That God is a God of the second chance is again revealed in his willingness to entrust great responsibilities to us despite his full knowledge of our human weaknesses. Jesus knew how fragile Peter’s faith was and how rash he could be in thinking, yet made him the first pope. “You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16:18).

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The purpose of our calling as Christians and especially as God’s ministers is to incarnate Christ in our world. As Elijah handed over to Elijah, even the strongest among us would need to be replaced someday. Let us encourage our young ones to respond positively to God’s call. How dark would our world be if there are no ministers or no authentic Christians anymore? However, the truth is that God will never force his calling on anyone. We must also avoid forcing our children into the seminary just for the sake of making a name for our family. It has to come from them. Anyone who has agreed to respond to God’s call must learn to trust God completely and no longer depend on material provisions. This is the symbolic meaning of Elisha’s decision to sacrifice the entire oxen he was working with. And finally, we all have been called to live by the spirit rather than gratifying the desires of the flesh. The minister who fails to practice bodily purity is nothing short of a scandal to the Christian faith preaching one Gospel on the pulpit but preaching something different by his actions.

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Are you having trouble controlling your sexual appetite? Do you find yourself falling into the sin of adultery by thoughts, words, or actions? Are you struggling with fornication, masturbation, and unchastity in one form or another? Jesus has the solution for you: Start from the root - “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away.” (Matthew 5:29). In other words, start by uprooting your bad thoughts and unholy desires. Do not leave any room for lustful wishes. When you look at a person, let their beauty remind you of the beauty and perfection of God.

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Is there a contradiction between what I preach and what I do? Am living in pretense? Then as the prophet Isaiah says today: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doing from before my eyes, learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow…” (Isaiah 1:16ff).

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God listens to all but that of a righteous man, that of an innocent child, that of a pure heart is different! In fact, as Jesus said: “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

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The first thing we must do to avoid becoming guilty of scandalizing anyone is to remind ourselves constantly that innocent minds and hearts still exist.

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If we observe our Advent properly, our joy on Christmas day would not simply be about the fact that Jesus was born, our joy would be that we have been able to conquer certain bad habits and sinful behaviors in our lives.

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When your life proclaims God, you have nothing to fear as Jesus promises us: “When they bring you before synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12).

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In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus likened the Scribes and Pharisees to whitewashed tombs which were beautiful to look at from the outside but were full of dead men’s bones inside. If people get close to me, would they see something different from what I portray in public?

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In our Gospel passage, Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a mustard seed that appears to be the smallest of all seeds but eventually becomes the biggest of all shrubs. A good character begins with little habitual acts. To become the person of your dreams, you have to start with very few acts of goodness and holiness.

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Jesus tells us today to aim for perfection because we serve a perfect God. Of course, children must resemble their father. Since God is perfect, we who claim to be His children must reflect God’s perfection in us.

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