Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Divine Infancy

Second Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 4

21 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Second Reading: Romans 15:4-9
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120416.cfm

Reflection:  What kind of Messiah did God promise to send to his people and how would he bring God’s kingdom to them? The prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when God would raise up a Messianic King long after King David’s throne had been overthrown and vacant for centuries. God promised that he would raise up a new king from the stump of Jesse, the father of King David (Isaiah 11:1). This messianic king would rule forever because the Spirit of God would rest upon him and remain with him (Isaiah 11:2).

Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah 
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be equipped with the gifts of the Spirit – with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2 – for an explanation of the gifts see this helpful article). This king would establish the kingdom of God, not by force of human will and military power, but by offering his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Through his death on the cross, Jesus, the true Messiah King, would defeat Satan, overcome death, and win pardon and reconciliation for sinners. God’s plan of redemption included not only the Jewish people but all the nations of the earth as well. Through his death and resurrection Jesus makes us citizens of heaven and friends of God. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in joyful hope and confident expectation that he will come again to fully establish his kingdom of righteousness and peace.

John the Baptist’s prophecy of the Messiah
Why did John the Baptist prophesy that the Messiah would come and “baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11)? Fire in biblical times was often associated with God’s presence and with his action in the lives of his people. God sometimes manifested his presence by use of fire, such as the burning bush which was not consumed when God spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:2). The image of fire was also used to symbolize God’s glory (Ezekiel 1:4, 13), his protective presence (2 Kings 6:17), his holiness (Deuteronomy 4:24), righteous judgment (Zechariah 13:9), and his wrath against sin (Isaiah 66:15-16). Fire was also used as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s power and presence (Matthew 3:11). When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, tongues of fire appeared over the heads of the apostles and disciples of Jesus (Acts 2:3). The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies and cleanses us of sin, and it inspires a reverent fear of God and of his word in us. Do you want to be on fire for God and for the return of the Lord Jesus when he comes again in his glory?

John pointed others to the coming of Christ and his kingdom
John the Baptist’s life was fueled by one burning passion – to point others to Jesus Christ and to the coming of his kingdom. Who is John the Baptist and what is the significance of his message for our lives? Scripture tells us that John was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15, 41) by Christ himself, whom Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth John lept in her womb as they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41). Like the prophets of the Old Testament, John devoted his entire life to prayer and the word of God. He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where he was tested and grew in the word of God. John’s clothing was reminiscent of the prophet Elijah (see Kings 1:8). The Holy Spirit prepared John for the mission entrusted to him as forerunner of the Messiah, Jesus Christ – the Word of God who became man for our salvation (John 1:1,14). John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world by offering his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sin of the world (John 1:29).

John broke the prophetic silence of the previous centuries when he began to speak the word of God to the people of Israel. His message was similar to the message of the Old Testament prophets who chided the people of God for their unfaithfulness and who tried to awaken true repentance in them. Among a people unconcerned with the things of God, it was his work to awaken their interest, unsettle them from their complacency, and arouse in them enough good will to recognize and receive Christ when he came. Are you eager to hear God’s word and to be changed by it through the power of the Holy Spirit?

A new era of God’s restoration begins 
Jesus tells us that John the Baptist was more than a prophet (Luke 7:26). John was the voice of the Consoler who is coming (John 1:23; Isaiah 40:1-3). He completed the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah (Matthew 11:13-14). What the prophets had carefully searched for and angels longed to see, now came to completion as John made the way ready for the coming of the Messiah, God’s Anointed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. With John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to the human race of the “divine likeness”, prefiguring what would be achieved with and in the Lord Jesus.

John’s baptism was for repentance – turning away from sin and taking on a new way of life according to God’s word. Our baptism in Jesus Christ by water and the Spirit results in a new birth and entry into God’s kingdom as his beloved sons and daughters (John 3:5). The Lord Jesus gives us the fire of his Spirit so that we may radiate the joy and truth of the Gospel to a world in desperate need of God’s light and truth. His word has power to change and transform our lives that we may be lights pointing others to Christ. Like John the Baptist, we too are called to give testimony to the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Do you point others to Christ in the way you live, work, and speak?

“Lord, let your light burn brightly in my heart that I may know the joy and freedom of your kingdom. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me to witness the truth of your Gospel and to point others to Jesus Christ.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec4.htm

Saint of the Day: St. John of Damascus (645-749)
Saint John Damascene has the double honor of being the last but one of the fathers of the Eastern Church, and the greatest of her poets. It is surprising, however, how little that is authentic is known of his life. The account of him by John of Jerusalem, written some two hundred years after his death, contains an admixture of legendary matter, and it is not easy to say where truth ends and fiction begins.

The ancestors of John, according to his biographer, when Damascus fell into the hands of the Arabs, had alone remained faithful to Christianity. They commanded the respect of the conqueror, and were employed in judicial offices of trust and dignity, to administer, no doubt, the Christian law to the Christian subjects of the Sultan. His father, besides this honorable rank, had amassed great wealth; all this he devoted to the redemption of Christian slaves on whom he bestowed their freedom. John was the reward of these pious actions. John was baptized immediately on his birth, probably by Peter II, bishop of Damascus, afterwards a sufferer for the Faith. The father was anxious to keep his son aloof from the savage habits of war and piracy, to which the youths of Damascus were addicted, and to devote him to the pursuit of knowledge. The Saracen pirates of the seashore neighboring to Damascus, swept the Mediterranean, and brought in Christian captives from all quarters. A monk named Cosmas had the misfortune to fall into the hands of these freebooters. He was set apart for death, when his executioners, Christian slaves no doubt, fell at his feet and entreated his intercession with the Redeemer. The Saracens enquired of Cosmas who he was. He replied that he had not the dignity of a priest; he was a simple monk, and burst into tears. The father of John was standing by, and expressed his surprise at this exhibition of timidity. Cosmas answered, “It is not for the loss of my life, but of my learning, that I weep.” Then he recounted his attainments, and the father of John, thinking he would make a valuable tutor for his son, begged or bought his life of the Saracen governor; gave him his freedom, and placed his son under his tuition. The pupil in time exhausted all the acquirements of his teacher. The monk then obtained his dismissal, and retired to the monastery of S. Sabas, where he would have closed his days in peace, had he not been compelled to take on himself the bishopric of Majuma, the port of Gaza.

The attainments of the young John of Damascus commanded the veneration of the Saracens; he was compelled reluctantly to accept an office of higher trust and dignity than that held by his father. As the Iconoclastic controversy became more violent, John of Damascus entered the field against the Emperor of the East, and wrote the first of his three treatises on the Veneration due to Images. This was probably composed immediately after the decree of Leo the Isaurian against images, in 730.

Before he wrote the second, he was apparently ordained priest, for he speaks as one having authority and commission. The third treatise is a recapitulation of the arguments used in the other two. These three treatises were disseminated with the utmost activity throughout Christianity.

The biographer of John relates a story which is disproved not only by its exceeding improbability, but also by being opposed to the chronology of his history. It is one of those legends of which the East is so fertile, and cannot be traced, even in allusion, to any document earlier than the biography written two hundred years later. Leo the Isaurian, having obtained, through his emissaries, one of John’s circular epistles in his own handwriting — so runs the tale — caused a letter to be forged, containing a proposal from John of Damascus to betray his native city to the Christians. The emperor, with specious magnanimity, sent this letter to the Sultan. The indignant Mahommedan ordered the guilty hand of Johnto be cut off. John entreated that the hand might be restored to him, knelt before the image of the Virgin, prayed, fell asleep, and woke with his hand as before. John, convinced by this miracle, that he was under the special protection of our Lady, resolved to devote himself wholly to a life of prayer and praise, and retired to the monastery of Saint Sabas.

That the Sultan should have contented himself with cutting off the hand of one of his magistrates for an act of high treason is in itself improbable, but it is rendered more improbable by the fact that it has been proved by Father Lequien, the learned editor of his works, that Saint John Damascene was already a monk at Saint Sabas before the breaking out of the Iconoclastic dispute.

In 743, the Khalif Ahlid II persecuted the Christians. He cut off the tongue of Peter, metropolitan of Damascus, and banished him to Arabia Felix. Peter, bishop of Majuma, suffered decapitation at the same time, and Saint John of Damascus wrote an eulogium on his memory. Another legend is as follows: it is probably not as apocryphal as that of the severed hand: — The abbot sent Saint John in the meanest and most beggarly attire to sell baskets in the marketplace of Damascus, where he had been accustomed to appear in the dignity of office, and to vend his poor ware at exorbitant prices. Nor did the harshness of the abbot end there. A man had lost his brother, and broken-hearted at his bereaval, besought Saint John to compose him a sweet hymn that might be sung at this brother’s funeral, and which at the same time would soothe his own sorrow. John asked leave of the abbot, and was curtly refused permission. But when he saw the distress of the mourner he yielded, and sang him a beautiful lament. The abbot was passing at the time, and heard the voice of his disciple raised in song. Highly incensed, he expelled him from the monastery, and only re- admitted him on condition of his daily cleaning the filth from all the cells of his brethren. An opportune vision rebuked the abbot for thus wasting the splendid talents of his inmate. John was allowed to devote himself to religious poetry, which became the heritage of the Eastern Church, and to theological arguments in defense of the doctrines of the Church, and refutation of all heresies. His three great hymns or “canons,” are those on Easter, the Ascension, and Satin Thomas’s Sunday. Probably also many of the Idiomela an Stichera which are scattered about the office- books under the title of “John” and “John the Hermit” are his. His eloquent defense of images has deservedly procured him the title of “The Doctor of Christian Art.” The date of his death cannot be fixed with any certainty; but it lies between 754 and before 787. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=66

More Saints of the Day
St. Abbo
St. Agricola
St. Attalia
St. Birinus
St. Cassian of Tangier
Bl. Edward Coleman
St. Eloque
St. Ethernan
St. Francis Xavier
Bl. Johann Nepomuk von Tschiderer
St. Lucius
St. Mirocles

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Divine Infancy

Saturday of the First Week in Advent
Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Lectionary: 180

22 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26
Psalms 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6:  Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Gospel: Matthew 9:35B-10:1, 5A, 6-8
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
AThe harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120316.cfm

Reflection:  Who doesn’t want a life of good health, peace, and well-being? Isaiah foretold that God’s kingdom would overcome sorrow and adversity and bring true peace and prosperity to God’s people. Jesus understood his mission to bring the kingdom in all its fulness to us. The core of the Gospel message is quite simple: the kingdom or reign of God is imminent!

The kingdom of God is imminent
What is the kingdom of God? It’s the power of God at work in that society of men and women who trust in God and who honor him as their King and Lord.  In the Lord’s prayer we dare to ask God to reign fully in our lives and in our world: “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 5:10 ). Jesus’ preaching of God’s kingdom was accompanied by signs and wonders. People were healed not only spiritually, but physically as well. Do you believe in the power of God’s kingdom for your life? Let his word transform your mind and heart that he may reign supreme in every area of your life.

Jesus commissioned his disciples to carry on the works which he did – to speak God’s word and to bring his healing power to the weary and oppressed. Jesus said to his disciples: Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8). What they had received from Jesus (all free of charge) they must now pass on to others without expecting any kind of payment or reward. They must show by their attitude that their first interest is God, not material gain.

The kingdom of heaven comes to those who receive Christ with faith
Jesus’ words are just as relevant today. The kingdom of heaven is available to those who are ready to receive it. We cannot buy heaven; but if we accept the love and mercy of Jesus we already possess heaven in our hearts! The Lord brings his kingdom or heavenly reign to those who receive him with faith and obedience. When the Lord returns in his glory he will fully restore his kingdom of everlasting peace and justice. Do you pray and watch with confident hope for God’s kingdom to come in all its fullness?

“Lord Jesus, rouse my spirit from complacency and stir my faith to see you act today. Give me boldness to live and proclaim the message of the kingdom of heaven and to be a prophetic sign of that kingdom to this generation.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec3.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Francis Xavier, Patron of Catholic missions; African missions; Goa, India; China; missionaries (1506-1552)
St. Francis Xavier was a Navarrese-Basque Roman Catholic missionary born in the Kingdom of Navarre on April 7, 1506. His father was a privy counselor and finance minister to King John III of Navarre. He was the youngest in his family and resided in a castle which still partially stands today and is in the possession of the Jesuit order.

As the young Francis grew, he was surrounded by war. Navarre was the target of a campaign by King Ferdinand of Aragon and Castile, and the kingdom was eventually conquered.

When the war stopped and Francis came of age, he was sent to study at the University of Paris. While there he roomed with his friend, Peter Favre. The pair met and were heavily influenced by Ignatius of Loyola, who encouraged Francis to become a priest.

In 1530, Francis Xavier earned his master’s degree, and went on to teach philosophy at the University of Paris.

On August 15, 1534, Francis Xavier along with Peter Favre, and several other friends, made vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The men planned to travel to the Holy Land to convert non-believers. Francis Xavier started his study of theology that same year and was ordained on June 24, 1537.

Pope Paul III approved the formation of their order in 1540, which became The Society of Jesus. The order is more popularly became known as the Jesuits.

While Francis Xavier was becoming a priest, Portugal was colonizing India. The Portuguese settlers in India and elsewhere were losing their faith and Christian values. To restore these values, the King of Portugal asked the Pope to send missionaries to the region.

Pope Paul III asked the new order to take the mission, particularly since they could not undertake their preferred mission to the Holy Land due to warfare there. Ignatius ultimately decided to send Francis.

Francis Xavier left for India in 1541, on his thirty-fifth birthday. As he departed he was informed that the pope appointed him to be the Papal Nuncio in the East. A Papal Nuncio is a diplomat who takes up permanent residence in another country to formally represent the Church there. He arrived in the region and colony of Goa, India on May 6, 1542.

Although Goa had churches and even a bishop in the Portuguese colony, there were few people to preach and minister to the Portuguese, especially outside the walls of the city.

A major problem Francis quickly recognized was the nature of the people and their intentions. Many sailors and settlers were former prisoners who had been recruited from Portuguese jails or were fleeing mistakes they made back home. None of them came to spread or live virtuous lives. Instead they came to escape Portugal, find adventure, or to make fortunes. Still, they settled and made families.

Xavier ministered first to the sick and the children. Then he learned about the native people of the Pearl Fishery Coast, which had been baptized a decade earlier, but were never taught their faith. Xavier began ministering to them. He spent three years among them, but was often embarrassed by the conduct of his Portuguese countrymen who were already Catholic, but frequently misbehaved.

Xavier built 40 churches for the people of the Pearl Fishery Coast. Xavier encountered difficulty in his mission because he usually worked to convert the people first, instead of their leaders.

Xavier eventually decided to travel to Malacca and the Maluku Islands to evangelize the people there. He spent about two years in the region, and while in Malacca, a Japanese man named Anjiro caught up with him. Anjiro was accused of murder in Japan but had managed to flee. Learning about Xavier, he decided to find Xavier and tell him about Japan, which he did. Xavier converted Anjiro to Christianity, making him the first Japanese convert to Christianity.

Xavier returned to Goa for about a year to attend to his official responsibilities, but he was very interested in visiting Japan. In 1549, he finally departed for the country, arriving in July of that year.

The local daimyo warmly received Xavier, but forbade his subjects from converting to Christianity. In addition to the legal obstacle, Xavier found language to be a barrier. The Japanese language was different than any other he had previously encountered.

Xavier was surprised to find that his poverty was a barrier to his communication. Poverty was not respected in feudal Japan as it was in Europe, so Xavier was compelled to change his strategy. On one occasion, when meeting with a local prince, Xavier arranged to be finely dressed and for his fellow missionaries to wait on him. He had gifts from India delivered to him. The charade had the desired effect and improved his reputation.

Despite his efforts, the Japanese were not easily converted. Most held fast to their traditional Buddhist or Shinto beliefs. The Japanese also found the concept of hell as a place of eternal torment to be difficult to accept.

Some traditionalists, including priests from the native religions, grew hostile toward Xavier and Christianity. Xavier established a few congregations, but the religion was suppressed from spreading by the nobility to grew to mistrust the outsiders and their faith. Eventually, Christianity became the subject of great persecution, forcing many to go underground with their belief.

Xavier finished his work in Japan for the time and decided to return to India with a stop in Goa. During his voyage, he was petitioned to meet with the Chinese emperor and argue for the release of several Portuguese prisoners as a representative of their government. Xavier decided to make the trip to China, but first felt the need to return to his headquarters in Goa.

He departed India for the last time in April, 1552 and stopped in Malacca to obtain official documents attesting to his status as a representative of the Portuguese king. However, the harbor in Malacca was now controlled by Alvaro da Gama, the Captain of Malaca and the son of Vasco da Gama.

Da Gama was not friendly to Xavier who refused to recognize his official status as Papal Nuncio. He confiscated the gifts Xavier intended for the Chinese emperor and staffed his ship with a new crew, loyal to himself.

Xavier’s ship reached China in August, stopping at an island off the Chinese coast. From there, Xavier was on his own. He managed to find a man to agree to take him to China for a large fee, but while he was waiting for his boat to arrive became ill with a fever. Xavier died on December 3, 1552.

Xavier was buried on the island until February 1553 when his body was removed and taken to Malacca where it was buried at a church for a month. Then one of Xavier?s companions moved his body to his own residence for the rest of the year. In December, his body was moved to Goa. Xavier remains buried in a silver casket enclosed in a glass case.

Several of his bones have been removed. His right arm, used to bless converts, is on display in Rome. Another arm bone is kept on Coloane island, in Macau, which today is part of China.

Xavier was beatified by Pope Paul V on Oct. 25, 1619, and canonized by Gregory XV on March 12, 1622 at the same ceremony as Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron of Catholic missions and his feast day is on December 3. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=423

More Saints of the Day
St. Abbo
St. Agricola
St. Attalia
St. Birinus
St. Cassian of Tangier
Bl. Edward Coleman
St. Eloque
St. Ethernan
St. Francis Xavier
Bl. Johann Nepomuk von Tschiderer
St. Lucius
St. Mirocles

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | December 1, 2016

Friday (December 2): “Do you believe?”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Divine Infancy

Friday of the First Week in Advent
Lectionary: 179

23 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Isaiah 29:17-24
Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14:  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Gospel: Matthew 9:27-31
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!”
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
And their eyes were opened.
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.”
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120216.cfm

Reflection:  Are there any blind-spots in your life that keep you from recognizing God’s power and mercy? When two blind men heard that Jesus was passing their way, they followed him and begged for his mercy. The word mercy literally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another person’s misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further; it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another person’s misfortune and suffering as if it were their own.

God shows mercy to those who recognize their need for his forgiveness and healing
When two blind men approached Jesus, he questioned their earnestness. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Jesus put them to the test, not to rebuff them, but to strengthen their faith and trust in God’s mercy. He touched their eyes, both to identify with their affliction and to awaken faith in them. Their faith grew as they responded to his word with confident hope. Jesus restored their sight – both physically and spiritually to the reality of God’s kingdom. Faith opens the way for us to see the power of God’s kingdom and to experience his healing presence in our lives.

In Jesus we see the fullness of God’s mercy and the power of his kingdom – power to save from death and destruction, to forgive sins and lift the burden of guilt, and to heal infirmities and release the oppressed. Jesus never refused to bring God’s mercy to those who earnestly sought it. How can we seek and obtain God’s mercy? God gives mercy to the lowly in heart – to those who recognize their need for God and for his forgiveness and healing power.

God transforms those who put their hope and trust in him
God wants to change and transform our lives to set us free to live as his sons and daughters and citizens of his kingdom. Faith is key to this transformation. How can we grow in faith? Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of his love. For faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and obedience – an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in the confident expectation that he will fulfill his promises to us and bring us into the fullness of his kingdom – a kingdom of  righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Do you know the peace and joy of God’s kingdom?

“Lord Jesus, help me to draw near to you with faith and trust in your saving power and mercy. Free me from doubt and unbelief that I may approach you confidently and pray boldly with expectant faith. Let your kingdom come and may your will be done in me.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec2.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Bibiana
St. Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr (Feast day – December 2nd) Other than the name, nothing is known for certain about this saint. However, we have the following account from a later tradition.

In the year 363, Julian the Apostate made Apronianus Governor of Rome. St. Bibiana suffered in the persecution started by him. She was the daughter of Christians, Flavian, a Roman knight, and Dafrosa, his wife. Flavian was tortured and sent into exile, where he died of his wounds. Dafrosa was beheaded, and their two daughters, Bibiana and Demetria, were stripped of their possessions and left to suffer poverty. However, they remained in their house, spending their time in fasting and prayer.

Apronianus, seeing that hunger and want had no effect upon them, summoned them. Demetria, after confessing her Faith, fell dead at the feet of the tyrant. St. Bibiana was reserved for greater sufferings. She was placed in the hands of a wicked woman called Rufina, who in vain endeavored to seduce her. She used blows as well as persuasion, but the Christian virgin remained faithful.

Enraged at the constancy of this saintly virgin, Apronianus ordered her to be tied to a pillar and beaten with scourges, laden with lead plummets, until she expired. The saint endured the torments with joy, and died under the blows inflicted by the hands of the executioner. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=168

More Saints of the Day
St. Bibiana
St. Chromatius
St. Eusebius
St. Evasius
Bl. Ivan Sleziuk
St. Lupus of Verona
Bl. Maria Angela Astorch
St. Pontian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Divine Infancy

Thursday of the First Week in Advent
Lectionary: 178

24 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Isaiah 26:1-6
Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Gospel: Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120116.cfm

Reflection:  What’s the best security against disaster and destruction? In the ancient world a strong city, an impregnable fortress, and a secure house were built on solid rock because they could withstand the forces of nature and foe alike. Isaiah speaks of God as an “everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4). He is the rock of refuge and deliverance (Psalm 18:2) and the rock in whom there is no wrong (Psalm 92:15). Scripture warns that destruction will surely come to those who place their security in something other than God and his kingdom. Jesus’ parables invite us to stake our lives on the coming of his kingdom or face the consequences of being unprepared when the day of testing and destruction will surely come.

When Jesus told the story of the builders he likely had the following proverb in mind: “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm for ever” (Proverbs 10:25). What’s the significance of the story for us? The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms that are sure to come. Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions. Building a house on a flood plain, such as a dry river-bed, is a sure bet for disaster! Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool humans with our speech, but God cannot be deceived. He sees the heart as it truly is – with its motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2).

There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by one’s practice. Fine words can never replace good deeds. Our character is revealed in the choices we make, especially when we are tested. Do you cheat on an exam or on your income taxes, especially when it will cost you?  Do you lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth will cause you injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself.  His or her word can be counted on. If you heed God’s word and live according to it then you need not fear when storms assail you. God will be your rock and your refuge. Is your life built upon the sure “rock” of Jesus Christ and do you listen to his word as if your life depended on it?

“Lord Jesus, you are my Rock and my Refuge. Help me to conform my life according to your word that I may stand firm in times of trouble and find hope in your promises.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec1.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Eligius, Patron of Metalworkers (b. 590)
Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 near Limoges in France. He became an extremely skillful metalsmith and was appointed master of the mint under King Clotaire II of Paris. Eligius developed a close friendship with the King and his reputation as an outstanding metalsmith became widespread. With his fame came fortune. Eligius was very generous to the poor, ransomed many slaves, and built several churches and a monastery at Solignac. He also erected a major convent in Paris with property he received from Clotaire’s son, King Dagobert I. In 629, Eligius was appointed Dagobert’s first counselor. Later, on a mission for Dagobert, he persuaded the Breton King Judicael, to accept the authority of Dagobert. Eligius later fulfilled his desire to serve God as a priest, after being ordained in 640. Then he was made bishop of Noyon and Tournai. His apostolic zeal led him to preach in Flanders, especially Antwerp, Ghent, and Courtai where he made many converts. Eligius died on December 1, around 660, at Noyon. He is the patron of metalworkers and his feast day is December 1. The use of one’s talents and wealth for the welfare of humanity is a very true reflection of the image of God. In the case of St. Eligius, he was so well liked that he attracted many to Christ. His example should encourage us to be generous in spirit and kind and happy in demeanor. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=109

More Saints of the Day
St. Agericus
St. Alexander Briant
St. Ananias
St. Ansanus
Bl. Anwarite Nangapeta
St. Candres
St. Castritian
Bl. Charles de Foucauld
St. Constantian
St. Diodorus & Marianus
St. Edmund Campion
St. Edmund Campion
St. Edmund Campion
Bl. Edward Campion
St. Eligius
St. Evasius
St. Grwst
Bl. John Beche
St. Leontius of Fréjus
St. Lucius
St. Natalia of Nicomedia
St. Olympiades
Bl. Richard Langley
St. Ursicinus of Brescia

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Wednesday of the First Week in Advent
Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle
Lectionary: 684

26 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Romans 10:9-18
Psalms 19:8-11: The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
Gospel: Matthew 4:18-22
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/113016.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/113016.cfm

Reflection:  What is God’s call on your life and are you ready to respond? When Jesus began his ministry he went every where he could – the streets, towns, hills and lakeside of Galilee – to speak to people about the kingdom of God. He chose as his closest friends and coworkers those who were ready to follow as his disciples and he gave them an unusual mission – “to catch people for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus chooses ordinary people to do great things for his kingdom
What kind of disciples did Jesus choose? Smelly fishermen! In the choice of the first apostles we see a characteristic feature of Jesus’ work – he chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, had no wealth or position of power or fame in society. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special marks of education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these individuals, not for what they were, but for what they would become under his direction and the power of the Holy Spirit.

When the Lord Jesus calls each of us to be his disciples, we must not think we have nothing to offer him in exchange. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Do you believe that God wants to work in and through you for his glory?

Jesus calls each of us to bring the joy of the Gospel to those around us
Jesus speaks the same message to us today: we will “catch people” for the kingdom of God if we allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the Gospel. Paul the Apostles says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). Do you show others around you the joy of the gospel and do you pray for your neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that they may come to personally know the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of his love?

“Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples, Simon, Andrew, and James. Fill me with the joy of your gospel and help me to be a good and faithful witness of your kingdom to all I meet.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov30.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Andrew, Patron of Fishermen, singers, Scotland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Patras (Birth: Early 1st Century – Death: Mid-to late 1st Century)
St. Andrew, also known as Andrew the Apostle, was a Christian Apostle and the older brother to St. Peter.

According to the New Testament, Andrew was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee during the early first century. Much like his younger brother, Simon Peter, Andrew was also a fisherman. Andrew’s very name means strong and he was known for having good social skills.

In the Gospel of Matthew, it is said Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing. It is then he asked the two to become disciples and “fishers of men.”

In the Gospel of Luke, Andrew is not initially named. It describes Jesus using a boat, believed to be solely Simon’s, to preach to the multitudes and catch a large amount of fish on a night that originally was dry. Later, in Luke 5:7, it mentions Simon was not the only fisherman on the boat, but it is not until Luke 6:14 that there is talk of Andrew being Simon Peter’s brother.

However, the Gospel of John tells a separate story, stating Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John the Baptist stated, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” It is then that Andrew and another made the decision to follow Jesus.

Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels, but it is believed Andrew was one of the closer disciples to Jesus. It was he who told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes, according to John 6:8. When Philip wanted to speak to Jesus about Greeks seeking him, he spoke to Andrew first. Andrew was also present at the last supper.

Per Christian tradition, Andrew went on to preach the Good News around the shores of the Black Sea and throughout what is now Greece and Turkey. Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in Patras. He was bound, rather than nailed, to a cross, as is described in the Acts of Andrew. He was crucified on a cross form known as “crux decussata,” which is an X-shaped cross or a “saltire.” Today this is commonly referred to as “St. Andrew’s Cross.” It is believed Andrew requested to be crucified this way, because he deemed himself “unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus.”

Andrew’s remains were originally preserved at Patras. However, some believe St. Regulus, who was a monk at Patras, received a vision telling him to hide some of Andrew’s bones. Shortly after Regulus’ dream, many of Andrew’s relics were transferred to Constantinople by order of Roman emperor Constantius II around 357. Regulus later received orders in a second dream telling him to take the bones “to the ends of the earth.” He was to build a shrine for them wherever he shipwrecked. He landed on the coat of Fife, Scotland.

In September 1964, Pope Paul VI had all of St. Andrew’s relics that ended up in Vatican City sent back to Patras. Now, many of Andrew’s relics and the cross on which he was martyred are kept in the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.

St. Andrew is venerated in Georgia as the first preacher of Christianity in that territory and in Cyprus for having struck the rocks creating a gush of healing waters upon landing on the shore.

His saltire cross is featured on the flag of Scotland and is represented in much of his iconography. He is commonly portrayed as an old man with long white hair and a beard, often holding the Gospel book or a scroll.

St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and singers. He is also the patron saint to several countries and cities including: Scotland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Patras and his feast day is celebrated on November 30. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=109

More Saints of the Day
St. Andrew
St. Constantius
St. Joseph Marchand
St. Maura
St. Trojan
St. Tudwal

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Tuesday of the First Week in Advent
Lectionary: 176

27 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17: Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Gospel: Luke 10:21-24
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112916.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112916.cfm

Reflection:  How does God bring his kingdom to us? Jesus remarked that many prophets and kings before him longed to see and understand God’s plan for establishing his kingdom. When King David’s throne was overthrown and vacant for centuries, God promised, nonetheless, to raise up a new king from the stump of Jesse, the father of David. This messianic king would rule forever because the Spirit of God would rest upon him and remain with him (Isaiah 11:1).

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be equipped with the gifts of the Spirit – with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2 – for an explanation of the gifts see this helpful article). This king would establish the kingdom of God, not by force of human will and military power, but by offering his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Through his death on the cross, Jesus, the true Messiah King, would defeat Satan, overcome death, and win pardon and reconciliation for sinners. God’s plan of redemption included not only the Jewish people but all the nations of the earth as well. Through his death and resurrection Jesus makes us citizens of heaven and friends of God. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in joyful hope and confident expectation that he will come again to fully establish his kingdom of righteousness and peace.

What does Jesus’ prayer (Luke 10:21-22) tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children. All fatherhood and motherhood are derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15). Jesus’ prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God.

Pride closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives. Jesus contrasts pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like “babes” in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in God who is the source of all wisdom and strength. They seek one thing – the “summum bonum” or “greatest good” which is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root of every sin and evil we can conceive, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Prov. 3:34, James 4:6). The grace of Christ-like humility inclines us towards God and disposes us to receive God’s wisdom, grace, and help. Nothing can give us greater joy than the knowledge that we are God’s beloved and that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Do you seek God’s wisdom and grace with humility and trust?

Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make: He is the perfect revelation of God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God – who he is and what he is like. We can know God personally and be united with him in a relationship of love, trust, and friendship. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the cross. Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?

“Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov29.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Saturninus
St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr November 29 A.D. 257     St. Saturninus went from Romeby the direction of pope Fabian, about the year 245, to preach the faith in Gaul, where St. Trophimus, the first bishop of Arles, had some time before gathered a plentiful harvest. In the year 250, when Decius and Gratus were consuls, St. Saturninus fixed his episcopal see at Toulouse. Fortunatus tells us, that he converted a great number of idolaters by his preaching and miracles. This is all the account we have of him till the time of his holy martyrdom. The author of his acts, who wrote about fifty years after his death, relates, that he assembled his flock in a small church; and that the capitol, which was the chief temple in the city, lay in the way between that church and the saint’s habitation. In this temple oracles were given; but the devils were struck dumb by the presence of the saint as he passed that way. The priests spied him one day going by, and seized and dragged him into the temple. declaring that he should either appease the offended deities by offering sacrifice to them, or expiate the crime with his blood. Saturninus boldly replied: “I adore one only God, and to him I am ready to offer a sacrifice of praise. Your gods are devils, and are more delighted with the sacrifice of your souls than with those of your bullocks. How can I fear them who, as you acknowledge, tremble before a Christian?” The infidels, incensed at this reply, abused the saint with all the rage that a mad zeal could inspire, and after a great variety of indignities, tied his feet to a wild bull, which was brought thither to be sacrificed. The beast being driven from the temple, ran violently down the hill, so that the martyr’s scull was broken, and his brains dashed out. His happy soul was released from the body by death, and fled to the kingdom of peace and glory, and the bull continued to drag the sacred body, and the limbs and blood were scattered on every side, till, the cord breaking, what remained of the trunk was left in the plain without the gates of the city. Two devout women laid the sacred remains on a bier, and hid them in a deep ditch, to secure them from any further insult, where they lay in “wooden coffin” till the reign of Constantine the Great. Then Hilary, bishopof Toulouse, built a small chapel over this his holy predecessor’s body Sylvius, bishop of that city towards the close of the fourth century, began to build a magnificent church in honor of the martyr, which was finished and consecrated by his successor Exuperius, who, with great pomp and piety, translated the venerable relics into it. This precious treasure remains there to this day with due honor. The martyrdom of this saint probably happened m the reign of Valerian, in 257.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=802

More Saints of the Day
St. Brendan of Birr
Bl. Dionysius
St. Egelwine
St. Francis Fasani
St. Gulstan
St. Hardoin
St. Illuminata
St. Paramon and Companions
St. Philomenus
St. Radbod of Utrecht
St. Sadwen
St. Saturninus
Sts. Saturninus & Sisinius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Monday of the First Week in Advent
Lectionary: 175

28 Days Before Christmas
7 Years of Spreading God’s Word via Blogging

First Reading: Isaiah 4:2-6
Psalms 122:1-9:   Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Gospel: Matthew 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112816.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112816.cfm

Reflection:  Are you ready to feast at the Lord’s banquet table? God’s gracious invitation extends to all – Jew and Gentile alike – who will turn to him with faith and obedience. Jesus used many images or pictures to convey what the kingdom of God is like. One such image is a great banquet feast given at the King’s table (Matthew 8:11 and Luke 13:29). Jesus promised that everyone who believed in him would come and feast at the heavenly banquet table of his Father. Jesus told this parable in response to the dramatic request made by a Roman centurion, a person despised by many because he was an outsider, not one of the “chosen ones” of Israel. In Jesus’ time the Jews hated the Romans because they represented everything they stood against – including foreign domination and  pagan beliefs and practices.

The power to command with trust and respect
Why did Jesus not only warmly receive a Roman centurion but praise him as a model of faith and confidence in God? In the Roman world the position of centurion was very important. He was an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. In a certain sense, he was the backbone of the Roman army, the cement which held the army together. Polybius, an ancient writer, describes what a centurion should be: “They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable; they ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts.”

Faith in Jesus’ authority and power to heal
The centurion who approached Jesus was not only courageous, but faith-filled as well. He risked the ridicule of his cronies as well as mockery from the Jews by seeking help from a traveling preacher from Galilee. Nonetheless, the centurion approached Jesus with great confidence and humility. He was an extraordinary man because he loved his slave. In the Roman world slaves were treated like animals – something to be used for work and pleasure and for bartering and trade. This centurion was a man of great compassion and extraordinary faith. He wanted Jesus to heal his beloved slave. Jesus commends him for his faith and immediately grants him his request. Are you willing to suffer ridicule in the practice of your faith? And when you need help, do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith?

Christ comes to establish God’s kingdom of peace where all peoples can feast at his table
The prophet Isaiah foretold a time of restoration for the holy city Jerusalem and for its remnants (see Isaiah 4:2-6) and also a time of universal peace when all nations would come to Jerusalem to “the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob” and “beat their swords into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:2-4). Jesus fulfills this prophecy first by restoring both Jew and Gentile to friendship with God through the victory he won for us on the cross. When he comes again he will fully establish his universal rule of peace and righteousness (moral goodness) and unite all things in himself (Ephesians 1:10). His promise extends to all generations who believe in him that we, too, might feast at the heavenly banquet table with the patriarchs of the Old Covenant (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) who believed but did not yet see the promised Messiah.

Do you believe in God’s promises and do you seek his kingdom first in your life? The season of Advent reminds us that the Lord Jesus wants us to actively seek him and the coming of his kingdom in our lives. The Lord will surely reward those who seek his will for their lives. We can approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith, like the centurion in today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 8:5-11), knowing that he will show us his mercy and give us his help.

“Lord Jesus, you feed us daily with your life-giving word and you sustain us on our journey to our true homeland with you and the Father in heaven.  May I never lose hope in your promises nor lag in zeal for your kingdom of righteousness and peace.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov28.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine Laboure
St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an early age she entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in Paris, France. Three times in 1830 the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who then was a twenty-four year old novice.

On July 18, the first apparition occurred in the community’s motherhouse. St. Catherine beheld a lady seated on the right side of the sanctuary. When St. Catherine approached her, the heavenly visitor told her how to act in time of trial and pointed to the altar as the source of all consolation. Promising to entrust St. Catherine with a mission which would cause her great suffering, the lady also predicted the anticlerical revolt which occurred at Paris in 1870.

On November 27, the lady showed St. Catherine the medal of the Immaculate Conception, now universally known as the “Miraculous Medal.” She commissioned St. Catherine to have one made, and to spread devotion to this medal. At that time, only her spiritual director, Father Aladel, knew of the apparitions. Forty-five years later, St. Catherine spoke fully of the apparitions to one of her superiors. She died on December 31, 1876, and was canonized on July 27, 1947. Her feast day is November 28.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=266

More Saints of the Day
St. Andrew Trong
St. Catherine Laboure
St. Fionnchu
St. Hippolytus
St. James of the Marches
Bl. James Thompson
St. Papinianus
St. Papinianus
St. Rufus and Companions
St. Valerian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
First Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 1
29 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalms 122:1-9:  Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14
Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112716.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112716.cfm

Reflection:  Why did Jesus compare “the coming of the Son of Man” with the “days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37)? Scripture describes both events as a day of judgment and the separation of the just from the unjust. It is a time when the Lord of heaven and earth gathers to himself those who are his own. Separation is an inevitable consequence of the fundamental choices people have made – whether for God or against God. The fundamental choices we make can either lead us towards God and his will for us or they can lead us in a direction that is opposed to God or contrary to his wisdom and plan for our lives and well-being.

The days of Noah 
The Book of Genesis describes why God chose to separate Noah and his family who were faithful to God from those who had utterly rejected God and corrupted the earth with violence and evil:

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5), “with corruption and violence spreading everywhere” (Genesis 6:11-12).

Why did so many perish when the day of judgment came? They were caught completely unaware and unprepared for the disaster that swept them away. The Lord Jesus warned his disciples and he issues the same warning to us today – be alert and be prepared to meet the Lord today and every day – and when he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

The ark of refuge
Just as God provided a safe haven and place of refuge for Noah and his family in the ark which spared them from destruction (Genesis 7), the Lord provides for us today a place of refuge in the ark of his people – the body of Christ – who listen to his word and obey his voice. God made a covenant of peace with Noah and his descendants (Genesis 9:8-17). Noah’s ark was a prophetic sign and beacon of hope which prefigured the new covenant of everlasting peace which the Lord Jesus would accomplish through his atoning death on the cross, resurrection, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit on his disciples.

Jesus came to fulfill all the promises of God, including the covenant of peace which God made with Noah. Jesus’ first coming was a rescue mission to set us free from sin and condemnation and to give us new life in his Holy Spirit. Jesus died for our sins, rose to everlasting life, and is now seated in glory at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He now reigns over the heavens and the earth as the exalted Lord of creation. The Lord Jesus promised that he would return again in glory to complete the work of redemption which he began at his first coming.

Our merciful Savior is also our Judge and Vindicator
God fulfills all his promises to us in Jesus, our merciful Savior, who will come again as our Judge and Vindicator. Jesus told his disciples that the Father has given him all authority to execute judgments on the earth “because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27). The “Son of man” is a Messianic title for God’s anointed one who will overthrow God’s enemies and establish an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace. The “Son of man” is described in the Book of Daniel as the one who is given supreme authority to judge and execute justice on the earth (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus came the first time to lay down his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. He promises to return again at the “end of the age” to complete the work of restoration and final judgment. While we do not know the time of his return, we will not mistake it when it happens. It will be apparent to all, both to the followers of the Lord Jesus and to every inhabitant on the earth as well.

One is taken away and the other is left
How are we to live our lives now in light of Jesus’ promise to return again as our Lord and Judge on the final day of judgment? Jesus gives two striking images to illustrate the urgency of the need to not be caught off guard and unprepared when we are suddenly summoned to appear before the Lord on the day of judgment (Matthew 24:40-41). The first image Jesus used is a description of two men working together in the field – very likely close family members or close co-workers. One is suddenly taken away and the other is left. The image of two women who are working closely together repeats the theme of the sudden rupture and separation

Hilary of Poitiers (315-367) an early church father, Scripture scholar and writer, explains the meaning of this short parable.
“Christ shows that a judgment is coming, since between two people in a field, one is taken up and one left behind. Between two grinding at the mill, one is chosen and one rejected. Between two lying in bed, one departs and one remains. This teaching means that the separation of the faithful from the unfaithful will consist in one being accepted and the other abandoned. For, like the prophet says, when the wrath of God rises, the saints will be hidden in God’s chambers but the faithless will be left exposed to celestial fire. The two in the field therefore represent the faithful and the unfaithful, both of whom will be surprised by the day of the Lord in the midst of the world, in the course of their life’s work. They will be separated, one taken and the other left. It will be the same for the two grinding at the mill, which represents the work of the law. For only some of the Jews, like Elijah, believed through the apostles that they must be justified by faith. One group will be taken up through the faith that produces good works, and the other group will be abandoned in the fruitless works of the law, grinding in vain at a mill that will never produce heavenly food. (commentary ON MATTHEW 26.5)

What is striking about Jesus’ parable is the sudden and unexpected turn of events – a summons to appear before the Judge to hear his verdict on the day of reckoning when he acts to separate the just from the unjust. All who had faith in Jesus Christ receive the just reward of everlasting joy and friendship in his kingdom of righteousness and peace.

The thief in the night
Jesus’ second story of the thief in the night (Matthew 24:43-44) brings home the necessity for constant watchfulness and being on guard to avert the danger of plunder and destruction, especially under the cover of darkness and secrecy! While no thief would announce his intention in advance, nor the time when he would strike, lack of vigilance would nonetheless invite disaster for those who do not keep a watchful eye and guard against the thief who would try to break in and steal. Satan tries to rob us of our faith in Jesus Christ and the treasure of the kingdom which Christ has won for us.

Advent people – watching with expectant faith and yearning for Christ’s coming
The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Day when the Lord would judge between the nations and establish peace over the earth. In that day the righteous – all peoples who believed in him and who listened to his teaching and instruction – would come to his holy mountain and house to worship him and dwell with him in everlasting peace (Isaiah 2:3-5). The Advent season reminds us that we are living in the time between the first coming and second coming of the Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus calls us to be alert and watchful for his coming. He comes to us each and every day and he knocks on the door of our heart and home. Do you listen for his voice and welcome him into your life? Let his word in the Scriptures and the work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you draw you to a deeper faith, hope, and yearning for his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Those who wait upon the Lord today and listen to his word will not be disappointed. The Lord will come and bring you to his banquet table to feast with him.

“Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart for you. Make me strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory and praise. Keep me ever watchful for the coming of your kingdom today and every day of my life.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov27.htm

Saint of the Day: St. James Intercisus
James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a Christian. He abandoned his religion when Yesdigerd launched a persecution of the Christians. When the king died, James repented of his apostasy and declared himself to be a Christian to the new king, Bahram. When James refused to apostasize, he was executed by having his body cut apart piece by piece, beginning with his fingers (hence his surname Intercisus – cut to pieces), and then beheaded. His feast day is November 27. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=679

More Saints of the Day
St. Acacius
St. Acharius
Bl. Alexius Nakamura
Bl. Anthony Kimura
St. Apollinaris
Bl. Bartholomew Sheki
St. Basileus and Companions
St. Bilhild
St. Facundus
St. Fergus
St. Gallgo
St. James Intercisus
St. John Angeloptes
Bl. John Ivanango & John Montajana
Bl. Leo Nakanishi
Bl. Matthias Kosaka & Matthias Nakano
St. Maximus of Reiz
Bl. Michael Takeshita
Bl. Romanus
St. Seachnall
St. Secundinus
St. Severinus
Bl. Thomas Kotenda and Companions
St. Valerian
St. Vergil of Salzburg
St. Virgilius of Salzburg

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 508
30 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 22:1-7
Psalms 95:1-7: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Gospel: Luke 21:34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112616.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112616.cfm

Reflection:  Is there anything holding you back from the joy and freedom of the Lord? God wants our hearts for him and for his kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (Romans 14:17). But our hearts can be weighed down by many different things. Jesus, our Lord and Master, offers us true freedom – freedom from the power of sin and wasted life, and freedom from our unruly desires and disordered passions – such as making food, drink or anything else our master rather than our servant. Jesus wants our hearts to be ruled by one thing only – his love and truth which enables us to choose whatever is good and to reject whatever is evil and harmful for us.

Be ready to meet the Lord today 
Jesus also warns us of the temptation to slacken off – to become spiritually idle, lazy, indifferent, or inattentive to God’s presence and his word and guidance for our lives. We can fall asleep spiritually if we allow other things to distract us from the reality of God and his kingdom. It is very easy to get caught up in the things of the present moment or to be weighed down with anxious cares and concerns. The Lord wants us to be ready at all times to meet him – whether it be in our rising, eating, working, or taking our rest. He comes to draw us to himself – are you alert and attentive to his voice?

Speak your troubles to the Lord – he is listening
The Lord knows our struggles, weaknesses, and shortcomings. And he assures us that we do not need to carry our burdens alone nor struggle without his help. He is always very present and ready to give us whatever strength, guidance, and help we need to fight temptation and to stay the course which he has set for us. But there is one thing he doesn’t tolerate: indifference, an attitude of not caring, and doing nothing! The Lord wants us to cast our anxieties on him and to ask for his guidance and help. Do you pray for God’s strength and wisdom?

Until the Lord comes again we can expect troubles, trials, and temptations. Our adversary the devil does not rest in his attempt to lure us away from God’s will for our lives. If he cannot succeed in getting us to renounce our faith in Christ, he will try, little by little, to distract us from pursuing God, especially in prayer and listening to his word. Ask the Lord Jesus to rekindle the fire of his love in you so that you will be ready and eager to meet him when he comes again.

“Lord Jesus, rouse my spirit to the truth that this world is passing away. Give me a lively faith, a joyful hope, and a fervent love to see you face to face when you return in glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov26.htm

Saint of the Day: St. John Berchmans, Patron of Altar Servers (1599-1621)
Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He early wanted to be a priest, and when thirteen became a servant in the household of one of the Cathedral canons at Malines, John Froymont. In 1615, he entered the newly founded Jesuit College at Malines, and the following year became a Jesuit novice. He was sent to Rome in 1618 to continue his studies, and was known for his diligence and piety, impressing all with his holiness and stress on perfection in little things. He died there on August 13. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death, and he was canonized in 1888. He is the patron of altar boys. His feast day is November 26. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=341

More Saints of the Day
St. Alypius
St. Amator
St. Basolus
St. Bellinus
St. Conrad
St. Dominic Doan Xuyen
St. Faustus
Bl. Gaetana Sterni
St. John Berchmans
St. Leonard of Port Maurice
St. Martin of Arades
St. Nicon the Metanoeite
St. Phileas
Siricius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 507
31 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 20:1-4, 11–21:2
Psalms 84:3-6, 8: Here God lives among his people.
Gospel: Luke 21:29-33
Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112516.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112516.cfm

Reflection:  Do you recognize the signs of God’s presence and action in your life and the world today? Jesus used the image of a fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson about reading the “signs of the times.” The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The Talmud (teachings and commentaries of the ancient rabbis on the Jewish Scriptures) said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time.

Let the fruit of God’s kingdom grow within you
The early signs of a changing season, such as springtime, summer, or autumn, are evident for all who can see and observe the changes. Just so are the signs of God’s kingdom and his return in glory on the day of judgment. The “budding” of God’s kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God’s word. Those who trust in God’s word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? “The kingdom of God ..is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The Lord gives the first-fruits of his kingdom to those who open their hearts to him with expectant faith and trust in his word.

We do not know the day nor the hour when the Lord Jesus will return again in glory. But the Lord does give us signs, not only to “wake us up” as a warning, but also to “rouse our spirits” to be ready and eager to receive his kingdom when he comes in all his power and glory. The “Day of the Lord” will strike terror in those who have ignored or rejected God, but it will be a day of joy and rejoicing for those who long to see the Lord face-to-face. The Lord Jesus wants us to be filled with joyful anticipation for his coming again.

The Lord opens he word for us – listen and respond
While we wait for the Lord’s physical return in glory, we can know his presence with us through the work and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. The Lord Jesus comes daily and frequently to those who long for him and he speaks tenderly to our hearts like a lover who whispers in the ear of the beloved. He comes to show us the way to our heavenly Father and to give us the hope of eternal life. Do you recognize his presence and do you listen to his word?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all history, and the lord of all creation. Give me joyful hope and assurance that I will see you face to face and be united with you forever when you return in glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov25.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Patron of students, unmarried girls, apologists (287-305)
Saint Catherine of Alexandria is a canonized saint in the Catholic Church who, per Christian tradition, was martyred around 305 in Alexandria, Egypt. Of course, the Church of the first Millennium was undivided. She is also recognized as the Great Martyr and Saint by the Orthodox Church. There are no surviving primary sources attesting to her existence, but the fact that her memory, and the stories about her, have been kept alive – and handed down in the tradition – certainly confirm her existence, and her life of heroic virtue and holiness.

The young saint was born around 287 in Alexandria, Egypt. At that time, Alexandria was one of the finest cities in the world, and a center of learning and culture as well as faith.

Christian tradition states she was of noble birth, possibly a princess. As a member of the nobility, she was also educated and was an avid scholar. Around the age of fourteen, she experienced a moving vision of Mary and the infant Jesus, and she decided to become a Christian.

Although she was a teenager, she was very intelligent and gifted. When the emperor Maxentius began persecuting Christians, Catherine visited him to denounce his cruelty.

Rather than order her execution, Maxentius summoned fifty orators and philosophers to debate her. However, Catherine was moved by the power of the Holy Spirit and spoke eloquently in defense of her faith. Her words were so moving that several of the pagans converted to Christianity and were immediately executed.

Unable to defeat her rhetorically or to intimidate her into giving up her belief, the emperor ordered her to be tortured and imprisoned.

Catherine was arrested and scourged. Despite the torture, she did not abandon her faith. Word of her arrest and the power of her faith quickly spread and over 200 people visited her. According to some legends, the emperor’s own wife, Valeria Maximilla was converted by Catherine. The emperor eventually executed his own wife over her conversion. However, this is not mentioned in the historical record and may be a legend. It is believed that Maximilla was alive and with her husband at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, seven years after the death of Catherina.

Following her imprisonment, Maxentius made a final attempt to persuade the beautiful Catherine to abandon her faith by proposing marriage to her. This would have made her a powerful empress. Catherine refused, saying she was married to Jesus Christ and that her virginity was dedicated to him.

The emperor angrily ordered her to be executed on a breaking wheel. The breaking wheel is an ancient form of torture where a person’s limbs are threaded among the spokes and their bones are shattered by an executioner with a heavy rod. It is a brutal punishment that results in a slow and painful death, normally reserved for the worst criminals.

When Catherine was presented before the wheel, she touched it and a miracle occurred that caused the wheel to shatter.

Unable to torture her to death, the emperor simply ordered her beheaded.

One account claimed that angels took her body to Mt. Sinai. In the sixth century, the Emperor Justinian ordered a monastery established in her name. The monastery, Saint Catherine’s, remains to this day and is one of the oldest in the world.

Around the year 800, a legend spread that her body has been found with her hair still growing and a constant stream of oil coming from her body. Nothing exists to this day of her remains, and her very existence has been called into question.

Despite these questions, and the possibility that her story may be confused with that of one or more other saints, she is still venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a Martyr. Many Roman Catholics also venerate her to this day as one of the great virgin saints of the early Church.

During the medieval period, St. Catherine was one of the most famous saints of the Church. She has was a popular subject in renaissance art and many paintings from the period are dedicated to her.

Catherine is still a very popular Catholic name.

The spiked wheel is a popular symbol often associated with St. Catherine.

Her feast day is Nov. 25, and she is the patron of a great many professions and causes. Her patronage includes students, unmarried girls, apologists and many more as well as many places around the world. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=341

More Saints of the Day
St. Alnoth
St. Catherine of Alexandria
St. Catherine of Alexandria
St. Imma
St. Jucunda
St. Mesrop
St. Moses
St. Peter of Alexandria

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Thanksgiving Day
Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 506
32 Days Before Christmas
 

Readings for Thanksgiving
Lectionary: 943
First Reading: Sirach 50:22-24
Psalms 138:1-5: I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, 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.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112416-thanksgiving.cfm

 

First Reading: Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9A
Psalms 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5: Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Gospel: Luke 21:20-28
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112416.cfm

Reflection:  Do you believe that the world as we know it is going to end just as Jesus foretold? Jesus’ prophetic description of the destruction of the holy city Jerusalem, the destruction of the world, and the day of final judgment, was not new to the people of Israel. The prophets had foretold these events many centuries before. Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it (Isaiah 13:9-13; see also  Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18).

Indifference and rejection of the Gospel lead to destruction
Jesus warns of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem as a consequence of the rejection of the Gospel. According to the historian Josephus, over a million inhabitants died when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem with its temple in 70 A.D. Jerusalem’s vengeance resulted from her indifference to the visitation of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 19:44).

Jesus also speaks about the judgment at the end of the world. Only spiritual blindness can keep us from recognizing the obvious signs of approaching disaster which awaits the day of judgment for those who refuse to heed God’s word of grace and salvation. Jesus was completely honest. He told his disciples what it would cost to follow him. And he promised that he would never leave them alone, even in their time of tribulation. The saints and martyrs who underwent torment and death made their prisons a temple of praise and their scaffolds a throne to the glory of God. They knew the saving presence of Jesus Christ with them in all circumstances. Jesus offers us safety in the face of earth’s threats. Not a hair of your head will perish (Luke 21:18). The disciple who walks with Christ may lose their body but not their soul.

We hope for what is to come – full redemption of our bodies and a new heavens and earth
The greatest gift which no one can take from us and which we can be most thankful for is our redemption through the precious blood of Jesus, which was shed on the cross for our sins, and our adoption through Christ as children of God our heavenly Father. Jesus Christ has redeemed us from slavery to sin, from fear of death, and from final destruction. We can be eternally thankful because our hope is anchored in heaven and in the promise that Jesus will return to fully establish his reign of peace and righteousness. The Lord Jesus will raise our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body which is no longer subject to illness, death and corruption.

Jesus speaks of his second coming as a known fact, a for certain event which we can confidently expect to take place in the Lord’s time of choosing. This coming will be marked by signs that all will recognize – signs which will strike terror and grief in those who are unprepared and wonder and joy in those who are ready to meet the Lord. When the Lord Jesus returns he will fully establish his kingdom of justice and righteousness and he will vindicate all who have been faithful to him. His judgment is a sign of hope for those who have placed their trust in him. Do you hope in God and in the promise of Christ to return again to create new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1)?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude for the gift of redemption and increase my hope and longing for your return again in glory. May that day bring joy to my heart rather than sorrow. Help me to serve you faithfully and to make the best use of my time now in the light of your coming again.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov24.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Andrew Dung Lac
Through the missionary efforts of various religious families beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing until 1866, the Vietnamese people heard the message of the gospel, and many accepted it despite persecution and even death. On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II canonized 117 persons martyred in the eighteenth century. Among these were ninety-six Vietnamese, eleven missionaries born in Spain and belonging to the Order of Preachers, and ten French missionaries belonging to the Paris Foreign Mission Society. Among these saints are eight Spanish and French bishops, fifty priests (thirteen European and thirty-seven Vietnamese), and fifty-nine lay people. These martyrs gave their lives not only for the Church but for their country as well. They showed that they wanted the gospel of Christ to take root in their people and contribute to the good of their homeland. On June 1, 1989, these holy martyrs were inscribed in the liturgical calendar of the Universal Church on November 24th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=540

More Saints of the Day
St. Alexander
St. Andrew Dung Lac
St. Anthony Nam-Quynh
St. Bernard Due
St. Bieuzy
St. Chrysogonus
St. Colman of Cloyne
St. Columbanus
St. Crescentian
Dominican Martyrs of Vietnam
St. Eanfleda
St. Felicissimus
St. Firmina
St. Flora & Mary
St. Joachim Ho
St. Kenan
Bl. Lawrence PeMan
St. Leopardinus
Bl. Maria Anna Sala
St. Marinus
Martyrs of the Dominican Order in Vietnam
Martyrs of Vietnam
St. Peter Domoulin Bori, Peter Khoa, and Vincent Diem
St. Romanus of Le Mans
St. Stephen Theodore Cuenot
St. Stephen Vinh
Bl. Thaddeus Lieu
St. Theophane Venard
St. Thephane Venard
St. Vicente Liem de la Paz

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 505
33 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 15:1-4
Psalms 98:1-3, 7-9: Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Gospel: Luke 21:12-19
Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112316.cfm

Reflection:  If the Gospel message is good news, then why do so many people treat Christians with contempt and hostility for their beliefs and practices? Jesus warns his followers that they will be confronted with wickedness, false teaching, persecution, as well as the temptation to renounce their faith when it is put to the test.

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?

“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.”   http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov23.htm

Saint of the Day: Bl. Miguel Pro (b. 1891)
Born on January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez was the eldest son of Miguel Pro and Josefa Juarez.

Miguelito, as his doting family called him, was, from an early age, intensely spiritual and equally intense in hi mischievousness, frequently exasperating his family with his humor and practical jokes. As a child, he had a daring precociouness that sometimes went too far, tossing him into near-death accidents and illnesses. On regaining consciousness after one of these episodes, young Miguel opened his eyes and blurted out to his frantic parents, “I want some cocol” (a colloquial term for his favorite sweet bread). “Cocol” became his nickname, which he would later adopt as a code name during this clandestine ministry.

Miguel was particularly close to his older sister and after she entered a cloistered convent, he came to recognize his own vocation to the priesthood. Although he was popular with the senoritas and had prospects of a lucrative career managing his father’s thriving business concerns, Miguel renounced everything for Christ his King and entered the Jesuit novitiate in El Llano, Michoacan in 1911.

He studied in Mexico until 1914, when a tidal wave of anti-Catholicism crashed down upon Mexico, forcing the novitiate to disband and flee to the United States, where Miguel and his brother seminarians treked through Texas and New Mexico before arriving at the Jesuit house in Los Gatos, California.

In 1915, Miguel was sent to a seminary in Spain, where he remained until 1924, when he went to Belgium for his ordination to the priesthood in 1925. Miguel suffered from a severe stomach problem and after three operations, when his health did not improve, his superiors, in 1926, allowed him to return to Mexico in spite of the grave religious persecution in that country.

The churches were closed and priests went into hiding. Miguel spent the rest of his life in a secret ministry to the sturdy Mexican Catholics. In addition to fulfilling their spiritual needs, he also carried out the works of mercy by assisting the poor in Mexico City with their temporal needs. He adopted many interesting disguises in carrying out his secret mininstry. He would come in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar to baptize infants, bless marriages and celebrate Mass. He would appear in jail dressed as a police officer to bring Holy Viaticum to condemned Catholics. When going to fashionable neighboorhoods to procure for the poor, he would show up at the doorstep dressed as a fashionable businessmam with a fresh flower on his lapel. His many exploits could rival those of the most daring spies. In all that he did, however, Fr. Pro remained obedient to his superiors and was filled with the joy of serving Christ, his King.

Falsely accused in the bombing attempt on a former Mexican president, Miguel became a wanted man. Betrayed to the police, he was sentenced to death without the benefit of any legal process.

On the day of his execution, Fr. Pro forgave his executtioners, prayed, bravely refused the blindfold and died proclaiming, “Viva Cristo Rey”, “Long live Christ the King!”

Information courtesy of ProVision and Brother Gerald Mueller. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=86

More Saints of the Day
St. Alexander Nevski
St. Amphilocus
Pope St. Clement I
St. Columban
St. Felicitas of Rome
Bl. Miguel Pro
St. Paternian
St. Paulhen
St. Rachilidis
St. Trudo
St. Wilfretrudis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 504
34 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 14:14-19
Psalms 96:10-13:   The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Gospel: Luke 21:5-11
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112216.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112216.cfm

Reflection:  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.

“Lord Jesus, your grace and mercy abounds even in the midst of trials and difficulties. Help me to seek your kingdom first and to reject whatever would hinder me from pursuing your way of peace, righteousness, and holiness. Fill me with the joy and hope of your everlasting kingdom.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov22.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Cecilia, Patron of musicians
In the fourth century a Greek religious romance on the Loves of Cecilia and Valerian was written in glorification of virginal life with the purpose of taking the place of then-popular sensual romances.

Consequently, until better evidence is produced, we must conclude that St. Cecilia was not known or venerated in Rome until about the time when Pope Gelasius (496) introduced her name into his Sacramentary.

It is said that there was a church dedicated to St. Cecilia in Rome in the fifth century, in which Pope Symmachus held a council in 500.

The story of St. Cecilia is not without beauty or merit. She is said to have been quite close to God and prayed often:

In the city of Rome there was a virgin named Cecilia, who came from an extremely rich family and was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. She wore sackcloth next to her skin, fasted, and invoked the saints, angels, and virgins, beseeching them to guard her virginity

During her wedding ceremony she was said to have sung in her heart to God and before the consummation of her nuptials, she told her husband she had taken a vow of virginity and had an angel protecting her. Valerian asked to see the angel as proof, and Cecilia told him he would have eyes to see once he traveled to the third milestone on the Via Appia (Appian Way) and was baptized by Pope Urbanus.

Following his baptism, Valerian returned to his wife and found an angel at her side. The angel then crowned Cecilia with a chaplet of rose and lily and when Valerian’s brother, Tibertius, heard of the angel and his brother’s baptism, he also was baptized and together the brothers dedicated their lives to burying the saints who were murdered each day by the prefect of the city, Turcius Almachius.

Both brothers were eventually arrested and brought before the prefect where they were executed after they refused to offer a sacrifice to the gods.

As her husband and brother-in-law buried the dead, St. Cecilia spent her time preaching and in her lifetime was able to convert over four hundred people, most of whom were baptized by Pope Urban.

Cecilia was later arrested and condemned to be suffocated in the baths. She was shut in for one night and one day, as fires were heaped up and stoked to a terrifying heat – but Cecilia did not even sweat.

When Almachius heard this, he sent an executioner to cut off her head in the baths.

The executioner struck her three times but was unable to decapitate her so he left her bleeding and she lived for three days. Crowds came to her and collected her blood while she preached to them or prayed. On the third day she died and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons.

St. Cecilia is regarded as the patroness of music, because she heard heavenly music in her heart when she was married, and is represented in art with an organ or organ-pipes in her hand.

Officials exhumed her body in 1599 and found her to be incorrupt, the first of all incurrupt saints. She was draped in a silk veil and wore a gold embroidered dress. Officials only looked through the veil in an act of holy reverence and made no further examinations. They also reported a “mysterious and delightful flower-like odor which proceeded from the coffin.”

St. Cecilia’s remains were transferred to Cecilia’s titular church in Trastevere and placed under the high altar.

In 1599 Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, nephew of Pope Gregory XIV, rebuilt the church of St. Cecilia. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=34

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Baldji Oghlou Ohannes
St. Cecilia
St. Devniolin
Bl. Dimbalac Oghlou Wartavar
St. Lucretia
St. Mark & Stephen
St. Maurus
St. Philemon
St. Tigridia
Bl. Toros Oghlou David

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 503

35 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 14:1-5
Psalms 24:1-6: Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Gospel: Luke 21:1-4
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112116.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112116.cfm

Reflection:  Do you know the joy of selfless giving and generous love for others? True love doesn’t calculate – it spends lavishly! Jesus drove this point home to his disciples while sitting in the temple and observing people offering their tithes. Jesus praised a poor widow who gave the smallest of coins in contrast with the rich who gave greater sums. How can someone in poverty give more than someone who has ample means? Jesus’ answer is very simple – love is more precious than gold or wealth!

Love grows with gratitude and generous giving
Jesus taught that real giving must come from the heart. A gift that is given with a grudge or for display loses its value. But a gift given out of love, with a spirit of generosity and sacrifice, is precious. The amount or size of the gift doesn’t matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins, but instead she recklessly gave away all she had! Jesus praised someone who gave barely a penny – how insignificant a sum – because it was everything she had, her whole living.

Nothing given in love is worthless
What we have to offer may look very small and not worth much, but if we put all we have at the Lord’s disposal, no matter how insignificant it may seem, then God can do with it and with us what is beyond our reckoning. Do you give out of love and gratitude for what God has already given to you?

“Lord Jesus, your love knows no bounds and you give without measure. All that I have comes from you. May I give freely and generously in gratitude for all that you have given to me. Take my life and all that I possess – my gifts, talents, time and resources – and use them as you see fit for your glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov21.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Gelasius (1175-1240)
St. Gelasius I, Pope (Feast day – November 21) Gelasius was born in Rome, in the fifth century, the son of an African named Valerius. Later, ordained a priest, he was elected Pope on March 1st, 492.  Gelasius had a reputation for learning, justice, holiness, and charity. However, he was burdened with difficulties caused by a conflict with Euphemius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, over the Acacian heresy. He also protested the encroachments by Constantinople on Alexandria and Antioch. Gelasius was influential in setting aside Roman pagan festivals. Moreover, in opposition to the Manichaeans, he ordered reception of the Eucharist under both species. Gelasius is known to have composed liturgical Prefaces and Orations for Sacramentaries, which may be part of the Leonine Sacramentary. However, he had nothing to do with the Gelasian Sacramentary or the Gelasian Decree (listing the Canonical books of the Bible) – which have been erroneously attributed to him. He died at Rome on November 21, 496. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=652

More Saints of the Day
St. Albert of Louvain
St. Amelberga
St. Digain
St. Gelasius I
St. Gelasius
St. Heliodorus
St. Hilary
St. Honorius
St. Liberalis
Bl. Frances Siedliska
St. Maurus
St. Rufus of Rome

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Lectionary: 162
35 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-3
Psalms 122:1-5: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Second Reading: Colossians 1:12-20
Gospel: Luke 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.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112016.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112016.cfm

Reflection:  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 and 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?

“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.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov20.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Edmund Rich (1175-1240)
Archbishop of Canterbury England, who battled for discipline and justice, also called Edmund of Abingdon. Born in Abingdon, on November 30, 1180. he studied at Oxford, England, and in Paris, France. He taught art and mathematics at Oxford and was ordained. He spent eight years teaching theology and became Canon and treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral. An eloquent speaker, Edmund preached a crusade for Pope Gregory IX and was named archbishop of Canterbury. He became an advisor to King Henry III and presided in 1237 at Henry’s ratification of the Great Charter. When Cardinal Olt became a papal legate with the patronage of King Henry, Edmund protested. A long-lasting feud between Edmund, the king, and his legate led him to resigning his see in 1240. He went to Pontigny, France, where he became a Cistercian. He died at Soissons, on November 16. Edmund was canonized in 1246 or 1247. A hall in Oxford bears his name.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4824

More Saints of the Day
St. Adventor
St. Agapius
St. Ampelus
St. Autbodus
St. Bassus and Companions
St. Benignus
St. Bernward of Hildesheim
St. Dasius
St. Edmund Rich
St. Edmund the Martyr
St. Eudo
St. Eval
St. Felix of Valois
St. Francis Xavier Can
Bl. Josaphata Michaelina Hordashevska
St. Leo of Nonantula
St. Maxentia of Beauvais
St. Nerses
St. Octavius, Solutor, and Adventor
St. Proclus of Constantinople 
St. Solutor

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 502

37 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 11:4-12
Psalms 144:1-2, 9-10:   Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Gospel: Luke 20:27-40
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called ‘Lord’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
Some of the scribes said in reply,
“Teacher, you have answered well.”
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111916.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111916.cfm

Reflection:  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 unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity. Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The promise of paradise – heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God – is beyond human reckoning. We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you live now in the joy and hope of the life of the age to come?

“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) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov19.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Nerses the Great (d. 373)
Bishop and martyr, the father of St. Isaac the Great. A native of Armenia, he studied in Cappadocia and wed a princess who gave birth to Isaac. After she died, he served as a chamber lain in the court of King Arshak of Armenia. In 353 he was made Catholicos of the Armenians. Nerses devoted much effort to reforming the Armenian Church, including convening a synod in 365 based on the principles he had studied under St. Basil at Caesarea. Though he established hospitals and monasteries, his reforms and denunciation of King Arshak’s murder of the queen led to his exile. He returned after Arshak’s death in battle, but relations were not much better with the new Armenian ruler, Pap, whose dissolute lifestyle caused Nerses to refuse him admission into church. Nerses was invited to a royal banquet at Khakh, on the Euphrates River, and was assassinated by poison. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4824

More Saints of the Day
St. Atto
St. Azas and Companions
St. Barlaam
St. Barlaam
St. Crispin
St. Ermenberga
St. Faustus
St. James of Sasseau
St. Maximus
St. Mechtildis of Helfta
St. Medana
St. Nerses the Great
Bl. Raphael Kalinowski
Bl. Salvatore Lilli
Sts. Severinus, Exuperius, & Felician

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 501

38 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 10:8-11
Psalms 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131:  How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Gospel: Luke 19:45-48
Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.

And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111816.cfm

Reflection:  Why did Jesus drive out the money changers in the temple at Jerusalem? Was he upset with their greediness? This is the only incident in the Gospels where we see Jesus using physical force. Jesus went to Jerusalem, knowing he would meet certain death on the cross, but victory as well for our sake. His act of judgment in the temple is meant to be a prophetic sign and warning to the people that God takes our worship very seriously.

Jesus honors the Father’s house of prayer by cleansing it of unholy practices
In this incident we see Jesus’ startling and swift action in cleansing the temple of those who were using it to exploit the worshipers of God. The money changers took advantage of the poor and forced them to pay many times more than was right – in the house of God no less! Their robbery of the poor was not only dishonoring to God but unjust toward their neighbor.

The people were hungry for the word of God
In justification for his audacious action Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 56:7) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:11). His act of judgment aims to purify the worship of God’s people and to discipline their erring ways. Despite the objections of the religious leaders, no doubt because Jesus was usurping their authority in the house of God, the people who listened to Jesus teaching daily in the temple regarded him with great awe and respect. Luke tells us that “they hung upon Jesus’ words” (Luke 19:48)How hungry are you for God’s word?

The Lord wants to share his holiness with us
If we approach God’s word with a humble attentive heart and with a willingness to be taught by the Lord, then we are in a good place to allow God’s word to change and transform us in the likeness of Christ. The Lord wants to teach us his ways so that we may grow in holiness. The Lord both instructs and disciplines us in love to lead us from the error of our sinful ways to his truth and justice. “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). The Lord calls us to be a holy people who worship him with reverence and gratitude for his great mercy and kindness towards us. Do you allow God’s word to transform you in his way of love and holiness?

“Lord Jesus, you open wide the door of your house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship you in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to you with gratitude and joy for your great mercy. May I always revere your word and give you acceptable praise and worship.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov18.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (d. 1852)
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin (Feast day – November 18) Born in Grenoble, France, in 1769, Rose joined the Society of the Sacred Heart. In 1818, when she was forty-nine years old, Rose was sent to the United States. She founded a boarding school for daughters of pioneers near St. Louis and opened the first free school west of the Missouri. At the age of seventy-one, she began a school for Indians, who soon came to call her “the woman who is always praying”. Her biographers have also stressed her courage in frontier conditions, her singlemindedness in pursuing her dream of serving Native Americans, and her self-acceptance. This holy servant of God was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1940 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=377

More Saints of the Day
St. Atto
St. Azas and Companions
St. Barlaam
St. Barlaam
St. Crispin
St. Ermenberga
St. Faustus
St. James of Sasseau
St. Maximus
St. Mechtildis of Helfta
St. Medana
St. Nerses the Great
Bl. Raphael Kalinowski
Bl. Salvatore Lilli
Sts. Severinus, Exuperius, & Felician

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 500

39 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 5:1-10
Psalms 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A and 9B:  The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
Gospel: Luke 19:41-44
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111716.cfm

Reflection:  What enables us to live in peace and harmony with our families, neighbors, local communities, and the wider community of peoples and nations? The Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to reconcile us with God and to unite us with one another in a bond of peace and mutual love.

Jesus’ earthly ministry centers and culminates in Jerusalem, which Scripture describes as the holy city, the throne of the Lord (Jeremiah 3:17);and the place which God chose for his name to dwell there (1 Kings 11:13; 2 Kings 21:4; 2 Kings 23:27); and the holy mountain upon which God has set his king (Psalm 2:6). Jerusalem derives its name from the word “salem” which mean “peace”. The temple in Jerusalem was a constant reminder to the people of God’s presence with them.

Tears of mourning and sorrow over sin and refusal to believe in God
When Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the multitude of homes surrounding the holy temple, he wept over it because it inhabitants did not “know the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42). As he poured out his heart to the Father in heaven, Jesus shed tears of sorrow, grief, and mourning for his people. He knew that he would soon pour out his blood for the people of Jerusalem and for the whole world as well.

Why does Jesus weep and lament over the city of Jerusalem? Throughout its history, many of the rulers and inhabitants – because of their pride and unbelief – had rejected the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Now they refuse to listen to Jesus who comes as their Messiah – whom God has anointed to be their Savior and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus is our only hope – the only one who can save us and the world
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was a gracious visitation of God’s anointed Son and King to his holy city. Jerusalem’s lack of faith and rejection of the Messiah, however, leads to its eventual downfall and destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D. Jesus’ lamentation and prophecy echoes the lamentation of Jeremiah who prophesied the first destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jeremiah’s prayer of lamentation offered a prophetic word of hope, deliverance, and restoration:

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning …For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men” (Lamentations 3:21-22, 31-32).

Jesus is the hope of the world because he is the only one who can truly reconcile us with God and with one another. Through his death and resurrection Jesus breaks down the walls of hostility and division by reconciling us with God. He gives us his Holy Spirit both to purify us and restore us as a holy people of God. Through Jesus Christ we become living temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).  God has visited his people in the past and he continues to visit us through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit. Do you recognize God’s gracious visitation of healing and restoration today?

God judges, pardons, heals, and restores us to new life
When God visits his people he comes to establish peace and justice by rooting out our enemies – the world (which stands in opposition to God), the flesh (our own sinful cravings and inordinate desires), and the devil (who is Satan, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning – John 8:44) who enslave us to fear and pride, rebellion and hatred, envy and covetousness, strife and violence, and every form of evil and wrong-doing. That is why God both judges and purifies his people – to lead us from our sinful ways to his way of justice, peace, love, and holiness. God actively works among his people to teach us his ways and to save us from the destruction of our own pride and sin and from Satan’s snares and lies.

Are God’s judgments unjust or unloving? Scripture tells us that “when God’s judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent. The Lord in his mercy gives us grace and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a moment, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up. Do you accept the grace to turn away from sin and to walk in God’s way of peace and holiness?

“Lord Jesus, you have visited and redeemed your people. May I not miss the grace of your visitation today as you move to bring your people into greater righteousness and holiness of life. Purify my heart and mind that I may I understand your ways and conform my life more fully to your will.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov17.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hugh of Scotland, Patron of sick children, sick people, shoemakers, and swans
Hugh of Lincoln was the son of William, Lord of Avalon. He was born at Avalon Castle in Burgundy and was raised and educated at a convent at Villard-Benoit after his mother died when he was eight. He was professed at fifteen, ordained a deacon at nineteen, and was made prior of a monastery at Saint-Maxim. While visiting the Grande Chartreuse with his prior in 1160. It was then he decided to become a Carthusian there and was ordained. After ten years, he was named procurator and in 1175 became Abbot of the first Carthusian monastery in England. This had been built by King Henry II as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket.

His reputation for holiness and sanctity spread all over England and attracted many to the monastery. He admonished Henry for keeping Sees vacant to enrich the royal coffers. Income from the vacant Sees went to the royal treasury. He was then named bishop of the eighteen year old vacant See of Lincoln in 1186 – a post he accepted only when ordered to do so by the prior of the Grande Chartreuse. Hugh quickly restored clerical discipline, labored to restore religion to the diocese, and became known for his wisdom and justice.

He was one of the leaders in denouncing the persecution of the Jews that swept England, 1190-91, repeatedly facing down armed mobs and making them release their victims. He went on a diplomatic mission to France for King John in 1199, visiting the Grande Chartreuse, Cluny, and Citeaux, and returned from the trip in poor health. A few months later, while attending a national council in London, he was stricken and died two months later at the Old Temple in London on November 16. He was canonized twenty years later, in 1220, the first Carthusian to be so honored. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=287

More Saints of the Day
St. Acisclus
St. Alphaeus
St. Anianus
St. Dionysius the Great of Alexandria
St. Dionysius of Alexandria
St. Eugene
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus
St. Hilda of Whitby
St. Hilda
St. Hugh
St. Hugh of Lincoln
St. Hugh of Noara
Bl. Josaphat Kocylovskyj
Martyrs of Paraguay
St. Namasius
St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz
Bl. Salomea of Poland
St. Valentine and Dubatatius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 499

40 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 4:1-11
Psalms 150:1-6:  Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Gospel: Luke 19:11-28
While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.’”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111616.cfm

Reflection:  How does God establish his kingdom here on the earth? The Jews in Jesus’ time had a heightened sense that the Messiah would appear soon to usher in the kingdom of God’s justice, love, and peace on the earth (Isaiah 11:1-9). Jesus, in fact, spoke in messianic terms of the coming reign of God. Perhaps his entry into Jerusalem would bring about such a change and overthrow of Roman domination.

Parable of the talents
Jesus speaks to their longing for a new kingdom in the parable of a nobleman who went away to receive a kingdom. The parable reveals something important about how God works his plan and purpose with the human race. The parable speaks first of the king’s trust in his subjects. While he goes away he leaves them with his money to use as they think best. While there were no strings attached, this was obviously a test to see if the Master’s workers would be industrious and reliable in their use of the money entrusted to them. The master rewards those who are industrious and faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and who do nothing with his money.

The essence of the parable seems to lie in the servants’ conception of responsibility. Each servant entrusted with the master’s money was faithful up to a certain point. The servant who buried the master’s money was irresponsible. One can bury seeds in the ground and expect them to become productive because they obey natural laws. Coins, however, do not obey natural laws. They obey economic laws and become productive in circulation. The master expected his servants to be productive in the use of his money.

The Lord rewards those who faithfully use their gifts and talents for doing good by giving them more
What do coins and the law of economics have to do with the kingdom of God? The Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with gifts and graces and he gives his subjects the freedom to use them as they think best. With each gift and talent, God gives sufficient means (grace and wisdom) for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it’s not worth trying. God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have.

There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you seek to serve God with the gifts, talents, and graces he has given to you?

The Lord Jesus offers us a kingdom of justice, love, and peace and he calls us to live as citizens of this kingdom where he rules as Lord and Master. Through his atoning death on the cross and through his resurrection victory, Jesus frees us from a kingdom of darkness where sin and Satan reign. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the Lord gives us freedom to live as his servants and to lay down our lives in loving service of our neighbors (Galatians 5:1,13).

The Lord expects us to be good stewards of the gifts and graces he gives us
The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and graces and he gives us freedom to use them as we think best. With each gift and talent, the Lord gives sufficient grace and strength for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it’s not worth trying. God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have. There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you trust in God’s grace to make good use of the gifts and talents he has given you?

“Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and mind and the master of my home and goods. Fill me with a generous and wise spirit that I may use the gifts, talents, time, and resources you give me for your glory and your kingdom.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov16.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093)
St. Margaret of Scotland, or Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess born in Hungary to Princess Agatha of Hungary and English Prince Edward the Exile around 1045. Her siblings, Cristina and Edgar the Atheling were also born in Hungary around this time.

Margaret and her family returned to England when she was 10-years-old and her father was called back as a potential successor to the throne. However, Edward died immediately after the family arrived, but Margaret and Edgar continued to reside at the English court.

Margaret’s family fled from William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her widowed mother set out to take her children north to Northumbria.

Tradition says, Agatha decided to leave Northumbria and return to the continent, but her family’s ship got caught in a storm. The storm drove their ship even more north to Scotland, where they were shipwrecked in 1068. The spot they landed on is now known as “St. Margaret’s Hope.”

Malcolm Canmore III, the king of Scotland, welcomed Margaret and her family and put them under his protection. He soon fell deeply in love with the beautiful and kind princess. Margaret and Malcolm became married in 1070 at the castle of Dunfermline.

Together, they had eight children, six sons and two daughters. All of whom were raised with deep Catholic Christian faith. They lived as a holy family, a domestic church.

Margaret’s kind-nature and good heart was a strong influence on Malcolm’s reign. She softened his temper and helped him become a virtuous King of Scotland. Together they prayed, fed the hungry, and offered a powerful example of living faith in action. Margaret was placed in charge of all domestic affairs and was often consulted with state matters, as well.

She promoted the arts and education in Scotland. She encouraged Church synods and was involved in efforts to correct the religious abuses involving Bishops, priests and laypeople.

Her impact in Scotland led her to being referred to as, “The Pearl of Scotland.”

She constantly worked to aid the poor Scotland. She encouraged people to live a devout life, grow in prayer, and grow in holiness. She helped to build churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, where a relic of the true Cross is kept. She was well-known for her deep life of prayer and piety. She set aside specific times for prayer and to read Scripture. She didn’t eat often and slept very little so she would have more time for her devotions. She lived holiness of life as a wife, mother and lay woman; truly in love with Jesus Christ.

Malcolm supported Margaret in all her endeavors and admired her religious devotion so much he had her books decorated in jewels, gold and silver. One of these decorated books, a gospel book with portraits of the four evangelists, is now kept in Oxford at the Bodleian Library after it was miraculously recovered from a river.

In 1093, Malcolm and their oldest son were killed during the Battle of Alnwick. Already ill and worn from a life full of austerity and fasting, Margaret passed away four days after her husband, on November 16, 1093.

Her body was buried before the high alter at Dunfermline.

In 1250, Pope Innocent IV canonized Margaret as a Saint, acknowlegeing her life of holiness and extraordinary virtue. She was honored for her work for reform of the Church and her personal holiness.

In 1259, Margaret’s and Malcolm’s bodies were transferred to a chapel in the eastern apse of Dunfermline Abbey. In 1560, Mary Queen of Scots came into possession of Margaret’s head. It was kept as a relic. She insisted that it, and Margaret’s prayers from heaven, helped assist her in childbirth. Her head later ended up with the Jesuits at the Scots’ College, Douai, France, but was lost during the French Revolution.

St. Margaret is the patron saint of Scotland and her feast day is celebrated on November 16.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=304

More Saints of the Day
St. Afan
St. Africus
St. Agnes of Assisi
St. Agnes of Assisi
St. Alfrick
St. Baricus
St. Elpidius
St. Eucherius of Lyon
St. Fidentius
St. Gertrude
St. Gobrain
St. Gratia
Bl. Gratia
St. Hugh of Lincoln
St. Hugh of Lincoln
St. Joseph Moscati
St. Lebuin
St. Margaret of Scotland
St. Othmar
St. Rufinus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 498

41 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22
Psalms 15:2-5:  I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111516.cfm

Reflection:  What would you do if Jesus knocked on your door and said, “I must stay at your home today”? Would you be excited or embarrassed? Jesus often “dropped-in” at unexpected times and he often visited the “uninvited” – the poor, the lame, and even public sinners like Zacchaeus, the tax collector! Tax collectors were despised and treated as outcasts, no doubt because they over-charged people and accumulated great wealth at the expense of others.

Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and was much hated by all the people. Why would Jesus single him out for the honor of staying at his home? Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and forgiveness. In his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible. He shows the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of his goods to the poor and to use the other half for making restitution for fraud. Zacchaeus’ testimony included more than words. His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the whole community could experience as genuine.

Faith welcomes Christ in our heart and home
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) urges us to climb the sycamore tree like Zacchaeus that we might see Jesus and embrace his cross for our lives:

Zacchaeus climbed away from the crowd and saw Jesus without the crowd getting in his way. The crowd laughs at the lowly, to people walking the way of humility, who leave the wrongs they suffer in God’s hands and do not insist on getting back at their enemies. The crowd laughs at the lowly and says, ‘You helpless, miserable clod, you cannot even stick up for yourself and get back what is your own.’ The crowd gets in the way and prevents Jesus from being seen. The crowd boasts and crows when it is able to get back what it owns. It blocks the sight of the one who said as he hung on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing… He ignored the crowd that was getting in his way. He instead climbed a sycamore tree, a tree of ‘silly fruit.’ As the apostle says, ‘We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block indeed to the Jews, [now notice the sycamore] but folly to the Gentiles.’ Finally, the wise people of this world laugh at us about the cross of Christ and say, ‘“What sort of minds do you people have, who worship a crucified God?’ What sort of minds do we have? They are certainly not your kind of mind. ‘The wisdom of this world is folly with God.’ No, we do not have your kind of mind. You call our minds foolish. Say what you like, but for our part, let us climb the sycamore tree and see Jesus. The reason you cannot see Jesus is that you are ashamed to climb the sycamore tree.

Let Zacchaeus grasp the sycamore tree, and let the humble person climb the cross. That is little enough, merely to climb it. We must not be ashamed of the cross of Christ, but we must fix it on our foreheads, where the seat of shame is. Above where all our blushes show is the place we must firmly fix that for which we should never blush. As for you, I rather think you make fun of the sycamore, and yet that is what has enabled me to see Jesus. You make fun of the sycamore, because you are just a person, but ‘the foolishness of God is wiser than men.'[Sermon 174.3.]

The Lord Jesus is always ready to make his home with each one of us. Do you make room for him in your heart and in every area of your life?

“Lord Jesus, come and stay with me. Fill my life with your peace, my home with your presence, and my heart with your praise. Help me to show kindness, mercy, and goodness to all, even to those who cause me ill-will or harm.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov15.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Albert the Great, Patron of scientists, philosophers, medical technicians, natural sciences (1200-1280)
The saint and doctor of the Church who would be known as Albertus Magnus was born sometime before the year 1200. He was probably born in Bavaria, a fact we infer because he referred to himself as “Albert of Lauingen,” a town which still stands today in southern Germany.

We do not know for sure all the details of his family origins, but we know he was well educated. He attended the University of Padua where he learned about Aristotle and his writings. This instruction in philosophy would become the foundation of his later work.

Sometime around the year 1223 or so, Albert experienced an encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary. This encounter moved him so much that he chose to become a member of the Dominican Order. He thereafter studied theology.

He excelled in his studies and later became a lecturer for the Dominicans at Cologne. He also traveled around the region to lecture gaining regional, then international acclaim.

At the same time he started lecturing, Albert produced “Summa de Bono,” after collaboration with Phillip the Chancellor, who was a renown theologian from France.

In 1245, Albert became a master of theology under Gueruc of Saint-Quentin. He was the first German Dominican to achieve the title. He later went on to teach theology at the University of Paris, and became the Chair of Theology at the College of St. James. One of his students was the famous Thomas Aquinas who would also become a doctor of the Church and a saint.

Albert was very interested in Aristotle, and he made commentary on nearly all of Aristotle’s works. He also studied the teachings of several Muslim scholars. At this time, the Islamic world led Europe in terms of scholarship, science, and medicine.

In 1254, Albert became the provincial of the Dominican Order. By all accounts, he was a capable and efficient administrator.

Five years later, in 1259, Albert participated in the General Chapter of the Dominicans along with Thomas Aquinas and several other contemporary leaders of the Order. They created a program of study for the Dominican order and developed a curriculum for philosophy. From this course of study would later arise the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, in Rome. Today, the university which is known as the “Angelicum,” is one of the foremost theological colleges in the world. It is still run by the Dominican order.

In 1260, impressed with his acumen, Pope Alexander IV appointed Albert as bishop of Regensburg. Although he was a bishop, Albert refused to ride a horse and went everywhere on foot. This seemingly unusual practice was consistent with the rules of his order. The life of a bishop did not agree with Albert and he resigned from his post in 1263.

In that same year, Pope Urban IV accepted his resignation and reassigned him to preach about the Eighth Crusade to German-speaking people. The crusade was intended to recapture the city of Tunis in North Africa for Christendom, and was a total failure.

In his later years, Albert became renowned as a mediator. He mediated disputes between individuals as well as resolving a dispute between the people of Colonge and their bishop. He also founded Germany’s oldest university in that city.

Before his death, he mourned the early passing of his great student, Thomas Aquinas, who would later be recognized as a saint and doctor of the Church. Aquinas died in 1274. Albert spent his last years defending the work of Aquinas which is among the most important work in the Church.

Albert became ill in 1278 and he died on November 15, 1280.

During his life, Albert wrote thirty eight volumes covering topics ranging from philosophy to geography, astronomy, law, friendship and love.

Three years after his death, his grave was opened and his body found to be incorrupt. When his grave was again opened centuries later in 1483, they only found his skeleton. His relics are presently found in the St. Andreas church in Colonge.

Albert was beatified in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. He was canonized and recognized as a doctor of the Church in 1931, by Pope Pius IX. He is the patron saint of scientists. His feast day is November 15. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=144

More Saints of the Day
St. Abibus
St. Albert the Great
St. Arnulf
St. Desiderius of Cahors
St. Eugene
St. Findan
Bl. Gaius of Korea
Bl. Hugh Faringdon
Bl. Hugh Green
Bl. John Eynon
Bl. John Rugg
Bl. John Thorne
St. Kanten
St. Leopold
St. Luperius
St. Machudd
St. Malo
St. Paduinus
Bl. Richard Whiting
Bl. Roger James
St. Secundus, Fidentian, & Varicus
St. Zachariah

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 497

42 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5
Psalms 1:1-4, 6:  Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.
Gospel: Luke 18:35-43
As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111416.cfm

Reflection:  Have you ever encountered a special moment of grace, a once in a life-time opportunity you knew you could not pass up? Such a moment came for a blind and destitute man who heard that Jesus was passing by. The Gospel of Mark identifies this man as Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). This blind man was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need. He knew who Jesus was and had heard of his fame for healing, but until now had no means of making contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for the Messiah.

Faith and persistence is rewarded
It took raw courage and bold persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as he made his way out of town. Why was the crowd annoyed with the blind man’s persistent shouts? He was disturbing their peace and interrupting their conversation with Jesus. It was common for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and a band of pilgrims followed him. When the crowd tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his loud emotional outburst and thus caught the attention of Jesus.

This incident reveals something important about how God interacts with us. The blind man was determined to get Jesus’ attention and he was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus could have ignored or scolded him because he was interrupting his talk and disturbing his audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking. This man was in desperate need and Jesus was ready not only to empathize with his suffering but to relieve it as well.

The blind man recognized Jesus with eyes of faith
A great speaker can command attention and respect, but a man or woman with a helping hand and a big heart is loved more. Jesus commends Bartimaeus for recognizing who he is with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight as well. Do you recognize your need for God’s healing grace and do you seek Jesus out, like Bartimaeus, with persistent faith and trust in his goodness and mercy?

Bartimaeus was not only grateful for the gift of faith and the gift of physical sight, but for the opportunity to now follow Jesus as one of his disciples. Luke tells us us that he immediately followed Jesus and gave glory to God. The crowd also gave praise to God when they saw this double miracle of spiritual and physical vision. Cyril of Alexandria, a 5th century church father, comments on this double vision:

Now that he was delivered from his blindness, did he neglect the duty of loving Christ? He certainly did not. It says, “He followed him, offering him glory like to God.” He was set free from double blindness. Not only did he escape from the blindness of the body but also from that of the mind and heart. He would not have glorified him as God, had he not possessed spiritual vision. He became the means of others giving Christ glory, for it says that all the people gave glory to God.(Commentary on Luke, Homily 126)
Do you give glory to God for giving you the “eyes of faith” to recognize him as your Lord and Healer?

“Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see and understand the truth and goodness of your word. May I never fail to recognize your presence with me and to call upon your saving grace in my time of need and healing.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov14.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Lawrence O’Toole (1125-1180)
St. Lawrence, it appears, was born about the year 1125. When only ten years old, his father delivered him up as a hostage to Dermod Mac Murehad, King of Leinster, who treated the child with great inhumanity, until his father obliged the tyrant to put him in the hands of the Bishop of Glendalough, in the county of Wicklow. The holy youth, by his fidelity in corresponding with the divine grace, grew to be a model of virtues. On the death of the bishop, who was also abbot of the monastery, St. Lawrence was chosen abbot in 1150, though he was only twenty-five years old, and governed his numerous community with wonderful virtue and prudence. In 1161 St. Lawrence was unanimously chosen to fill the new metropolitan See of Dublin. About the year 1171 he was obliged, for the affairs of his diocese, to go over to England to see the king, Henry II, who was then at Canterbury. The Saint was received by the Benedictine monks of Christ Church with the greatest honor and respect. On the following day, as the holy archbishop was going to the altar to officiate, a maniac, who had heard much of his sanctity, and who was led on by the idea of making so holy a man another St. Thomas, struck him a violent blow on the head. All present concluded that he was mortally wounded; but the Saint came to himself, asked for some water, blessed it, and having his wound washed with it, the blood was immediately stopped, and the Archbishop celebrated Mass. In 1175 Henry II of England became offended with Roderic, the monarch of Ireland, and St.Lawrence undertook another journey to England to negotiate a reconciliation between them. Henry was so moved by his piety, charity, and prudence that he granted him everything he asked, and left the whole negotiation to his discretion. Our Saint ended his journey here below on the 14th of November, 1180, and was buried in the church of the abbey at Eu, on the confines of Normandy. His feast day is November 14th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=365

More Saints of the Day
St. Alberic of Utrecht
St. Clementinus
St. Dubricus
St. Gregory Palamas
St. Hypatius of Gangra
St. Joseph Pignatelli
St. Jucundus of Bologna
St. Lawrence O’Toole
St. Modanic
St. Serapion
St. Venaranda
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 159

43 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Malachi 3:19-20
Psalms 98:5-9: The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Gospel: Luke 21:5-19
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111316.cfm

Reflection:  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?

“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.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov13.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patron of immigrants, hospital administrators, (1850-1917)
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born as Maria Francesca Cabrini on July 15, 1850 in Sant’ Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, Italy. She was born two months premature and the youngest of thirteen children. Unfortunately, only three of her siblings survived past adolescence and Frances would live most of her life in a fragile and delicate state of health.

Frances became dedicated to living a life for religious work from a young age and received a convent education at a school ran by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. She graduated with high honors and a teaching certificate.

When Frances was 18, she applied for admission to the religious congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, but was turned down because of her poor health. Instead, a priest asked her to teach at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadagono, Italy. She taught at the girls’ school for six years and drew a community of women in to live the religious way of life.

In 1877, she became Mother Cabrini after she finally made her vows and took the religious habit, also adding Xavier to her name in honor of St. Francis Xavier.

When the House of Providence Orphanage closed, her bishop asked her, along with six other women from her orphanage in Cadagono, to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for the poor children in both schools and hospitals. Frances composed the Rule and Constitution for the religious institute.

In its first five years, the institute established seven homes and a free school and nursery. Frances wanted to continue her mission in China, but Pope Leo XIII urged her to go to the United States, a nation that was becoming flooded with Italian immigrants who needed her help. “Not to the East, but the West,” was his advice to her.

On March 31, 1889, Frances arrived in New York City along with six other sisters ready to begin her new journey. However, right from the beginning she encountered many disappointments and hardships. The house originally attended for her new orphanage was no longer available, but Frances did not gve up, even though the archbishop insisted she return to Italy.

After she refused, Archbishop Michael Corrigan found them housing with the convent of the Sisters of Charity. Frances then received permission to found an orphanage in what is now West Park, New York and now known as Saint Cabrini Home.

Filled with a deep trust in god and endowed with a wonderful administrative ability, Frances founded 67 institutions, including orphanages, schools, and hospitals, within 35 years dedicated to caring for the poor, uneducated, sick, abandoned, and especially for the Italian immigrants. Her institutions were spread out in places all over the United States, including New York, Colorado, and Illinois.

Frances was known for being as resourceful as she was prayerful. She was always able to find people to donate their money, time, and support for her institutions.

In 1909, Frances became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Eight years later, on December 22, 1917, Frances passed at the age of 67, due to complications from dysentery at the Columbus Hospital, one of her own hospitals, in Chicago, Illinois.

Frances’ body was originally placed at the Saint Cabrini Home, but was exhumed in 1931 as part of her canonization process. Her head is preserved in Rome at the chapel of the congregation’s international motherhouse. One of her arms is at the national shrine in Chicago, and the rest of her body rests at a shrine in New York.

Frances has two miracles attributed to her. She restored sight to a child who was believed to have been blinded by excess silver nitrate, and she healed a terminally ill member of her congregation.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified on November 13, 1938, by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946, making her the first United States citizen to be canonized. Her feast day is celebrated on November 13 and she is the patron saint of immigrants. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=71

More Saints of the Day
St. Abbo
St. Arcadius and Companions
Bl. Vincent Bossilkov
St. Brice
St. Caillin
St. Chillien
St. Dalmatius of Rodez
St. Devinicus
St. Didacus
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
St. Gredifael
St. Homobonus
St. Maxellendis
St. Mitrius
St. Quintian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Saturday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 496

44 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 3 John 5-8
Psalms 112:1-6: Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.’”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111216.cfm

Reflection:  What can a shameless and unjust judge pitted against a crusty and pestering woman teach us about justice and vindication 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?

“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.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov12.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Josaphat of Polotsk (1580-1623)
Josaphat, an Eastern Rite bishop, is held up as a martyr to church unity because he died trying to bring part of the Orthodox Church into union with Rome.

In 1054, a formal split called a schism took place between the Eastern Church centered in Constantinople and the Western Church centered in Rome. Trouble between the two had been brewing for centuries because of cultural, political, and theological differences. In 1054 Cardinal Humbert was sent to Constantinople to try and reconcile the latest flare up and wound up excommunicating the patriarch. The immediate problems included an insistence on the Byzantine rite, married clergy, and the disagreement on whether the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son. The split only grew worse from there, centering mostly on whether to except the authority of the Pope and Rome.

More than five centuries later, in what is now known as Byelorussia and the Ukraine but what was then part of Poland-Lithuania, an Orthodox metropolitan of Kiev and five Orthodox bishops decided to commit the millions of Christians under their pastoral care to reunion with Rome. Josaphat Kunsevich who was born in 1580 or 1584 was still a young boy when the Synod of Brest Litovsk took place in 1595-96, but he was witness to the results both positive and negative.

Many of the millions of Christians did not agree with the bishops decision to return to communion with the Catholic Church and both sides tried to resolve this disagreement unfortunately not only with words but with violence. Martyrs died on both sides. Josaphat was a voice of Christian peace in this dissent.

After an apprenticeship to a merchant, Josaphat turned down a partnership in the business and a marriage to enter the monastery of the Holy Trinity at Vilna in 1604. As a teenager he had found encouragement in his vocation from two Jesuits and a rector who understood his heart. And in the monastery he found another soulmate in Joseph Benjamin Rutsky. Rutsky who had joined the Byzantine Rite under orders of Pope Clement VIII after converting from Calvinism shared the young Josaphat’s passion to work for reunion with Rome. The two friends spent long hours making plans on how they could bring about that communion and reform monastic life.

The careers of the two friends parted physically when Josaphat was sent to found new houses in Rome and Rutsky was first made abbot at Vilna. Josaphat replaced Rutsky as abbot when Rutsky became metropolitan of Kiev. Josaphat immediately put into practice his early plans of reform. Because his plans tended to reflect his own extremely austere ascetic tendencies, he was not always met with joy. One community threatened to throw him into the river until his general compassion and his convincing words won them over to a few changes.

Josaphat faced even more problems when he became first bishop of Vitebsk and then Polotsk in 1617. The church there was literally and figuratively in ruins with buildings falling apart, clergy marrying two or three times, and monks and clergy everywhere not really interested in pastoral care or model Christian living. Within three years, Josaphat had rebuilt the church by holding synods, publishing a catechism to be used all over, and enforcing rules of conduct for clergy. But his most compelling argument was his own life which he spent preaching, instructing others in the faith, visiting the needy of the towns.

But despite all his work and the respect he had, the Orthodox separatists found fertile ground with they set up their own bishops in the exact same area. Meletius Smotritsky was named his rival archbishop of Polotsk. It must have hurt Josaphat to see the people he had served so faithfully break into riots when the King of Poland declared Josaphat the only legitimate archbishop. His former diocese of Vitebsk turned completely against the reunion and him along with two other cities.

But what probably hurt even more was that the very Catholics he looked to for communion opposed him as well. Catholics who should have been his support didn’t like the way he insisted on the use of the Byzantine rite instead of the Roman rite. Out of fear or ignorance, Leo Sapiah, chancellor of Lithuania, chose to believe stories that Josaphat was inciting the people to violence and instead of coming to his aid, condemned him. Actually his only act of force was when the separatists took over the church at Mogilev and he asked the civil power to help him return it to his authority.

In October 1623, Josaphat decided to return to Vitebsk to try to calm the troubles himself. He was completely aware of the danger but said, “If I am counted worthy of martyrdom, then I am not afraid to die.”

The separatists saw their chance to get rid of Josaphat and discredit him if they could only stir Josaphat’s party to strike the first blow. Then they would have an excuse to strike back. Their threats were so public that Josaphat preached on the gospel verse John16:2, “Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.” He told the people, “You people want to kill me. You wait in ambush for me in the streets, on the bridges, on the highways, in the marketplace, everywhere. Here I am; I came to you as a shepherd. You know I would be happy to give my life for you. I am ready to die for union of the Church under St. Peter and his successor the Pope.”

But aside from words, Josaphat insisted that his party not react in anyway that did not show patience and forbearance. When the separatists saw that they were not getting the violent response they had hoped for they decided to wear Josaphat and the others down as they plotted more direct action. A priest named Elias went to the house where everyone was staying and shouted insults and threats to everyone he saw, focusing on calumniating Josaphat and the Church of Rome.

Josaphat knew of the plot against him and spent his day in prayer. In the evening he had a long conversation with a beggar he had invited in off the streets.

When Elias was back the next morning of November 12, the servants were at their wits’ ends and begged Josaphat’s permission to do something. Before he went off to say his office he told them they could lock Elias away if he caused trouble again. When he returned to the house he found that the servants had done just that and Josaphat let Elias out of the room.

But it was too late. The mistake had been made. Elias had not been hurt in anyway but as soon as the mob saw that Elias had been locked up they rejoiced in the excuse they had been waiting for. Bells were rung and mobs descended on the house. By the time they reached the house, Elias had been released but the mob didn’t care; they wanted the blood they had been denied for so long.

Josaphat came out in the courtyard to see the mob beating and trampling his friends and servants. He cried out, “My children what are you doing with my servants? If you have anything against me, here I am, but leave them alone!” With shouts of “Kill the papist” Josaphat was hit with a stick, then an axe, and finally shot through the head. His bloody body was dragged to the river and thrown in, along with the body of a dog who had tried to protect him.

The unsung heroes of this horrible terrorism were the Jewish people of Vitebsk. Some of the Jewish people risked their own lives to rush into the courtyard and rescue Josaphat’s friends and servants from the bloodthirsty mobs. Through their courage, lives were saved. These same Jewish people were the only ones to publicly accuse the killers and mourn the death of Josaphat while the Catholics of the city hid in fear of their lives.

As usual violence had the opposite affect from that intended. Regret and horror at how far the violence had gone and the loss of their archbishop swung public opinion over toward the Catholics and unity. Eventually even Archbishop Meletius Smotritsky, Josaphat’s rival, was reconciled with Rome. And in 1867 Josaphat became the first saint of the Eastern church to be formally canonized by Rome. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=71

More Saints of the Day
St. Anastasius XIX
St. Astericus
St. Benedict and Companions
St. Cadwallader
St. Cummian Fada
St. Emilian Cucullatus
St. Evodius
Bl. Gregory Lakota
St. Josaphat of Polotsk
St. Livinus
St. Machar
St. Namphasius
St. Nilus the Elder
St. Paternus
St. Patiens
St. Renatus
St. Rufus of Avignon
St. Ymar

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 495

45 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 2 John 4-9
Psalms 119:1-2, 10-11, 17-18: Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Gospel: Luke 17:26-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111116.cfm

Reflection:  What can nature teach us about the return of the Lord Jesus on the day of final judgment at the end of the world? Jesus quoted a familiar proverb to his audience: Where the body is, there the eagles (or vultures) will be gathered together (Luke 17:37). Eagles, like vultures, are attracted to carrion – the carcass of dying or dead animals. The Book of Job describes the eagle spying out its prey from afar (Job 39:29). The eagles swoop to catch their prey when the conditions are right, especially if the prey is exposed and vulnerable to a surprise attack. Severely weakened or dying prey have no chance of warding off forces that can destroy and kill.

Sign of the gathering eagles and vultures
What’s the point of this analogy? When the day of God’s final judgment and vindication comes, the scene and location will be obvious to all.  Those who have rejected God and refused to believe in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ will perish on the day of judgment – just like the beasts of prey who are cut off from the land of the living. The Lord Jesus will vindicate those who have believed in him and he will reward them with everlasting joy and happiness in his kingdom. The return of the Lord Jesus at the close of this present age is certain, but the time is unknown. The Day of the Lord’s judgment and final verdict will come swiftly and unexpectedly. Jesus warns his listeners to not be caught off guard when that day arrives. It will surely come in God’s good time!

Those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord will enter his everlasting kingdom
What does Jesus mean when he says that one person will be taken and another left? God judges everyone individually on how each person has  responded to his gracious mercy and invitation to accept his Son as Lord and Ruler over all. The Lord Jesus gives us personal freedom to accept or reject him as Lord and Savior. We are free to live as citizens of his kingdom or to choose for the kingdom of darkness that stands in opposition to God and his rule. No one can pass off their personal responsibility to someone else – no matter how close the ties may be in this present life. We will each have to give an account to the Judge of All for how we have accepted or rejected him as our lord and savior.

The good news is that the Lord Jesus freely offers each one of us the grace, strength, and help we need to turn to him to receive pardon for our sins and healing for our minds and hearts so we can embrace his good will for our lives and find the way to our heavenly Father’s home. The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in his wisdom, truth, and love. The Holy Spirit helps us to turn away from sin and rebellion and to embrace God’s way of love, righteousness (moral goodness), and holiness.

The Lord’s warning of judgment is motivated by his love for each one of us. He does not desire the death of any one (Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11). He bids us to choose for life rather than death – for goodness and righteousness rather than sin and evil (Deuteronomy 30:19). The Lord’s ‘Day of Judgment’ will bring terror and disaster for those who have not heeded his warning or who have refused his gracious help. The Day of the Lord’s Return will be a cause for great joy and vindication for those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus.

The choices we make now – for or against Christ – will either lead us on the path of life or death – heaven or hell
God’s Day of Judgment is a cause for great joy and reward for those who have waited with patient hope and longing for the Lord Jesus to return again in glory and power. The people in Noah’s time ignored the Lord’s warning of judgment because their hearts were hardened and they were rebellious towards God. When the great flood swept over the earth, they missed the boat, literally! Whose boat or safety net are you staking your life on – the world’s life-raft to short-lived success and happiness or to the indestructible Ark of God whose foundation is Jesus Christ and his victorious cross? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed when the day of final judgment comes. They rejoice even now that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20) and they look with eager longing for the day when they will see the Lord face to face (Revelation 22:4). Is your hope firmly placed in the Lord Jesus and his return in glory?

“Lord Jesus Christ, I place all my hope in you because you have redeemed the world by your death on the cross and by your victory over the grave. Help me to never lose sight of the goal of heaven that I may live each day in joyful anticipation of your return in glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov11.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Saint Martin of Tours, Patron of the poor, soldiers, conscientious objectors, tailors, and winemakers (316 or 336-397)
Saint Martin of Tours was born in in Savaria, Pannonia in either the year 316 or 336 AD. That region is what is today the nation of Hungary. His father was a tribune, which is a high-ranking officer in the Imperial Horse Guard. Martin and his family went with his father when he was assigned to a post at Ticinum, in Northern Italy. It is here that Martin would grow up.

Just before Martin was born, Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire and the bloody persecution of Christians soon came to an end. It was not the official religion of the State, but it could be practiced and proclaimed openly. The Gospel message soon flourished in ancient Rome, transforming the empire. Martin’s parents were pagans, but at the age of 10, Martin chose to respond to the call of the Gospel and become a Christian.

At the age of fifteen, Martin was required to follow his father into the cavalry corps of the Roman military. By the time he was 18, Martin is believed to have served in Gaul, and also eventually Milan and Treves. Scholars think he served as part of the emperor’s guard.

As a young soldier, Martin encountered a beggar in Amiens. The beggar was unclothed and it was very cold. Martin removed his cloak and with his sword, he cut it in half. He gave this half to the beggar and dressed himself in the remnant. That night, Martin had a vision in which Christ appeared to him. The vision spoke to him, “Martin, a mere catechumen has clothed me.” A catechumen is one who is being instructed in the Christian faith. In the early centuries of Christianity, that was a long process of instruction – and Martin was deeply dedicated to it.

About the age of 20, Martin made clear to his superiors that he would no longer fight, following his formed Christian conscience. He refused his pay prior to a battle and announced he would not join in the combat. He became the first recognized conscientious objector in recorded history. His proclamation occurred before a battle near the modern German city of Worms. His superiors accused him of cowardice and ordered that he be imprisoned. Martin offered to demonstrate his sincerity by going into battle unarmed. This was seen as an acceptable alternative to jailing him, but before the battle could occur, the opposing army agreed to a truce and no conflict took place. Martin was subsequently released from military service.

Now out of the military service, Martin could fully dedicate himself to service of Jesus Christ and the Church. He traveled to Tours where he began studying under Hilary of Poitiers, who is now recognized as a doctor of the Church. Martin’s studies lasted until Hilary was forced into temporary exile, likely because of his refusal to participate in a political dispute.

Martin then traveled to Italy. According to one account, Martin was confronted by a highwayman and led him to faith in Jesus Christ. Another account tells of Martin confronting the Devil. While on this journey, Martin had a vision which compelled him to return to his mother in Pannonia. He did so and led his own mother to faith in Jesus Christ. Martin attempted to persuade his father to embrace faith in Jesus Christ, but as far as we know, his father refused.

After bringing his mother to the Church, Martin then turned to confronting a growing heresy which was afflicting the faithful and sowing confusion. He became involved in countering the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. The reaction against him was so violent from the Arian leaders that he was compelled to flee. Martin took up residence on an island in the Adriatic where he lived as a hermit for a time.

Martin’s teacher Hilary returned to Tours from temporary exile in 361 so Martin traveled there to work and study. Hilary gave Martin a small grant of land where he and his disciples lived.

Martin established a monastery which would be inhabited by the Benedictines. Established in 361, the Liguge Abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution, then reestablished in 1853. The abbey remains to this day. From the site of his abbey, Martin worked to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ and Baptism into His Church in the surrounding areas. He was an extraordinary evangelist.

In 371, the city of Tours needed a new bishop and the people decided to call Martin to the office. Martin did not want the job so the people decided to trick him into the office. The people insisted he was needed to administer to someone sick, so he came out as quickly as he could. He did not even bother to improve his appearance. When he learned it was a trick to make him a bishop, Martin actually tried to hide. He was quickly discovered and the people called him forward to be ordained to the office of Bishop. Even though he did not really want the office, he was ordained – and he became a holy and hardworking Bishop.

As a Bishop Martin established a system of parishes to manage his diocese. He made a point to visit each parish at least once per year. In addition to his appointed rounds, Martin combated paganism, particularly the Druid religion which was still prevalent at the time. He passionately and faithfully proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and won many to the Christian faith.

Yet, he longed for more prayer and wanted to pursue a monastic life. In the year 372 Martin established an abbey at Marmoutier so he could retreat there and live as a monk with the many disciples he had attracted.

In the following years, a heresy broke out in the church. An aesthetic sect called the Priscillianists after their leader, Priscillian, had developed in Spain and Gaul. The First Council of Saragossa condemned the heresy, but the Priscillians did not change they practices. This prompted one bishop, Ithacius of Ossonoba to petition the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus to put him to death. Martin was opposed to the sentence of death, and was joined by Bishop Ambrose of Milan in his opposition. Martin traveled to Trier where the Emperor held court. Martin was able to persuade the Emperor to refrain from putting Priscillian and his followers to death. However, after Martin left, Ithacius persuaded the Emperor to change him mind again and Priscillian and his followers were executed in 385.

Martin was so upset by Ithacius, he refused to communicate with his fellow bishop until the Emperor pressured him to resume communicating with his colleague.

Martin died in Candes-Saint-Martin, Gaul in 397.

The Hagiographer Sulpicius Severus, knew Martin personally and wrote about his life. Many miracles and the casting out of demons were attributed to Martin during his lifetime. According to one account, Martin, while trying to win Druids to follow Jesus Christ and renounce their pagan beliefs, was dared to stand in the path of a sacred tree that was being felled. Martin agreed and was missed by the falling pine, although standing right in its path. This was widely seen as miraculous and a symbol that the message he proclaimed about Jesus Christ was true. Many were converted to the Christian faith.

Veneration of St. Martin became popular in the Middle Ages, and was popular with the Frankish kings.

Saint Martin is the patron of the poor, soldiers, conscientious objectors, tailors, and winemakers. Many locations across Europe have also been placed under his patronage. His feast is on November 11. He commonly appears on horseback and is shown cutting his cloak in half with a sword.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=299

More Saints of the Day
St. Aba Mina 
St. Athenodorus
St. Bartholomew of Rossano
St. Bertuin
St. Columba the Virgin
St. Cynfran
Bl. Kamen Vitchev
St. Martin of Tours
St. Mennas
St. Menas
St. Mercurius
St. Rhediw
St. Theodore
St. Theodore of Studites
St. Veranus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 494

45 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Philemon 7-20
Psalms 146:7-10: Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
Gospel: Luke 17:20-25
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111016.cfm

Reflection:  What can lightning tell us about the coming of the Lord and his kingdom? The Jews is Jesus’ time were watching in great anticipation for some sign which would indicate when the Messiah would appear to establish the kingdom of God. The Pharisees’ question on this matter was intended to test Jesus since they did not accept him as the Messiah. Jesus surprised them with the answer that the kingdom or reign of God was already here! Jesus spoke of the coming of God’s kingdom as both a present event and an event which would be manifested at the end of time.

The Day of Judgment and God’s final verdict
The “Day of the Lord” was understood in the Old Testament as the time when God would manifest his glory and power and overthrow the enemies of his people, Israel. The prophet Amos declared that the “Day” also meant judgment for Israel as well as the nations (Amos 5:18-20). The prophet Joel proclaimed that at this “Day” those who truly repented would be saved, while those who remained enemies of the Lord, whether Jew or Gentile, would be punished (see Joel 2).

Image of lightning and the sudden appearance of Christ on Judgment Day
Why did Jesus associate lightning with the “Day of the Lord”? In the arid climate of Palestine, storms were infrequent and seasonal. They often appeared suddenly or unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere, covering everything in thick darkness. With little or no warning lightning filled the sky with its piercing flashes of flaming light. Its power struck terror and awe in those who tried to flee from its presence. Jesus warned the Pharisees that the “Son of man” (a title for the Messiah given in the Book of Daniel 7:13-15) would come in like manner, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, on the clouds of heaven to bring God’s judgment on the “Day of the Lord”. No special sign will be needed to announce his appearance. Nor will his presence and power be veiled or hidden, but all will recognize him as clearly as the lightning in the sky.

Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead
Jesus identified himself with the “Day of the Lord.” “Son of man” was understood as a Messianic title for the one who would come not only to establish God’s kingdom but who would come as Judge of the living as well as the dead. Jesus points to his second coming when he will return to complete the work of restoration and final judgment. While we do not know the time of his return, we will not mistake it when it happens. It will be apparent to all, both believers and non-believers as well.

When the Pharisees asked Jesus what sign would indicate the “Day of the Lord”, Jesus replied that only one sign would point to that day and that sign was Jesus himself. Jesus surprised the Jews of his time by announcing that God’s kingdom was already present among them in his very person – the Son of God sent from the Father to redeem the world from sin and corruption.

Our hope is anchored in God’s kingdom – not the passing kingdoms of this present world
In the Lord Jesus we see both  the power and the glory of God’s kingdom. His divine power overthrew the powers of darkness (the kingdom of Satan and all who opposed God’s rule) and sin (which corrupts and enslaves the human mind, heart, and will to the forces of evil and wrongdoing). Jesus knew that the only way to victory was through the cross. On that cross he defeated death and canceled the debt of our sins. The victory of his cross opens the way for us to live as sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (moral goodness). Is your hope and future securely anchored to God’s heavenly kingdom?

“Lord Jesus Christ, may your kingdom come and my your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be the Ruler of my heart and the Master of my life that I may always live in the freedom of your love and truth.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov10.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Pope Leo the Great (d. 461)
St. Leo the Great was born in Tuscany. As deacon, he was dispatched to Gaul as a mediator by Emperor Valentinian III. He reigned as Pope between 440 and 461. He persuaded Emperor Valentinian to recognize the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in an edict in 445. The doctrine of the Incarnation was formed by him in a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had already condemned Eutyches. At the Council of Chalcedon this same letter was confirmed as the expression of Catholic Faith concerning the Person of Christ. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=299

More Saints of the Day
St. Aedh MacBricc
St. Andrew Avellino
St. Baudolino
St. Demetrius
St. Elaeth
St. Guerembaldus
St. John of Ratzeburg
Justus of Canterbury
St. Leo the Great
St. Leo of Melun
St. Monitor
St. Nonnus
St. Theoctiste of Lesbos
St. Tiberius
Sts. Trypbaena & Tryphosa
St. Tryphon

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Wednesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 671

46 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9: The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
Gospel: John 2:13-22
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110916.cfm

Reflection:  What can adversity teach us about the blessing of thanksgiving and the healing power of love and mercy? The Book of Proverbs states: A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17). When adversity strikes you find out who truly is your brother, sister, and friend. The Gospel records an unusual encounter between two peoples who had been divided for centuries. The Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another even though Samaria was located in the central part of Judaea. Both peoples were openly hostile whenever their paths crossed. In this Gospel narrative we see one rare exception – a Samaritan leper in company with nine Jewish lepers. Sometimes adversity forces people to drop their barriers or to forget their prejudices. When this band of Jewish and Samaritan lepers saw Jesus they made a bold request. They didn’t ask for healing, but instead asked for mercy.

Mercy is heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune
The word mercy literally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another’s misery and misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further – it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another’s misfortune and suffering as if it were his or her own. And such a person will do everything in his or her power to dispel that misery.

Mercy is also connected with justice. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), a great teacher and scripture scholar, said that mercy “does not destroy justice, but is a certain kind of fulfillment of justice. ..Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; (and) justice without mercy is cruelty.” Mercy..”moves us to do what we can do to help the other.” Mercy seeks to remedy the weakness of others, and where sin is involved to lead others to recognize their need for repentance and turning away from wrongdoing. Pardon without repentance negates justice.

God’s mercy brings healing of mind, heart, and body
So what is the significance of these ten lepers asking Jesus to show them mercy? They know they are in need of healing, not just physical, but spiritual healing as well. They approach Jesus with faith and with sorrow for their sins because they believe that he can release the burden of their guilt and suffering and restore both soul and body. Their request for mercy is both a plea for pardon and release from suffering. Jesus gives mercy to all who ask with faith and contrition (true sorrow for sin).

Why did only one leper out of ten return to show gratitude? Gratefulness, a word which expresses gratitude of heart and a thankful disposition, is related to grace – which means the release of loveliness. Gratitude is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving. The Samaritan approached Jesus reverently and gave praise to God.

Ingratitude leads to lack of love and kindness, and intolerance towards others
If we do not recognize and appreciate the mercy and help shown to us, we will be ungrateful and unkind towards others. Ingratitude is forgetfulness or a poor return for kindness received. Ingratitude easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others, as well as to other vices, such as complaining, grumbling, discontentment, pride, and presumption. How often have we been ungrateful to our parents, pastors, teachers, and neighbors? Do you express gratitude to God for his abundant help and mercy towards you and are you gracious, kind, and merciful towards your neighbor in their time of need and support?

“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your loving kindness and mercy. 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.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov9.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Benignus
Bishop of Ireland, the son of Sechnaa, the psalm singer of St, Patrick. Sechnan was a chief in Meath, Ireland, converted by St. Patrick. Benignus became a disciple of St. Patrick and succeeded him as the chief bishop of Ireland. He converted the Irish in Clare, Kerry, and Connaught. Benignus served as the superior of an abbey at Drumlease, erected by St. Patrick. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1738

More Saints of the Day
St. Agrippinus
St. Alexander
St. Benignus
St. Eustolia & Soprata
St. Orestes
St. Pabo
St. Theodore Tyro
St. Ursinus of Bourges
St. Vitonus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 492
47 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Titus 2:1-8, 11-14
Psalms 37:3-4, 18, 23, 27, 29: The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 17:7-10
Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110816.cfm

Reflection:  Are you ready to give the Lord your best, regardless of what it might cost you? Perhaps we are like the laborer in Jesus’ parable who expected special favor and reward for going the extra mile? How unfair for the master to compel his servant to give more than what was expected! Don’t we love to assert our rights: “I will give only what is required and no more!” But who can satisfy the claims of love?

We are called to serve God and neighbor selflessly and generously
Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one’s country or one’s family when special needs arise. Likewise, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due. And he gladly accepts the  free-will offering of our lives to him and to his service. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.

The love of God compels us to give our best
How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) – he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives whatever is good for the sake of another (Romans 5:5). If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).

God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves others generously. He is ever ready to work in and through us for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in doing good and showing love. God loves us without measure. Does the love of God compel you to give your best?

“Lord Jesus, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out in love for me.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov8.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Castorius, Patron of sculptors, stonemasons, stonecutters; against fever; cattle
St. Castorius is the patron saint of sculptors and his feast day is November 8th. Castorius, Claudius, Nicostratus, and Symphorian are called “the four crowned martyrs” who were tortured and executed in Pannonia, Hungary during the reign of Diocletian. According to legend, they were employed as carvers at Sirmium (Mitrovica, Yugoslavia) and impressed Diocletian with their art, as did another carver, Simplicius. Diocletian commissioned them to do several carvings, which they did to his satisfaction, but they then refused to carve a statue of Aesculapius, as they were Christians. The emperor accepted their beliefs, but when they refused to sacrifice to the gods, they were imprisoned. When Diocletian’s officer Lampadius, who was trying to convince them to sacrifice to the gods, suddenly died, his relatives accused the five of his death; to placate the relatives, the emperor had them executed. Another story has four unnamed Corniculari beaten to death in Rome with leaden whips when they refused to offer sacrifice to Aesculapius. They were buried on the Via Lavicana and were later given their names by Pope Militiades. Probably they were the four Pannonian martyrs (not counting Simplicius) whose remains were translated to Rome and buried in the Four Crowned Ones basilica there. A further complication is the confusion of their story with that of the group of martyrs associated with St. Carpophorus in the Roman Martyrology under November 8th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=437

More Saints of the Day
St. Castorius
St. Cybi
St. Pope Deusdedit
Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Four Crowned Martyrs
St. John Baptist Con
St. Joseph Nghi
Bl. Maria Crucified Satellico
St. Martin Tho
St. Martin Tinh
St. Moroc
St. Paul Ngan
Sts. Tysilio
St. Willehad of Bremen
St. Wiomad

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | November 6, 2016

Monday (November 7): “Increase our faith”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 491
48 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Titus 1:1-9
Psalms 24:1-6: Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Gospel: Luke 17:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110716.cfm

Reflection:  What’s the driving force in your life? Jesus speaks of two forces at work in our lives – the power of the temptation to sin and cause harm and the power of faith to overcome obstacles and difficulties that stand in the way of loving God and our neighbor. The Greek word for temptation(scandalon) is the same as the English word scandal. The original meaning of scandal is a trap or a stumbling block which causes one to trip and fall. The scriptures warn us about the snare or enticement to go astray and to do what is evil. Keep me from the trap which they have laid for me, and from the snares of evildoers! (Psalm 141:9) Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling (1 John 2:10).

Jesus commands us to not give bad example or lead others into sin
The Jews held that it was an unforgivable sin to teach another to sin. If we teach another to sin, he or she in turn may teach still another, until a train of sin is set in motion with no foreseeable end. Jesus warns his disciples of the terrible responsibility that they must set no stumbling block in the way of another, that is, not give offense or bad example that might lead another to sin. The young in faith are especially vulnerable to the bad example of those who should be passing on the faith.

The power of faith for overcoming obstacles
While Jesus warns against the danger of giving bad example and causing scandal, he also demonstrates the power of faith for overcoming obstacles and temptation to sin. What did Jesus mean when he said that our faith can move trees and mountains as well (see Matthew17:20; Mark 11:23)? The term “mountain remover” was used for someone who could solve great problems and difficulties.

The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in expectant faith
Don’t we often encounter challenges and difficulties which seem beyond our power to handle? What appears impossible to human power is possible to those who believe in God’s power. Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of his love. God expects more from us than we can simply do by ourselves. That is why Jesus gives us the gift and power of the Holy Spirit who helps us to grow strong in faith, persevere in hope, and endure in love.

Faith in God is the key for removing obstacles and difficulties which keep us from doing his will. We belong to God and our lives are no longer our own. Our joy and privilege is to follow the Lord Jesus and to serve in the power of his love and goodness. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to work in and through us for his glory. For our faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and with obedience – an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands. Do you trust in the grace and strength which God freely gives to help us resist temptation and to overcome obstacles in doing his will?

“Lord Jesus, you give us victory over the destructive forces of sin and harmful desires that keep us from doing your will. Give me the strength to always choose what is good and to reject what is wrong. May your love rule my heart that I may forgive those who cause me harm and guide those who need your help.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov7.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Achilles (d. 313)
Bishop and theologian who lived in an era of dispute in the Church. Achillas was the bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, one of the most powerful cities in the world at the time. Succeeding as bishop a man named St. Peter the Martyr, Achillas ordained Arius, who was to begin the influential heresy of Arianism. When Achillas recognized the untruths in Arius’ preaching, he took steps to defend the faith and was attacked by Arius and another heretical group called the Meletians. Achillas remained firm in the faith. A council held in Alexandria condemned Arius and forced him to flee to Palestine. Achillas, however, did not live to see this condemnation. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=300

More Saints of the Day
St. Achillas
St. Amarand
St. Amaranthus
Bl. Anthony Baldinucci
St. Auctus
St. Blinlivet
St. Cumgar
St. Engelbert
St. Ernest
St. Florentius of Strasbourg
St. Gebetrude
St. Hieron
St. Hyacinth Castaneda
St. Melasippus
Bl. Peter Ou
St. Rufus of Metz
St. Tremorus of Brittany
St. Willibrord

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | November 5, 2016

Sunday (November 6): “For to him all are alive.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 156
49 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
Psalms 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15: Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full
Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:16–3:5
Gospel: Luke 20:27-38
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called out ‘Lord,’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110616.cfm

Reflection:  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?

“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) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov6.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Leonard, Patron of political prisoners, imprisoned people, prisoners of war, and captives, women in labour, as well as horses (d. 559)
According to unreliable sources, he was a Frank courtier who was converted by St. Remigius, refused the offer of a See from his godfather, King Clovis I, and became a monk at Micy. He lived as a hermit at Limoges and was rewarded by the king with all the land he could ride around on a donkey in a day for his prayers, which were believed to have brought the Queen through a difficult delivery safely. He founded Noblac monastery on the land so granted him, and it grew into the town of Saint-Leonard. He remained there evangelizing the surrounding area until his death. He is invoked by women in labor and by prisoners of war because of the legend that Clovis promised to release every captive Leonard visited. His feast day is November 6. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=300

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Anthony Baldinucci
St. Atticus
St. Barlaam
St. Demetrian
St. Edwen
St. Efflam
St. Erlafrid
St. Felix of Fondi
St. Felix of Thynissa
St. Illtyd
Bl. Josefa Naval Girbes
St. Joseph Khang
St. Leonard
St. Leonard of Noblac
St. Leonard of Reresby
St. Leonianus
Bl. Martyrs of Astoria during Spanish Civil War
St. Pinnock
St. Romulus of Genoa
St. Winoc

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 490
50 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Philippians 4:10-19
Psalms 122:1B-2, 5-6, 8A and 9: Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 16:9-15
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110516.cfm

Reflection:  What does “tainted money” (or “unrighteous mammon”) have to do with heavenly treasure and eternal life? Jesus exhorts his disciples to be like the shrewd steward who used money generously to make friends and win for himself a secure and happy future (see the parable of the dishonest steward in Luke 16:1-9). Generous giving is connected with alms-giving – the sharing of our financial and material resources with those in need (Luke 12:33). Those who receive alms become your friends because you are merciful to them in their time of need, just as God is merciful to you in your need for his forgiveness and help.

The rabbis had a saying, “The rich help the poor in this world, but the poor help the rich in the world to come.” Ambrose, a 4th century bishop commenting on the parable of the rich fool who tore down his barns to build bigger ones to store his goods. said: The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever. The true treasure which lasts is the treasure stored up for us in heaven. God richly rewards those who give generously from the heart to help those in need.

True generosity does not impoverish – but enriches – the giver
What is the enemy of generosity? It’s greed, the excessive desire for personal gain and security. However, we do not need to be afraid for true generosity does not impoverish the giver, but enriches that person a hundredfold! Generosity expands the soul – but greed contracts it. God is generous and superabundant in lavishing his gifts upon us. We can never outmatch God in generosity. He has given us the best of gifts in sending us his only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up his life for us on the cross. The Father also offers us the gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the fruit of peace, joy, patience, kindness, love, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) – and many other blessings as well. Everything we have is an outright gift of God. Do you know the joy and freedom of blessing others with the gifts and resources God has given to you?

What controls or rules your life?
Jesus concludes his parable with a lesson on what controls or rules our lives. Who is the master (or ruler) in charge of your life? Our “master” is that which governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, and controls the desires of the heart and the values we choose to live by. We can be ruled by many different things – the love of money or possessions, the power of position, the glamor of wealth and prestige, the driving force of unruly passions and addictions. Ultimately the choice boils down to two: God and “mammon”. What is mammon? “Mammon” stands for “material wealth or possessions” or whatever tends to “control our appetites and desires.”

When a number of the religious leaders heard Jesus’ parable they reacted with scorn (Luke 16:14). Jesus spoke to the condition of their hearts – they were lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear that our heart must either be possessed by God’s love or our heart will be possessed by the love of something else.

The Lord alone can satisfy our desires and give us generous hearts
There is one Master alone who has the power to set us free from greed and possessiveness. That Master is the Lord Jesus Christ who died to set us free and who rose to give us new abundant life. The Lord Jesus invites us to make him the Master and Lord of our lives. He alone can satisfy the desires of our heart and transform us in his love through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our money, time, and possessions are precious resources and gifts from God. We can guard them jealously for ourselves alone or allow the love of the Lord to guide us in making good use of them for the benefit of others – especially those in need – and for the work of the Lord in advancing his kingdom. Ask the Lord to fill your heart with a spirit of generosity and joy in sharing what you have with others.

“Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love burn in my heart that I may be wholly devoted to you above all else. Free me from greed and attachment to material things that I may be generous in using the gifts and resources you give me for your glory and for the good of my neighbor.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov5.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Elizabeth
What we know of St. Elizabeth comes from the Gospel, the book of Luke, in particular. In Luke, Elizabeth, a daughter of the line of Aaron, and the wife of Zacharias, was “righteous before God” and was “blameless” but childless. Elizabeth is also a cousin to the Virgin Mary.

Zachariah, desiring a child, went to pray in the temple and was told by the angel Gabriel, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” (Luke 1:13-15).

Zachariah was skeptical because both himself and his wife were elderly. For his skepticism, Zachariah was rendered mute until the prophecy had been fulfilled.

Elizabeth became pregnant shortly thereafter and she rejoiced.

Gabriel then visited the Virgin Mary at Nazareth, telling her that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and become the mother of Jesus.

Mary then visited Elizabeth, and her baby leapt in her womb. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth proclaimed to Mary, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:41-45).

Mary visited with Elizabeth for three months, both women pregnant with child. After Mary returned home, Elizabeth gave birth to a son and named him John. This child was chosen by God to be John the Baptist. John would baptize Christ as an example to all, that all must be reborn of water and spirit.

Although Elizabeth’s neighbors assumed the child would be named Zachariah, her husband insisted that John be his name. This astonished the neighbors for there were no men named John in Elizabeth’s family, but Zachariah’s insistence ended the debate. At the moment Zachariah insisted that they obey the will of God, and name him John, his speech returned.

After this, there is no more mention in the Bible about Elizabeth.

There are mentions of Elizabeth in the apocryphal works, but these are not within the cannon of the Bible. In the Apocrypha, it mentions that her husband, Zachariah, was murdered in the temple.

St. Elizabeth’s feast day is celebrated on November 5. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=344

More Saints of the Day
St. Bertilia
St. Dominator
St. Domninus
St. Domninus
St. Elizabeth
St. Emeric
St. Felix and Eusebius
St. Fibitius
St. Galation
St. Guido Maria Conforti
St. Kea
St. Laetus
St. Magnus
St. Sylvia
St. Zachary

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop
Lectionary: 489
51 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Philippians 3:17–4:1
Psalms 122:1-5: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Gospel:
 Luke 16:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110416.cfm

Reflection:  Do you make good use of your money and possessions? Jesus seemed to praise a steward (a manager entrusted with his master’s goods) who misused his employer’s money. What did the steward do that made Jesus praise him? The steward was responsible for managing his wealthy landowner’s property. The steward very likely overcharged his master’s tenants for their use of the land and kept more than his fair share of the profit. When the landowner discovered the steward’s dishonest practice he immediately removed him from his job, leaving him penniless and ashamed to beg or do manual work.

The necessity of prudent foresight to avert disaster
Before news of his dismissal became public knowledge, the shrewd steward struck a deal with his master’s debtors. In discounting their debts he probably was giving up his generous commission. Such a deal won him great favor with the debtors. Since the steward acted as the landowner’s agent, such a deal made his master look very generous and forgiving towards those who owned him money. Surely everyone would praise such a generous landowner as the town hero! Since the master could not undo the steward’s cancellation of the debts without losing face and making his debtors resent him, he praised the steward for outwitting him and making him appear as a generous and merciful landowner.

Jesus obviously thought that the example of a very clever steward would be a perfect illustration for a spiritual lesson about God and how God treats those who belong to his kingdom. What’s the point of Jesus’ parable? The dishonest steward is commended not for mishandling his master’s wealth, but for his shrewd provision in averting personal disaster and in securing his future livelihood. The original meaning of “shrewdness” is “foresight”. A shrewd person grasps a critical situation with resolution, foresight, and the determination to avoid serious loss or disaster.

Faith and prudent foresight can save us from moral and spiritual disaster
Jesus is concerned here with something more critical than a financial or economic crisis. His concern is that we avert spiritual crisis and personal moral disaster through the exercise of faith and foresight. If Christians would only expend as much foresight and energy to spiritual matters, which have eternal consequences, as they do to earthly matters which have temporal consequences, then they would be truly better off, both in this life and in the age to come.

God loves good stewardship and generosity
Ambrose, a 4th century bishop said: The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever. True wealth consists not in what we keep but in what we give away. Possessions are a great responsibility. The Lord expects us to use them honestly and responsibly and to put them at his service and the service of others. We belong to God and all that we have is his as well. He expects us to make a good return on what he gives us.

God loves generosity and he gives liberally to those who share his gifts with others. The Pharisees, however, had little room for God or others in their hearts. The Gospel says they were lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear that our hearts must either be possessed by God’s love or our hearts will be possessed by the love of something else. What do you most treasure in your heart?

“Lord Jesus, all that I have is a gift from you. May I love you freely and generously with all that I possess. Help me to be a wise and faithful steward of the resources you put at my disposal, including the use of my time, money, and possessions.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov4.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Charles Borromeo, Patron of bishops, catechists, cardinals, seminarians, spiritual leaders (1538-1584)
Saint Charles Borromeo was born on October 2, 1538 at the castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore near Milan. His father was the Count of Arona and his mother a member of the House of Medici. He was the third of six children born to the couple.

At the age of 12, the young Count Charles Borromeo dedicated himself to a life of service to the Church. His uncle gave to him the family income from the Benedictine abbey of Saints Gratinian and Felinus. Even as a youth, his integrity was obvious. He was explicit in telling his father that he could only keep the money required for his education and to prepare him for service to the Church. All other funds belonged to the poor of the Church and were to be passed along to them.

The young count suffered from a speech impediment that made him appear slow to those who did not know him. Despite this challenge, he performed well and impressed his teachers. He attended the University of Pavia and learned Latin. He was praised because he was hardworking and thorough.

In 1554 his father passed away and although Charles was a teenager, responsibility for his household fell to him. Charles continued in his studies and earned a doctorate in canon and civil law.

His responsibility for his household resulted in financial difficulties, and Charles earned a reputation for being short of funds.

Life sped up for the young count after his uncle, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Medici became Pope Pius IV on December 25, 1559. The new pope asked his nephew to come to Rome and appointed him as a cardinal-deacon. With the rank came the job of assisting and advising his uncle full-time. A month later, Pope Pius IV made his nephew a cardinal.

With the new rank came even more duties including the government of the Papal States, the supervision of the Knights of Malta, the Franciscans, and the Carmelites. He was only 23 years old.

The young Borromeo used his leadership role in the Vatican to promote learning and he established a literary academy. He wrote of some of the lessons and lectures in the book, Noctes Vaticanae.

Borromeo was appointed administrator of the Archdiocese of Milan in 1560. Since he would become the ecclesiastical administrator of Milan, he decided that the Lord was calling him to the priesthood.

In 1561, he founded a college at Pavia dedicated to St. Justina of Padua.

In 1562 his brother died and his family urged him to leave the service of the church to preserve the family name. However, Borromeo refused. He became more insistent upon becoming a good bishop and in compelling others to lead exemplary lives of clerical service.

Borromeo was ordained first to the order of deacon. Then, he was ordained to the holy priesthood on September 4, 1563. Then, he was ordained as a bishop on December 7, 1563. He became Archbishop of Milan in May 12, 1564.

In 1566, Archbishop Borromeo’s benefactor and uncle, Pope Pius IV died. Borromeo had already developed a reputation as a young, idealistic reformer in Rome, and he continued that mission in Milan. Milan was the largest diocese in the Catholic Church at the time and corruption was rampant.

The driving out of corruption was a critical matter during Borromeo’s time. The Protestant Reformation was spreading throughout northern Europe and constantly threatened to move south. The greatest defense against Protestant doctrinal errors and claims against the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was reform and the restoration of integrity to the Catholic Church. Archbishop Borromeo saw this clearly and he made this his mission.

His strategy was to provide education to many clergy he saw as ignorant. He founded schools and seminaries and colleges for clergy.

He also ended the selling of indulgences, a form of simony (Catholic Catechism #2120, and ordered monasteries to reform themselves. He made a lot of visits to various locations to inspect for himself. He ordered the simplification of church interiors, which was a major point of contention between some Catholics and Protestants. The complex and busy interiors were claimed to be a distraction from the worship of God. This danger was acknowledged during the Council of Trent which Archbishop Borromeo enforced. Even tombs belonging to his own relatives were cleared of inappropriate ornaments and embellishments.

His work of cleaning up the Church also made him enemies. On one occasion a member of a small, decrepit order known as the “Humiliati” attempted to assassinate him with a pistol, but missed.

Many of his subordinates and secular officials complained about the Archbishop throughout his career. However, the existence of these enemies only emboldened Borromeo and served as confirmation that his efforts to eradicate corruption were working.

In 1576 a famine struck Milan followed by the plague, and many of the wealthy and powerful fled the city. Archbishop Borromeo remained. He used his own fortune to feed the starving people. When that money was spent, he took loans and went deep into debt. He may have fed 70,000 people per day. Eventually, the Archbishop convinced the local governor to return to his post and care for the people.

In 1583, Archbishop Borromeo traveled to Switzerland and began work suppressing heresy there. Protestant heresies, along with witchcraft and sorcery had been widely reported. He founded the Collegium Helveticum to serve and educate Swiss Catholics.

Eventually, the Archbishop’s life of work and toil began to take its toll. In 1584, he became ill with a fever. He returned to Milan where his conditioned worsened. When it became obvious he would die, he was given his last Sacraments. He died on November 3, at the age of 46.

He was beatified on May 12, 1602 by Pope Paul V. He was subsequently canonized by Pope Paul V on November 1, 1610.

St. Charles Borromeo’s feast day is celebrated on November 4. He is the patron of bishops, catechists, Lombardy, Italy, Monterey, California, cardinals, seminarians, spiritual leaders, and Sao Carlos in Brazil.

St. Charles Borromeo has a beautiful shrine in the Milan Cathedral and is often depicted in art wearing his robes, barefoot, carrying the cross with a rope around his neck and his arm raised in blessing.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=212

More Saints of the Day
St. Birrstan
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Clarus
St. Joannicus of Mount Olympus
Bl. Martha Le Bouteiller
St. Modesta
St. Nicander and Hermas
St. Philologus and Patrobas
St. Pierius
St. Pierius
St. Vitalis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 488
52 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Philippians 3:3-8
Psalms 105:2-7: Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 15:1-10
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.” href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110316.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110316.cfm

Reflection:  Do you ever feel resentful or get upset when someone else gets treated better than you think they deserve? The scribes and Pharisees took great offense at Jesus because he went out of his way to meet with sinners and he treated them like they were his friends. The Pharisees had strict regulations about how they were to keep away from sinners, lest they incur ritual defilement. They were not to entrust money to sinners or have any business dealings with them, nor trust them with a secret, nor entrust orphans to their care, nor accompany them on a journey, nor give their daughter in marriage to any of their sons, nor invite them as guests or be their guests.

Do you judge others with mercy or disdain – with kindness or harshness?
The Pharisees were shocked when they saw Jesus freely meeting with sinners and even going to their homes to eat with them. Many sinners and outcasts of society were drawn to Jesus to hear him speak about the mercy of God and the offer of new life and friendship in the kingdom of God. When the Pharisees began to question Jesus’ motive and practice of associating with sinners and outcasts, Jesus responded by giving them two parables about a lost sheep and a lost coin to challenge their way of judging sinners and shunning contact with them.

Finding and restoring what has been lost
What is the point of Jesus’ story about a lost sheep and a lost coin? In Jesus’ time shepherds normally counted their sheep at the end of the day to make sure all were accounted for. Since sheep by their very nature are very social, an isolated sheep can quickly become bewildered and even neurotic. The shepherd’s grief and anxiety is turned to joy when he finds the lost sheep and restores it to the fold.

The housewife who lost a coin faced something of an economic disaster, since the value of the coin would be equivalent to her husband’s daily wage. What would she say to her husband when he returned home from work? They were poor and would suffer greatly because of the loss. Her grief and anxiety turn to joy when she finds the coin.

Bringing the lost to the community of faith
Both the shepherd and the housewife “search until what they have lost is found.” Their persistence pays off. They both instinctively share their joy with the whole community. The poor are particularly good at sharing in one another’s sorrows and joys. What was new in Jesus’ teaching was the insistence that sinners must be sought out and not merely mourned for. God does not rejoice in the loss of anyone, but desires that all be saved and restored to fellowship with him. That is why the whole community of heaven rejoices when one sinner is found and restored to fellowship with God.  Seekers of the lost are much needed today. Do you persistently pray and seek after those you know who have lost their way to God?

“Lord Jesus, let your light dispel the darkness that what is lost may be found and restored. Let your light shine through me that others may see your truth and love and find hope and peace in you. May I never doubt your love nor take for granted the mercy you have shown to me. Fill me with your transforming love that I may be merciful as you are merciful.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov3.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Martin de Porres, Patron of Mixed Race, Barbers, Public Health Workers, Innkeepers (d. 1639)
St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579. Martin was the illegitimate son to a Spanish gentlemen and a freed slave from Panama, of African or possibly Native American descent. At a young age, Martin’s father abandoned him, his mother and his younger sister, leaving Martin to grow up in deep poverty. After spending just two years in primary school, Martin was placed with a barber/surgeon where he would learn to cut hair and the medical arts.

As Martin grew older, he experienced a great deal of ridicule for being of mixed-race. In Peru, by law, all descendants of African or Indians were not allowed to become full members of religious orders. Martin, who spent long hours in prayer, found his only way into the community he longed for was to ask the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima to accept him as a volunteer who performed the most menial tasks in the monastery. In return, he would be allowed to wear the habit and live within the religious community. When Martin was 15, he asked for admission into the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received as a servant boy and eventually was moved up to the church officer in charge of distributing money to deserving poor.

During his time in the Convent, Martin took on his old trades of barbering and healing. He also worked in the kitchen, did laundry and cleaned. After eight more years with the Holy Rosary, Martin was granted the privilege to take his vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic by the prior Juan de Lorenzana who decided to disregard the law restricting Martin based on race.

However, not all of the members in the Holy Rosary were as open-minded as Lorenzana; Martin was called horrible names and mocked for being illegitimate and descending from slaves.

Martin grew to become a Dominican lay brother in 1603 at the age of 24. Ten years later, after he had been presented with the religious habit of a lay brother, Martin was assigned to the infirmary where he would remain in charge until his death. He became known for encompassing the virtues needed to carefully and patiently care for the sick, even in the most difficult situations.

Martin was praised for his unconditional care of all people, regardless of race or wealth. He took care of everyone from the Spanish nobles to the African slaves. Martin didn’t care if the person was diseased or dirty, he would welcome them into his own home.

Martin’s life reflected his great love for God and all of God’s gifts. It is said he had many extraordinary abilities, including aerial flights, bilocation, instant cures, miraculous knowledge, spiritual knowledge and an excellent relationship with animals. Martin also founded an orphanage for abandoned children and slaves and is known for raising dowry for young girls in short amounts of time.

During an epidemic in Lima, many of the friars in the Convent of the Rosary became very ill. Locked away in a distant section of the convent, they were kept away from the professed. However, on more than one occasion, Martin passed through the locked doors to care for the sick. However, he became disciplined for not following the rules of the Convent, but after replying, “Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity,” he was given full liberty to follow his heart in mercy.

Martin was great friends with both St. Juan Macías, a fellow Dominican lay brother, and St. Rose of Lima, a lay Dominican.

In January of 1639, when Martin was 60-years-old, he became very ill with chills, fevers and tremors causing him agonizing pain. He would experience almost a year full of illness until he passed away on November 3, 1639.

By the time he died, he was widely known and accepted. Talks of his miracles in medicine and caring for the sick were everywhere. After his death, the miracles received when he was invoked in such greatness that when he was exhumed 25 years later, his body exhaled a splendid fragrance and he was still intact.

St. Martin de Porres was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on October 29, 1837 and canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 6, 1962.

He has become the patron saint of people of mixed race, innkeepers, barbers, public health workers and more. His feast day is November 3. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=306

More Saints of the Day
St. Acepsimas
St. Cristiolus
St. Domnus of Vienne
St. Elerius
St. Englatius
St. Florus
St. Germanus
St. Guenhael
St. Hermengaudis
St. Hubert
St. Malachy
St. Martin de Porres
St. Papulus
St. Peter Francis Neron
St. Pirmin
St. Quaratus
St. Valentine & Hilary
St. Valentinian
St. Vulganius
St. Winifred
St. Winifred

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Souls
The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
Lectionary: 668
53 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Wisdom 3:1-9
Psalms 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6:  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Second Reading: Romans 5:5-11
Gospel: John 6:37-40
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110216.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110216.cfm

Reflection:  Is your hope in this present life only? What about the life to come after our physical death? God puts in the heart of every living person the desire for unending life and happiness. While physical death claims each of us at the appointed time, God gives us something which death cannot touch – his own divine life and sustaining power.

God does not abandon us to the realm of the dead
One of the greatest examples of faith and hope in everlasting life with God is the testimony of Job in the Old Testament. God allowed Job to be tested through great trial and suffering. In the midst of his sufferings Job did not waver in his trust of God. In chapter 19 of the Book of Job, he exclaims:

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).

King David also expressed his hope in the promise of everlasting life with God. In Psalm 16 David prays,

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:9-11 NIV translation).

We wait with hope for the Lord to raise us up to everlasting life
Jesus made an incredible promise to his disciples and a claim which only God can make and deliver: Whoever sees and believes in Jesus, the Son of God, shall have everlasting life and be raised up at the last day (John 6:40)! How can we see Jesus? The Lord makes his presence known to us in the reading of his word (John 14:23), in the breaking of the bread, and in his church, the body of Christ.

The Lord Jesus reveals himself in many countless ways to those who seek him with eyes of faith (Hebrews 12:2, 11:27). When we read the word of God in the Bible Jesus speaks to us and he reveals to us the mind and heart of our heavenly Father. When we approach the table of the Lord, Jesus offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us (I am the bread of life, John 6:35). He promises unbroken fellowship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from everlasting life with God. And he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection – abundant life without end. Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life and do you long for the day when you will see him face to face?

The Holy Spirit is the key to growth in faith
What is faith and how do we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift which God offers us through his Son Jesus Christ. We could not approach God if he did not first approach us and draw us to himself. The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit who works in us to open our ears to hear God’s word and to respond to it with trust and submission. The Holy Spirit is the key to our growing in faith. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide who makes our faith come alive as we cooperate with his help and instruction.

To live, grow, and persevere in faith to the end we must nourish it with the word of God. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said: I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe. Jesus promises that those who accept him as their Lord and Savior and submit to his word will be raised up to immortal life with him when he comes again at the close of this age. Is your life securely anchored to the promises of Christ and his everlasting kingdom of heaven?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death and resurrection brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me unwavering faith, unshakeable hope, and the fire of your unquenchable love that I may serve you joyfully now and for ever in your everlasting kingdom.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov2.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Victorinus of Pettau
Bishop and martyr. Originally a Greek, he became bishop of Pettau, in Pannonia (later Styria, Austria). He was martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305). Victorinus was also the author of several biblical cornrnentaries, although he may have been an adherent of Millenarianism, a heresy of that time. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1980

More Saints of the Day
St. Acyndinus
St. Amicus
St. Carterius
Bl. John Bodey
St. Jorandus
St. Justus of Trieste
St. Marcian
St. Maura
St. Theodotus
St. Victorinus of Pettau

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Souls
Solemnity of All Saints
Lectionary: 667
54 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
Psalms 24:1-6:  Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-3
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110116.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110116.cfm

Reflection:  What is the good life which God intends for us? And how is it related with the ultimate end or purpose of life? Is it not our desire and longing for true happiness, which is none other than the complete good, the sum of all goods, leaving nothing more to be desired? Jesus addresses this question in his sermon on the mount. The heart of Jesus’ message is that we can live a very happy life. The call to holiness, to be saints who joyfully pursue God’s will for their lives, can be found in these eight beatitudes. Jesus’ beatitudes sum up our calling or vocation – to live a life of the beatitudes. The word beatitude literally means “happiness” or “blessedness”.

God gives us everything that leads to true happiness
What is the significance of Jesus’ beatitudes, and why are they so central to his teaching? The beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness that God has placed in every heart. They teach us the final end to which God calls us, namely the coming of God’s kingdom (Matthew 4:17), the vision of God (Matthew 5:8; 1 John 2;1), entering into the joy of the Lord (Matthew 25:21-23) and into his rest (Hebrews 4:7-11).  Jesus’ beatitudes also confront us with decisive choices concerning the life we pursue here on earth and the use we make of the goods he puts at our disposal.

Jesus’ tells us that God alone can satisfy the deepest need and longing of our heart. Teresa of Avila’s (1515-1582) prayer book contained a bookmark on which she wrote: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things pass – God never changes. Patience achieves all it strives for. Whoever has God lacks nothing -God alone suffices.

Is God enough for you? God offers us the greatest good possible – abundant life in Jesus Christ (John 10:10) and the promise of unending joy and happiness with God forever. Do you seek the highest good, the total good, which is above all else?

The beatitudes are a sign of contradiction to the world’s way of happiness
The beatitudes which Jesus offers us are a sign of contradiction to the world’s understanding of happiness and joy. How can one possibly find happiness in poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution? Poverty of spirit finds ample room and joy in possessing God as the greatest treasure possible. Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God’s word and Spirit. Sorrow and mourning over wasted life and sin leads to joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and spiritual oppression.

God reveals to the humble of heart the true source of abundant life and happiness. Jesus promises his disciples that the joys of heaven will more than compensate for the troubles and hardships they can expect in this world. Thomas Aquinas said: “No one can live without joy. That is why a person deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures.” Do you know the happiness of hungering and thirsting for God alone?

“Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you and show me the way that leads to everlasting peace and happiness. May I desire you above all else and find perfect joy in doing your will.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov1.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa
Bishop and martyr of Vietnam. A native of Ellorio, Spain, he entered the Dominican Order and was sent to the Philippines. From there he went to Vietnam in 1858, serving as a vicar apostolic and titular bishop until betrayed by an apostate. He was martyred by beheading with St. Jerome Hermosilla and Blessed Peter Amato, by enemies of the Church. He was canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1923

More Saints of the Day
St. Acha the Confessor
St. Amabilis
St. Austremonius
St. Cadfan
St. Caesarius & Companions
St. Caesarius & Julian
St. Ceitho
St. Cyrenia & Juliana
St. Dingad
St. Floribert
St. Jerome Hermosilla
St. John & James
St. Licinius
St. Mary the Slave
St. Mathurin
St. Pabiali
Bl. Paul Navarro
Bl. Peter Onizuko
St. Salaun
St. Severinus
Bl. Teodor Romza
St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa
St. Vigor

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday in the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 485
55 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Philippians 2:1-4
Psalms 131:1-3:  In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.
Gospel: Luke 14:12-14
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
He said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/103116.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/103116.cfm

Reflection:  Who do you honor at your table? The Lord is always ready to receive us at his table. As far as we can tell from the gospel accounts, Jesus never refused a dinner invitation! Why, in this particular instance, does Jesus lecture his host on whom he should or shouldn’t invite to dinner? Did his host expect some favor or reward from Jesus? Did he want to impress his neighbors with the honor of hosting the “miracle worker” from Galilee?

Generous giving doesn’t impoverish – but enriches
Jesus probes our hearts as well. Do you only show favor and generosity to those who will repay you in kind? What about those who do not have the means to repay you – the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged? Generosity demands a measure of self-sacrifice. However, it doesn’t impoverish, but rather enriches the soul of the giver. True generosity springs from a heart full of mercy and compassion. God loved us first, and our love is a response of gratitude to his great mercy and kindness towards us. We cannot outmatch God in his generosity towards us. Do you give freely as Jesus gives without expectation for personal gain or reward?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude for your boundless love and mercy towards me. And purify my love for others that I may seek their good rather than my own benefit or gain. Free me to love others as you love.” http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1285

Saint of the Day: St. Wolfgang (d. 994) + 
Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, Germany, he studied at Reichenau under the Benedictines and at Wurzburg before serving as a teacher in the cathedral school of Trier. He soon entered the Benedictines at Einsiedeln (964) and was appointed head of the monastery school, receiving ordination in 971. He then set out with a group of monks to preach among the Magyars of Hungary, but the following year (972) was named bishop of Regensburg by Emperor Otto II (r. 973-983). As bishop, he distinguished himself brilliantly for his reforming zeal and his skills as a statesman. He brought the clergy of the diocese into his reforms, restored monasteries, promoted education, preached enthusiastically, and was renowned for his charity and aid to the poor, receiving the title Eleemosynarius Major (Grand Almoner). He also served as tutor to Emperor Henry II (r. 1014-1024) while he was still king. Wolfgang died at Puppingen near Linz, Austria. He was canonized in 1052 by Pope St. Leo IX (r. 1049-1054). Feast day: October 31. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2049

More Saints of the Day
St. Abaidas
St. Antoninus
St. Arnulf
St. Bega
St. Erth
St. Notburga
St. Quentin
St. Wolfgang

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 153
55 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Wisdom 11:22–12:2
Psalms 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14:  I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/103016.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/103016.cfm

Reflection:  What would you do if Jesus knocked on your door and said, “I must stay at your home today”? Would you be excited or embarrassed? Jesus often “dropped-in” at unexpected times and he often visited the “uninvited” – the poor, the lame, and even public sinners like Zacchaeus, the tax collector! Tax collectors were despised and treated as outcasts, no doubt because they over-charged people and accumulated great wealth at the expense of others.

Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and was much hated by all the people. Why would Jesus single him out for the honor of staying at his home? Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and forgiveness. In his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible. He shows the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of his goods to the poor and to use the other half for making restitution for fraud. Zacchaeus’ testimony included more than words. His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the whole community could experience as genuine.

Faith welcomes Christ in our heart and home
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) urges us to climb the sycamore tree like Zacchaeus that we might see Jesus and embrace his cross for our lives:

Zacchaeus climbed away from the crowd and saw Jesus without the crowd getting in his way. The crowd laughs at the lowly, to people walking the way of humility, who leave the wrongs they suffer in God’s hands and do not insist on getting back at their enemies. The crowd laughs at the lowly and says, ‘You helpless, miserable clod, you cannot even stick up for yourself and get back what is your own.’ The crowd gets in the way and prevents Jesus from being seen. The crowd boasts and crows when it is able to get back what it owns. It blocks the sight of the one who said as he hung on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing… He ignored the crowd that was getting in his way. He instead climbed a sycamore tree, a tree of ‘silly fruit.’ As the apostle says, ‘We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block indeed to the Jews, [now notice the sycamore] but folly to the Gentiles.’ Finally, the wise people of this world laugh at us about the cross of Christ and say, ‘“What sort of minds do you people have, who worship a crucified God?’ What sort of minds do we have? They are certainly not your kind of mind. ‘The wisdom of this world is folly with God.’ No, we do not have your kind of mind. You call our minds foolish. Say what you like, but for our part, let us climb the sycamore tree and see Jesus. The reason you cannot see Jesus is that you are ashamed to climb the sycamore tree.

Let Zacchaeus grasp the sycamore tree, and let the humble person climb the cross. That is little enough, merely to climb it. We must not be ashamed of the cross of Christ, but we must fix it on our foreheads, where the seat of shame is. Above where all our blushes show is the place we must firmly fix that for which we should never blush. As for you, I rather think you make fun of the sycamore, and yet that is what has enabled me to see Jesus. You make fun of the sycamore, because you are just a person, but ‘the foolishness of God is wiser than men.'[Sermon 174.3.]

The Lord Jesus is always ready to make his home with each one of us. Do you make room for him in your heart and in every area of your life?

“Lord Jesus, come and stay with me. Fill my life with your peace, my home with your presence, and my heart with your praise. Help me to show kindness, mercy, and goodness to all, even to those who cause me ill-will or harm.”
http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct30.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (1532-1617)
Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus’ father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. PeterClaver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter’s lodge for advice tad and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1285

More Saints of the Day
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
Bl. Angelus of Acri
St. Arilda
St. Artemas
St. Dorothy of Montau
St. Ethelnoth
St. Eutropia
St. Herbert
Bl. Jean-Michel Langevin
Bl. Jeremiah of Valachia
Bl. John Slade
St. Maximus
St. Saturninus
St. Serapion of Antioch
St. Talacrian
St. Theonestus
St. Zenobius & Zenobia

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 484
56 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Philippians 1:18-26
Psalms 42:2-3, 5: My soul is thirsting for the living God.
Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-11
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102916.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102916.cfm

Reflection:  Who wants to be last? Isn’t it only natural to desire respect and esteem from others? Jesus’ parable of the guests invited to the marriage feast probes our motives for seeking honor and position. Self-promotion is most often achieved at the expense of others! Jesus’ parable reinforces the teaching of Proverbs: Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of the prince (Proverbs 25:6-7).

True humility frees us to be our true selves as God sees us
What is true humility and why should we make it a characteristic mark of our life and action? True humility is not feeling bad about yourself, or having a low opinion of yourself, or thinking of yourself as inferior to others. True humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, whereas a low self-opinion tends to focus our attention on ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and truth in action. Viewing ourselves truthfully, with sober judgment, means seeing ourselves the way God sees us (Psalm 139:1-4). A humble person makes a realistic assessment of himself or herself without illusion or pretense to be something he or she is not. The humble regard themselves neither smaller nor larger than they truly are.

True humility frees us to be our true selves and to avoid despair and pride. A humble person does not have to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others, especially to those who are not really familiar with that person. The humble are not swayed by accidentals, such as fame, reputation, success, or failure.

True humility frees us to love and serve selflessly for the good of others
Humility is the queen or foundation of all the other virtues because it enables us to view and judge ourselves correctly, the way God sees us. Humility leads to true self-knowledge, honesty, realism, strength, and dedication to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Humility frees us to love and serve others selflessly, for their sake, rather than our own. Paul the Apostles, gives us the  greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, …who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross(Philippians 2:7-8). The Lord Jesus gives grace to those who seek him humbly. Do you want to be a servant as Jesus served?

“Lord Jesus, you became a servant for my sake to set me free from the tyranny of sin, selfishness, and conceit. Help me to be humble as you are humble and to love freely and graciously all whom you call me to serve.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct29.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Narcissus
St. Narcissus Bishop of Jerusalem October 29 Second Century     St. Narcissus was born towards the close of the first century, and was almost fourscore years old when he was placed at the head of the church of Jerusalem, being the thirtieth bishop of that see. In 195, he and Theophilus, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, presided in a council of the bishops of Palestine held at Caesarea, about the timeof celebrating Easter; in which it was decreed that this feast is to be kept always on a Sunday, and not with the Jewish passover. Eusebius assures us, that the Christians of Jerusalem preserved in his time the remembrance of several miracles which God had wrought by this holy bishop; one of which he relates as follows. One year on Easter-eve the deacons were unprovided with oil for the lamps in the church, necessary at the solemn divine office that day. Narcissus ordered those who had care of the lamps to bring him some water from the neighboring wells. This being done, he pronounced a devout prayer over the water; then bade them pour it into the lamps; which they did, and it was immediately converted into oil, to the great surprise of the faithful. Some of this miraculous oil was kept there as a memorial at the time when Eusebius wrote his history. The veneration of all good men for this holy bishop could not shelter him from the malice of the wicked. Three incorrigible sinners, fearing his inflexible severity in the observance of ecclesiastical discipline, laid to his charge a detestable crime, which Eusebius does not specify. They confirmed their atrocious calumny by dreadful oaths and imprecations; one wishing he might perish by fire, another, that he might be struck with a leprosy, and the third, that he might lose his sight, if what they alleged was not the truth. Notwithstanding these protestations, their accusation did not find credit; and, some time after, the divine vengeance pursued the calumniators. The first was burnt in his house, with his whole family, by an accidental fire in the night; the second was struck with a universal leprosy; and the third, terrified by these examples, confessed the conspiracy and slander, and by the abundance of tears which he continually shed for his sins, lost his sight before his death.     Narcissus, notwithstanding the slander had made no impression on the people to his disadvantage, could not stand the shock of the bold calumny, or rather made it an excuse for leaving Jerusalem, and spending some time in solitude, which had long been his wish. He spent several years undiscovered in his retreat, where he enjoyed all the happiness and advantage which a close conversation with God can bestow. That his church might not remain destitute of a pastor, the neighboring bishops of the province, after some time, placed in it Pius, and after him Germanion, who, dying in a short time, was succeeded by Gordius. While this last held the see, Narcissus appeared again like one from the dead. The whole body of the faithful, transported at the recovery of their holy pastor, whose innocence had been most authentically vindicated, conjured him to reassume the administration of the diocese. He acquiesced; but afterwards, bending under the weight of extreme old age, made St. Alexander his coadjutor. This primitive example authorizes the practice of coadjutorships; which, nevertheless, are not allowable by the canons except in cases of the perpetual inability of a bishop through age, incurable infirmity, or other impediment as Marianus Victorius observes in his notes upon St. Jerome. St. Narcissus continued to serve his flock, and even other churches, by his assiduous prayers and his earnest exhortations to unityand concord, as St. Alexander testifies in his letter to the Arsinoites in Egypt, where he says that Narcisus was at that time about one hundred and sixteen years old. The Roman Martyrology honors his memory on the 29th of October.     The pastors of the primitive church, animated with the spirit of the apostles were faithful imitators of their heroic virtues, discovering the same fervent zeal. the same contempt of the world, the same love of Christ. If we truly respect the church as the immaculate spouse of our Lord, we will incessantly pray for its exaltation and increase, and beseech the Almighty to give it pastors according to his own heart, like those who appeared in the infancy of Christianity. And, that no obstacle on our part may prevent the happy effects of their zeal, we should study to regulate our conduct by the holy maxims which they inculcate, we should regard them as the ministers of Christ; we should listen to them with docility and attention; we should make their faith the rule of ours, and shut our ears against the language of profane novelty. O! that we could once more see a return of those happy days when the pastor and the people had but one heart and one soul; when there was no diversity in our belief; when the faithful seemed only to vie with each other in their submission to the church, and in their desire of sanctification.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=791

More Saints of the Day
St. Abraham Kidunaja
St. Abraham of Rostov
St. Anne
St. Bond
St. Colman of Kilmacduagh
St. Cuthbert Mayne
St. Donatus of Corfu
Douai Martyrs
St. Elfleda
St. Ermelinda
St. Eusebia
St. Gaetano Errico
St. Hyacinth
St. John of Autun
St. Kennera
Bl. Maria Restituta
Martyrs of Douai
St. Maximilian
St. Narcissus
St. Terence of Metz
St. Theodore
St. Zenobius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | October 27, 2016

Friday (October 28): Jesus chose twelve apostles

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 666
57 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22
Psalms 19:2-5: Their message goes out through all the earth.
Gospel: Luke 6:12-16
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102816.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102816.cfm

Reflection:  What is God’s call on your life? When Jesus embarked on his mission he chose twelve men to be his friends and apostles. In the choice of the twelve, we see a characteristic feature of God’s work: Jesus chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, who had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power. When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself unreservedly to God?

Wherever Jesus went the people came to him because they had heard all the things he did. They were hungry for God and desired healing from their afflictions. In faith they pressed upon Jesus to touch him. As they did so power came from Jesus and they were healed. Even demons trembled in the presence of Jesus and left at his rebuke. Jesus offers freedom from the power of sin and oppression to all who seek him with expectant faith. When you hear God’s word and consider all that Jesus did, how do you respond? With doubt or with expectant faith? With skepticism or with confident trust? Ask the Lord to increase your faith in his saving power and grace.

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Take my life and all that I have as an offering of love for you, who are my All.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct28.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Jude Thaddaeus, Patron of Desperate causes, desperate situations, lost causes
St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. He was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus and his attribute is a club. Images of St. Jude often include a flame around his head, which represent his presence at Pentecost, when he accepted the Holy Spirit alongside the other apostles. Another attribute is St. Jude holding an image of Christ, in the Image of Edessa.

Sometimes he can also be seen holding a carpenter’s ruler or is depicted with a scroll or book, the Epistle of Jude.

Biblical scholars agree St. Jude was a son of Clopas and his mother Mary was the Virgin Mary’s cousin. Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.

Saint Jude is not the same person as Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Our Lord and despaired because of his great sin and lack of trust in God’s mercy.

Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He would not manifest Himself to the whole world after His resurrection. Little else is known of his life. Legend claims that he visited Beirut and Edessa and could have been martyred with St. Simon in Persia.

He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. Though Saint Gregory the Illuminator has been credited as the “Apostle to the Armenians,” the Apostles Jude and Bartholomew are believed to have brought Christianity to Armenia, where Jude was rumored to have later been martyred.

There is some debate about where Jude died, though most Biblical scholars agree he was martyred. He is believed to have been martyred either in Armenia or Beirut.

Following his death, St. Jude’s body was brought to Rome and left in a crypt in St. Peter’s Basilica. Today his bones can be found in the left transept of St. Peter’s Basilica under the main altar of St. Joseph in a tomb he shares with the remains of the apostle Simon the Zealot.

Pilgrims came to St. Jude’s grave to pray and many reported a powerful intercession, leading to the title, “The Saint for the Hopeless and the Despaired.” Two Saints, St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard, had visions from God asking them to accept St. Jude as “The Patron Saint of the Impossible.”

Roman Catholics invoke St. Jude when in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances -just as their forefathers had done before them; therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases.

The Chicago Police Department and Clube de Regatas do Flamengo – the Rio de Janeiro soccer team – have made Saint Jude their patron saint and there are several hospitals who have also accepted him as their patron saint, including the well-known children’s hospital St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

There have also been several sites across the world dedicated to the Apostle Jude, including shrines and churches. The National Shrine of Saint Jude was founded in 1955 and can be found in England.

There are two mentions of Jude in the New Testament: Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.

When Jude was mentioned in the Bible, it was often in relation to James (Jude of James) which is traditionally interpreted to mean “Jude, brother of James” as in the King James version of Luke 6:16; however, “Jude, son of James” appears in Protestant translations such as the NIV, NIRV, and the New King James Version. The same discrepancy occurs in Acts 1:13.

In John 14:22, a disciple called “Judas not Iscariot” is assumed to be the apostle Jude, though critics believe it is too ambiguous to believe it is a certainty.

When the apostles are listed in Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18, Jude’s name does not appear but “Thaddeus” does. This occurrence led early Christians to believe Jude was known as both “Jude” and “Thaddeus,” the latter of which could have been a sort of nickname.

“Thaddeus” may have become a popular nickname for Jude following Judas Iscariot’s betrayal. To add further confusion to Jude’s second name, the name Thaddeus is often indistinguishable from Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy Disciples. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=127

More Saints of the Day
St. Abraham
St. Anastasia II
St. Anglinus
St. Eadsin
St. Faro
St. Ferrutius
St. Fidelis of Como
St. Godwin
St. Honoratus of Vercelli
St. Joachim Royo
St. John Dat
St. Jude Thaddaeus
St. Remigius
St. Salvius
St. Simon the Zealot

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 482

58 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
Psalms 144:1-2, 9-10: Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Gospel: Luke 13:31-35
Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go and tell that fox,
‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day,
for it is impossible that a prophet should die
outside of Jerusalem.’

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling!
Behold, your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102716.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102716.cfm

Reflection:  When your security is threatened and danger strikes do you flee or stand your ground? When King Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard that thousands of people were coming to Jesus, he decided it was time to eliminate this threat to his influence and power. That is why some of the Pharisees warned Jesus to flee from the wrath of Herod. Jesus, in turn, warned them that they were in greater spiritual danger of losing both soul and body if they refused to listen to God and to his messengers the prophets. Like John the Baptist and all the prophets who preceded him, Jesus posed a threat to the ruling authorities of his day.

Do not fear those who oppose God
Jesus went so far as to call Herod a fox. What did he mean by such an expression? The fox was regarded as the slyest of all animals and one of the most destructive as well. Any farmer will tell you how difficult it is to get rid of foxes who under the cover of night steal and destroy. The fox became a symbol of what was worthless,  insignificant, and destructive. It takes great courage to stand up and openly oppose a tyrant. Jesus knew that he would suffer the same fate as the prophets who came before him. He not only willingly exposed himself to such danger, but he prayed for his persecutors and for those who rejected the prophets who spoke in God’s name. Do you pray for your enemies and for those who oppose the gospel today?

Jesus came to set people free from sin and to give them new life
Jesus contrasts his desire for Jerusalem – the holy city and temple of God – with Jerusalem’s lack of desire for him as their long-expected Messiah. Jesus compares his longing for Jerusalem with a mother hen gathering her chicks under her protective wings. Psalm 91 speaks of God’s protection in such terms: He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge (Psalm 91:4). Jesus willingly set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing that he would meet certain betrayal, rejection, and death on a cross. His death on the cross, however, brought about victory and salvation, not only for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but for all – both Jew and Gentile – who would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Open the door of your heart to the Lord Jesus
Jesus’ prophecy is a two-edged sword, pointing to his victory over sin and death and foretelling 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 says: I am the door; whoever enters by me will be saved (John 10:9).

The Lord Jesus opens the way for each of us to have direct access to God who adopts us as his children and who makes his home with us. Do you make room for the Lord in your life? The Lord is knocking at the door of your heart (Revelations 3:20) and he wishes to enter into a close personal relationship with you. Receive him who is the giver of expectant faith, unwavering hope, and undying love. And long for the true home which God has prepared for you in his heavenly city, Jerusalem (Revelations 21:2-4).

“Lord Jesus, I place all my trust and hope in you. Come make your home with me and take possession of my heart and will that I may wholly desire what is pleasing to you. Fill my heart with love and mercy for others that I may boldly witness to the truth and joy of the gospel through word and example, both to those who accept it and to those who oppose it.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct27.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Frumentius
Called “Abuna” or “the fa­ther’ of Ethiopia, sent to that land by St. Athanasius. Frumentius was born in Tyre, Lebanon. While on a voyage in the Red Sea with St. Aedesius, possibly his brother, only Frumentius and Aedesius survived the shipwreck. Taken to the Ethiopian royal court at Aksum, they soon attained high positions. Aedesius was royal cup bearer, and Fruementius was a secretary. They introduced Christianity to that land. When Abreha and Asbeha inherited the Ethiopian throne from their father, Frumentius went to Alexandria, Egypt, to ask St. Athanasius to send a missionary to Ethiopia. He was consecrated a bishop and converted many more upon his return to Aksum. Frumentius and Aedesius are considered the apostles of Ethiopia. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=648

More Saints of the Day
St. Abban of Murnevin
St. Abraham the Poor
St. Abraham the Poor
St. Abuna (Frumentius)
St. Frumentius of Ethiopia
St. Capitolina
St. Desiderius of Auxerre
St. Elesbaan
St. Florentius
St. Frumentius
St. Gaudiosus of Naples
St. Namatius
St. Odhran of Iona
St. Odran of Iona
St. Vincent, Sabina, & Christeta

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 481

59 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 6:1-9
Psalms 145:10-14: The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Gospel: Luke 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.” href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102616.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102616.cfm

Reflection:  What does the image of a door say to us about the kingdom of God? Jesus’ story about the door being shut to those who come too late suggests they had offended their host and deserved to be excluded. It was customary for teachers in Jesus’ time to close the door on tardy students and not allow them back for a whole week in order to teach them a lesson in discipline and faithfulness.

Who will be invited to enter God’s kingdom?
Jesus told this story in response to the question of who will make it to heaven – to God’s kingdom of everlasting peace and eternal life. Many rabbis held that all Israel would be saved and gain entry into God’s kingdom, except for a few blatant sinners who excluded themselves! After all, they were specially chosen by God when he established a covenant relationship with them.

Jesus surprised his listeners by saying that one’s membership as a people who have entered into a covenant relationship with God does not automatically mean entry into the everlasting kingdom of God. Second, Jesus asserts that many from the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations would enter God’s kingdom. God’s invitation is open to Jew and Gentile alike.

Jesus is the door to the kingdom of heaven
But Jesus warns that we can be excluded if we do not strive to enter by the narrow door. What did Jesus mean by this expression? The door which Jesus had in mind was himself. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved (John 10:9). God sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to open the way for us to have full access to the throne of God grace (favor and blessing) and mercy (pardon for our sins). Through Jesus’ victory on the cross he has freed us from slavery to sin and hurtful desires and addictions, and he has made us sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom. We are free now to choose which kingdom we will serve – the kingdom of truth and light ruled by God’s wisdom or the kingdom of falsehood and darkness ruled by Satan and the world system or society of people who are opposed to God and his laws.

Following the Lord requires effort and commitment on our part
If we want to enter God’s kingdom and receive our full inheritance which is stored up for us in heaven, then we must follow the Lord Jesus in his way of the cross through a willing renunciation of our own will for his will – our own life for his life – our own way for his way.

Why did Jesus say we must strive to enter his kingdom of righteousness and peace? The word strive can also be translated as agony. To enter the kingdom of God we must struggle against every force or power of opposition – even the temptation to remain indifferent, apathetic, or compromising in our faith and personal trust in Jesus, our hope in holding firm to the promises of Jesus, and our uncompromising love for God above all else (the “love that has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Spirit which has been given to us” – Romans 5:5).

The Lord is with us to strengthen us in our trials and struggles
The good news is that we do not struggle alone. God is with us and his grace is sufficient! As we strive side by side for the faith of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27) Jesus assures us of complete victory! Do you trust in God’s grace and help, especially in times of testing and temptation?

“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your guiding presence and mercy towards me. Through the gift of your Spirit fill me with courage and persevering faith to trust you in all things and every circumstance I find myself in. Give me the strength to cling to your promises when the world around me begins to shake or crumble. And when my love and zeal begin to waver, fan it into a flame of consuming love and dedication for you who are my All.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct26.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Bean
On December 16, there is named in the Roman Martyrology and in certain Irish calendars a Saint Bean in Ireland, who had been confused with the St. Bean whose feast is still observed in the Scottish diocese of Aberdeen, but on October 26, as founder of the bishopric of Mortlach in Banff which was the forerunner of that of Aberdeen. Nothing else is known about him. The fourteenth century chronicler Fordun, states that he was made bishop by Pope Benedict VIII, at the request of Malcolm Canmore, who is said to have founded an episcopal monastery at Mortlach. If true, this would be between 1012 and 1024; but the See of Mortlach is generally said to date from 1063. St. Bean’s dwelling place is supposed to have been at Balvanie, near Mortlach (Bal-beni-mor, “the dwelling of Bean the Great”). His feast day is October 26th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=262

More Saints of the Day
St. Albinus
St. Alfred the Great
St. Bean
St. Cedd
St. Cuthbert of Canterbury
St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki
St. Eadfrid
St. Eata
St. Evaristus
St. Fulk of Pavia
St. Gibitrudis
St. Lucian
St. Quadragesimus
St. Quodvultdeus
St. Rogatian
St. Rusticus of Narbonne

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 480

60 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 5:21-33
Psalms 128:1-5: Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 13:18-21
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102416.cfm

Reflection:  What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within.

The transforming power of the Holy Spirit within us
Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated – the staple of life for humans. The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield to Jesus Christ, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Paul the Apostle says, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct25.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Daria
There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an Egyptian, son of a Patrician, Polemius. He was brought to Rome from Alexandria during the reign of Numerian, and despite the objections of his father, who had brought him to Rome, was baptized by a priest named Carpophorus. Chrysanthus refused is father’s attempts to get him married, finally married Daria, a Greek and a priestess of Minerva, converted her, and convinced her to live with him in chastity. When they converted a number of Romans, Chrysanthus was denounced as a Christian to Claudius, the tribune. Chrysanthus’ attitude under torture so impressed Claudius that he and his wife, Hilaria, two sons, and seventy of his soldiers became Christians, whereupon the Emperor had them all killed. Daria was sent to a brothel, where she was defended by a lion, brought before Numerian, who ordered her execution, and was stoned and then buried alive. When several followers of Daria and Chrysanthus were found praying at their crypt, among them Diodorus, a priest, and Marianus, a deacon, they were all entombed alive. Their feast day is October 25. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=541

More Saints of the Day
St. Ambrose Edward Barlow
St. Boniface I
St. Chrysanthus
Sts. Crispin & Crispinian
St. Cyrinus
St. Daria
St. Dulcardus
St. Fronto
St. Fronto and George
St. Fronto and George
St. Fructus
St. Goeznoveus
St. Guesnoveus
St. Hilary
St. Hildemarca
St. John Houghton
St. John Roberts
St. Lupus of Bayeux
St. Marnock
St. Minias of Florence
St. Tabitha

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 479

61 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 4:32–5:8
Psalms 1:1-4, 6: Behave like God as his very dear children.
Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102416.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102416.cfm

Reflection:  Is there anything that keeps you bound up or oppressed? Infirmity, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, can befall us for a variety of reasons and God can use it for some purpose that we do not understand. When Jesus encountered an elderly woman who was spent of her strength and unable to stand upright, he gave her words of faith and freedom and he restored her to health. She must have suffered much, both physically and spiritually for eighteen years, since Jesus remarked that Satan had bound her. How can Satan do this? The Scriptures indicate that Satan can act in the world with malice and can cause injuries of a spiritual nature, and indirectly even of a physical nature. Satan’s power, however, is not infinite. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s kingdom or reign in our lives.

Jesus wants to set free us from oppression
Jesus demonstrates the power and authority of God’s kingdom in releasing people who are oppressed by physical and emotional sickness, by personal weakness and sin, and by the harassment of the evil one in their lives. It took only one word from Jesus to release this woman instantly of her infirmity. Do you believe in the power of Jesus to release you from affliction and oppression?

The Jewish leaders were indignant that Jesus would perform such a miraculous work on the Sabbath, the holy day of rest. They were so caught up in their ritual observance of the Sabbath that they lost sight of God’s mercy and goodness. Jesus healed on the Sabbath because God does not rest from showing his mercy and love, ever. God’s word has power to change us, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Is there anything that keeps you bound up or that weighs you down? Let the Lord speak his word to you and give you freedom.

“Lord Jesus, you grant freedom to those who seek you. Give me freedom to walk in your way of love and to praise and worship you always. Show me how I can bring your mercy and healing love to those in need around me.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct24.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Anthony Mary Claret, Patron of Textile Merchants, Weavers, Savings, Catholic press, Claretians Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Diocese of the Canary Islands , Claretian Students , Claretian Educators, Technical and Vocational Educators (18071870)

Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in Catalonia, Spain, in 1807, the son of a weaver. He took up weaving but then studied for the priesthood, desiring to be a Jesuit. Ill health prevented his entering the Order, and he served as a secular priest. In 1849, he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known today as the Claretians, and the Apostolic Training Institute of the Immaculate Conception, Claretian nuns. From 1850 to 1857, Anthony served as the archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. He returned to the court of Queen Isabella II as confessor, and went into exile with her in 1868. In 1869 and 1870, Anthony participated in the First Vatican Council. He died in the Cistercian monastery of Fontfroide in southern France on October 24, 1870. Anthony Mary Claret had the gift of prophecy and performed many miracles. He was opposed by the liberal forces of Spain and Cuba and endured many trials. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1452

More Saints of the Day
St. Anthony Mary Claret
St. Bernard of Calvo
St. Cadfarch
St. Evergislus
St. Fromundus
St. Joseph Thi
St. Marcius
St. Martin of Vertou
Martyrs of Nagran
St. Senoch

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 150

62 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Psalms 34:2-3, 17-19, 23: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102316.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102316.cfm

Reflection:  How can we know if our prayer is pleasing to God or not? The prophet Hosea, who spoke in God’s name, said: “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6). The prayers and sacrifices we make to God mean nothing to him if they do not spring from a heart of love for God and for one’s neighbor. How can we expect God to hear our prayers if we do not approach him with humility and with a contrite heart that seeks mercy and forgiveness? We stand in constant need of God’s grace and help. That is why Scripture tells us that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34).

God hears the prayer of the humble
Jesus reinforced this warning with a vivid story of two people at prayer. Why did the Lord accept one person’s prayer and reject the other’s prayer? Luke gives us a hint: despising one’s neighbor closes the door to God’s heart. Expressing disdain and contempt for others is more than being mean-minded. It springs from the assumption that one is qualified to sit in the seat of judgment and to publicly shame those who do not conform to our standards and religious practices. Jesus’ story caused offense to the religious-minded Pharisees who regarded “tax collectors” as unworthy of God’s grace and favor. How could Jesus put down a “religious person” and raise up a “public sinner”?

Jesus’ parable speaks about the nature of prayer and our relationship with God. It does this by contrasting two very different attitudes towards prayer. The Pharisee, who represented those who take pride in their religious practices, exalted himself at the expense of others. Absorbed with his own sense of self-satisfaction and self-congratulation, his boastful prayer was centered on his good religious practices rather than on God’s goodness, grace, and pardon. Rather than humbling himself before God and asking for God’s mercy and help, this man praised himself while despising those he thought less worthy. The Pharisee tried to justify himself before God and before those he despised; but only God can justify us. The tax collector, who represented those despised by religious-minded people, humbled himself before God and begged for mercy. His prayer was heard by God because he had true sorrow for his sins. He sought God with humility rather than with pride.

The humble recognize their need for God’s mercy and help
This parable presents both an opportunity and a warning. Pride leads to self-deception and spiritual blindness. True humility helps us to see ourselves as we really are in God’s eyes and it inclines us to seek God’s help and mercy. God dwells with the humble of heart who recognize their own sinfulness and who acknowledge God’s mercy and saving grace. I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15). God cannot hear us if we boast in ourselves and despise others. Do you humbly seek God’s mercy and do you show mercy to others, especially those you find difficult to love and to forgive?

“Lord Jesus, may your love and truth transform my life – my inner thoughts, intentions, and attitudes, and my outward behavior, speech, and actions. Where I lack charity, kindness, and forbearance, help me to embrace your merciful love and to seek the good of my neighbor, even those who cause me ill-favor or offense. May I always love as you have loved and forgive others as you have forgiven.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct23.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. John of Capistrano, Patron of Jurists (1386-1456)
St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a former German knight in that city. He studied law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia. During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned. Upon his release he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia in 1416. He and St. James of the March were fellow students under St. Bernardine of Siena, who inspired him to institute the devotion to the holy Name of Jesus and His Mother. John began his brilliant preaching apostolate with a deacon in 1420. After his ordination he traveled throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia preaching penance and establishing numerous communities of Franciscan renewal. When Mohammed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, St. John, at the age of seventy, was commissioned by Pope Callistus III to preach and lead a crusade against the invading Turks. Marching at the head of seventy thousand Christians, he gained victory in the great battle of Belgrade against the Turks in 1456. Three months later he died at Illok, Hungary. His feast day is October 23. He is the patron of jurists. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=692

More Saints of the Day
St. Allucio
St. Amo
Bl. Arnold Reche
St. Benedict of Sebaste
St. Clether
St. Elfleda
St. John of Capistrano
St. John of Syracuse
St. Leothade
St. Maroveus
St. Oda
St. Paul Tong Buong
St. Romanus of Rouen
Sts. Servandus & Cermanus
St. Severinus
St. Severinus
St. Severinus Boethius
St. Theodoret of Antioch
Bl. Thomas Thwing
St. Verus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
St. John Paul II, Pope (Optional Memorial)
Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 478

63 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 4:7-16
Psalms 122:1-5: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them–
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102216.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102216.cfm

Reflection:  What can a calamity, such as a political blood-bath or a natural disaster, teach us about God’s kingdom and the consequences of bad choices and sinful actions? Jesus used two such occasions to address the issue of sin and judgment with his Jewish audience. Pilate, who was the Roman governor of Jerusalem at the time, ordered his troops to slaughter a group of Galileans who had come up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice in the Temple. We do not know what these Galileans did to incite Pilate’s wrath, nor why Pilate chose to attack them in the holiest of places for the Jews, in their temple at Jerusalem. For the Jews, this was political barbarity and sacrilege at its worst!

The second incident which Jesus addressed was a natural disaster, a tower in Jerusalem which unexpectedly collapsed, killing 18 people. The Jews often associated such calamities and disasters as a consequence of sin. Scripture does warn that sin can result in calamity! Though the righteous fall seven times, and rise again; the wicked are overthrown by calamity (Proverbs 24:16).

The time for repentance and forgiveness is right now!
The real danger and calamity which Jesus points out is that an unexpected disaster or a sudden death does not give us time to repent of our sins and to prepare ourselves to meet the Judge of heaven and earth. The Book of Job reminds us that misfortune and calamity can befall both the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Jesus gives a clear warning – take responsibility for your actions and moral choices and put sin to death today before it can destroy your heart, mind, soul, and body as well. Unrepentant sin is like a cancer which corrupts us from within. If it is not eliminated through repentance – asking God for forgiveness and for his healing grace – it leads to a spiritual death which is far worse than physical destruction.

The sign of the barren fig tree
Jesus’ parable of the barren fig trees illustrates his warning about the consequences of allowing sin and corruption to take root in our hearts and minds. Fig trees were a common and important source of food for the people of Palestine. A fig tree normally matured within three years, producing plentiful fruit. If it failed, it was cut down to make room for more healthy trees. A decaying fig tree and its bad fruit came to symbolize for the Jews the consequence of spiritual corruption caused by evil deeds and unrepentant sin.

The unfruitful fig tree symbolized the outcome of Israel’s indifference and lack of response to God’s word of  repentance and restoration. The prophets depicted the desolation and calamity of Israel’s fall and ruin – due to her unfaithfulness to God – as a languishing fig tree (see Joel 1:7,12; Habbakuk 3:17; and Jeremiah 8:13). Jeremiah likened good and evil rulers and members of Israel with figs that were either good for eating or rotten and wasteful (Jeremiah 24:2-8). Jesus’ parable depicts the patience of God, but it also contains a warning that we should not presume upon God’s patience and mercy. God’s judgment will come in due course – very soon or later.

Why God judges
Why does God judge his people? He judges to purify and cleanse us of all sin that we might grow in his holiness and righteousness. And he disciplines us for our own good, to inspire a godly fear and reverence for him and his word. God is patient, but for those who persistently and stubbornly rebel against him and refuse to repent and change their course, there is the consequence that they will lose both their soul and body to hell. Are God’s judgments unjust or unloving? When God’s judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce God’s judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent and turn back to God.

Don’t tolerate sin
God, in his mercy, gives us time to get right with him, but that time is now. We must not assume that there is no hurry. A sudden and unexpected death leaves one no time to prepare to settle one’s accounts when he or she must stand before the Lord on the day of judgment. Jesus warns us that we must be ready at all times. Tolerating sinful habits and excusing unrepentant sin and wrongdoing will result in bad fruit, painful discipline, and spiritual disease that leads to death and destruction. The Lord in his mercy gives us both grace (his gracious help and healing) and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a day, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up. Do you hunger for the Lord’s righteousness (moral goodness) and holiness?

“Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you that I may grow in righteousness and holiness. May I not squander the grace of the present moment to say “yes” to you and to your will and plan for my life.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct22.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Pope John Paul II, Patron of World Youth Day (Co- Patron) (1920-2005)
Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometres from Cracow, on May 18, 1920. He was the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941.

He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Cracow’s Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Cracow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Cracow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the “Rhapsodic Theatre,” also clandestine.

After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Cracow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Cracow on November 1, 1946.

Soon after, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross. At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=6996

More Saints of the Day
St. Abercius Marcellus
Sts. Alexander, Heraclins, and Companions
Bl. Alix Le Clercq
St. Alodia
St. Benedict of Macerac
St. Bertharius
St. Donatus of Fiesole
St. Pope John Paul II
St. Mark
St. Mary Salome
St. Mellon
St. Moderan
St. Nepotian
St. Nunctus
St. Philip
St. Philip of Heraclea
St. Verecundus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 477

65 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
Psalms 24:1-6:   Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Gospel: Luke 12:54-59
Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102116.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102116.cfm

Reflection:  How good are you at reading warning signs? Jesus expects his disciples to accurately read the signs of the times! Seafarers and farmers know the importance of spotting weather conditions for safe travel and planting. A lot of effort is made today, with the help of science and technology, to discern potential natural dangers, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earth quakes, and erupting volcanoes, so that people can be warned to take shelter before disaster hits.

Don’t miss God’s kingdom and power to transform your life
Our need for accurately discerning the spiritual condition and moral climate around us is vital if we want to avert spiritual crisis and moral disaster. The Lord is ready to transform our lives by offering us his kingdom of righteousness (moral goodness), peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). – But we can miss it if we allow a permissive attitude that takes sin lightly or puts off repairing wrongdoing before it is too late to get reconciled with God.

Jesus used a very vivid illustration of a threatening lawsuit to show the urgency of settling a bad case outside of court before a worse sentence could passed against us. Why did the neighbor in Jesus’ story make an effort to come to an agreement with his adversary before the matter was sent to court for judgment? The accused knew that he had a bad case which would likely go against him in court. He quickly tried to come to an agreement with his adversary to avoid receiving a worse sentence of being thrown into prison and given a costly fine as well.

Jesus will set us free and fill us with the Holy Spirit
We all stand in need of God’s mercy, grace, and protection. The Lord Jesus is our physician and healer and he is ready to set us free from any sinful patterns of thinking, acting, and speaking. If we give our lives over to him he will fill us with his Holy Spirit and give us a new heart and a transformed mind that is filled with his truth, love, and goodness. If you want lasting peace and joy with God, then allow the Lord Jesus to transform every area of your life, your home, your work, your relationships, and possessions so that he may truly be the Lord and Giver of abundant life. Are you ready to surrender all to him – and to receive all from him?

“Lord Jesus, flood my heart with your love and free me from all that would keep me from doing your will. Transform my mind that I may discern what is right and choose what is good and pleasing to you.”  http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct21.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hilarion (291-371)
Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. Hesychius. He was born in Tabatha, Palestine, and was educated in Alexandria, Egypt. He stayed with St. Anthony in the desert there before becoming a hermit at Majuma, near Gaza, Israel. In 356, Hilarion returned to St. Anthony in the Egyptian desert and found that his fame had Spread there too. He fled to Sicily to escape notice, but Hesychius traced him there. The two went to Dalmatia, Croatia, and then to Cyprus. Hilarion performed so many miracles that crowds flocked to him when it was discovered he was in any region. He died on Cyprus, and St. Hesychius secretly took his remains back to Palestine. His cult is now confined to local calendars. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=659

More Saints of the Day
St. Agatho
St. Astericus
St. Berthold
St. Cilinia
St. Condedus
St. Dasius
St. Gaspar
St. Gebizo
Bl. Giuseppe “Pino” Puglis
St. Hilarion
St. Hugh of Ambronay
St. John of Bridlington
Bl. Josephine Leroux
St. Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena
St. Maichus
St. Maurontus
Bl. Nicolas Barre
St. Tuda
St. Ursula
St. Viator
St. Wendolinus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 476

66 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19:  The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 12:49-53
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102016.cfm

Reflection:  Do you want to be on fire for God? Jesus shocked his disciples when he declared that he would cast fire and cause division rather than peace upon the earth. What kind of fire did Jesus have in mind here?

The fire of God’s purifying love and cleansing word
The image of fire in biblical times was often associated with God and with his action in the world and in the lives of his people. God sometimes manifested his presence by use of fire, such as God’s revelation to Moses through the burning bush in the wilderness which was not consumed by the flames (Exodus 3:2). God assured the Hebrew people of his continual presence, guidance, and protection for them through the wilderness for forty years with the pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day (Exodus 13:21-22). The prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven to reveal God’s presence and power and to purify the people of false idols (1 Kings 18:36-39). The image of fire was also used as a sign of God’s glory (Ezekiel 1:4, 13) and holiness (Deuteronomy 4:24), his protective presence (2 Kings 6:17), and his righteous judgment (Zechariah 13:9) and holy wrath against sin (Isaiah 66:15-16).

Fire is also a sign and symbol of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11-12 and Luke 3:16-17). When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples at Pentecost “tongues of fire” appeared above their heads (Acts 2:3). We can see from both the Old and New Testament Scriptures that God’s fire purifies and cleanses to make us clean (sins washed away) and holy (fit to offer him acceptable praise and worship), and it inspires a reverent fear (awe in God’s presence) and respect (obeying and giving God his due) for God and for his holy word.

Loyalty unites – division separates
Why did Jesus link fire from heaven with costly division on the earth? Did he expect his followers to take his statement of “father against son and son against father” and “mother against daughter and daughter against mother” literally? Or was he intentionally using a figure of speech to emphasize the choice and cost of following him above all else? Jesus used a typical Hebrew hyperbole (a figure of speech which uses strong language and exaggeration for emphasis) to drive home an important lesson. We often do the same when we want to emphasize something very strongly. Jesus’ hyperbole, however, did contain a real warning that the Gospel message does have serious consequences for our lives.

When Jesus spoke about division within families he likely had in mind the prophecy of Micah: a man’s enemies are the men of his own household(Micah 7:6). The essence of Christianity is loyalty to Jesus Christ – the Son of God and Savior of the world – a loyalty that takes precedence over every other relationship. The love of God compels us to choose who will be first in our lives. To place any relationship (or anything else) above God is a form of idolatry.

Who do you love first and foremost?
Jesus challenges his disciples to examine who they love first and foremost. A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Jesus Christ. Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or kin. It is possible that family and friends can become our enemies if the thought of them keeps us from doing what we know God wants us to do. Does the love of Jesus Christ compel you to put God first in all you do (2 Corinthians 5:14)?

The Gospel message is good news for those who seek pardon, peace, and the abundant life which God offers us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus offers true freedom to those who believe in him – freedom from slavery to sin, Satan, and the oppressive forces of hatred and evil that can destroy body, mind, and spirit. Do you listen to the voice of your Savior and trust in his word? Commit your ways to him, obey his word, and you will find true peace, joy, and happiness in the Lord your God.

“Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love consume me and transform my life that I may truly desire nothing more than life with you. Fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit that I may always seek to please you and do your will.”  http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct20.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)
St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of Genoa, January 3, 1694. His infancy and youth were spent in great innocence and piety. He was inspired from on high to found a congregation; in an ecstacy he beheld the habit which he and his companions were to wear. After consulting his director, Bishop Gastinara of Alexandria in Piedmont, he reached the conclusion that God wished him to establish a congregation in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ. On November 22, 1720, the bishop vested him with the habit that had been shown to him in a vision, the same that the Passionists wear at the present time. From that moment the saint applied himself to repair the Rules of his institute; and in 1721 he went to Rome to obtain the approbation of the Holy See. At first he failed, but finally succeeded when Benedict XIV approved the Rules in 1741 and 1746. Meanwhile St. Paul built his first monastery near Obitello. Sometime later he established a larger community at the Church of St. John and Paul in Rome. For fifty years St. Paul remained the indefatigable missionary of Italy. God lavished upon him the greatest gifts in the supernatural order, but he treated himself with the greatest rigor, and believed that he was a useless servant and a great sinner. His saintly death occurred at Rome in the year 1775, at the age of eighty-one. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867. His feast day is October 20. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=810

More Saints of the Day
St. Acca
St. Adelina
Bl. Adeline
St. Aderald
St. Artemius
St. Barsabas
St. Bernard of Bagnorea
St. Bertilla Boscardin
St. Caprasius of Agen
Bl. Francis Serrano
St. Irene of Tomar
Bl. Jakob Kern
St. Martha
Bl. Oleksa Zaryckyj
St. Paul of the Cross
St. Usthazanes
St. Vitalis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

Lectionary: 475
67 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 3:2-12
Isaiah 12:2-6:  You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Gospel: Luke 12:39-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, he will put him
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101916.cfm

Reflection:  What lesson can we draw from Jesus’ parable about a thief in the night and the parable about the master of the household who surprises his stewards with an unexpected visit? Both parables confront us with the possibility of losing everything we presently own and treasure and losing our the future inheritance as well.

The thief in the night
Jesus’ story (parable) of the thief in the night brings home the necessity for constant watchfulness and being on guard to avert the danger of plunder and destruction, especially under the cover of darkness and secrecy! While no thief would announce his intention in advance, nor the time when he would strike, lack of vigilance would nonetheless invite disaster for those who are unprepared to keep their treasure and their lives secure at all times! The intruder strikes when he is least expected!

Guarding the treasure God’s has given us
What treasure does the Lord expect us to vigilantly guard in this present life? It is the treasure of the gifts he has won for us – the gift of salvation purchased by his blood on the cross which has ransomed us from slavery to sin, Satan,and death – and the gift of his Holy Spirit who works in and through us to make us a a new creation refashioned in the image of God. The Father and the Son through the gift of the Holy Spirit come to make their home with us. But we can ignore their presence, close our ears to their voice, or reject them through pride and unfaithfulness.

Satan comes like a thief in the night to rob us of our faith and to draw us away from God. He works with the world (that society which is opposed to God) and with our flesh (our sinful inclinations) to make us believe that we can find treasure and happiness apart from God and his will for our lives.

And we can deceive ourselves by putting off for tomorrow what must be done today. God offers us grace today to turn away from sin and rebellion. We must not presume that we can wait another day. The day of the Lord – when he returns again at the end of this present world – will come like a thief. We need to be spiritually alert and watchful at all times. The Lord comes to us – each and every day – to draw us to himself and to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love.

God rewards those who are faithful and wise 
Jesus ends his teaching on watchfulness and vigilance with another parable about a master and his servants (Matthew 24:.45-49). The storyline is similar. There is an element of surprise – the master suddenly returns home unexpectedly, probably from a long journey. He rewards one servant for his faithfulness to his master. He has performed his service dutifully and has done all that the master required of him.

He punishes the other servant who behaved wickedly. This servant was not only irresponsible – he was frequently absent from work and spent his master’s money by partying (eating and drinking) a lot with his friends. The wicked servant also abused his fellow workers with physical force and violence – probably to make them do the work he was supposed to do for his master. The master not only throws him out of his house (he fires him from his job!). He also throws him into the worst possible place – a prison of no return where there is nothing but torment and misery. Should we be surprised to see the master acting with such swift judgment? He rewards faithfulness with honor, blessing, and promotion, and he punishes unfaithfulness due to laziness and abuse with demotion, dishonor, and imprisonment.

Are you ready to meet the Lord?
The Lord Jesus calls us to be vigilant in watching for his return and to be ready to meet him when he calls us to himself. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God’s way of love, justice, and holiness. The Lord’s warning of judgment causes dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly wait for his return in glory. God’s judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life.

“Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart for you. Make me strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory.  May I always be watchful and ready to answer when you draw near.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct19.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Sts. Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil
In 1642 the Huron country was in great distress. Harvests were poor, sickness abounded, and clothing was scarce. Quebec was the only source of supplies, and Isaac Jogues was chosen to lead an expedition. It reached its objective safely and started back well supplied with goods for the mission, but the Iroquois, the bitter enemies of the Hurons, and fiercest of all Indian tribes, were on the war-path and ambushed the returning expedition. The story of the ill-treatment and torture of the captives cannot be told here. Suffice it to say that Jogues and his assistant, Rene Goupil, besides being beaten to the ground and assailed several times with knotted sticks and fists, had their hair, beards and nails torn off and their forefingers bitten through. What grieved them far more, was the cruelty practiced on their Christian converts. The first of all the martyrs to suffer death was Rene Goupil, who was tomahawked on September 29, 1642, for having made the Sign of the Cross on the brow of some children. This Rene Goupil was a remarkable man. He had tried hard to be a Jesuit and had even entered the Novitiate, but his health forced him to give up the attempt. He then studied surgery and found his way to Canada, where he offered his services to the missionaries, whose fortitude he emulated. Rene Goupil is one of the North American martyrs who died at the hands of the Indians between the years 1642-1649. Their feast day is October 19.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=151

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Agnes de Jesus Galand
St. Altinus
St. Anthony Daniel
St. Aquilinus
St. Beronicus
St. Charles Garnier
St. Cleopatra
St. Cleopatra
St. Desiderius
St. Eadnot
St. Ethbin
St. Eusterius
St. Frideswide
St. Gabriel Lalement
Sts. Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil
St. Jean de Brebeuf
St. John de Brebeuf & Companions
St. John of Rila
St. Laura
St. Laura
St. Lupus of Soissons
St. Philip Howard
St. Theofrid (Chaffre) of Orange
St. Theofrid
St. Varus
St. Varus
St. Veranus of Cavaillon

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist

Lectionary: 661
68 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 2 Timothy 4:10-17
Psalms 145:10-13, 17-18: Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Gospel: Luke 10:1-9
The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101816.cfm

Reflection:  What kind of harvest does the Lord want us to reap today for his kingdom? When Jesus commissioned seventy of his disciples to go on mission, he gave them a vision of a vast field that is ready to be harvested for the kingdom of God. Jesus frequently used the image of a harvest to convey the coming of God’s reign on earth. The harvest is the fruition of much labor and growth – beginning with the sowing of seeds, then growth to maturity, and finally the reaping of fruit for the harvest.

God’s word grows like a seed within us
In like manner, the word of God is sown in the hearts of receptive men and women who hear his word, accept it with trust and obedience, and then share the abundant fruit of God’s word in their life with others. The harvest Jesus had in mind was not only the gathering in of the people of Israel, but all the peoples (and nations) of the world. John the Evangelist tells us that  “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Be a sower of God’s word of peace and mercy
What does Jesus mean when he says his disciples must be “lambs in the midst of wolves”? The prophet Isaiah foretold a time when wolves and lambs will dwell in peace (Isaiah 11:6 and 65:25). This certainly refers to the second coming of of the Lord Jesus when all will be united under the Lordship of Jesus after he has put down his enemies and established the reign of God over the heavens and the earth. In the meantime, the disciples must expect opposition and persecution from those who would oppose the Gospel. Jesus came to lay down his life for us, as our sacrificial lamb, to atone for our sins and the sins of the world. We, in turn, must be willing to offer our lives with gratitude and humble service for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are called to speak and witness in God’s name
What is the significance of Jesus appointing seventy disciples to the ministry of the word? Seventy was a significant number in biblical times. Moses chose seventy elders to help him in the task of leading the people through the wilderness. The Jewish Sanhedrin, the governing council for the nation of Israel, was composed of seventy members. In Jesus’ times seventy was held to be the number of nations throughout the world. Jesus commissioned the seventy to a two-fold task – to speak in his name and to act with his power.

Jesus gave his disciples instructions for how they were to carry out their ministry. They must go and serve as people without guile, full of charity (selfless giving in love) and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God’s kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must  travel light – only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them – in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting reward or payment. “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord Jesus wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.

God gives us his life-giving word that we may have abundant life in him. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. God shares his word with us and he commissions us to speak it boldly and plainly to others. Do you witness the truth and joy of the Gospel by word and example to those around you?

“Lord Jesus, may the joy and truth of the Gospel transform my life that I may witness it to those around me. Grant that I may spread your truth and merciful love wherever I go.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct18.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Luke, Evangelist, Patron of Physicians and Surgeons
Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul’s “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke’s life from Scripture and from early Church historians.

It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those “of the circumcision” — in other words, Jews — and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke’s gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith ofGentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Luke was born at Antioch in Syria.

In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul’s word, butEusebius, Saint Jerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician.

We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke’s Christian ministry. We know nothing about hisconversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of theActs is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts16:8-9 we hear of Paul’s company “So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ ” Then suddenly in 16:10 “they” becomes “we”: “When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.”

So Luke first joined Paul’s company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul leftPhilippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to “we” tells us that Luke has leftPhilippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem.

Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke’s inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: “Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:1-3).

Luke’s unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke’s is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses “Blessed are the poor” instead of “Blessed are the poor in spirit” in the beatitudes. Only in Luke’s gospel do we hear Mary ‘s Magnificat where she proclaims that God “has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).

Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus’ life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke’s gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary’s visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus’ disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: “Hail Mary full of grace” spoken at the Annunciation and “Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus” spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.

Forgiveness and God’s mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. Throughout Luke’s gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God’s mercy.

Reading Luke’s gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God’s kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone.

The reports of Luke’s life after Paul’s death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 Boeotia after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.

A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.

He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice — the sacrifice Jesusmade for all the world.

Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=76

More Saints of the Day
St. Asclepiades
St. Athenodorus
St. Gwen
St. Justus of Beauvais
St. Kevoca
St. Luke
St. Monon
St. Peter of Alcantara
St. Tryphonia

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Posted by: RAM | October 16, 2016

Monday (October 17): Storing up true riches

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 473

69 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
Psalms 100:2-5: The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101716.cfm

Reflection:  Have you ever tried to settle a money dispute or an inheritance issue? Inheritance disputes are rarely ever easy to resolve, especially when the relatives or close associates of the deceased benefactor cannot agree on who should get what and who should get the most. Why did Jesus refuse to settle an inheritance dispute between two brothers? He saw that the heart of the issue was not justice or fairness but rather greed and possessiveness.

Loving possessions rather than loving my neighbor
The ten commandments were summarized into two prohibitions – do not worship false idols and do not covet what belongs to another. It’s the flip side of the two great commandments – love God and love your neighbor. Jesus warned the man who wanted half of his brother’s inheritance to “beware of all covetousness.” To covet is to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge what God has given to another. Jesus restates the commandment “do not covet”, but he also states that a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of his or her possessions.

August of Hippo (354-430 AD) comments on Jesus’ words to the brother who wanted more:

Greed wants to divide, just as love desires to gather. What is the significance of ‘guard against all greed,’ unless it is ‘fill yourselves with love?’ We, possessing love for our portion, inconvenience the Lord because of our brother just as that man did against his brother, but we do not use the same plea. He said, ‘Master, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ We say, ‘Master, tell my brother that he may have my inheritance.'(Sermon 265.9)

The fool who was possessed by his riches
Jesus reinforces his point with a parable about a foolish rich man (Luke 12:16-21). Why does Jesus call this wealthy landowner a fool? Jesus does not fault the rich man for his industriousness and skill in acquiring wealth, but rather for his egoism and selfishness – it’s mine, all mine, and no one else’s. This parable is similar to the parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich fool had lost the capacity to be concerned for others. His life was consumed with his possessions and his only interests were in himself. His death was the final loss of his soul! What is Jesus’ lesson on using material possessions? It is in giving that we receive. Those who are rich towards God receive ample reward – not only in this life – but in eternity as well.

Where is your treasure?
In this little parable Jesus probes our heart – where is your treasure? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. What do you treasure above all else?

“Lord Jesus, free my heart from all possessiveness and from coveting what belongs to another. May I desire you alone as the one true treasure worth possessing above all else. Help me to make good use of the material blessings you give me that I may use them generously for your glory and for the good of others.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct17.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Antioch
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – The second Bishop of Antioch, Syria, this disciple of the beloved Disciple John was consecrated Bishop around the year 69 by the Apostle Peter, the first Pope. A holy man who was deeply loved by the Christian faithful, he always made it his special care to defend “orthodoxy” (right teaching) and “orthopraxy” (right practice) among the early Christians.

In 107, during the reign of the brutal Emperor Trajan, this holy Bishop was wrongfully sentenced to death because he refused to renounce the Christian faith. He was taken under guard to Rome where he was to be brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle. During his journey, his travels took him through Asia Minor and Greece. He made good use of the time by writing seven letters of encouragement, instruction and inspiration to the Christians in those communities. We still have these letters as a great treasure of the Church today.

The content of the letters addressed the hierarchy and structure of the Church as well as the content of the orthodox Christian faith. It was Bishop Ignatius who first used the term “catholic” to describe the whole Church. These letters connect us to the early Church and the unbroken, clear teaching of the Apostles which was given to them directly by Jesus Christ. They also reveal the holiness of a man of God who became himself a living letter of Christ. The shedding his blood in the witness of holy martyrdom was the culmination of a life lived conformed to Jesus Christ. Ignatius sought to offer himself, in Christ, for the sake of the Church which he loved. His holy martyrdom occurred in the year 107.

In his pastoral letters he regularly thanked his brother and sister Christians for their concern for his well being but insisted on following through in his final witness of fidelity: “I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.”

Bishop Ignatius was not afraid of death. He knew that it had been defeated by the Master. He followed the Lord Jesus into his Passion, knowing that he would rise with Him in his Resurrection. He wrote to the disciples in Rome: “Permit me to imitate my suffering God … I am God’s wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” The beauty of this Eucharistic symbolism in these words reflects the deep theology of a mystic. He was dedicated to defending the true teaching handed down by the Apostles so that the brothers and sisters in the early Christian communities, and we who stand on their shoulders, would never be led astray by false teaching. He urged them to always listen to their Bishops because they were the successors of the Apostles. He died a Martyrs death in Rome, devoured by two lions in one of the cruel demonstrations of Roman excess and animosity toward the true faith.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=677

More Saints of the Day
St. Anstrudis
St. Berarius
St. Ethelbert and Etheired
St. Florentius
St. Francis Isidore Gagelin
St. Francois Gagelin
St. Herodion
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Bl. Jane Louise Barre and Jane Reine Prin
St. John the Dwarf
St. Louthiem
St. Mamelta
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
St. Marie Magdalen Desjardin
St. Nothlem
St. Regulus
St. Richard Gwyn
St. Rudolph of Gubbio
St. Victor
St. Victor, Alexander, and Marianus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 147

70 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Exodus 17:8-13
Psalms 121:1-8:  Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14–4:2
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.’”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101616.cfm

Reflection:  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?

“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.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct16.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Gerard Majella, Patron of Expectant Mothers (d.-1755)
St. Gerard Majella is the patron of expectant mothers. He was born in 1726 in Muro, Italy to a family of seven. Majella grew up in a poverty with a great respect for the poor. As he was just 12 when his father passed away, he was forced to grow up fast. Shortly after his father’s death, his mother sent him away to live with his uncle and learn to become a tailor, like his father. After a few years of working as a sewing apprentice, Majella took on a job with the local Bishop of Lacedonia as a servant.

Once Majella began earning money as a journeyman at the age of 21, he split his earnings with his mother, the poor of Muro and the rest in offerings for the poor souls. As the days passed, Majella began to grow pale and thin, often fasting and in prayer at a nearby Cathedral.

He applied to the Capuchin monastery at Muro twice, but was turned down both times. Majella was told his health was not well enough for such a strenuous life. However, Majella did not give up. In 1749, at the age of 23, he joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and just three years later became a professed lay brother.

Majella lived with the three vows of Poverty, Chasity and Obedience. He stayed close with the poor and worked very many different jobs. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women. Majella was often called on by the poor and the sick. Wherever his presence was demanded he graciously presented himself. He was there to “do the Will of God.”

This humble servant of God also had faculties associated with certain mystics including, levitation, bi-location and the ability to read souls. His charity, obedience, and selfless service as well as his ceaseless mortificationfor Christ, made him the perfect model of lay brothers.

Throughout his years of life, several reported miracles are tied to Majella including, restoring a boy’s life after he fell from a high cliff; blessing a poor farmer’s crops, ridding it of mice; blessing a poor family’s supply of wheat, causing it to last until the next harvest; and he multiplied bread for the poor on several occasions.

Along with his miracles effected through prayers for woman in labor, Majella’s last recorded miracle is one that many credit toward his becoming the patron of expectant mothers. Shortly before his death, Majella encountered a young girl. He had dropped his handkerchief and she set out to return it, only to be told to keep it. Majella told her she “may need it someday.” Years after Majella’s passing, the young girl became married and with child. She unexpectedly went into labor and was on the verge of losing her baby. She called for Majella’s handkerchief to be applied to her. Almost immediately, her pain abated and she proceeded to give birth to a healthy child, something very rare during that time.

His prayers are sought for the children, unborn children, women in childbirth, mothers, expectant mothers, motherhood, falsely accused people, good confessions, lay brothers and Muro Lucano, Italy.

Even as Majella became ill with tuberculosis, he only desired to live in God’s will. His one last request was that a small placard be placed on his door stating, “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.” Majella was told the Will of God wanted him to get better, and almost at once he became well. However, this only lasted for a month and quickly he became very ill once again. St. Gerard Majella died of disease on October 16, 1755 at the age of 29, living in the religious life for six years.

Due to the numerous miracles performed through Majella’s prayers, proceedings for his canonization began shortly after his death. In 1893, Majella was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and on December 11, 1904, Pope Pius X canonized the man of God. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=150

More Saints of the Day
St. Ambrose
St. Anastasius XX
St. Balderic
St. Baldwin
St. Bercharius
St. Bertrand of Comminges
St. Colman of Kilroot
St. Conogon
St. Dulcidius
St. Eliphius
St. Eremberta
St. Florentinus of Trier
St. Gerard Majella
St. Hedwig
St. Junian
St. Kiara
St. Lull
St. Magnobodus
St. Maxima
St. Mummolinus
St. Saturninus & Companions
St. Vitalis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

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