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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Mary had a PURE heart. It is as a result of Mary’s outstanding sinlessness that we refer to her heart as IMMACULATE. It was this purity of heart that made God so fall in love with her as to choose her to be his mother. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us a secret; “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). Only a heart so pure can contain God as Mary did. As we reflect on Mary’s Immaculate Heart, let us look at our own hearts. Is my heart like that of Mary? What efforts am I making to guard my heart against all defilements of evil?

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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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When you seek first God’s Kingdom and prioritize righteousness, you may not become rich and famous in the eyes of the world but Jesus says you will find true inner satisfaction and peace. When you mourn over the sinfulness and evil pervading our world and refuse to be indifferent, Jesus says you will find true comfort.

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As much as Jesus wants us to spread the Gospel, He recommends that we act wisely always. Do not wait for them to come and kill you, should they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes. (Matthew 10:23)

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Always say the truth to shame the devil. Never allow evil to fester in your heart. Keep your mind pure from all lustful desires and immoral thoughts. Even if there is no one to defend you, God, who is your true shepherd will not forsake you.

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God never calls us just for our own sake. No! Whenever He calls, it is always so that we too can, in turn, call others. When God called Matthew, he brought all his friends to Jesus and there was a great party in his house. Many of those often regarded as sinners (for the sake of their job as tax-collectors) repented and started walking in the light from that day on. As Andrew went on to call Peter, Jesus desires that each one of us would bring at least one person to Him in the course of our lifetime. In truth, our mandate as Christians is to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15).

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In celebrating Mary’s Immaculate Conception, we are reminded that there is no limit to what God can do in us and through us if only we allow God to have His way in our lives by doing His will; that is, by saying “Yes” just as Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). We utter our “yes” to God by living a life that is holy and blameless.

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In giving an offering, we are not increasing God’s wealth but showing our love for Him. In one of the prefaces for Mass, we say: “Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to your greatness but profits us for salvation.” That is to say, no matter how big our offering may be, it does not add to God and if we decide not to give, it does not reduce God.

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