Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Narrow Gate is the Only Way by Fr. Joel

narrow gate2In the first reading, the Lord said he will gather all nations to come and see his glory. This he will achieve by his open invitation to everyone and by using us, his disciples to reach out to those who have not heard or seen his glory and bring them like offerings to the Lord and the Lord will use them as well for his work and to manifest his glory in the world. The Psalm instructs us to go out to the entire world and tell the good news. This mean everyone is invited into the kingdom of God. And no one should be an obstacle to anyone else’s opportunity to enter the kingdom of God. We are all invited and instructed to invite others to come into the kingdom of God. We can do this by proclaiming the good news to the world by our words and deeds.
Second reading talks about discipline of the Lord. It says for whom the Lord loves he disciplines. Endure your trials as discipline. The word discipline has the same root with the word disciple. A disciple is one who is being disciplined or undergoing some training for a goal. Therefore, discipline should not be seen as a punishment or a curse, rather as a source of strength and stamina that brings about great achievements and successes in the life of the disciples. As a result of discipline, we can grow in righteousness. Discipline is a training and attitude that helps us to achieve our goals in life and salvation. When you discipline yourself you will be organized, successful and as a result experience peace, joy, and happiness here on earth and eventually in heaven with the Lord.
The gospel teaches us to enter through the narrow gate, the kingdom of God. Only those who have disciplined themselves can enter this gate. If you are not disciplined, the gate of heaven will not be open for you to enter. The key to success and any achievement is discipline and hard work. To achieve heaven we must discipline ourselves by listening and keeping to the teachings of our Lord. If you do not discipline yourself and work hard, you will surely regret it in future. Therefore, if we do not discipline ourselves and pass through the narrow/difficult gate, we shall be rejected on the last day. And we will see others come from behind, pass us, and achieve salvation while we will be thrown to the place where there is wailing and grinding of teeth with the devil.
Therefore, the criteria for entering heaven are discipline, hard work, and entering through the narrow or difficult gate. This means having faith in God, listening to, and doing the will of God in your life and avoiding evil. Everyone has been invited to enter the kingdom through this narrow gate. There are no short cuts or any other ways other than that. No one has advantage over others because of race, color, nationality, family background or gifts but everyone has the opportunity to get to heaven if they follow through the narrow gate. But only your faith and good works will take you to the kingdom of God.

TWENTY FIRST-SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THE NARROW GATE IS THE ONLY WAY TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD

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Be Vigilant & Strong in Faith by Fr. Joel

 

In the first reading, we are told that the people of Israel had faith in God to fulfill hisstrong faith promises to them and deliver them from their enemies. The Psalm said that blessed are the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. The second reading said that faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. And reference was made to Abraham who demonstrated his faith by obedience to the call to go out to an unknown place to receive his inheritance. He journeyed into the unknown in a foreign land but with great hope for the fulfillment of God’s promise in his life. Even though himself and Sarah, his wife, had past the age of child birth and Sarah was sterile, he trusted in the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to him anyway.

The fulfilment of God’s promised to give him numerous descendants as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the sea shore started with the birth of Isaac, their only son.  And shortly afterward his faith was tested again, he was asked to offer his only son, Isaac, the fulfilment of God’s promise, as a burnt offering to the Lord. Abraham again, full of faith agreed and went to offer Isaac as requested by the Lord. He trusted God could still fulfil his promise anyway.

In the gospel, Jesus said to his disciples not to be afraid anymore for their father is willing to give them the kingdom. He urged them to give away their possessions as alms to others and acquire great treasures in heaven that cannot be destroyed or stolen by thieves because where your treasure is that is where your heart will be.

Get ready and be awake as servants waiting for the coming of their master to open the door for him. Those servants who are found ready and awake to open the door for the master shall receive a beautiful reward and enter the kingdom of God. This means we should prepare for the second coming of the Lord at any time by being pure and holy in our words and deeds. Keep doing good works as good stewards and bear good fruits in your lives for when the Lord comes he shall reward you greatly. Do not be discouraged and distracted by anything for he will surely come but at a time you do not know.

Remain strong in faith and work hard so that you are not found wanting on the arrival of the master and thrown in a place together with the evil one where there is everlasting pain. He also said for those of us who know more about his teaching and refuse to live accordingly, we shall be more severely punish than others who knew little or nothing about it.

Many of us take things for granted, thinking we still have plenty time left to live on earth. We all know that death can come or strike at any time at our door steps. Some of us rebel against God and refuse to live good lives because God has not given us what we wanted or some misfortunes have befallen us. We need to know that God is a mystery, difficult to understand by humans. His ways are different from ours. He has a way of doing things that is beyond our understanding.  He has a way of answering our prayers either positively or negatively for our own good but we cannot understand it. Sometimes he allows us to go through pain and suffering just as he did to his son Jesus Christ on the cross. Why he does that is known to him alone. Therefore, no matter what situation we find ourselves let us not give up on him but remain vigilant and strong in faith because he is capable of fulfilling his promises to us as he did to Abraham.

Let us not give room for the devil to use us and lead us astray from God’s will. Just keep doing God’s will always and his promises shall be fulfilled in your life. Avoid all kinds of evils such as: malice, greed, jealousy, selfishness, cheating and wickedness and show love to your neighbors. Begin now to live the kind of life that you will like death to find you living, a life that will merit you heaven. Love God with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

NINETEEN SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

BE VIGILANT AND STRONG IN FAITH

Vanity of Vanities by Fr. Joel

 

The first reading says, ‘’Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity.’’ We labor and toil forvanity worldly things. We become anxious, worried, and grief about material things. Our minds and hearts are restless because of worldly glories. And all these things cannot endure forever and cannot guarantee happiness. Therefore, they are vanity of vanities.

The Psalm says: ‘’If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.’’ This means listen to his wisdom and you will be saved from damnation.

The second reading says: ‘’since you have been brought back to life with Christ, seek for the things that are in heaven.’’ That is, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. And put to death the parts of you that are earthly: Immorality, impurity, passion, lying, evil desires, greed, and idolatry because you have been circumcised and renewed in Christ Jesus.

And the gospel says: ‘’Watch and be on your guard against avarice of any kind for a man’s life is not secure by what he owns.’’ Someone asked Jesus to tell his brother to share their inheritance with him but Jesus refused saying that is not his job. And warn them against greed of any kind because our lives are not secured or guaranteed by our possessions. And he gave the parable of the rich fool which demonstrated that our material possessions cannot guarantee us security, happiness, health, long life or heaven. Rather they will deceive us to become foolish in our way of lives and how we acquire and use our possessions and forget that there is a time for death and when it happens we shall leave all our possessions behind for others to use. Therefore, be wise and store for yourself treasures in heaven where nothing can destroy them, where they will last forever, and where our final destination is.

Many of us want to possess the best houses, cars, clothes, positions and titles in this world. But we do not make equal efforts to secure our places in the kingdom of God. Many people go to any lent to acquire those things thinking they will bring them joy and security but rather they often bring them misery and pain in their lives. Although it is good to work hard and acquire material things to enable us pay our bills and live good lives, but be careful not to become greedy and discontented with what God has given you. Be careful not to commit evil in the process of acquiring wealth. And do not destroy your chance of going to heaven because of your immoral way of life. Remember that if God does not built a house in vane do the builder labor, if God does not guard a city in vane do the security men and women keep watch. So, trust in God and keep his commandments even as you acquire and use worldly things.

Someone said that sometimes we are unsatisfied with our lives while many people in this world are dreaming of living our lives. A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of flying. But, a pilot on the plane sees the farm house and dreams of returning home. He said that if wealth is the secret to happiness, then the rich should be seen dancing on the streets. But only poor kids do so. If power ensures security, then officials should walk without security guards. But those who live simply sleep soundly. If beauty and fame bring ideal relationships then celebrities should have the best marriages. But those who live simply, walk humbly and love genuinely have the best of marriages.

Therefore, we must listen to God for directives on how to be wise and live our lives and exit successfully to heaven, our final destination because it is not the amount of possession that we have on earth that matter, but how we live, acquire, and use our possessions that determines our final destination, heaven or hell. So live simply and put God first and above everything else and your destination will be heaven.

 

EIGTHEEN SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

VANITY OF VANITIES SAYS QOHELETH