Jesus Is Our Greatest Advocate

I was very blessed to hear the Holy Father’s message yesterday. Pope Francis reflected on the Ascension and gave a very inspiring message about the role of Jesus as mankind’s defender and most gracious advocate. The work of Jesus did not end when he died on the cross to take the punishment that we deserved. His work for humanity is still going on even to this day.

When Jesus ascended to heaven, he took his place at the side of his Father, not to take a rest from his duties for humanity, not to go on a vacation, but to serve as our advocate before the Father. Even after he gave up his life for us, Jesus still continues to plead our case–to defend us all as innocent by virtue of his blood. He faces the Father on a daily basis and proceeds to apply on our behalf the sufficiency of his own merit to cover the unintentional blemishes and fleshly weaknesses that we all have. What a wonderful Savior we have!

“And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

If you want to read the message of Pope Francis in full, you can do so here: “Turn to Jesus, Our Advocate.”

God’s Transforming Work in Our Lives

When the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven, He left his disciples with these last words, “Behold, I am with you always unto the end of time.”  (Matthew 28:20) While we may be inclined to think that Jesus just spoke these words to comfort to the disciples that he left behind, these words have a deeper meaning–for both the disciples and for Catholics.

This morning I got to read a wonderful post at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction titled, “I am with You Always: Encounters with the Risen Lord in Prayer that so wonderfully expounds the essence of Jesus’ last words.

When Jesus was on earth, he was able to bring about great change in the lives of thousands of people who had known him. When he was called back to heaven by God the Father, he left us all with a reminder through his last words that he will never cease to cause transformation in the lives of those who are willing to let him into their lives. So long as we accept him as our personal Savior, he will constantly work to free us from our sins and shortcomings just as he did during his time on earth.

 May we all open our hearts and allow the workings of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit to transpire in our lives.

The Greatest Commandment of Them All

I stumbled onto a post today titled , “On Love, Loving God, and Loving Our Neighbour – Reflections on the Greatest Commandment” that rekindled my amazement with Jesus’ answer to the question of one of his critics, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

All of us know that God has given us 10 Commandments, however not a lot of Christian believers know that there is actually a “greatest commandment.” Growing up a Catholic, I did not know about this until a few years back when I started reading the Scriptures and the teachings of the church more. So does this mean that among the 10 commandments, one commandment is greater than the rest? Well, not quite.

In Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” In his answer, Jesus did not undermine any commandment but simply stated the root and essence of all 10 commandments. No other answer would have been better. Don’t you think?

Remembering Jesus’ Suffering

There are a lot of things for which we should remember Jesus Christ, but during this Holy Week I believe that we should look into how much our Savior suffered. Jesus endured so many things to free us all from the prison house of sin and death. I believe that more than anything else, the Holy Week should be a time for Christians to ponder upon the greatness of God’s love for us, which is manifested through Jesus’ suffering.

Each of us have different images of Jesus in our minds–from a baby boy in a manger, a healer, a teacher, a preacher, etc. I would say that the truest and purest perspective of Jesus Christ can be found in viewing him as a suffering man. For it is through his suffering that he completed his work, and it is through his suffering that we are saved. It is through his suffering that we are provided with an example that the path to glory is borne out of pain and persecution–that the road to heaven is not flower-strewn.

As we look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith, we must look at him in his suffering, and let this painful images of him boring the sins of the entire world strengthen our relationship and commitment to our Lord and Savior.

Jen Hatmaker has an amazing post up on her blog about how she feels about the story of Jesus suffering, the post is called A Broken Hallelujah. You should check it out!

Loving Our Homeless Brothers and Sisters

This morning I stumbled into an inspiring post entitled “Just Love Homeless People.” The post did not only give me a new perspective on loving our homeless brothers and sisters but also prompted me to review what Jesus had to say about serving and loving the less fortunate.

Upon reading my notes and the Scriptures, I was brought to the realization that Jesus Christ himself was homeless too. In Matthew 8:20, Jesus said,“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus didn’t have a home and although I don’t think God wants us to abandon our homes, I believe his very noble example ought to teach us a lot of valuable lessons–one of which I believe is to appreciate and share the comforts that we are blessed with. If Jesus who owned no material possessions was able to share a lot of things to the poor and the homeless, it should not be impossible for us to do the same.

To end, let me leave you this reminder from Matthew 25:34-40, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,  you did it to me.”

Jesus Was the Only Perfect Person to Exist

I have heard a number of stories from people who have lost their faith because of unpleasant experiences in the Church or because of the wrong acts that other “Christians” do. These kind of stories make me sad, and I am pretty sure it makes God sad as well.

Although it is right that we take the hand of our fellow believers and help each other grow in faith, we should not forget that our Christian faith should be founded on no one else but on Jesus Christ alone. If we base our faith on other human beings who have the inherent nature to err, we are bound to meet disappointment. As much as it is unavoidable to look at others in our Christian family for guidance and support, we should not lose sight of the reality that all of us are imperfect.

Over the years, I have also experienced discouragement brought about by the acts of other fellow Christians and even Christian leaders. However, I have come to realize that no one is perfect–except Christ. It is his life alone that is worthy of emulation.

As it says in Hebrews 12:2: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

A wonderful explanation of why we should hold on to our faith even when the people we look up to make mistakes can be read in this post: When Godly People Do Ungodly Things.

Failing To Recognize Jesus in Our Lives

A post from the Community of Catholic Bloggers titled, “Anything Can Happen,” prompted me into quite a reflection today. It talked about Jesus’ disciples and their failure to recognize him at certain instances in the Bible. The blog post made me wonder whether it was possible for me to recognize Jesus today when even  his followers–who were constantly with him–had difficulty doing so.

If Jesus were to physically appear in our worship services today, would we recognize him? If you say yes, because you are quite certain of how he looks based on modern pictures of him, then I doubt you would. Taking into account the different instances wherein Jesus’ closest followers failed to distinguish who he was, I would say that recognizing Jesus would require more than physical sight or sensory perception. Instead, spiritual senses are what we need to discern Jesus’ presence in our lives.

It is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that we will be able to possess the senses to see, hear and feel our Savior’s glory.

The Most Important Tip To Successfully Raise A Teenager

Being a parent is one of the happiest, most rewarding, and joyful experience in the world. For me the joy of having children can never be equaled by anything in the world. Along with all these positive emotions that parenthood can create is a great deal of responsibility, stress, headaches, and heartaches–especially during children’s teenage years.

My own parents and majority of my friends would really say that the job of being a parent is most difficult and challenging during children’s teen years. Adolescence ushers in a period of intense growth, not only physically but morally and intellectually. The desire for more and more independence often leads kids to try out different activities, looks, and identities–many of which are not appealing to parents.

Yes dealing with a teenager can evoke a lot of stress, anger, and even feelings of helplessness among parents. But should things really have to go out of control? Definitely not! There are a lot of ways to successfully raise your teen to become a morally upright and kind hearted person. And you know what the most important tip is? Never forget to make Jesus a part of your parenting endeavors.  No one is better able to guide you on how to deal and respond to your teenager.

Be inspired by this article on successfully correcting your teen’s behavior with Jesus’ help: Tuning into Your Teen When They Cross the Line.

What Jesus’ Love Is Like

Jesus loves us; as a matter of fact, he loves us so much that he laid his own life just to give us all a chance at eternal life. And while all Catholics are well aware of the greatness of God’s love, not many of us take the time to discover just what Jesus’ love is like. A lot of us are already happy and content knowing that we are loved by a great and powerful God. But if we think about it, there is even greater joy in knowing exactly how our God loves us.

This morning, I read a wonderful post that reminded me to not just settle in knowing that I am loved by Jesus but also to take the time to discover what his love is like. If you want to read this wonderful piece, here it is: How Does Jesus Love You?

God’s Amazing Grace Can Transform Your Life If You Let It

I have always been amazed by God’s saving grace. How could someone so powerful send His only son to die on the cross just to save such others? What is even more amazing is the fact that God intended to save each and every human being–both the good and the wicked; the believers and the unbelievers. As it says in the Bible, “He gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:6)

Indeed, salvation is free but as God has always been, He gives us the freedom of choice–to either accept or refuse His saving grace. When we take and embrace God’s grace, it will transform us and make us long for heaven and seek after God’s will. But if we do otherwise, we continue to live according to our sinful human nature and fall away from God.

Let this post titled, You will be either saved, or Lost think about the amazing grace of God and its power to purify our hearts and transform our lives.