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...let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mt 16:24

Jesus is challenging you to get out of your comfort zone. Ready?
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Standing atop the Esquiline, one of Rome’s seven hills, the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the oldest and largest Catholic Marian Church. Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Dedication of this Basilica, reminding us that Mary is revered in the Church as the Mother of God.
August 6
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

When patients in hospitals have visitors, even though nothing has really changed with their medical condition, they light up. The very company of family and friends brings them comfort and security; their loneliness, their pain, all seem to be forgotten and they feel hopeful.

After three years of trying to give people a personal experience of God, Jesus realized that even His disciples had failed to recognize His true nature and mission! He knew that His teachings and actions had angered the Jewish establishment that would seek to eliminate Him, if He confronted them in Jerusalem. So, going up a mountain with His closest disciples, Jesus prays to His Father for confirmation of His mission and the strength to go through it. Besides, His disciples also needed that assurance.

The Transfiguration, with the presence of Moses (symbolic of the Law) and Elijah (symbolic of the Prophets) is a confirmation that Jesus was doing His Father’s will, which was in fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. It was a confirmation that His suffering would not end with death.

The Transfiguration teaches us that God doesn’t magically take away our pain, our suffering, our loss. He helps us confront it and go through it with new hope because of the assurance that He is with us.
...and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Lk 9:31

Know that without hardship, there is no victory or glory!
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The Transfiguration was a confirmation that Jesus' suffering would not end with death, and helped the disciples to see beyond the traumatic experience of the crucifixion. This feast teaches us that God doesn’t magically take away our pain, our suffering, our loss. He helps us confront it and go through it with new hope because of the assurance that He is always with us.

#Transfiguration #Feast #Catholic #Jesus
August 7
Vianney Sunday

The Gospel, this Sunday, invites us to be in a constant state of readiness; not a readiness that is operated out of fear but one that requires us to live in joyful anticipation of God's invitation to participate in His plan.

Jesus tells his followers not to be fearful or anxious about their present lives and future security. He urges them to sell their possessions and to give their money to those who need it most – a recommendation that goes against our natural instinct to hoard and save for the future. Jesus invites us to understand that possessions could be lost by theft or death, but the treasure of knowing and experiencing God and participating in His Kingdom is eternal. This is what should draw us to stay alert, expectant for His call.

Jesus tells us to "be dressed for action " and to "have our lamps lit ". The disciple's life is not one of passive and smug indifference to the rest of the world. The Christian life is a call to action; action that is needed every day in a world that is desperately in want of those who can be a 'lamp in the darkness'.

Is your lamp lit? Will the Master find you ready when he knocks?
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Lk 12:37

Are your 'valuables' perishishable things, or an everlasting God?
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Let us intercede to St Jean Marie Vianney for our priests; that they may continue to inspire and evangelise.

So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."
- John 6:53
August 8
Memorial of St Dominic

The Gospel of today is fitting, especially for those who have rushed to meet the deadline for filing income tax returns. Paying taxes can be stressful especially if one thinks they are unreasonable or unjust or one needs to borrow to do so.

Jesus and his disciples were confronted by tax collectors on the issue of tax evasion. When questioned about paying the temple tax, Jesus replied to his disciples: We must pay so as not to cause a bad example. In fact, we must go beyond our duty in order that we may show others what they ought to do. The scriptural expression to 'give no offense' doesn't refer to insult or annoyance - rather it means to put no stumbling block in the way of another that would cause them to trip or fall. Jesus would not allow himself to do anything which might possibly be a bad example to someone else.

Thus the Gospel, today, is a challenge for us to understand that discipleship requires responsible action, that leads by example.
...and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.
Ezk 1:3

Those who leave everything in God's hands eventually see God's hands in everything. (cfr Is 41:13)
August 9
Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in most human beings. Who doesn't cherish the ambition to be "somebody" whom others admire rather than a non entity?

The disciples are no different and their desire for ambition and position leads them to a discussion as to who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus makes a dramatic gesture by placing a child in their midst to show his disciples who really is the greatest in the kingdom of God.

Jesus' action may seem confusing but it actually drives home the point! Children, in the ancient world, had no rights, position, or privileges of their own. They were socially at the "bottom of the rung", totally dependent on and at the service of their parents, much like the household staff and domestic servants. Jesus elevated a child, in the presence of his disciples, by placing the little one in a privileged position. Thus, through this act, Jesus indicates that greatest in God’s eyes is the one who is least of all.

Just as children are totally dependent on their parents to provide for them, we too must recognise our total dependence on God who is the source of all grace and every good gift.

Let us empty ourselves of all ambition and let God fill us with His presence.
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 18:4

Greatness begins with staying small!
August 10
St Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

Jesus drew his parables from the common everyday circumstances of life. His audience, being mostly rural folk in Palestine, easily understood the principle of new life produced by dead seeds sown into the earth.

The image of the grain of wheat dying in the earth in order to grow and bear a harvest is a metaphor of Jesus' own death and resurrection. Jesus knew that the only way to victory over the power of sin and death was through the cross. Therein lies the great paradox of faith that requires us to "die" to ourselves in order to "rise" to new life in Jesus Christ.

The process of 'dying to oneself' is really the path of discipleship through which each believer commits to Christ, submits to the will of God, serves the community and shares God’s love.

St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, whose feast we celebrate today, led by example in the way he lived and died. As Deacon, he was in charge of serving the needy. Tasked with surrendering the church's supposed wealth to the corrupt Prefect of Rome, he gathered the poor and the sick and presented them as the Church's treasure! For this he was roasted alive on an iron grill. When nearing the end, he prayed for Rome to be converted and for the world to know Jesus.
If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Jn 12:26

For all your services - big or small - you will be on God's roll of honour!
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St Lawrence was fondly remembered for his valour, and was martyred for his generosity towards the poor. We may not be called upon to ‘lose our life’ for our faith, but are challenged, each day, to take a stand for our beliefs without compromise.

#SaintoftheDay #StLawrence #Catholic
August 11
Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin

"Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother?" The question asked by Peter reflects the classical dilemma of faith. How much must I let go? Why should I let go? Why should I show compassion and mercy? Does mercy overlook justice?

Justice demands that everyone be given their due. So, when does one cross the line between justice and mercy? In the Old Testament the prophet Amos speaks of God forgiving transgression three times, but warns that God may not revoke punishment for the fourth. When Peter poses the question, he also offers an answer, ‘Why not forgive seven times?’ Jesus counters this with the unthinkable: there is no limit to granting forgiveness and pardon!

Jesus drives home the lesson with a parable about two very different kinds of debts. One person owed an enormous sum of money - a proverbial king’s ransom. This same man, who was forgiven such an incredible debt, could not bring himself to forgive his neighbour a very small debt. Through this parable we are challenged to understand that forgiveness is a sacred duty.

For, when God has shown mercy in granting pardon for our sins, then we, in turn, must show mercy and forgiveness towards every person who has offended us.
"I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."
Mt 18:22

Caged by bitterness? Forgiveness is a key...
August 12
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

We hear, every so often, of marriages breaking down for very flimsy reasons. “I will divorce you” has become an all too popular refrain, or threat, in the midst of a misunderstanding or fight.

Marriage is a Sacrament and is not to be taken lightly. When the Pharisees approach Jesus on the issue of divorce, he takes his hearers back to the beginning of creation and to God's plan for the human race. In Genesis, we see God's intention and ideal that two people who marry should become so indissolubly one that they are one flesh. That ideal is found in the union of Adam and Eve. They were created for each other and for no one else. They are the pattern and symbol for all who were to come. Jesus explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal. Jesus sets the high ideal of the true married state before those who are willing to accept his commands.

Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on love in the family, Amoris Laetitia, helps us to understand the challenges that married couples face and reminds us of how we must respond in love to various crises in faith and in life.
Yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth...
Ezk 16:60

God's promises are forever.