“Let Your face shine on Your servant, save me in Your faithful love.” Psalm 31:16(Grace and Peace) Just as we need the light of the sun to help us see our way in this world, we need the light of Christ to guide us on our path to our Heavenly Homeland. Without this Heavenly Light radiating from the Face of Christ, we will not be able to see our way and we are overcome by darkness. Therefore, let us look ever more closely at the Face of Jesus Crucified, and allow Him to light up the darkness of our lives! (Praise God)
“But the Lord said to him, ‘You Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness.’” Luke 11:39Grace and Peace The Lord could not tolerate the hypocrisy of those who claimed to be close to God, but in fact were quite far away from Him. He cautions us to be on guard against the vice of hypocrisy, which can easily blind us unless we are careful to keep a clear conscience at all times towards God and toward men. Praise God!
“When all these things were made by me and all belong to me? - declares the Lord. But my eyes are drawn to the person of humbled and contrite spirit, who trembles at my Word.” Isaiah 66:2Whose prayer does God listen to? What are the fundamental virtues we need when we approach His Word? The prophet reveals that the Lord is drawn to the person with these virtues: true humility, deep repentance and reverent fear of God. Let us approach our Lord this way so that He will draw near and reveal Himself to us.
“Do not lose your fearlessness now, then, since the reward is so great.” Hebrews 10:35Fearlessness characterises a genuine disciple, who courageously follows the Crucified Christ, mostly all alone, being deserted by family and friends. But he walks the royal road of the Cross like a prince behind his King, and his joy and peace do not falter. But as struggles press on, it could happen that his resolve become weary. The Apostle encourages us, as true disciples of Christ, never to lose our fearlessness, reminding us that if we succeed in resolutely overcoming trials, persecutions and slander with the help of our faith, the reward which is kept for us in Heaven is something very great indeed. How happy we are if we are deserted by all, and yet fearlessly able to follow the Crucified Christ!
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:15These were the first instructions that Jesus gave to the world. He reveals that faith comes through repentance. True repentance is not momentary, but it is a grace that should remain with us throughout our life. May our Lord grant us the grace to start each day with fresh repentance and renewed faith.
Then Simon Peter spoke up and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Matthew 16:16Who was Jesus? Was he a prophet, miracle-worker, teacher, or a new religious leader? For Simon Peter, Jesus could not fit into any of the descriptions that the people gave. From the depths of his soul, he answered the question of Jesus from what he knew to be the greatest truth, “You are the Son of the living God.”
On him will rest the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2The Spirit of the Lord is sometimes a broad term. Prophet Isaiah, the greatest among the Prophets, describes the gifts of the Spirit of the Lord - wisdom, insight, counsel, power, knowledge, fear of the Lord and devotion to the Lord. Let us pray for the seven-fold Spirit, the same Spirit which was in Jesus Christ.
“The crowds got even bigger and he addressed them, ‘This is an evil generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.’” Luke 11:29(Grace and Peace) God gave a very great sign indeed for all generations that all might believe in the Message of His Son, and that sign was of the Prophet Jonah. Like this prophet, Jesus was buried in the earth for three days before rising again. The Resurrection of Jesus, attested to by the Apostles, proves beyond doubt that Jesus was indeed the One whom He claimed to be - the Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father.
"Fix your gaze on the Lord and your face will grow bright, you will never hang your head in shame.’’ Psalm 34:5The face of Jesus radiates tremendous light on those who behold Him. The instant we behold His countenance, we are made aware of the darkness within us, our sins. If we fix our gaze on Him, and our eyes meet His, something even more amazing takes place within us - the loving Light that flows from His countenance casts out every sin of ours, and our minds and faces which were once dark now begin to glow with a divine brightness. This light begets holiness, which in turn begets boldness in the Lord, thus removing our guilt and shame forever
So the Lord God says this, 'Now I shall lay a stone in Zion, a granite stone, a precious corner-stone, a firm foundation-stone: no one who relies on this will stumble. Isaiah 28:16The stronger the foundation stone, the stronger the structure that is built on it. Jesus Christ is the precious cornerstone that has been laid by God the Father as the foundation of His House. The man who builds his life on Jesus Christ will stand forever, and any man who does not build his life on Jesus Christ will perish. Let us build our lives on Jesus by our faith in him.
But what I am now, I am through the grace of God, and the grace which was given to me has not been wasted. Indeed, I have worked harder than all the others - not I, but the grace of God which is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10St. Paul reveals the secret behind his magnificent work - the Grace of God. Discovering the excellence of God’s Grace, St. Paul emptied himself to such an extent that the streams of God's Grace flooded into his soul and soon became a mighty ocean, brimming with God's wisdom, power and love.
“Through him, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, the fruit of the lips of those who acknowledge his name.” Hebrews 13:15(Grace and Peace) Quite often, we pay very little attention to the numerous summons in the Holy Bible to praise God our Creator. Many use their lips to praise mere human beings; others even go to the extent of mocking or maligning God. As for us, let us constantly and lovingly praise God by taking the Holy Name of Jesus on our lips. This is a most precious and acceptable sacrifice to God - the more frequently we offer this sacrifice, the more holy we become.
“Put your hope in the Lord, be strong, let your hearts be bold, put your hope in the Lord” Psalm 27:14When we are downcast, the Spirit of God encourages us to put our hope in the Lord. It's our hope that keeps us afloat in our moments of dryness and spiritual aridity. Hope is a powerful movement caused in our soul by Divine Love whereby it transcends the present and looks forward with confidence to the future, the confidence that the good and loving Lord will surely come to our help in all our distress.
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise in the city of our God, the holy mountain.” Psalm 48:1The Lord is infinitely higher than every other so called god or lord in heaven or on earth. He is worthy of our praise, honour and adoration. We are His city and our soul is His holy mountain. With this in view, we should make every effort to keep ourselves pure and holy, sanctified by faith in His Holy Gospel. With the Psalmist, let us acclaim the greatness of our Lord, Who dwells within us.
"Seek peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord.’’ Hebrews 12:14No one can see the Lord without holiness, because God is holy. Without holiness, we are unable to approach the Divine Presence. Only the holy are given the grace to cross the threshold of his gates and come into His presence. Holiness is the state of being purified from sin, and becoming the abode of God. Holiness is a long journey - and Saint Paul invites us today to take that first step on this road - that first step is to seek peace with all people.
“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, Who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which lay ahead of Him, He endured the Cross, disregarding the shame of it...” Hebrews 12:2Do we often feel overwhelmed by our daily trials? Are we tempted to run away from our present sufferings? Look at Jesus on the Cross - just one glance with faith is enough. How much Our Lord loves us! In perfect humility, He bears all our pains and sorrows on the Cross. So, with renewed faith, let us fix our eyes on the Crucified Christ, who will give us the grace to endure all suffering.
Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8God is Love! Whoever comes into contact with God or claims to know God will be overwhelmed by His Love, which is His self-annihilation. God is Love, He annihilates Himself by pouring Himself out on all His creatures. We see the height of His self-annihilation in the death of God on the Cross. By dying, He gives us life; by being broken, He heals our divisions; by emptying Himself, He grants us His fulness.
Unload all your burden on to him, since he is concerned about you.1 Peter 5:7All of us have burdens, all of us carry our share of anxieties, worries, tensions and fears. But here is a gentle God Who invites us, "Come to Me, and I will give you rest." Listening to this gentle and kind invitation, encouraged by the words of an Apostle who was close to Him, who knew His tenderness, let us lay down all our fears at the feet of Christ, Who will allay them and grant us rest.
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed. Luke 2:34Today Jesus was presented to God in the Temple. Simon's startling prophecy that Jesus would be a sign of contradiction prepared Mary to meet the hostility with which Christ and His Message was to be received by Israel. May this prophecy prepare us not to be overcome when the world opposes the Truth of the Gospel in our own times.
“He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the land.’” Mark 4:26Grace and Peace! The Kingdom of God grows mysteriously within us once we accept the seed of the Kingdom, which is the Word of God. Night and day, whether we are sleeping, up or about, the Kingdom continues to grow, and in the course of time the crop appears, ready for harvest. All that is asked of us is to accept the Word, hold it fast in a good and obedient heart, and bear fruit with perseverance. Praise God!