Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 19, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

In the Wedding: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 62:1–5
Psalm 96:1–3, 7–10
1 Corinthians 12:4–11
John 2:1–12

Think of these first weeks after Christmas as a season of “epiphanies.” The liturgy is showing us who Jesus is and what He has revealed about our relationship with God.
Last week and the week before, the imagery was royal and filial—Jesus is the newborn king of the Jews who makes us co-heirs of Israel’s promise, beloved children of God. Last week in the liturgy we went to a baptism.

This week we’re at a wedding.
We’re being shown another dimension of our relationship with God. If we’re sons and daughters of God, it’s because we’ve married into the family.
Have you ever wondered why the Bible begins and ends with a wedding—Adam and Eve’s in the garden and the marriage supper of the Lamb (compare Genesis 2:23–24 and Revelation 19:9; 21:9; 22:17)?

Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the covenant relationship God desires with His chosen people. He is the groom, humanity His beloved and sought-after bride. We see this reflected beautifully in today’s First Reading.

When Israel breaks the covenant, she is compared to an unfaithful spouse (see Jeremiah 2:20–36; 3:1–13). But God promises to take her back, to “espouse” her to Him forever in an everlasting covenant (see Hosea 2:18–22).
That’s why in today’s Gospel Jesus performs His first public “sign” at a wedding feast.
Jesus is the divine bridegroom (see John 3:29), calling us to His royal wedding feast (see Matthew 22:1–14). By His New Covenant, He will become “one flesh” with all humanity in the Church (see Ephesians 5:21–33). By our baptism, each of us has been betrothed to Christ as a bride to a husband (see 2 Corinthians 11:2).
The new wine that Jesus pours out at today’s feast is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to His bride and body, as today’s Epistle says. This is the “salvation” announced to the “families of nations” in today’s Psalm.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Follow me. An invitation from the Lord our God. He who knows all there is to know about us is asking us to grow in our relationship with Him. To grow in Holiness. To be and live in His presence. As lights for others who are still in the dark.

Do we remain where we are? Comfortable with our mediocre lives? Afraid to come out of our comfort zones. Or do we trust in our faithful and loving God, our Lord Jesus Christ who came to save us.

Make no mistake, our Lord does not accept sinners for who they are. Rather He sees the good and childlike qualities in all of us. He sees the potential that we ought to be living out. He loved us enough to die for us, so that we can be set free to live in His love.

Come now, let us not tarry any longer. Let us make haste to follow Him. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 4:12-16
Let us be confident in approaching the throne of grace

The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.
Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

Gospel

Mark 2:13-17

Jesus went out to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them. As he was walking on he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus, sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at the table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers. When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this he said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 18, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

What faith will our Lord Jesus Christ find in us today? The kind of faith that puts our love for Him, for brethren into action through corporal and spiritual works of mercy? Faith that compels us to share the joy of the Gospel with others? Nothing will please Him more but will He find in us such faith?

Our faith cannot be one of lip service. Nor can it be one solely on endless petitions! Neither can it be one isolated from community. For we were made to love and be loved. For God is love. Therefore our faith must speak to the love of God, for while we were still sinners;our Lord Jesus Christ came to redeem us for His own. To free us from all sin and to restore us as rightful heirs to the Kingdom of God our Father through His only Begotten Son.

Together let us pray…

O Lord look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

First reading

Hebrews 4:1-5,11 †
None of you has come too late for God’s promise

Be careful: the promise of reaching the place of rest that God had for the Israelites still holds good, and none of you must think that he has come too late for it. We received the Good News exactly as they did; but hearing the message did them no good because they did not share the faith of those who listened. We, however, who have faith, shall reach a place of rest, as in the text: And so, in anger, I swore that not one would reach the place of rest I had for them. God’s work was undoubtedly all finished at the beginning of the world; as one text says, referring to the seventh day: After all his work God rested on the seventh day. The text we are considering says: They shall not reach the place of rest I had for them. We must therefore do everything we can to reach this place of rest, or some of you might copy this example of disobedience and be lost.

Gospel

Mark 2:1-12
The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, word went round that he was back; and so many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as the crowd made it impossible to get the man to him, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some scribes were sitting there, and they thought to themselves, ‘How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?’ Jesus, inwardly aware that this was what they were thinking, said to them, ‘Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he turned to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Apart from me, you can do nothing says our Lord. Our Lord did not mean we are useless or anything remotely close to it. We are God our Father’s children have a special dignity in that regard. However because there is sin in the world we must remain close to Him who hides us in the shadow of His wings. Our veins are not blocked neither our hearts coarsend, and the love of God continues to flow through us. Therefore we should remain tapped into Jesus our Lord who is the vine and we are the branches. For then we are truly fruitful.

The surest way to do this was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Through the Holy Eucharist! We have both the life giving Word and the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ Himself given freely and with great love. In the our Father we pray, give us our daily bread, how is it then we do not go to receive Him daily in answer to our prayer?

Let not the leprosy of sin ever remain in our bodies! Jesus our Lord wants to heal us and is waiting to embrace us with all our faults. Let us turn to Him with contrite hearts and be healed. Then we rejoice as we lead fruitful lives in His love. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 3:7-14 †
Keep encouraging one another

The Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts, as happened in the Rebellion, on the Day of Temptation in the wilderness, when your ancestors challenged me and tested me, though they had seen what I could do for forty years. That was why I was angry with that generation and said: How unreliable these people who refuse to grasp my ways! And so, in anger, I swore that not one would reach the place of rest I had for them. Take care, brothers, that there is not in any one of your community a wicked mind, so unbelieving as to turn away from the living God. Every day, as long as this ‘today’ lasts, keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the lure of sin, because we shall remain co-heirs with Christ only if we keep a grasp on our first confidence right to the end.

Gospel

Mark 1:40-45
The leprosy left the man at once, and he was cured

A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.

On Today’s Gospel

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

The work we do to earn a living should always have the Lord our God in the centre of it all. For by the work of our hands we can glorify Him as we ought. More so the work we do in our Parish communities, ministries, Parish Council and so on. The focus should never be about the work itself. It must always be about building the kingdom of God and leading one another to greater Holiness. Hence are we praying together? Are we sharing the Word? Are we helping to form one another by teaching what we have learned through our shepherds, inspired works or church doctrine?

Our Lord Jesus Christ led by example. He showed us that no matter how busy He was or was going to be, He would always go to a quiet place to be alone with God our Father in prayer. For it is by the Grace of God our Father that we are renewed, nourished and strengthened. While Jesus healed and taught, His primary focus was to build the kingdom of God His Father by preaching the Word.

Lord Jesus Christ, You shared in all things and in all ways our humanity. And again You share Your divinity with us through the Holy Eucharist. Let us be nourished and strengthened to always do Your will for us. May our focus always be about the reign of God in our lives and building Your Kingdom. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 2:14-18 †
He took to himself descent from Abraham

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 to help others who are tempted.

Gospel

Mark 1:29-39
He cast out devils and cured many who were suffering from disease

On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 15, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

There are areas in our life which are still unruly not quite under our control. For we have chosen not to exercise restraint, self control. In other words we have not submitted fully to the authority of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

His Will for us is to turn away from all sin and to live fully in His love. To lead one another into greater Holiness. And through the authority given to Him by God our Father, He commanded us to go make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all He commanded. How do we so if we are not obedient ourselves? Not disciplined! It is time to recollect, pray, be reconciled, to submit to the love and mercy of Jesus our Lord. So that we can be instruments of His grace and lead others to live fully in His love.

Here I am Lord, I come to Your Will. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 2:5-12 †
The one who sanctifies and the ones who are sanctified are of the same stock

God did not appoint angels to be rulers of the world to come, and that world is what we are talking about. Somewhere there is a passage that shows us this. It runs: What is man that you should spare a thought for him, the son of man that you should care for him? For a short while you made him lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and splendour. You have put him in command of everything. Well then, if he has put him in command of everything, he has left nothing which is not under his command. At present, it is true, we are not able to see that everything has been put under his command, but we do see in Jesus one who was for a short while made lower than the angels and is now crowned with glory and splendour because he submitted to death; by God’s grace he had to experience death for all mankind.
As it was his purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory, it was appropriate that God, for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect, through suffering, the leader who would take them to their salvation. For the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified, are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers in the text: I shall announce your name to my brothers, praise you in full assembly.

Gospel

Mark 1:21-28
Unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority

Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 14, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

O Jesus Son of the living God, God of Heaven and of earth. Have mercy on my many shortcomings. I have heard Your call to follow You and have responded by leaving my sinful past behind and followed.

But along the way I have fallen and continue to fall from time to time. Each time it causes my heart to be broken and I long to be reconciled with You. Yet each and every time my head hangs low before You, You bid me not to wallow in my sin and to arise in Your love. May I never take Your great love for me for granted. For indeed You do not look upon our sins but the faith of Your Church.

Lord we strive to do better, and be better each and everyday. To be more outward looking as to touch the souls who are lost and in distress. Sanctify us Lord that we may grow in Holiness according to Your will. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 1:1-6 †
God has spoken to us through his Son

At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.
God has never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-Born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.

Gospel

Mark 1:14-20
I will make you into fishers of men

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.