Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Into the Deep: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 138:1-5, 7-8
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.

In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the  divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, taste His Word on our tongue.

Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist— as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.

Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy….” (see also Revelation 4:8).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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The world teaches that in order to be happy in life you need to wealthy, powerful, honoured and have all the pleasures of the flesh it has to offer.  Jesus our Lord teaches us otherwise.

You child are a Saint in the making. As you grow deeper and deeper in your relationship; And love for God our Father, you will see that you want only one thing. That is to know and do His Will.  The tiniest offence you commit against Him weights heavily on your heart. You long for communion with Him, in prayer and the Eucharist. For Your desire to be with the Lord Your God in His Kingdom.

O merciful and loving Jesus. You who took pity on us your sheep when you saw we had no shepherd. Be now my shepherd and guide. Lead me home to You. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 3:4-13

King Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the greatest of the high places – Solomon offered a thousand holocausts on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared in a dream to Solomon during the night. God said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘You showed great kindness to your servant David, my father, when he lived his life before you in faithfulness and justice and integrity of heart; you have continued this great kindness to him by allowing a son of his to sit on his throne today. Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you. What you have not asked I shall give you too: such riches and glory as no other king ever had.’

Gospel
Mark 6:30-34

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 5, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Where are you now in your relationship with God our Father who loves you? Do you go for Mass because you like listening to the word and the homily? But go back to your sinful pleasures and life? Get easily angry with everyone and anyone? Make empty, vain promises and are later trapped by them?

Know that you are a child of God. You have been anointed and sealed with grace at your baptism.  You are destined to lead a great and Holy life pleasing to God.  You have power and grace to do great, wonderful things for God and your brethren. These however have to be unlocked through the depth of your faith and relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord.

O Lord my God, let my every word and action be a loving prayer to You. I want to dive into the unending depths of Your love. To be one with You, now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ecclesiasticus 47:2-13

As the fat is set apart from the communion sacrifice, so David was chosen out of all the sons of Israel.

He played with lions as though with kids, and with bears as though with lambs of the flock.

While still a boy, did he not slay the giant, and relieve the people of their shame, by putting out a hand to sling a stone which brought down the arrogance of Goliath?

For he called on the Lord Most High, who gave strength to his right arm to put a mighty warrior to death, and lift up the horn of his people.

Hence they gave him credit for ten thousand, and praised him while they blessed the Lord, by offering him a crown of glory; for he massacred enemies on every side, he annihilated his foes the Philistines, and crushed their horn to this very day.

In all his activities he gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High, in words of glory; he put all his heart into his songs out of love for his Maker.

He placed harps before the altar to make the singing sweeter with their music; he gave the feasts their splendour, the festivals their solemn pomp, causing the Lord’s holy name to be praised and the sanctuary to resound from dawn.

The Lord took away his sins,
and exalted his horn for ever;
he gave him a royal covenant, and a glorious throne in Israel.

Gospel
Mark 6:14-29

King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well-known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah’; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.’

  Now it was this same Herod who had 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: February 4, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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First we must ask ourselves do we need someone to take charge of our lives? Is the Lord our God in charge? Are we on our own living ordered lives? Are we loving towards our spouse, children, Father, Mother, friends and our community? Are we merciful and charitable?

For Jesus to rule in our hearts, minds and soul as He came to do. We must allow Him to by inviting Him into our lives. To be prepared to listen to His call to love our Heavenly Father with all our heart, our, mind and our soul. To Love one another as He loved us.

To enable us to love the way He does, He gives us of Himself. He gives us His power of healing, His peace, mercy and love. And so we must go in faith to share the message of God with all. To bring healing and liberation to those living in darkness. To stay close and journey with them so as to bring them into the community of our Lord Jesus Christ. So that one day we may all partake of the Heavenly Feast that awaits us. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 2:1-4,10-12

As David’s life drew to its close he laid this charge on his son Solomon, ‘I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of the Lord your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, as it stands written in the Law of Moses, that so you may be successful in all you do and undertake, so that the Lord may fulfil the promise he made me, “If your sons are careful how they behave, and walk loyally before me with all their heart and soul, you shall never lack for a man on the throne of Israel.”’

  So David slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David. David’s reign over Israel lasted forty years: he reigned in Hebron for seven years, and in Jerusalem for thirty-three.

  Solomon was seated upon the throne of David, and his sovereignty was securely established.

Gospel
Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 3, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Is it good enough to say sorry after breaking someone’s flowerpot? Is it not right to replace the pot and repot the flowers?  So it is like with sin, it is not good enough to say sorry but to work hard at not committing it again and doing penance.  Penance is the true act of contrition.

We may not always understand the ways of our Lord. But we can trust that whatever is done is for our greater good. It is the Lord God alone that decides when or where a miracle is worked. And while it depends not on our faith, it is the faithful that pleases Him to do so.

To be faithful is to turn away from sin. So that we recognise the good of our Lord and see His hand in all things that is good. Too see Him in the persons He sends to us.

O Lord let not my sins blind me to You.  Take them away, I detest them. For I long to be with You always. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 24:2,8-17

King David said to Joab and to the senior army officers who were with him, ‘Now go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and take a census of the people; I wish to know the size of the population.’ Having covered the whole country, they returned to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab gave the king the figures for the census of the people; Israel numbered eight hundred thousand armed men capable of drawing sword, and Judah five hundred thousand men.

  But afterwards David’s heart misgave him for having taken a census of the people. ‘I have committed a grave sin’ David said to the Lord. ‘But now, Lord, I beg you to forgive your servant for this fault. I have been very foolish.’ But when David got up next morning, the following message had come from the Lord to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, ‘Go and say to David, “the Lord says this: I offer you three things; choose one of them for me to do to you.”’

  So Gad went to David and told him. ‘Are three years of famine to come on you in your country’ he said ‘or will you flee for three months before your pursuing enemy, or would you rather have three days’ pestilence in your country? Now think, and decide how I am to answer him who sends me.’ David said to Gad, This is a hard choice. But let us rather fall into the power of the Lord, since his mercy is great, and not into the power of men.’ So David chose pestilence.

  It was the time of the wheat harvest. The Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning till the time appointed and plague ravaged the people, and from Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of them died. The angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, but the Lord thought better of this evil, and he said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough! Now withdraw your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was beside the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. “When David saw the angel who was ravaging the people, he spoke to the Lord. ‘It was I who sinned;’ he said ‘I who did this wicked thing. But these, this flock, what have they done? Let your hand lie heavy on me then, and on my family.’

Gospel
Mark 6:1-6

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 2, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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God’s loving plan of salvation was that His only Begotten Son would be sent to us. So that we might be saved from the terrible bondage of sin. So that our Lord and God may walk amongst us and unite us with Him. Glory to You O Lord our God!

Today let us recall that we too  were consecrated to our Heavenly Father even before our birth. (Jer 1:5) Are we ourselves ready to be presented to the Lord our God?  Have we led righteous, faithful lives so that like Simeon and Anna we too might gaze upon the face of our Lord?

Jesus You are the one true light of the World. May Your light shine deeply into our hearts and drive all darkness away. And like our Master may we become beacons for the rest of our brethren living in the world. Amen

First reading
Malachi 3:1-4

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

Second reading
Hebrews 2:14-18

Since all the children share the same blood and flesh, Christ too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could take away all the power of the devil, who had power over death, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself descent from Abraham. It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers so that he could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God’s religion, able to atone for human sins. That is, because he has himself been through temptation he is able 
help others who are tempted.

Gospel
Luke 2:22-40

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

  Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

  There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

  When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.

DISCIPL ESSENTIALS

Posted: February 1, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

It’s uncanny that while not directly linked in meaning the word disciple has the same seven letters as the word discipline. And we all know that a disciple needs to be disciplined.

To move FWD as a disciple we need to be in control of our bodies and mind. Hence we need to FAST, read the WORD and DWELL on the Word. Needless to say a disciple prays always and must do so often in the Quiet and ‘mouth to mouth’ with God….. ADORATIO