Get Behind Me, Satan!

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A. 3rd September, 2017.

At that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God but of men.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Matthew 16:21-25

Such a clapback from Christ on St. Peter’s rebuke today. Last Sunday, we read how Peter, inspired by God to answer the question of Christ’s true identity he got the keys to heaven; in today’s gospel reading, tempted by Satan, he almost tried to play God.

In the second reading of today, St. Paul appeals to us to be living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God, not giving in to the world’s ideology of what the life of a Christian should be: sweet and never bitter, up and never down. But we have to renew our mind off such mentality. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to pave the way for us into heaven. Yes, He took away sin and suffering but He also shows us that the earthly life has its ups and downs, has its trials and tribulations and also joys and fulfilment. He shows us that like Him, we are bound to face persecution, He makes us see that true happiness doesn’t lie in gaining the whole world but in life eternal in God’s bosom. He lets us in on true discipleship, that we can only gain heavenly glory if we live a life of sacrifice and self-giving, losing something to gain something more.

So we have to start telling that voice which lies to us that we ought not to suffer only to tell us to abandon God because he allowed trials befall us that it has to pipe down and take a back seat in our lives. We should also be vigilant of the fact the Devil is also lurking around, awaiting an opportunity to lead us astray, by what we hear or watch, even by our closest friends and family at times. Moreover, we have to start asking ourselves everyday, “What is it I’m losing and what am I gaining?” “How willing am I to sacrifice something so as to gain what is lasting and eternal?

Our Saviour rebukes the shortcut through life and beckons on us to carry our cross and follow Him on the right path to leads to sweet victory. May we, with the power of the Holy Spirit obtain the grace never to shy away from our responsibilities and tribulations, knowing that our Lord Jesus Christ is with us to see us through it all, till the end


“On Your Right Stands The Queen in Gold…”

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Year A. 15th August 2017.

God’s temple in heaven was opened. And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Revelation 11:19, 12:1

Today the Holy Mother Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul, into heaven; one of the greatest mysteries of the life of our Lady. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it:

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body (974)

Mary is viewed as a type of redeemed humanity. Although this dogma of our faith wasn’t mentioned implicitly in the Holy Bible, St. John’s vision in the Book of Revelation of “a woman” (not a spirit) clothed with the sun (which shows she possessed a body), with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars (as one without a body wouldn’t have feet and a head to begin with) in heaven together with pious documents and the writings of the Church Doctors and Fathers gives us reason to believe that the new Ark of the Covenant, our Mother Mary, who bore the humanity of our Saviour Jesus Christ was preserved from physical decay, which has been the lot of all humans after death and is now in heaven.

She is a sign of hope and comfort of us on our pilgrim way to heaven. She is the assurance that “all who call her blessed” will one day be in our glorified bodies besides the glorious Christ. Our aspiration to eternal life gains impetus as we meditate on and honour our heavenly Mother above. She sees and watches over us with a look full of tenderness with more love the greater our need.

There is great security and joy for those who look to Mary in every circumstance. Thus we need to examine the quality of our daily dealings with her. St. Josemaria Escriva once wrote: If you feel proud to be a Son/Daughter of Our Lady, ask yourself: How often do I express my devotion to the Virgin Mary during the day, from morning until night? – the Angelus, the Holy Rosary, the three Hail Mary’s before going to bed.

Today let our petitions be full of confidence for our Advocate rose up to heaven, so she will arrange for our salvation as Mother of the Judge, the Mother of Mercy. She continually strengthens our hope. May we make ever more of an effort to seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, our Lady assumed into Heaven. May we fly to her, Refuge of Sinners, and as we do, may she give us reasons to leap for joy as great things happen in our lives through her.

“Why Did You Doubt?”

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A. 13th August 2017.

And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me to come to you on the water. He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and the beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the son of God.”

Matthew 14:25-33

Doubt. That which weakens the foundation on which faith is built. That weed which chokes the fresh sprout of confidence in ourselves and our God. That cloud ready to cover our sunny days as we fear what the storms would bring. Doubt.

Our lives as Christians is never some smooth sailing. We are bound to face a lot of ups and downs, crisis, and tribulations. These “crosses” sometimes tend to have us doubting if we’re on the right boat or if our Lord is really with us as these events unfold as we journey through life. And as the winds of doubt blows right at us, we lose focus on God. We turn our gaze away from the One who can calm our stormy situations, and like Peter, we begin to sink when we should stay afloat.

But Our Lord Jesus Christ is always close by. He is ready to walk us through the storms we face. He always intervenes even when we are in doubt. He makes the fullness of God’s presence known to us continuously. He is the still small voice that tell us “Come.” With a strong and unwavering faith, He makes us defy the laws of flotation and even Archimedes principle in our life events as we walk over our oceans of crisis.

So what are those storms in your life that clouds your spiritual insight to see that your Saviour is never far away? What are those waves of difficulties and problems which shake your boat of faith and confidence in the Risen Lord to get you safe through those moments?

Today, Our Lord Jesus reaches out to us men of little faith and draws us out from the drowning ocean of doubt, not in reprimand but with love. He says to us, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.Let us never be too wavered and forgetful to cry out to Him in our time of trials like Peter did saying, “Lord save me” so that we may once again come to believe in Him who saves, Him who is truly the Son of God. And may He reach out His hands and pull us into glory and restore our lives to its steadiness whenever we call on Him.

“Whom Do You Seek?”

Saturday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time, Year A. Memorial of Mary Magdalene, Disciple of the Lord. 22nd July 2017. 

Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been turned away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they had laid him.” But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
John 20:1-2, 11-16

In today’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene comes looking for a dead body; our Lord Jesus Christ’s corspe. She had come out to the tomb that morning for one purpose: to finish the prescribed burial customs for Jesus. His body had been placed in the tomb hurriedly on Friday evening, for it was almost sundown and the Passover feast was near. Passover and Sabbath now complete; it was time to anoint the body and finish all the usual customs. Tramautized from Our Lord’s Crucifixion and Death, she took it upon herself to perform such rite, probably out of kindness and love for her “Rabboni”. But to her surprise, she found the stone already rolled away and no body. In fear, she runs to tell the disciples of her findings. In grief, she stays back weeping, failing to see the Good News of our Lord’s Resurrection immediately.

But Mary Magdalene shows us how perseverance can turn fear into faith. Like the bride in the Song of Solomon (3:1-4) who sought Him who her soul loves and found Him not, Mary Magdalene sought for Our Lord Jesus in tears and inflamed with the fire of love, longing to see the One she thought they had taken away, she remained there with the exception of finding Him. And scarcely had the angels asked her, “Woman why are you weeping”, had she found Jesus. 
Most times, we live in dismay and become soo filled with worries and doubt to the extent we lose faith and in losing such faith, the risen Christ dies in our hearts. Discouragement and darkness begins to penetrate our souls. When we finally try to seek Him again, it becomes hard because in all despair, it seems we ‘carried him away’ from ourselves. We become spiritually blind. But Our Lord Jesus is everliving, He is always close at hand and today He asks each and every one of us, “Whom do you seek?” He calls us by our names so that our eyes might open to the reality of his Resurrection and the joy He brings.

Let us like the bride in today’s first reading, go in search of Him whom our soul loves for we will always find Jesus whom we seek. Like Mary Magdalene, let us persevere in seeking Him in every circumstance of our lives for He is always very much in touch with the events of our life though we may not be aware of Him. And by doing this, may our faith grow stronger as we be authentic Disciples of the Lord and become witness to our Lord’s saving grace and healing power His Resurrection gives.

For God loves a cheerful giver…

Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time, Year A; 21st June 2017.

Brethren: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

There’s always this interior battle on where to draw the line in regards to generosity. “Who should I be generous to?” “How generous am I even to be to this person?” “Does this person I’m even offering help to really deserve such generosity?” In a world where it’s difficult to differentiate between the poor and those who fake being poor, these questions may rise up in our minds. But today St. Paul reminds us of a clear fact: even in the face of our unworthy attitude and sins, Our Lord God still provides for you and blesses us without questioning; amidst our fallen nature, He was generous enough to give us His Son who died for our sins; Our Saviour Jesus Christ was generous enough towards giving us His Precious Body and Blood which nourishes our souls and washes us away from every guilt. And these, was given out of Love.

We are never compelled to give, neither are we encouraged to count our giving as a great thing to be debated over as the present world makes it. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ gave his Life up for us freely, as true followers of his, we are called to give to those around us, without expectations and without self glorification. 

What is that which we have that is truly ours? Our life? God owns it together with the air we breathe to sustain it. Our house, food, clothing, social position? We are only privileged to have these, not by our merits but by God’s grace. And all these have been given to us so that we can be fruitful with them and glorify God our Father through giving. By giving alms to the needy, we imitate Him who has always been generous towards us. 

Today, God supplies us, the sowers with seed which we can use to multiply our resources and increase the harvest of our righteousness. Let’s be enriched by being generous in a great way, for through this we will reap thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 6:10-11). Like the psalmist said, “Blessed the man who fears the Lord. Open-handed, he gives to the poor, his justice stands firm for ever. His might shall be exalted in glory” (Psalm 112:9). May our love for God be reflected in our generosity and self giving to those around us for our God loves a cheerful giver. 

I Have Come as Light…

Wednesday of the 4th Week of Easter, Year A. 10th May 2017.

At that time: Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in Him who sent me. And he who sees me sees Him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my sayings and does not know keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

John 12:44-47

Still in a bid to enable the people believe firmly, Our Lord Jesus Christ opens up to who He is,  “I have come as Light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” Not having faith in the One who loves and cares for us is like being deep in a cave: we become lost and in darkness. The present world keeps bringing up fallacies that if believed in, can draw one into the darkness, far away from God.

But today, Jesus Christ comes to us as that True Light into the world, that true Light that can lead us through to joy at moments of darkness, hard times and life’s trials, that True Light that makes us live in the dark no more. He comes not to judge but to save, that in illuminating our darkest parts and weaknesses, we might really see our wrongdoings and shortcomings and realize how much we are in need of his mercy and cleansing power. He is the powerhouse of our salvation. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ cries out to us today too, he wishes that we be saved and not perish in darkness. He wishes that in firmly believing in Him and obeying our Almighty Father’s commandment, we may have eternal life. As we look and focus on Jesus, the Light of God, may he luminate our paths to our salvation.   

If You are Christ… 

Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter; 9th May 2017.

It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the templ, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round Him and said to Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall not perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and Father are one.”

John 10:22-30

In the gospel reading of today, we see the Jews grow impatient towards Jesus. Impatient to the fact Christ refused to call Himself the Messiah by words. Impatient that He was taking so long to assume the throne and declare Himself King. But they failed to realize that He came for a greater purpose than to claim earthly kingship. He came to care, love, show mercy and give life. The more their eyes saw, the more their minds failed to believe, thus they didn’t understand and remained in suspense to Christ’s mission in their lives. 

Most times we fail to see the work of God in our lives and question His love for us His children. Sometimes we are blinded from seeing His good doings and we demand for words of assurance. We grow impatient and may go off on the wrong path cause we listened to the evil voices of the world. But Christ tells us that it begins not just by the word of God saying so, but by our belief in Him and the Good News He brings. We will never be in suspense once we know and believe that Jesus is the Risen Lord and if we listen to His voice everyday. We are guaranteed eternal life when we grow in knowledge of God and in followership of Jesus Christ.

It’s high time we removed the doubt out of the statement “If you are Christ…” and strengthen our belief well enough to proclaim “You are Christ”, and may the Almighty Father give us the grace to always listen to the voice of Jesus our Good Shepherd and believe in His abiding presence.