our feet…

GOSPEL: Lk 17:5-10
The Gospel summarizes the readings of today. Luke demonstrated through the question of the disciples of Jesus, “Lord increase our Faith” that Jesus is the source and end of our Faith.
Jesus had barely finished teaching his disciples in the previous verses (Lk 17:1-4), about the sin of scandal and the virtue of forgiveness when his disciples asked for the increase of their faith (v.5). This request could be understood in two ways: (1) The disciples needed Faith in order to live out the demands of Jesus (v.1-4). (2)Secondly, we must understand that this question was asked while they were with him during his final journey to Jerusalem for his imminent passion. Therefore, they needed Faith strong enough to live the passion experience.
The response of Jesus came in two ways: (1) Faith as a mustard seed: This implies that Faith is not measured by quantity but by quality. The mustard seed is too small to be compared with other seeds, yet it grows into a shrub when it is planted (Mat. 13: 32; Lk 13:19). It is only a “quality Faith” that can still act in an impossible situation. To command a mulberry tree to be uprooted and planted into a sea seems to be an exaggerated teaching of Jesus on Faith. But such is Faith. An active Faith is one that believes that nothing is impossible for God (Gen 18:14; Jer. 32: 17; Zec. 8:6; Mat. 19:26; Mk 14:36; Lk 1:37). Can he who made heaven and earth not manage what is in them?
(2). The second aspect of Jesus’ response is the teaching on Faith as service. A disciple is one who must wait upon the Lord in a devoted service. His service to God is not an extraordinary thing such as to expect gratitude. It is a duty due to his state as servant. This second response of Jesus touches the core of our Faith in God. What can we give in exchange for what God has given to us? What level of service can we render to God (also in the sense of serving our brothers and sisters especially the poor) that is too much? God is never indebted to us for our fidelity in doing what is all part of our duty. Sometimes, many of us go into prayer maybe in attempt to request some favours from God, we tend to remind him how we have served him; how we have never missed mass, our daily prayers, our tithes, etc as if God must grant us what we ask for as a reward of our faithfulness. Jesus calls us “useless servants”. This implies that: (1) No amount of our service to God can be enough, (2) Our life has no meaning if it is not dedicated wholly to the service of God.
What a beautiful catechesis in this last journey towards Jerusalem. Jesus will soon leave them, thus their Faith must grow and be active in total service to God.

1. We will surely look and see problems streaming down our ways (Habbakuk). Let us therefore hold firm and do not allow ourselves be defeated by them. Rather let our actice Faith defeat them.

2. God is never asleep. Our patient and persevering Faith will win us God’s answer (Habbakuk).

3. We’ve got unique gifts from a unique God. Let us therefore allow the Holy Spirit to inflame this gift by exposing ourselves to him.

4. Like Paul, we must be aware that we cannot be true followers of Christ if our Faith does not lead us into prison for his sake. We must be ready for troubles from the world. Unfortunately, our “Yes” to God does not diminish problems but rather increases them. But a faithful trust in him is the tool to conquer.

5. What type of Faith do we have? Maybe we have tried severally to get connected to God. We’ve prayed and we seem not to be growing in spirituality. Sometimes it appears as if we are totally disconnected from God. Listen, the disciples acknowledged that they were not sufficient enough and out of humility sought for increase in their Faith. Let tell Jesus as he walks towards the “Jerusalem” of our life today to increase our Faith.

6. Finally, let us be sure that our lives have no meaning if they are not consecrated to the service of God and our neighbours. And to serve God is not an option, it is a necessity.

Draw us nearer and closer to the living waters of Your Spirit oh Lord. For You alone and nothing else can satisfy our heart that cries out, ‘I thirst.’

An elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout “PRAISE THE LORD!” Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout, “There ain’t no Lord!!”
Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for GOD to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted “PRAISE THE LORD. GOD I NEED FOOD!! I AM HAVING A HARD TIME. PLEASE LORD, SEND ME SOME GROCERIES!!” The next morning the lady went out on her porch and noted a large bag of groceries and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD.”
The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, “Aha! I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries, God didn’t.”
The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, “PRAISE THE LORD. He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them. Praise the Lord!”