Sunday, November 24, 2019

Prayer and Meditation

Lord, thank you for this moment in which I can be alone with you. I believe that you are truth itself, that you are the foundation of all moral judgments. I trust that you really care for me and give me the light to see the needs of others. I love you, Lord, and show it now with my desire to pray.

 "Lord Jesus Christ, you are my King and there is no other. Be the Lord and Master of my heart, mind, body, and soul. May I always seek to do your will and to serve your kingdom above all else."


Do you recognize that the Lord Jesus has been given all authority and power by his Father in heaven to reign over all creation - including the heavens and the earth?

Jesus was crucified for his claim to be the Anointed King sent by the Father in heaven (John 18:37 and Luke 23:38) to establish his kingdom not only for his people Israel, but for all nations and peoples as well (Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 24:30 and Matthew 26:63-64). 
God is King and Ruler over all
What is the significance and meaning of Jesus' kingship for us? Kingship today seems outdated and useless, especially in democratic societies where everyone is supposed to be treated equal and free. Many rulers in past ages claimed they had sovereign authority to rule by divine edict. But God did not give his people Israel a king at first. Why? Because God alone was their King and they needed no other. Nonetheless, God relented and chose David as King over Israel with the promise that God would raise up through David's royal line a Savior who would establish an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace that would endure for all ages (Psalm 89:29). 
The Jews understood that the Messiah ("Anointed One") would come as God's anointed King to restore paradise and establish God's reign of peace for them. They wanted a Messianic King who would free them from strife and division and from foreign oppression. Many had high hopes that Jesus would be the Messiah and Ruler for Israel. Little did they understand what kind of kingship Jesus claimed to possess. 
Jesus' claim to kingship
Jesus came to deliver his people, and the whole world, from the worst kind of tyranny possible - from bondage to sin, guilt and condemnation, and from the wages of sin which is death (Romans 6:23) and separation from an all-merciful and just Father who gave us his son to set us free and to adopt us as his beloved sons and daughters. Jesus came to conquer hearts and souls for an imperishable kingdom - a kingdom ruled not by force or fear - but by the power of God's righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). 
When Satan tempted Jesus during his forty day fast in the wilderness, he offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-9). Jesus knew that the world was in Satan's power. And this was precisely why Jesus came - to overthrow Satan's power and deception over the earth. Jesus knew that the way to victory was through submission to his Father's will and plan to lay down his life for us and reverse the curse of sin and death for us. The Father sent his only begotten Son into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it through the atoning sacrifice which Jesus would make for us through the shedding of his blood on the cross of Calvary. 
Jesus came to restore Paradise for us - everlasting life with God
As Jesus was crucified on the cross alongside two criminals who were thieves, one mocked him for his claim to divine kingship. But the other thief recognized through the eyes of faith that Jesus was truly God's Anointed King and Savior. He petitioned Jesus to treat his poor soul with mercy and pardon, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Jesus not only granted him forgiveness, but a place with him in his everlasting kingdom. "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." 
Jesus died not only as King of the Jews, but as King of all nations and Lord of the universe. His victory over the power of sin, Satan, and the world was accomplished through his atoning death on the cross and his resurrection on the third day. Jesus exchanged a throne of glory for a cross of shame to restore us from slavery to sin to glory with God as his adopted sons and daughters. That is why the Father exalted his Son and raised him in glory over the heavens and the earth. In the Book of Revelation Jesus is called King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). He now sits in glory at the right hand of the Father in heaven - and from his throne he rules as Lord over all  Do you recognize Jesus Christ as your Sovereign King and Redeemer?
Which ruler and kingdom do you serve?
The Scriptures tell us that there are ultimately only two kingdoms in this world which are opposed to one another - the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Each kingdom is ruled by one lord or master  - the Lord Jesus Christ who is the true "Light of the World" - and the false messiah and deceiver who is called the "anti-Christ" and the "angel of light" who rules over men and women through the power of false promises, lies, and temptation to sin and disobedience. 
If we follow the Lord Jesus and entrust our lives to him he will open our eyes to the light of his truth and guide us by his Holy Spirit along the path that leads to our true homeland with God. If we follow the course which is set by the ruler of this present world - a world which is opposed to Christ and blinded by Satan - then we will discover that sin, pride, and deception will lead us down a path of destruction, death, and separation, rather than life, freedom, and friendship with God and the people he has redeemed with the precious blood of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Which kingdom will you serve - today, tomorrow, and for all eternity? This present world will pass away, but God's kingdom will endure forever. If we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and King and submit to his rule for our lives, we become citizens of heaven and inherit an everlasting kingdom which is ruled by righteousness, peace, and love. Is the Lord Jesus the true King and Master of your life?

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Image result for christ the king 

 Reading 1 2 Sm 5:1-3
In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
"Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
'You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'"
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5

R. (cf. 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Reading 2 Col 1:12-20

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Alleluia Mk 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
"He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
"If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."
Above him there was an inscription that read,
"This is the King of the Jews."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
"Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us."
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
"Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal."
Then he said,
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise."

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Saint of the Day for November 17

Here is some information about the Saint of the Day for today. My interest peaked because of my Hungarian background the Saint of the Day is St. Elizabeth of Hungary so here is some information about her!

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary’s Story

In her short life, Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.
At the age of 14, Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia, whom she deeply loved. She bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice, and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land who came to her gate.
After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and Elizabeth was grief-stricken. Her husband’s family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband’s allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.
In 1228, Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later.


Elizabeth understood well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper: The Christian must be one who serves the humblest needs of others, even if one serves from an exalted position. Of royal blood, Elizabeth could have lorded it over her subjects. Yet she served them with such a loving heart that her brief life won for her a special place in the hearts of many. Elizabeth is also an example to us in her following the guidance of a spiritual director. Growth in the spiritual life is a difficult process. We can play games very easily if we don’t have someone to challenge us.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary is the Patron Saint of:

Catholic Charities
Secular Franciscan Order

Prayers and Meditation

open the eyes of my heart,
that I may hear your word
and understand and do your will.
Open the eyes of my mind
to the understanding
of your Gospel teachings.
Speak to me the hidden
and secret things of your wisdom.
Enlighten my mind and understanding
with the light of your knowledge,
not only to cherish those things
that are written,
but to do them. Amen.

~  St. John Chrysostom

Lord, I turn to you today with faith, knowing that you are the Lord of life and history. Aware of my weaknesses and failures, I set my hopes in you, for you always fulfill your promises. As I contemplate your love that becomes fidelity, I, too, desire to repay you with my fidelity. I am here before you to listen and, in listening, discover your will for me today.

"Lord Jesus Christ, by your atoning death on the cross you have redeemed the world. Fill me with joyful hope, courage, and boldness to witness the truth of your love for sinners and your victory over the powers of sin, Satan, and death."

Meditation is taken from Kairos,

How would you respond if someone prophesied that your home, land, or place of worship would be destroyed?

Jesus foretold many signs that would shake peoples and nations. The signs which God uses are meant to point us to a higher spiritual truth and reality of his kingdom which does not perish or fade away, but endures for all eternity. God works through many events and signs to purify and renew us in hope and to help us set our hearts more firmly on him and him alone.
First signs of the end times
To the great consternation of the Jews, Jesus prophesied the destruction of their great temple at Jerusalem. The Jewish people took great pride in their temple, a marvel of the ancient world. The foretelling of this destruction was a dire warning of spiritual judgment in itself. They asked Jesus for a sign that would indicate when this disastrous event would occur. Jesus admonished them to not look for signs that would indicate the exact timing of impending destruction, but rather to pray for God's intervention of grace and mercy. 
Jesus said there would be many signs of impending conflicts and disasters - such as wars, famines, diseases, tidal waves, and earthquakes - which would precede the struggles of the last days when God's anointed King would return to usher in the full reign of God over the earth. In that day when the Lord returns there will be a final judgement of the living and the dead when the secrets of every heart will be brought to light (Luke 12:2-3; Romans 2:16).
Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem 
Jesus' prophecy of the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem was a two-edged sword, because it pointed not only to God's judgment, but also to his saving action and mercy. Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the dire consequences for all who would reject him and his saving message. While the destruction of Jerusalem's temple was determined (it was razed by the Romans in 70 A.D.), there remained for its inhabitants a narrow open door leading to deliverance. Jesus said: "I am the door; whoever enters by me will be saved" (John 10:9).  Jesus willingly set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing that he would meet betrayal, rejection, and death on a cross. His death on the cross, however, brought about true freedom, peace, and victory over the powers of sin, evil, and death - not only for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but for all - both Jew and Gentile alike – who would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ?
We need to recognize the signs of God's judgment, mercy, and grace to save us 
Sometimes we don't recognize the moral crisis and spiritual conflict of the age in which we live, until something "shakes us up" to the reality of this present condition. God reminds us that a future judgment and outcome awaits every individual who has lived on this earth. The reward for doing what is right and pleasing to God and the penalty for sinful rebellion and rejection of God are not always experienced in this present life - but they are sure to come in the day of final judgment. 
The Lord Jesus tells us that there will be trials, suffering, and persecution in this present age until he comes again at the end of the world. God intends our anticipation of his final judgment to be a powerful deterrent to unfaithfulness and wrongdoing. God extends grace and mercy to all who will heed his call and his warning. Do not pass up, even for one day, God's invitation of grace and mercy to seek first his kingdom of righteousness and peace. This day may be your only chance before that final day comes.
Satan destroys and kills - God restores and gives life
The real enemy of the Gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ - is Satan (also called Lucifer), the powerful leader of the fallen angels who rebelled against God and who were cast out of heaven. Satan opposes God and all who follow his rule of peace and righteousness (moral goodness) on the earth. Jesus calls Satan a "murderer" who turns brother against brother and the "father of lies" who twists the truth and speaks falsehood (John 8:44). Satan not only opposes God's rule, he seeks to destroy all who would obey God. Satan will use any means possible to turn people away from God. He tempts people through envy, deception, hatred, and fear to provoke hostility towards those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is Jesus' response to hostility and persecution? Love, forbearance, and forgiveness. Only love - the love which is rooted in God's great compassion and faithfulness - can overcome prejudice, hatred, and envy. God's love purifies our heart and mind of all that would divide and tear people apart. Knowing God as our compassionate Father and loving God's word of truth and righteousness (moral goodness) is essential for overcoming evil. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear those who would oppose us or treat us harshly for following the Lord Jesus. He promises to give us supernatural strength, wisdom, and courage as we take a stand for our faith and witness to the truth and love of Christ. 
The Gospel is good news for the whole world because it is God's eternal word of truth, love, pardon, and salvation (being set free from sin and evil) through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has won the victory for us through his atoning death on the cross for our sins and his rising from the grave - his resurrection power that brings abundant life and restoration for us. That is why the Gospel has power to set people free from sin, fear and death, and bring peace, pardon, and new life.
Endurance never gives up hope in God
Jesus tells his disciples that if they endure to the end they will gain their lives - they will inherit abundant life and lasting happiness with God. Endurance is an essential strength which God gives to those who put their trust in him. Endurance is the patience which never gives up hope, never yields to despair or hatred. Patience is long-suffering because it looks beyond the present difficulties and trials and sees the reward which comes to those who persevere with hope and trust in God. That is why godly endurance is more than human effort. It is first and foremost a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to bear up under any trial or temptation. 
Endurance is linked with godly hope - the supernatural assurance that we will see God face to face and inherit all the promises he has made. Jesus is our supreme model and pioneer who endured the cross for our sake (Hebrews 12:2). "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Jesus willingly shed his blood for us - to win for us pardon and peace with God. Our joy and privilege is to take up our cross each day to follow the Lord Jesus.
True martyrs live and die as witnesses of Christ and the Gospel of peace
The word "martyr" in the New Testament Greek means "witness". The Book of Revelation says that "Jesus was the faithful witness ...who freed us from our sins by his blood" (Revelation 1:5). Tertullian, a second century lawyer who converted when he saw Christians singing as they went out to die by the hands of their persecutors, exclaimed: "The blood of the martyrs is seed." Their blood is the seed of new Christians, the seed of the church. 
The third century bishop, Cyprian said: "When persecution comes, God's soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army to think of peace and to decline battle, for we see that the Lord has taken first place in the conflict." True martyrs live and die as witnesses of the Gospel. They overcome their enemies through persevering hope and courage, undying love and forbearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion.
God may call some of us to be martyrs who shed their blood for bearing witness to Jesus Christ. But for most of us, our call is to be 'dry' martyrs who bear testimony to the joy and power of the Gospel in the midst of daily challenges, contradictions, temptations and adversities which come our way as we follow the Lord Jesus. 
We do not need to fear our adversaries
What will attract others to the truth and power of the Gospel? When they see Christians loving their enemies, being joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, and showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and the helpless. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear our adversaries. God will give us sufficient grace, strength, and wisdom to face any trial and to answer any challenge to our faith. Are you ready to lay down your life for Christ and to bear witness to the joy and freedom of the Gospel?

Homily for Sunday

Yesterday, while walking down to the train station, I was thinking about the picture painted by the readings of this Sunday. And suddenly the image of those trees above caught my attention which made me to take a quick shot of them. Evidently the leaves are drying up and losing their hold from the trees as a result of the advent of winter. But then I asked myself; is there any other meaning that could be read into them more than just a seasonal effect? This made me to see in them an image of ending glorious days and fading beauties; a perfect expression of the mortality and finitude of everything which is the central message of today’s Liturgy of the Word, especially the Gospel.

As we approach the end of this liturgical year, it reminds us that the dawn of each day is an added opportunity, and its dusk brings us closer to our end. Since the warning has become serious, we are expected to give an urgent response.

FIRST READING: Malachi 3:19-20a
Malachi is the very last book of the Old Testament. The last part of his prophesy contains God’s promise to send Elijah the prophet to bring reconciliation to his people (3: 23-24). This promise will be fulfilled in John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus. He will serve as a link between the Old and New Testament as we will see it present in the first pages of the New Testament (Mt 3:1-2).

The message of Malachi (515-458 B.C) came during the period post-babylonian exile as a warning against the relaxed moral life and religious impiety of the people. He warns them about the anger of Yahweh over the desecration of his sanctuary and their marriages with pagans (2:11). The priests were not excluded from the warning since they failed in their responsibility (2: 1-9).

Today, the prophet reminds the house of Israel about the coming of the day of the Lord. It will be a day of total destruction of evil and the wicked: “…leaving them neither root nor branch.” But for those who have remained faithful, even though they may have passed through the furnace of the wicked, the Lord will set over them the sun of justice which will bring healing to them with its ray.

Jesus is that sun of justice, the perfect gift of the Father to those who believe in him. And at his appearing those who are wounded in this life will receive their healing.


The message of Parousia was a stumbling block for many Christians in Thessalonica. They did no longer find reasons in daily commitment to work and service in the community since they thought that there was a small time left before the second coming of Christ.

However St. Paul has this particular attention to the community of Thessalonica because it was the first community that received his very first letter (50 A.D) among others. And as a father and a pastor, he did not waste time to warn them on the danger of idleness which has led some of them into gossips. He exhorts them on the virtue of work as an expression of their Christian life.

God is the model of work (through creation and governing of creation). Jesus affirms this when he told the Jews, “My Father is always at work, and I am at work too” (Jn 5:17).
Like the Christians of Thessalonica, St. Paul reminds us of the beauty and necessity of work and the need to keep ourselves busy by faithfully discharging our duties in every sector of life we find ourselves. For it is in these places that we can actively bear witness to Christ through our lives as we wait in Hope for the second coming of Jesus.

GOSPEL: Luke 21:5-19

The literally style of today’s Gospel suggests that Luke’s Gospel constitutes the Corpus of the early Christians’ apocalyptic writings. Apocalyptic writings use symbols to paint pictures of future events; and these pictures often generate fear in the mind of the readers. However, they are meant to encourage persecuted Christians that God is in control of history and that the wicked will certainly be punished at his own time.

Today Luke locates Jesus and his disciples in the Temple of Jerusalem.
The very first Temple of Jerusalem was constructed by Solomon (957 B.C) according to God’s promise to David (2 Samuel 7:1-13). This Temple was later destroyed when the Babylonians attacked Judah and carried many into exile in 587 B.C. At the return of the people from exile, during the reign of Zerubbabel, the Temple was reconstructed (537-516 B.C), and the city walls rebuilt under the supervision of Nehemiah (Neh 2:17-20; 3; 7; 12:27). Many centuries later, King Herod the Great, a man of thirst was not so much pleased with the architectural physique of the Temple. Thus around 20 B.C, he decided to restructure the original edifice into a magnificent one decorated with expensive ornaments. This is the Temple that Luke speaks of as being admired by the disciples of Jesus today.
He pointed out how they were immersed in material and physical beauty. And this for him served as an impulse to Jesus’ teaching to them about the eternal beauty. Thus what started as a mere architectural admiration ended up in a prophetic and eschatological warning.

In the verse 6 of this passage, Jesus spoke about the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem which will eventually come to fulfillment in 70 A.D (by the Romans). Earlier on, he had ironically spoken of the destruction of his body as the destruction of the Temple (Jn 2:19). This suggests a great connection between Jesus and the Temple. First, according to the Gospels it was at the same moment of the immolation of the lamb in the Temple that Jesus died on the Cross (Mt 27:45-54), and the veil of the Temple was torn into two (Mt 27:51). Few year after his death, the Temple of Jerusalem suffered ruin, and this will be the last Temple to be made mention of, because Christ has become the Eternal High Priest ministering in the Eternal Temple (Heaven). Hence, Jesus called the attention of his disciples to move from admiring beauty of the earthly Temple that does not last to admiring the Eternal Temple. John who was among the admirers of this magnificent ornamented Temple would capture the beauty of the Eternal Temple of Jerusalem (the Holy City) in a similar decorative language (Revelation 21:1-27). However, before arriving at this Eternal Temple, Jesus tells his disciples that this physical world must first come to an end, and its end will be characterized by catastrophic manifestations. This will include the rise of the kingdom of darkness, false prophets and the persecution of believers. But then, Jesus concludes his teaching by assuring them that in all these, He will never abandon those who believe in him (Lk 21:15); he will make sure that not even a single hair of their head will be lost (Lk 21:18). In this second part of the teaching of Jesus, Luke presents persecution as a necessary path for the disciples to give good testimony to Christ (Lk 21:13) which will win them salvation (Lk 21:19).

What a beautiful message from Luke! And it is important to highlight that the redaction of the Gospel was placed around the first century dates after 70 A.D. It is most probably a little while after the destruction of Jerusalem, and when the wave of persecution was already strong. Thus it is Luke’s affirmation of the fulfilment of the prophetic message of Jesus and as well a consolation to the persecuted Christians that what they are passing through had earlier been prophesied by Christ. However his end note message is that God will never abandon them in their suffering as long as they remain faithful.


1. What do we admire?
The experience of the disciples of Jesus is also our experience. How often have we stopped noticing the presence of Jesus because we are carried away by ephemeral beauty that the world presents to us? Jesus calls us today not to waste so much time on earthly beauties because sooner or later they will fade away; our beautiful homes, our magnificent church buildings, our exorbitant living, all our structures, our titles, authorities, and influences are momentary. Conscious of this, let us not stop gazing at the ‘Eternal Beauty’ (God) and the ‘Eternal Edifice’ ( Heaven).

2. Reliving the message of Luke today:
It is interesting to see that the Gospel of Luke written over 2000 years ago is very much alive in our days. Today we have uncountable false prophets around us and very close to our doors and streets. And some of us may have fallen into their trap. We are equally living witnesses of catastrophic situations of wars and revolutions and of persecution of Christians around the world. Luke calls us to be sure that we are already living this tragic moment, and that the life of each one of us is a fulfilment of the message of Christ either as ‘catastrophy’ against others or as victim. If we are persecutors of others, then Malachi says that we will not go unpunished and for those who are persecuted for just course, they will receive a ray of healing.

3. When will the last day be?
Every given day of our lives is a possible last day. As we go to bed and plan for the activities and achievements of the next day, so should we plan for the next day as if it’s our last. The invitation today is that, as we wait for the last day when all things will be subdued in God and God will be all in all (1 Co 15:28), we must not fail to see each passing day in the light of that final day.

Heavenly Father you are very much aware that we are weak and often unprepared to welcome your message. Help us today with the gift of your Holy Spirit to guard us safe on the path of this world with its fading glories until we come to that Home you have prepared for us. Amen.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, November 17, 2019

First readingMalachi 3:19-20 ©
For you the sun of righteousness will shine out
The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 97(98):5-9 ©
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
  with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
  acclaim the King, the Lord.
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.
Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
  the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
  and the hills ring out their joy
  at the presence of the Lord.
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.
For the Lord comes,
  he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
  and the peoples with fairness.
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Second reading
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ©
Do not let anyone have food if he refuses to work
You know how you are supposed to imitate us: now we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we ever have our meals at anyone’s table without paying for them; no, we worked night and day, slaving and straining, so as not to be a burden on any of you. This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves an example for you to follow.
  We gave you a rule when we were with you: do not let anyone have any food if he refuses to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else’s. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we order and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.

Gospel AcclamationLk21:36
Alleluia, alleluia!
Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to stand with confidence
before the Son of Man.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Stand erect, hold your heads high,
because your liberation is near at hand.

GospelLuke 21:5-19 ©
The destruction of the Temple foretold
When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’
  ‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
  ‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Prayer and Meditation

Here are a couple of prayers and further meditation for today's readings Please enjoy,

 I love you my Lord, because you are love itself. I am sorry for whatever is in me that does not come from your love and does not reflect your love. If I am to become what you want me to be, it will happen only if I allow you to act in me.

"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)

Meditation from Kairos;

Is your life earth-bound or heaven-bound?

The Sadducees had one big problem - they could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes! Aren't we often like them? We don't recognize spiritual realities because we try to make heaven into an earthly image. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous. The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in immortality, nor in angels or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven. 
The Scriptures give witness - we will rise again to immortal life
Jesus retorts by dealing with the fact of the resurrection. The Scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, when God manifests his presence to Moses in the burning bush, the Lord tells him that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He shows that the patriarchs who died hundreds of years previously were still alive in God. Jesus defeats their arguments by showing that God is a living God of a living people. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived. That friendship could not cease with death. As Psalm 73:23-24 states: "I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory."  
The ultimate proof of the resurrection is the Lord Jesus and his victory over death when he rose from the tomb. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he exclaimed:  "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25). Jesus asks us the same question. Do you believe in the resurrection and in the promise of eternal life with God?
Jesus came to restore Paradise and everlasting life for us
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God's enduring love and the abundant 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 live now in the joy and hope of the life of the age to come?

Homily for Today

Taken from Catholic Moment;

What is the goal of humans in this world? Is man a product of chance and whose life ends here, or is he destined for another life different from this? What often comes to our minds when we remember our beloved ones who are dead; or in a more personal way, what do we think will be the end of our earthly story? Do we think all will end here or maybe imagine another form of existence as a continuity of the one here? What informs our conviction and our hope for a glorious life with God hereafter?
These questions are pertinent for us to ask ourselves. And as we move from one liturgical year to another, so does the Church call our attention to see our lives in the light of this seasonal movement. The earthly life will certainly cease for all. But the question is, “will that be the end of our life?” The readings today will answer “No” as they introduce us to the notion and reality of resurrection. Thanks to the resurrection of Christ which is the only hope of our resurrection and the foundation of our faith in eternal life.

FIRST READING: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14
The notion of resurrection was not evident in the Torah (first five books of the bible). No doubt this could be the reason why it was scarcely known by the people of the Old Order. However some allusions were made to the concept in some historical and prophetic books. The book of Job seems to be the first place where it was perceived: “After my awakening, he will set me close to him, and from my flesh I shall look on God”(Job 19:26). And Daniel also affirmed it in an apocalyptic vision when he says: “Of those who are sleeping in the Land of Dust, many will awaken, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace”(Dan. 12:2). Other books that made mention of it include, Psalm 16:10; 49:15; Isaiah 25:8; 26:16-19; and Hosea 13:14.
However, it was not until the second century B.C.E that the faith in the resurrection became a determinant factor for resisting evil as we see in the book of Maccabees today. The I &II books of Maccabees were written by different authors but were named after ‘Judas Maccabaeus’, the hero of the war for Jewish independence against Antiochus IV Epiphanes who once raided the Temple in Jerusalem carrying off all its golden vessels and treasures. He sacrificed pork on the altar thus desecrating the Temple. The height of his exploit was the attempt to Hellenize the Jews by imposing Greek culture and idol worship on them under the pain of torture and death.
The Second Book of Maccabees from which our passage today was taken from affirms the express conviction of the persecuted and faithful Jewish family in the resurrection. These consist of a mother and her seven sons, who refused Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ command to eat pork forbidden as unclean in Leviticus 11:7.
Their faith and conviction in the resurrection was felt in their words:
1. “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever. It is for his laws that we are dying.”
2. “It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again.”
3. “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.”
Isn’t it wonderful and faith-boosting to meditate on the words of these young men and to allow ourselves to be guided by them as we hook our lives on the faithful trust in the resurrection.

SECOND READING: 2Thessalonians 2:16—3:5
The second reading shows that St. Paul was well informed about the current trend of faith among the Thessalonian Christians. Their belief in the Parousia, or the “second coming of Jesus in glory,” was very strong. Today Paul encourages them to remain faithful and never be distracted by any false teaching regarding such belief. He equally invites them to remain steadfast in prayer; 1.) So that the Word of God which he is committed to spreading will continue to triumph, and that, 2.) They may all be safe from the hands of the unfaithful fellows. In this way, the apostle exhorts them on the indispensable power of prayer especially as it gives spiritual strength to welcome even the most dreaded moment of life (death) and to embrace this moment as a passage through which we will come face to face with the God who will call us to eternal life.

GOSPEL: Luke 20:27-38
Although the founder is unknown, the origin of the Sadducees is traceable to the 2nd century B.C.E, and spanned till the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. They were predominantly the priestly class and enjoyed the privileges and prerogatives established since the days of Solomon, when Zadok, their ancestor, officiated as High Priest. They were also the political and economic echelon of Jewish society. In other words, they belonged to the first class as against their contemporaries, the Pharisees who held the second class position in the society.
Unlike the Pharisees who were Jesus’s popular opponents, the Sadducees rarely engaged in open confrontation with him. This does not in anyway suggest that Jesus was safer in their hand than in the hand of the Pharisees. On the contrary, unlike the the Pharisees who believed in the interpretation of the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible other wise known as the books of the law believed to have been authored by Moses), the Sadducees were strictly conservatives. They accepted only the Torah in the Hebrew Bible, thus having little or nothing to do with the historical books or the prophets. Contrary to the Pharisees:
1. They did not believe in the notion of Afterlife.
2. They did not believe in existence of angels, spirits and demons.
3. Although they accepted the traditional jewish belief in the Sheol, yet they refused to subscribe to the reality of resurrection.
In today’s gospel, they used the text of Deuteronomy 25:5-10 (the Law which principally assures the social security of widows who had no direct occupancy of the late husbands’ properties) to mock the belief in the resurrection. Since they believed only in the Torah, Jesus also employed the Torah (Exodus. 3:6) to counter their argument implying that the God who revealed himself to Moses in the mystery of the burning Bush as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”, is God’s confirmation of the continuing personal existential relationship of the patriarchs with him. That is Jesus’ notion of “God of the living and not of the dead.” He directly instructs the Sadducees who though claimed they knew the Scriptures, that if their patriarchs were dead and gone, the text (Ex. 3:6) would not have made mention of them. With this answer, his adversaries were trapped because they could not openly deny the holiness of their patriarchs, neither will they disprove their continued relationship with God.
As a prefix to the above response, Jesus first corrected the impression that tend to see the life in the resurrection as a re-living of the life here. Thus the teaching that ‘the children of the resurrection will not marry’ suggests a new type of existence in which they participate in God’s eternity (devoid of corruptibility and multiplicity which are characteristics of bodily existence).

1. We are people of the resurrection:
During his Apostolic visit to the Far East and Oceania in November 30, 1986, Pope St. John Paul encouraged the faith with these beautiful words:
“We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”

2. We need daily resurrection:
We are often defeated by our weaknesses and paralysed by certain human tendencies. And many a times I have heard people say, “it’s really difficult for me to stop.” Yes it has to be difficult. It was never easy for all the models of our faith. But they never relied on their strength to live through the struggles of this life. They relied on the strength of Him through whom by His wound we are healed. We must live every single day of our lives as if it is our last day. And let this enable us to ‘rise’ constantly whenever we fall, for sin buries us in the world, but reconciliation with God raises us to new life.

3. The resurrection of Christ is our hope:
The ancient Easter proclamation (Exultet) is very rich in meaning as it captures the beauty of the night of the resurrection of Christ. It calls is a Holy Night, the Night of all nights, and the most Blessed of all Nights chosen by God to see Christ rise from the dead. Yes it was not just about the empty tomb which would not have been enough evidence and foundation of our faith in the resurrection. After all, the sodiers were bribed to say that his disciples took away his body at night while they were deep asleep (Mt 28:13). On the contrary, it is about life that has conquered death and assures the believers that they too will conquer death and rise to glory. Thanks to the risen Lord who authenticated the faith in the resurrection by appearing to his disciples and making them to feel the effect of this glorious moment as a prefiguration of the glory . May we never lose sight of the resurrection of Christ so as not to lose our own resurrection.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the Creator and Origin of all that exist. Our lives have no meaning except in You. Be pleased to keep us free from all adversity, so that, unhindered in mind and body alike, we may pursue in freedom of heart the things that are yours until we reach the eternal homeland You have promised us, One God forever and ever. Amen.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading
2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14 ©
'The King of the world will raise us up to live for ever'
There were seven brothers who were arrested with their mother. The king tried to force them to taste pig’s flesh, which the Law forbids, by torturing them with whips and scourges. One of them, acting as spokesman for the others, said, ‘What are you trying to find out from us? We are prepared to die rather than break the laws of our ancestors.’
  With his last breath the second brother exclaimed, ‘Inhuman fiend, you may discharge us from this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up, since it is for his laws that we die, to live again for ever.’
  After him, they amused themselves with the third, who on being asked for his tongue promptly thrust it out and boldly held out his hands, with these honourable words, ‘It was heaven that gave me these limbs; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again.’ The king and his attendants were astounded at the young man’s courage and his utter indifference to suffering.
  When this one was dead they subjected the fourth to the same savage torture. When he neared his end he cried, ‘Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him; whereas for you there can be no resurrection, no new life.’

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 16(17):1,5-6,8,15 ©
I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.
Lord, hear a cause that is just,
  pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer:
  no deceit is on my lips.
I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.
  I kept my feet firmly in your paths;
  there was no faltering in my steps.
I am here and I call, you will hear me, O God.
  Turn your ear to me; hear my words.
I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.
Guard me as the apple of your eye.
  Hide me in the shadow of your wings
As for me, in my justice I shall see your face
  and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory.
I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

Second reading
2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 ©
May the Lord strengthen you in everything good that you do or say
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.
  Finally, brothers, pray for us; pray that the Lord’s message may spread quickly, and be received with honour as it was among you; and pray that we may be preserved from the interference of bigoted and evil people, for faith is not given to everyone. But the Lord is faithful, and he will give you strength and guard you from the evil one, and we, in the Lord, have every confidence that you are doing and will go on doing all that we tell you. May the Lord turn your hearts towards the love of God and the fortitude of Christ.

Gospel AcclamationLk21:36
Alleluia, alleluia!
Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to stand with confidence
before the Son of Man.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Jesus Christ is the First-born from the dead:
to him be glory and power for ever and ever.

GospelLuke 20:27-38 ©
He is God, not of the dead, but of the living
Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached Jesus and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died. Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’
  Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Homily for Today

Taken from a Catholic Moment;

“Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours. And now I know that you have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you” (Confession of St. Augustine of Hippo).
The experience of the conversion of St. Augustine could be likened to that of Zacchaeus in the Gospel. And the first reading affirms how conversion is made possible through God’s patience and mercy. Yet man must cooperate with this saving grace of God by striving to remain in the good works as St. Paul admonishes the Thessalonians in the second reading.

FIRST READING: Wisdom 11:22-12:2
In this first reading, the author of the book of Wisdom, a Jewish sage responds to an important question that preoccupied the mind of his people, and which we often ask: “Why does God not do away with evil men?” In his response, he affirmed God as a merciful father whose mercy extends to all without boundary. Thus, he does not despise his own, and he values each one of his creatures to the point that even when they offend him, he says: ‘Little by little He corrects them and admonishes and reminds them how they have sinned.’ What a patient God we have!

SECOND READING: 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2
At the time Paul wrote this letter, there was confusion in the community of Thessalonica because it was alleged that someone brought a letter claiming to be from Paul. The letter asserted that the Day of the Lord, i.e., the second coming of Jesus, had already occurred. This created a kind of internal tension and reactions. Some even relaxed and never wanted to bother themselves with the things of faith again. But Paul calls their attention not to allow themselves be distracted by any false message about the coming of the Lord. And while they still have to hope for that day, he admonishes them not to relent in good works.

GOSPEL: Luke 19:1-10
Barely one week Luke spoke about the “metanoia” of a certain tax collector in the Temple of prayer, today he points out the clear identity of another tax collector “the Sycamore Zacchaeus.” It is Luke’s way of affirming that the Kingdom of God is taking a different meaning. It is no longer an inheritance of the supposed chosen ones rather for those who though are counted apart but have acknowledged their unworthiness and in humility set off in search of the kingdom of God made visible in Christ.
Today Jesus meets Zacchaeus at Jericho. Jericho was a very wealthy, commercial town in the Jordan valley known for growing palms and balsam groves. It was equally important because at the time of Jesus, there were two major highways in Israel, and one of them went through Jericho. Thus, Jericho was one of the flourishing tax centers of Palestine and its tax-collectors were very rich and popular.
How does Zacchaeus’ meeting with Jesus look like?

1. The thirst: Zacchaeus was anxious to see Jesus (Lk 19:3)

Why did Zacchaeus want to see Jesus?  It was perhaps a mere curiosity. But could this eagerness be an indication of something deeper – a thirst, a desire? And where does that desire come from?  Certainly God was the source of the thirst. He personally organized the encounter. Jesus chose to cross the path of Zacchaeus and not the other way round.

2. The search: He ran ahead (Lk 19:4a)
Because God had already stirred that desire in the heart of Zacchaeus, he could not resist the attractive force of the presence of Jesus. He rose up in search for Jesus. This search could be likened to that of the woman who went to the well to satisfy her thirst (Jn 4:7).  Zacchaeus was thirsty. He had a problem. His life was empty. 

3. Two impending obstacles that would have distracted this search:
Zacchaeus was short.This is a physical description of his person and which prevented him at first from seeing Jesus. This was a self-imposed problem.
The second obstacle was “the crowd.” This seemed to be a greater obstacle that almost made it impossible for him to see Jesus. It was an obstacle rising from his environment and the people around him.

4. The sign of victory: He climbed a sycamore tree (Lk 19:4b) 
Because God has destined him for this divine encounter, no obstacle can defeat such plan.The same God who has put within him the desire to search for Him, also showed him a way out. Sycamore tree in its meaning is a symbol of “strength, protection and divinity. It was God’s sent signpost for Zacchaeus and he did not lose sight of it. He saw it as a pointer to Jesus like the way the Magi saw a star in the east. They recognise that this is the time to go searching for the Son of God. However, even when the found themselves in the palace of Herod which was an obstacle for them, the same God that brought them from the east stirred afresh in their hearts that it wasn’t their destination. They were temporarily uncomfortable because they lost sight of the star. We were told that when they saw the star, they rejoiced (Matthew 2:10).
Another important act displayed by Zacchaeus is the “Climbing of the Sycamore.” It was an act of individual will to be open to the grace of God. He did not stop at seeing and admiring the Sycamore tree but he grabbed it as a God-sent medium to encounter him. It was a difficult thing to do owing to his worth in the society as a rich man…but he understood that God is greater than his worth. Thus he dropped the robe of pride and vested himself with the robe of humility which is the only vestment suitable for meeting God.

5. The invitation: Zacchaeus, come down (Lk 19:5) 
This is a very important moment in the whole narrative. It reaffirms the teaching of the Church that Salvation is both an act and an initiative of God himself. Notice that it was Jesus himself who invited him to a banquet. It is a prefiguration of the heavenly banquet meant for saints and which Jesus himself will serve.The God of surprises in Jesus goes to Zacchaeus who is now on the tree: “Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I am to stay at your house today” (Lk 19:5). Jesus invited himself into the house of Zacchaeus just as he did with the woman who came to the well to draw water (Jn 4:7). It was Jesus himself who took the initiative to make the ‘seductive’ proposition: “Give me something to drink” as a means of having his way into her life.

6. The encounter: Jesus has gone to stay in the house of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:7)
Zacchaeus’ meeting with the Lord on the tree would not have been complete if he had not allowed Him into his home. In other words into his heart. It was a moment of communion made visible through meal. Meals signify fellowship, celebration and sealing of a covenant. So many gospel encounters unfold in the context of a meal: the sinner woman (Lk 7: 36-50), multiplication of loaves (Jn 6); last supper (Jn 13); the resurrection encounter (Jn 21:1-13); the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35). 
At every Eucharistic meal, it is Jesus himself who prepares table for those who desire salvation through communion with him.

7. Saving Grace: Today salvation has come (Lk 19:9) 
After Jesus had played his part, it was left for Zacchaeus to give a definitive response in order to make the encounter complete. In other words, conversion which is the initiative of God cannot be complete until man makes an active and concrete response. And this rejoins the words of St. Augustine: “The God who created us without us, cannot save us without us.” The concrete response to conversion must be expressed in the act of renunciation. That is a pledge not to remain the same again since the new life is not compatible with the old. That is the pattern of leaving something behind like the woman on the well who left her jar of water because at that point it was no longer important for her since she now has a new jar of water, that is her new heart filled no longer with the old water of jacob but with the living water which is Jesus himself (Jn 4:28).This is exactly what Zacchaeus did. And the promise to repay whatever he has spoiled in the past is a penance that follows a penitent. There is a price that must be paid for any damage caused. Zacchaeus understood this and opened his heart to do it even more. It was not until then that Jesus pronounced the saving word: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham” (Lk 19:9).

1. Jesus has not stopped to enter the ‘Jericho’ of our lives. Each one of us like Zacchaeus has got his own saving opportunity but we must use it as he did. Jesus will not return back to ‘Jericho’ to meet Zacchaeus again. He got the chance and he used it. Let us not postpone our own hour of meeting with the Lord. It could be our last opportunity.

2. Zacchaeus was said to be short and was unable to see Jesus because of the crowd. Taken from its spiritual perspective, sin makes us short of the glory of God. The more we love sin and grow in friendship with it, the shorter we become and eventually lose sight of God. And when he passes our way, we cannot see him because our sins have rendered us spiritually short. The crowd of people that blocked the view of Zacchaeus was the world and its riches and distractions. Even when it was his last opportunity to see Jesus, they still could not allow him. They kept blocking his view. What is blocking our view of Jesus? We must be courageous enough like Zacchaeus to defeat them.

3. We must be open to grace. His word says: “My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Zacchaeus opened his heart to the river of God’s grace and it flowed into the heart of his home. He allowed Jesus into his home, thus moving from public admiration and curiosity of Jesus’s identity to a concrete personal encounter with him. Many of us are still on the ‘Sycamore.’ We have grown used to admiring Jesus while sitting on the fence because we have blocked our hearts from allowing him to invite us into our home. Let us accept his invitation today for a total life changing encounter.

4. We must be ready to make amends. Don’t you think you and I have part of Zacchaeus in us? We may have extorted others either with our position or talent. The justice of God and the call to a new life demands that we pay them back. Secondly we must learn to take our penance seriously. Many of us leave the confessional thinking that to do penance is a second option afterall the sins are confessed. No, the penance given by the priest at the confessional completes the process of our healing. Let Zacchaeus guide our step on this.

Lord Jesus help me to always desire for change and do not pass me by nor let the ‘crowd’ of difficulties stop me from reaching you. Amen.