Monthly Archives: December 2015

The New Ark

The New ‘Ark’

The Church in her liturgy and tradition has long praised Mary as “the Ark of the New Covenant.” We see biblical roots for this in the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Advent (Cycle C). Compare Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth with the story of
David returning the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and you’ll hear interesting echoes. As Mary “set out” for the hill country of Judah, so did David (Luke 1:19; 2 Samuel 6:2). David, upon seeing the Ark cries out “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?” Elizabeth says the same thing about “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43; 2 Samuel 6:9). John leaps in Elizabeth’s womb, as David danced before the Ark (Luke 1:41; 2 Samuel 6:16). And as the Ark stayed three months in “the house of Obed-edom,” Mary stays three months in “the house of Zechariah” (Luke 1:40,56; 2 Samuel 6:11). The Greek word Luke uses to describe Elizabeth’s loud cry of joy (anaphoneo) isn’t used anywhere else in the New Testament. And it’s found in only five places in the Greek Old Testament – every time used to describe “exultation” before the Ark (1 Chronicles 15:28; 16:4-5; 2 Chronicles 5:13). Coincidences? Hardly. The old Ark contained the tablets of the Law, the manna from the desert and the priestly staff of Aaron (Hebrews 9:4). In Mary, the new Ark, we find the Word of God, the Bread of Life and the High Priest of the new people of God (see also Catechism, no. 2676).
Thank you for responding my call

What Do We Do? Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Advent

Readings:
Zephaniah 3:14-18
Isaiah 12:2-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:10-18

The people in today’s Gospel are “filled with expectation.” They believe John the Baptist might be the Messiah they’ve been waiting for. Three times we hear their question: “What then should we do?”
The Messiah’s coming requires every man and woman to choose – to “repent” or not. That’s John’s message and it will be Jesus’ too (see Luke 3:3 ; 5:32 ; 24:47 ).
“Repentance” translates a Greek word metanoia (literally, “change of mind”). In the Scriptures, repentance is presented as a two-fold “turning” – away from sin (see
Ezekiel 3:19 ; 18:30 ) and toward God (see Sirach 17:20-21 ; Hosea 6:1 ). This “turning” is more than attitude adjustment. It means a radical life change. It requires “good fruits as evidence of your repentance” (see Luke 3:8 ). That’s why John tells the crowds, soldiers and tax collectors they must prove their faith through works of charity, honesty and social justice.
In today’s Liturgy, each of us is being called to stand in that crowd and hear the “good news” of John’s call to repentance. We should examine our lives, ask from our
hearts as they did: “What should we do?” Our repentance should spring, not from our fear of coming wrath (see Luke 3:7-9 ), but from a joyful sense of the nearness of our saving God.
This theme resounds through today’s readings: “Rejoice!…The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all,” we hear in today’s Epistle. In today’s Responsorial, we hear
again the call to be joyful, unafraid at the Lord’s coming among us.
In today’s First Reading, we hear echoes of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary. The prophet’s words are very close to the angel’s greeting (compare Luke 1:28-31 ). Mary is the Daughter Zion – the favored one of God, told not to fear but to rejoice that the Lord is with her, “a mighty Savior.” She is the cause of our joy. For in her draws near the Messiah, as John had promised: “One mightier than I is coming.”

Sowing the seed of faith

Today I want to reflects on; sowing the seed of faith.
Each of us have been given this seed of faith and it is deep down in us. Some times we ask why some person exercise much of their faith and others do not? There are great men and women of faith in the holy Scripture. Abraham is a man of faith and because of his faith, He was pleased with God. We are not left out in the sowing of seed of faith. A life without faith is a life of emptiness, failures, lack, etc. Whatever you want to become in life, it comes through faith. When we sow the seed of faith, at harvest time, we reap fruitfulness, success, favours, promotion, etc. I urge you if you are not sowing the seed of faith, why not begin today. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
I wish you all a blessed working day.

Shine like beacons of God’s mercy in the world

Vatican City, 9 December 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated today’s general audience, the first of the Holy Year, to explaining why he convoked a Jubilee of Mercy. “The Church needs this extraordinary moment”, he explained. “In our time of profound change, the Church is called upon to offer her special contribution, making visible the signs of God’s presence and closeness. And the Jubilee is a propitious time for all, as contemplating Divine Mercy, that exceeds all human limits and shines onto the darkness of sin, we can be surer and more effective witnesses”.

“Celebrating a Jubilee of Mercy means restoring the specifics of Christian faith to the centre of our personal life and of our communities. … This Holy Year is offered to us so that we are able to experience in our life the sweet and gentle touch of God’s forgiveness, His presence next to us and His closeness, especially in our moments of greatest need. … This Jubilee is therefore a special moment for the Church to learn to choose solely ‘what God likes the most’. … Forgiving His children, having mercy on them, so that they can in turn forgive their brethren, to shine like beacons of God’s mercy in the world. … The Jubilee will be a propitious moment for the Church if we learn to choose what God likes the most, without giving in to the temptation to think that there is something else more important or that takes priority. Nothing is more important than choosing what God likes most, His mercy”.

“The necessary work of renewing institutions and structures of the Church is also a way that can lead us to a more lively and life-giving experience of God’s mercy that alone can ensure that the Church is that city on the mount that cannot remain hidden. If we should forget, even for just a moment, that mercy is what God likes the most, all our efforts would be in vain, as we would become slaves to our institutions and our structures, no matter how reformed they may be”.

The Pope emphasised that the Church’s aim during this Holy Year is to “strongly feel the joy of being found by Jesus, Who like the Good Shepherd has come in search of us as we were lost. … In this way we strengthen in ourselves our certainty that mercy can truly contribute to building a more human world. Especially in these times of ours, in which forgiveness is a rare guest in the circles of human life, the call for mercy becomes more urgent, and this is true in all places: in society, in institutions, at work and in the family”.

Before concluding, he commented that while there appear to be many other needs more urgent than that of mercy, at the root of the negation of mercy there is always self-love , “which results in the pursuit of self-interest and the accumulation of honours, riches or worldliness. There are so many manifestations of self-love, “that make mercy foreign to the world” that often we are not even able to recognise them as limitations and sins. He concluded, “we must recognise that we are sinners, so as to strengthen our certainty of divine mercy”.

Year of Mercy

Many of you would be aware that our holy father Pope Francis has declared the Extraordinary Jubilee year of Mercy beginning from the 8th December’15 (Solemnity of Immaculate Conception) until the 20th of November’16 ( Feast of Christ the King).
Why is this Jubilee year so special? Below are some of the points which will help us understand the Extraordinary Jubilee year:
1. The doors of mercy will be opened by the Pope on Tuesday 8th Dec’15 at St. Peter’s Basilica and at many other Cathedrals’ across the world  the doors of mercy will be opened by the Bishops on Sunday 13th Dec’15.
2. During this Jubilee year, one can receive indulgence if he/she receives a blessing from any bishop. The Holy Father has granted special authority to all the bishops this Jubilee year (As you may know one receives indulgence when he/she is present during the time of a papal blessing or watching a live Papal blessing).
3. The Holy father has given special authority to all the priests in this Jubilee year to grant absolution for the sin of abortion (earlier priests didn’t have this authority)
4. During this jubilee year if one is pure and holy, goes for regular confession, attends and receives the holy Eucharist regularly and also venerates and recites the Divine Mercy regularly,  they have been assured a place in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom.
5. In this special year of mercy we are assured to receive pardon from the Lord all our sins no matter how big the sin is if one makes a good confession.

During this Jubilee year, let us all make an attempt to go for regular confession and also attend as many holy masses we can. (This should be the practice for every Catholic not only during this Jubilee year but every year).
Only by cleansing ourselves and going for regular confession, one can be made pure and holy as we all are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God.