Thank You for Commanding the Impossible

Thank You for Commanding the Impossible

“Then in anger the master handed him over to the torturers until he paid back all that he owed. My heavenly Father will treat you in exactly the same way unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” —Matthew 18:34-35 If we don’t accept the grace to forgive those who have sinned against us: • the Lord remembers our sins in detail (see Sir 28:1), • we should not expect to be healed by the Lord (Sir 28:3), • we will not be forgiven (Sir 28:2, 4-5), and • we will be handed over to torturers, such as compulsiveness, fear, depression, self-hatred, anxiety, and other evils (Mt 18:34-35). Therefore, we must accept the grace to forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ immediately (see Mt 5:25), repeatedly (Mt 18:22), and from the heart (Mt 18:35). This applies not only to those who have stopped sinning against us but also to those continuing to sin against us. This applies even to our enemies. Obviously, it is humanly impossible to forgive. “To err is human; to forgive is divine” (quoted from Alexander Pope). Our only hope is to turn to the Lord, Who is divine. He always provides the grace to obey His commands. He raises us above our human limitations to empower us to choose to forgive immediately all who have sinned against us. Jesus gives us the privilege to live in the new world of grace and mercy. How awesome it is to share in the miracle and mystery of forgiving! Thank You, Jesus, for Your command that we forgive from the heart 70 x 7 times! (Mt 18:22) Thank You for grace and mercy beyond measure! Alleluia! PRAYER: Father, may I look at forgiving others the way You do. PROMISE: “None of us lives as his own master and none of us dies as his own master. While we live we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die we die as His servants.” —Rm 14:7-8 PRAISE: Lord, You are descended from David yet Son of God (Rm 1:3-4). Praise You Jesus! For the full Readings please go to: https:thewordonsunday.blogspot.com John...

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THE HIGHEST STANDARDS FOR UNITY

THE HIGHEST STANDARDS FOR UNITY

“If your brother should sin against you, go and point out his sin.” —Matthew 18:15, our translation ……………………………… Jesus prays that His Church would be one as He and His Father are one (Jn 17:21). Jesus has exceptionally high standards for unity in His Church so that the world would believe that the Father sent Jesus (Jn 17:21). This may come as a surprise to us, for our experience in our local churches may be that of denominational and factional disunity. Yet Jesus never changes His standards. He insists on His Church reflecting the unity of the Trinity. To prevent disunity, dispel disunity, and build unity, the Holy Spirit works in the following ways. He gives us: • the Sacrament of Reconciliation, • the responsibility and wisdom to correct our brothers and sisters in Christ (see Ez 33:8; Mt 18:15), • the charity and discipline to keep our differences with another brother or sister private (see Mt 18:15), • the deeper presence of Jesus and the power of prayer when Christians gather in unity in Jesus’ name (see Mt 18:19-20), • submission to the authority of the leaders of our church (see Mt 18:17), and • redemptive suffering (see Jn 11:51-52). The Holy Spirit enables us never to have to settle for less than the best unity in the Church. However, we must be docile to the Holy Spirit and follow His ways of reconciliation and unity exactly and sacrificially. Come, Holy Spirit of unity! (see 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:3) Come and give us a new Pentecost of unity! PRAYER: Father, free the Church to accept her participation in the unity of the Trinity, as soon as possible. PROMISE: “Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another.” —Rm 13:8 PRAISE: Have you ever been put in jail for “proclaiming the resurrection of the dead in the person of Jesus”? (see Acts 4:1-3) Risen Jesus, give me the strength of Your apostles!  (From a reflection by Fr Al Lauer, Presentation Minisitries) For the full Readings please go to: https:thewordonsunday.blogspot.com John...

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Save the Children

Save the Children

“Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is terribly troubled by a demon.” —Matthew 15:22 Jesus delivered many people from demons. Sometimes He delivered children from demons (Mt 15:22; Mk 9:17ff). This raises the question: How can innocent children who could not have grievously sinned or been knowingly involved in the occult be possessed or troubled by demons? Children suffer innocently for the sins of their parents and the world. This suffering seems to include even harassment from the evil one. Sins committed by any of us can result in the severest form of child abuse: exposing a child to demonic influence. A simple reading of any of the historical books of the Old Testament will demonstrate how sins of others can harm innocent children. Why doesn’t the Lord protect children from the effect of our sins? Why didn’t He intervene and save the Holy Innocents martyred at Bethlehem? Why doesn’t He spare the children victimized by abortion? The Lord allows us to accept the wages of our sins (Rm 6:23). He even lets us pass on a devastating inheritance to our children and to the children of the world (Ex 20:5). Our unrepented sins open the door for Satan to enter not only our lives, but also the lives of innocent children. Repent! PRAYER: In the name of Jesus, leave, Satan, never to return. Thank You, Jesus, for Your victory. PROMISE: “Observe what is right, do what is just; for My salvation is about to come, My justice, about to be revealed.” —Is 56:1 PRAISE: “If Christ was not raised, your faith is worthless” (1 Cor 15:17). Father God, thank You for Your perfect plan of redemption. (From a reflection by Fr Al Lauer, Presentation Ministries) For the full Readings please go to: https:thewordonsunday.blogspot.com John...

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The Temptation to Hopelessness

The Temptation to Hopelessness

“You gave Your sons good ground for hope.” —Wisdom 12:19 Before we totally committed our lives to Jesus, we walked in the valley of hopelessness. Life in general seemed hopeless. To cope with this, we would retreat to what we thought were bastions of hope — our children, work, marriages, or a special activity. These rays of hope usually dimmed. So, we tried to constantly distract ourselves or alter our consciousness to ignore the gnawing and sometimes savage hopelessness within us. When we saw someone hopeful, we were either cynical or wanted to ask him to defend his hope (1 Pt 3:15). When we gave our lives to Jesus, we had “Christ in” us, our “hope of glory” (Col 1:27). We knew that God had planned for us “a future full of hope” (Jer 29:11). We also believed that this hope would not disappoint us (Rm 5:5). Nonetheless, we now have different types of temptation to give into hopelessness. For example, when we see weeds in the field of God’s kingdom (see Mt 13:24ff), it can lead us to discouragement and even hopelessness. Moreover, when we see that our work for God’s kingdom has miniscule effects like the tiny mustard seed and slow, imperceptible effects like the work of leaven (see Mt 13:31-33), we are easily tempted to give up hope. But the Lord continues to fill us with hope. Therefore, “rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer” (Rm 12:12). PRAYER: Father, make my hope very noticeable. May I eagerly defend the reason for my hope (1 Pt 3:15). PROMISE: “The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings.” —Rm 8:26 / PRAISE: “The Lord God is My help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set My face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame” (Is 50:7). Lord Jesus, we praise Your perseverance! (From a reflection by Fr Al Lauer, Presentation Ministries)/////// For the full Readings please go to: https:thewordonsunday.blogspot.com John...

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Impossible Christianity

Impossible Christianity

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.” — Matthew 11:28 The Lord has made living the Christian life humanly impossible. We must be made perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). We must become holy in every aspect of our conduct (1 Pt 1:15) or we will not see God (Heb 12:14), that is, we will not see Jesus face to face in heaven (see 1 Cor 13:12). Furthermore, we must be compassionate as our Father is compassionate (Lk 6:36) and pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3). If we fall into sin on one point of God’s law, we become guilty on all counts (Jas 2:10). Because living the Christian life is humanly impossible, many people don’t even try. Some are honest enough to admit that they don’t try. Others try to water down Christianity to make it more humanly possible, and then rationalize their lukewarmness (see Rv 3:16). Some even try to live Christianity by their own power. They eventually get frustrated and burn out. At this point, they are tempted to dismiss Christianity completely. Instead, they should come to Jesus and learn from Him (Mt 11:28-29). Jesus will teach us that Christianity is not a do-it-yourself religion, but one in which we let it be done to us (see Lk 1:38). Then the burden of Christianity, while still humanly impossible, is easy and light (Mt 11:30). PRAYER: Father, may I give up trying to do the impossible and let You do it. PROMISE: “You are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.” —Rm 8:9 PRAISE: The Lord Jesus, after He rose, was “taken up into glory” (see 1 Tm 3:16). Praise You, Jesus!  (From a reflection by Fr Al Lauer, Presentation Ministries) /////// For the full Readings please go to: https:thewordonsunday.blogspot.com John...

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TLIET INVOKAZZJONIJIET ĠODDA MAL-LITANIJA

TLIET INVOKAZZJONIJIET ĠODDA MAL-LITANIJA

“Mater misericordiæ”, il-Latin għal “Omm tal-ħniena”; “Mater spei”, jew “Omm it-tama”; u “Solacium migrantium”, jew “Faraġ tal-migranti” huma l-invokazzjonijiet ġodda lill-Verġni Mqaddsa Marija fil-Litanija Lawretana, li spiss tingħad fi tmiem ir-Rużarju. Iż-żieda li l-Papa Franġisku għadu kemm għamel lil-Litanija Lawretana ġiet ippromulgata mill-Kongregazzjoni għall-Kult Divin u d-Dixxiplina tas-Sagramenti nhar is-Sibt 20 ta’ Ġunju 2020, fl-istess jum tal-Festa tal-Qalb bla Tebgħa ta’ Marija. F’ittra lill-Presidenti tal-Konferenzi tal-Isqfijiet mad-dinja kollha, il-Kardinal Robert Sarah, il-Prefett tal-Kongregazzjoni, u s-Segretarju tagħha, l-Arċisqof Arthur Roche, jgħidu li mal-medda tas-sekli, l-Insara ilhom jużaw għadd bla tarf ta’ invokazzjonijiet u titli biex bihom isejħu lill-Verġni Marija, “bħala t-triq ipprivileġġjata u żgura għal-laqgħa ma’ Kristu”. Tweġiba għall-ħtiġijiet ta’ żmienna Huma jgħidu li “f’rabta ma’ żminijietna, immarkati minn sentimenti ta’ inċertezza u biża’, il-Poplu ta’ Alla jirrikorri b’qima għandha, kollu mħabba u fiduċja”. “Wara li għarbel dan is-sentimenti u laqa’ x-xewqat espressi”, spjegat il-Kongregazzjoni, “il-Qdusija Tiegħu l-Papa Franġisku jixtieq jipprovdi li fil-formularju tal-Litanija tal-Verġni Mqaddsa Marija, imsejħa l-‘Litanija Lawretana’, jiddaħħlu l-invokazzjonijiet ‘Mater misericordiæ’, ‘Mater spei’ u ‘Solacium migrantium’”. Skont id-direttivi, l-invokazzjoni “Omm tal-ħniena” għandha tiddaħħal wara “Omm il-Knisja”, “Omm it-tama” wara “Omm tal-grazzja ta’ Alla”, u “Faraġ tal-migranti” wara “Kenn tal-midinbin”. F’intervista, l-Arċisqof Roche spjega li dawn l-invokazzjonijiet “iwieġbu għar-realtajiet taż-żminijiet li qed ngħixu fihom”. Ħafna nies mad-dinja kollha jħossuhom imġarrba b’ħafna modi, mhux biss minħabba l-pandemija tal-Covid-19, imma anki għax imġiegħla jħallu djarhom minħabba faqar, ġlied u raġunijiet oħra, u għalhekk jersqu jitolbu f’riġlejn il-Verġni Mbierka. L-invokazzjonijiet mhumiex ġodda L-Arċisqof Roche qal li l-Papa ried iwieġeb għal dan il-mument billi jinkludi dawn l-invokazzjonijiet. L-Arċisqof innota li dawn l-invokazzjonijiet mhumiex ġodda għax huma parti mit-tradizzjoni tal-Knisja li tmur lura sekli sħaħ, bħalma hi t-talba-innu, “Sliem għalik, Sultana, Omm tal-ħniena, tama tagħna…”. “Dawn l-invokazzjonijiet kollha”, qal, “tqiegħdu fil-Litanija Lawretana, li hi għal qalb tant nies mad-dinja kollha. Issa din qed twieġeb għal bżonn veru li d-dinja tagħna llum għandha tal-għajnuna tal-Verġni Mbierka”. X’inhi l-Litanija Lawretana? Il-Litanija Lawretana tieħu isimha mis-Santwarju Marjan ta’ Loreto fl-Italja, fejn jingħad li kienet ilha tintuża sa mill-1531. Ġiet approvata uffiċjalment fl-1587 mill-Papa Sistu V, li neħħa l-litaniji Marjani l-oħra kollha li kienu jintużaw pubblikament. Il-Litanija Lawretana hi l-unika Litanija Marjana approvata. Imma, ħafna litaniji Marjani oħra kienu u għadhom jintużaw, imma huma mmirati għad-devozzjoni privata, kif jidher, ngħidu aħna, fl-hekk imsejħa Officia Mariana. Mal-medda tas-sekli, tal-inqas ġew miżjuda 7 invokazzjonijiet ġodda. San Ġwanni Pawlu II żied “Omm il-Knisja” fl-1980, u “Sultana tal-familji” fl-1995. Il-Papa Franġisku issa żied tlieta oħra. Jeżistu wkoll litaniji oħra, bħal tal-Qaddisin, tal-Ismijiet ta’ Ġesù, tal-Qalb Imqaddsa ta’ Ġesù, ta’ San Ġużepp (1909), tad-Demm Imqaddes u anki tal-Ħniena Divina. Ara l-ittra lill-President tal-Konferenza tal-Isqfijiet …. IL-LITANIJA LAWRETANA Mulej, ħniena.     Mulej, ħniena. Kristu, ħniena.     Kristu, ħniena. Mulej, ħniena.      Mulej, ħniena. Kristu, ismagħna.     Ħenn għalina. Kristu, ilqa’ t-talb tagħna. Missier Etern Alla. Iben Alla li fdejt id-dinja. Spirtu Qaddis...

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