Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: August 29, 2015 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Pure Religion:
Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8
Psalm 15:2-5
James 1:17-18,21-22,27
Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Today’s Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light, as one having authority to interpret God’s law.

Jesus’ quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they’ve turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.

The gift of the law, which we hear God giving to Israel in today’s First Reading, is fulfilled in Jesus’ gospel, which shows us the law’s true meaning and purpose (seeMatthew 5:17).

The law, fulfilled in the gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord’s presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us — the kingdom of God, eternal life.

Israel, by its observance of the law, was meant to be an example to surrounding nations. As James tells us in today’s Epistle, the gospel was given to us that we might have new birth by the Word of truth. By living the Word we’ve received, we’re to be examples of God’s wisdom to those around us, the “first fruits” of a new humanity.

This means we must be “doers” of the Word, not merely hearers of it. As we sing in today’s Psalm and hear again in today’s Epistle, we must work for justice, taking care of our brothers and sisters, and living by the truth God has placed in our hearts.

The Word given to us is a perfect gift. We should not add to it through vain and needless devotions. Nor should we subtract from it by picking and choosing which of His laws to honor.

“Hear me,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel. Today, we’re called to examine our relationship to God’s law.

Is the practice of our religion a pure listening to Jesus, a humble welcoming of the Word planted in us and able to save our souls? Or are we only paying lip-service?

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 29, 2015 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Have I let my pride get the better of me? Have I made rash statements or judgements as a result? Has pride blinded me? To Love? Justice? Charity? Mercy?  Is my soul worth the price of Pride?

To live a Holy life as we are all called to do is an ongoing pursuit. We have to strive and work at it.  To learn and dwell on and in our faith which is ocean deep and then deeper. No one who is learning can ever say he has learnt it all. No true knowledge of our faith is ever received without application. And all of it requires a constant emptying and dying to one’s self otherwise it is easily lost to temptations.

Lord Jesus, You are the source of all love and life. Let my love increase for my brethren as it does for You. May I always remain a beacon of Your love. Amen

First reading
1 Thessalonians 4:9-11

As for loving our brothers, there is no need for anyone to write to you about that, since you have learnt from God yourselves to love one another, and in fact this is what you are doing with all the brothers throughout the whole of Macedonia. However, we do urge you, brothers, to go on making even greater progress and to make a point of living quietly, attending to your own business and earning your living, just as we told you to.

Gospel
Mark 6:17-29

Herod sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.
  An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist’ The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 28, 2015 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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When we live for ourselves we end up becoming selfish even worldly. Some become complacent and indifferent to others. While others seek enjoyment and personal gratification.  The light of Christ in us is dimmed and eventually will be snuffed out.

But when we choose to live for the Lord and for others our light shines ever so brightly.  For the more we give of ourselves away the more we receive from our Lord. His love, peace and joy comes to us in abundance. The more of it we share and give away, the more in comes back to us.

Let us pray…..

Indeed, how good is the LORD, eternal his merciful love. He is faithful from age to age.

Lord Jesus, serving You and my brethren comes with sacrifice and the carrying of my cross, but I gladly do it over and over. For it allows me to bask in Your love, peace and joy. Now and forever. Amen

St Augustine pray for us…

First reading
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.
  What God wants is for you all to be holy. He wants you to keep away from fornication, and each one of you to know how to use the body that belongs to him in a way that is holy and honourable, not giving way to selfish lust like the pagans who do not know God. He wants nobody at all ever to sin by taking advantage of a brother in these matters; the Lord always punishes sins of that sort, as we told you before and assured you. We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral; in other words, anyone who objects is not objecting to a human authority, but to God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Gospel Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.” At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 27, 2015 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Oh how wonderful it is to be part of a community of disciples striving to follow our Lord Jesus Christ! For we can enliven one another with testimonies of how the Lord has been good and merciful to us. We can help one another stay on track, on the narrow path. We can encourage and lift one another up in moments of weakness and despair.  Most of all we have one other to remind us to stay awake! As we joyfully serve one another while awaiting eagerly our loving Master’s return.

Let us pray….

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with songs of praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name.

Lord Jesus I thank You this day for giving me faith and Your undying love. But most of all I want to thank You this day for giving me my Church Family!  I am never alone anywhere in the World for I not only have You by my side; I have the communion of Saints here on earth as in Heaven. Glory to You O Lord. Amen

First reading
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13

Brothers, your faith has been a great comfort to us in the middle of our own troubles and sorrows; now we can breathe again, as you are still holding firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you, for all the joy we feel before our God on your account? We are earnestly praying night and day to be able to see you face to face again and make up any shortcomings in your faith.
  May God our Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, make it easy for us to come to you. May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

Gospel
Matthew 24:42-51

Jesus said to his disciples:
  ‘Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
  ‘What sort of servant, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time? ‘Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the dishonest servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time,” and sets about beating his fellow servants and eating and drinking with drunkards, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 26, 2015 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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What kind of disciples are we?

Are we disciples who are spiritually dead? Do we kill the spirit of others with harsh critiques? Do we make demands of others we ourselves are unable to comply? Do we expect perfection in others when we ourselves are imperfect?

Or are we life giving disciples? In every aspect of our lives be in in word or deed.  Are we witnesses to life found in Christ? Do we bring forth fruits of our labour through our sacrifices for our brethren and God our Father? Are we worthy guardians of His children? Are we worthy children ourselves?

Let us pray….

Know that he, the LORD, is God. He made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

You O Lord are the source of life! Grant that I may always be in communion with You.  And through Your sanctifying, life giving grace I will serve Your flock bringing forth; Your peace, love and joy. Amen

First reading
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

Let me remind you, brothers, how hard we used to work, slaving night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you while we were proclaiming God’s Good News to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, that our treatment of you, since you became believers, has been impeccably right and fair. You can remember how we treated every one of you as a father treats his children, teaching you what was right, encouraging you and appealing to you to live a life worthy of God, who is calling you to share the glory of his kingdom. Another reason why we constantly thank God for you is that as soon as you heard the message that we brought you as God’s message, you accepted it for what it really is, God’s message and not some human thinking; and it is still a living power among you who believe it.

Gospel
Matthew 23:27-32

Jesus said, ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of corruption. In the same way you appear to people from the outside like good honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
  ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who build the sepulchres of the prophets and decorate the tombs of holy men, saying, “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our fathers’ day.” So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets! Very well then, finish off the work that your fathers began.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 25, 2015 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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To Love God is to want to always serve Him by serving His flock well. To Love and nurture but to correct firmly as well. Even in the midst of great opposition.  It is not only to share the good news of the resurrection in which we now have hope to enter into new life with God our Father. But to guide and lead one another into His Kingdom.
Lord Jesus I place all my faith and trust in You. Guide me as I lead Your flock with Your justice, mercy and love. Amen

First reading
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

You know yourselves, my brothers, that our visit to you has not proved ineffectual.
  We had, as you know, been given rough treatment and been grossly insulted at Philippi, and it was our God who gave us the courage to proclaim his Good News to you in the face of great opposition. We have not taken to preaching because we are deluded, or immoral, or trying to deceive anyone; it was God who decided that we were fit to be entrusted with the Good News, and when we are speaking, we are not trying to please men but God, who can read our inmost thoughts. You know very well, and we can swear it before God, that never at any time have our speeches been simply flattery, or a cover for trying to get money; nor have we ever looked for any special honour from men, either from you or anybody else, when we could have imposed ourselves on you with full weight, as apostles of Christ.
  Instead, we were unassuming. Like a mother feeding and looking after her own children, we felt so devoted and protective towards you, and had come to love you so much, that we were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well.

Gospel
Matthew 23:23-26

Jesus said, ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who pay your tithe of mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law – justice, mercy, good faith! These you should have practised, without neglecting the others. You blind guides! Straining out gnats and swallowing camels!
  ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who clean the outside of cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance. Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 24, 2015 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Be Holy as Your Heavenly Father is Holy says our Lord.

When we strive for holiness, no form of deceit can enter our hearts. We speak the truth always and soon we will recognise the Lord in our midst.  For we have entered into a deep personal relationship with Him.  And He will always lead us to greater heights.

Lord Jesus You know the hearts of all of us for nothing lies hidden from You. Help us to remain steadfast in faith and in Your love throughout this day.  With the start of the week let us reflect the joy of You Risen from the dead conquering death for us all.  Let us live our new life in You,  joyful that we too will be brought to the glory of Your resurrection. Amen

(Saint Bartholomew, Apostle – Feast)

First reading
Apocalypse 21:9-14

The angel came to speak to me, and said, ‘Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married.’ In the spirit, he took me to the top of an enormous high mountain and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. The walls of it were of a great height, and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Gospel
John 1:45-51

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’