Dear Brothes and sisters. With great joy and happiness, I thank the Lord for what he has done during my 7 years of service to the Brothers and sisters of SFO around the world. It was wonderful and rich experience for me to work with previous Presidency as well as the new presidency. I thank you with my whole heart for your love and encouragement. I enjoyed my work of spiritual animation of SFO and it has increased my faith. I could meet many people, culture, fraternal life in the fraternities of SFO and many first order friars.. These profound experiences entered into my memory, heart and mind. I thank with my heart our dear sister Encarnacion and you my dear sisters and brothers of Presidency for your love support and acceptance of what I am. I am very grateful to you. I could experience among you a great fraternal life and joy. It is my pleasure to thank our dear brothers Valentin, Michael Higgins, Ivan, Martin and Amando for their understanding, love and support. We could work together always in unity. We shared our views, discussed our opinions, and ate together and given witness that first order could work together in harmony and love. I thank you brothers from my heart. Once again I thank you all and wish our new General Spiritual Assistant Fr. Amanuel Mesgun Temelso to have nice time and rich experience in his new service May God reward you and bless you all..
Scripture: Luke 17:7-10 Perhaps we are like the laborer in Jesus' parable who expected special favor and reward for going the extra mile? How unfair for the master to compel his servant to give more than what was expected! Don't we love to assert our rights: "I will give only what is required and no more!" But who can satisfy the claims of love? Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God's servants, just as Jesus came "not to be served, but to serve" (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one's country or one's family when special needs arise. Likewise, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due. And he gladly accepts the free-will offering of our lives to him and to his service. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the gift of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.
Scripture:John 2:13-22 [alternate reading:Luke 17:1-6] Jesus referred to the temple as his Father’s house which was being made into “house of trade” (John 2:16) or “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). That is why he used physical force to expel the money-chargers. The prophecy of Malachi foretold the coming of the Lord unexpectedly to his Temple to “purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Malachi 3:1-4). Jesus' disciples recalled the words of Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” This was understood as a Messianic prophecy. Here the disciples saw more clearly Jesus as the Messiah who burned with zeal for God's house. The Jewish authorities, however, wanted proof that Jesus had divine authority to act as he did. They demanded a sign from God to prove Jesus right, otherwise, they would treat him as an imposter and a usurper of their authority. Jesus replied that the sign God would give would be Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews did not understand that the temple Jesus referred to was his own body. The “tent of his body” had to be destroyed to open the way to the presence of God for us. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with God, but he fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God's word enlightens our minds and purifies our hearts that we may offer God fitting worship and enjoy his presence both now and forever.
VILLA BARTOLOMEA is small village in Italy. The Franciscan sisters of Bon Soccorso from India are working in the Home for aged. Nearly 100 old people are there and the sisters are doing great service to them. There are three sisters who are rendering their service to those old people. Sr.Joanna(superior), Sr.Sukanthi and Sr.Amali. I could visit them and their works. Dear Sisters may God bless you and reward you.
Scripture:Mark 12:38-44 Jesus taught his disciples a dramatic lesson in giving with love. Love doesn't calculate; it spends lavishly! Jesus drove this point home to his disciples while sitting in the temple and observing people offering their tithes. Jesus praised a poor widow who gave the smallest of coins in contrast with the rich who gave greater sums. How can someone in poverty give more than someone who has ample means? Jesus' answer is very simple: love is more precious than gold! Jesus taught that real giving must come from the heart. A gift that is given with a grudge or for display loses most of its value. But a gift given out of love, with a spirit of generosity and sacrifice, is invaluable. The amount or size of the gift doesn't matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins, but instead she recklessly gave away all she had! Jesus praised someone who gave barely a penny – how insignificant a sum – because it was everything she had, her whole living. What we have to offer may look very small and not worth much, but if we put all we have at the Lord's disposal, no matter how insignificant it may seem, then God can do with it and with us what is beyond our reckoning.
Scripture:Luke 15:1-10 The scribes and Pharisees took great offense at Jesus because he went out of his way to meet with sinners and he treated them graciously like they were his friends. The Pharisees had strict regulations about how they were to keep away from sinners, lest they incur ritual defilement. They were not to entrust money to them or have any business dealings with them, nor trust them with a secret, nor entrust orphans to their care, nor accompany them on a journey, nor give their daughter in marriage to any of their sons, nor invite them as guests or be their guests. They were shocked with the way in which Jesus freely received sinners and ate with them. Sinners, nonetheless, were drawn to Jesus to hear him speak about the mercy of God. Jesus characteristically answered the Pharisees' charge with a parable or lesson drawn from everyday life.
Scripture:Luke 14:25-33 Why does Jesus say we must 'hate' our families and even ourselves? The expression 'to hate' often meant to 'prefer less'. Jesus used strong language to make clear that nothing should take precedence or first place in our lives over God. Jesus knew that the way of the cross was the Father's way to glory and victory over sin and death. He counted the cost and said 'yes' to his Father's will. We, too, must 'count the cost' and be ready to follow Jesus in the way of the cross if we want to share in his glory and victory. What is the 'way of the cross' for you and for me? When my will crosses with God's will, then his will must be done. The way of the cross involves sacrifice, the sacrifice of laying down my life each and every day for Jesus' sake. What makes such sacrifice possible and "sweet" for us is the love of God poured out for us in the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul the Apostle reminds us that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:5). We can never outgive God. He always gives us more than we can expect or imagine.
Scripture: Luke 14:15-24 In the ancient world the most notable sign of favor and intimate friendship was the invitation to "share bread" at the dinner table. Who you ate with showed who you valued and trusted as your friends. A great banquet would involve a lavish meal of several courses and a large company of notable guests and friends. One of the most beautiful images of heaven in the scriptures is the royal wedding celebration and banquet given by the King for his son and close friends. We, in fact, have been invited to the most important banquet of all! The last book in the bible ends with an invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb and his Bride, the church: The Spirit and the Bride say, Come! (Revelations 22:17). The 'Lamb of God' is the Lord Jesus Christ and his bride is the people he has redeemed by his own precious blood which was shed upon the cross for our salvation.
Gospel Reading:Matthew 25:31-46 (alternate reading: John 11:17-27)
ALL SOULS DAY
What about the life to come after our death?God puts in the heart of every living person the desire for unending life and happiness with him. While death claims each of us at the appointed time, God gives us something which death cannot touch – his own divine life and sustaining power. In the Old Testament, one of the greatest testimonies of faith and hope in the midst of great suffering and pain is that of Job: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another (Job 19:25-27). Jesus made an incredible promise to his disciplies and a claim which only God can make and deliver: Whoever sees and believes in Jesus, the Son of God, shall have everlasting life and be resurrected!
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12 What is the significance of Jesus' beatitudes, and why are they so central to his teaching? The beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness that God has placed in every heart. They teach us the final end to which God calls us, namely the coming of God's kingdom (Matthew 4:17), the vision of God (Matthew 5:8; 1 John 2;1), entering into the joy of the Lord (Matthew 25:21-23) and into his rest (Hebrews 4:7-11). Jesus' beatitudes also confront us with decisive choices concerning the life we pursue here on earth and the use we make of the goods he puts at our disposal. God alone satisfies. Theresa of Avila's prayer book contained a bookmark which she wrote: "Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you; All things pass: God never changes. Patience achieves all it strives for. Whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone suffices." Is God enough for you? God offers us the greatest good possible – abundant life in Jesus Christ (John 10:10) and the promise of unending joy and happiness with God.