“You are built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20.The Lord Jesus was pleased to build His Church on the Rock foundations of Peter’s faith and the deep wisdom of Paul, His Chosen Instrument and trained Master Builder. Let every Christian take care that he neglects not these Holy Apostles, without which all our labour will come to nothing - the one who builds without them builds on sand and straw - his work will be blown away by the winds of change. On the other hand, no storm can overthrow the foundations of faith which are laid on the teachings of these holy Apostles.
“I rely, my whole being relies, Lord, on Your promise.” Psalm 130:5The Psalmist in his state of distress and sorrow, waits on the Lord in complete trust for salvation and deliverance. His whole being relies on the Lord's promise. In His promise concerning the coming Messiah, Christ, and salvation by Him; concerning the pardon of sin through Him, and eternal life by Him. This is the only hope of man, the Saviour of all; the object, ground, and foundation of hope, of all blessings, of grace and of glory.
“It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63.Every human being in this world seeks to live. Quite often we try to sustain our life only by taking care of our flesh. Jesus lifts our hearts and minds above the flesh, asking us to turn to the Spirit if we are to truly receive life. He then makes His statement even clearer by pointing to us the source of Spirit and Life - the Words He has spoken to us. Let us then, return with renewed zeal to His Words. It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.
“Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26Every time we participate in the Eucharist, we are participating in more than just a community meal. In the Eucharist, we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, thereby proclaiming His death. This requires deep reflection and preparation from our side, which is why in the Catholic Church, reception of Holy Communion is often placed in the context of the Holy Mass. May we come to better realize the richness of the Eucharist!
"Arise, shine out, for your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you." Isaiah 60:1The Heavenly Jerusalem is the holy city of God. Each one of us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit are her children. The glory of the Lord dawns and shines on this heavenly city and its inhabitants. Darkness covers the world, but as citizens of this heavenly city, we are illuminated by this brightness which increases day by day in glory.
“for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink; even from his mother's womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit” Luke 1:15Many of the parents of God’s prophets were carefully chosen and instructed by God Himself so that they would bring their children up according to the mind of God. Today as the Universal Church celebrates the Feast of the birth of John the Baptist, let us ask God for the grace to be holy and faithful formators of the generation yet to come. If we are faithful, our children will be filled with the Spirit even from their mother’s womb and be a source of great joy for the Church of God.
“They laid a snare in my path – I was bowed with care – they dug a pit ahead of me, but fell in it themselves.” Psalms 57:6The life of a true follower of Christ is bound to be filled with trials and struggles. The Devil will give such a person no rest, and will try to lay many traps for his soul. But the Lord is with His chosen - they will never stumble, because the love of God surrounds them with favour as with a shield, and He confuses their enemies, utterly destroying them.
“For the eyes of Yahweh observe human ways, and survey all human paths.” Proverbs 5:21One of the most important things for us to know is no thought of ours ever escapes the Lord’s notice. Even the quickest of our thoughts are not quick enough to escape His all-surveying eyes. In front of Him, every secret human thought comes and exposes itself. All our ways lie open before Him. Therefore let us conduct ourselves with humility, repentance and fear, asking His pardons for all our sins, especially those that are hidden and secret.
“Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.” John 15:2The Lord constantly reminds us the fact that everyone who belongs to Him must bear fruit. If we do not bear fruit, we will be cut down and thrown on the fire - we will find no mercy with God. But if through patient prayer and pondering the Word, we start to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, the Father being pleased with us will lovingly prune us so that we bear even more.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being cursed for our sake since Scripture says: Anyone hanged is accursed.” Galatians 3:13In the Old Testament, it is written that anyone who hangs on a tree is accursed of God. Christ, whose love for humanity was so deep, could not bear to see them condemned to die. He beseeched the Father to set them free and instead willingly took all their sins and their curses on His own self. Humbly carrying the Cross to Calvary and by meekly hanging on it till his death, He set each one of us free from the curse of sin and death.
“For the precept is a lamp, the teaching is a light; correction and discipline are the way to life,” Proverbs 6:23 The commandments and teachings of the Bible light up our way to the Kingdom of God. In the midst of the darkness of chaos, emptiness, ignorance and confusion, the light of the Word of God clearly shines out! Knowledge of the Word is imparted through correction and discipline by elders and spiritual fathers raised up by God. Let us take care to receive them with the greatest care and attention that we may be guided along the path of life.
“Wisdom brings up her own children and cares for those who seek her. Whoever loves her loves life, those who seek her early will be filled with joy.” Sirach 4:11-12Loving wisdom is one of the best loves a person can ever have. Far more beautiful, gentle, kind and gracious than any other creature, wisdom truly ennobles the soul who converses with her. Loving her is loving Eternal Life, since she takes great care to guide her children on the path of Life. Those who, in the early hours of the day call and seek her will undoubtedly experience great joy at her visitation.
“Be like a father to the fatherless and as good as a husband to their mothers. And you will be like a child to the Most High, who will love you more than your own mother does.” Sirach 4:10If we are able to love orphans and widows in the same way as we do the members of our own families, God assures us of His undying favour. He tells us that we will be like His very own children and that He will love us with a most tender love, far greater than the love our own mother has for us. How blessed we are if we can put this into practice, having received the grace to see Jesus in them!
“The Name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the upright runs to it and is secure.” Proverbs 18:10The "Name of the Lord" by which he is made known, are his attributes or perfections. His goodness, grace and mercy are the strength and security of his people; his favour encompasses them as a shield; his justice protects them from all injuries and insults; his truth and faithfulness preserve them; they are kept by his power, as in a garrison.
“My delight is to do Your Will; Your Law, my God, is deep in my heart.” Psalm 40:8The Lord God, who searches the heart of men, found the Psalmist a man worthy of Himself, and revealed His heart and mind to Him. The Psalmist gave the Lord love in return for love and did not leave a single wish of God unfulfilled; Indeed, he joyfully carried out the Lord's entire will with joy.
“What return can I make to Yahweh for His generosity to me? I shall take up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of Yahweh.” Psalm 116:12-13"What can the pardoned sinner, or what can those who have been delivered from trouble or distress, render to the Lord for his benefits? We cannot in any way profit him. Our best is unworthy of his acceptance; yet we ought to devote ourselves and all we have to his service. I will take the cup of salvation in token of thankfulness to God, and rejoice in God's goodness to me. I will receive the cup of affliction; that cup, that bitter cup, which is sanctified to the saints, so that to them it is a cup of salvation; it is a means of spiritual health. The cup of consolation; I will receive the benefits God bestows upon me, as from his hand, and taste his love in them, as the portion not only of my inheritance in the other world, but also in this."
“The first principle of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; at the cost of all you have, acquire understanding!” Proverbs 4:7This verse of the Bible seems to cry out to each one of us about the importance of acquiring wisdom and understanding. Reflecting upon the importance of wisdom and understanding, are not all our problems, all our mistakes due to our lack of these gifts? Let us listen to this exhortation and become attentive disciples who sit at the feet of the Blessed Lord Jesus to humbly acquire wisdom and understanding from His Words.
“Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life. I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.” Psalm 23:6We see in these words the Psalmists confidence in God being his shepherd and friend all through life, through all its changes and in every situation; he would never leave him to want. This utterance is from a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude in the recollection of the past, and full of glad anticipation in regard to the future. Next , the Psalmist expresses a desire of every true child of God; to live in constant adoration and worship of God, to be occupied only in holy activities and to find joy and peace in God’s presence; a privilege to live heaven on earth.
“God, create in me a clean heart, renew within me a resolute spirit.” Psalm 51:10The Psalmist being convinced of his sin, was led more and more to see the impurity of his heart from which all his evil actions flowed. He realised that he could not make his heart clean himself. This was the work of God; for the first work of conversion is no other than a creation of something new. Next the Psalmist pleads for a resolute spirit - a spirit of uprightness and integrity, a spirit of whole-hearted trust and obedience to God, unwavering in the midst of sin and temptation.
“To my heart You are a richer joy than all their corn and new wine.” Psalm 4:7Many had sought happiness in other things, but the Psalmist had sought it in the favor of the Lord, and the Lord had given him a degree of happiness which they had never found in the most prosperous worldly condition. This happiness had its seat in the "heart," and not in any external circumstances. All true happiness must have its seat there, for if the heart is sad, of what avail are the most prosperous external circumstances?