Mk 9:41-50

Today we are strongly warned. The 1st Reading says: "Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Say not: 'Who can prevail against me?' for God will surely exact the punishment. Say not: 'I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?' for the Most High bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: 'Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.' for mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath. Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day for suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed. Rely not upon dishonest wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath." In the Gospel, Jesus warns that on the day of wrath, sinners will be thrown into hell, to be eaten by worms in never-ending fire. Let us take salvation seriously.

"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the hell will never conquer it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven." -Mt 16:18-19 Saying this, Jesus renamed Simon into Peter (Rock) and made him first Pope of His Church. Today is the Feast of "The Chair of Peter" or the Office of the Papacy. Jesus gave Peter the "keys" or the authority (together with the college of Bishops) to settle questions about the Faith in order to preserve the accuracy of His teachings He gave verbally to His apostles. The Papacy has existed unbroken for 2000 years because Christ is the true Head. That is why all attacks fail. Today the Pope, Bishops and priests are under relentless attack by the gates of hell. Do you defend the Church, or do you side with the demons? Keeping silent is not an option. Christ will spit you out of His mouth (Rev 3:16).

Forty days after Jesus' birth, Mary and Joseph presented Him at the Temple in obedience to Jewish law. It is the consecration of the first born male to the Lord. The original idea was the firstborn belonged to the Lord and would spend his life serving the Lord. Today we celebrate this event as the Feast of The Presentation of the Lord it is celebrated in the Liturgy as "Candelaria.", the rituals of candles. Candles are blessed and lighted to welcome the Child Jesus- the Lord-as he enters the temple. “Candelaria is a feast of light. The First Reading is a 400-year old prophecy that the coming Savior would be a blazing fire that refine and purify man's heart. The Second Reading reminds us that Christ became man to lead us out of the darkness of sin and selfishness due to fear of death, and set us free to love. In the Gospel, Simeon recognizes the baby Savior as the light to the nations. We too, Christians, should always have a desire to see the light in our lives and everything we do. The gospel suggests two ways by which we can see the light: when, like Mary and Joseph, we offer to the Lord all the best what we have and all what we are and when we follow the laws of the Lord. If we live by the word of God and his will, if we are faithful to God, surely we will see the light even in the darkness moment of our lives.

My dear friends, today let us present ourselves to Jesus at the Temple and light up candles at Mass, asking to be refined and purified, and renew our commitment to follow His Light out of darkness. May His Light shine through us so that all may see the peace, harmony and joy in walking with Jesus. Let us always remember there will be no fulfillment and happiness greater than to have Christ as light of our life…. Happy Feast Day of the Presentation of the Lord...

01/27/17

Heb 10:32-39

Mk 4:26-34

It's hard to understand the laws of nature like math, physics & chemistry, but we know they are true and valid, we have "faith" in them since we see they produce plants, animals and other good things that keep us alive (Gospel). It's also hard to understand God's laws of chastity, sacrifice & forgiveness, and why He allows pain and tragedies. But we can be sure that the same God who created the laws of nature for our good, also created the laws of morality to produce good outcome in those who faithfully obey His laws, participate in the process, and trust in His providential love. God is faithful and NEVER lies. "So do not throw away your trust; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (Heb 10:35-36 NIV) Let us ask God to decrease our fears and increase our love for Him.

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