Seventh Day In The Octave of Christmas; Last Day of 2015
In the beginning of this year, we probably had this “new year, new me” attitude; we likely had new year resolutions we planned on going by, business wise, socially and most especially in spiritual aspect of our lives. “I want to do this this year”, “I’ll cut down on my intake of that”, “I’ll try to curb my addiction to this and that”- we told ourselves.
It is the last hour; the last day of the year, the time to reflect and examine our lives:
How far have we come? How many of our resolutions did we break? How many of them did we actually stick to? How often did we battle the Antichrist called ‘sin’? And how many times did we give in and fall?
A moment’s reflection will no doubt help us realize that we missed a lot of opportunities for doing good during the year. We may have been uncharitable, behaved inappropriately, we let go of responsibilities and complained about everything. We even may have let our faith weaken and failed in forgiving past hurts & wrongdoings. But we must show a contrite heart for our sins of omission and commission during this last day of the year. At the same time we must render thanks to God for the innumerable benefits received. So let’s empty our trash of this year and move on into the new year burden free. We have a new beginning- it’s a beginning in Christ.
Sixth Day in the Octave Of Christmas
And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus set for us an example to follow. We are all God’s children. And it is necessary that we grew in His grace, it is important we become strong in faith, be filled in His wisdom and gain His undying favour. How do we do this? It’s written in the first reading of today:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
(1 John 2:15-17)
Let’s do the will of God our Father and thus grow up spiritually to be His worthy children.
Fifth Day In The Octave Of Christmas
But whoever keeps His word, in him truly love for God is perfected. (1 John 2:5)
“I am writing you a new commandment… the word which you have heard… the commandment of love, the commandment which is perfected in Jesus who became man, the commandment that is true in Him and should be true in you, for with Him darkness and hate in our hearts passes away and true light shines; the commandment that propels us to love genuinely, to love without limit.”
He who says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way which He walked. (1 John 2:6)
Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Calling yourself a Christian, calling yourself a Catholic is not enough, it holds no water if you don’t act like one. So be good. Be true. Be Christ-like.
The Holy Innocents
“King Herod! What an evil ruler! So cruel! So heartless! Thoughts of his abominable deeds could make one puke! How could he? Killing those innocent lives just in quest for power! He must be burning in hell as he rightly deserves! Good riddance!”
But wait. What are we when we deny life and even terminate it due to our selfish desires? What are we when we willingly commit sins against the sixth commandment which defies the essence of procreation. What are we when we give in to masturbation, fornication, the use of contraceptives and birth control, abortion of pregnancies just because our self-centered minds regard them as “unwanted”, and homosexual acts which all close the opportunity for the gift of life? Let’s think about it: Are we any better than Herod?
Beloved, we have received some good news today;
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9)
Three more days before the New Year, today we remember the Holy Innocents who were killed so that the child Jesus might live and be our advocate with the Father, so that He will grow up to be the expiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. We also remember and pray those unborn children, especially those so carelessly denied the right to live and see the light of this world. Let their death not be in vain. Let us give life instead of preventing and taking it.
May the world come to see the mistake in legalizing the elimination of the lives of the unborn due to our selfish desires and promote pro-life realizing every unborn life is precious before God and has a purpose on earth to fulfill. Amen.
Feast Of the Holy Family
The Holy Family. The perfect model of family which every Christian home should emulate. So what makes this family worthy of being called Holy. Is it Mary, or Joseph? I don’t think they had any parenting experience. I mean they were both young, and though they both agreed to God’s plan, their initial will was just to get married. God only knows how long it would have taken before they had considered parenting if things went their way. So what could make this family Holy?
1)Obedience: Mary and Joseph are perfect models of faith and obedience. They were obedient to God’s will for them totally surrendering their lives to Him.
2)God’s presence: They realized they couldn’t do it all without God’s constant presence. This can be illustrated in today’s Gospel. I can imagine the discomfort, the panic and confusion Joseph and Mary must have felt looking for the child Jesus, God made man for three straight days! And these leads to questions we ought to ask ourselves
How many times have we lost Christ when we put the material possessions in the forefront of our lives? How many times have we being soo engulfed in work that we don’t spend quality time with our family and make our children grow up believing happiness depends on material possessions because we are busy paper chasing? How often do we lose Christ as a result of the loads of garbage we carry with us in our lives?
Sometimes we as families get overcomed with the burdens that we end up losing Jesus in our lives and homes. Then confusion sets in. But we can learn how to make our homes holy. What made a family like that of Jesus, Mary and Jesus? Its obedience and the presence of our Lord. Let us like Mary and Joseph go back to reconnect with Jesus and see things go well in our families.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, make ours homes like yours. Amen
Memorial Of Saint Stephen
You might wonder why after Christmas, after the day where joy, love and peace filled the atmosphere, after the day we made merriment and had fun, the readings just had to talk about persecution & martyrdom. Why? What does today’s readings have to do with Christmas anyways? We may ask ourselves. But a message of Christmas is found in the readings of today. It is called witnessing: witnessing to the Good News, witnessing to the joy of our salvation, witnessing to our Lord Jesus Christ even if it means being persecuted.
The joy Christmas brings is too much to be bottled up within ourselves, it’s too contagious & so much spread like wildfire. Like Saint Stephen, we must tell: “Heavens have opened up for us, Love has come down & dwelt among us, the Son of the Most High made man who stands at the right hand of God has brought us blessings, He has brought us salvation.” For “He who endures to the end will be saved.” So rejoice. Say it loud. Say it proud. Be a witness for Christ. He is with you to the very end.
May we by the power of the Holy Spirit never be afraid to proclaim the Good News Christmas brings and stand up for our faith even in the face of persecution and martyrdom like Saint Stephen the first martyr did. Amen
The Nativity Of Our Lord 2015
The world is in darkness. Man lives in chaos and tribulations. Evil, hate, inhumanity; the order of the day. We are in need of a Leader who will bring peace and order, a Superman who will bring light and cast out the darkness which mankind is engulfed in, a Saviour who will give power to those who believe in Him, a Helper through whom grace and truth originates, a Hero to overcome the villain called sin.
Behold He has come. The Word has became flesh, He has clothed Himself in the nature of that which was made through Him and He has come down to dwell among us, we mortal men. What incomprehensible humility! No, what incredible love!
And look at the gifts he brings! Joy; that we will find happiness in Him and despair no more. Peace; that He will lead us through the storms of life. Light; that He may illuminate the darkness within us and reflect His glory. Grace and Truth; that we will know Him, realize sin creates a barrier & seek His Father’s mercy. Life; that we will be mortal no more, for He will dwell in us and we in Him. Love; that hate and evil will be eradicated and we will stop seeking vain pleasures which lasts momentarily but find that everlasting happiness His love brings. And it does not end there, He brings blessings upon blessings.
In the beginning was Life. In the beginning was Love. And Love has been born. Love is here. Be sure to make room in your heart for Him.
Lord, as we celebrate the Nativity of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, may our hearts be mangers where He will be born and so gain the gifts He brings with Him. Amen.