On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 27, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

In a recent community sharing on the Gospel reading for Easter, we touched a little on being a more inclusive community. It dawned on us that we were actually a very inclusive community striving to be better disciples. However who if any in our community were being excluded? The real problem and this happens in many communities and ministries is that the folks who are excluded have in actual fact excluded themselves! They chose not to come and be in the presence of our Lord for prayer meetings, fellowship and formation. To be in communion with their fellow members so as to grow in faith, love even charity. How can they then expect to the Holy Spirit to touch their hearts? The way He did Lydia in today’s first reading who was sincere and had a desire to be open to our Lord’s promptings.

Our faith is never a private one just between ourselves individually and the Lord our God. Otherwise our being one Body in Christ has no meaning for us. How then can we be witnesses to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as we are called to be?

Sisters and brothers it is time to wake up to the reality of our faith in Him who loves us ever so dearly. It is time to make straight our paths by seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the nourishment, the grace and divinity of our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. So that we can be better disciples who strive to come often together to be in His presence;to be witnesses of His love to one another and then go out to share the Gospel message of His love to one and all. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:11-15 †
The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to accept what Paul was saying

Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

Gospel

John 15:26-16:4
The Spirit of truth will be my witness

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘When the Advocate comes,
whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.
And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset.
‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues, and indeed the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things because they have never known either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you.’


Image  —  Posted: May 26, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Counsel of Jerusalem: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 15:1–2, 22–29
Psalm 67:2–3, 5–6, 8
Revelation 21:10–14, 22–23
John 14:23–29

The first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem we hear about in today’s First Reading, decided the shape of the Church as we know it.

Some Jewish Christians had wanted Gentile converts to be circumcised and obey all the complex ritual and purity laws of the Jews.

The council called this a heresy, again showing us that the Church in the divine plan is meant to be a worldwide family of God, no longer a covenant with just one nation.

Today’s Liturgy gives us a profound meditation on the nature and meaning of the Church.

The Church is one, as we see in the First Reading: “the Apostles [bishops] and presbyters [priests], in agreement with the whole Church [laity].”

The Church is holy, taught and guided by the Spirit that Jesus promises the Apostles in the Gospel.

The Church is catholic, or universal, making known God’s ways of salvation to all peoples, ruling all in equity, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

And the Church, as John sees in the Second Reading, is apostolic—founded on the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

All these marks of the Church are underscored in the story of the council.

Notice that everybody, including Paul, looks to “Jerusalem [and] . . . the Apostles” to decide the Church’s true teaching. The Apostles, too, presume that Christian teachers need a “mandate from us.”

And we see the Spirit guiding the Apostles in all truth. Notice how they describe their ruling: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us.”

Knowing these truths about the Church, our hearts should never be troubled. The Liturgy’s message today is that the Church is the Lord’s, watched over and guarded by the Advocate, the Holy Spirit sent by the Father in the name of the Son.

This should fill us with confidence, free us to worship with exultation, inspire us to rededicate our lives to His Name—to love Jesus in our keeping of His Word, to rejoice that He and the Father in the Spirit have made their dwelling with us.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Enduring hardship, challengers and making sacrifices to share Jesus with as many as we can is rewarding. Especially when you are able to witness the inner transformation that takes place in the lives of others. Of them having peace and joy when there was none before. Of experiencing the love of our Lord Jesus Christ when love was otherwise absent. Even if and when, we have to move on without being able to witness the changes we are assured that the Lord our God will take over.

The lure of following the ways of the world is indeed strong. With its many promises and guarantees that accepting its way is better even inevitable with change. Do not buy into the empty promises and false hope! Never compromise on our virtues and values built upon Christ. For He alone is the truth, way and life. His promises are fulfilled and His love endures forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:1-10 †
‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.
As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.
So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.
They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.
One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.

Gospel

John 15:18-21
The world hated me before it hated you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you,
remember that it hated me before you.
If you belonged to the world,
the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world,
because my choice withdrew you from the world,
therefore the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.
If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;
if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.
But it will be on my account that they will do all this,
because they do not know the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 24, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Our Lord does not suggest or propose we love one another as He loved us. He commanded us in His love for us to do so even though we are given the absolute free will to choose to do so. The same applies to our fruit bearing and we must make a decision today whether or not we want to follow the Will of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, our friend.

Is there any other God that you know of who seeks to have an such an intimate and loving relationship with mortals that could otherwise be seen as mere subjects even animated objects? Our one and only true God our Father,created us out of love and for us to share in His abounding love. And so does it not perfect sense that He wants us to love just as He loves us? A man has no greater love than to lay down His life for his friends; and so He our Lord Jesus Christ did so for us. Can we not likewise lay down our lives for our fellowmen, our brethren?

Let us then by the power of the Holy Spirit lead all our sister and brothers who now live free and continue to do so from all bondages of sin by, the Grace of the Lord our God; into greater worship, praise and thanksgiving of Him our Risen Lord. Let us bear fruit that will last! Amen

First reading

Acts 15:22-31 †
It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us not to burden you beyond these essentials

The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:
‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’
The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Gospel

John 15:12-17
What I command you is to love one another

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘This is my commandment: love one another,
as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me: no, I chose you;
and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 23, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The Commandments of the Lord our God were given to us in love so that we can live more fully in the love of our Lord virtuously and orderly. Christ reminded us of how to when He said ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And just as I have loved you, you must love one another. We must remain therefore in His love. So that the world may see that He reigns in our hearts and they might see Him as they look to us.

We will undoubtedly face many trials and challengers as disciples striving to remain in His love and following His Will for us. There will arise friction and disagreements amongst us. But if we remain prayerful, turn to Scripture and the Holy Spirit to guide us we will surely find a way. For the Word made flesh is the way, the Truth and the Life.

Lord come dwell in my heart today and everyday so that I may always remain in Your love. Amen

First reading

Acts 15:7-21 †
I rule that we do not make things more difficult for the pagans who turn to God

After the discussion had gone on a long time, Peter stood up and addressed the apostles and the elders.
‘My brothers,’ he said ‘you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the pagans were to learn the Good News from me and so become believers. In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith. It would only provoke God’s anger now, surely, if you imposed on the disciples the very burden that neither we nor our ancestors were strong enough to support? Remember, we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.’
This silenced the entire assembly, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the pagans.
When they had finished it was James who spoke. ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘listen to me. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:

After that I shall return
and rebuild the fallen House of David;
I shall rebuild it from its ruins
and restore it.
Then the rest of mankind,
all the pagans who are consecrated to my name,
will look for the Lord,
says the Lord who made this known so long ago.

‘I rule, then, that instead of making things more difficult for pagans who turn to God, we send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from fornication, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has always had his preachers in every town, and is read aloud in the synagogues every sabbath.’

Gospel

John 15:9-11
Remain in my love

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 22, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Going for daily mass does not automatically connect with you Jesus! No I am by no means discouraging anyone from doing so, in fact it is highly commendable. What I am speaking about is ensuring the connection with Jesus through the Holy Eucharist is the right one. For we are connected both through His Word for us and the two way reception of Him. He receives us just as we receive Him in a most wonderful loving embrace. We are then ready to bear fruits because an inner transformation has taken place and we are driven to love. Our thoughts, words and deeds are One in communion with our Lord Jesus Christ! How can we not bear fruit? How can we not share His love with everyone we meet?

If we feel nothing and do nothing in love after each and every mass we attend then there is a disconnect somewhere. We need to reassess our situation, our state. When was last time we had done a proper examination of conscience? When was the last time we had gone for reconciliation fully prepared to bear our soul, so as to be cleansed and purified most fully to receive His graces. How much quiet time have we spent with our Lord in prayer, thanksgiving and adoration? Unless it is our heart’s desire to remain always in His presence, change cannot take place and we will bear no fruit. In fact we may find ourselves objecting and even rejecting spiritual matters and promptings of the Holy Spirit to build the Kingdom of the Lord our God.

Lord Jesus let me always be connected with You;that I may love as You love and bear fruit according to Your will. Amen

First reading

Acts 15:1-6
They were to go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.
All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.
But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

Gospel

John 15:1-8
I am the vine, you are the branches

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’