Be a modern-day apostle!

Can a Catholic not be a disciple?  The true essence of a Catholic is precisely in being a disciple.

As we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew, let us learn how to live the life and ways of an apostle or disciple.

In the gospel, Jesus to him, "Follow me" and immediately he followed him.  A disciple is a follower of Jesus.  May we have the courage and the eagerness to be Jesus' disciples.

A disciple is formed according to Jesus' heart in the course of following him.  He is filled with love; the same united love of the Triune God.

A disciple is a good steward for the gifts God has given him and he uses them to lead others to Christ. Whether the gifts be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastors, or teacher, he uses use all these to build up the body of Christ.

Finally, a disciple is a healer.  By proclaiming Jesus' Good News
, this world wounded by sin becomes an instrument of grace for all.

Be God's joy to others

Tuesday of week 24 in Ordinary Time, I Luke 7:11-17 A good servant is a joy to others.

This is the mark of a true Christian.  Everywhere he goes, whatever he does, he is a joy to the Lord and to others.

Paul's letter to Timothy narrated the various qualities of a good leader and deacon.  They should be of impeccable character, a model of family life, and an example to the community.

The Christian should also have the same qualities - godly, caring, and sharing.  He or she should be a joy to others and much more to the Lord.

In the gospel, Jesus returned the boy's life back to the mother.  He must have known that the son is the only life of the widow.  And now that he's gone, who would take care of the mother?  Jesus felt strongly for the mother.  He is that loving son who gives joy to the mother.  He is the loving Lord who takes care of us.

Let us imitate Jesus and devote all of ourselves to be a source of joy to others and to Him.

Mary, the new Eve

The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary Matthew 1:1-16,18-23 Happy Birthday, Mama Mary!

Celebrating birthdays are always magical moments for us.  When we were children we couldn't do away with balloons, birthday hats and cakes, and gifts.  It's a time of new beginnings us who go to church to thank the Lord for granting another year in our lives.  When our birthday comes, it's a time to renew ourselves to become better persons.

Celebrating Mary's birthday is a time of new beginnings in the Church and in our faith.  When Mary was conceived, it signaled the time of renewal for humanity and the call to be "new creation in Christ."

As St. Paul said in Rom 5: 17, "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!"

Church tradition tells us that Mary is the new Eve, the recipient …

Attaining Christian maturity

Thursday of week 22 in Ordinary Time Luke 5:1-11 St. Paul addresses the situation of Colossian Church.  The main issue is the faithfuls' ability to carry anything with the strength of the Lord after being instructed about the faith.  It means having the capacity to bear all things in Christ.

This is the process leading to Christian maturity.  It's also the story of St. Peter, who was initially called Simon, a fisherman.  Although he was hard-headed there is a space for listening.  And he got a lot of fish after listening to Jesus.  His life of conversion started.

For Christian maturity to happen we need three things:

First, the capacity to see and aim for what is good.  "You shall be a fisher of man" was the aim Jesus gave Peter.  What is our life's goal?  It should transcend our lives on earth.  It should enable heaven to open.

Second, the capacity to start from where we are.  Salvation starts with Peter's humble admittance of his sinfulness and Jesus' p…

Be the light of Christ

Tuesday of week 22 in Ordinary Time Luke 4:31-37 This day, Jesus manifested his authority over the evil one.  In the first reading, St. Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to live in the light.  What does "light" mean?

Light, in contrast with darkness, simply gives us the power to see.  Light is an array of color while darkness implies the absence of it.

Light is attributed to God who is the only source of light; while any absence of it is from the evil one who destroys anything that comes to be.  Anyone who treats things as light other than God is not worthy of His love.

Light is reflected in the conduct of Christians, both inwardly and outwardly.  Inwardly, it entails purity of heart patterned after the very heart of God.  Outwardly, they manifest God's power and majesty.  Our Christian dispositions are reflected in what lies in our hearts and manifests and in our actions.

Be open to heavenly realities

Tuesday of week 20 in Ordinary Time  Matthew 19:23-30 The world today might be turning too secular, i.e., to engrossed with the world's affairs.  Would we still be sensitive to have a spiritual experience like Gideon?

In the gospel, Jesus explained another spiritual reality, heaven.  With people's preoccupation with worldly affairs, heaven seems to go farther away.

He offers a possibility for opening our world to heaven:

First, faith - faith opens us to invisible realities, the reality that God exists, and our reliance on him for our lives;

Second, offering - offering is of great importance to the world of faith, knowing that our material things come from God and when we offer, we think solely of Him;

Third, service - serving God cannot be a waster of time; rather, the times we spend our lives serving God may be our ticket to heaven.

Faith, offering, and service are added components in opening our world to God.

Strong faith

Saturday of week 18 in Ordinary Time Matthew 17:14-20 The Lord commanded, "Love with all your hearts and minds.  He further reminded them, "I gave you everything you did not plant."  It is God who is all powerful.

The reason why our prayers are not answered is because we haven't loved the Lord enough.  We are more interested in the gifts, not the giver.  And when the Lord doesn't grant the things that we ask for, we doubt him.

In the gospel, Jesus reprimanded his disciples.  "‘Faithless and perverse generation!’ Jesus said in reply ‘How much longer must I be with you? ... ‘Because you have little faith. I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you.’"

What does it mean to have faith?

First, it means to rely totally on God.  There a quote that says, "When you pray, treat as if everything depended on God."  Tot…