Grace to you!
I reflect on a moving encounter between the Blessed Lord and a man suffering from leprosy in the Gospel of Matthew 8:1-4.
The Lord had finished the Sermon on the Mount. The sermon moved his audience in an incredible, astonishing way. They confessed they had never seen a speaker with such power and authority behind his word (Mt 7:28-29). After this, the Lord came down from the mountain.
It was clear that, at least, many of the astonished audience committed to following him. His words were like never they had seen. The power of God's Word feels the same to anyone who has opened their hearts as Christ speaks through his Word in Scripture and the Church's liturgy. In both, he continues to speak and minister grace to those of us in need of it.
I suspect the Leper must also have been listening from a distance. Or someone may have told him about this great speaker with power in their midst. The seed of faith was sown in his heart. "Faith comes by hearing" (Rom 10:17). He embraced it and encountered far deeper healing, which began when his heart stirred to reach out to the Lord.
I was fascinated by the movement from the Lord to the man and back to the Lord. We read that the Lord came down, then the crowd followed him (Mt 8:1). In our Christian life, the initiative is always God's first. We do not choose God first. God chooses us first and commissions us to bear fruit (Jn 15:16). From Abraham's call to the last person that will ever receive the gift of faith in Christ, God makes the first choice for us. So, Jesus taught and sowed the seed of renewal and then came down so people could receive even more of the incredible grace of his life.
One could also relate this to the Incarnation's mystery that God stooped and became like us so we can become Godly. God revealed to us the God-self so we can be elevated to the God-life.
Though God begins the entire process and nurtures it, we must respond so that the healing grace will renew us. One would not expect God to force himself on us. It is not in Divine character to do so. The Divine approach is like a gentle knock at the door, as the Lord patiently waits for us to open the door and welcome him (Rev 3:20) and heal.
We read about the Leper doing just that, welcoming the divine invitation. He came to Jesus
“and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will [wish], you can make me clean" (Mt 8:2).
He didn’t just come as a spectator. He came with a goal. He wasn’t a fan. He was a believer. More importantly, he came with a reverent heart. He knelt—a gesture of reverence and prayer—and prayed for his need. He may not have had a deepened faith that knows that God's love and compassionate heart is already pursuing the wounded. But he sure had sufficient faith as to hang on to the belief in the power of Christ to save and heal him.
By saying to the Lord, "If you wish," he was confessing, he believed the Lord had the power to do so. This was an incredible faith since, at the time, nobody (except the Blessed Virgin Mary) knew Jesus was God.
"If you wish" is also a confession of the man's hopelessness before this sickness that has ostracized him from the community. It was a sort of tone of "you are my last resort for healing."
Finally, "if you wish" was the man's disposition to accept the will of God. It was a tacit acknowledgment that he was not pursuing the Lord because of the miracles he may expect but seeking the Lord's will. "If you wish" could also be seen as "thy will be done."
We know the Lord cares. We know the Lord wishes, wills that all be saved and come to him. We know the Lord does not lose anyone who has come to him.
Hence, Jesus did the miracle with an additional flavor of a touch of his hands. He didn't need to do so, because if he spoke his word on the sick, they heal. But he stretches out his hand and touches the infected spots. By so doing, he identifies with the man's brokenness, renewing his mortal body with his divine body. The meeting of our weak body by the Divine life is the healing that endures.
Do you need healing from your wounds of sin? Are you in need of healing from other pains of the body and soul? Is your loved one or family in need of such? Today's encounter is a witness to the healing power of grace.
The Lord is already waiting. He is waiting at your corner and in your home. He wishes to speak to you in Scripture and to feed and encounter you in a more profound way at the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The Lord is with us and within us. He is present so you can be healed. Speak to him and heal. “By his wounds, we are healed” (Is 53:5).
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[Friday Ordinary Time Week 12: 2 Kings 25:1-12; Matthew 8:1-4]
Grace to you!
There is wisdom in how the Catholic Church, plus some Protestant Churches, ranks the feast days of the saints in the Breviary, or Missal (The Church's liturgical book with the prayers and instructions for the Mass). In their order of priority are the feasts that relate to the Trinity—the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. Next is the feast of the dedication of the Church. Following it is the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of the Lord, who is the first among the saints. Then comes the feast of the apostles. After the apostles is the feast of the martyrs. Then come others such as the common of pastors, doctors of the Church, and the virgins. Also are the celebration of the men saints, women saints, religious, saints noted for works of mercy and saints for educators, in that order.
Observe that the feast of the martyrs comes right after the feast of the apostles. There is wisdom in the Church's beatification and canonization processes—that is, the process of declaring someone a saint). Also, did you know that no extraordinary miracles or "first-class" miracles are required to canonize somebody who was a martyr for the faith in Christ? Martyrdom is, in itself, the ultimate act of heroic virtue. It tells us how the Church looks at the sacrifice of martyrdom.
I tell you, the great courage of Michael Nnadi, speaks volumes of the audacity of faith. He never ceased bearing witness to Christ amidst the tortuous of the evil kidnappers. He was a seminarian from the Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria. On January 9, 2020, he was kidnapped alongside three other seminarians in the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna, in the Northern part of Nigeria. One of the abductors' confessions that Michael lost his life for courageously bearing witness to Christ is a testimony of sainthood and courage of faith. No miracle supersedes that of giving one's life for faith in Christ. Martyrdom beats all sacrifices.
Hence, the worst sin a believer could commit is apostasy, which could be incremental or definitive. It means renouncing or abandoning one's faith in God. Often, this is more evident when it is done publicly. If one can't hold on to the core of one's faith in the Risen Lord when small trials come, how would one do so when there is an immediate danger to one's life?
One of the New Testament synonyms for witnessing is martyrdom. Thus, just like martyrdom is the highest form of the witness, the lowest point of non-witness to Christ is apostasy. Therefore, nothing is worth falling into the temptation of this low point of spiritual darkness. Nothing!
To publicly reject the Lord or rather to deny him is to shut the door to the way, the truth, and the life. It is to place oneself on the wrong side of the aisle of divine mercy and justice. It is choosing Sheol, a metaphor for a horrible state in life and eternity.
Are there difficulties and trials that are daring our faith, or causing us to reconsider our faith in the Risen Lord? The Lord encourages us to be courageous. "Fear not... so, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven" (Mt 10:31-33).
The above may sound harsh to some. Some may say it is old theology and irrelevant in the context of today. Yet beneath it lies the true courage of witnessing to Christ. If a compromising spirit relating to the truth and identity of Jesus Christ is ideal, I believe the Lord would have schooled the disciples on the art of doing so. He would have mentored them on the best tactics of diplomacy to compromise and better negotiation tactics to avoid persecution. He would have told them how faith in him depends on situations and not something for which one has to die. He would have advised them to allow the context and the world they live in to determine what aspect of his teachings they should accept or not accept. But he didn't.
In matters of the choice between what is evil and what is good and righteous, the Lord doesn't propose a middle ground. There is no need to negotiate with the devil because there is no goodwill at the negotiation table of the demonic. It is all deceit for the devil is true to its character—Father of Lies (Jn 8:44).
There is something about the Good News of salvation, which Jesus is and brings to us, that stares us in the face. It is overtly daring. First were the excellent teaching and demonstration of Jesus' identity during the Sermon on the Mount. There the Lord proposes everything other than the conventional. Here again (in Mt 10:26-33), the Lord encourages believers to have the courage of witnessing even when it entails martyrdom. The Letter to the Hebrews describes such a commitment to the Gospel as holding on "up to the point of shedding your blood" (Heb 12:4).
Practically, being on the side of God wasn't easy for Jeremiah in the Old Testament. It won him more enemies than friends. He was martyred for it too. It wasn't easy for any of the pioneers of the faith, the early Church. How do we expect that ours will be a cozy laurel in a comfy world? To think so is to daydream.
Scary truth? Certainly. But it needs to be told.
The Lord is frank, as well as encouraging us to take the bull by the horn. The kingdom of God isn't semblance with the ways of the world. Otherwise, it wouldn't be prepped on the wood of the cross. Instead, it is won because the saving blood dropped from that wood of the cross for many. Courage!
Those ways or things that would dull Christ in our life don't deserve our affection. If we stand up to them and reflect Christ, we will share in the glory of the martyrs. We receive glory because in little things, those small temptations and trials, and subtle lures against holiness, we fought like spiritual marines, armed in faith and blessed by grace. Crown is assured in Christ.
I am praying for the grace of courage and endurance in moments of trials. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time A: Jer 20:10-13; Rom 5:12-15; Mt 10:26-33]
Grace to you!
On this special day, as we celebrate the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I offer a prayerful reflection, a devotion to this Heart that has loved us so tenderly with unimaginable love, and in whom we are sanctified.
A prayerful contemplation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus draws one to see inside that Heart what all hearts desire—pure and immeasurable love. As the center of affection and life, the Heart reminds me of the great tenderness of Divine Love.
When I look at the Sacred Heart of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I hear the words: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). As I am drawn to feel the pulse and hear the heartbeat of my Blessed Savior, I hear those invitations of hope and blessings: "Come to the river of life for from my Heart shall flow streams of living water for you" (Jn 7:38). Come and find peace for your Heart. I encounter love as never has been and never will be except in the Sacred Heart of Our Savior.
A feast day like this means so much for the Church. It is very special to me, and I hope to many too. It's a special day for the sanctification of priests.
On this day, the Church reminds us of the everlasting love of God for which the Son came so that sons and daughters of his may have life in abundance. It is a reminder that the name of God is love, the love from eternity in the Trinity of love, the love Incarnate. It is the love which binds us in the Lover and for which we are reborn in him, Christ, who loves us.
A day like this reminds me that despite the world’s lack of love, there stands beyond the cage of worldly hate and unkindness, enduring agape (love) trumping them all. Sacred Heart of Jesus also reminds me: "No greater love shall a man have than to lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15:13)." To that love, therefore, are invited all who feel unloved. The invitation is for everyone thirsty for true love and peace.
Today the Church, in a particular way, prays for the sanctification of priests. What a symbolic way to show that the Heart of the priest should equally be aligned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We ask the Sacred Heart of Jesus to tuck his priests, the priests of the Holy Mother Church, in His Most Sacred Heart, so we continue to choose what is true, good, and beautiful. May this Heart strengthen the will of priests who are struggling with addiction and all sorts of attachments that do not glorify God, and grant them healing.
Today as we pray for priestly sanctity, we also pray in reparation for those priests whose life and actions make the love of Christ dull in the hearts of others. Among them include those who wounded the Heart of the Church by their actions against the vulnerable. Also are those who fail to show Christ’s love in a wounded world.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus mold our hearts in the likeness of His. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Deut 7:6-11; 1Jn 4:7-16; Mt 11:24-30]
Image by Gera Juarez © Cathopic
Grace to you and Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)!
What is the most precious gift that Jesus Christ gave to his Church? I do not mean the gift of the Holy Spirit. I have in mind things that we can see and touch.
Many people will say, "The Bible." The Bible is indeed an invaluable gift of God. But Jesus did not write a Bible for the Church, nor did he commission his disciples to write one.
The most precious gift that Jesus gave to his Church is that which we celebrate today, the gift of his body and blood in the form of bread and wine.
Let’s see how Saint Paul captures the handing on of this gift to the Church. I hope it would help us to appreciate what great blessing we have received from the Lord himself.
Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians is crucial for Bible historians. It is because it is one of the earliest recorded testimony of the Lord's saving grace. We know that the Lord's words are recorded in the Gospels and other New Testament books. But Saint Paul's letters were written between twenty to fifty years before the Gospels and other New Testaments books were written.
Saint Paul tells the people of Corinth that the tradition of celebrating the Lord's supper is one that goes back to Jesus Christ himself. “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” (1 Cor 11:23).
Paul did not personally receive this tradition from the Lord since he was not one of the twelve apostles present at the Last Supper. He received the tradition from those who were Christians before him, after his conversion to the Christian faith. Now he is handing on to the Corinthians the same tradition that he received. The only difference was that, up until the time Saint Paul wrote these words, the tradition was passed on by word of mouth. It was not documented as Scripture. The content was the action, the celebration of what the Lord told the disciples to do in his memorial. It was the Eucharist. Paul was the first to put it down in writing because he could not be physically present with the Corinthians.
What is the tradition that Paul received and is now passing on? It is this: “That the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me" (1 Cor 11:23-25).
The night he was betrayed was the last night that the Lord spent with his disciples before his passion and death. In those days, people did not write their wills. They spoke their wills, usually as their last words before death. What do these words of 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 tell us when we read them as the last words, the Will or Testament of the Blessed Lord Jesus?
First, the Lord’s Will focused on what the Lord did. He gave his body to his followers as food and his blood as drink. Remember, this was taking place in the context of the Passover meal. So, the Lord was presenting himself as the Passover lamb.
As we read from Exodus 12:1-14, the Israelites in Egypt were to eat the flesh of the Passover lamb to identify themselves as God's people. They mark their doorposts with its blood as a sign to keep away the angel of death. Every Israelite was supposed to participate in this ritual every year to renew their identity as God's people who enjoy God's special blessings and protection. Seen in this light and read in the Christian spirit, the Eucharist becomes for us the grace in which we come to renew ourselves as God's new people in Christ.
Second, the Will speaks of a "new covenant." In the Old Testament, the people of God came into being through a covenant. By speaking of a new covenant, Saint Paul says that a new people of God has come into being. In the sacrifice that seals the covenant, Christ is both the priest and the lamb of sacrifice. We are just the beneficiaries of life-giving grace. That is why the name "Eucharist" ("thanksgiving") is so appropriate and the best of the covenant. Jesus Christ did it all for us. All we have to do is receive him and give thanks. Here we have the embodiment and overflow of grace we do not deserve.
Finally, the will of Jesus invites us to the banquet. “Do this in remembrance of me … Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me" (verses 24-25. See also Lk 22:19-20). Friend, this is the last thing the Blessed Lord asked us to do before he died. He asked to keep doing it as often as possible until his return in glory (verse 26). He invites us to have communion with him and continue in this communion. We call the Eucharist Holy Communion for good reasons.
Why then is it that many of us take the Eucharist so lightly? We seem to be so ready to skip attending the Eucharistic celebration at the slightest excuse: "I just didn't feel like going." "We were on vacation..." "I don't like Pastor John's preaching." "I seem to get more from the TV service." "Bible study and preaching are sufficient for me." On and on with numerous excuses.
No amount of television programming can take the place of Holy Communion. No amount of sermons or Bible sharing can replace the Eucharist. Covid-19 has made it worse. We pray for a time to return to full physical worship and receive the best gift ever—the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
Today, let us ask our Lord Jesus to increase our faith in the sacrament of his body and blood, which he gives us in the form of bread and wine. Amen. In gratitude to God for giving us his life, may we be channels of divine favors for others in sacrifice. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Grace to you!
Who is Christ in my life?
The first disciples of the Lord had to answer this question. They had to have that alone-moment of spiritual self-examination. Such a question has to be addressed when we seem alone or lonely in our spiritual struggles. It is fitting when we feel like aliens or outsiders in the world in which we live. They are apt in moments of doubt.
Some see Christ when their problems are solved, and miracles occur. Some embrace him when their social needs are met. Some people believe in him only when the going is rosy and fun. Or rather, some believe and teach that it is only a prosperous life that is proof that Christ is Lord in one's life.
If Christ is the messiah only when he comes and saves us from all our social and health needs, what kind of Christ is he? If he is the messiah because he supplies my material needs, what kind of saving favor is that to my faith?
Many people did not accept Jesus as Christ during his earthly life. One of the main reasons is because he wasn’t a militant liberator, the kind they had expected. His followers weren’t the sort that could engage in the military campaign either. They and their leader, Jesus, were no good fit for the kind of brand the people wanted for a messiah. For short, he wasn't a hot-seller brand. More, he was a PR disaster.
Yet the Lord would avoid such distractions. He departs from situations in which his Lordship is acknowledged only through the crowns. He isn't abiding forever when only his glory is embraced, and the way to that glory is rejected.
Saint Peter made an incredible profession regarding the Christ at Caesarea Philippi, a little city close to the sources of the River Jordan. “You are the Christ” (Mk 8:30). The Gospel of Matthew gives further details of this Peter’s profession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). The Lord follows this profession with the most explicit teaching regarding his crucifixion (Mk 8:31-33), showing the connection between the two.
I believe that unless Christ is Lord in our sufferings, he can't be Lord in our glories. It is from the friendship mentored through our down moments that we reap rich fruits on sunny days. Enduring glory exists because it emerges from the depths of suffering. In such is a pleasant surprise, a delightful breakthrough.
So, when next your suffering seems unusually deep, remember, Christ is with you right there. When people push you around for a quick fix, remember that the Lord’s ways aren’t a magical input and output of favored results.
Continue to profess Christ as Lord. Your glory as a believer is rooted in that profession. It is in holding on to the Lord amidst all odds. He is the perfecter of your faith (Heb 12:2). Such is the profession of faith that emerges in spiritual leadership. Such is aligned to Saint Peter’s at Caesarea Philippi.
Do not be fixated on who people say Christ is. Know it to have a robust response to them. But invest more on whom you say he is. It is in this personal discovery that your faith grows stronger. It is the most precise way of a vigorous response to doubters.
I am praying for the grace of a more deep-rooted, personal encounter with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
[Thursday Week 6: Jas 2:1-9; Mk 8:27-33]
Photo source: Rodrigo from Cathopic.com
Grace to you!
A man who had a past of many terrible indiscretions approached a Catholic Priest. He carried a load of guilt—that monstrous weight burdening the heart of people when they do wrong things. But, it is also the power of the voice of God within the person, indicating that something isn't right.
Guilt, within the conscience, the voice of God, the voice of morality and truth, doesn't go away unless the reason for its burden is lifted or resolved. It is like that yellow check-light in your car dashboard, which indicates something isn't right with your car engine. It could be you need to change your oil, or your catalytic converter is getting very bad. If you ignore it, what happens over a long period? It changes to red, indicating a danger zone. Finally, your car is grounded. It is comparable to what guilt does in our soul.
So, this man had guilt. He had tried everything to take it away but to no avail. He tried clinical counseling, drugs, socialization, and increased exercises. He also experimented with many things he thought would make him feel high and quiet the guilt but to no avail. After many years of dealing with guilt, he was spiritually bent over like the person with paralysis in the gospel of Mark 2:1-12. His spirit was crushed. His body was weakened by depression following the unsuccessful attempts to take care of his guilt. Finally, he gave up. He wanted to see a religious person. He wanted to try this so-called "Jesus experience."
Thank God a priest was available when he came to the parish. The priest told him right away; you do not need days of counseling; you need Jesus. He will take away your guilt. He will heal you.
"That's it?" he asked. "Yes," replied the priest. "It's that simple."
The man shares the memories of his past, now as a victor. He is healed of that guilt and a life of evil. He is a person who found a treasure in the new life in Christ. He came to realize that Jesus Christ indeed forgives sins.
For the Jews during the time of Jesus, and even now, only God can forgive sins. We Christians believe that too. So, they were surprised to hear Jesus speak to a person with paralysis, "Your sins are forgiven." Who is this man who claims to forgive sins? If Jesus could show he can, then he is God. The question was about the identity of Jesus. Is he truly God who can forgive sins?
Yes, he is. To prove to doubters, he can forgive sins, and therefore that he is God, he spoke to the person with paralysis, "Rise, take up your pallet and go home" (Mk 2:11). Immediately, in the sight of everyone, the man got up and picked up his sleeping mat and went home. For the skeptics, the one who can dramatically do such a miracle must be God as well. So, Jesus, in the most dramatic way, showed he is God who forgives sins.
There you have it. Burdened by sin and guilt? Run to the Lord Jesus Christ. He forgives. He heals.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday Week 1: 1 Sm 8:4-7; MK 2:1-12]
Grace to you!
How do we know the mind or the counsel of God? This question, adapted from the Book of Wisdom 9:13, seems too complex. A little personalization could help. How do I know the mind of God in my life or in a given circumstance in my life?
God is full of surprises. For the most part, God's ways are not our ways. Many times, God's ways make us wonder, if not ponder. The mystery of God is beyond human imagination. It is, however, the joy of the puzzle and what makes discernment a thrill and a paradox.
In 1521, when the master of discernment, Saint Ignatius, was drawn to God after multiple leg surgeries (no thanks to cannonball injuries at the battlefront), he didn't know God was tapping on his love for reading to draw him to the discovery of what brings true peace.
Ignatius, the strong, ego-driven and perfectionist soldier, had a deep love for reading romantic novels. He read all the available books, until he had nothing else to read. He struggled over his lack of books—and a bleak future as a soldier—until he resigned himself to what was available.
Strangely, the available became the stepping-stone for the needed. Sometimes, God uses what is available to lead us to what is needed. God works in strange ways.
Residing at his father’s castle as he was recovering from surgery, Ignatius’ craving for books led him to ask for any other available books. Whatever genre didn’t matter to him anymore. The only available books were Christian spiritual literatures and the lives of the saints. Prominent among them was De Vita Christi (Life of Christ) by Ludolph Saxony. Little did the young soldier know God was using the books to show him the way to peace.
Saint Ignatius’ writings on discernment grew out of many years of grappling this wonderful spiritual experience of God leading to divine will through unexpected circumstances in his live.
From many of the great spiritual writers I have read or known, there seems to be a correlation between detachment from “clutter” or renunciation of those things that becloud our spirit and discovering the will of God in our lives. The things that becloud our spirit or the clutters are those things that make us think more of ourselves or more of what we possess. They could also be unforgiving heart and bitter mind that require letting go. In short, they are those things that are in our way to holy path, blurring our vision to transcendence.
The Savior Jesus Christ offers detachment and renunciation as a process of discovery—discovery of the mind of God, of true discipleship and freedom (Lk 14:25-33). His model is much more radical. It requires single-mindedness in terms of God. It’s in such we can discover the depth of God’s will for us and find enduring blessing.
Mother [Saint] Teresa of Calcutta, for instance, attained the finest of God-discovery and freedom through a process of renunciation. We celebrate her as an incalculable testimony of a woman whose life speaks volumes of discovering peace by finding God in our day-to-day activities, even along the ghetto's paths.
Pope Francis’ mention of Mother Teresa during the homily at the Mass of her canonization (4 September 2016) as a true model is wonderful: “Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded…. I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life to the whole world of volunteers: may she be your model of holiness!”
Perhaps, if you haven't found God's will in your life, how about start by renouncing those things—you know them—that clutter your discerning mind? Getting rid of those things that deprive you of peace and spiritual serenity would be a good start.
The light of God’s face shines on us. God speaks, but we have to reduce, if not remove, the noises, and get rid of the clutter to listen.
I pray you find that for which your soul longs. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
23rd Sunday C
[23rd Sunday of the Ordinary Time C: Wis 9:13-18; Phmn 9-10, 12-17; Lk 14:25-33]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.