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.
Friday After Ash Wednesday Year A; 3rd March 2017.
Is such the fast I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to the undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share bread with the hungry and bring homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not you hide yourself from your own flesh?
God speaks to our hearts and minds today through Prophet Isaiah to “take it up a notch” in our ways of fasting: to loose the bonds of wickedness and be more loving as we fast, to share bread with the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless poor, to clothe the naked (Isaiah 58:6-7)-all these Corporal Works of Mercy and works of charity done with love is what is required of us this Lent. What is fasting without Mercy if not unacceptable in the Lord’s sight. So let’s not fast for ourselves, there is no “self-giving” in that. Saint John Cassian once said,
“Fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything worldly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; theyare its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow men. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.”
It is the love of God that gives us the grace to live a life of mercy for our fellow men who are in need. So let us pray as we fast for the grace to be loving and merciful this season of Lent. Only then shall our light break forth like the dawn, our healing spring up speedily,and our righteousness go for before God who always answers His own.
Lenten Season Year A; 1st March 2017
Lent remains one of the best liturgical season we Catholics can ever witness. It is a time of return to God, of soul searching: a time to acknowledge our sinfulness and create habits of the mind and heart that are centered on Jesus Christ. It’s pretty amazing that this year’s Lenten season begins with the new month. Lent could feel like this: we walk through the green fields of hope the Ordinary Time gives, and gradually it opens its path and leads us to the violet ocean which purifies our hearts and souls, an ocean of extraordinary grace opened up for those who return to the Lord with repentant hearts and contrite spirit.
So what really is expected of us this season of Lent?
Prayer: Pray for loved ones. Pray for enemies. Pray for world peace. Pray for your country and its leaders. Pray for the sick, for the poor, for those in purgatory. Pray for forgiveness. Do something different in your prayer life. If you don’t pray the rosary often, you can decide this Lent to pray at least 5 decades a day. Or if you haven’t been keeping up to your morning prayers and the first thing you do when you open your eyes is reach for your phone (which a lot of us tend do), you could decide to begin every morning with a “Serviam”(I will serve) and any other short ejaculatory prayer of thanksgiving to God. Go to confession if you’ve been keeping it on a long finger for quite sometime. Recieve Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Visit the Blessed Sacrament regularly. Just take your prayer life one step up to the next level.
Fasting: A lot of us think, “Fasting: the ‘6/9 hours stay away from food’ thingy.” Then we start off all strong, till its an hour before we break the fast and time seems soo slow and we hear the enyzmes in our stomachs scream at every minute that ticks past. But then again, what good is a fasting if our minds are so bent and focus on how long before we break it? Fasting ought to be some form of self-denial. You eat 5 times a day? Try making it 2. You online for the 16 hours you stay awake? Why not cut it down to 6. Fasting could be the sacrifices we make for the daily pleasures we give ourselves. And what to we do when we don’t eat at the appropriate hours we have denied ourselves of? We could offer it up for those who barely have a full squared meal to eat. And the hours not spent online? We could offer it up in prayer for those who stay addicted to the social media and what it feeds. We could grow in our holiness while we fast by reading spiritual books or knowing God more by reading the Bible. So what is that you feel addicted to? It’s high time you fast from it/them.
Giving: Give alms. Give hope. Give genuine love. Give good advice. Give a listening ear, a leaning shoulder, a helping hand. Give all. Give yourself. In the spirit of self denial, we ought to give to those who need. Empty yourself of that you cling to so you can be fill back up at the end of Lent with joy and blessings those things wouldn’t have given you.
Christ shows us the way we can live this out this season of Lent: In Humility; In Sincerity, In Secret (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18). So Fast, Pray and Give. May the Lord purify our motives so that our Lenten observance will lead us to repentance and self-renewal so that we may fully experience the joy Easter brings.
Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, 18th January 2016
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination and stubbornness is as inquity and idolatry.”
(1 Samuel 5:22-23)
Today Samuel confronts Saul who chose to follow his way and the way of his people disregarding God’s instructions. We are called to let go of those bad habits that push us away from God but we tend to feel we can have both, “we take back the spoils in our lives we ought to have destroyed” the moment we renounced sin. We fail to obey Him who wants the best for us. God doesn’t want some heroic sacrifice from you; all he asks is that you obey Him, there is no better pathway to gaining graces from God than through obedience.
So what are you willing to sacrifice for God? Your obedience is a perfect sacrifice. How you you plan on walking in His ways today? Make your way blameless and let God show you His salvation: Live in obedience of Him.