Monthly Archives: October 2016

Giving Thanks by Fr. Joel

‘’Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept aguy-at-dawn gift from your servant.’’ Naaman said this after receiving healing from leprosy by God. Naaman demonstrated profound faith, humility, and thanksgiving to God for the healing he received from him. He was humbled by God’s healing power in his life. The prophet, Elisha showed faith in God by giving Naaman instruction to go bathe in the river for his healing. The prophet refused to receive the gifts from Naaman as a sign of his humility. He did not want to take the glory that belongs to God.
The Psalm says, ‘’the Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.’’ This is a song of thanksgiving to God for his wonderful deeds to his people. St. Paul in the second reading demonstrated humility and strong faith in God. In spite of his suffering for the sake of Christ, he remained faithful and gave thanks to him for the salvation Christ brought to the world. In the Gospel, ten lepers asked for healing and were healed but only the Samaritan came back to give thanks to God.
The themes of thanksgiving, faith and humility came up very strongly in the readings of today. To give thanks to God means humility and faith in God. The characters involved here have given us beautiful examples to learn from. Our world is full of pride, unfaithfulness, greed, selfishness, hatred, division, and violent destruction of lives and property. As a result there is depression and lack of peace in our world. God has blessed us with many wonderful gifts in this world. Let us be humble and give thanks to God for everything that we have comes from him. The Lord has been faithful to us, so let us be humble and faithful to him as well. Let us not be carried away by our gifts and achievements and forget that without God we could not achieve anything that we have. So, be humble and give him the glory that is his due.
We experience God’s power and miracles everyday of our lives. Therefore, we need to give him thanks for all of them. Our lives, health, energy, time, seasons, jobs, parents, children, neighbors, and other resources that we have come from God, so, let us give him thanks for all these gifts. Our faith is a gift from God so, let us appreciate him. We go to sleep and wake up afterward, that is a miracle from God, let us give him thanks. We get sunshine, rainfall, the air that we breathe and other beautiful gifts of nature from God, let us give him thanks.
Let us learn from St. Paul be humble, faithful, and give thanks to the Lord in spite of our daily challenges in life. We may suffer imprisonment and hardships in this world but we should be happy that our Lord Jesus has set us free and given us salvation by his suffering and death on the cross. For if we suffer and die with Christ, we shall rise and live with him; if we endure to the end, we shall receive a crown of glory with him; but if we deny him, he will deny us too; even though we are unfaithful, he is faithful.
St. Paul encourages us to remain faithful to God no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. God is always faithful, merciful, and compassionate to us. We need humility and call on him in times of need for help. If we ask in faith we shall receive his blessings and we should give him thanks for all the wonderful things he has done to us. It is important that we give thanks because God is pleased whenever we do so. God is displeased at ingratitude from us. Therefore, let us learn and teach our children how to give thanks for any favor received from God and from people. Any thanksgiving for favors received by us opens the door for more blessings to come our way. In fact, the best way to ask for more favors is to give thanks for past favors received. But ingratitude will close up the doors so that no more favors will come our way again. Therefore, let us give God the glory and thanks for all the many blessing we have received from him in our lives.

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
GIVING THANKS TO GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS TO US

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Faith that can Uproot Mountains by Fr. Joel

 

It is not the quantity of faith but the quality that is very important for a Christian to be successful and powerful in spiritual warfare.mountain

The first reading of today encouraged us to remain strong and faithful to God even at the times of misfortunes and calamities. It says that only the just can be patient and faithful to wait for the Lord’s time and the fulfilment of his promises in their lives. The Psalm says, ‘’if today you hear his voice, harden not your heart,’’ which means believing in the words of God and acting according to them. St. Paul tells us that the spirit of God is not that of fear but of strength, faith, charity, and self-discipline, which enables us to bear witness to him without fear even at difficult times.

In the gospel, the apostles asked for their faith to be increased and Jesus replied them saying that if they have faith as small as a mustard seed, they can move and uproot trees and mountains. This means if there is as small but solid, compact, and unbroken faith as the mustard’s seed it will be more effective than having an increased faith. Jesus was telling them that it is not the quantity but the quality of their faith that matters. With a strong and in-depth faith we can do great things for God. A faith in God that is strong and qualitative is capable of making us keep his commandments. Quality faith in God leads to quality works for God. Hence, St. James said that we cannot be saved by faith alone, but by faith and good works. That is, a faith that is firm and solid as a mustard seed is capable of enabling Christians do wonderful things for God. These great things are not in the sense of worldly greatness but heavenly greatness. For instance, a quality faith is capable of making us endure hardships gracefully and be fulfilled in life. But someone without faith that is deep enough will not be able to endure hardships without going through severe pain and depression. Such people can easily fall away and deviate from the path of the Lord.

Unfortunately today many people in our world do not have quality faith in the Lord. Our faith is shallow and that is why we fall cheaply as preys to the devil’s manipulation. Many people measure and count God’s blessing in terms of material things. Today many people want to be recognized as successful and great people in a worldly sense in order to boost their ego. This kind of greatness does not give us lasting joy and fulfilment in life. For example, good professionals in any field do not derive joy from their pay or material benefits of their job but from doing quality job. They have passion and faith for their job, which gives them joy and real satisfaction. In the same way worldly things cannot give us eternal peace and salvation. But only quality faith in God can guarantee us peace and salvation. Only those who have passion for their job or faith in God can find fulfilment in this life and here after. Therefore, quality faith is the major ingredient that is needed to bring us joy and satisfaction in our lives as Christians. It is the singular factor that enables us to become authentic, joyful, and productive children of God. It is quality faith that enables us to carry our crosses daily and follow Jesus as he commanded us. Quality faith is required for us to get healing from God. Good faith is necessary for our growth to maturity in the Christian life.  With faith, God can do great things in our lives. In-depth faith is required for the manifestation of our spiritual gifts and to be able to use it for service in God’s kingdom.

Remember that quality faith should not be express to impress people but to demonstrate real and genuine love for God and his people. Quality faith is to be used to glorify God but not human persons. Quality faith enables us to hear his words and keep them; to be strong, courageous, self-disciplined, to bear witness to him in the world, to endure hardships, and be fulfilled in life. It is not the size of our faith but the quality of it that matters in our life as a Christian. ‘’Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord’’ (Jer. 17: 7).

TWENTY SEVEN SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

FAITH THAT CAN UPROOT MOUNTAINS