To be wise in the spiritual sense is to trust little in your wealth, your current status, your education, your connections, and even your present devotional practices. To be wise is to have a backup; something extra, something to hold on to should everything else fail. To be wise is to have some extra oil. What is that extra oil? It is, in the words of St. Paul in today’s first reading THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS.

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We cannot follow the narrow door if we cannot dare to stand out from the world and be different. To enter by the narrow door is to love God’s commandments regardless of what the world thinks about them.

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When we get there, we too shall say like Peter that “it is wonderful to be here.” There is more to life than what meets the eyes. There is more to existence than what we can verify. If God were to open our eyes like He did with Peter, James, and John or even Daniel as we saw in today’s first reading, we would never for once doubt His existence again. So, let us not get discouraged by suffering, pain, and hardship now. No matter what we have to give up now for Christ’s sake, heaven is worth it.

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Avoid shallow Christianity. Be a doer of the word. Let it not be that the only reason you are a Christian faith is simply to receive miracles, breakthroughs and prosperity. If this the case, you will not be able to withstand the rains, floods and winds that would come your way. If you are simply an Amen-I-receive-it-Christian, you would soon fall away when trials and difficulties come.

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Don’t be an actor – be a Christian. And you would know if you are Christian or not when you are provoked, humiliated, and insulted by others. The way a person behaves when they are angry reveals their true color; it is very difficult to pretend when you are angry. Jesus tells us today that anyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment, anyone who insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and anyone who says ‘you fool’ liable to the hell of fire.

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You are light; you lead, not copy. You do not follow the trends, you create trends. Light bulbs do not need speakers, they speak by doing their jobs. They don’t pretend. If you turn a light bulb on, it would continue to shine even if no one is in the room. Stop living a fake Christian life – actions speak louder than words. Shine even if no one is clapping. The widow of Zarephath didn’t have much but she had faith. She obeyed the command of Elijah even when it didn’t make sense and God rewarded her faith. Do you believe there is any value in being salt of the earth and light of the world today? Are you willing to obey God when it seems as if you have nothing to live on? Would you rather chase money or chase holiness? The choice is yours to make.

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Everyone is pointing fingers but no one wants to change. We accuse our priests, pastors, imams, bishops, general overseers, etc. We accuse our political leaders, businessmen and women, school teachers and school owners, musicians, and celebrities, we accuse parents; no one is left out. In this age of social media, when any scandal breaks out, everyone starts to talk, and we demonize each other openly, yet when we go back home, we shut the door and continue doing evil hoping never to get caught. Be the change you desire to see. Repent.

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God expects more from us than the rest of the world. God expects us to shine like bright stars in a world so full of darkness. God wants you to make a difference.

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Death is very sweet when we prepare for it. Dear friends let us begin to live not as people trying to avoid death but as people who look up to death as an opportunity to start enjoying a better life.

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Jesus says: “The kingdom of God is in your midst.” The kingdom of God is what happens when I make my heart pure enough for God to dwell. The kingdom of God is when I allow God to reign in my life; when I follow His commandments when I walk according to His statutes.

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“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. You have sown much, and harvested little

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Jesus says: “Nothing is hidden that shall not be made manifest.” Every secret has its expiry date. Whatever we have tried to hide will someday come to light.

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