On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 20, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Yesterday I was present at a youth conference as part of a prayer team. What struck me is that the challenges, difficulties many of them face such as fidelity to Christ, Holiness, having a prayer life and not having a deep meaningful our Lord; echoes that of their parents.

The Lord prompted me to tell one youth, “I know that you love me, but do you realise just how much I truly love you?” “If you did will you not naturally want to spend more time with me?” “Would you still feel inadequate and lost?” And to another do not look to perfection in others. Instead strive to grow in your own Holiness by deepening your relationship with Jesus who loves you dearly. Your constant anger and swearing comes about because you do not know Jesus intimately, desire to know Him and be changed by His love. Many needed to be reminded of Christ’s love for them, to encounter Him more profoundly through His Word and to pray as children of God Father who loves them ever so dearly.

Just like our Youths we adults need to truly contemplate on the great love of God our Father has for all of us. Jesus His Son is the light, the truth and the way for us into His loving embrace. We are reminded today through the Lord’s prayer of how the Holy Spirit we received is the spirit of sons and daughters for which makes us cry out ‘Abba Father! Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 11:1-11
I was careful not to be a burden to you in any way

I only wish you were able to tolerate a little foolishness from me. But of course: you are tolerant towards me. You see, the jealousy that I feel for you is God’s own jealousy: I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband. But the serpent, with his cunning, seduced Eve, and I am afraid that in the same way your ideas may get corrupted and turned away from simple devotion to Christ. Because any new-comer has only to proclaim a new Jesus, different from the one that we preached, or you have only to receive a new spirit, different from the one you have already received, or a new gospel, different from the one you have already accepted – and you welcome it with open arms. As far as I can tell, these arch-apostles have nothing more than I have. I may not be a polished speechmaker, but as for knowledge, that is a different matter; surely we have made this plain, speaking on every subject in front of all of you.
Or was I wrong, lowering myself so as to lift you high, by preaching the gospel of God to you and taking no fee for it? I was robbing other churches, living on them so that I could serve you. When I was with you and ran out of money, I was no burden to anyone; the brothers who came from Macedonia provided me with everything I wanted. I was very careful, and I always shall be, not to be a burden to you in any way, and by Christ’s truth in me, this cause of boasting will never be taken from me in the regions of Achaia. Would I do that if I did not love you? God knows I do.

Gospel

Matthew 6:7-15
How to pray

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.

‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 19, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Foundational practices of our faith enshrined in our love for the Lord our God are prayer, fasting and almsgiving all in humble servitude.

What good are all our acts of faith, love and charity if done for want of love from men, women and children? If all are done yet there is no growth in depth of love for God and of brethren? Giving even that little bit begrudgingly when there is more than one collection at Mass. Think of it why would the Parish do this if there was not indeed a real need? Sharing only with very ‘close’ friends what you have been doing for others yet citing discreetly why you do not share this fact with everyone;simply because we must not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing!

God our Father sees and knows everything, He sees into our hearts. He Blesses abundantly those who give with all of their hearts for love of Him and of brethren. For He knows that disciples of His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus love and serve Him for His greater Glory. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 †
There is no limit to the blessings which God can send you

Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten.
The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one, and, made richer in every way, you will be able to do all the generous things which, through us, are the cause of thanksgiving to God.

Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18
Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 18, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Our Church has never mandated how much each should contribute even though we are a non profit organisation and rely solely on the generosity of its Church members. Yet it is always thought of as rich with rich benefactors and so even though many can afford to give more will give their token amounts either in very small notes or coin. We should ask ourselves whom is it we are offering our token amounts to? Is is not the Lord our God Himself and His Holy Church? For its welfare; especially the poorest of the poor who depend on our Church to survive? If we are rich it is only because of our Lord Jesus Christ who has made us rich by giving us all of Himself. This is the generosity of our God! Those who are generous with Him and for Him will know of His generosity in their very own lives.

So it is with the mercy of the Lord our God. The more merciful we are, the more mercy we ourselves will receive from Him. Why curse those who hurt us or see them as enemies? Isn’t that what the devil wants? To separate, scatter and eventually destroy? Why allow ourselves to be his henchmen by hating and cursing our enemies to their doom and eventually following suit? Would it not be better to pray for our enemies so that the Lord might bless them, have their hearts of stone removed and replaced with hearts of flesh so that they too might learn to love as He loves us?

Sweet Saviour of mine, I am far from perfect. But I know that through Your mercy and love Lord I have hope of perfection in You. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 8:1-9 †
The Lord Jesus was rich but became poor for your sake

Now here, brothers, is the news of the grace of God which was given in the churches in Macedonia; and of how, throughout great trials by suffering, their constant cheerfulness and their intense poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity. I can swear that they gave not only as much as they could afford, but far more, and quite spontaneously, begging and begging us for the favour of sharing in this service to the saints and, what was quite unexpected, they offered their own selves first to God and, under God, to us.
Because of this, we have asked Titus, since he has already made a beginning, to bring this work of mercy to the same point of success among you. You always have the most of everything – of faith, of eloquence, of understanding, of keenness for any cause, and the biggest share of our affection – so we expect you to put the most into this work of mercy too. It is not an order that I am giving you; I am just testing the genuineness of your love against the keenness of others. Remember how generous the Lord Jesus was: he was rich, but he became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty.

Gospel

Matthew 5:43-48
Pray for those who persecute you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 17, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We want justice for the injustice brought upon us. For the hurt and pains caused, we want those who have done this to have either a taste or full measure of what they did to us. Why did they put us in this uncomfortable position to begin with? Revenge is sweet!

Not so says the Lord, mercy and forgiveness is far sweeter. For through mercy and forgiveness we find love. We disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ must mirror the love and mercy of our master. For He pleaded for us on the cross that we knew not what we are doing. Can we still claim ignorance after having been reborn in Him through our baptism? Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we are indeed a new creation. Able to withstand hardship, trials and challenges for love of our Lord and for one another.

People who look upon us see us for whom we truly are, for we do not hide behind masks. Our greatest and only desire is that they see the face of Christ when they gaze upon us. So that through all the sacrifices we make, all that we say and and do we bring glory to Lord our God. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 6:1-10 †
How we prove that we are God’s servants

As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.
We do nothing that people might object to, so as not to bring discredit on our function as God’s servants. Instead, we prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering: in times of hardship and distress; when we are flogged, or sent to prison, or mobbed; labouring, sleepless, starving. We prove we are God’s servants by our purity, knowledge, patience and kindness; by a spirit of holiness, by a love free from affectation; by the word of truth and by the power of God; by being armed with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, prepared for honour or disgrace, for blame or praise; taken for impostors while we are genuine; obscure yet famous; said to be dying and here are we alive; rumoured to be executed before we are sentenced; thought most miserable and yet we are always rejoicing; taken for paupers though we make others rich, for people having nothing though we have everything.

Gospel

Matthew 5:38-42
Offer the wicked man no resistance

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’

During Mass…

Posted: June 16, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Today I told a Caucasian guy scrolling through Facebook on his mobile during mass, “hey mate no mobiles in church.” He tailed me and insisted I answer his question after repeating it a few times. “Are you a Bishop?” I began with God bless you followed by we are on sacred ground. He went on to say that he was checking messages as he his wife has a friend who has cancer and was checking up on the friend. I informed him be could do so outside. He grunted and went back to his seat. Both he and his wife continued to go through the mobile and talked throughout the homily.

I realised then since both were wearing shorts that it was no point engaging them further. They were probably there out of a distant sense of obligation. And so will continue to pray they encounter Christ in a deep meaningful way.

As to the question am I a Bishop? I would have liked to respond this way… “No brother I am not a Bishop, but I know better then to disrespect my Lord Jesus Christ in the tabernacle, in the Word, in His Church, in the Priest that stands before us in persona Christi and at Holy Eucharist.” Amen

Trinity Sunday

Posted: June 15, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Glorious Processions: Scott Hahn Reflects on Trinity Sunday

Readings:

Proverbs 8:22–31
Psalms 8:4–9
Romans 5:1–5
John 16:12–15

In today’s Liturgy we’re swept through time in glorious procession—from before earth and sky were set in place to the coming of the Spirit upon the new creation, the Church.

We begin in the heart of the Trinity, as we listen to the testimony of Wisdom in today’s First Reading. Eternally begotten, the first-born of God, He is poured forth from of old in the loving delight of the Father.

Through Him the heavens were established, the foundations of the earth fixed. From before the beginning, He was with the Father as His “Craftsman,” the artisan by which all things were made. And He took special delight, He tells us, in the crowning glory of God’s handiwork—the human race, the “sons of men.”

In today’s Psalm, He comes down from heaven, is made a little lower than the angels, comes among us as “the Son of Man” (see Hebrews 2:6–10).

All things are put under His feet so that He can restore to humanity the glory for which we were made from the beginning, the glory lost by sin. He tasted death that we might be raised to life in the Trinity, that His name might be made glorious over all the earth.

Through the Son, we have gained grace and access in the Spirit to the Father, as Paul boasts in today’s Epistle (see Ephesians 2:18).

The Spirit, the Love of God, has been poured out into our hearts—a Spirit of adoption, making us children of the Father once more (see Romans 8:14–16).

This is the Spirit that Jesus promises in today’s Gospel.

His Spirit comes as divine gift and anointing (see 1 John 2:27), to guide us to all truth, to show us “the things that are coming,” the things that were meant to be from before all ages—that we will find peace and union in God, we will share the life of the Trinity, we will dwell in God as He dwells in us (see John 14:23; 17:21).

On Dressing Up

Posted: June 15, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

On Dressing up for the Eucharistic Celebration

Why make a big deal about dressing up for the Eucharistic Celebration? Afterall the Lord knows what is in my heart, he himself wore sandals and a robe! Those who insist we dress us are simply stiff necks who needs to get a life! Yes I can identify with all the above statements because I had uttered them myself. Such bravado comes from misplaced pride and certainly not from having any real relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I was growing in my faith I decided to try and attend morning Mass as often as I could mostly on Saturdays. I even wore Bermudas or track pants from time to time. Slowly as I started growing in love with my Lord, I began to feel uneasy about simply dressing down instead of up. The reality sunk in that if He is truly the Lord of Lords, King of Kings in my mind and heart how could I not reverent Him as I should? How could I continue to take short cuts, cut corners in my faith. Was I not standing on sacred ground where my Lord resides?

We have a higher calling as disciples, to be witnesses of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ working in our lives. Can we then show up to serve him in our sleeping attire, beach wear etc. instead of offering the very best of ourselves, morning, noon or night! Most church ministries will have their own code of conduct or handbook which members are required to adhere to as something basic and foundational. What good is it to have them if members do not see themselves as disciples after Christ obedient unto Him and the leaders He has sent?
We must know that we too can be sacraments of the faith we hold dear. An outward sign of an inward grace. By our dressing and our demeanour we can lead others into the sacred. Especially those of us who serve in ministry or some other ways in our Parish, we have to be aware that parishioners are observing us at all times whether we realise it or not.

So sisters and brothers, if you truly love the Lord Your God then you will most definitely dress up for Him. And I promise You that by simply dressing up for Him, you and your family will be greatly Blessed. You will slowly begin to witness an inward change within yourselves, a greater sense of worship and love for the Lord Your God. Amen