Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Bible gives us many examples of friendship. God called
These friendships were more than casual relationships. In the midst of difficulty or hardships, they offered support and strength for each other. When we take time to establish a deep, mutual relationship, we have someone whom we can depend on and who will stand with us no matter what we might face.
We need to be careful as we choose our friends, because in some way they influence our lives. They bring enjoyment, delight and pleasure. Friends can help us learn how to get along with other people, how to give and take and how to relate more intimately. They can drive us, motivate us, disillusion us, distress us, or even destroy us. If you feel smothered in a friendship, something is wrong. It’s not godly so ‘Get out of it!’
We all want to feel accepted and loved. If you build a friendship based on a need that you have, it will not last. When the need is satisfied, you will grow weary of the friendship, or you will become dissatisfied if the need is not being met. If we choose our friends based only on what they have to offer, we will rarely discover the blessings of a genuine friendship.
A good friend is quick to ask forgiveness and ready to be forgiving. If we are easily offended or hold on to bitterness, we will have a hard time making friends. No one is perfect! We all make mistakes now and then. If we take a truthful look at ourselves, we’ll admit that we bear some of the blame when things go wrong in a friendship. Therefore, let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Take the time to build true, genuine, devoted, and loyal friendships, and your life will be immensely blessed by the effort.
“Lord, the friends I choose either help anchor my faith or create barriers between You and me. Help me to choose wisely those with whom I spend my time.”
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
“Do not let these things slip from your memory.”
The New Testament has its roots from the Old Testament. The Old Testament is necessary for us to understand the New. Moreover, the Hebrew Scriptures are what our Lord read from and taught from during His earthly ministry.
Our heavenly Father was the first to write a book. It was a book of laws, following those laws would lead us to lasting treasure, wisdom and prosperity in the Promised Land. The good news is that we possess this book; it is the Bible.
“Listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you.” (Deuteronomy 4:1) Listen, because these statutes and rules are from God. God has given them to us to bless us for life. As Christians, we are a people of law and grace. Law and grace are not at odds with each other; they work together to bring us to God.
The Scriptures are clear – God is very interested in how we live our lives. God in His goodness has given us some boundaries. Living within these boundaries brings us a blessing from God. We keep the commandments not to earn God’s love, but out of gratitude, for all that God has done for us. Nevertheless, when we slip and fall,
Try to incorporate these personal stories into the foundation of your faith, along with the truths and the Bible stories. Write them down in a journal, and keep the journal somewhere visible in your home or at work. Holding on to these events will help give you a better sense of God’s direction for your life. It will help you say “yes” to God and “no” to temptation. And even more importantly, it will spur you to look for God’s hand today, tomorrow and the day after.
“Lord, thank you for showing me a road to life, help me stay on the right lane throughout this journey.”
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Loving Father, I choose to forgive everyone in my life, including myself, because You have forgiven me. Thank You, Lord, for this grace. I forgive myself for all my sins, faults and failings, especially _______________. I forgive myself for not being perfect, I accept myself and make a decision to stop picking on myself and being my own worst enemy. I release the things held against myself, free myself from bondage and make peace with myself today, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I forgive my parents for any negativity and injustice they may have extended to me throughout my life, knowingly or unknowingly, especially ______________. For any abuses, unkind acts, hurts and deprivations I do forgive them today. If in any way, they did not provide a deep, full, satisfying parental blessing, I do forgive them today. I release them from bondage and make peace with them today.
I forgive my spouse for any negativity and injustice extended to me throughout our time together, especially ______________. For all the wounds of our relationship, I do forgive my spouse today. I release my spouse from bondage and make peace between us today.
I forgive my children for any hurts especially ______________. I release my children from bondage and make peace between us today. Bless them, Lord.
I forgive my sisters, brothers and blood relatives for any negativity and hatred, especially ______________. I forgive my ancestors for any negative actions that affect my life today and make it harder for me today to live in the freedom of a child of God. I release them from the bondage and make peace with them today, in
I forgive my friends for any actions of negativity and hatred, especially ______________. For any time they abused our relationship or led me astray, I do forgive them. I release them from bondage and make peace with them today, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I forgive my employers/employees of the present and the past for any negativity and injustice, especially ______________. I release them from all the bondage and pray a blessing on them today, in
I forgive my schoolteachers for any negative, abusive actions, especially ______________.
I forgive my lawyers, doctors, nurses and other professionals, especially ______________.
I forgive clergy and all representatives of the church, especially ______________. I release them all, in
I forgive every member of society who has hurt my family or me in any way, those who have hurt us by criminal action.
I forgive all in public life who have passed laws opposing Christian values. I forgive all the unfair anonymous sources of pain and annoyances in my life.
Heavenly Father I now ask for the grace to forgive the one person in life who has hurt me the most. The one who is hardest to forgive, I now choose to forgive, though I may still feel angry and hurt. I also make peace with that one family member, the one friend and the one authority figure that has hurt me the most.
Lord, is there anyone else I need to forgive? (Be still and listen to the Lord). Thank You, loving Father, for setting me free.
I now pray a blessing on those who have hurt me. Lord, do something special for each of them today. I thank and praise You, Lord.
~(From the 'Joyful Hour')
Monday, March 28, 2011
In today’s Gospel, we have
Though the words that
This is true even today, our own family and friends reject us because we dream big or we turn out to be more successful than the rest of them. Jealousy or envy is a cardinal sin it is the most powerful enemy of love. If someone is envious of you and treats you coldly, try to be compassionate. When people act cruelly towards us, it’s not that they dislike us, but because they’re unlike us. They lack our strength. If they belittle us, they’re just trying to cut us down to their size. Yet, if we extend our hand in friendship, we may have the power to change their life. By our own example, we will be able to teach them that blowing out another’s candle will not make their own shine brighter.
The people in today’s Gospel were furious when
Sunday, March 27, 2011
“Give me a drink.”
Prejudices are like rats and men’s minds are like traps. Once these prejudices get in, they are trapped and it is doubtful whether they will get out. Every Jew lived with set prejudices against the Samaritans and vice versa. Today’s gospel describes
An instant conversion takes place with the woman. She first addresses
We have to cast aside our prejudices if we want to get to heaven, because heaven is filled with all sorts of people who have freed themselves from prejudices and have dared to love others unconditionally. The Sacrament of Reconciliation helps us get rid of the burdens that weigh us down! Confession is about coming to
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your love and mercy, may all my words and deeds lead people to you.”
We must then recognise ourselves in her words and in her person, and with her give our own thanks to God. She was a symbol, not the reality; she foreshadowed the reality, and the reality came to be. She found faith in
The Samaritans were foreigners; Jews never used their utensils. The woman was carrying a pail for drawing water. She was astonished that a Jew should ask her for a drink of water, a thing that Jews would not do. But the one who was asking for a drink of water was thirsting for her faith.
Listen now and learn who it is that asks for a drink. Jesus answered her and said: If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” perhaps you might have asked him and he would have given you living water.
He asks for a drink, and he promises a drink. He is in need, as one hoping to receive, yet he is rich, as one about to satisfy the thirst of others. He says: If you knew the gift of God. The gift of God is the Holy Spirit. But he is still using veiled language as he speaks to the woman and gradually enters into her heart. Or is he already teaching her? What could be more gentle and kind than the encouragement he gives? If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” perhaps you might ask and he would give you living water.
What is this water that he will give if not the water spoken of in Scripture: With you is the fountain of life? How can those feel thirst who will drink deeply from the abundance in your house?
He was promising the Holy Spirit in satisfying abundance. She did not yet understand. In her failure to grasp his meaning, what was her reply? The woman says to him: Master, give me this drink, so that I may feel no thirst or come here to draw water. Her need forced her to this labour, her weakness shrank from it. If only she could hear those words: Come to me, all who labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
"Got together all he had, set off for a distant country"
Our God is a God of second, third... multiple chances, who is madly in love with us. The sad part is we are blinded by the lures of this world and we fail to see this magnificent love. God does not prevent us from sinning and rebelling. He has given us a free will to choose between good and evil. I think of all those people who have left the Church and gone their own way. God’s blessings are still with them, similar to what the wealthy father did in the story of the Lost Son. He gave his younger son a share of the inheritance. The son did not leave his father’s house empty handed.
The Prodigal Son’s selfishness and stubbornness took him to a distant country, where he squandered his wealth in wild living. Remember that, any place you chose to live away from God is a distant country. It does not have to be far away geographically. So famished was he that he longed to fill his stomach even with the food given to the pigs, but no one offered him anything. (
Reasons and Results of Walking Away From God:
Desire – It always begins with a desire, “Father give me my share of the estate” (v.12)
Decision – He left everything he already owned, “got together all he had and set off” (v.13)
Departure – To depart from the will of God is slavery to sin, “Set off for a distant country” (v.13)
Delight – In sin, “squandering his wealth in wild living” (v.13, 30)
Disappointment – Everything the world offers you will disappoint you if your relationship is not right with God.
Despair – How am I going to get out of the mess I have done?
Disastrous – People do not realize that, there is a solution to every problem. So they turn themselves to evil, sometimes even take their own life and end it all. God can forgive every sin ever committed.
When he [the younger son] came to his senses… he got up and went to his father (
Some of us are like the older brother we do not understand the Father’s love. We are so caught up with working and earning the Father’s love that we miss the opportunity to love—either to give it or receive it. We behave like slaves, not heirs of the Father. When God created us, he knew we would fall. When that happens, He runs towards us to pick us up and enfolds us in his loving embrace. Nothing we do can surprise God, He knows our feelings and desires. The only right attitude before God is one of infinite gratitude.
Take the first step towards God: Are you willing to come to your senses? Make a decision and act on your decision. God does not want us to be spiritually independent but to depend on him at all times. Lent is a time for us to change.
“Heavenly Father, your love is immeasurable, nothing I do can change that. I thank you for loving me in spite of my many sins. Lord, thank you for embracing me in my darkest moments and in the longest hours.”
Earth Hour 2011 – Firstly, it makes no sense paying attention to naysayers scoffing this off. I say do your bit for the planet! Let us treat the earth well, we did not inherit it from our ancestors we just borrowed it from our children. Staying without electricity for an hour, is a difficult task but it could also be the best exercise we could ever do this Lenten season. Think about it, you being part of a global event too!!
No one knows if it is going to save the world or not! However, I am not going to stand in the way of people trying their best to effect a change for the better. In fact, they have my full support. Turning off the lights for an hour will not necessarily stop climate change or whatever it is that ails our planet but it gives us all a chance to reflect on a pressing fact: our planet needs help! Whether we humans are the cause of the problem or the solution, we must try it even if our efforts prove futile.
If we cannot be part of the solution, at least don’t be an obstacle to those trying.
Friday, March 25, 2011
The mystery of man's reconciliation with God
Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Saviour there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.
He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the pre-eminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfils what is proper to the flesh.
One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person – this must be said over and over again – is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
~ St. Leo the Great, pope
The price of our salvation is being offered you. If you consent, we shall immediately be set free. We all have been made in the eternal Word of God, and look, we are dying (2 Corinthians 6:9). In your brief reply we shall be restored and so brought back to life.
So answer the angel quickly or rather, through the angel, answer God. Only say the word and receive the Word. Give yours and conceive God’s. Breathe one fleeting word and embrace the everlasting Word… .
Blessed Virgin, open your heart to faith, your lips to consent, and your womb to your Creator. Behold, the long-desired of all nations is standing at the door and knocking (Revelation ). Oh, what if he should pass by because of your delay and, sorrowing, you should again have to seek him whom your soul loves (Song of Songs 3:1-4)? Get up, run, open!
“Behold,” she says, “I am the handmaiden of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux
“Father, we praise you for sending your Son and setting us free! Be with us, as you were with
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
- It’s ok to eat meat this Friday. Really! (Omaha World-Herald)
- Saint Albert the Great Offers Place of Worship and Fellowship (Not to Mention Fish Fry) (Baldwin-Whitehall Patch)
- Archdiocese issues Lenten regulations (St. Louis Review)
- Liturgical Advisories (Diocese of Pueblo)
- Archdiocese of Washington: comments (Facebook)
- Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Diocese of Des Moines)
- Happy Meat-Eating Friday! (2011 Edition) (JimmyAkin.org)
*[Canon 1251] - "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday."
Though allowed by the Church [i.e. Friday, March 25, 2011], I feel it is up to individuals what suits them best. As for me, I will be abstaining from meat; Fridays have always been Fishy to me, lent or otherwise!!!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The Gospel story about the
How rich do you think this man (dives) was? The passage does not speak about the wealth he owned, because that was not an issue. The real problem was that he did not share his riches with the beggar (
This passage brings back memories of my own grandma, who had servants for every need under the sun. They were at our service day or night. The conditions she lived in would have put this rich man to shame, but there was a sharp contrast. She never refused anyone who needed help she taught us the true meaning of charity. She sheltered the homeless, fed the hungry, and clothed the naked. Her charitable legacy lives on in us and through the many lives she has touched along the way. It is not about the wealth you own rather how willing you are to share your wealth with the needy. Everyone would love to hear the words, “welcome home, good and faithful servant” - the only way to hear those words is when we become charitable. Not only monetary wise, but also with time, forgiveness, love.
The rich man lived for himself, and horded his wealth, that was his condemnation. He failed to notice poor
“Lord, let me never turn away from the many Lazarus’ that cross my path, instead let me be generous with your gifts. May the needy feel your presence every time I reach out in faith.”
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
After the Sunday Angelus in