Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4

R4C

R4C
Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.
Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

God's incredible gift of love for the world



What does Scripture tell us about God and how he relates to us? When God met with Moses on Mount Sinai and made a covenant with the people of Israel, he revealed the nature of his character and his personal love for them:
"The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy and faithfulness'" (Exodus 34:6).
God is all-loving, faithful, merciful, and forgiving by nature. God's love is supreme because it directs, orders, and shapes everything he does.

Love and judgment 
Scripture tells us that God is all just and all loving. How does his love and justice go together? God opposes sin and evil with his just wrath (his righteous anger) and right judgment - and he approaches sinful people and evil doers with mercy ("slow to anger" and "ready to forgive") and discipline ("fatherly correction" and "training in righteousness"). John the Evangelist tells us that the Father sent his Son into the world - not to condemn but to redeem - not to destroy but to heal and restore. Paul the Apostle tells us that "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). God does not desire the death of anyone (Ezekiel 18:23,32, Ezekiel 33:11, Wisdom of Solomon 1:13). Instead he gives us the freedom to choose between life and death - good and evil.

When we choose to sin and to go our own way apart from God, we bring condemnation upon ourselves. Sin draws us away from God and leads to a spiritual death - a death that is worse than physical loss of life because it results in a hopeless life of misery and separation from God's peace and joy. Jesus was sent on a rescue mission to free us from slavery to sin and death and to bring us the abundant life which will never end. His death brought us true freedom and abundant new life in his Spirit - as well as pardon, reconciliation and adoption as sons and daughters of God.

Jesus took upon himself all of our sins and nailed them to the cross (Colossians 2:14). His death was an atoning sacrifice for our sins and a perfect offering to the Father on our behalf. We can find no greater proof of God's love for fallen sinful humanity than the cross of Jesus Christ. "To ransom a slave God gave away his Son" (from an early Christian hymn for the Easter vigil liturgy). Jesus' mission was motivated by love and obedience. That is why he willingly laid down his life for us. Jesus told his disciples that there is no greater love than for a person to willingly lay down his or her life for a friend (John 15:13). Jesus loved us first - even while we were captives to sin and Satan - in order to set us free and make us friends and beloved children of God.

Believing in the Son of God 
Do you believe that Jesus personally died for you - for you alone - simply because he loved you? Scripture tells us that God knew each one of us even before we were knit in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5). We were created for a purpose - to be united with God and to share in his love and glory now and forever. Augustine of Hippo wrote: "God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love." God's love is complete and perfect because it is wholly directed towards our greatest good - to make us whole and to unite us in a perfect bond of love and peace. That is why God was willing to go to any length necessary to save us from slavery to sin and death.

How does God's love bring healing, pardon, and wholeness to our lives? God's love has power to set each one of us free from every form of bondage to sin - whether it be bondage to fear and guilt, pride and greed, envy and hatred. We can only know the love of God and experience his healing power to the degree that we put our faith in him and surrender our lives to his will. Faith is the key that opens the door to Christ and to his healing power in our lives. But for faith to be effective we must act and do our part. That is why faith requires repentance and obedience - turning away from unbelief and disobedience - and turning to the Lord with a believing heart and listening ear. That is why Jesus said, "whoever believes in me is not condemned" (John 3:18).

To believe that Jesus is the only Son of God who died for our sins is the key that opens the door to his presence and work in our lives. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). The Lord Jesus knocks at the door of your heart - will you listen today and open at once?

Triune nature of God 
The Lord Jesus has revealed to his disciples the great mystery of our faith - the triune nature of God and the inseparable union of the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus' mission is to reveal the glory of God to us - a Trinity of persons - God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - and to unite us with God in a community of love. The ultimate end, the purpose for which God created us, is the entry of God's creatures into the perfect unity of the blessed Trinity.

The Jews understood God as Creator and Father of all that he made (Deuteronomy 32:6) and they understood the nation of Israel as God's firstborn son (Exodus 4:22). Jesus reveals the Father in an unheard of sense. He is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son, who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father (see Matthew 11:27). The Spirit, likewise, is inseparably one with the Father and the Son.

The mission of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit are the same. That is why Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will reveal the glory of the Father and the Son and will speak what is true. Before his Passover, Jesus revealed the Holy Spirit as the "Paraclete" and Helper who will be with Jesus' disciples to teach and guide them "into all the truth" (John 14:17,26; 16:13). In baptism we are called to share in the life of the Holy Trinity here on earth in faith and after death in eternal light.

Clement of Alexandria, a third century church father, wrote:"What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos (Word) of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her 'Church'."

We can know God personally 
How can we grow in our understanding and experience of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the Father and the Son to us and who gives us the gift of faith to know and understand the truth of God’s word. Through baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Lord renews the gift of the Spirit in each one of us as we open our hearts with expectant faith and yield to his work in our lives. Jesus promised his disciples that he would send them the Spirit of truth who would be their Teacher and Guide. Ask the Lord Jesus to renew in you the gift of the Holy Spirit who strengthens us in the seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence, and holy fear in God's presence (Isaiah 11:2-3).

May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart's vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Give thanks to the Lord, he delivered them from their distress



Psalm 107:1-2,6

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;


Saint Anthony's Feast & Novena 2017 ~ Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia


138 year of celebration
Feast & Novena of St.Anthony
Church of St.Anthony 
Nibong Tebal

9 June 2017 ~ 18 June 2017




Friday, 9 June 2017

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Trinity Sunday) ~ 11 June 2017


In the Catholic faith, we believe and worship One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Glory be to the Father, 
and to the Son, 
and to the Holy Spirit.



The Father is made of no one, neither created nor begotten.
The Son is from the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. We celebrate the presence of the Triune God within us, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Holy Trinity, a doctrine enunciated by the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and the greatest mystery of our Faith, namely, that there are Three Divine Persons, sharing the same Divine nature in one God. “There is one God, who has three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each Person is God, yet there is still only one God” (CCC #234, #253-256). This is the mystery we profess each week when we affirm our belief in the Son of God, who is "consubstantial [one in Being] with the Father, God from God, light from light true God from true God" and in the Holy Spirit, who "with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified." The inner relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is such that each of them is fully God, yet They are not three Gods but One. This is not comprehendible by the human mind.

O my God, 
Trinity Whom I adore
Grant my soul peace.
Make it Your Heaven,
Your beloved dwelling, 
and the place of Your rest.
May I never abandon You there,
but may I be there,
whole and entire.
Completely vigilant in my faith,
entirely adoring, 
and wholly given over 
to Your creative action.
~ Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity ~ 

Liturgy

Reading 1

Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
Early in the morning Moses went up Mount Sinai
as the LORD had commanded him,
taking along the two stone tablets.

Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there
and proclaimed his name, "LORD."
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,
"The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity."
Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.
Then he said, "If I find favor with you, O Lord,
do come along in our company.
This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins,
and receive us as your own."


Responsorial Psalm
Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
R. Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!


Reading 2
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.


Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
to God who is, who was, and who is to come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
John 3:16-18
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.




Human hunger is at the center of the Feast of Corpus Christi


The question of human hunger is at the center of the Feast of Corpus Christi. In the gospel for this feast, Jesus speaks of hunger. Jesus has just fed the 5,000 with the multiplication of the barley loaves and fish, but he still speaks of hunger. He always seems intent on looking beyond the physical hunger that was so easily alleviated. 

Indeed, it seems clear that Jesus has in mind another hunger, a deeper longing of the human spirit that is not so easily satisfied. It is difficult to put a name on the deep human yearning that goes beyond any physical hunger we experience. St. Augustine spoke about it as a restlessness. He said because we belong to God; we are restless until we rest in Him. 

What should that say about our daily lives? Well, with the wonderful knowledge that Christ is in me, loves me enough to come to me, loves me enough to want to come to me, can self-pity still be possible? Can you continue to moan and groan, to mope and sulk because your little world passes you by? 

In spite of what troubles life brings you, remember that you are not alone. The One who suffered and died for you is in you. He is as close to you as you are to yourself. The One who knows what it is like to live with disappointment, what it is like to live with that illness that saps your spirit and the hard knocks that life gives you — He comes to you at every Mass. 

We are what we receive — the Body of Christ. This means that the bread of life is not an individualistic thing or our solitary supper. The moment that we receive it is not only a precious moment — a time for prayer — it is also a time to form community. St. Paul phrased it beautifully – Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 

The Lord who locks Himself in the tabernacle of my body is none other than the Lord who nourishes my next door neighbor, the same Christ who feeds all. Christ is not divided. Christ is not multiplied. There is one and the same body and the same Christ for all. In His flesh we are one.

by Father Bob Warren, SA
Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

Thursday, 8 June 2017

You know neither the scriptures nor the power of God


How reliable is the belief that all will be raised from the dead? The Sadducees, who were a group of religious leaders from the upper classes in Jesus' time, did not believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead to eternal life. They could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes! Aren’t we often like them? We don't recognize spiritual realities because we try to make heaven into an earthly image we can touch and see. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous. The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in the existence of immortal beings - whether humans, angels, or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven which ended in death.

Jesus offers proof to immortality - life without end 
Jesus responds to their argument by dealing with the fact of the resurrection and immortal life. Jesus shows that God is a living God of a living people. The Scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, God calls himself the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived on the earth. That friendship with God could not cease with death. David in the Psalms also speaks of the reality of immortal life with God. In Psalm 73:23-24 we pray through the words of David: "I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory."

Through Christ's resurrection we, too, can rise again to eternal life with God
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God's unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity. Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The promise of paradise - heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God - is beyond human reckoning. We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you believe the Scriptures and do you know the power of the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and who gives us the assurance of everlasting life as well?

May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Carrying out our mission with Mary, Mother of Evangelization ~ Pope Francis


Dear brothers and sisters, in carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelization. Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life in the depths of her humble faith. May the Virgin Mother help us to say our own “yes”, conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time. May she obtain for us renewed zeal in bringing to everyone the Good News of the life that is victorious over death. May she intercede for us so that we can acquire the holy audacity needed to discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to every man and woman.
by Pope Francis
Vatican, 4 June 2017
Solemnity of Pentecost


Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength


What is the purpose of God's law or commandments? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law and their ritual requirements. They made it a life-time practice to study the 613 precepts of the Old Testament along with the numerous rabbinic commentaries. They tested Jesus to see if he correctly understood the law as they did. Jesus startled them with his profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose.

Our love for God is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us
What does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves! God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God's love and truth the more we love what he loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to his will.

Faith and hope strengthen our love for God
What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in his promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, for being united with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises. The Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as he loves. Do you allow anything to keep you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart? Paul the Apostle says: hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us (Romans 5:5). Do you know the love which conquers all?
We love you, O our God; and we desire to love you more and more. Grant to us that we may love you as much as we desire, and as much as we ought. O dearest friend, who has so loved and saved us, the thought of whom is so sweet and always growing sweeter, come with Christ and dwell in our hearts; that you keep a watch over our lips, our steps, our deeds, and we shall not need to be anxious either for our souls or our bodies. Give us love, sweetest of all gifts, which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love, born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love, let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in your Son.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Lord's loving-kindness, no less than his mercy, is great in respect of our salvation in that, not content to redeem us with his blood, he in addition prayed for us


The Lord Jesus asked Simon Peter and he asks each one of us a very personal and profound question - do you love me more than anything else that might be very dear to you? How can the love of Jesus Christ be so attractive and so costly at the same time? Jesus on many occasions spoke to his disciples about the nature of God's unquenchable love. God is love (1 John 4:16) because he is the creator and source of all that is true love. His love is unconditional, unmerited, and unlimited. We can't buy it, earn it, demand it. It is a pure gift, freely given, and freely received. God's love doesn't change or waver. It endures because it is eternal and timeless. It’s the beginning and the end - the purpose for which God created us and why he wants us to be united with him in a bond of unbreakable love. And it’s the essence of what is means to be a son or daughter of God the eternal Father.

Love gives all for the good of others
The Lord Jesus shows us that love is a personal choice and a gift freely given - it is the giving of oneself to another person for their sake. Unselfish love is oriented wholly to the good of the other person for their own welfare and benefit. John the Evangelist tells us that "God so loved the world that he gave us his only-begotten Son" (John 3:16) who took on human flesh for our sake and who died upon the cross for our salvation - to set us free from the power of sin so that we might receive abundant everlasting life and peace with God.

God's love heals and transforms our lives and frees us from fear, selfishness, and greed. It draws us to the very heart of God and it compels us to give him the best we have and all we possess - our gifts, our time, our resources, our full allegiance, and our very lives. Paul the Apostle tells us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given us (Romans 5:5). What can quench such love? Certainly fear, sin, pride, indifference, disbelief, and the loss of hope and trust in God's promises and his mercy towards us.

Do you love me more than these? 
Why did Jesus question Peter's loyalty and love three times in front of the other apostles? It must have caused Peter great pain and sorrow since he had publicly denied Jesus three times during the night of Jesus' betrayal and condemnation by the religious authorities who had sought to kill him. Now Peter, full of grief and deep remorse, unequivocally stated that he loved his master and was willing to serve and obey him whatever it might cost. When Jesus asks him "do you love me more than these?" Jesus may have pointed to the boats, fishing nets, and catch of fish from the night's work. He may have challenged Peter to abandon his work as a fisherman for the task of shepherding the community of God's people. Jesus may have also pointed to the other disciples and to Peter's previous boast: "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away" (Matthew 26:33). Peter now makes no boast or comparison but humbly responds: "You know that I love you."

We love because he loved us first 
The Lord Jesus calls each one of us, even in our own weakness, sins, and failings, to love him above all else. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) in his Confession wrote: 
"Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new. Late have I loved you! ...You shone your Self upon me to drive away my blindness. You breathed your fragrance upon me... and in astonishment I drew my breath...now I pant for you! I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you. You touched me! - and I burn to live within your peace" (Confession 10:27).

Nothing but our own sinful pride and stubborn wilfullness can keep us from the love of God. He loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding graciousness and mercy towards us. Do you allow God's love to fill your heart and transform your life?

Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and burn away everything within it that may be unloving, unkind, ungrateful, unholy, and not in accord with your will. May I always love what you love and reject what is contrary to your love and will for my life.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East