Daily Archives: December 2, 2007

Monday, December 3 – The Flow

03 Dec – Feast of St. Francis Xavier, presbyter, religious, missionary

St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was a nobleman from the Basque region. He studied and taught philosophy at the University of Paris, and planned a career as a professor. Then he became a friend of St. Ignatius of Loyola who convinced him to use his talents to spread the Gospel. Francis became one of the founding Jesuits, and the first Jesuit missionary. He was also a priest.

In Goa, while waiting to take a ship to India, he preached in the sick, worked with the sick, and taught children their catechism. He would walk through the streets ringing a bell to call the children to their studies. He was said to have converted the entire city.

He scolded his patron, King John of Portugal, over the slave trade: “You have no right to spread the Catholic faith while you take away all the country’s riches. It upsets me to know that at the hour of your death, you may be ordered our of paradise.”

Francis was tremendously successful as a missionary for ten years in India, the East Indies, and Japan, baptizing more than 40,000. His epic finds him dining with head hunters, washing sores of lepers in Venice, teaching catechism to Indian children, baptizing 10,000 in a single month. He tolerated the most appalling conditions on long sea voyages, enduring extremes of heat and cold. Wherever he went he would seek out and help the poor and forgotten. He travelled thousands of miles, most on his bare feet, and he saw the greater part of the Far East. He had the gift of tongues, was a miracle worker, raised people from the dead, calmed storms, and was a prophet and healer.

– Patron Saint Index
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1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23

I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it, but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands. Do you know what my reward is? It is this: in y preaching, to be able to offer the Good News free, and not insist on the rights which the Gospel gives me.

So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. for the weak I made myself weak. I made myself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost; and I still do this, for the sake of the Gospel, to have a share in its blessings.
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Mark 16:15-20

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and he said to them, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongue; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.”

And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.
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Over the past weekend, I attended the Christ@Work 2007 Conference. The keynote speaker was Bo Sanchez, a famous Filipino speaker. As I watched him preach that Saturday morning, I thought to myself, “Wow! This guy can really speak and move audiences! Imagine how much money he would make as an entertainer! But here he is speaking at a Catholic conference instead.”

One of the things that Bo said that morning was a reminder for me that the will of God is not something that He forces on us. Rather, God gives us the desire to do His will. Bo spoke of something called “the flow”, which is when working becomes a passion, rather than a chore. As he said that in reference to his writing (Bo is a writer as well as a preacher), his words resonated in me, because I knew exactly what he was talking about, as I too am a writer.

It is when you can get so absorbed in “the flow” and forget about everything else… and still come out of several hours’ of deep concentration feeling more alive than ever. That’s the flow. That is what happens when our work we do coincides with our gifts.

All of us have certain gifts that God has granted us, and God wants us to use those gifts to spread the Good News. It is not a chore because when we use those gifts, we feel more alive than ever. We are truly working for the Lord in the sense that the Church defines work: cooperating with God in his work of creation.

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a job that coincides with our gifts. Some of us work to put food on the table, but to those who work solely for the pay they receive, condolences to those people, because there is so much more that work has the potential to be.

We do not have to become like St. Francis Xavier to be a missionary, spreading the Good News to strangers. We can spread the Good News right where we are. I don’t mean that we start preaching from the Bible to our colleagues. Rather, we preach through our actions, our service, our kindness and compassion. We preach the Good News when we refrain from participating in immoral behaviour among friends. We preach the Good News when we give our very best at work. We preach the Good News when we speak politely and respectfully to our fellow workers and our bosses. We preach the Good News when we love our neighbour.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to have a job that coincides with our gifts, let us continue to use our gifts to their fullest to spread the Good News to all the world and to cooperate with God in His work of creation, and bringing new life to ourselves and to those around us.
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, help us to make You present in our work, and share the Good News to all of creation. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: The many reminders of Your love that You’ve given me throughout the weekend.

Upcoming Readings:
Tue, 04 Dec – Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 10:21-24; Memorial for St. Damascus, presbyter, religious
Wed, 05 Dec – Isaiah 25:6-10a; Matthew 15:29-37
Thu, 06 Dec – Isaiah 26:1-6; Mathew 7:21, 24-31; Memorial for St. Nicholas, bishop
Fri, 07 Dec – Isaiah 29:17-24; Matthew 9:27-31; Memorial for St. Ambrose, bishop, doctor of the Church
Sat, 08 Dec – Genesis 3:9-15, 20; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38; Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
Sun, 09 Dec – Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12; Second Sunday of Advent

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Sunday, December 2 – Jesus Christ Is Coming To Town!

02 Dec

The Mother’s Influence

A teacher was exasperated with one of her students in the sixth standard, so she complained bitterly to the principal. She told him that the student rarely completed class assignments and never did his homework. When questioned, the child always gave the same excuse, “I just never got around to it.”

The principal, who took personal interest in the students’ welfare, visited the boy’s home. There he was cordially greeted by the boy’s mother and invited into the living room. Because it was already February, he was startled to see a bare-needled Christmas tree still draped with ornaments. Noticing the principal’s surprise, the mother apologised, “I just never got around to taking it down.”

– What thoughts, feelings, occurred to you while you went through the story?
– What do you think is the ‘moral’ of the story?

– taken from “Persons Are Gifts”, by Hedwig Lewis, SJ
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Isaiah 2:1-5

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days to come
the mountain of the Temple of the Lord
shall tower above the mountains
and be lifted higher than the hills.
All the nations will stream to it,
peoples without number will come to it; and they will say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Temple of the God of Jacob
that he may teach us his ways
so that we may walk in his paths;
since the Law will go out from Zion,
and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

He will wield authority over the nations
and adjudicate between many peoples;
these will hammer their swords into ploughshares,
their spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
there will be no more training for war.

O House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

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Romans 13:11-14

You know “the time” has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon – let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Matthew 24:27-44

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

“So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
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Advent is here again. Do you find that sometimes the never-ending cycle of liturgical seasons can really get to you? What is there going to be new about Advent this year? Isn’t it the same thing as last year? Isn’t Christmas going to come round again and then leave once more? Isn’t the mad shopping rush the same as before? How boring! How dull! Do you feel this way?

Let me clue you in on something truly wondrous that will happen at Christmas this year… something that has never happened before, and will never happen again. But the catch is, you will notice it only if you are prepared to receive it… otherwise, it’s just going to pass you by and it’ll be gone before you even notice it… if you ever do.

What’s that big secret? You know how the song goes:

He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows when you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

So… You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I’m telling you why…

Jesus Christ is coming to town!

Yes! Jesus Christ is coming to town this year… not just to town, but into your own home, and he’s going to take up residence in your own heart… only if you are prepared to receive him.

The time for Advent is the time to prepare to receive Christ into our own homes, into our own hearts once more. Throughout the year, our little space for Jesus may have gotten somewhat messy and crowded. We may have filled that little space with lots of other stuff. Advent is the time to clean house. To clear out the old, make it nice and tidy, because “Jesus Christ is coming to town”.

I guarantee you, my friend, that if you take the time to really prepare yourself this Advent, you will definitely notice the change in your life, because you will notice Jesus being born into your life anew, and taking up residence in your heart. That is the big secret that’s going to take place this Christmas, and it’s something that’s not going to happen again, because last year, you were not the person you are today, and you’re not going to be the person you are today next year. Jesus is only going to come into your life in this special way at this point of time in your life, so be prepared, because… (altogether now)

Jesus Christ is coming to town!
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, help us to have a wondrous Christmas this year, by spending these four weeks of Advent wisely and preparing for your birth into our lives. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: This period of waiting and preparing.

Upcoming Readings:
Mon, 03 Dec – 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 16:15-20; Feast of St. Francis Xavier, presbyter, religious, missionary
Tue, 04 Dec – Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 10:21-24; Memorial for St. Damascus, presbyter, religious
Wed, 05 Dec – Isaiah 25:6-10a; Matthew 15:29-37
Thu, 06 Dec – Isaiah 26:1-6; Mathew 7:21, 24-31; Memorial for St. Nicholas, bishop
Fri, 07 Dec – Isaiah 29:17-24; Matthew 9:27-31; Memorial for St. Ambrose, bishop, doctor of the Church
Sat, 08 Dec – Genesis 3:9-15, 20; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38; Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
Sun, 09 Dec – Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12; Second Sunday of Advent

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