On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 10, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Many of us live in ivory towers above the smells of poverty and despair. We are blind to the needs of the sick and downtrodden. So unless we belong to a Christian community grounded in Christ Jesus our Lord. We will go on our merry way thinking all is good in the world.

Our faith opens our eyes to see the least of our brethren. We tend to them the best we can. We see to their immediate needs. Most of all we lead them all to Christ by our love. For He alone can set them free from sin and restore them to life in the fullest. For He wills the good in us to shine forth. To be beacons for others.

Lord lead us to be a community of disciples ready to serve the needs of those starved of Your love and mercy. Seeing our faith in action may Your saving grace be upon them. Through Your most Holy name,Jesus. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 35:1-10
The return of the redeemed through the desert

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil, let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.

‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming, the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy; for water gushes in the desert, streams in the wasteland, the scorched earth becomes a lake, the parched land springs of water.

The lairs where the jackals used to live become thickets of reed and papyrus…

And through it will run a highway undefiled
which shall be called the Sacred Way; the unclean may not travel by it,
nor fools stray along it.

No lion will be there
nor any fierce beast roam about it, but the redeemed will walk there, for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy, everlasting joy on their faces;joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.

Gospel

Luke 5:17-26
‘Your sins are forgiven you: get up and walk’

Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

Second Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 8, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Road Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Advent

Readings:

L

Today’s Psalm paints a dream-like scene—a road filled with liberated captives heading home to Zion (Jerusalem), mouths filled with laughter, tongues rejoicing.

It’s a glorious picture from Israel’s past, a “new exodus,” the deliverance from exile in Babylon. It’s being recalled in a moment of obvious uncertainty and anxiety. But the psalmist isn’t waxing nostalgic.

Remembering “the Lord has done great things” in the past, he is making an act of faith and hope—that God will come to Israel in its present need, that He’ll do even greater things in the future.

This is what the Advent readings are all about: We recall God’s saving deeds—in the history of Israel and in the coming of Jesus. Our remembrance is meant to stir our faith, to fill us with confidence that, as today’s Epistle puts it, “the One who began a good work in [us] will continue to complete it” until He comes again in glory.

Each of us, the Liturgy teaches, is like Israel in her exile—led into captivity by our sinfulness, in need of restoration, conversion by the Word of the Holy One (see Baruch 5:5). The lessons of salvation history should teach us that, as God again and again delivered Israel, in His mercy He will free us from our attachments to sin if we turn to Him in repentance.

That’s the message of John, introduced in today’s Gospel as the last of the great prophets (compare Jeremiah 1:1–4, 11). But John is greater than the prophets (see Luke 7:27). He’s preparing the way, not only for a new redemption of Israel, but for the salvation of “all flesh” (see also Acts 28:28).

John quotes Isaiah (40:3) to tell us he’s come to build a road home for us, a way out of the wilderness of sin and alienation from God. It’s a road we’ll follow Jesus down, a journey we’ll make, as today’s First Reading puts it, “rejoicing that [we’re] remembered by God.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 8, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Fully human, born without sin, Holy, spotless, blameless, pure, set apart. To be the tabernacle of our Lord Jesus Christ. For through God alone all is made possible. By Mary our mother’s fiat we have the Incarnation. Light brought forth into the world.

We too by our baptism have been set apart made Holy. If we model ourselves after our Blessed Mother then our yes too will bring the light of Christ to all that we meet. By His grace we can do this and so we must come before Him often to be renewed and restored. So that by His grace we can live fully in His love and be a blessing for others.

O most Holy Immaculate conception, Mary our mother pray for us…

First reading

Genesis 3:9-15,20
‘The offspring of the woman will crush your head’

After Adam had eaten of the tree the Lord God called to him. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’
Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle, all wild beasts.
You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust every day of your life.
I will make you enemies of each other: you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring.
It will crush your head
and you will strike its heel.’

The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.

Second reading
Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12
Before the world was made, God chose us in Christ

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,
determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes,
to make us praise the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved,
And it is in him that we were claimed as God’s own, chosen from the beginning, under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things
as he decides by his own will;
chosen to be, for his greater glory, the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.

Gospel

Luke 1:26-38
‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 7, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

If I have peace and love in my heart it is because of You alone my loving Saviour. You who took pity on me, opened my eyes to see You. And the wonders of Your mercy and love. I was so blind before stood before You O Lord! Blind to the needs of others. Blind to the hungry and those starved of attention. Blind to the community around me. Blind to everyone and everything other than to my own selfish needs and wants.

Ever since You restored my sight, how can I be quiet? How can I not sing Your praises with my hands and feet put to service for You and my brethren? How can I not shout from the mountain top that You Jesus are my Lord and God! How can I not work for Your greater glory? For Your peace and love reigns in my Heart now and forever. Amen

St Ambrose pray for us…

First reading

Isaiah 29:17-24
In a very short time, the deaf will hear and the eyes of the blind will see

The Lord says this:

In a short time, a very short time, shall not Lebanon become fertile land and fertile land turn into forest?
The deaf, that day, will hear the words of a book and, after shadow and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.

But the lowly will rejoice in the Lord even more and the poorest exult in the Holy One of Israel; for tyrants shall be no more, and scoffers vanish, and all be destroyed who are disposed to do evil:those who gossip to incriminate others, those who try at the gate to trip the arbitrator and get the upright man’s case dismissed for groundless reasons.

Therefore the Lord speaks,
the God of the House of Jacob, Abraham’s redeemer:
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale, for he shall see what my hands have done in his midst,
he shall hold my name holy.
They will hallow the Holy One of Jacob, stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Erring spirits will learn wisdom and murmurers accept instruction.

Gospel

Matthew 9:27-31
‘Take care that no-one learns about this’

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 6, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Why is it that we pray fervently, call upon the Lord only in times of great distress and need? Then go about our daily lives and routines after the need is met and peace restored. Where then is the exchange of love between the Lord our God and us? What right relationship do we have with Him?

Many still do not realise that the only way to grow deep in our relationship with the Lord our God is to do His will. This has been revealed to us time and time again. But it is our own wills we heed! Too difficult, bothersome first to know and understand His will for us, then to follow through! Hence we reap what we sow! What do you think will happen when our bond with our Lord Jesus Christ is paper thin?

To know His word and will for us; And to do it is to have laid a great foundation built upon His love. Come what may He is always by our side. We are never more safe and secure then when we are in His loving embrace. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 26:1-6
Open the gates; let the upright nation come in

That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city; to guard us he has set wall and rampart about us.
Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in, she, the faithful one whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace, because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord is the everlasting Rock; he has brought low those who lived high up in the steep citadel; he brings it down, brings it down to the ground,
flings it down in the dust: the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor trample on it.

Gospel

Matthew 7:21,24-27
The wise man built his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 5, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

While we prepare our hearts for our Lord’s second coming, let us reflect on how through His great love for us He has never left us!

For while He sits on His Holy mountain in the highest heavens He is present to us in the Blessed Sacrament, the most Holy Eucharist. He is present to us in our Advent reflections, prayer meetings. He is present to us in the Sacrament of reconciliation and all Holy sacraments of the Church. To this very day He brings healing to the sick and restores the crippled and blind; physically and spiritually.

Do we then possess that loving humility of our Lord Jesus Christ? Who came to die for us. He who never tires of lending a listening ear. Of tending to the sick and distraught. Who had the heart for His people and worried for their will being, spoke up for them and then put His plans into action to care for them.

What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? (ps8:4) We are grateful Lord, we are eternally grateful. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 25:6-10
The Lord will prepare a banquet for every nation

On this mountain,
the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,
of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.
On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away
the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice
that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.

Gospel

Matthew 15:29-37
The crowds praised the God of Israel

Jesus reached the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he went up into the hills. He sat there, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel.
But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this deserted place to feed such a crowd?’ Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’ Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 4, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Only in deep and profound reflection and understanding that I am truly a child of God so loved by my heavenly Father can I begin to bask in His love. Abundant is His love for me, that there is no room whatsoever to feel envious of another. So rich and tender it draws me to love the same way. Only His peace and joy reign in my heart. I am moved to love His children, my sisters and brothers the same way He loves us. This is His wisdom revealed to us who humbly hear His call with the openness and innocence of a childlike heart. He is Abba, our Father who will never abandon us and who loves us ever so dearly.

Our Lord Jesus Christ His son had come so that we can once again be reunited with our loving Father. So turn back to Him all you who have lost your way. Fear no more, come and be healed. Come and be restored. Come so that you sin no more. And together hand in hand we will sing His glory!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse

A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots: on him the spirit of the Lord rests,
a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and power, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
(The fear of the Lord is his breath.)
He does not judge by appearances, he gives no verdict on hearsay, but judges the wretched with integrity, and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land.
His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless, his sentences bring death to the wicked.

Integrity is the loincloth round his waist, faithfulness the belt about his hips.

The wolf lives with the lamb,
the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion feed together, with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together.
The lion eats straw like the ox.
The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the young child puts his hand. They do no hurt, no harm, on all my holy mountain, for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters swell the sea.

That day, the root of Jesse
shall stand as a signal to the peoples. It will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.

Gospel

Luke 10:21-24
No-one knows who the Son is except the Father

Filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said:
‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.”