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Daily Reflection: May 10, 2021

My Dear Friends in Christ:  

JOKE: A pastor’s son who had just gotten his driving permit asked his dad if they could discuss the use of the family car. The pastor said to his son, “I will make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible regularly, and get your haircut, then we will talk about it.” A month later, the boy came back and again asked to discuss the use of the family car. The pastor replied, “Son, I have been really proud of you. You have brought your grades up and you have studied your Bible diligently. But you never got your hair cut.” “You know, Dad, I have been thinking about that,” the young boy replied. “Sampson had a long hair, Moses and Isaiah probably had long hair. All the pictures of Jesus show Him with long hair too…” “Yes,” the pastor interrupted, “and they walked everywhere they went.”   

In today’s gospel passage taken from John 15: 26-16: 4, we read part of the final discourse of Jesus with His apostles during the Last Supper. Here, we read Jesus’ admonition to His disciples and would be disciples about His gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised not to leave His disciples as orphans and offered them His ever-abiding presence. “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from my Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify to me. And you also testify because you have been with me from the beginning.” In doing this, He offers His disciples and would be disciples hope—the hope that the Holy Spirit will give them strength to endure the unreasonable hatred and evil in our world as well as the hostility they may have to face on account of their faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate, our teacher, our Helper, and the Spirit of Truth. In its religious sense, the dictionary defines an advocate as: “One who pleads the cause of another before any tribunal or judicial court…One who defends, vindicates, or espouses a cause by argument, one who is friendly.” The Holy Spirit helps, encourages, strengthens us in our daily work and task and helps us to bear eloquent witness to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. In his homily during daily Mass on May 11, 2020, the Holy Father Pope Francis had this to say about the role of Holy Spirit in our lives: “He teaches us the doctrine of Jesus and to develop our faith without making mistakes. This is because doctrine grows, but always in the same direction: it grows in understanding. The Holy Spirit teaches us to enter the mystery of faith, He helps us to understand the mystery, the doctrine of Jesus and to develop our faith without making mistakes. The Holy Spirit helps us to make everyday decisions, big and small. He teaches us everything, He introduces us into mystery, He makes us remember, discern and grow.”  Still in this gospel passage, Jesus reminded His disciples that persecution awaits them on account of His name. Because Jesus is God, He knew what lay ahead and as such, did not want the faith of His disciples to be shaken or destroyed. No wonder He promised them the coming of the Holy Spirit to drive away every fear and despair and to motivate and inspire them to bear Him eloquent and unwavering witness.  

Dear Friends, as we face God this day, let us always remember that in our life's journey, we are not alone. Amid the struggles, challenges, trials, worries and tribulations and amid the joys, happiness at our accomplishments Jesus is always with us--for He promised to be with us until the end of the age. So, do not allow problems small or big, or worries and anxieties to get in your way of loving Him above all things and your neighbor as well. Jesus commands that we love Him and when we do, He will give us all the grace, courage, and strength we need to face opposition and challenges in our lives. The Holy Spirit is our Divine teacher, and we can learn and understand Him more through frequent reading of the Bible. When we do this, we will get to know Him more and open an intimate relationship with Him. This way, we will get to know Jesus thoroughly, love Him personally and experience Him intimately and so be able to live the ideals of a true Christian believer and convey this to others through our genuine Christina life.

Remember that no storm lasts forever. Hold on. Be brave. Have faith. Every storm is temporary, and we never face the storm alone. God is with us always.   

God loves you and so do I

 

Daily Reflection: May 11, 2021

My Dear Friends in Christ: 

JOKE: A man decided to go ice fishing. Walking onto the frozen surface, he pitched his tent, propped up his fishing rod, and started to pick at the ice. Suddenly, a booming voice rang out: “There are no fish under the ice!” Startled, the man stopped and looked around. Seeing no one, he shrugged his shoulder and started to pick at the ice again. The voice returned: “There are no fish under the ice!” Feeling a bit spooked, the man looked up and said, “God, is that You?” “No,” the voice responded. “I am the manager of this rink, talking to you on the public address system!”    

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we read how Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi. They were stripped, beaten, and placed in stocks in the inner cell. Despite their situation, they praised God, praying, and singing as the other prisoners listened. My dear friends, no matter what our circumstances, we should never stop praising God. Because you never can tell, others might come to Christ because of our example. At the instance of their prayers and worship, the prison doors were flung open but Paul, Silas, and the prisoners did not escape to the amazement of the jailer who called for answers about what to do to be saved. Here we see the Christian Good News of Salvation simply expressed: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” When we recognize Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and trust in Him with our entire life, salvation is assured to us. If you have never trusted in Jesus to save you, do so quickly. Your life can be filled with joy, just as the jailer’s life was.  

And in today’s gospel passage taken from the from John 16: 5-11, we find Jesus doing His best to console His disciples who were sad and disheartened about the news of His imminent departure that it was all for their good. He gave them every assurance that they will never be left alone since He was going to send them another who will be with them till the end of time. He will send them the Holy Spirit who will be with them as a Friend, Teacher, Guide, Counselor, Comforter and Advocate. Unless Jesus accomplished that for which He came, there would be no gospel to read or to preach. If Jesus did not die on the Cross as foretold by the prophets, He could not have removed our sins and He could not have risen again on the third day. Death could have destroyed us completely. If He could not go back to the Father, then the Holy Spirit could not have come. Christ’s presence on earth was limited to one place at a time; His leaving meant He could be present to the whole world. The Holy Spirit will perform three principal tasks in the lives of Jesus’ disciples and followers. 1). He will convince the world about the seriousness of sin. He will lead the world to repent of their sins and seek the face of Jesus asking for forgiveness and mercy from Jesus. He will convince the world that not believing in Jesus is the real and greatest sin. 2). The Holy Spirit will reveal the standard of God’s righteousness to anyone who believes, because Jesus Christ is no longer physically present in the world. He will convince the world about all the truths in the teachings and promises of Jesus as proved by God His Father when He granted Him Resurrection and ascension into heaven. 3). The Holy Spirit will give us the inner and unwavering conviction that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. When we listen to the voice of God as He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit and as we set out to do our best in serving Him, we find true peace, joy, happiness, mercy, and reconciliation with God. 

Dear Friends, as we face God this day, we need to pray and meditate on His words and promises. And as we look forward to the coming feast of Pentecost we also need to pray for fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit as He comes to dwell in our hearts. When the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, He will do what He wishes in, with, and through us. He will set us free from the grip of sin and set out hearts on fire with the fire of God’s love. The death of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary made a personal relationship with God available to us. Thus, when we confess our sins sincerely and make the perfect act of contrition, God declares us righteous and delivers us from judgment for our sins. Then and only then will His promises be made manifest in our lives. Then and only then can we truly find true peace, love, mercy, and numerous other favors that come from God.    

Only God can fill an empty heart. 

God loves you and so do I

 

Daily Reflection: May 12, 2021

My Dear Friends in Christ: 

JOKE: A man was hiking on a nature trail when a bear appeared. The bear gave him a chase, so the man clambered up the nearest tree. But as he was climbing, he slipped and fell at the feet of the beast. “Lord, please let this be a Christian bear” the man gasped. And then the bear said, “Heavenly Father, I thank you for this food.”   

Today’s first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles 17: 15, 22-18: 1. Here we read Paul’s speech to the Men of Athens about Jesus Christ and the need for them to be converted in order to be saved. Having toured the city of Athens, Paul noticed they were highly religious people who built several places of worship for their pagan gods. Paul also noticed a shrine dedicated to an unknown god. The Athenians had built a shrine and dedicated it to an unknown god for fear of missing some blessing or receiving punishment from a god they may have omitted to serve and worship. In his opening statement, Paul spoke to them about this unknown god. He did not endorse this god, but instead he used the inscription as a point of entry for his witness to the One true God. He went further to explain that this One true God made the universe and has asked us to worship Him and Him alone. Because He is the creator, He is near to every one of us and He is transcendent. Paul spoke to his listeners about Jesus’ death and resurrection and what this means for everyone. Unfortunately, the Greeks had no concept of judgement and thus preferred worshipping many gods instead of just one. The concept of resurrection from the dead was unbelievable and offensive to them as well and as such, Paul’s speech was received with mixed reactions. Some of them sneered, some kept scratching for more information, while a few simply believed.       

Today’s gospel passage is taken from part of Last Supper discussion Jesus had with His disciples (John 16: 12-15). Jesus instructs His disciples in clear terms the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian believer as well as His relationship with Jesus and with God the Father. Jesus called Him the Spirit of Truth. The truth that the Holy Spirit is expected to communicate to us is the truth about Jesus Christ. The Fathers of the Vatican Council II affirmed this when they said: “Our Lord completed and perfected Revelation and confirmed it…finally by sending the Spirit of Truth” (Vatican II, Dei Verbum 4). The Spirit will make the disciples to understand fully the truths that have been revealed in Christ. The Spirit will also help the disciples through patient practice to discern right from wrong. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would tell them about “what is to come”—the nature of their mission, the opposition they will face, and how they will match them and what they will say. The Holy Spirt will guide them to the outcome of their efforts. The disciples did not comprehend the truth in these promises until the Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost. On that day, the Holy Spirit filled the disciples with strength, courage, passion, zeal, and discernment that they were able to preach about the Resurrected Christ and His good news of salvation everywhere and even confronted the Jewish religious leaders without fear. On the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were able to render glory to God by glorifying His Son Jesus.   

Dear Friends, as we face God today, let us pray daily for the Spirit of Pentecost to fall afresh on us. We need the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our ways, our actions, our thoughts, and our mission in our daily lives as we continue to bear witness to the Risen Lord.  We need to allow the Holy Spirit to do what He wishes in and through our lives so that He may set us free from the grip of sin and set us ablaze with the fire of God’s love. Even as Christians initiated through Baptism to follow Jesus Christ, we do need the help of the Advocate to grow in our understanding of all that Jesus taught us. So, the Spirit continues to the present day, to be the “church’s living memory” and loving mentor (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n 1099). It is this Spirit that will assist us in bearing eloquent testimony to the resurrected Christ just as Saint Paul did in today’s first reading. We have today a Christian society but unfortunately, God is still unknown. We need to boldly proclaim who He is and make clear what He did for all mankind through His Son Jesu Christ. We cannot presume that everyone who is Christian know very well about Him. So, do not hesitate to tell others about Christ because you fear that some will not believe you. And when you do, do not expect a unanimous positive response to your witnessing. Even if only a few believe, it is worth the effort.  

So, allow the creator of the universe to rule in your life this day and always.  

God loves you and so do I