“I Know My Own.”

Monday of the 4th Week of Easter, Year A. 8th May 2017.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

John 10:14-16

In today’s gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ continues to explain his Shepherdship for us his sheep. “I know my own and my own know me.” This points us to the need to know our Saviour, to be in a constant conversation with Him and to know His will for our lives and follow Him daily. And if we feel like outcasts—away from the righteous people of God, lost and desolated—we can always if rest assured that our Lord Jesus Christ will come looking for us the moment we cry out of help and mercy, bringing us to His fold once again.

Jesus showed how much He loved mankind by laying down his life for us His sheep. This beckons us to ask ourselves how much we are willing to sacrifice our time and energy to those we love and also to question how willing we are in giving our all into our daily work, into our relationships and into our family.

People are getting lost everyday. It’s our duty as imitators of Christ to have a deep and personal relationship with Him, to listen to Him and learn to be shepherds to those around us, thus leading them to the Good Shepherd who is our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

May we be given the grace to sacrifice ourselves for others, for in laying down our all, we get to rise victorious like Jesus the Good Shepherd.


The Good Shepherd 

4th Sunday of Easter, Year A; 7th May 2017.

At that time: Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

John 10:1-4, 7, 9-10

Two prominent words in today’s liturgy of the word: the sheep and the shepherd.

 The sheep. When the word ‘sheep’ comes up, we as Christians have that automatic default thought of the story about their seperation from the goats on the final day and how the sheep is used to depict gentleness and righteousness. But today Our Saviour lets us see the sheep through the gospel reading as something different: weak and without direction. And this is what we are if we can truly call ourselves sheep; gentle and righteous maybe, but weak and without direction. We are weak to trials and temptations on our own and bound to sin. Like sheep we are vulnerable, incapable of taking great care of our souls without grace and mercy, easily getting weary when evil strikes. We have no natural sense of the right direction most times and may deviate from the right track every now and then, if not guided.

The Shepherd. But Our Lord Jesus Christ presents Himself to us today as the Good Shepherd. He is the one who enters the sheepfold of our hearts through the open door without forcing His way in by climbing over our walls. He is the right voice we the sheep are to listen to and follow for it is He who gives us repose in fresh and greener pastures, leading us near restful waters thus reviving our souls. He is the door to our salvation, the door to the blessings and eternal life we seek. 

Although we as sheep are weak and seem not to know which way to go in life, our Lord Jesus the Good Shepherd assures us of how he is willing to go a great measure to protect us from the evil ones and save us from our foes. Like St. Peter in the first reading, we need to “save ourselves from this crooked generation,” a generation where the predator seeks to devour and destroy the sheep. We need to flee from the voice that calls out to us to sin. 

The Good Shepherd never stops calling us whenever we go astray to the voices of the world. May we listen to Him so that goodness and mercy shall be truly ours

The Way, Truth and Life… 

Wednesday in the 3rd Week of Easter; 3rd May 2017 

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you do know Him and have seen Him.” 

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Phillip? He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

John 14:6-10

The Way. In a world where everyone go about doing things in different manners, it is usually difficult to know which is the right way to head for. When things of the world have us chasing them to our very detriment, following Christ who is the surest way to Heaven could be challenging. The Truth. We get fed everyday with lies on the social media as to what is right and what trends everyone ought to follow. Views on sex, relationships, family and religion gets mashed up with “half baked truths” and “well cooked lies” that we fail to look at that words of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the true answers. The Life. And what’s even worse, is the fact that in following the wrong paths, in believing in such lies, we end up slowly poisoning our hearts and minds, destroying our souls, dying from sin. 

But Christ today points us back to the right direction in hopes that we turn around and follow the right Way which is Himself. He gives us the Truth so that we may believe and in believing, do marvellous deeds on earth. He offers us Life so that sin may create a barrier from us and Our Lord God no more. 

Like St Philip the Apostle, our hungry souls may ask, “Lord, show us the Father,  and we shall be satisfied.” Our Saviour Jesus Christ has the perfect answer. “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life.” May we be given the grace to believe deeply in Christ and follow Him towards eternal glory

Give Us This Bread Always. 

Tuesday in 3rd Week of Easter, Year A; 2nd May 2017.

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it’s was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”

John 6:32-35

Signs. Sight. Then Belief. The people wanted a show. Some kind of magical performance from our Lord Jesus Christ. The way they recalled the “manna in the widerness” event of the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if they spoke out of hunger. ​But the problem is they hungered for something less. And thus such hunger blurred their vision to Christ’s realness and clogged their minds towards belief. They hungered more for the physical. And this is what happens to us every time we hunger for worldly pleasures and crave earthly possessions and power: we’ll never be satisfied with the “enough” of it which we get, because the truth is “enough” is never really sufficient when it comes to what the world has to offer.

But Our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient enough for us. He is the Bread of Life; it is He who can satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst. He is ever present in the Holy Eucharist to give us “this bread always” which we haven’t stopped seeking. It is believed that those who spend time in the presence of Our Saviour in the Blessed Sacrament and receive the Holy Communion handle daily struggles better than most.

Christ calls us to do the reverse of what the people did today. He wants us to first believe in His words, because it is only then we can gain the spiritual sight to see things as they really are and then by this, signs and wonders would happen as we shall be a reflection of His grace and mercy to others. Belief. Sight. Then Signs. May we believe in the Bread of Life and receive satisfaction each time we feast with our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. 

This is the Work of God… 

Saint Joseph the Worker, Year A; 1st May 2017

“Do not labour for the food which perishes,  but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set His seal.” Then they said to him, “what much we do, to be doing the work of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

John 6:27-29

In today’s gospel reading, we are being called to mind that which we really work towards. A new month comes with new goals and challenges of course, but then again, what is that we have been working towards all year long? A business idea, an increase in our pay, a step closer in our relationship with another, strength in family ties? The list could be endless, and it is very necessary that we work towards that which secures our tomorrow in this life. But at what expense do we work? 

The people in the gospel sought only the “daily bread” which Christ Our Lord had to offer, forgetting such daily bread was just a foretaste of the Living Bread which is Himself. Most times, we are soo engrossed in our work and struggles of our daily life when we should focus on the Giver of the Work and Our Problem Solver; Our Lord God. We go about the work God has given each one of us—the “work of God”, paying no attention whatsoever to the “God of work.”

But today’s gospel reminds us that we ought also to work for that which secures life eternal above all. Sometimes we are also like the people, seeking Jesus for “free food”, the world’s luxuries so we don’t have to work no more. We ought to seek Christ for the right things. He together with Saint Joseph the Worker who we celebrate today, calls us to the work for salvation: sanctifying ourselves in whatever job we do, no matter how menial it is

Christ calls us to seek Him, the Bread of Life who gives us the strength and grace to carry out our work diligently in our daily lives. And He beckons on us to continue the works of God by believing in Him. May we imitate Saint Joseph the Worker, who with Our Lady and Our Lord Jesus Christ by his side, was noble in his dealings and did the work of God in dignity. 

Making the Best of May; the Catholic Way. 

After walking into January with the joy of Christmas still fresh in our hearts, to basking in the sun of February experiencing the spiritual growth which the Ordinary time brought; after our sobriety and quest to amend our broken and sinful ways in March to the manifestation of the purpose of our beliefs and salvation in our Lord’s death and resurrection, we step into a new month tomorrow, the joyful Month of May.

To the world, the new month might probably mean a need to review how far we’ve come in our goals, what to achieve this time and what to let go off. It might even be a reminder of how much little our time keeps becoming. But for we Catholics, it should be more than that. For us, the Month of May is a month someone special comes to our minds and heart: that special someone being Our Loving Mother Mary

The Catholic Church has dedicated this Month of Joy to Our Blessed Lady. This joy is self fulfilling since the fifty days of Easter corrseponds with the “Marian” month. What’s even more beautiful is the fact that according to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Mense maio (the Month of May), “in this month, the benefits of God’s mercy comes down to us from her throne in greater abundance.” So how exactly can we as Catholics utilize this Month of May spiritually? Here are some suggestions all summed up in three major ways which could be of help. 

Pray to Her: The Month of our Lady calls us to take up a deep devotion to Mary. Many of us probably may have backslid in our prayers to her due to the stress and worries our minds have been preoccupied with from the start of the year up until now. But we are encouraged to rekindle in our hearts our devotion to her by:

  • Fervent prayer of one of the most powerful prayers of the Church: the Most Holy RosaryIn Fatima, Our Lady appeared to the shepherd children—Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.  In these apparitions, Our Lady insisted upon the praying of the most Holy Rosary. St. John Paul II in his document on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary also pleaded that the whole world pray the Holy Rosary for the salvation of the family and for world peace. This is a call to obedience for us. Fifteen to thirty minutes of each day in prayer with the Holy Rosary isn’t really too small for Our Lady. The question is, isn’t she worth more than this amount of your time?
  • Saying the Regina Coeli at appropriate times, for in doing this we not only sanctify the morning, afternoon and evening hours through the holy and sweet presence of Mary, but we also call to mind Mary’s key presence in the Mysteries of our salvation.
  • Consecration of Ourselves through our LadyIt is always beautiful when we dedicate our whole essence to Jesus by a formal process of consecration through Mary. So if your parish organizes such consecration classes this May, it won’t be a bad idea to attend them if you haven’t done such consecration. This consecration could change dramatically one’s whole life. If one has already done it then one can renew the consecration every year and go deeper into the infinite reservoir of the love of God brought to us through the intercession of Our Mother Mary.

Know Her: A major issue our separated brethren have with us Catholics is the doctrine and truths about Our Mother Mary (Mariology as we call it). What’s even worse is the failure on our side in explaining and defending these truths when faced with the opposition and this is generally caused by the lack of indepth knowledge about Our Lady. Thus, we can make our Catholic faith firm this May by: 

  • Reading about Mary. For a well-formed and integral Mariology we should cultivate not just devotion but doctrine as well and this can be achieved by reading good Catholic books that fully explains the reasons for our devotions to Mary. Why not read the Apostolic Letter of Saint John Paul II “Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary” this May. This is a spiritual gem because it combines both solid Catholic doctrine (Mariology) with a tender love and devotion to Mary. We indeed need to know about Our Lady for she is the quickest, shortest, easiest and most efficacious path to Jesus.

Imitate Her. If we truly love somebody, we wouldn’t just want to get to know them better, but we would as well follow them more closely and finally imitate their good qualities that we call virtues. This is what we ought to do with regards to Our Lady this May. The saints did this every day of their lives and are now being honoured. St. Louis de Montfort in his classic “True Devotion to Mary” gives us a list of the ten principal virtues of Mary. Imitate them and you will be on the highway to holiness. They are her deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom (True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort, #108). St. Louis teaches us: “The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”

Finally, although the month of May is a joyful one indeed, our life is a constant combat zone. But the good thing about it all is that we are never alone in our daily battle against the devil, the flesh and the world. Our Lady is always there to help us whenever we call on her in times of temptations and trials. She’s always on the lookout for the worried hearts as she did at the Wedding of Cana. And she is always ready to call her Son Our Lord Jesus Christ’s attention to us. Pope Paul VI also wrote that Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which people are led to Christ. Therefore, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ. So let us utilize this Month of May by truly devoting ourselves to Our Mother Mary, for then will the joy Easter brings be truly ours. 

    For Thirty Pieces of Silver…

    Wednesday of Holy Week, Year A; 12th April, 2017.

    At that time one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

    When it was evening, he sat at the table with the twelve; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

    Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25

    Betrayal. How bitter and hurtful it can be when you realize you are about to be betrayed by one you call ‘friend’. How worse off it gets when the person to betray you still claims an undying loyalty to you amidst such betrayal. Ceasar probably would have felt this towards Brutus. But then again, he was almost dead before it dawned on him what had really transpired. But our Lord Jesus Christ knew from the onset, and each time he talked about the betrayal that would lead to His death, we can only imagine the pain He felt when His traitor felt no remorse whatsoever and acted all innocent. “Thirty pieces of silver and then I can be rich,” Judas probably said to himself. But he failed to realize that he was selling the best riches he could ever have had for a few coins. Thirty pieces of silver over the salvation His Master was bringing him.

    We at times act like Judas Iscariot: selling ourselves short of the price Christ has bought us with. We claim to be Christians when our hearts and minds are far from the Christ-like living; we choose the world’s pleasures and possessions over the joy and salvation our Lord Jesus Christ offers us; we pretend to have this undying love for God when we await moments to seek our desires which only His love can fulfill

    But today, Christ looks at us lovingly, with hopes that we stop living in pretence and start living up to the price He shed his Precious Blood for us with, which even a million pieces of gold can’t buy. May we gain the graces to be loyal to our Saviour so that whenever we share in his Passover, whenever we partake in the Holy Eucharist, we may with clean conscience and pure hearts, dine with Him knowing it wouldn’t be us who will be guilty of betrayal