#50 COPYRIGHT OF THE SPIRIT

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Lk 4:16 “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me.”

The Word of God is the most powerful force on the face of the earth. Look around. Everything you see and perceive, even your very self, is a product of the Divine Word. Today, we are reminded not to get too familiar with it that we take it for granted. We must listen to it, reverence it and put it to practice.

LITURGY

The word “Liturgy” means “public worship”. The Church at worship is the home of the Scriptures. Before the advent of the print media, the Word of God was almost only heard in Church at Mass. It was purely a liturgical book. It is in the Church that it is read and explained. From the Word, we find courage to approach the Eucharist where we draw strength to live a life of love.

REVERENCE

You can never be the same after listening attentively to God’s Word. The Israelites realised how far they were from God’s law because they were ignorant of His Word. Listen to the readings attentively. Reverence it in the way that is custom in your faith community and take the preacher’s word to heart. Do not be saddened by what you hear. Thank God that you have the opportunity of a fresh start.

INSPIRATION

St Luke tells us something unique about the Gospels. He says that there were so many in his time. Many of these have resurfaced in our time fuelling curiosity and suspicion. He tells us that his is “an ordered account” of the events of Christ’s life. There are four criteria by which a writing is considered “inspired”:

Apostolic origin; its author should be an apostle of Christ or one of their disciple to establish their authenticity.

Rule of faith; the work must tell the truth about the person and mission of Christ. Works which betray the true identity of Christ were ruled out and considered purely works of fiction.

Addressed community; the Christian community to which it is address had the duty of promoting it and proving that it is genuine and a work which promotes the Christian faith.

Church intuition: Some works, even when they did not meet the above requirements, got approval because of a sense that they teach the true Christian faith.

POWERED BY THE SPIRIT

Jesus is God and the second person of the Holy Trinity. But He wasn’t just doing his own thing. The ministry of Christ is the action of the whole Trinity (Totas trinitas). Jesus was prompted by the Holy Spirit and the approval of the Father who called Him “my beloved Son” (Lk 9:35).

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SCRIPTURE ACCOMPLISHED

The words of Isaiah 61:1-2 is accomplished through Christ. Through the Word, He brings good news, liberty, sight, freedom and favour to all. What is your disposition to the words you read and hear?

LISTEN

Listening is the first step in the renewing process of the Word. You should realise that God’s Word is addressed to you in your situation. Never be indifferent to its demands. Always ask, “What must I do?” and follow through with action.

BAPTISM

We receive the power of audition by our reception of the Sacrament of Initiation. In the waters of baptism we are made heirs to the Father’s kingdom (Jn 1:12), sons (and daughters) with the Son (Gal 4:6) and the same Spirit has been given to us all (1Cor 12:13).

PARTS OF A WHOLE

The power of God’s Word is seen in the powerful witness of the lives of every member of the Church. Our witness is a life love and genuine concern for others, of compassion and tolerance, forgiveness and meaningful collaboration. The Word of God can be a binding factor leading us to genuine personal conversion and global evangelisation. This is only possible when we truly consider each other parts of one body.

The power of the Holy Spirit is manifest in each of us for different purposes (apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healing, helpers, leaders and polyglots among others). It has also made us dependent on each other (weak and strong) so that we can partake equally of hurt and honour.

THE WORD 

Psalm 19 reveals the secret power of God’s word; it Revives the soul, gives Wisdom, Gladdens the heart, gives Light to the eyes and is True and Just.

The Word of God is so important in our day. But its power is revealed only to those who seek it sincerely and diligently.

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Prayer: Lord, let your Word dwell richly in me. Let it melt away my indifference and mould me and use me to bring glory to you.

Keepsake: God’s Word has the power to transform you into a Vessel of God’s glory. Listen to it.

Today’s Readings: Neh 8:2-6,8-10; Ps 19:8-10,15; 1Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4,4:14-21

#49 THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

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Lk 3:21 “When all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape like a dove.”

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus and God’s revelation of him as the “beloved Son”.  We also remember our own baptism when we became God’s beloved children.

Expectations

The people in Jesus’ time expected a Messiah. They had their ideas of who this Messiah should be and what He should do. We also have expectations as Christians. Your expectation should be in line with who you are and who God is enabling you to become. Your expectations should be consistent with what God wants for you. As His children, we should strive to be what God wants us be; to give up what does not lead to God, and all inordinate worldly ambition. Live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age (cf. Titus 2:12; Micah 6:8). Our lives should bring others closer to God.

Adoption

Who is the long-expected Messiah? It is Jesus, the beloved Son of God. What does He do? Baptise us with the Holy Spirit and Fire. Who are we? The beloved of God, His adopted children and heirs of His kingdom. The Greek word translated “adoption” is huiothesia, and it occurs only five times in the New Testament, all in the letters of St Paul (Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5). It means “to formally and legally declare that someone who is not one’s own child is henceforth to be treated and cared for as one’s own child, including complete rights of inheritance.” In the Roman culture, the adopted son or daughter had four major changes: a change of family, a change of name, a change of home, and a change of responsibilities. “Adoption” clearly indicates that a Christian is a member of God’s family.

What are we to do? Embrace a journey of discovery about Jesus and ourselves that sets us on fire for God. All our expectations should be directed toward faithful baptismal living.

Baptismal Rite

The baptismal rite put into focus the primary gift of baptism – a share in divine life which is for us a new identity:

Water – plunged into the baptismal waters, we are plunged into Christ’s death; rising we share in divine life. Water brings both death (to our old selves) and a rebirth of life (new Life in God).

Chrism: anointed with chrism, we share in the threefold office of Christ- priest, prophet and ruler. Our anointing with chrism is a consecration of ourselves to conform our life to Christ’s.

White garment: clothed in a white garment, we are reminded of our new, holy, risen Life in Christ. We are to live unstained until we enjoy eternal Life with God.

Lighted candle: enlightened by Christ, we are also to be Light of Christ dispelling sin and darkness in the world. We ourselves are manifestations that in Christ the light of salvation has come into the world (cf. Jn 1:9; 8:12).

These Symbols also imply the demands of discipleship:

  • Water: dying to self;
  • Chrism: conforming ourselves to Christ;
  • White garment: living lives worthy of who we are;
  • Lighted candle: overcoming the darkness of sin.

Primarily these symbols help us understand who we become in baptism – members of the Body of Christ sharing in divine identity.

Greater awareness and appreciation of our identity enables us to be more faithful in our discipleship.

Baptismal Living

Faithful baptismal living both fulfils expectations and generates new ones. This is why baptismal living is a journey of discovery. Baptism opens us to a Presence that continually transforms who we are and what we can do for others. Baptism offers us new Life in the Holy Spirit, one that is steadfast yet unpredictable, familiar yet surprising, restful yet energizing. Baptismal living calls us not simply to run away from sin but to realise that everything we do can be done to the glory of God (cf. 1Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). Our every action can become an act of worship. Baptism sets no on fire with love for God.

Baptism and Prayer

If baptism is the flame, prayer is the wax that keeps it burning. Jesus’ first action after His baptism was to pray to the Father. Luke mentions ten different occasions when Jesus sought the solitude of prayer (Lk 3:21-23; 4:1-2; 4:14; 5:15-17; 6:12-13; 9:18-20; 9:28-29; 11:1-4,9; 22:39-46). He did this to give us an example of how God’s children should long to communicate with their heavenly Father. He also did it because, God’s will is revealed when we spend time with Him. We grow to love, trust and live for Him.

Prayer: Thank You Lord for making me your child through the waters of Baptism. Give me strength to love you and seek a deeper and more loving relationship with You.

#47 JOURNEY TO PERFECT VISION

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Dear Doctimus Prime, there is a biblical saying that, “No one goes to war without first assessing him armoury”. In the same light, to have a fruitful time in Church on Sunday, it helps to have a sneak preview of what to expect. Here are a few things I hope to hear tomorrow.

  1. Pilgrimage

The words of the Salve Regina, the “Hail Holy Queen”, describes us as “poor banished children of Eve”. We are on a pilgrim journey through life. But we can choose to either be at peace in God’s house or be exiled through sin. The exiles spoken of in Jeremiah’s prophecy, represent all of us whom God calls from the slavery of sin to a new life in him. To move from sin’s slavery to holiness indicates knowledge of the evil of sin and a readiness to part ways with it.

How can you break ties with the bad habits that enslave you? How do you turn to what the Gospel teaches? Like a lot of others, you are spiritually weak, lame and blind and find it difficult not only to move but even to know what path the Lord wants you to follow. There is reason to despair if you only rely on yourself to overcome your weaknesses. Prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God takes particular care of those who cannot walk alone. God wants to lead you.

  1. Divine Fatherhood

The Scriptures describe God as our “Father”, the One from whom every fatherhood in the world takes its name (Eph 3:14,15). The roles of a father are namely, life-giver, protector and provider. In the normal course of family life, a father is responsible for giving life through the sexual expression of his love for his wife. He is the one who defends the family from outside threats; in extreme cases that can involve a violent intervention. He provides for his wife and children, as a wage-earner and breadwinner, a wise counsellor, patient teacher and steady emotional support. But all these are attributes that properly belong to God and earthly fathers only share in the Fatherhood of God. God is our Father.

The Scriptures tell us too that Jesus is the image of the unseen God (Heb 1:1,2; Jn 14:9). Jesus is the Eternal High Priest, our Mediator with the Father and our companion on our spiritual journey. To have seen Christ is to have seen the Father. Through Jesus Christ, God the Father nourishes us, protects and provides for us his children (Heb 5:5-6). He knew suffering and temptation and so has compassion on our frailty (Heb 5:7-10).

Jesus confers this priesthood on his Apostles and their disciples. The priest today, following in Christ’s footsteps, is chosen by God to serve God’s people. The word ministry means “service” and ministers are servants. There primary duty is to offer prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the people. A priest is able to bring our supplication to God in prayer and sacrifice because he is acquainted with sin and suffering. You cannot say to your priest, “Father, you don’t understand” because he is a human being, living in the same world with you. He is able to sympathise with you and pray for you because he understands.  You on your part, should pray for Him and listen to him as a child would listen to a father. Pray for your priests, that their humanity may be strengthen by God’s grace in order to lead you ultimately to eternal happiness with God.

  1. Sight to the Blind

The blind Bartimaeus represents many of us today who choose to be blind to the Gospel, preferring what we want to believe about our relationship with Christ to what Christ wants us to do. So many people today are comfortable with their own notions of faith, whether or not it goes contrary to what God has revealed through the Church. When I say “Church”, I mean the gathering of God’s people to whom he has revealed himself in the Word, in the tradition and teachings that have come to us through the Apostles and through the Sacraments.

God can neither deceive nor be deceived. He only tells us the truth. And He reveals the truth about our eternal destiny through His Church. When you do all that God teaches you through his Church, you are being led from blindness to true sight. Just as some members of the crowd in the Gospel helped Bartimaeus come to Jesus, some people in the Church are there to help you come to Christ. You will do well to listen, to observe and to act accordingly.

The one who realizes his blindness readily seeks help. But the one who is oblivious of his blindness does not realise his wretched state. Ask for grace to hear the sound of excitement from others who have truly encountered God, and for courage to abandon your old way of life and embrace true freedom; shed off the cloak of self-deceit and come to Christ. Your happiness cannot wait.

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#46 WISDOM IS WEALTH

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Who needs wisdom when you have wealth?”

I can almost hear the average Nigerian youth speaking. It is easy to be disillusioned when you are hungry. Who can blame you? Desperate times do not always call for desperate measures. Sometimes you have to sit and look at the situation carefully before acting. Now back to the issue at hand. If you have to choose between wealth and wisdom, which would you go for? Let me tell a story before you give me your answer:

A rich young man came to Jesus and asked a very curious question, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” It is curious that he would be asking for something from a poor itinerant preacher like Christ. To be rich implies that you have very little need of others. But here he was asking for what to do in order to live. He probably has realised something that most rich people find hard to admit to themselves. He realised that he was empty. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17).

It is interesting that he said “inherit”. An inheritance is not a right. It is a gift, a privilege, something someone else has worked for. Jesus, by his life, death and resurrection, gained eternal life for everyone who believes in Him (cf. Jn 3:16,17). The rich young man sought something that money cannot buy. Jesus tells Him that the only way to earn eternal life is to lay down the false security he clung so tightly to. Jesus is not saying that wealth is evil. He is pointing out that if your gifts are only used for your selfish gains, then it is useless. True wealth seeks to make others better. Others must share in the gifts that God has given you (cf. James 1:17). Wisdom helps you realise this fact. To possess wisdom is to have true wealth. And true wealth is that which builds others in the community. In using your gifts to make others better, you receive the gifts of eternal life. In fact, to have wisdom is to have everything.

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It takes wisdom to see Christ as the truth and to follow Him. Wisdom alone opens our eyes to our need for God and the gift of eternal life. King Solomon who is famed as the richest man in the Scriptures had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask God for anything he wanted. But he humbly asked for “wisdom…a wise heart that is able to distinguish good and evil” (1Kg 33:4-15). Wealth and the beauty of life is nothing compared to wisdom. When we seek the world and all the pleasures it afford for their own sake, we are soon exhausted and left with a bitter aftertaste in our mouths. How many times have you longed for the latest phone, dress or car only to receive it? How did it make you feel? Did it give you the joy you expected? Maybe it did but not for long. Does that tell you something about the world and created things? There is nothing in this created world that can give you happiness.

Now back to the question: The question itself is misleading. It is not the case of either-or. Wealth is God’s gift to some for the good of all. They must seek to better the lives of others by it.

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#43 FROM SEED TO TREE

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Dear Doctimus Prime,

Here are my thoughts on today’s Gospel reading (Mk 4:26-34). I narrowed down to a stimulating verse:

Mk 4:26 “A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps…the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.”

GROWTH

Growth is a normal feature of daily life yet it is the most elusive; we see it yet we cannot track it. You don’t notice your children actually growing in front of your eyes. You only notice their clothes are no longer big enough for them and that they begin to walk without help.

SPIRITUAL!

In the spiritual life, growth is imperceptible but continuous. It begins at Baptism and progresses with the other sacraments till the end of our lives. The Word and Sacraments, when they are received in faith, are in the heart a work of grace. The Spirit of God carries on the work of grace without our notice (Job 33;15,16).

INTEREST

Christ’s interest in the world and in the heart is a growing interest; and though the beginning be small, the latter end will greatly increase. The growth of grace in a soul comes at last to perfection at “harvest time”. At harvest time, Christ accepts the services which are done to him by an honest and loving heart. From the fruits of the gospel taking place and working in the soul, Christ gathers in a harvest of honour to himself. Gal 5:22,23 tells us that the Spirit’s presence in us yields fruits of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness and self-control among others.

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REWARD

There is also the reward of Eternal Life. Those who die in God’s grace and friendship are those who have grown from a seed into a huge tree in this world. They shall be gathered as wheat into God’s barn (Mt 13:30) as corn in its season. Since they are now true reflections of Christ and are perfectly purified, they will live forever with Christ. They are like God forever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face (cf. 1Jn 3:2). This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness (CCC #1025).

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

You are called to engage in this process of sowing and reaping through your Christian life. Sow the seed of Christian love in the hearts of others. Each of us can do something loving and loveable for someone else. All we can do is sow seeds of New Life, faith, justice, compassion and love in order to make the world a better place to live. Having done this, you must wait. You cannot force the seed to grow. You can only provide the right conditions for growth.

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GOD’S PREROGATIVE

The task of giving growth is God’s prerogative. He will see to it that selfishness surrenders to sharing, evil gives way to goodness and hate yields to love. Patience, Prayerfulness and Hope are the manure for growth. Tomorrow’s trees come from the shoots we plant today. Tomorrow’s justice and peace begin from the seeds we sow today.

Prayer: Lord, give us grace to dispose ourselves to the action of your grace and work for the salvation of others.

Quick question:

How often do you pray for those you think are straying from the path of righteousness?

Today’s Readings: Ezek 17:22-24; Ps 92:2-3,13-16; 2Cor 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#42 6 REASONS TO ATTEND MASS

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Dear Doctimus Prime,

I just wanted to tell you about tomorrow.

  1. WHAT’S NEW?

Tomorrow is the celebration of all celebrations. It is the reason we can call ourselves CHRISTIANS. Tomorrow is the celebration that makes us God’s holy and covenant people (cf. 1Pt 2:9). God made man becomes the centrepiece of our Christian worship and life. Tomorrow, we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Holy Eucharist, Corpus Christi in Latin.

  1. DESCRIPTION

The Eucharist is the sacrament of the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, together with His soul and divinity, under the appearance of bread and wine. This means that at no other time and in no other place is Jesus truly present on earth than in the Eucharist. The Opening Prayer of the Mass gives us a beautiful summary of what Jesus wishes to accomplish in you through the Eucharist by pointing out that:

  • In it, Christ leaves us a remembrance (memorial) of His Passion (death on the Cross for love of us);
  • An opportunity to worship and adore Him in His Real Presence;
  • And experience the fruits of our redemption as often as we approach him in the sacrament.
  1. WORSHIP

Catholic worship exists and thrives because of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is Jesus Himself, in body, blood, soul and divinity, to nourish us in soul and body. Jesus left us this rare and extravagant gift of Himself because he knows that without Him we cannot perform any good or meritorious action (cf. Jn 15:5). It is also interesting that His divine present only appears on the altar during the sacrifice of the Mass, when a Catholic priest says the words that Jesus Himself said at the Last Supper when he took bread and wine and gave thanks. From this sacrament we are also given Jesus, placed in the tabernacle and in the monstrance for us, to worship. All of Catholic worship draws strength and points to the Eucharist as their source and summit. If you wish to offer God a most solemn worship and the highest honour, attend Mass!

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  1. THANKSGIVING

“Eucharistia”, the Greek word from which the English word “Eucharist” is derived, means “Thanksgiving”. This refers to the prayer of Thanksgiving which Jesus offered when he lifted up the bread and wine in prayer at the Last Supper (1Cor 11:23-27). When we come to mass, we come to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. This is symbolised in the offering we bring to the altar just before the priest blesses the gifts. Through our offering, we give ourselves to God along with the fruits of our labour. God accepts our offering, blesses us and transforms our gifts into His body and blood and returns it to us in the Eucharist for our spiritual nourishment.

  1. BANQUET

The Eucharist is called a Sacred Banquet because it mirrors the celebration which we shall have in heaven. Jesus told his disciples that he will not drink wine until he drinks it anew in heaven; this is an indication that the Eucharist is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet (Mk 14:25). The best party of all time happens every time you come to mass and admission is absolutely free!

  1. FAMILY

When we gather around the table of the Word and Eucharist, we answer God’s call to make our home with Him. Jesus should be the king of your home and the head of your family. By nourishing us at the table of His Word and Eucharist, he fills us with love for each other. We are no longer to look at each other as strangers but siblings of our one and true Father (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11). Draw strength and inspiration from the Eucharistic table to gather as a family daily in prayer. A Eucharistic family prays together and by praying together they remain together.

You have six reasons to relish every moment at mass tomorrow. God bless!

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#35 BE TRANSFIGURED

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From the Readings

Gen 22:16 -18 “Because you have not refused me your son, I will shower blessings on you…as a reward for your obedience.” Ps 116:17 “Your servant, Lord…a thanksgiving sacrifice I make; I will call on the lord’s name.” Rom 8:34 Christ not only died for us – he rose from the dead and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us. Mk 9:7 “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him.”

The Illusion of Disobedience

A Christian lifestyle is a comprehensive package; every aspect of your life must come under the influence of God. God wants to restore you to friendship with Him, and be the author and perfecter of your being. The perfection of the human person lies in the submission of his will to his Creator. It was disobedience that got us into trouble the first time with the delusion of freedom. True freedom is when you listen to and obey the voice of God, like Abraham, and not the world with its false promises. God speaks to you today through the event of Christ’s transfiguration.

Lessons from the Transfiguration

Christ’s Transfiguration teaches us a number of things:

He transfigures to show us what we shall be if we obey the Father through his life and teaching;

His transfiguration confirms the reality of heaven and the reward of all who do God’s will;

The transfiguration encourages you to strive after holiness and realize that heaven is greater than the vanities and sufferings of this life (cf. Rom 8:18);

Jesus reveals to us that all our fasts, denial, prayers, penances, almsgiving and participation in the sacraments shall be rewarded;

Jesus also shows us that if we come away with him from the world’s distraction to the mountain of the Eucharistic altar, the door of our souls will be opened to higher things (Heb 12:22). God wants to reside in your heart and begin the process of your transfiguration from within.

Your Transfiguration Process

The transfiguration process must begin in your mind and in the way you perceive yourself; you are God’s child. You must be transfigured in your heart and in the way you perceive your neighbour; you must love and pray for them. You must be transfigured in the things you say and realise that your lips should speak only words that glorify God. You must be transfigured in the way you treat your body; it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19). You must be transfigured in the way you treat other persons since they are created in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:27).

In Christ’s transfiguration, we see an obedient God-man and how obedience can transform you into something beautiful. With obedience to God, you will become more like God and more of yourself.

PRAYER: Lord, teach to listen to your Son and be more focused on making you known and loved through my actions.

Today’s Readings: Gen 22:1-2,9-13,15-18; Ps 116:10,15-19; Rom 8:31-34; Mk 9:2-10

Q. How Do I know that God is SPEAKING to me?

A. God speaks to you when you faithfully read the Scriptures. He speaks when you listen to the Church. God also speaks when you pray and seek discernment from your priests and religious leaders. God speaks to you in the things that you do each day and calls you to love Him in those you meet. God’s word calls you to listen to Christ in all your experiences and see that you can be transfigured by them.

#29 STAND AGAINST EVIL

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Deut 18:18 “I shall raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brother; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him.”
Ps 95:6 “Come in; let us bow and bend low; let us kneel before the God who made us: for he is our God and we his people.”
1Cor 7:32 “I would like to see you free from all worry. An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord…”
Mk 1:27 “Here is a teaching that is new and with authority behind it; he gives orders even to unclean spirit and they obey him.”

Once Upon a Story…

They say that there comes a time in a person’s life when they find out their purpose for existence. Dele always knew what he was called to do; he just didn’t want to give in to the impulse to stand for what he knew. He could smell the stench of sin. At first he dismissed it as a mental obsession. The stench was like nothing else he knew. It could be in a bar or in a supermarket. Sometimes, he would look around to be sure it wasn’t some heap of rubbish close by. Often he would only find well-dressed people, oozing the sweet scent of costly perfume. Soon the stench became a feeling of the presence of a strong force (an evil force). He first felt this force in a night club, then in a porn shop. Then he felt it again in his mother’s house; his mother had raised him without a dad for as long as he could remember. She was clearly not a religious person, with habits of smoking, drinking and lose-living. Then he knew his mom needed help as he once did and just like many people he walked past each day.

It’s WAR

There is a war going on and it won’t wait until you are ready; there is a clear divide between the army of God and that of the devil. The problem is that so many people have taken a clear stand with the devil against God through their actions. What you need is to be conscious of God; you need to search inwards to discover who you are and what you’re called to be.

Armour of God

God gave a word of prophecy to Moses, of a “prophet” who will come to make God’s word known and declare way against evil. Jesus came, in the fullness of time, teaching with authority and he dealt a fatal blow to the evil spirits. It is clear that there is now no peace for anything that is not of God (Mk 1:21-28). Every person who is conscious that they are in a battle would want to equip themselves. You don’t want to be a casualty in a war that has clearly defined sides. At all times, put on the Armour of God and be conscious that you are in a battle against spirits in high places (Eph 6:11-18).

Components of your War Gear

One sure way to put on your armour is to heed God’s Word in SCRIPTURES and frequent the SACRAMENTS. If you do so, you can be sure you are standing on the side of truth (Jn 18:37). If you heed God’s Word, you will be led to TRUE FREEDOM, as he says “the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). If you take God’s Word to heart, you will find FULFILLMENT, because his words quenches the thirst of your soul (Jn 4:13). If you heed His word, you will SHARE IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT, since we shall do the same works as he does (Jn 14:12). Only then shall we raise the banner of holiness, the lighted candle of goodness and dispel sin and evil.

Prayer: Lord, set up your throne in my heart and reign over my life; may my actions be a declaration for you.

Today’s Readings: Deut 18:15-20; Ps 95:1-2,6-9; 1Cor 7:32-35; Mk 1:21-28

#12 Catholic and Curious

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Dear DOCTIMUS PRIME,
It is the beginning of a new Liturgical Season, the beginning of a new Church calendar year. Happy New Year to you. I discovered that most Catholics have an intuitive understanding of Advent, based on experience, but not so many know what the Church’s official documents actually say about Advent? So I collect my ideas in 10 easy questions as follows:

1. What Is the Purpose of Advent?
Advent comes from the Latin word ‘Adventus’ meaning “coming.” Advent begins the church year, starting four Sundays before Christmas. The season of Advent has been set aside as a time of preparation for Christmas since at least the last half of the 6th century. Advent is a time for SELF-EXAMINATION and ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS as the church is preparing for Christ’s SECOND COMING even as it prepares for CHRISTMAS.
The other seasons are Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time.

2. Every Liturgical season has a colour. What Liturgical Colour(s) are used in Advent?
Particular days and certain types of celebrations can have their own colours (For example, RED for martyrs, black or white at funerals), but the normal colour for Advent is VIOLET OR PURPLE. The colour violet or purple is used in Advent and Lent. It may also be worn in Masses for the Dead.
Advent, as a season, lasts for four weeks. In many places, there is a notable exception for the Third Sunday of Advent, known as GAUDETE Sunday (“GAUDETE” MEANS “REJOICE”):
The colour ROSE may be used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent).

3. Is Advent a Penitential Season?
We often think of Advent as a penitential season because the liturgical color for Advent is VIOLET, like the colour of Lent which is a penitential season. However, in reality, Advent is not a penitential season.
According to the Code of Canon Law: Canon 1250, The penitential days and times in the Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Although local authorities can establish additional penitential days, this is a complete listing of the penitential days and times of the Latin Church as a whole, and Advent is not one of them.

Advent

4. When Does Advent Begin and End?
Advent begins with evening prayer I (Saturday Evening) of the Sunday falling on or closest to 30 November and ends before evening prayer I of Christmas. The Sunday on or closest to November 30 can range between November 27 and December 3, depending on the year. Advent ends on the evening of December 24th, which holds Evening Prayer I of Christmas (December 25th).

5. What Is the Role of Sundays in Advent?
There are four Sundays of Advent. We have already mentioned that the Third Sunday of Advent has a special name–Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word for “Rejoice,” which is the first word of the entrance antiphon of the Mass for this day.
The Church ascribes particular importance to these Sundays, and they take precedence over other liturgical celebrations. What this means is that no other Church celebrations can take their place. They are that important.

6. What Happens on Weekdays in Advent?
It is especially recommended that homilies be given on the weekdays of Advent. On Sundays and Holydays of Obligation there is to be a Homily at every Mass that is celebrated with the people attending and it may not be omitted without a grave reason. On other days it is recommended, especially on the weekdays of Advent, Lent and Easter Time, as well as on other festive days and occasions when the people come to church in greater numbers.
The weekdays from 17 December to 24 December inclusive serve to prepare more directly for the Lord’s birth.

7. How Are Churches Decorated During Advent?
During Advent the floral decoration of the altar should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this time of year, without expressing in anticipation the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord. During Lent it is forbidden for the altar to be decorated with flowers. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

Advent2

8. How Is Music Performed During Advent?
In Advent the use of the organ and other musical instruments should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this time of year, without expressing in anticipation the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

9. Is the “Gloria” said or sung during Advent?
Neither. The Gloria or “Glory to God in the highest” is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character.

10. What Private Devotions Can We Use to Grow Closer to God During Advent?
There are a variety of private devotions that the Church has recognized for use during Advent. The most famous is the ADVENT WREATH. That is a topic for another time.
It is important that one knows these facts before hand so that they can follow the Season easily and prayerfully.
Yours,
BLOGATRON