30 November 2012

30 Nov 2012, Saint Andrew, Apostle - Feast

Romans 10:9-18

Brothers and sisters:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The Scripture says, No one who believes in him will be put to shame. There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news! But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us? Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did; for

Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; Sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Matthew 4:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Come after me, says the Lord, and I will make you fishers of men.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.


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 Galillee 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". 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 be capable of becoming under his direction and power. When the Lord calls 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 through and in you for his glory?
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 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."

29 November 2012

29 Nov 2012, Thursday of Week 34; Blessed Francis Anthony of Lucera

Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a

I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth became illumined by his splendor. He cried out in a mighty voice:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a haunt for demons. She is a cage for every unclean spirit, a cage for every unclean bird, a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”

A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone and threw it into the sea and said:

“With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down, and will never be found again. No melodies of harpists and musicians, flutists and trumpeters, will ever be heard in you again. No craftsmen in any trade will ever be found in you again. No sound of the millstone will ever be heard in you again. No light from a lamp will ever be seen in you again. No voices of bride and groom will ever be heard in you again. Because your merchants were the great ones of the world, all nations were led astray by your magic potion.”

After this I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:

Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her harlotry. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

They said a second time:

“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Psalm 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (Rev. 19: 9a) Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

For he is good: the LORD, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Luke 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”


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). Jesus warns of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem as a consequence of the rejection of the gospel. According 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.

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. 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 establish his reign of righteousness and peace?

"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."

28 November 2012

28 Nov 2012, Wednesday of Week 34; St. Catherine Labouré

Revelation 15:1-4

I, John, saw in heaven another sign, great and awe-inspiring: seven angels with the seven last plagues, for through them God’s fury is accomplished.

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name. They were holding God’s harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 7-8, 9

R. (Rev. 15: 3b) Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm.

R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.

R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy.

R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to rule the earth; He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity.

R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Revelation 2:10c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”


If the gospel message is good news, then why do so many oppose it with hostility and even violence? Jesus warns his followers that they will be confronted with persecution, wickedness, false teaching, and temptation. The real enemy of the gospel is Satan whom Jesus calls a "murderer" and "father of lies" (John 8:44). Satan uses fear and hatred to provoke hostility in others towards those who follow Jesus Christ. And what is Jesus' response to this hostility and opposition? Love, truth, and forgiveness. Only love can defeat prejudice, intollerance, hatred, and envy. God's love purifies our hearts and minds of all that would divide and tear people apart. The truth is also essential for overcoming evil and tribulation in the world. Satan deceives and sin blinds the heart and mind. Only God's truth can free us from error and spiritual blindness. The gospel is God's word of truth and salvation. That is why Jesus tells his disciples to proclaim the gospel throughout the whole world (Mark 16:15), even in the midst of opposition and persecution.
Jesus tells his disciples that if they endure to the end they will gain their lives they will see God's salvation and inherit eternal life and happiness with God. Endurance is more than human effort and perseverance. It is a supernational gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to bear up under any trial, temptation, and form of persecution. Endurance is strengthened with 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 hero 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 our sake and for our salvation and he calls us to lay down our lives for one another and to take up our cross in like manner (John 15:12-13; 1 John 3:16).

The word "martyr" in the New Testament Greek means "witness". The Book of Revelations says that "Jesus was the faithful witness ...who freed us from our sins by his blood" (Revelations 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 forebearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion.

St. Augustine of Hippo wrote, "The martyrs were bound, jailed, scourged, racked, burned, rent, butchered and they multiplied!" Why is this the case? The Christian martyrs witnessed to the truth, joy, and freedom of the gospel, by their lives, their testimony, and by the shedding of their own blood for the name of Christ. Today we unfortunately witness many extremists and misguided individuals who will sacrifice their lives, and kill others in the process, out of hatred, revenge, prejudice, and envy. From a Christian point of view, they are not true martyrs because their sacrifice is not motivated by God's merciful love and forgiveness, truth and righteousness.

True martyrs pray for their persecutors and love their enemies. In their suffering and in their death they witness the truth of the gospel that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Jesus gave his life for all who would accept him as their savior whether Jew or Greek, Christian or Muslim, agnostic or atheist. Satan seeks to destroy our faith through the fear of death and he incites others to persecute Christians for their faith in Christ. Martyrs who shed their blood for Jesus Christ win great victory, not only for themselves, but for the whole people of God. The martyrs overcome Satan by enduring suffering and death through their faith in Christ who died and rose for us. And through their witness many others recognize the victory which Christ won on the cross. The martyrs witness to the truth the truth of Jesus Christ and his power to overcome sin, fear, hatred, violence, and prejudice, and even death itself. What gives courage and confidence to the martyrs is the firm hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life and and unending happiness with God.

God may call some of us to be martyrs for our faith. 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. 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."

27 November 2012

27 Nov 2012, Tuesday of Week 34; St. John Berchmans

27 November, 2012

Tuesday of Week 34; St. John Berchmans

Revelation 14:14-19

I, John, looked and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.” So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven who also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire, and cried out in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.

Psalm 96:10, 11-12, 13

R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Say among the nations: The LORD is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity.

R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.

R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Before the LORD, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy.

R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Revelation 2:10c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”


How would you respond if someone prophesied that your church or place of worship would be destroyed? In 1972 a violent earthquake ripped through the center of Managua and destroyed the great cathedral church. This was only the beginning of the troubles for the tiny nation and Christian community of Nicaragua which suffered great turmoil and loss in the civil war that ensued for more than a decade. Out of the ashes of destruction and the ravages of communism has emerged a humbler yearning for spiritual renewal and religious freedom. Jesus foretold many signs that would point to God's action in the world to purify and renew his people. To the great consternation of the Jews, Jesus prophesied the destruction of their 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 seek and 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 brough to light (Luke 12:2-3; Romans 2:16).
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?

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 God's 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 trails and difficulties. Help me to seek your kingdom first and to reject whatever would hinder me from pursuing your way of righteousness and holiness. Fill me with the joy and hope of your everlasting kingdom."

26 November 2012

26 Nov 2012, Monday of Week 34; Blessed James Alberione

Revelation 14:1-3, 4b-5

I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.

Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Matthew 24:42a, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”


Do you know the joy of selfless giving and 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! 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. 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."

25 November 2012

25 Nov 2012, Solemnity of Christ the King; St. Catherine of Alexandria

Daniel 7:13–14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Psalm 93:1, 1–2, 5 (1a)

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

The LORD is king, in splendor robed; robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

And he has made the world firm, not to be moved. Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O LORD.

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed; holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days.

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

Revelation 1:5–8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

Mark 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

John 18:33b–37

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”


Do you recognize that the Lord Jesus have been
given all authority and power to reign over heaven and earth? Jesus was
crucified for his claim to be the Messiah King who would rule not only
over his people Israel but ultimately over all the nations as well. What
is the significance or meaning of Jesus' kingship for us? Kingship today
seems antiquated, especially in democratic societies where everyone is
treated equal and free. God at first did not want to give his people Israel
a king. Why? Because God alone was their King and they needed no other.
Nonetheless, God relented and promised his people that through David's
line he would establish a kingship that would last for eternity (Psalm
89:29). The Jews understood that the Messiah would come as king to establish
God's reign for them. They wanted a king who would free them from tyranny
and from foreign domination. Many had high hopes that Jesus would be the
Messiah king. Little did they understand what kind of kingship Jesus claimed
to have. Jesus came to conquer hearts and souls for an imperishable kingdom,
rather than to conquer perishable lands and entitlements.
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 rulership over the earth. Jesus knew that
the way to victory was through submission to his Father's will and through
the sacrificial offering of his life upon the cross for the sins of the
world. As Jesus was dying on the cross, he was mocked for his claim to
kingship. Nonetheless, he died not only as King of the Jews, but as King
of the nations as well. His victory over the power of sin, Satan, and the
world, was accomplished through his death on the cross and his resurrection.
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. In
the Book of Revelations Jesus is called
King of kings and Lord and lords
(Revelations 19:16). Do you recognize Jesus Christ as your King and

The scriptures present us with the choice between two kingdoms the
kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The choice is ours to make
voluntarily. Which kingdom do you serve - the world that passes away or
God's kingdom which endures for all time? God's kingdom remains forever
because it is built on the foundation of God's eternal love and justice.
To accept Jesus as Lord and King is to become a citizen of an everlasting
kingdom which is governed by righteousness, peace, truth, and love. Is
your life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

"Lord Jesus Christ, you are my King and there is no other. Be the Lord
and Master of my heart, will, mind, and soul. May all that I do be pleasing
to you and serve the best interests of my neighbor as well."

24 November 2012

24 Nov 2012, Saturday of Week 33; St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

Revelation 11:4-12

I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me:
Here are my two witnesses: These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish.

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city, which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt,” where indeed their Lord was crucified. Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days, and they will not allow their corpses to be buried. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and be glad and exchange gifts because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth. But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.

Psalm 144:1, 2, 9-10

R. (1b) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.

R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

My mercy and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I trust, who subdues my people under me.

R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

O God, I will sing a new song to you; with a ten‑stringed lyre I will chant your praise, You who give victory to kings, and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.

R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

See 2 Timothy 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.


Is your life earthbound or heavenbound? 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. 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?
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
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)

23 November 2012

23 Nov 2012, Friday of Week 33; Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro

Revelation 10:8-11

I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me. Then the voice spoke to me and said: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.” I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it. In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then someone said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!

In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Your decrees are my inheritance forever; the joy of my heart they are.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

John 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.


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. 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. 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?
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."

22 November 2012

22 Nov 2012, Thursday of Week 33; St. Cecilia

22 November, 2012

Thursday of Week 33; St. Cecilia

Revelation 5:1-10

I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to examine it. I shed many tears because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to examine it. One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”

Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb that seemed to have been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes; these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world. He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.

Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.

R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.

Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory.

R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.

Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches; Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.

R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.

Psalm 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”


What is the enemy of peace in our homes, cities,
and nations and what keeps us from a good relationship with God and with
our neighbor? When Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem he wept over
it because it inhabitants did not "know the things that make for peace"
(Luke 19:42). Jesus fulfills the beatitude for those who weep and for those
who make peace "blessed are those who mourn ...blessed are the peacemakers"
(Matthew 5:4,9). That is why Jesus went to Jerusalem to be crucified not
only for the sins of its inhabitants but to reconcile the whole world
all who have sinned with God. Mourning and weeping over sin and unfaithfulness
leads to true peace and reconciliation not only with God but with our neighbor
as well. Do you know the peace which makes for lasting friendship, joy,
and unity?
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 (1Kings 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
which mean "peace". The temple in Jerusalem was a constant reminder
to the people of God's presence with them.

Why does Jesus weep and lament for this city? It's inhabitants had rejected
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord because of their pride and
unbelief. 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' entrance into Jerusalem was a gracious visitation of God's
anointed King to his holy city. Jerusalem's lack of faith and rejection
of the Messiah, however, leads to its devastation and destruction. Jesus'
lamentation and prophecy echoes the lamentation of Jeremiah who prophesied
the first destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jeremiah's lamentation
offered hope of 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 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 today?

When God visits his people he comes to establish peace and justice by
rooting out our enemies sin and Satan who enslave us to fear and pride,
rebellion and hatred, envy and covetousness, strife and violence, and every
form of evil. 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 sin and Satan. 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."

21 November 2012

21 Nov 2012, Wednesday of Week 33; Presentation of Mary

21 November, 2012

Wednesday of Week 33; Presentation of Mary

Revelation 4:1-11

I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpetlike voice that had spoken to me before, saying, “Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.” At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald. Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones on which twenty-four elders sat, dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. In front of the throne was something that resembled a sea of glass like crystal.

In the center and around the throne, there were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back. The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a man, and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever. They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming:

“Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.”

Psalm 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Praise the LORD in his sanctuary, praise him in the firmament of his strength. Praise him for his mighty deeds, praise him for his sovereign majesty.

R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Praise him with the blast of the trumpet, praise him with lyre and harp, Praise him with timbrel and dance, praise him with strings and pipe.

R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Praise him with sounding cymbals, praise him with clanging cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Alleluia.

R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

See John 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.


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. 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 king's subjects would be faithful
and reliable in their use of the money entrusted to them. Third, the king
rewards those who are faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and
who do nothing with his money.
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 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."

20 November 2012

20 Nov 2012, Tuesday of Week 33; St. Edmund

20 November, 2012

Tuesday of Week 33; St. Edmund

Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: “To the angel of the Church in Sardis, write this:

“‘The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you. However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy.

“‘The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

“To the angel of the Church in Laodicea, write this:

“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation, says this: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Psalm 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5

R. (Rev. 3: 21) I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.

R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

Who harms not his fellow man, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; By whom the reprobate is despised, while he honors those who fear the LORD.

R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

Who lends not his money at usury and accepts no bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be disturbed.

R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

1 John 4:10b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

God loved us, and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”


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.
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

style="font-size: 150%;">
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 Gods 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. lang="en-us">
… 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. lang="en-us">
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. lang="en-us">
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

style="text-align: left; text-indent: 18pt; line-height: normal; margin-left: 40px;"> lang="en-us">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. lang="en-us">Sermon

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."

19 November 2012

19 Nov 2012, Monday of Week 33; Blessed Victoria Rasoamanarivo

Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.

John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne.

I heard the Lord saying to me: “To the angel of the Church in Ephesus, write this:

“‘The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this: “I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not, and discovered that they are impostors. Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”’”

Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (Rev. 2:17) Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.

Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.

R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.

He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.

R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.

Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.

R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.

John 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.


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. It took raw courage
and 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
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 rebuffed him because
he was interrupting his talk and disturbing his audience. Jesus showed
that acting was more important than talking. This man was in desparate
need and Jesus was ready not only to empathize with his suffering but to
relieve it as well. 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
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. Clement of Alexandria,
a 4th century church father, comments on this double vision:

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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.

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."

18 November 2012

18 Nov 2012, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time; St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

18 November, 2012

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time; St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Daniel 12:1–3

In those days, I, Daniel, heard this word of the Lord: “At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.

“But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”

Psalm 16:5, 8, 9–10, 11 (1)

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!

O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot. I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!

You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!

Hebrews 10:11–14, 18

Brothers and sisters:
Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God; now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.

Luke 21:36

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mark 13:24–32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

“And then they will see the ‘Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. 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.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”


How good are you at reading signs? The people of
Jesus' time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied
by extraordinary signs and wonders. Jesus' first coming was clouded in
mystery and wonderment a son of David born in a cave at Bethlehem, magi
from the East guided by a star to worship the newborn king of Israel, a
carpenter miracle-worker who gave sight to the blind and raised the dead,
a Suffering Servant who bore the sins of many upon a cross, a Risen Lord
who stormed the gates of Hell to release its captives. Jesus on a number
of occasions prophesied that he would return again at the end of the world
to finish the work he came to accomplish through his death and resurrection.
The image of a "Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory"
is taken from the vision of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:13-14). Daniel's
vision is a royal investiture of a human king before God's throne. This
king, whose authority comes from God, is given world-wide rulership and
power which lasts forever. The Jews of Jesus' day were looking for a Messianic
king who would free them from foreign oppression. Jesus tells them that
when he returns he will establish a universal kingdom of peace, righteousness,
and justice for all.
Jesus' prophetic description of the end of time and the day of 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). Jesus speaks of the second coming as a known fact,
a for certain event we can expect to take place. This coming will be marked
by signs that all will recognize; signs which will strike terror in those
unprepared and wonder in those who are ready to meet the Lord. When the
Lord returns he will establish justice and righteousness and he will vindicate
all who have been faithful to him. His judgment is a sign of hope for those
who trust in him.

What lesson does the Lord Jesus want us to learn from the parable of
the budding fig tree? 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 prophet Joel mentions its fruitbearing as a sign of favor
from the Lord (Joel 2:22). The Talmud 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. This parable fortells the
joy of God's kingdom the joy of new life and the promise of a new age
of peace and blessing. The signs of spring are evident for all who can
see. Just so are the signs of God's kingdom. 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).

We do not know the day or hour when the Lord 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 see his kingdom
come in all its power and glory. The Lord wants us to be filled with joyful
anticipation for his coming again. He surely comes to us each day and speaks
to our hearts like a lover who whispers in the ear of the beloved. As he
promised, the Lord will surely come again in all his glory. Do you look
for the signs pointing to the Lord's return and do you pray that he come
quickly to establish peace and justice on the earth?

"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 confidence that I will see you face to face when you return in glory

17 November 2012

17 Nov 2012, Saturday of Week 32; St. Elizabeth of Hungary

3 John 5-8

Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters, especially for strangers; they have testified to your love before the Church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey. For they have set out for the sake of the Name and are accepting nothing from the pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.

Psalm 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever. Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; He shall never be moved; the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

See 2 Thessalonians 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

God has called us through the Gospel, to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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?”


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 is much quicker 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. Jesus told this parable
to give fresh hope and confidence to his disciples. In this present life
we can expect trials and adversity, but we are not without hope in God.
The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the
injustices perpetrated by his creatures and that God's love is stronger
than death (Song of Songs 8:6). The just who put their trust in God can
look forward with hope to that day when they will receive their reward.
Jesus ends his parable with a probing question for us. Will you and
I have faith the faith that perseveres to the end when Jesus returns
in glory to judge the living and the dead? Faith is an entirely free gift
that God makes to us. If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith
until the end, 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? Do you pray with expectant faith and
confidence in God's merciful care and providence for you?

"Lord Jesus, make my faith strong that I may never doubt your promises.
When I face trials and difficulties, help me to trust in your unfailing
love and to find joy and contentment in you alone."

16 November 2012

16 Nov 2012, Friday of Week 32; St. Margaret of Scotland

2 John 4-9

[Chosen Lady:]
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father. But now, Lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another. For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.

Psalm 119:1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18

R. (1b) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

With all my heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commands.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Within my heart I treasure your promise, that I may not sin against you.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Be good to your servant, that I may live and keep your words.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Open my eyes, that I may consider the wonders of your law.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Luke 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”


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. 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. What's the point of this analogy? It's inevitable that some
life-threatening or life-changing event or cause will take place when the
necessary conditions are fulfilled. The return of the Lord Jesus is certain,
but the time is unknown. The Day of the Lord's judgment 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!
What does Jesus mean when he says that one person will be taken and
another left? God judges each person individually on how they have responded
to his mercy and his gracious invitation to accept or reject his kingship
to either live as loyal citizens or as traitors of his kingdom. We cannot
pass off personal responsibility and accountability for how we have lived
our lives to someone else, such as a close friend, spouse, or family member.
No one can discharge his or her duty by proxy or by association with someone
else. The good news is that God gives grace and help to all who seek him
with faith and trust in his mercy. The Lord Jesus freely gives us his Holy
Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn
away from sin and to embrace God's way of love, righteousness, and holiness.
The Lord's warning of judgment is a cause for dismay for those who have
not heeded his warning and are now unprepared, but it brings joyful hope
to those who eagerly anticipate the Lord's return in glory.

God's judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their
reward is God himself, the source and author of all that is good
truth, beauty, love, and everlasting life. The people in Noah's time
ignored the Lord's warning of impending judgment. They missed the boat,
literally! Whose boat are you taking the world's boat to short-lived
success and happiness or God's boat to an eternal kingdom and bliss with
him? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed
when God's judgment comes. They rejoice even now that they will see the
Lord in his glory! Is your hope firmly placed in God and his kingdom?

"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."