We are truly a headstrong people, we want what we want and we want it now! Fast food, fast money, fast cars, faster more efficient!

Is there anything from stopping us from being headstrong for love of our Lord? From being faithful and obedient?

Today we learn the nature and essence of God our loving Father. He is God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ In other words He is All loving, All merciful, All forgiving, All patient, gentle and kind. However He is no pushover for us; as there will be a day of reckoning for us who refuse to the very end, to listen His Word and live out His Will for us according to His commands and statutes

St Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love is patient, love is kind. And we are so loved by God our Heavenly Father that He loves us even when we are sinners and had sent His only begotten Son to save us. He waits ever patiently for our hearts to turn back to Him. Are we grateful for such undeserving love on our part? If are grateful then how can we continue to be impatient and unloving towards our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ?

Let us strive to grow in Holiness, love and patience. So that we can walk humbly with the Lord our God and always be in His presence. Amen

First reading

Exodus 33:7-11,34:5-9,28

‘They are a headstrong people; but forgive us our faults’

Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, at some distance from the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who had to consult the Lord would go out to the Tent of Meeting, outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the Tent, all the people would rise. Every man would stand at the door of his tent and watch Moses until he reached the Tent; the pillar of cloud would come down and station itself at the entrance to the Tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When they saw the pillar of cloud stationed at the entrance to the Tent, all the people would rise and bow low, each at the door of his tent. The Lord would speak with Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would turn back to the camp, but the young man who was his servant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the Tent.

    And the Lord descended in the form of a cloud, and Moses stood with him there.

    He called on the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ And Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped. ‘If I have indeed won your favour, Lord,’ he said ‘let my Lord come with us, I beg. True, they are a headstrong people, but forgive us our faults and our sins, and adopt us as your heritage.’

    Moses stayed there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights, eating and drinking nothing. He inscribed on the tablets the words of the Covenant – the Ten Words.

Gospel

Matthew 13:36-43

As the darnel is gathered up and burnt, so it will be at the end of time

Leaving the crowds, Jesus went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’


How has our faith, love and relationship in the Lord our God grown such that it is shows our love put into action for others? How many have we lead to the wonders and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ? Who loved us when we were still sinners and had made atonement for our sins!  Have we placed our love for the Lord our God above all else and everyone?

Or have we allowed the busyness of living in this challenging world overrun our thoughts and beliefs? That we turn to our ‘golden calfs’ for relief and comforts? To fill the void in our lives? What are they? Sexual gratification? Recognition? Honour and fame? Wealth? Gaming? Gambling? Television drama serial after drama serial?

Only Jesus can fill any void we have or think we might have! He alone can give us the peace and love that we constantly seek to find in the world. And He gives it to us all freely when we turn to Him for He truly desires that we live our lives to the full. The Lord is our Shepherd there is truly nothing we shall want. Let us therefore by our Christian Spirit be a leaven in the world for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!

St Joachim and St Anne pray for us….

First reading

Exodus 32:15-24,30-34

The golden calf

Moses made his way back down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, tablets inscribed on both sides, inscribed on the front and on the back. These tablets were the work of God, and the writing on them was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

    Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting. ‘There is the sound of battle in the camp’, he told Moses. Moses answered him:

‘No song of victory is this sound,

no wailing for defeat this sound;

it is the sound of chanting that I hear.’

As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the groups dancing, Moses’ anger blazed. He threw down the tablets he was holding and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He seized the calf they had made and burned it, grinding it into powder which he scattered on the water; and he made the sons of Israel drink it. To Aaron Moses said, ‘What has this people done to you, for you to bring such a great sin on them?’ ‘Let not my lord’s anger blaze like this’ Aaron answered. ‘You know yourself how prone this people is to evil. They said to me, “Make us a god to go at our head; this Moses, the man who brought us up from Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So I said to them, “Who has gold?,” and they took it off and brought it to me. I threw it into the fire and out came this calf.’

    On the following day Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a grave sin. But now I shall go up to the Lord: perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ And Moses returned to the Lord. ‘I am grieved,’ he cried ‘this people has committed a grave sin, making themselves a god of gold. And yet, if it pleased you to forgive this sin of theirs…! But if not, then blot me out from the book that you have written.’ The Lord answered Moses, “It is the man who has sinned against me that I shall blot out from my book. Go now, lead the people to the place of which I told you. My angel shall go before you but, on the day of my visitation, I shall punish them for their sin.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:31-35

The smallest of all seeds grows into the biggest shrub of all

Jesus put a parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

    He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

    In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:

I will speak to you in parables

and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.

17 Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Bread Left Over: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventeenth  Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings


2 Kings 4:42–44
Psalm 145:10-1115–18
Ephesians 4:1–6
John 6:1–15

Today’s liturgy brings together several strands of Old Testament expectation to reveal Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah and King, the Lord who comes to feed His people.

Notice the parallels between today’s Gospel and First Reading. Both Elisha and Jesus face a crowd of hungry people with only a few “barley” loaves. We hear similar words about how impossible it will be to feed the crowd with so little. And in both the miraculous multiplication of bread satisfies the hungry and leaves food left over.

The Elisha story looks back to Moses, the prophet who fed God’s people in the wilderness (see Exodus 16). Moses prophesied that God would send a prophet like him (see Deuteronomy 18:15–19). The crowd in today’s Gospel, witnessing His miracle, identifies Jesus as that prophet.

The Gospel today again shows Jesus to be the Lord, the good shepherd, who makes His people lie down on green grass and spreads a table before them (see Psalm 23:15).

The miraculous feeding is a sign that God has begun to fulfill His promise, which we sing of in today’s Psalm—to give His people food in due season and satisfy their desire (see Psalm 81:17).

But Jesus points to the final fulfillment of that promise in the Eucharist. He does the same things He does at the Last Supper—He takes the loaves, pronounces a blessing of thanksgiving (literally, “eucharist”), and gives the bread to the people (see Matthew 26:26). Notice, too, that twelve baskets of bread are left over, one for each of the Apostles.

These are signs that should point us to the Eucharist—in which the Church founded on the Apostles continues to feed us with the living bread of His Body.

In this Eucharist, we are made one Body with the Lord, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Let us resolve again, then, to live lives worthy of such a great calling.


Are you good? YES for you are a wonderful child of God our Heavenly Father made in His image and likeness and so loved by Him.

Can you remain good? YES if you choose always do His Will and to remain steadfast in prayer, to listen to His Word, act justly, love mercy and walk humbly in His presence.

Can you turn bad? YES for we have all been given free will. This happens if we choose evil and sin over the love of our Lord and God.  If we choose to live in the world and succumb to the influence of those who ‘thrive’ in it.

The Good news for us is that the LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in mercy. (Ps 103:8) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, God, He will not despise. For He sent His only Begotten Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to reconcile the world unto Him. Yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. (num 14:18) Let us therefore hasten unto Him!

Jesus my Lord I turn to You, wash me clean in Your blood and I will be white as snow! Let me remain steadfast in Your love always. Amen

First reading

Exodus 24:3-8 ·

This is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you

Moses went and told the people all the commands of the Lord and all the ordinances. In answer, all the people said with one voice, ‘We will observe all the commands that the Lord has decreed.’ Moses put all the commands of the Lord into writing, and early next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve standing-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he directed certain young Israelites to offer holocausts and to immolate bullocks to the Lord as communion sacrifices. Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:24-30

Let them both grow till the harvest

Jesus put another parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’


Are the commandments difficult to follow? Is listening to the Word of God just as challenging for us? Let dwell on this a little in light of today’s readings…..

Why did the Lord our God give us His people the commandments if not for His great and utter love for us? So that we may lead ordered and meaningful lives as One in His love. Even His enriching and life giving Word is freely given to us hence we hear how the sower in the parable freely scatters the seed. In other words, like the commandments, His Word is not forced upon us. He gives freely in His love. How we receive both is key! The real question then is just how much do we truly love the Lord our God? 

If we assent to His Will for us then we acclaim Him our Lord and King. That we truly love Him with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. And that we love one another as He loves us. We have received both therefore in rich soil and it is only a matter of time before we will see a rich harvest!

Sweet Jesus my Lord, I love because You loved me first. Let me dwell always in Your love for me, that I may love others in that same love. Amen

First reading

Exodus 20:1-17

The Law given at Sinai

God spoke all these words. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

    ‘You shall have no gods except me.

    ‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I punish the father’s fault in the sons, the grandsons, and the great-grandsons of those who hate me; but I show kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    ‘You shall not utter the name of the Lord your God to misuse it, for the Lord will not leave unpunished the man who utters his name to misuse it.

    ‘Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the Lord your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the stranger who lives with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that these hold, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it sacred.

    ‘Honour your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God has given to you.

    ‘You shall not kill.

    ‘You shall not commit adultery.

    ‘You shall not steal.

    ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

    ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:18-23

The man who hears the word and understands it yields a rich harvest

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’


Mary of Magdala truly loved her Lord and God; she grieved and pined for love of Him.  That His battered, torn body which had laid in the tomb would not be desecrated any further by the Sins of men and women alike. She braved standing close to Him at His crucifixion and she would be brave once again in her distress to look to find His body and take it back from those who took Him.

Her great love for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was rewarded for our Lord revealed His resurrected self first to her. She would be then sent to share the joy of His resurrection with the brothers, His beloved disciples.

Lord Jesus my love, let Your light shine through me. That I may share with all whom I meet, the love and joy of You my resurrected Lord and God. Amen

St Mary Magdalen Pray for us….

First reading

Song of Songs 3:1-4 ·

I found him whom my heart loves

The bride says this:

On my bed, at night, I sought him

whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

So I will rise and go through the City;

in the streets and in the squares

I will seek him whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

The watchmen came upon me

on their rounds in the City:

‘Have you seen him whom my heart loves?’

Scarcely had I passed them

when I found him whom my heart loves.

Gospel

John 20:1-2,11-18

‘Mary, go and find the brothers and tell them’

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

    Meanwhile Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 21, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Our Lord never left us as orphans, He is always with us whether or not we are able to attend Holy Eucharist to be physically in His presence during these trying times of the pandemic. We can always turn to Him and He will comfort us and fill us with His grace. He desires to speak with us daily through our prayer time especially through His Word.

How can we if we are too busy or willing to listen? If we refuse to take up our bibles or missals to dwell in His Word? To live it in our daily lives? How will His seed ever take root? What fruit can we bear for Him? To even have the opportunity to bear fruit, we must allow for a single seed to take root somewhere in our heart! Our merciful, gentle and patient Lord does not expect us to be successful, He simply wants us to be obedient and allow for Him to nurture the seed within us. It is through Him alone that we are fruitful.

Let us pray the words of the wonderful Gospel acclamation today….. The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;

whoever finds this seed will remain for ever. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Exodus 16:1-5,9-15 ·

The Lord sends quails and manna from heaven

From Elim they set out, and the whole community of the sons of Israel reached the wilderness of Sin – between Elim and Sinai – on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt. And the whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, ‘Why did we not die at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we were able to sit down to pans of meat and could eat bread to our heart’s content! As it is, you have brought us to this wilderness to starve this whole company to death!’

    Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now I will rain down bread for you from the heavens. Each day the people are to go out and gather the day’s portion; I propose to test them in this way to see whether they will follow my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, this will be twice as much as the daily gathering.’

    Moses said to Aaron, ‘To the whole community of the sons of Israel say this, “Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaints.”’ As Aaron was speaking to the whole community of the sons of Israel, they turned towards the wilderness, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the form of a cloud. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel. Say this to them, “Between the two evenings you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have bread to your heart’s content. Then you will learn that I, the Lord, am your God.”’ And so it came about: quails flew up in the evening, and they covered the camp; in the morning there was a coating of dew all round the camp. When the coating of dew lifted, there on the surface of the desert was a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When they saw this, the sons of Israel said to one another, ‘What is that?’ not knowing what it was. ‘That’ said Moses to them ‘is the bread the Lord gives you to eat.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:1-9

A sower went out to sow

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

    He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’


Just as the Lord our God liberated the Israelites from slavery and bondage; and stopped the pursuit of the Egyptian army eager to bring them back to their old way of life; so too does Jesus our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ free us from all sin and the evil that lurks to draw us back to a life of darkness!

We are free to do the Holy Will of God our Heavenly which leads us into greater sonship and daughterhood. Because we who seek first to do first His Will, are One with Him and live free in His Kingdom. We are free from empty pride, of wanting honour for ourselves, greed, and all that lead us astray and away from Him. We love because He loved us first and so we honour Him by loving freely and wholly all our brethren starting with the least. This is what it means to be a family in Christ Jesus, One with and in Him. Amen

First reading

Exodus 14:21-15:1 ·

The crossing of the Red Sea

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove back the sea with a strong easterly wind all night, and he made dry land of the sea. The waters parted and the sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea, walls of water to right and to left of them. The Egyptians gave chase: after them they went, right into the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

    In the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and of cloud, and threw the army into confusion. He so clogged their chariot wheels that they could scarcely make headway. ‘Let us flee from the Israelites,’ the Egyptians cried. ‘The Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians!’

    ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea,’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘that the waters may flow back on the Egyptians and their chariots and their horsemen.’

    Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and, as day broke, the sea returned to its bed. The fleeing Egyptians marched right into it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the very middle of the sea. The returning waters overwhelmed the chariots and the horsemen of Pharaoh’s whole army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea; not a single one of them was left. But the sons of Israel had marched through the sea on dry ground, walls of water to right and to left of them.

    That day, the Lord rescued Israel from the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. Israel witnessed the great act that the Lord had performed against the Egyptians, and the people venerated the Lord; they put their faith in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.

    It was then that Moses and the sons sang this song in honour of the Lord:

Gospel

Matthew 12:46-50

My mother and my brothers are anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven

Jesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers appeared; they were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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If I were a sheep of my Good Shepherd’s flock will I need anything other than His love and to be in His loving care? Will I not be able to recognise His gentle voice and follow Him? What other wonders and signs would I ever need other then that my Lord pure, spotless victim took on my sins and died on the cross for me so that I may live in the light of His resurrection!

I am a child of an ever loving and merciful Father in Heaven. I only need to be still in His presence and all trials and tribulations will wash over me. For I am cradled close to His bosom, no evil shall I fear.

Therefore while I may live in this world, I am not of it and shall return to my Father in Heaven who reigns with His Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 14:5-18

Pharaoh sets out in pursuit of the sons of Israel

When Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was told that the Israelites had made their escape, he and his courtiers changed their minds about the people. ‘What have we done,’ they said ‘allowing Israel to leave our service?’ So Pharaoh had his chariot harnessed and gathered his troops about him, taking six hundred of the best chariots and all the other chariots in Egypt, each manned by a picked team. The Lord made Pharaoh, king of Egypt, stubborn, and he gave chase to the sons of Israel as they made their triumphant escape. So the Egyptians gave chase and came up with them where they lay encamped beside the sea – all the horses, the chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, his army – near Pi-hahiroth, facing Baal-zephon. And as Pharaoh approached, the sons of Israel looked round – and there were the Egyptians in pursuit of them!

    The sons of Israel were terrified and cried out to the Lord. To Moses they said, ‘Were there no graves in Egypt that you must lead us out to die in the wilderness? What good have you done us, bringing us out of Egypt? We spoke of this in Egypt, did we not? Leave us alone, we said, we would rather work for the Egyptians! Better to work for the Egyptians than die in the wilderness!’

    Moses answered the people, ‘Have no fear! Stand firm, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today: the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will do the fighting for you: you have only to keep still.’

    The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground. I for my part will make the heart of the Egyptians so stubborn that they will follow them. So shall I win myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, of all his army, his chariots, his horsemen. And when I have won glory for myself, at the expense of Pharaoh and his chariots and his army, the Egyptians will learn that I am the Lord.’

 

Gospel

Matthew 12:38-42

There is something greater than Solomon here

Some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. ‘Master,’ they said ‘we should like to see a sign from you.’ He replied, ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.’

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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One Flock: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:


Jeremiah 23:1–16
Psalms 23:1–6
Ephesians 2:13–18
Mark 6:30–34


As the Twelve return from their first missionary journey in today’s Gospel, our readings continue to reflect on the authority and mission of the Church.


Jeremiah says in the First Reading that Israel’s leaders, through godlessness and fanciful teachings, had misled and scattered God’s people. He promises God will send a shepherd, a king and son of David, to gather the lost sheep and appoint for them new shepherds (see Ezekiel 34:23).


The crowd gathering on the green grass (see Mark 6:39) in today’s Gospel is the start of the remnant that Jeremiah promised would be brought back to the meadow of Israel. The people seem to sense that Jesus is the Lord, the good shepherd (see John 10:11), the king they’ve been waiting for (see Hosea 3:1–5).


Jesus is moved to pity, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd. This phrase was used by Moses to describe Israel’s need for a shepherd to succeed him (see Numbers 27:17). And as Moses appointed Joshua, Jesus appointed the Twelve to continue shepherding His people on earth.


Jesus had said there were other sheep who did not belong to Israel’s fold but would hear His voice and be joined to the one flock of the one shepherd (see John 10:16).


In God’s plan, the Church is to seek out first the lost sheep of the house of Israel and then to bring all nations into the fold (see Acts 13:36; Romans 1:16).


Paul, too, in today’s Epistle, sees the Church as a new creation, in which those nations who were once far off from God are joined as “one new person” with the children of Israel.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What struck me to the heart in today’s first reading was not how many people had to pack up their lives to flee from slavery or the little time they had for food preparation and so on. But that the Lord kept vigil to bring them out.  How many can relate keeping vigil for a beloved one who is very sick. Or perhaps keeping vigil through the night so that loved ones can rest peacefully in strange surroundings and perhaps extreme weather conditions. The time slowly passes by as we watch attentively in prayer and often in great anxiety. The love of the Lord our God for all of us is immeasurable! He is with us in and all through our darkest moments.

He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smouldering wick. His mercy and love for us endures forever. All nations can put their hope and trust in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for He is our Shepherd we shall not want! Amen

O Blessed Mother pray for us…..

 

First reading

Exodus 12:37-42 ·

The sons of Israel leave Egypt hurriedly by night

The sons of Israel left Rameses for Succoth, about six hundred thousand on the march – all men – not counting their families. People of various sorts joined them in great numbers; there were flocks, too, and herds in immense droves. They baked cakes with the dough which they had brought from Egypt, unleavened because the dough was not leavened; they had been driven out of Egypt, with no time for dallying, and had not provided themselves with food for the journey. The time that the sons of Israel had spent in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And on the very day the four hundred and thirty years ended, all the array of the Lord left the land of Egypt. The night, when the Lord kept vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt, must be kept as a vigil in honour of the Lord for all their generations.

Gospel

Matthew 12:14-21

He cured them all but warned them not to make him known

The Pharisees went out and began to plot against Jesus, discussing how to destroy him.

    Jesus knew this and withdrew from the district. Many followed him and he cured them all, but warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:

Here is my servant whom I have chosen,

my beloved, the favourite of my soul.

I will endow him with my spirit,

and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations.

He will not brawl or shout,

nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.

He will not break the crushed reed,

nor put out the smouldering wick

till he has led the truth to victory:

in his name the nations will put their hope.


Never shall I take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist for granted especially on the Lord’s day. For it is on this day I remember just how much He loved me, that He would lay down His life for me; and by His resurrection I have hope of eternal life with Him. He feeds me of Himself in bread and wine that I may partake in His divinity and have life to the full! Spiritual communion is but a foretaste of receiving His divine presence fully and substantially!

So I make myself present to Him, body, mind and spirit. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of my bridegroom to receive Him wholly in nuptial embrace. He alone gives me life! No evil shall I fear for He is with me always.

Glory and praise to my Eucharistic Lord Jesus Christ now and forever! Amen

First reading

Exodus 11:10-12:14

The institution of the Passover

Moses and Aaron worked many wonders in the presence of Pharaoh. But the Lord made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn, and he did not let the sons of Israel leave his country.

    The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

    ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled, but roasted over the fire, head, feet and entrails. You must not leave any over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you are to burn. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Gospel

Matthew 12:1-8

The Son of Man is master of the sabbath

Jesus took a walk one sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath.’ But he said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath day the Temple priests break the sabbath without being blamed for it? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’


“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Our names are written on palms of God our Father’s hands and He loves us all most tenderly, individually and collectively as One Body in Him.  Through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father shares an intimate relationship with us His children. Our names are uniquely special yet do we live up to our identity as His children?

Have we taken our names for granted like an email address simply identifiable and used to communicate with others.  Do others hear our name and say, hey that is a man after God’s heart? Or I  see Christ in her! Or has the world overwhelmed us and have we allowed it to turn us into something or someone we are NOT!

Let us hear the call of our Lord each and everyday to enter into His presence. He has promised that He will give us comfort and we can rest in His peace. He will free us from all sin so that we can live our lives to the full in His love.

Jesus I submit myself fully to Your Holy embrace. Amen

St Bonaventure pray for us…..

First reading

Exodus 3:13-20 ·

God reveals his name to Moses

Moses, hearing the voice of God coming from the middle of the bush, said to him, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.

    ‘Go and gather the elders of Israel together and tell them, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and he has said to me: I have visited you and seen all that the Egyptians are doing to you. And so I have resolved to bring you up out of Egypt where you are oppressed, into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land where milk and honey flow.” They will listen to your words, and with the elders of Israel you are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. Give us leave, then, to make a three days’ journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord our God.” For myself, knowing that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced by a mighty hand, I shall show my power and strike Egypt with all the wonders I am going to work there. After this he will let you go.’

Gospel

Matthew 11:28-30

My yoke is easy and my burden light

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’


The only way to hear God’s Will for us is to enter into His presence. Through His Word for us and prayer we enter can enter into a deep personal relationship with Him. For God our Heavenly Father desires an intimate relationship with all His Children. And all paths that lead to Him converge through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Formation is only useful information lest it is put into action. What good is it to know about Jesus if there is a disconnect between heart, mind and will? Only through an intimate relationship with Him can we say that we not only know about Him, but we are One with and in Him. And this is clearly seen in our love put into action for others.

Bless me Father with the wonders of Your love through Your Son Jesus who reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 3:1-6,9-12 ·

The burning bush

Moses was looking after the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, priest of Midian. He led his flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing but it was not being burnt up. ‘I must go and look at this strange sight,’ Moses said, ‘and see why the bush is not burnt.’

    Now the Lord saw him go forward to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush. ‘Moses, Moses!’ he said. ‘Here I am,’ Moses answered. ‘Come no nearer,’ he said. ‘Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers,’ he said, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this Moses covered his face, afraid to look at God.

    And the Lord said, ‘The cry of the sons of Israel has come to me, and I have witnessed the way in which the Egyptians oppress them, so come, I send you to Pharaoh to bring the sons of Israel, my people, out of Egypt.’

    Moses said to God, ‘Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?’ ‘I shall be with you,’ was the answer ‘and this is the sign by which you shall know that it is I who have sent you… After you have led the people out of Egypt, you are to offer worship to God on this mountain.’

Gospel

Matthew 11:25-27

You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little children

Jesus exclaimed, ‘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 the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 13, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must never take the law or our sense of justice into our own hands and remain faithful to God our Father’s commands and statutes. Avoid any and all forms of sins, otherwise we find ourselves in exile searching for the peace, love and joy we had lost having entered into sin. If we place our faith and trust in the Lord our God He make a way for us. He will turn our curses into blessings. Look how having placed her faith and trust in God by surrendering her son into His hands Moses’s mother was reunited with her son and was able to suckle him!

O my Jesus my Lord, forgive my many sins against You and my brethren. Take away from me all that is not of You Lord. My sinful pride, any unforgiveness in my heart, and all that keeps me in exile from You. I repent of all my sins and offer up my contrite heart. Bless me and make me whole so that I may glorify You by my life. Amen

 

First reading

Exodus 2:1-15 ·

Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses among the bulrushes

There was a man of the tribe of Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the river’s edge. His sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

    Now Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe in the river, and the girls attending her were walking along by the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and looked, and saw a baby boy, crying; and she was sorry for him. ‘This is a child of one of the Hebrews’ she said. Then the child’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to suckle the child for you?’ ‘Yes, go,’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her; and the girl went off to find the baby’s own mother. To her the daughter of Pharaoh said, ‘Take this child away and suckle it for me. I will see you are paid.’ So the woman took the child and suckled it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter who treated him like a son; she named him Moses because, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

    Moses, a man by now, set out at this time to visit his countrymen, and he saw what a hard life they were having; and he saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his countrymen. Looking round he could see no one in sight, so he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. On the following day he came back, and there were two Hebrews, fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, ‘What do you mean by hitting your fellow countryman?’ ‘And who appointed you’ the man retorted, ‘to be prince over us, and judge? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Moses was frightened. ‘Clearly that business has come to light’ he thought. When Pharaoh heard of the matter he would have killed Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and made for the land of Midian.

Gospel

Matthew 11:20-24

It will not go as hard with Sodom on Judgement Day as with you

Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.

    ‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’


We often think that the atrocities of genocide, gender selection and other such terrors against humanity occurred only in recent centuries. But we can clearly see the very same things happening in today’s first reading of the Book of Exodus. What about in the very country that we live in today? Perhaps not in explicit forms but in some adulterated versions beginning with race, language and religious discrimination. What then about abortions and euthanasia!? What happened to the sanctity of life? Where is the Lord our God? Has He abandoned His people to their sins? 

Perhaps the mess, divisions, quarrels and unrest we face in our very own homes is the very result of an absence of our Lord? We had stubbornly refused to acknowledge our loving Lord Jesus as the Lord of our lives. And by refusing the deep personal relationship He wants us to have with Him, we have ultimately rejected the Prince of Peace! How then do we expect to have peace in our homes let alone peace of mind?

If God is with us and for us, who then can stand against us? So let us order our lives and place Him first above all! Let us turn back to Him with contrite hearts, so that we can once again dwell in Him as He will dwell in us and surely; His peace, love and joy will reign in our hearts, in our loved ones and in our brethren forevermore. Amen

First reading

Exodus 1:8-14,22 ·

The Egyptians force the sons of Israel into slavery

There came to power in Egypt a new king who knew nothing of Joseph. ‘Look,’ he said to his subjects ‘these people, the sons of Israel, have become so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. We must be prudent and take steps against their increasing any further, or if war should break out, they might add to the number of our enemies. They might take arms against us and so escape out of the country.’ Accordingly they put slave-drivers over the Israelites to wear them down under heavy loads. In this way they built the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the more they were crushed, the more they increased and spread, and men came to dread the sons of Israel. The Egyptians forced the sons of Israel into slavery, and made their lives unbearable with hard labour, work with clay and with brick, all kinds of work in the fields; they forced on them every kind of labour.

    Pharaoh then gave his subjects this command: ‘Throw all the boys born to the Hebrews into the river, but let all the girls live.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:34-11:1

It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

    ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

    ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

    ‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.

    ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’

    When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.

15th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: July 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The Church’s Mission: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Amos 7:12–15

Psalms 85:9–14

Ephesians 1:3–14

Mark 6:7–13

In commissioning the Apostles in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church’s mission after the Resurrection.

His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (see Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2–4). Like the Israelites, the Apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the Apostles’ mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus—delivering people from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.

Like Amos in today’s First Reading, the Apostles are not “professionals” who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (see Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.

Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the Apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called not necessarily to be successful but only to be faithful to God’s command.

With authority and power given to her by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

This word of truth, this Gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world—to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church’s mission—to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Just two days ago I was inspired to share that God our loving Father can turn all curses into Blessings all we need is to remain faithful. And once again today we are reminded of this in today’s first reading. Why? perhaps the world in which we live in today with all its trials and challenges of the pandemic needs to be reassured that God our Heavenly Father is watching over all of us and is continuing to pour His many Blessings upon us in so many varied ways. Through faithfulness in Him many of us Christians are standing together, fighting this pandemic and its fallout in solidarity with the rest of our sisters brothers in the world.

As children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him, it is our duty as faithful children to share His love with one and all. Too many are distressed and are feeling very alone in this struggle to survive in this ever changing world. Why are we still so afraid to reach out them? Is fear of rejection or failure our excuse? Jesus was rejected and abused and still He continued to reach out to us in love, can we do any less for our brethren?

Jesus You are my Lord and my God! Let me declare this to the world by my love put into action for You and for my brethren. Amen

First reading
Genesis 49:29-33,50:15-26
‘God has turned the evil you planned into good’

Jacob gave his sons these instructions, ‘I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me near my fathers, in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, opposite Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial-plot. There Abraham was buried and his wife Sarah. There Isaac was buried and his wife Rebekah. There I buried Leah. I mean the field and the cave in it that were bought from the sons of Heth.’
When Jacob had finished giving his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, and breathing his last was gathered to his people.
Seeing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph intends to treat us as enemies and repay us in full for all the wrong we did him?’ So they sent this message to Joseph: ‘Before your father died he gave us this order: “You must say to Joseph: Oh forgive your brothers their crime and their sin and all the wrong they did you.” Now therefore, we beg you, forgive the crime of the servants of your father’s God.’ Joseph wept at the message they sent to him.
His brothers came themselves and fell down before him. ‘We present ourselves before you’ they said ‘as your slaves.’ But Joseph answered them, ‘Do not be afraid; is it for me to put myself in God’s place? The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good, that he might bring about, as indeed he has, the deliverance of a numerous people. So you need not be afraid; I myself will provide for you and your dependants.’ In this way he reassured them with words that touched their hearts.
So Joseph stayed in Egypt with his father’s family; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children, as also the children of Machir, Manasseh’s son, who were born on Joseph’s lap. At length Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die; but God will be sure to remember you kindly and take you back from this country to the land that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ And Joseph made Israel’s sons swear an oath, ‘When God remembers you with kindness be sure to take my bones from here.’
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten; they embalmed him and laid him in his coffin in Egypt.

Gospel
Matthew 10:24-33
Everything now hidden will be made clear

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘The disciple is not superior to his teacher, nor the slave to his master. It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household?
‘Do not be afraid of them therefore. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’


Many have chosen to migrate for a better life and opportunities. And many hold dear to and freely encourage others with Matthew 10:19 on how we should not worry about how or what to say and that the Holy Spirit will guide us by speaking in us.  Both ring true only if we have a deep personal relationship the Lord our God and  if we discern, hear and follow His Will for us.

Not a two minute prayer telling Him what we want to do and ending with a thy will be done! Then going ahead with our own plans. But truly spending time seeking His Will for us. For He only wants what is best for us and for our family. And some times what is best for us is not going where we want to or some times not saying anything at that time.

However most of us do not include our Lord in our Holiday or vacation planning. Why? Perhaps it is not in our habit to do so or simply we think it is not a big enough deal? We might only include Him for live changing things such as job opportunities and such! What then is the extend of our relationship with Him?

Lord Jesus You are my all in all, let me dwell with and in You; as I seek to do Your Holy Will for me and my family always. Amen 

First reading

Genesis 46:1-7,28-30

‘I can die, now that I have seen you alive’

Israel left Canaan with his possessions, and reached Beersheba. There he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in a vision at night, ‘Jacob, Jacob’, he said. ‘I am here’, he replied. ‘I am God, the God of your father’, he continued. ‘Do not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I myself will go down to Egypt with you. I myself will bring you back again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.’ Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons conveyed their father Jacob, their little children and their wives in the waggons Pharaoh had sent to fetch him.

    Taking their livestock and all that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, they went to Egypt, Jacob and all his family with him: his sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his grand-daughters, in a word, all his children he took with him to Egypt.

    Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that the latter might present himself to him in Goshen. When they arrived in the land of Goshen, Joseph had his chariot made ready and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as he appeared he threw his arms round his neck and for a long time wept on his shoulder. Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now I can die, now that I have seen you again, and seen you still alive.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:16-23

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.

    ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’


What struck me in today’s readings which serves as great reminders, are that the Lord our God can turn any curse into a Blessing for His faithful and that we should depend solely on our ever generous and loving Father in Heaven.

Through his trials and challenges Joseph became some such a magnanimous leader after the heart of God that he was able to feed his family and his people in the terrible famine. Through our own trials and challenges the Lord our God will turn all curses into Blessings for us and perhaps we ourselves like Joseph will become Blessings for others through Him whom we love and serve.

We should resist with all our might the corrupting influence of fame, wealth and fortune in our service of others in His Holy name. For there are indeed many folks out there who touched by His word or His grace will offer generous love offerings to us. Many priests and pastors are loved and taken care of and for those who do not offer any resistance oftentimes fall into sin. We too are no exception and therefore should always look to God our Heavenly Father to provide what we need. And if He deems to provide through the generosity of others then we should only take what we need for our pilgrim journey to Glorify Him by our deeds in the service of others. Amen

First reading

Genesis 44:18-21,23-29,45:1-5

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers

Judah went up to Joseph and said, ‘May it please my lord, let your servant have a word privately with my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord questioned his servants, “Have you father or brother?” And we said to my lord, “We have an old father, and a younger brother born of his old age. His brother is dead, so he is the only one left of his mother, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me that my eyes may look on him.” But you said to your servants, “If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not be admitted to my presence again.” When we went back to your servant my father, we repeated to him what my lord had said. So when our father said, “Go back and buy us a little food,” we said, “We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, we will go down, for we cannot be admitted to the man’s presence unless our youngest brother is with us.” So your servant our father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two children. When one left me, I said that he must have been torn to pieces. And I have not seen him to this day. If you take this one from me too and any harm comes to him, you will send me down to Sheol with my white head bowed in misery.” If I go to your servant my father now, and we have not the boy with us, he will die as soon as he sees the boy is not with us, for his heart is bound up with him. Then your servants will have sent your servant our father down to Sheol with his white head bowed in grief.’

    Then Joseph could not control his feelings in front of all his retainers, and he exclaimed, ‘Let everyone leave me.’ No one therefore was present with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers, but he wept so loudly that all the Egyptians heard, and the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.

    Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?’ His brothers could not answer him, they were so dismayed at the sight of him. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ When they had come closer to him he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not grieve, do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here, since God sent me before you to preserve your lives.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:7-15

You received without charge: give without charge

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.

    ‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’


What power do you think you have or possess? If not given You by our Lord to be a steward of His Kingdom and to look after His flock?

So you who are an Executive member of the Committee helping to run your parish or a member of the Parish Council, how are you caring for your parishioners? Ensuring that everything administrative is running smoothly like a tight sanitised and impeccable ship without addressing their pastoral needs? Are you even one with the flock under your care? Do you pray with them or have you isolated yourself?

What about you? Who are not part of the leadership in your parish? Are you reaching out to share the good news of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ with others? To remind them that the Kingdom is at hand? Are you constantly seeking formation to better equip yourself? Are you dwelling on His word and Will for You daily?

We are All sent to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that the Lord has commanded us.  How do we even begin if our very own house is not in order?

Lord Jesus make me a disciple after Your own heart. Amen

First reading

Genesis 41:55-57,42:5-7,17-24

Joseph’s brothers in his power

When the whole country of Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread. But Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.’ There was famine all over the world. Then Joseph opened all the granaries and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine grew worse in the land of Egypt. People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, for the famine had grown severe throughout the world.

    Israel’s sons with others making the same journey went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan. It was Joseph, as the man in authority over the country, who sold the grain to all comers. So Joseph’s brothers went and bowed down before him, their faces touching the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers he recognised them. But he did not make himself known to them, and he spoke harshly to them. Then he kept them all in custody for three days.

    On the third day Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you shall keep your lives, for I am a man who fears God. If you are honest men let one of your brothers be kept in the place of your detention; as for you, go and take grain to relieve the famine of your families. You shall bring me your youngest brother; this way your words will be proved true, and you will not have to die!’ This they did. They said to one another, ‘Truly we are being called to account for our brother. We saw his misery of soul when he begged our mercy, but we did not listen to him and now this misery has come home to us.’ Reuben answered them, ‘Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you did not listen, and now we are brought to account for his blood.’ They did not know that Joseph understood, because there was an interpreter between them. He left them and wept.

Gospel

Matthew 10:1-7

‘Go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.

    These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:

    ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’


Have you ever playfully wrestled a loved one? Not wanting to let go but simply to prolong the loving embrace? This is what I envision when I choose to wrestle the Lord my God not wanting to let go of Him even if I barely cling on to the fringe of His cloak. I will not allow my sins and sinfulness to overcome me and take me away from Him. I will not allow the challenge of doing His Will overwhelm me for I know He will bless me and give me what I need. He will transform and make me new, to be His light in the world. 

Let us pray…..Lord let us be Your labourers of love, send us to Your harvest. Amen

Saint Maria Goretti pray for us….. 

First reading

Genesis 32:23-33

Jacob wrestles with God

Jacob rose, and taking his two wives and his two slave-girls and his eleven children he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream and sent all his possessions over too. And Jacob was left alone.

    And there was one that wrestled with him until daybreak who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him in the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him. He said, ‘Let me go, for day is breaking.’ But Jacob answered, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ He then asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob’, he replied. He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.’ Jacob then made this request, ‘I beg you, tell me your name’, but he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.

    Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said ‘and I have survived.’ The sun rose as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. That is the reason why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the socket of the hip; because he had struck Jacob in the socket of the hip on the sciatic nerve.

Gospel

Matthew 9:32-37

The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’

    Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.

    And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’


The gates of Heaven are opened to those whose hearts stand ready to receive the Lord their God. His Saints intercede for them and He sends His Angels as needed to minister to them. This promise has been fulfilled by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Salvation of the world!

Let our hearts, body, mind and soul ascend to His perfect will for us. For it is only then our Lord Jesus can and will work miracles in our lives. It is our trust and faith in Him that restores us and gives us life. For we were reminded in yesterday’s Gospel that He could not work miracles in those lacked faith in Him, those who used their free will to reject Him.

Jesus I place all my faith and trust in You. Amen

First reading

Genesis 28:10-22 ·

Jacob’s dream of the ladder at Bethel

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he had reached a certain place he passed the night there, since the sun had set. Taking one of the stones to be found at that place, he made it his pillow and lay down where he was. He had a dream: a ladder was there, standing on the ground with its top reaching to heaven; and there were angels of God going up it and coming down. And the Lord was there, standing over him, saying, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants shall be like the specks of dust on the ground; you shall spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south, and all the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.

    ‘Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you.’

    Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Truly, the Lord is in this place and I never knew it!’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than a house of God; this is the gate of heaven!’ Rising early in the morning, Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a monument, pouring oil over the top of it. He named the place Bethel, but before that the town was called Luz.

    Jacob made this vow, ‘If God goes with me and keeps me safe on this journey I am making, if he gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and if I return home safely to my father, then the Lord shall be my God. This stone I have set up as a monument shall be a house of God.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:18-26

‘Your faith has restored you to health’

While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.

    When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.

14Th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: July 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Son of Mary: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Ezekiel 2:2–5

Psalm 123:1–4

2 Corinthians 12:7–10

Mark 6:1-6

As we’ve walked with the Apostles in the Gospels in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed Jesus command the wind and sea, and order a little girl to arise from the dead.

But He seems to meet His match in His hometown of Nazareth. Today’s Gospel is blunt: “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there.”

Why not? Because of the people’s lack of faith. They acknowledged the wisdom of His words, the power of His works. But they refused to recognize Him as a prophet come among them, a messenger sent by God.

All they could see was how much “this man” was like them—a carpenter, the son of their neighbor, Mary, with brothers and sisters.

Of course, Mary was ever-virgin and had no other children. The Gospel refers to Jesus’ brothers as Paul refers to all Israelites as his brothers, the children of Abraham (see Romans 9:3, 7).

That’s the point in today’s Gospel, too. Like the prophet Ezekiel in today’s First Reading, Jesus was sent by God to the rebellious house of Israel, where He found His own brothers and sisters obstinate of heart and in revolt against God.

The servant is not above the Master (see Matthew 10:24). As His disciples, we too face the mockery and contempt we hear of in today’s Psalm. And isn’t it often hardest to live our faith among those in our own families, those who think they really know us, who define us by the people we used to be—before we chose to walk with Jesus?

As Paul confides in today’s Epistle, insults and hardships are God’s way of teaching us to rely solely on His grace.

Jesus will work no mighty deeds in our lives unless we abandon ourselves to Him in faith. Blessed then are those who take no offense in Him (see Luke 7:23). Instead, we must look upon Him with the eyes of servants—knowing that the son of Mary is also the Lord enthroned in the heavens.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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On this feast day of St Thomas we are reminded of not one but two great quotes from today’s Gospel in which we are given, to dwell upon and lead us to a greater faith and relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

First “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

For those who see with the eyes of faith have seen the Lord. They have Him in their presence. We have also been given a great gift of being able to gaze upon Him in the Blessed Sacrament and for those who have led others who had not yet known Him can attest by their testimony they too had experienced His peace, love and joy while seated in His presence.

Second “My Lord and my God!”

We who have experienced His profound love and mercy have exclaimed with overwhelming joy in our hearts this very words, My Lord and my God! We feel the same way whenever we see the Eucharistic Host lifted over the Eucharistic wine at Mass. Again in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. With hope in our hearts we will exclaim it again when we return into His loving embrace at the end of our time here on earth.

My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here; that you see me, that your hear me. I adore you with profound reverence; I beg your pardon for my sins, and the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My Immaculate Mother, Saint Joseph my father and lord, my guardian angel, intercede for me. Amen

St Thomas pray for us…

First reading

Ephesians 2:19-22 ·

In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like us

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

Gospel

John 20:24-29

‘My Lord and my God!’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’


“Oh please don’t let her sit with us! She will ruin my day.” “Here comes Mr. ‘Know it all’ quick lets go to the other end of the diner hopefully he did not see us.” “Nope I am not going to sit at their table, all they do is drink and make merry.” “He’s a divorcee how can he be an Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion?”

We see clearly the faults in others yet are we without any sin whatsoever? Do we think our sins smaller than others? Or problems and challenges larger? What if Jesus refused to sit with us even though our sins are tiny? After all our Lord is perfect without sin, so even a tiny speck is detestable to Him.  Yet we know and proclaim that He is all loving and merciful; for He laid down His life for us. How can we continue to proclaim Him as such when our behaviour as His disciples runs contrary to the fact? In other words, how are we being Jesus for others?

Our Lord wants us to live life to the full. He is there to comfort us in our sorrows and rejoices with us in our joys. And for those who have fallen short, He is there to grant beginnings of new life in Him.

Glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen

First reading

Genesis 23:1-4,19,24:1-8,62-67

‘Choose a wife for my son Isaac’

The length of Sarah’s life was a hundred and twenty-seven years. She died at Kiriath-arba, or Hebron, in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn and grieve for her.

    Then leaving his dead, Abraham spoke to the sons of Heth: ‘I am a stranger and a settler among you,’ he said. ‘Let me own a burial-plot among you, so that I may take my dead wife and bury her.’

    After this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah opposite Mamre, in the country of Canaan.

    By now Abraham was an old man well on in years, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. Abraham said to the eldest servant of his household, the steward of all his property, ‘Place your hand under my thigh, I would have you swear by the Lord, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live. Instead, go to my own land and my own kinsfolk to choose a wife for my son Isaac.’ The servant asked him, ‘What if the woman does not want to come with me to this country? Must I take your son back to the country from which you came?’ Abraham answered, ‘On no account take my son back there. The Lord, God of heaven and God of earth, took me from my father’s home, and from the land of my kinsfolk, and he swore to me that he would give this country to my descendants. He will now send his angel ahead of you, so that you may choose a wife for my son there. And if the woman does not want to come with you, you will be free from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.’

    Isaac, who lived in the Negeb, had meanwhile come into the wilderness of the well of Lahai Roi. Now Isaac went walking in the fields as evening fell, and looking up saw camels approaching. And Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She jumped down from her camel, and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?’ The servant replied, ‘That is my master’; then she took her veil and hid her face. The servant told Isaac the whole story, and Isaac led Rebekah into his tent and made her his wife; and he loved her. And so Isaac was consoled for the loss of his mother.

Gospel

Matthew 9:9-13

It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick

As Jesus was walking on, he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

    While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 1, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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“You have an important paper on Monday, so stay home and prepare for it. You can always go for confession next Sunday, God will understand.” “During the examination period you can skip Cathechism classes, what were they thinking continuing with such classes during this time!” “As long as the pandemic is on-going why risk attending Mass in Church? If the Lord wanted us back in Church He would put an end to this pandemic and keep our children safe” Is this the faith, trust and relationship we have in the Lord our God.

We must have no doubt that the Lord our God is an ever loving and merciful Father to us all.  He will never put us in harm’s way nor does He ever wish for His children to perish. Yes in the first reading we hear how Abraham had his faith in the Lord put to the test but we also know that the Lord prevented him from harming his son. God Himself would lay His life down for us in the end! Through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we were redeemed! Our sins are forgiven!

With courage let us always turn back to our Lord with contrite hearts, so that we may be forgiven; and by His grace we shall likewise forgive everyone who have sinned against us. Amen

First reading

Genesis 22:1-19

The sacrifice of Isaac

God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’

    Rising early next morning Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place God had pointed out to him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there; we will worship and come back to you.’

    Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together. Isaac spoke to his father Abraham, ‘Father’ he said. ‘Yes, my son’ he replied. ‘Look,’ he said ‘here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.’ Then the two of them went on together.

    When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.

    But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ he replied. ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.’ Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son. Abraham called this place ‘The Lord Provides’, and hence the saying today: On the mountain the Lord provides.

    The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. ‘I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.’

    Abraham went back to his servants, and together they set out for Beersheba, and he settled in Beersheba.

Gospel

Matthew 9:1-8

‘Your sins are forgiven; get up and walk’

Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” 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 paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.


We may not  openly say it but how often have we implored Jesus to leave our neighbourhood? When we choose to miss Sunday Mass for more important schedules or an event. Family, friends or personal plans over a community prayer meeting. Everything else over dwelling on His Word and praying.

Yet our Lord never ever imposes His Will over us. He has granted us free Will to love, serve Him or Not. He hears our cries even when we have sinned against Him and He will come to us if we allow Him to. When will we ever learn that we have a wonderful, merciful and loving Lord and God who only wants the best for us. He wants us to be the best version of ourselves through His grace so as to live life to the full in His love.

Come in to my life sweet Jesus, come dwell in my heart. Amen

First reading

Genesis 21:5,8-20 ·

Hagar and Ishmael, expelled for Sarah’s sake, saved by the Lord

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham gave a great banquet on the day Isaac was weaned. Now Sarah watched the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. ‘Drive away that slave-girl and her son,’ she said to Abraham; ‘this slave-girl’s son is not to share the inheritance with my son Isaac.’ This greatly distressed Abraham because of his son, but God said to him, ‘Do not distress yourself on account of the boy and your slave-girl. Grant Sarah all she asks of you, for it is through Isaac that your name will be carried on. But the slave-girl’s son I will also make into a nation, for he is your child too.’ Rising early next morning Abraham took some bread and a skin of water and, giving them to Hagar, he put the child on her shoulder and sent her away.

    She wandered off into the wilderness of Beersheba. When the skin of water was finished she abandoned the child under a bush. Then she went and sat down at a distance, about a bowshot away, saying to herself, ‘I cannot see the child die.’ So she sat at a distance; and the child wailed and wept.

    But God heard the boy wailing, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven. ‘What is wrong, Hagar?’ he asked. ‘Do not be afraid, for God has heard the boy’s cry where he lies. Come, pick up the boy and hold him safe, for I will make him into a great nation.’ Then God opened Hagar’s eyes and she saw a well, so she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

    God was with the boy. He grew up and made his home in the wilderness, and he became a bowman.

Gospel

Matthew 8:28-34

The Gadarene swine

When Jesus reached the country of the Gadarenes on the other side of the lake, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs – creatures so fierce that no one could pass that way. They stood there shouting, ‘What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?’ Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding, and the devils pleaded with Jesus, ‘If you cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’ And he said to them, ‘Go then’, and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off and made for the town, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the demoniacs. At this the whole town set out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw him they implored him to leave the neighbourhood.


Where would our Church be today if not for the divine intervention and protection of the Lord our God over His  Shepherds and His flock. 

Today we remember two great and wonderful Shepherds St Peter and St Paul who received perfection through Christ our Lord by following closely in His footsteps. They too laid down their lives for their friends and their sacrifice bore abundant fruit for Holy Mother Church and the Lord our God.

Let us pray for all the Shepherds our Lord continues to send us, as they work tirelessly to lead His flock into His Kingdom. Many of which lay down their lives for us one way or another!

And may we always keep in mind that we too are called to be Shepherds after the heart of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for one another. Amen

St Peter and St Paul pray for us….

First reading

Acts 12:1-11 ·

‘Now I know the Lord really did save me from Herod’

King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.

    On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’

Second reading

2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18 ·

All there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

    The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 28, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Yes Lord I will follow You when I am retired, when my children are bigger, when I have enough put away for my nest egg, when I have more time, if it does not require me to travel, I am  ok with physical labour but no speaking engagements. Monday to Friday after office hours but no weekends!

Are we true disciples after our Lord’s own heart? He who had no place to lay His head. He who laid His life down for us so that we may live in the sight of God our Heavenly Father. He who sits at the right hand of God our Heavenly Father and intercedes not for any number but for each and everyone of us.

How many souls have I saved through my discipleship of Him whom I love and serve?

Lord lead me and I will follow. Amen

St Irenaeus Pray of us….

First reading

Genesis 18:16-33

Abraham negotiates with the Lord

From Mamre the men set out and arrived within sight of Sodom, with Abraham accompanying them to show them the way. Now the Lord had wondered, ‘Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do, seeing that Abraham will become a great nation with all the nations of the earth blessing themselves by him? For I have singled him out to command his sons and his household after him to maintain the way of the Lord by just and upright living. In this way the Lord will carry out for Abraham what he has promised him.’

    Then the Lord said, ‘How great an outcry there is against Sodom and Gomorrah! How grievous is their sin! I propose to go down and see whether or not they have done all that is alleged in the outcry against them that has come up to me. I am determined to know.’

    The men left there and went to Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Approaching him he said, ‘Are you really going to destroy the just man with the sinner? Perhaps there are fifty just men in the town. Will you really overwhelm them, will you not spare the place for the fifty just men in it? Do not think of doing such a thing: to kill the just man with the sinner, treating just and sinner alike! Do not think of it! Will the judge of the whole earth not administer justice?’ The Lord replied, ‘If at Sodom I find fifty just men in the town, I will spare the whole place because of them.’

    Abraham replied, ‘I am bold indeed to speak like this to my Lord, I who am dust and ashes. But perhaps the fifty just men lack five: will you destroy the whole city for five?’ ‘No,’ he replied ‘I will not destroy it if I find forty-five just men there.’ Again Abraham said to him, ‘Perhaps there will only be forty there.’ ‘I will not do it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the forty.’

    Abraham said, ‘I trust my Lord will not be angry, but give me leave to speak: perhaps there will only be thirty there.’ ‘I will not do it’ he replied ‘if I find thirty there.’ He said, ‘I am bold indeed to speak like this, but perhaps there will only be twenty there.’ ‘I will not destroy it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the twenty.’ He said, ‘I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.’ ‘I will not destroy it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the ten.’

    When he had finished talking to Abraham the Lord went away, and Abraham returned home.

 

Gospel

Matthew 8:18-22

The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head

When Jesus saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side. One of the scribes then came up and said to him, ‘Master, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’

    Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, ‘Sir, let me go and bury my father first.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead.’

13th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: June 26, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Arise!: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24

Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13

2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

God, who formed us in His imperishable image, did not intend for us to die, we hear in today’s First Reading. Death entered the world through the devil’s envy and Adam and Eve’s sin; as a result, we are all bound to die.

But in the moving story in today’s Gospel, we see Jesus liberate a little girl from the possession of death.

On one level, Mark is recounting an event that led the disciples to understand Jesus’ authority and power over even the final enemy, death (see 1 Corinthians 15:26). On another level, however, this episode is written to strengthen our hope that we too will be raised from the dead, along with all our loved ones who sleep in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:18).

Jesus commands the girl to “Arise!”—using the same Greek word used to describe His own resurrection (see Mark 16:6). And the consoling message of today’s Gospel is that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. If we believe in Him, even though we die, we will live (see John 15:25–26).

We are called to have the same faith as the parents in the Gospel today—praying for our loved ones, trusting in Jesus’ promise that even death cannot keep us apart. Notice the parents follow Him even though those in their own house tell them there is no hope, and even though others ridicule Jesus’ claim that the dead have only fallen asleep (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18).

Already in Baptism, we’ve been raised to new life in Christ. And the Eucharist, like the food given to the little girl today, is the pledge that He will raise us on the last day.

We should rejoice, as we sing in today’s Psalm, that He has brought us up from the netherworld, the pit of death. And, as Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle, we should offer our lives in thanksgiving for this gracious act, imitating Christ in our love and generosity for others.


How many times I have uttered this very words and beat my breast in remorse before going up to receive Holy Communion, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” And still each and every time my Lord graced me with His presence and embraced me as though I was His one and only beloved.

How could I have taken this opportunity of a loving exchange for granted, growing up? Paying lip service like a tax! How I do take it for granted still, when I do not prepare myself to receive my Lord and my God! What do I bring to the altar? Where are my three bushels of flour? What do I bring forth as the work of my hands or the fruit of the vine as an offering? Have I come before Him with a humble, contrite heart? Have I been thankful and grateful to Him since, for healing my soul? Does my gratitude show in the handling of my daily affairs?

Jesus my Saviour, forgive me the many times I have taken Your love for granted. Make me worthy of Your promises, that I may glorify You by my life. Amen

First reading

Genesis 18:1-15 ·

‘Next year your wife Sarah will have a son’

The Lord appeared to Abraham at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and bowed to the ground. ‘My lord,’ he said ‘I beg you, if I find favour with you, kindly do not pass your servant by. A little water shall be brought; you shall wash your feet and lie down under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you shall refresh yourselves before going further. That is why you have come in your servant’s direction.’ They replied, ‘Do as you say.’

    Abraham hastened to the tent to find Sarah.’ ‘Hurry,’ he said ‘knead three bushels of flour and make loaves.’ Then running to the cattle Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then taking cream, milk and the calf he had prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree.

    ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him. ‘She is in the tent’ he replied. Then his guest said, ‘I shall visit you again next year without fail, and your wife will then have a son.’ Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well on in years, and Sarah had ceased to have her monthly periods. So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, ‘Now that I am past the age of child-bearing, and my husband is an old man, is pleasure to come my way again!’ But the Lord asked Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, “Am I really going to have a child now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the same time next year I shall visit you again and Sarah will have a son.’ ‘I did not laugh’ Sarah said, lying because she was afraid. But he replied, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’

Gospel

Matthew 8:5-17

‘I am not worthy to have you under my roof: give the word, and my servant will be healed’

When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.

    And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

    That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:

He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.


Even though we have sinned many times and took matters into our own hands instead of discerning and following our Lord’s will for us. He still loves us very much and wants to make us whole.  It is fitting therefore that we should bow down low and seek His mercy.

Through the sacrament of reconciliation we are restored, healed, made whole as pure as when we entered anew as God our Heavenly Father’s children. So that we can live up to the names He gave us, so as to live life to the full in His love. We become beacons of His love for others so that they too can live as His children so loved by Him.

Thank you Jesus for loving me, let me live in Your presence always. Amen

First reading

Genesis 17:1,9-10,15-22 ·

The Lord make a covenant and gives Abram and Sarai new names

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am El Shaddai. Bear yourself blameless in my presence, and I will make a Covenant between myself and you. You on your part shall maintain my Covenant, yourself and your descendants after you, generation after generation. Now this is my Covenant which you are to maintain between myself and you, and your descendants after you: all your males must be circumcised.’

    God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah. I will bless her and moreover give you a son by her. I will bless her and nations shall come out of her; kings of peoples shall descend from her.’ Abraham bowed to the ground, and he laughed, thinking to himself, ‘Is a child to be born to a man one hundred years old, and will Sarah have a child at the age of ninety?’ Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, let Ishmael live in your presence!’ But God replied, ‘No, but your wife Sarah shall bear you a son whom you are to name Isaac. With him I will establish my Covenant, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be his God and the God of his descendants after him. For Ishmael too I grant you your request: I bless him and I will make him fruitful and greatly increased in numbers. He shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But my Covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear you at this time next year.’ When he had finished speaking to Abraham God went up from him.

Gospel

Matthew 8:1-4

‘If you want to, you can cure me’

After Jesus had come down from the mountain large crowds followed him. A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And his leprosy was cured at once. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Mind you do not tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence for them.’



‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

Every parent has probably asked the same question and wonder if they will do enough or be enough for their child to be success in this world. And as a child growing up and if you knew song Que Sera Sera, would you not sing along wondering the same thing? Asking your father or mother what will you be? Then the wonderful chorus reminds us “Que Sera Sera whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see, Que Sera Sera.” But No! The future is what you make it to be, many others would argue. Shouldn’t the real question we ask be, where is the Lord our God in our future and in our children’s future?

On this feast day of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, we would be remiss if we did not reflect deeply on our own Baptism. How we were born as children so loved by God our Heavenly Father, that we were made in His likeness and image. And how He Wills for each and everyone of us to grow in stature in Holiness in that likeness and image. God our Heavenly Father gave us His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; begotten Perfect in His image and likeness so that we too can be perfected through Him.

With this in mind have we grown in our love, faith and relationship with Jesus? Are we faithful disciples of Him living our calling to be a light of His for all that we meet in the world?

Jesus my love my Lord, You were always present in my past. Be present with me now and forevermore. Amen

St John the Baptist pray for us…

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 ·

I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth

Islands, listen to me,

pay attention, remotest peoples.

The Lord called me before I was born,

from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword,

and hid me in the shadow of his hand.

He made me into a sharpened arrow,

and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)

in whom I shall be glorified’;

while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,

I have exhausted myself for nothing’;

and all the while my cause was with the Lord,

my reward with my God.

I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,

my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,

he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,

to bring Jacob back to him,

to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,

to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;

I will make you the light of the nations

so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Second reading

Acts 13:22-26 ·

Jesus, whose coming was heralded by John

Paul said: ‘God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

    ‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’

Gospel

Luke 1:57-66,80

‘His name is John’

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

    Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

    Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 23, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must have enduring faith like that of father Abraham so that we can be fruitful. Our fruitfulness stems from our faith in the One who loves us dearly and shines brightly through our love put into action for others.

We have a faithful God like no other who keeps all His promises. We have to be patient and trust Him with all our heart. Just like our Blessed Mother who trusted with all her heart and endured all things for love of the Lord our God. In today’s first reading we hear of the Covenant made with father Abraham, but did he have complete trust and faith in the Lord at this stage of his life? No! For if he did he would not have listened to his wife Sarai to have a child with Hagar.  The Lord our God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our own faithfulness for His mercy and love endures forever. He fulfilled His promise to Abraham, and His faithfulness would shine through His servant Abraham through all the ages. It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Let us never waver through unbelief regarding the promises of Christ, but be strengthened in our faith and give glory to Him now and forever. Amen

First reading

Genesis 15:1-12,17-18 ·

Count the stars: such shall be your descendants

It happened that the word of the Lord was spoken to Abram in a vision, ‘Have no fear, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great.’

    ‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘what do you intend to give me? I go childless…’. Then Abram said, ‘See, you have given me no descendants; some man of my household will be my heir.’ And then this word of the Lord was spoken to him, ‘He shall not be your heir; your heir shall be of your own flesh and blood.’ Then taking him outside he said, ‘Look up to heaven and count the stars if you can. Such will be your descendants’ he told him. Abram put his faith in the Lord, who counted this as making him justified.

    ‘I am the Lord’ he said to him ‘who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to make you heir to this land.’ ‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘how am I to know that I shall inherit it?’ He said to him, ‘Get me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.’ He brought him all these, cut them in half and put half on one side and half facing it on the other; but the birds he did not cut in half. Birds of prey came down on the carcases but Abram drove them off.

    Now as the sun was setting Abram fell into a deep sleep, and terror seized him. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, there appeared a smoking furnace and a firebrand that went between the halves. That day the Lord made a Covenant with Abram in these terms:

‘To your descendants I give this land,

from the wadi of Egypt to the Great River,

the river Euphrates.’

Gospel

Matthew 7:15-20

You will be able to tell them by their fruits

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 22, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Through every hardship, challenge and suffering we may have encountered in our lives, we will see that our Lord was always present with us. And we have received so many wonderful blessings from Him and have been graced with so many gifts. How can we take His mercy and love for granted? Is our thanksgiving to the Lord our God one of mere lip service?

Or do we cherish His Word us such that we dwell on it so as to deepen our relationship and love for Him? To seek to do His Will for us and to love our neighbour, humbly freely and unconditionally. Having grown in our faith and love are we then eager to share the wisdom of His Word to all who will listen; and are we patient to teach, guide and love them into His Kingdom?

Lord Jesus You have taught us that ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Grant that we may be rich in Your mercy and love now and forever. Amen

First reading

Genesis 13:2,5-18 ·

Abram settles in the land of Canaan and builds an altar to the Lord

Abram was a very rich man, with livestock, silver and gold. Lot, who was travelling with Abram, had flocks and cattle of his own, and tents too. The land was not sufficient to accommodate them both at once, for they had too many possessions to be able to live together. Dispute broke out between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and those of Lot’s. (The Canaanites and the Perizzites were then living in the land.) Accordingly Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no dispute between me and you, nor between my herdsmen and yours, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land open before you? Part company with me: if you take the left, I will go right; if you take the right, I will go left.’

    Looking round, Lot saw all the Jordan plain, irrigated everywhere – this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – like the garden of the Lord or the land of Egypt, as far as Zoar. So Lot chose all the Jordan plain for himself and moved off eastwards. Thus they parted company: Abram settled in the land of Canaan; Lot settled among the towns of the plain, pitching his tents on the outskirts of Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were vicious men, great sinners against the Lord.

    The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted company with him, ‘Look all round from where you are towards the north and the south, towards the east and the west. All the land within sight I will give to you and your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants like the dust on the ground: when men succeed in counting the specks of dust on the ground, then they will be able to count your descendants! Come, travel through the length and breadth of the land, for I mean to give it to you.’

    So Abram went with his tents to settle at the Oak of Mamre, at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 7:6,12-14

Treat others as you would like them to treat you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.

    ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.

    ‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’


It does not matter how old or how young we are, it is how we respond to the Lord our God’s call through our faith in Him. For whatever the endeavour if we surrender our all to do His Will for us, then He will surely bless us. For He is a faithful God who keeps His promises.

How then can we ever say we are not good enough? Too tired and too old? Not eloquent or knowledgeable enough?  Afraid to be made a laughing stock? To be judged and criticised by others?

The Lord our God alone is our judge. And it is He who will qualify us. He will empower and equip us with all that we need to build His Kingdom. And though we know that we are all far from perfect, we also know that we can be perfected through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who loves us dearly.

Here I am Lord, I’ve come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Genesis 12:1-9

‘Leave your country, your family, and your father’s house’

The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, for the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name so famous that it will be used as a blessing.

‘I will bless those who bless you:

I will curse those who slight you.

All the tribes of the earth

shall bless themselves by you.’

So Abram went as the Lord told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had amassed and the people they had acquired in Haran. They set off for the land of Canaan, and arrived there.

    Abram passed through the land as far as Shechem’s holy place, the Oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘It is to your descendants that I will give this land.’ So Abram built there an altar for the Lord who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the mountainous district east of Bethel, where he pitched his tent, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. Then Abram made his way stage by stage to the Negeb.

Gospel

Matthew 7:1-5

Do not judge, and you will not be judged

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.’

12th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: June 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

In the Storm: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Job 38:1, 8-11

Psalm 107:23-26, 28-31

2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Mark 4:35-41

“Do you not yet have faith?” Our Lord’s question in today’s Gospel frames the Sunday liturgies for the remainder of the year, which the Church calls “Ordinary Time.”

In the weeks ahead, the Church’s liturgy will have us journeying with Jesus and His disciples, reliving their experience of His words and deeds, coming to know and believe in Him as they did.

Notice that today’s Psalm almost provides an outline for the Gospel. We sing of sailors caught in a storm; in their desperation, they call to the Lord and He rescues them.

Mark’s Gospel today also intends us to hear a strong echo of the story of the prophet Jonah. He, too, was found asleep on a boat when a life-threatening storm broke out that caused his fellow travelers to pray for deliverance, and then to marvel when the storm abated (see Jonah 1:3–16).

But Jesus is something greater than Jonah (see Matthew 12:41). And Mark wants us to come to see what the Apostles saw—that God alone has the power to rebuke the wind and the sea (see Isaiah 50:2;

Psalm 18:16). This is the point of today’s First Reading.

If even the wind and sea obey Him, shouldn’t we trust Him in the chaos and storms of our own lives?

As with the Apostles, the Lord has asked each of us to cross to the other side, to leave behind our old ways to travel with Him in the little ship of the Church.

In their fear today, they call Him, “Teacher.” And it is only faith in His teaching that can save us from perishing. We should trust in Christ, and trust like Christ—who was able to sleep through the storm, confident that God was with Him (see Psalm 116:6; Romans 8:31).

We should live in thanksgiving for our salvation, as today’s Epistle tells us—as new creations, no longer for ourselves but for Him who died for our sake.


Anyone who has encountered our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will attest to the life changing experience! When we were empty, restless, anxious about life; about who we are and where we are heading? Our Lord came and filled us with His peace, love and joy! Such that the world could not offer. We began to see our sister and brothers through His eyes and our hearts began to grow in greater love for them. Our eyes were opened to His miracles and wonders in our lives and in the lives of others. And if we had allowed ourselves to grow in spiritual maturity through humble service of brethren then we too would have experienced what St Paul talks about. That is of being content with our weaknesses and sufferings for Christ’s sake. For we know that our strength and all that we will ever need comes from Him.

He alone is our Master and we are His disciples. It is not that we throw caution to the wind or that we will ever do so, but we know that we serve an ever faithful loving God who watches over His flock and guides them to where they should be. And so we place all our faith and trust in Him. Glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ!

St Philip Minh and companions pray for us…..

First reading

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 ·

‘My power is at its best in weakness’

Must I go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it? But I will move on to the visions and revelations I have had from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up – whether still in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – right into the third heaven. I do know, however, that this same person – whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – was caught up into paradise and heard things which must not and cannot be put into human language. I will boast about a man like that, but not about anything of my own except my weaknesses. If I should decide to boast, I should not be made to look foolish, because I should only be speaking the truth; but I am not going to, in case anyone should begin to think I am better than he can actually see and hear me to be.

    In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.

Gospel

Matthew 6:24-34

Do not worry about tomorrow: your holy Father knows your needs

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

    ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 18, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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I have never and probably will never suffer beatings, starvation and the hardships St Paul went through for being a servant of Christ Jesus our Lord. But I know what it like to suffer through humility, challenges and personal sacrifices to be His disciple and to have made disciples of others. And the rewards I have received is to witness the fruitfulness of His peace, love and joy in the lives of those I had served. It does not matter to me if I am remembered at all for my little insignificant contributions in the past, what matters most to me is that I must continue to contribute in every way I can to build His Kingdom.

Knowing that I have limited time left, I have dwelled on what is important to me. Indeed I treasure my relationship with my parents, my wife and children, my church community and all those our Lord has sent my way. But most of all I treasure my faith, trust and loving relationship I have with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I am very far from perfect, but I hold to the hope of perfection through Him who loves me.

Lord Jesus I pray that Your light shine away all darkness in our lives. And let Your light shine through us as we endeavour to glorify You by our lives. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 11:18,21-30

If I am to boast, let me boast of my own feebleness

So many others have been boasting of their worldly achievements, that I will boast myself. But if anyone wants some brazen speaking – I am still talking as a fool – then I can be as brazen as any of them, and about the same things. Hebrews, are they? So am I. Israelites? So am I. Descendants of Abraham? So am I. The servants of Christ? I must be mad to say this, but so am I, and more than they: more, because I have worked harder, I have been sent to prison more often, and whipped many times more, often almost to death. Five times I had the thirty-nine lashes from the Jews; three times I have been beaten with sticks; once I was stoned; three times I have been shipwrecked and once adrift in the open sea for a night and a day. Constantly travelling, I have been in danger from rivers and in danger from brigands, in danger from my own people and in danger from pagans; in danger in the towns, in danger in the open country, danger at sea and danger from so-called brothers. I have worked and laboured, often without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty and often starving; I have been in the cold without clothes. And, to leave out much more, there is my daily preoccupation: my anxiety for all the churches. When any man has had scruples, I have had scruples with him; when any man is made to fall, I am tortured.

    If I am to boast, then let me boast of my own feebleness.

Gospel

Matthew 6:19-23

Store up treasure for yourselves in heaven

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

    ‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!’


Let us make no mistake the evil one is lurking in the world seeking our downfall.  He has used many to preach the new gospel of ‘love’ of an even more merciful and loving ‘Jesus’ who embraces same sex marriages, abortions, euthanasia, assisted suicide and He wants us all to live a life of prosperity.  And so many are swayed by the lure and eloquence of such preachers!

Perhaps one way of looking at it is to ask this question, which parent would allow their children do just about whatever they want or whenever they want? To allow them to be freely exposed to corrupting influences that would lead to their self destruction? Would God our Heavenly Father allow the same for us? How does each of the above mentioned new age causes reflect the sanctity of life and do they perpetuate life itself? Is our Lord’s mercy and love  reflected in any of them?

Jesus was sent to save us from sin by dying on the cross for us. His mercy and love for us was one of great personal sacrifice so as to do the will of His Heavenly Father. Are we emulating His love and mercy the same way? Yes indeed we must be swift to forgive and we must love the sinner but never shall we love or condone the sin!

Abba Father in Heaven Your Will be done in my life now and forever. Help me as I strive to be Holy as You my Heavenly Father are Holy. Grant me every opportunity to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist so that I can be fully united with Him, with You Abba and the Holy Spirit. And just as You have been merciful and loving to me, so too shall I be merciful and loving to my brethren. Protect me and keep me free from all sin and temptation so that I may be worthy of the promises of Christ Jesus Your Son. 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.’


We are indeed a messy lot most of us. We can be very calculative and if it is not about money then it is what we can get in return. Then also there is the insatiable desire for honour and recognition under perhaps the guise of a modest, humble exterior.  Most of the troubles many have are either self created or imposed on others through squabbling, back biting and Gossip!

All this happens when we are disconnected from our Vine, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! When we do not remain in grounded in His mercy, love and charity. Afterall did the Lord our God count the cost of saving us all from sin and death?  He who was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Instead, he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and accepting the state of a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, even the death of the Cross.

Lord grant me a heart after Yours, take away from me all pettiness, fault finding and self-seeking glory. Wash away all pretence, self-pity and prejudice. Teach me to be self giving, generous and kind. Let me grow in Your love. 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.’


Many of us do not know what it is like to suffer poverty, waking each day wondering if there will be food on the table for us and for our loved ones. And so we go about business each day as we would every other day. If we are hungry, thirsty we just get ourselves something to eat and drink or simply have it delivered at our convenience. Do we spare a thought for others? Yes surely we will do so for our family, and from time to time, maybe the colleague at the office. But what about the poor?

You know I am often baffled by the generosity of those who struggle to put food on the table. Even with what little they have they are willing to share with someone else in need. And are just as hospitable to those who are not! Perhaps that is why Jesus is closest to those who are poor. St Paul reminds us today to dwell on the love of our Lord when he says, ” 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.”

Abba Father in Heaven, You love Your Children equally. Just as You cause the sun to rise on us so too does rain fall on us all. Give me the heart of Your Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so that I may love my brethren as You Father want me to. 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 14, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We all seem to have an inkling of what discipleship entails, yet how many of us can truly say we are living as disciples of Christ? If we give up too easily when demands are high, hard and challenging. We are impatient when we see little or no results. We demand respect and immediate justice when we are wronged. We are unable to face criticism as we are rarely, if ever wrong. And so what if we are wrong? Who are they to criticise us? Can they do what we do?…..Is this the attitude of a disciple after the heart of Christ Jesus?

Only when we are prepared and willing to suffer for His namesake and for love of our brethren, can we be called His disciples. For we follow after our Master and friend who was not only willing to but did lay down His life for us. And so the world will know that we are His disciples by our love for Him and for them. We strive therefore to always act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord our God.

Help me Jesus, to walk in Your light always so that I may lead my brethren on the same path to You. 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.’

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: June 12, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Tree of Righteousness: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Readings:

Ezekiel 17:22-24

Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

Mark 4:26-34

In the cryptic message of the prophet Ezekiel, long centuries before the Lord’s coming, God gave His people reason to hope. Ezekiel glimpsed a day when the Lord God would place a tree on a mountain in Israel, a tree that would “put forth branches and bear fruit.” Who could have predicted that the tree would be a cross on the hill of Calvary, and that the fruit would be salvation?

Ezekiel foresees salvation coming to “birds of every kind”—thus, not just to the people of Israel, but also to the Gentiles, who will “take wing” through their new life in Christ. God indeed will “lift high the lowly tree,” as He solemnly promises.

Such salvation surpasses humanity’s most ambitious dreams. And so we express our gratitude in the Psalm: “Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.” It is indeed good, and better still to give thanks with praise. The Psalmist speaks of those who are just upon the earth, but looks to God as the source and measure of justice, of righteousness. Like Ezekiel, he evokes the image of a flourishing tree to describe the lives of the just. The image, again, suggests the Cross as the measure of righteousness.

The Cross is a sign of contradiction to those who would rather “flourish” in worldly terms. As St. Paul emphasizes to the Corinthians, we need courage. Our faith makes us strong, and it is proved in our deeds. He reminds us that we will be judged by the ways our faith manifests itself in works: “so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.”

God Himself will empower the works He expects from us, though we freely choose to correspond to His grace. In the prophetic oracles, He scattered the seed that sprang up and became the mustard tree, large enough to accommodate all the birds of the sky, just as Ezekiel had seen. He gave this doctrine to His disciples in terms they were able to understand, and He provided a full explanation. In the sacraments He provides still more: the grace of faith and the courage we need to live in the world as children of God.


The Immaculate Heart of Mary  is the most perfect reflection of the love and purity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In fact, the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God gave the Incarnate Word his whole humanity; the blood that was shed, the hands and feet that were pierced for us, the heart that showed pity to the needy and sick crowds. Mary’s Immaculate heart is a refuge for each of us who seek to follow her divine Son. Whatever we seek – strength to overcome temptation, courage to arise over a fall, patience to endure the cross – can be found by turning to her: Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for us! (from the Magnificat)

O Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for me, that I may have heart so pure like yours. To love all of humanity as you treasure and love us after the Sacred Heart of your Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Pray for me dear Mother, that I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ Jesus your Son now and forevermore. Amen

Let us sing this Hymn to Mary our Mother….

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing.

You reign now in Heaven with Jesus our King.

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

In Heaven the blessed your glory proclaim;

On earth we your children invoke your sweet name.

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

We pray for our Mother, the Church upon earth,

And bless, Holy Mary, the land of our birth.

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

Immaculate Mary | With Lyrics

First reading

Isaiah 61:9-11 ·

I exult for joy in the Lord

Their race will be famous throughout the nations,

their descendants throughout the peoples.

All who see them will admit

that they are a race whom the Lord has blessed.

‘I exult for joy in the Lord,

my soul rejoices in my God,

for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation,

he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity,

like a bridegroom wearing his wreath,

like a bride adorned in her jewels.

‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow,

as a garden makes seeds spring up,

so will the Lord make both integrity and praise

spring up in the sight of the nations.’

Gospel

Luke 2:41-51

Mary stored up all these things in her heart

Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

    Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’

    ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.

    He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart.


No heart most pure, no heart most merciful, no heart most loving then the Sacred Heart of Jesus, my Lord and my God.

Today Lord Jesus I consecrate myself to Your most sacred heart. Teach me to love like You my sweet Jesus. Amen

 Sing this precious hymn with me in grace filled prayer…

To Jesus’ Heart, all burning

With fervent love for all,

My heart with fondest yearning

Shall raise its joyful call.

Refrain.

While ages course along,

Blest be with loudest song,

The sacred heart of Jesus

By ev’ry heart and tongue.

The sacred heart of Jesus

By ev’ry heart and tongue.

O heart, for me on fire

With love no-one can speak

My yet untold desire

God gives me for thy sake.

Too true, I have forsaken

Thy love for wilful sin;

Yet now let me be taken

Back by thy grace again.

As thou are meek and lowly,

And ever pure of heart,

So may my heart be wholly

Of thine the counterpart.

O that to me were given

The pinions of a dove.

I’d speed aloft to heaven

My Jesus love to prove.

When life away is flying,

and earth’s false glare is done;

still, Sacred heart, in dying

I’ll say I’m all thine own.

To Jesus Heart All Burning

First reading

Hosea 11:1,3-4,8-9 ·

I will not give rein to my fierce anger, for I am God, not man

Listen to the word of the Lord:

When Israel was a child I loved him,

and I called my son out of Egypt.

I myself taught Ephraim to walk,

I took them in my arms;

yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them.

I led them with reins of kindness,

with leading-strings of love.

I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek;

stooping down to him I gave him his food.

Ephraim, how could I part with you?

Israel, how could I give you up?

How could I treat you like Admah,

or deal with you like Zeboiim?

My heart recoils from it,

my whole being trembles at the thought.

I will not give rein to my fierce anger,

I will not destroy Ephraim again,

for I am God, not man:

I am the Holy One in your midst

and have no wish to destroy.

Second reading

Ephesians 3:8-12,14-19

The love of Christ is beyond all knowledge

I, Paul, who am less than the least of all the saints have been entrusted with this special grace, not only of proclaiming to the pagans the infinite treasure of Christ but also of explaining how the mystery is to be dispensed. Through all the ages, this has been kept hidden in God, the creator of everything. Why? So that the Sovereignties and Powers should learn only now, through the Church, how comprehensive God’s wisdom really is, exactly according to the plan which he had had from all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is why we are bold enough to approach God in complete confidence, through our faith in him.

    This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name:

    Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.

Gospel

John 19:31-37

Out of his pierced side there came out blood and water

It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:

Not one bone of his will be broken;

and again, in another place scripture says:

They will look on the one whom they have pierced.


Love beyond the veil, love with the love of Christ Jesus our Lord. For if there is no mercy and forgiveness, there is no love. How then can we account to our Lord that we have loved one another as He loved us? How can we say we have kept His command? How then will unbelievers ever come to experience His love through us?

 If we want to be forgiven then we must forgive as taught to us by our Lord in the prayer He gave us. This is explicitly clear when He said ,”If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.” Matt 6:15 Therefore seek the Lord’s grace to be able to forgive and He will grant it to you. For He our Lord and God forgave us from the Cross when He took our sins upon Himself, so that by His death and resurrection we can live in His love, mercy and grace. Jesus came down from Heaven so that united with and through Him we can ascend with Him into His Heavenly Kingdom. So let us live our lives with unveiled faces, so as to reflect the brightness of our Lord by our mercy and love for all. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1,3-6 ·

The veil over their eyes will not be removed until they turn to the Lord

Even today, whenever Moses is read, the veil is over their minds. It will not be removed until they turn to the Lord. Now this Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit.

    Since we have by an act of mercy been entrusted with this work of administration, there is no weakening on our part. If our gospel does not penetrate the veil, then the veil is on those who are not on the way to salvation; the unbelievers whose minds the god of this world has blinded, to stop them seeing the light shed by the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For it is not ourselves that we are preaching, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. It is the same God that said, ‘Let there be light shining out of darkness’, who has shone in our minds to radiate the light of the knowledge of God’s glory, the glory on the face of Christ.

Gospel

Matthew 5:20-26

Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

    ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’


If I were to sum up what the readings are telling us today, is that we should stop looking at externals but see and feel the internal grace of the Holy Spirit moving within us. Through His eyes we are able to see the wisdom behind the ten commandments which orders our lives towards the Lord our God. We no longer need stone carvings of it or books for that matter for they are written on our hearts.

Hence an example of moving from the external to internal movement of the Spirit; we see why it is no longer just the act of committing adultery but a man commits it just by thinking lustful thoughts.  By that same token we understand why looking at nude pictures of men or women may not be sinful in itself but can lead to internal turmoil because of our concupiscence and thereby causing us to sin. If the Spirit prompts us to look away or close our eyes then we should follow. Obedience paves our way to fidelity to His Will for us in all areas of our life. We can then act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord our God.

Holy Spirit Lord, move in me this and everyday of my life. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 3:4-11

The new covenant is a covenant of the Spirit

Before God, we are confident of this through Christ: not that we are qualified in ourselves to claim anything as our own work: all our qualifications come from God. He is the one who has given us the qualifications to be the administrators of this new covenant, which is not a covenant of written letters but of the Spirit: the written letters bring death, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the administering of death, in the written letters engraved on stones, was accompanied by such a brightness that the Israelites could not bear looking at the face of Moses, though it was a brightness that faded, then how much greater will be the brightness that surrounds the administering of the Spirit! For if there was any splendour in administering condemnation, there must be very much greater splendour in administering justification. In fact, compared with this greater splendour, the thing that used to have such splendour now seems to have none; and if what was so temporary had any splendour, there must be much more in what is going to last for ever.

Gospel

Matthew 5:17-19

I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to complete them

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’


Yes indeed it is exhausting to always try and do what is right before the Lord our God, then falling into sin, temptation. Once again we struggle to pick ourselves up from despair and shame to live in His light! But what is the alternative if we don’t? To live in darkness? To search endlessly for peace, love and joy?

Nay! We must hold fast to the promises of Christ! He knows we are heavy laden and burdened, He will give us rest when we turn to Him. Our loving Lord understands the struggle we go through each and every day.  We make wrong choices from time to time and end up straying from Him. Still He is our shepherd who goes out looking for us, and welcomes all who are contrite with open arms eagerly waiting to embrace us. So let our Yes always be for Him and in Him; by His grace we will once again shine brightly as beacons of His light in the world. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 1:18-22 ·

God himself has anointed us and given us his Spirit

I swear by God’s truth, there is no Yes and No about what we say to you. The Son of God, the Christ Jesus that we proclaimed among you – I mean Silvanus and Timothy and I – was never Yes and No: with him it was always Yes, and however many the promises God made, the Yes to them all is in him. That is why it is ‘through him’ that we answer Amen to the praise of God. Remember it is God himself who assures us all, and you, of our standing in Christ, and has anointed us, marking us with his seal and giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts.

Gospel

Matthew 5:13-16

Your light must shine in the sight of men

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

    ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’