Tag Archives: sharing the gospel

29 July, Friday – Stealing Another’s ‘Peace’

29 July – Memorial for St. Martha

Jesus liked to stay at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, his friends at Bethany, when he was in Judaea. One of these visits has ever remained dear to Christian memory. On that occasion Martha, busily serving the Master, asked Him to persuade Mary to help her. Jesus explained to her that certain souls, called by God, should choose a better part still — the primary duty of listening to Him and contemplating Him.

After His Ascension, she was seized by the Jews, together with many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles. Martha, after having won the love and admiration of the Marseilles people by the sanctity of her life and her wonderful charity, withdrew with several virtuous women to a spot remote from men, where she lived for a long time, greatly renowned for her piety and prudence.

http://www.catholicculture.org/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2006-07-29

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Jeremiah 26:1-9

At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘The Lord says this: Stand in the court of the Temple of the Lord. To all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the Temple of the Lord you must speak all the words I have commanded you to tell them; do not omit one syllable. Perhaps they will listen and each turn from his evil way: if so, I shall relent and not bring the disaster on them which I intended for their misdeeds. Say to them, “The Lord says this: If you will not listen to me by following my Law which I put before you, by paying attention to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send so persistently to you, without your ever listening to them, I will treat this Temple as I treated Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.”’

The priests and prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah say these words in the Temple of the Lord. When Jeremiah had finished saying everything that the Lord had ordered him to say to all the people, the priests and prophets seized hold of him and said, ‘You shall die! Why have you made this prophecy in the name of the Lord, “This Temple will be like Shiloh, and this city will be desolate, and uninhabited”?’ And the people were all crowding round Jeremiah in the Temple of the Lord.

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John 11:19-27

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:

‘I am the resurrection and the life.
If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’

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How can I restore what I have never stolen?

I am deeply saddened that I cannot share my faith about many sensitive issues now without being labeled a bigot. The world seems to have evolved into a place where to disagree with a lifestyle means to disagree with the person. And by speaking up against the lifestyle, you become a thief who has stolen someone’s peace of mind by trumpeting the truth. How can you restore their peace if you were not the one who stole it in the first place?

For prophesying as God commanded, Jeremiah was nearly killed. During the legalization of LGBT marriages, I put up a comment on Facebook that while I respect the rights to life of LGBT community, I cannot agree with same-sex unions for a variety of reasons. In return, I got hate comments on my wall. It still bothers me that rainbow profiles abounded that time, yet I did not have the courage to continue professing the truth – I felt like a thief.

As I write this reflection, I was hoping to end with a phrase that triumphs over this tribulation but I will not be doing that. The first reading ended with the crowd rounding Jeremiah. I would like to invite you, my brothers and sisters, to look at this ending as a challenge to us. Standing up for the truth might cause us despair, we will be accused of being thiefs, non-conformists, and backward. Our safety might even be compromised but we need to continue to struggle to become messengers of God – no matter how much the world is against us.

Let us continue asking God for help, and let us continue prophesying. Let us prophesy always, sometimes, let’s not hesitate to use kind words.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Lord, it is you and me against the world. Give us to courage to persevere through what we have been baptized for – to be prophets for you.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to see and accept the truth of life.

24 June, Friday – True Humility

24 June – The Birthday of St John the Baptist

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

John the Baptist (d.30) was the cousin of Jesus Christ. His father, Zachary, was a priest of the order of Abia whose job in the Temple was to burn incense; and of Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron. As Zachary was ministering in the Temple, an angel brought him news that Elizabeth would bear a child filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment of his birth. Zachary doubted and was struck dumb until John’s birth.

John began his ministry as prophet around age 27, wearing a leather belt and a tunic of camel hair, living off locusts and wild honey, and preaching a message of repentance to the people of Jerusalem. He converted many, and prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. After baptizing Christ, he told his disciples to follow Jesus.

Imprisoned by King Herod, John the Baptist died a victim of the vengeance of a jealous woman; he was beheaded, and his head brought to her on a platter. St. Jerome says Herodias kept the head for a long time after, occasionally stabbing the tongue with her dagger because of what John had said in life.

– Patron Saint Index

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Isaiah 49:1-6

Islands, listen to me,
pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword,
and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow,
and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)
in whom I shall be glorified’;
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing’;

and all the while my cause was with the Lord,
my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light of the nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

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Acts 13:22-26

Paul said: ‘God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’

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Luke 1:57-66,80

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.

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“You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare His ways before him”

I have mentioned previously that I grew up in a household that was less than well-to-do and we were always running short of money. It was always my goal to be totally financially successful. I wanted to be rich and be recognized as someone clever and powerful. In the corporate world, I would work hard to be seen as the best, so that I could attain the highest corporate title or job that I could obtain.

John the Baptist, on the other hand, lived his life knowing that he would spend his time preparing to herald the arrival of Jesus’ ministry. It was John, in fact, who recognized the divinity of our Lord Jesus by leaping with JOY in his mother, Elizabeth’s, womb.

I find John to be one the best models to be a great Christian. He prepared for the arrival of Christ in a couple of ways.  Firstly, John prepared the way for Jesus by preaching about the repentance of sin. He spoke out against sin without fear. Secondly, John also baptized the masses in addition to getting them to repent of their sins. In fact, it was John who baptized Jesus. In true humility, John originally declined to baptize our Lord, saying that he himself, should be baptized by Jesus instead.

Like John, we should be unafraid when proclaiming about our Lord. We need to be able to share our faith and to also step up to correct others when we seeing wrongdoings.

(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)

Prayer – Father, help us to be like St John the Baptist, Your faithful servant. May we be as brave and courageous in proclaiming about our faith in You. Help us to also be as joyful when we do so.

Thanksgiving – Thank you for giving us a strong role model in St John. Thank you for giving us joy in our relationship with You and Your Son, Jesus.