12th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: June 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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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.’


Are we prepared to take on suffering for the good of another? If not then how can we ever hope to suffer for Jesus’s namesake? We do not all have take on physical suffering but are we at least prepared to put down our ego or prideful ways to walk blameless before the Lord our God? Many parents will gladly endure suffering for their children and likewise many children will gladly endure suffering for their aged parents. If you asked them why? The answer would almost definitely be love. But how does this form of sacrificial love come about?

God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, who suffered a painful death for us so that liberated from sin we have hope of eternal life with Him. Through His passion, death and resurrection we have salvation. By uniting our sufferings with Christ Jesus our Lord, we too participate in His salvific vision for all. Through Christ we can love as we ought to. We never suffer alone, for He is with us through it all. He gives us such comfort, peace and love that we too are able to offer consolation to others who suffer as we do.

Let us strive for Holiness by living the Beatitudes our Lord gave us, so that we will all be reunited in Heaven with Him. Amen 

First reading

2 Corinthians 1:1-7

God comforts us so that we can console others

From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, one of the brothers, to the church of God at Corinth and to all the saints in the whole of Achaia. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, a gentle Father and the God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our sorrows, so that we can offer others, in their sorrows, the consolation that we have received from God ourselves. Indeed, as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so, through Christ, does our consolation overflow. When we are made to suffer, it is for your consolation and salvation. When, instead, we are comforted, this should be a consolation to you, supporting you in patiently bearing the same sufferings as we bear. And our hope for you is confident, since we know that, sharing our sufferings, you will also share our consolations.

 

Gospel

Matthew 5:1-12

How happy are the poor in spirit

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy the gentle: they shall have the earth for their heritage.

Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.

Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.

Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.

Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.

Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.

Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven: this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’

Corpus Christi

Posted: June 5, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

Blood of the Covenant: Scott Hahn Reflects on Corpus Christi

Readings:

Exodus 24:3-8

Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18

Hebrews 9:11-15

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

All of today’s readings are set in the context of the Passover. The First Reading recalls the old covenant celebrated at Sinai following the first Passover and the Exodus.

In sprinkling the blood of the covenant on the Israelites, Moses was symbolizing God’s desire in this covenant to make them His family, His “blood” relations.

Quoting Moses’ words in today’s Gospel, Jesus elevates and transforms this covenant symbol to an extraordinary reality. In the new covenant made in the blood of Christ, we truly become one with His body and blood.

The first covenant made with Moses and Israel at Sinai was but a shadow of this new and greater covenant made by Christ with all humankind in that upper room (see Hebrews 10:1).

The Passover that Jesus celebrates with His Twelve Apostles “actualizes,” makes real what could only be symbolized by Moses’ sacrifice at the altar with twelve pillars. What Jesus does today is establish His Church as the new Israel and His Eucharist as the new worship of the living God.

In offering Himself to God through the Spirit, Jesus delivered Israel from the transgressions of the first covenant. And, as we hear in today’s Epistle, by His blood He purified us and made us capable of true worship.

God does not want dead works or animal sacrifices. He wants our own flesh and blood, our own lives, consecrated to Him, offered as a living sacrifice. This is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that we sing of in today’s Psalm. This is the Eucharist.

What we do in memory of Him is to pledge our lives to Him, to renew our promise to live by the words of His covenant and to be His servants.

There is no other return we can offer to Him for the eternal inheritance He has won for us. So let us approach the altar, calling upon His name in thanksgiving, taking up the cup of salvation.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 5, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We are very liberal in offering our ‘two cents’ or ‘two pennys’ if you like on just about everything. How much is it really worth? Does it match our generosity in terms of our giving to build the Lord’s Kingdom? Does it benefit those who are in need? Are we life giving for the sake of the good of others?

Prayer with fasting and alms with right conduct speaks to our heart, our love for God and our love for neighbour. Let everything we say and do, be our ALL for the Glory of God whom we Bless and offer all praise and thanksgiving. Amen

First reading

Tobit 12:1,5-15,20

‘I am one of the seven angels who stand ever ready to enter the presence of the glory of the Lord’

When the feasting was over, Tobit called his son Tobias and said, ‘My son, you ought to think about paying the amount due to your fellow traveller; give him more than the figure agreed on.’ So Tobias called his companion and said, ‘Take half of what you brought back, in payment for all you have done, and go in peace.’

    Then Raphael took them both aside and said, ‘Bless God, utter his praise before all the living for all the favours he has given you. Bless and extol his name. Proclaim before all men the deeds of God as they deserve, and never tire of giving him thanks. It is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right to reveal and publish the works of God. Thank him worthily. Do what is good, and no evil can befall you.

    ‘Prayer with fasting and alms with right conduct are better than riches with iniquity. Better to practise almsgiving than to hoard up gold. Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin. Those who give alms have their fill of days; those who commit sin and do evil, bring harm on themselves.

    ‘I am going to tell you the whole truth, hiding nothing from you. I have already told you that it is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right too to reveal in worthy fashion the works of God. So you must know that when you and Sarah were at prayer, it was I who offered your supplications before the glory of the Lord and who read them; so too when you were burying the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave the table to go and bury a dead man, I was sent to test your faith, and at the same time God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ever ready to enter the presence of the glory of the Lord.

    ‘Now bless the Lord on earth and give thanks to God. I am about to return to him above who sent me.’

Gospel

Mark 12:38-44

This poor widow has put in more than all

In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’

    He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’


Must we have a reason to Praise the Lord our God? To Bless His Holy name? Do we do so only after we have gotten a much needed healing? Or only after something wonderful has happened for us and our family?

Yes Blessing and praising the Lord our God adds nothing to His Holiness, power and might. However it is for us an act of deep love and reverence for Him who loved us first. We acknowledge in humble reverence that He is our God and we are His people. We are the sheep of His flock and He is our loving and merciful Shepherd. He is therefore worthy of all worship, praise and thanksgiving. We are truly blessed to be able to call out Abba to Him who loves us His Children ever so dearly and tenderly. And through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we have hope of eternal life with Him.

Blessed be God.

Blessed be His Holy Name.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.

Blessed be the Name of Jesus.

Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.

Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.

Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.

Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.

Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception.

Blessed be her Glorious Assumption.

Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.

Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints. Amen.

First reading

Tobit 11:5-17 ·

Tobit’s sight is restored to him

Anna was sitting, watching the road by which her son would come. She was sure at once it must be he and said to the father, ‘Here comes your son, with his companion.’

    Raphael said to Tobias before he reached his father, ‘I give you my word that your father’s eyes will open. You must put the fish’s gall to his eyes; the medicine will smart and will draw a filmy white skin off his eyes. And your father will be able to see and look on the light.’

    The mother ran forward and threw her arms round her son’s neck. ‘Now I can die,’ she said ‘I have seen you again.’ And she wept. Tobit rose to his feet and stumbled across the courtyard through the door. Tobias came on towards him (he had the fish’s gall in his hand). He blew into his eyes and said, steadying him, ‘Take courage, father!’ With this he applied the medicine, left it there a while, then with both hands peeled away a filmy skin from the corners of his eyes. Then his father fell on his neck and wept. He exclaimed, ‘I can see, my son, the light of my eyes!’ And he said:

‘Blessed be God!

Blessed be his great name!

Blessed be all his holy angels!

Blessed be his great name for evermore!

For he had scourged me

and now has had pity on me

and I see my son Tobias.’

Tobias went into the house, and with a loud voice joyfully blessed God. Then he told his father everything: how his journey had been successful and he had brought the silver back; how he had married Sarah, the daughter of Raguel; how she was following him now, close behind, and could not be far from the gates of Nineveh.

    Tobit set off to the gates of Nineveh to meet his daughter-in-law, giving joyful praise to God as he went. When the people of Nineveh saw him walking without a guide and stepping forward as briskly as of old, they were astonished. Tobit described to them how God had taken pity on him and had opened his eyes. Then Tobit met Sarah, the bride of his son Tobias, and blessed her in these words, ‘Welcome, daughter! Blessed be your God for sending you to us, my daughter. Blessings on your father, blessings on my son Tobias, blessings on yourself, my daughter. Welcome now to your own house in joyfulness and in blessedness. Come in, my daughter.’ He held a feast that day for all the Jews of Nineveh.

Gospel

Mark 12:35-37

‘David himself calls him Lord’

At that time while teaching in the Temple, Jesus said, ‘How can the scribes maintain that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, moved by the Holy Spirit, said:

The Lord said to my Lord:

Sit at my right hand

and I will put your enemies

under your feet.

David himself calls him Lord, in what way then can he be his son?’ And the great majority of the people heard this with delight.


While there exist those who have been abused, suffer from insecurities and find it hard to love themselves, most others do love themselves, perhaps more than they would any other.

How then can we all “love neighbour as you love yourself” as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ? To love our neighbour as equals to how much we love ourselves. Only if we learn to do so will we be able then perhaps to love them as He loved us. And how did He love us? He loved us so much, He laid down His life for us! Are we able then to lay down our lives for others?

The answer lies in Jesus’s first command, “you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.” Jesus showed us Himself how much He loved God our Heavenly Father by placing His Father’s Will for Him above all. Only when we love the Lord our God above all else will we be able to truly love our neighbour the way Jesus commanded us to; with singleness of heart for which our love is put into action for them.  Amen

First reading

Tobit 6:10-11,7:1,9-14,8:4-9

‘We must pray and petition the Lord’

Raphael and Tobit entered Media and had nearly reached Ecbetana when Raphael said to the boy, ‘Brother Tobias.’ ‘Yes?’ he answered. The angel went on, ‘Tonight we shall be staying with Raguel, who is a kinsman of yours. He has a daughter called Sarah, but apart from Sarah he has no other son or daughter.’

    As they entered Ecbatana, Tobias said, ‘Brother Azarias, take me at once to our brother Raguel’s.’ And he showed him the way to the house of Raguel, whom they found sitting beside his courtyard door. They greeted him first, and he replied, ‘Welcome and greetings, brothers.’ And he took them into his house. He said to his wife Edna, ‘How like my brother Tobit this young man is!’ Raguel killed a sheep from the flock, and they gave them a warm-hearted welcome.

    They washed and bathed and sat down to table. Then Tobias said to Raphael, ‘Brother Azarias, will you ask Raguel to give me my sister Sarah?’ Raguel overheard the words, and said to the young man, ‘Eat and drink, and make the most of your evening; no one else has the right to take my daughter Sarah – no one but you, my brother. In any case I, for my own part, am not at liberty to give her to anyone else, since you are her next of kin. However, my boy, I must be frank with you: I have tried to find a husband for her seven times among our kinsmen, and all of them have died the first evening, on going to her room. But for the present, my boy, eat and drink; the Lord will grant you his grace and peace.’ Tobias spoke out, ‘I will not hear of eating and drinking till you have come to a decision about me.’ Raguel answered, ‘Very well. Since, as prescribed by the Book of Moses, she is given to you, heaven itself decrees she shall be yours. I therefore entrust your sister to you. From now you are her brother and she is your sister. She is given to you from today for ever. The Lord of heaven favour you tonight, my child, and grant you his grace and peace.’ Raguel called for his daughter Sarah, took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias with these words, ‘I entrust her to you; the law and the ruling recorded in the Book of Moses assign her to you as your wife. Take her; take her home to your father’s house with a good conscience. The God of heaven grant you a good journey in peace.’ Then he turned to her mother and asked her to fetch him writing paper. He drew up the marriage contract, how he gave his daughter as bride to Tobias according to the ordinance in the Law of Moses.

    After this they began to eat and drink. The parents, meanwhile, had gone out and shut the door behind them. Tobias rose from the bed, and said to Sarah, ‘Get up, my sister! You and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and his protection.’ She stood up, and they began praying for protection, and this was how he began:

‘You are blessed, O God of our fathers;

blessed, too, is your name

for ever and ever.

Let the heavens bless you

and all things you have made

for evermore.

It was you who created Adam,

you who created Eve his wife

to be his help and support;

and from these two the human race was born.

It was you who said,

“It is not good that the man should be alone;

let us make him a helpmate like himself.”

And so I do not take my sister

for any lustful motive;

I do it in singleness of heart.

Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me

and bring us to old age together.’

And together they said, ‘Amen, Amen’, and lay down for the night.

Gospel

Mark 12:28-34

‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.


We may not be dead yet but are we truly living as we ought to? Do we dread waking up having to face another hard day of unfinished work and challenges? Are we lamenting over broken dreams and broken promises? Or are we joyful that we have another day to glorify the Lord by our lives?

The only thing we should be bemoaning is our sins! For if we have not yet repented of them and sought reconciliation with the Lord our God, then we have separated ourselves from living grace filled lives in Him. For it is our Lord’s desire that we life to the full in His love.

For by His life, death and resurrection Jesus our Lord had freed us from the bondages of sin and drudgery. So that we can live in the light of His resurrection for all time.

So let us sing praises to the living God, Glory Alleluia. Come, adore the living God, Glory Alleluia. Though sun and moon may pass away, His word will ever stay. His power is for evermore, Glory Alleluia! Amen

First reading

Tobit 3:1-11,16-17

Raphael is sent to bring remedy to the house of Tobit

Sad at heart, I, Tobit, sighed and wept, and began this prayer of lamentation:

‘You are just, O Lord,

and just are all your works.

All your ways are grace and truth,

and you are the Judge of the world.

‘Therefore, Lord, remember me, look on me.

Do not punish me for my sins

or for my heedless faults

or for those of my fathers.

‘For we have sinned against you

and broken your commandments;

and you have given us over to be plundered,

to captivity and death,

to be the talk, the laughing-stock and scorn

of all the nations among whom you have dispersed us.

‘Whereas all your decrees are true

when you deal with me as my faults deserve,

and those of my fathers,

since we have neither kept your commandments

nor walked in truth before you;

so now, do with me as you will;

be pleased to take my life from me;

I desire to be delivered from earth

and to become earth again.

For death is better for me than life.

I have been reviled without a cause

and I am distressed beyond measure.

‘Lord, I wait for the sentence you will give

to deliver me from this affliction.

Let me go away to my everlasting home;

do not turn your face from me, O Lord.

For it is better to die than still to live

in the face of trouble that knows no pity;

I am weary of hearing myself traduced.’

It chanced on the same day that Sarah the daughter of Raguel, who lived in Media at Ecbatana, also heard insults from one of her father’s maids. You must know that she had been given in marriage seven times, and that Asmodeus, that worst of demons, had killed her bridegrooms one after another before ever they had slept with her as man with wife. The servant-girl said, ‘Yes, you kill your bridegrooms yourself. That makes seven already to whom you have been given, and you have not once been in luck yet. Just because your bridegrooms have died, that is no reason for punishing us. Go and join them, and may we be spared the sight of any child of yours!’ That day, she grieved, she sobbed, and went up to her father’s room intending to hang herself. But then she thought, ‘Suppose they blamed my father! They will say, “You had an only daughter whom you loved, and now she has hanged herself for grief.” I cannot cause my father a sorrow which would bring down his old age to the dwelling of the dead. I should do better not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to let me die and not live to hear any more insults.’

    This time the prayer of each of them found favour before the glory of God, and Raphael was sent to bring remedy to them both. He was to take the white spots from the eyes of Tobit, so that he might see God’s light with his own eyes; and he was to give Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, as bride to Tobias son of Tobit, and to rid her of Asmodeus, that worst of demons. For it was to Tobias before all other suitors that she belonged by right. Tobit was coming back from the courtyard into the house at the same moment as Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, was coming down from the upper room.

Gospel

Mark 12:18-27

The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob is the God of the living

Some Sadducees – who deny that there is a resurrection – came to him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a wife and then died leaving no children. The second married the widow, and he too died leaving no children; with the third it was the same, and none of the seven left any children. Last of all the woman herself died. Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?’

    Jesus said to them, ‘Is not the reason why you go wrong, that you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.’


Are you not in awe of our Lord’s wisdom in today’s Gospel? It is not like watching a finale of soap opera or TV drama series? The evil schemers plot the death of the protagonist who not only disables the trap of theirs but leaves them dumbfounded! Woo hoo! We rejoice, what a wonderful end or was it? Did we miss the hidden ‘egg’? Imagine at the end credits like a Marvel movie, the protagonist looks straight at the camera with piercing eyes he asks this of you, “What belongs to God?”

Yes sisters and brothers in Christ, have we forgotten that all that we are and all that we have comes from the Lord our God, creator of heaven and earth? Have allowed the world to blind us with its droppings? Have we become suspicious of the good works of others? Have we failed to recognise the goodness and grace of God working in those around us? Have we become self centred and inward looking? What is mine is mine alone? I have worked so very hard and all that I have achieved rightfully belongs to me and my family? I have very little time if any at all so please don’t bother me about spending time with community right now. Ask me again when I am retired!  So then what is it that we offer or rather give with all our heart to God our Heavenly Father?

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us. And may the offering of our bodies as a living sacrifice be holy and pleasing to Him. Amen

First reading

Tobit 2:9-14 ·

‘Everyone knows what return you have had for your good works’

I, Tobit, took a bath; then I went into the courtyard and lay down by the courtyard wall. Since it was hot I left my face uncovered. I did not know that there were sparrows in the wall above my head; their hot droppings fell into my eyes. White spots then formed, which I was obliged to have treated by the doctors. But the more ointments they tried me with, the more the spots blinded me, and in the end I became blind altogether. I remained without sight four years; all my brothers were distressed; and Ahikar provided for my upkeep for two years, till he left for Elymais.

    My wife Anna then undertook woman’s work; she would spin wool and take cloth to weave; she used to deliver whatever had been ordered from her and then receive payment. Now on March the seventh she finished a piece of work and delivered it to her customers. They paid her all that was due, and into the bargain presented her with a kid for a meal. When the kid came into my house, it began to bleat. I called to my wife and said, ‘Where does this creature come from? Suppose it has been stolen! Quick, let the owners have it back; we have no right to eat stolen goods.’ She said, ‘No, it was a present given me over and above my wages.’ I did not believe her, and told her to give it back to the owners (I blushed at this in her presence). Then she answered, ‘What about your own alms? What about your own good works? Everyone knows what return you have had for them.’

Gospel

Mark 12:13-17

Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God

The chief priests and the scribes and the elders sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to catch him out in what he said. These came and said to him, ‘Master, we know you are an honest man, that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you, and that you teach the way of God in all honesty. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay, yes or no?’ Seeing through their hypocrisy he said to them, ‘Why do you set this trap for me? Hand me a denarius and let me see it.’ They handed him one and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they told him. Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’ This reply took them completely by surprise.


As we celebrate the feast of the Visitation of The Blessed Virgin Mary. We remember the joyous occasion in which our Blessed mother visited Elisabeth carrying our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in her womb. Marked for all time by the most exquisite prayer of the Magnificat by the lowly handmaid of the Lord our God our Blessed mother; her canticle which is today sung daily at vespers. Her actions spoke volumes of her love, dedication, faithfulness, obedience, sacrifice, all for the glory of God.

Even today when Mary our Mother visits us and as she graces us with her presence, she continues to magnify the Lord our God drawing all of us closer to Him through her endearing love for us. For she carries with her the joy, peace and love our Lord Jesus Christ with her for all time. Amen

O Blessed Mother, pray for us…..

First reading

Zephaniah 3:14-18 ·

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,

Israel, shout aloud!

Rejoice, exult with all your heart,

daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has repealed your sentence;

he has driven your enemies away.

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst;

you have no more evil to fear.

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem:

Zion, have no fear,

do not let your hands fall limp.

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a victorious warrior.

He will exult with joy over you,

he will renew you by his love;

he will dance with shouts of joy for you

as on a day of festival.

Gospel

Luke 1:39-56

The Almighty has done great things for me

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

    And Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit exults in God my saviour;

because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,

for the Almighty has done great things for me.

Holy is his name,

and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.

He has shown the power of his arm,

he has routed the proud of heart.

He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.

He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy

– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –

of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

Holy Trinity Sunday

Posted: May 29, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

Family of Love: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

Readings:

Deuteronomy 4:32–34, 39–40

Psalm 33:4–6, 9, 18–20, 22

Romans 8:14–17

Matthew 28:16–20

Last Sunday, we celebrated the sending of the Spirit, which sealed God’s new covenant and made a new creation.

In this new creation, we live in the family of God, who has revealed himself as a Trinity of love. We share in His divine nature through His Body and Blood (see 2 Peter 1:4). This is the meaning of the three feasts that cap the Easter season— Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi.

These feasts should be intimate reminders of how deeply God loves us, how He chose us, from before the foundation of the world, to be His children (see Ephesians 1:4–5).

Today’s readings illuminate how all God’s words and works were meant to prepare for the revelation of the Trinity and God’s blessing in Jesus Christ—the blessing we inherited in Baptism, and renew in each Eucharist.

By God’s word the heavens and earth were filled with His kindness, we sing in today’s Psalm. Out of love, God called Abraham and chose his descendants to be His own people, Moses says in today’s First Reading (see Deuteronomy 4:20,37). Through the Israelites, He revealed to the nations that He alone is Lord and there is no other.

In Jesus, God’s word took flesh as a son of Abraham (see Matthew 1:1). And Jesus reveals in the Gospel today that the one God is Father, Son, and Spirit, and that He desires to make all people His own.

As He led Israel out of Egypt, God freed us from slavery, Paul says in today’s Epistle. As He adopted Israel (see Romans 9:4), He gives us the Spirit by which we can know Him as “Our Father.”

As God’s heirs, we receive the commissions of Moses and Jesus today. We are to fix our hearts on Him, and to observe all that He has commanded. The Eucharist is His pledge—that He will be with us until the end, that He will deliver us from death to live forever in the promised land of His kingdom.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 29, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags:

How often we find ourselves wondering what is the Lord’s Will for us? However for some it’s “Ok Lord what’s next?” In case you haven’t caught on, the former discerns, prays and doesn’t always receives an answer or do they? Whilst the latter always seems to know and is eager to know what the Lord has in store for them.

Today’s first reading gives us great insights in seeking our Lord’s wisdom such as:

  • Always seeking His presence in prayer
  • Pursuing a righteous path through steadfast faith in our Lord
  • Being attentive to His soft promptings
  • Putting into practise all that is good till it becomes second nature
  • Pursuing Holiness, purity of heart, mind and soul.

And today’s Gospel opens our minds to see that we must be humble of heart to never question our Lord our God’s authority. For He alone decides who, how, when, where even whom He chooses to communicate His grace, word or will for us. For all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is our Shepherd, we listen to His voice; He knows us, and we follow Him. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 51:17-27

Glory be to him who has given me wisdom

I will thank you and praise you,

    and bless the name of the Lord.

When I was still a youth, before I went travelling,

    in my prayers I asked outright for wisdom.

Outside the sanctuary I would pray for her,

    and to the last I will continue to seek her.

From her blossoming to the ripening of her grape

    my heart has taken its delight in her.

My foot has pursued a straight path,

    I have been following her steps ever since my youth.

By bowing my ear a little I have received her,

    and have found much instruction.

Thanks to her I have advanced;

    the glory be to him who has given me wisdom!

For I am determined to put her into practice,

    I have earnestly pursued what is good, I will not be put to shame.

My soul has fought to possess her,

    I have been scrupulous in keeping the Law;

I have stretched out my hands to heaven

    and bewailed my ignorance of her;

I have directed my soul towards her,

    and in purity have found her.

Gospel

Mark 11:27-33

I will not tell you my authority for acting like this

Jesus and his disciples came to Jerusalem, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? Or who gave you authority to do these things?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you a question, only one; answer me and I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: did it come from heaven, or from man? Answer me that.’ And they argued it out this way among themselves: ‘If we say from heaven, he will say, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?” But dare we say from man?’ – they had the people to fear, for everyone held that John was a real prophet. So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 28, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Many unless they face the truth may not even realise that their faith has dried up within them. They bore no fruit for the Lord, for their loved ones or their community.  They may have not turned to do evil, however their good names whatever their personal achievements will not be remembered as mentioned in today’s first reading.  Some had refused to worship our Lord together with His community because they stubbornly refused to adjust to the confines and restrictions we all have to face together to get through this pandemic. There are many others who have allowed the ways of the world to turn their Holy Temples of the Holy Spirit into a robbers den! Seeking personal comforts, drink, food, gambling, gratifying their sexual desires. 

Disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ know that we are called to bear fruit both in and out of Season. So whether it rains or shines, pandemic or no pandemic, we are called to build His Kingdom and to glorify Him by our lives. Does it mean we do not feel helpless or hesitant at times? No of course we do, but we can turn to our Lord in steadfast prayer for help to do what we must. With mercy and faith in Him in our hearts our Lord promises us, “I tell you therefore: everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours.” Let us not forget that we had just celebrated the joy of His Resurrection at Eastertide and have received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit last Sunday at Pentecost.

For those who have fallen behind, fret not and know that Our Lord loves You and will not abandon you. So long as there is breath in you, turn back to Him with all your heart. He will cleanse you from within so that you can once again live free in His love. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 44:1,9-13

Let us praise illustrious men

Let us praise illustrious men,

    our ancestors in their successive generations.

Some have left no memory,

    and disappeared as though they had not existed,

they are now as though they had never been,

    and so too, their children after them.

But here is a list of generous men

    whose good works have not been forgotten.

In their descendants there remains

    a rich inheritance born of them.

Their descendants stand by the covenants

    and, thanks to them, so do their children’s children.

Their offspring will last for ever,

    their glory will not fade.

Gospel

Mark 11:11-26

The fig tree; the cleansing of the Temple

After he had been acclaimed by the crowds, Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. He looked all round him, but as it was now late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

    Next day as they were leaving Bethany, he felt hungry. Seeing a fig tree in leaf some distance away, he went to see if he could find any fruit on it, but when he came up to it he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. And he addressed the fig tree. ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again’ he said. And his disciples heard him say this.

    So they reached Jerusalem and he went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling pigeons. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. And he taught them and said, ‘Does not scripture say: My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples? But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.’ This came to the ears of the chief priests and the scribes, and they tried to find some way of doing away with him; they were afraid of him because the people were carried away by his teaching. And when evening came he went out of the city.

    Next morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered to the roots. Peter remembered. ‘Look, Rabbi,’ he said to Jesus, ‘the fig tree you cursed has withered away.’ Jesus answered, ‘Have faith in God. I tell you solemnly, if anyone says to this mountain, “Get up and throw yourself into the sea,” with no hesitation in his heart but believing that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. I tell you therefore: everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours. And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too. But if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your failings either.’


Are we blind to the Glory of God in all creation? Does the Sun still not rise? Has the blue sky and clouds lost its lustre? Have birds stop chirping and the waters run dry? Have all flowers withered and died? Are we not happy to see our loved ones when we awake?

Have we allowed the world to blind us to His Glory? Has the pandemic cast its darkness on our lives such that all we see is gloom and doom? Are we hiding in our sins by seeking reprieve in submitting to our dark desires?

Let us never lose hope for we have a faithful, mighty and ever loving God who will never abandon us as orphans! Our faith in our Risen Lord will save us! And so let us cry out in loving adoration “Glory to God our Heavenly Father!” “Glory to His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!” Glory to the Holy Spirit!” As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 42:15-26 ·

The work of the Lord is full of his glory

I will remind you of the works of the Lord,

    and tell of what I have seen.

By the words of the Lord his works come into being

    and all creation obeys his will.

As the sun in shining looks on all things,

    so the work of the Lord is full of his glory.

The Lord has not granted to the holy ones

    to tell of all his marvels

which the Almighty Lord has solidly constructed

    for the universe to stand firm in his glory.

He has fathomed the deep and the heart,

    and seen into their devious ways;

for the Most High knows all the knowledge there is,

    and has observed the signs of the times.

He declares what is past and what will be,

    and uncovers the traces of hidden things.

Not a thought escapes him,

    not a single word is hidden from him.

He has imposed an order on the magnificent works of his wisdom,

    he is from everlasting to everlasting,

nothing can be added to him, nothing taken away,

    he needs no one’s advice.

How desirable are all his works,

    how dazzling to the eye!

They all live and last for ever,

    whatever the circumstances all obey him.

All things go in pairs, by opposites,

    and he has made nothing defective;

the one consolidates the excellence of the other,

    who could ever be sated with gazing at his glory?

Gospel

Mark 10:46-52

Go; your faith has saved you

As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.


The greatest challenge for any disciple of Christ is not so much the humble servitude of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ but the humble servitude of family, friends and most of all strangers for His namesake.

Why? Because it is our fallen nature that we want to be recognised for our efforts.  Often times because of our hidden insecurities we ‘Lord ourselves over others’ and want them to feel that we are more knowledgeable or are superior over them. We may even adopt a ‘I am holier than thou’ attitude subtly disguised behind a false modesty.  Even if we convince ourselves that we are not like that at all, we must admit that at the very least we want to be affirmed by others. Once again we are simply living according to the identity we were born into and developed over the years!

For if we were living our true identity as a unique child of God so loved by our Heavenly Father then we shall not want or have need of anything. He has already given us the greatest gift of His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who suffered died and rose from the dead for us. In doing so He had taken upon Himself the sins of the World so that we can live free and blameless at His side. If we are truly disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we know that the way of the Cross is to be crucified with Him, so that He lives in us. The life we live in the body is lived by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave His life for us. Our Lord did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life for the ransom of many. And so this is what it means for us to be slave to all, for we will live free in His love.

Lord Jesus just as die with You, let me rise with You. Amen

St Philip Neri pray for us…..

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 36:1-2,5-7,13-19

Lord, let the nations acknowledge you

Have mercy on us, Master, Lord of all, and look on us,

    cast the fear of yourself over every nation.

Let them acknowledge you, just as we have acknowledged

    that there is no God but you, Lord.

Send new portents, do fresh wonders,

    win glory for your hand and your right arm.

Gather together all the tribes of Jacob,

    restore them their inheritance as in the beginning.

Have mercy, Lord, on the people who have invoked your name,

    on Israel whom you have treated as a first-born.

Show compassion on your holy city,

    on Jerusalem the place of your rest.

Fill Zion with songs of your praise,

    and your sanctuary with your glory.

Bear witness to those you created in the beginning,

    and bring about what has been prophesied in your name.

Give those who wait for you their reward,

    and let your prophets be proved worthy of belief.

Grant, Lord, the prayer of your servants,

    in accordance with Aaron’s blessing on your people,

so that all the earth’s inhabitants may acknowledge

    that you are the Lord, the everlasting God.

Gospel

Mark 10:32-45

The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many

The disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; Jesus was walking on ahead of them; they were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive. Once more taking the Twelve aside he began to tell them what was going to happen to him: ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans, who will mock him and spit at him and scourge him and put him to death; and after three days he will rise again.’

    James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

    When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’


Having been blessed with a mighty renewal through the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; and knowing that our Blessed Mother is constantly interceding for us, have we begun to take up our cross to follow Jesus our Lord? Or are we going back to our old way of lives now that the ‘spiritual high’ is gone from us? Placing family, friends, career, personal leisure above everything else!

Nay sisters and brothers! It is time for us to stay awake and alert! To be thankful for the great mercy and love the Lord our God has shown us. Even if we give our all and more, it will be nothing compared to the graces and mighty outpouring bestowed upon us by our loving Father in Heaven. It is time for us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord our God. Time for us to bear abundant fruit for Him through our Holy Sacrifices laid before His altar. To share our lived joy of the Gospel with one and all in His love. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 35:2-15 ·

Give to the Most High as he has given to you

A man multiplies offerings by keeping the Law; he offers communion sacrifices by following the commandments.

By showing gratitude he makes an offering of fine flour, by giving alms he offers a sacrifice of praise.

Withdraw from wickedness and the Lord will be pleased,   withdraw from injustice and you make atonement.

Do not appear empty-handed in the Lord’s presence; for all these things are due under the commandment.

A virtuous man’s offering graces the altar, and its savour rises before the Most High.

A virtuous man’s sacrifice is acceptable, its memorial will not be forgotten.

Honour the Lord with generosity, do not stint the first-fruits you bring.

Add a smiling face to all your gifts, and be cheerful as you dedicate your tithes.

Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously as your means can afford; for the Lord is a good rewarder, he will reward you seven times over.

Offer him no bribe, he will not accept it, do not put your faith in an unvirtuous sacrifice; since the Lord is a judge who is no respecter of personages.

Gospel

Mark 10:28-31

Whoever has left everything for the sake of the gospel will be repaid

At that time Peter began to tell Jesus, ‘What about us? We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.

    ‘Many who are first will be last, and the last first.’


Blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ brought about the birth of Holy Mother Church. For through the waters of our baptism we were all inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! New life and the Spirit of Truth was breathed into us at Pentecost as we are sent to make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey our Lord’s commands.

How wonderful it is then that today we remember and honour Mary, Mother of the Church given to us by Jesus Christ our Lord Himself.  Spouse of the Holy Spirit and star of the New Evangelisation. For it is through her God rebuilt the House of David. And she leads all her children into a deeper knowledge and love of her Son. Being the true daughter of God, the daughter of Zion, she is truly our mother in faith and love. Indeed, she conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb. We, too, must imbibe her virtues of faith, hope, charity, poverty and obedience.

O dearest blessed Mother, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ Your beloved Son. Amen

First reading

Genesis 3:9-15,20 ·

The mother of all those who live

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

    Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,

all wild beasts.

You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust

every day of your life.

I will make you enemies of each other:

you and the woman,

your offspring and her offspring.

It will crush your head

and you will strike its heel.’

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

Gospel

John 19:25-34

‘Behold your son. Behold your mother.’

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.

    After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said, ‘I am thirsty.’

    A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, ‘It is accomplished’; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

    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.

Pentecost Sunday

Posted: May 22, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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A New Wind: Scott Hahn Reflects on Pentecost Sunday

Readings:

Acts 2:1–11

Psalm 104:1, 24, 29–31, 34

1 Corinthians 12:3–7, 12–13

John 20:19–23

The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.

The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15–21; Deuteronomy 16:9–11).

In today’s First Reading, the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (see Acts 1:14).

The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (see Jeremiah 31:31–34; 2 Corinthians 3:2–8; Romans 8:2).

The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

In the beginning, the Spirit came as a “mighty wind” sweeping over the face of the earth (see Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as “a strong, driving wind” to renew the face of the earth.

As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit (see Genesis 2:7), in today’s Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (see 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).

Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see also John 7:37–39).

We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a “new creation” in Baptism (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity—fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.


What gives us our identity? The family we were born into? Our education? Our life experiences? Our country? Our culture? If all of these is the sum of that which makes us who we are, then naturally it will be how we live and react to situations as we live in the world. We will therefore always come up short, wanting and lacking. We will be as the country song goes, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” Seeking affirmation from our fellow men and women alike.

We are called to so much more! To be more and beyond! That is to live our identity as children of God so loved by our Heavenly Father. We were after all created in His likeness and image. How then are living as Holy Children of God just as our Heavenly Father is Holy. We can only do so if we surrender ourselves to His Holy Will and when I say surrender, I mean we willingly choose to unite our wills with His. For we are called to divine life with Him. We can only do so through Jesus Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit He wants to breathe into us so as to live our lives in the Spirit and in His love.

How can this be if our hearts are full? Full of the baggage of this world and of ourselves! Therefore it is imperative we empty ourselves, fall on our knees in humble worship of Him who loves us and wants us to be reconciled unto being One with Him. So that we can receive Him fully in our hearts, minds and soul. We will never question His Will for us nor His Will for another and simply love as we are called to love Him and one another.

Holy Spirit Lord, lead and guide me.

Just as You moved upon the Void and darkness at creation.

Just as You moved in the tomb of Christ

Just as You moved upon the disciples at Pentecost

Move in my life, in my family, in the Church, in my Nation and in my World today. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 28:16-20,30-31 ·

In Rome, Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God without hindrance from anyone

On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in lodgings of his own with the soldier who guarded him.

    After three days he called together the leading Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, ‘Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and would have set me free, since they found me guilty of nothing involving the death penalty; but the Jews lodged an objection, and I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation to make against my own nation. That is why I have asked to see you and talk to you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear this chain.’

    Paul spent the whole of the two years in his own rented lodging. He welcomed all who came to visit him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete freedom and without hindrance from anyone.

Gospel

John 21:20-25

This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and we know that his testimony is true

Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned on his breast at the supper and had said to him, ‘Lord, who is it that will betray you?’ Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’ The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, ‘He will not die’, but, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come.’

    This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true.

    There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.


Just two more days from today before we arrive at Pentecost! Are we ready to come out of our tombs into the light of our Risen Lord; to receive a great awakening of the Holy Spirit within us, so as to glorify God our Heavenly Father by living our lives in the Spirit?

Before we give a resounding Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord!

We have to ask ourselves just how much do we really love Jesus? Are we fully reconciled with the Lord our God by turning away from and confessing all our sins? Have we emptied ourselves of all the baggage we carried in our hearts so as to be filled with His love? Have we moved past from lip service into using our hands and feet for love of Him and of brethren? Have we moved past a mere friendship with Him, are prepared to lay down our lives and have we picked up our cross to follow Him?  Are we ready to be sent into the world to nourish His flock with His Word, truth and life!

Lord Jesus I truly love You! Holy Spirit Lord Come!

Just as You moved upon the Void and darkness at creation.

Just as You moved in the tomb of Christ

Just as You moved upon the disciples at Pentecost

Move in my life, in my family, in the Church, in my Nation and in my World today. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 25:13-21 ·

‘I ordered Paul to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar’

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

Gospel

John 21:15-19

Feed my lambs, feed my sheep

Jesus showed himself to his disciples, and after they had eaten he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,

when you were young

you put on your own belt

and walked where you liked;

but when you grow old

you will stretch out your hands,

and somebody else will put a belt round you

and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’


There are many things and circumstances that causes division in the world. Language, race, religion, culture, social status, economy and so on; for there are simply too many different causes to list. However for Christians and we know this to be true, is that only Jesus Christ our Lord can unite the world! For if the world knew and accepted Him there would be no division whatsoever. For only He can give us Peace which the world cannot offer. For through Him we ALL became God our Heavenly Father’s children. Through Him we are One body in Him.  We were given the Spirit of Truth at our Baptism. This very truth that unites the world to Himself.

St Paul shows us in today’s first reading that being led by the Holy Spirit he spoke up truths which were louder than the world’s voices! St Paul was freed by revealing truth that he shared Roman citizenship and was able to bear witness in Jerusalem. He was freed again when he spoke the truth about the resurrection of the dead which was a shared belief by the Pharisees. And our Lord tasked him to bear witness to Him in Rome! The truth indeed will set us free. (Read John 8:31-32)

Let us therefore go forth to share the Truth with one and all so that the World might be united as One completely in Him. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 22:30,23:6-11 ·

‘You have borne witness in Jerusalem: now you must do the same in Rome’

Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.

    Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’

Gospel

John 17:20-26

Father, may they be completely one

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,

I pray not only for these,

but for those also

who through their words will believe in me.

May they all be one.

Father, may they be one in us,

as you are in me and I am in you,

so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.

I have given them the glory you gave to me,

that they may be one as we are one.

With me in them and you in me,

may they be so completely one

that the world will realise that it was you who sent me

and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.

Father, I want those you have given me

to be with me where I am,

so that they may always see the glory you have given me

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Father, Righteous One,

the world has not known you,

but I have known you,

and these have known that you have sent me.

I have made your name known to them

and will continue to make it known,

so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,

and so that I may be in them.’


The threat of Christian disunity and the scattering of the flock is real because the one who scatters and his minions are at hand. Indeed today many men and women with a travesty of the truth on their lips have come forward and have induced many to follow them! To feed their very own hunger for fame, wealth, honour and glory all in the guise of bringing glory to God. Then there are those which makes use of the pandemic and other tragedies to say there is NO GOD while others come to entice folks to believe in many ‘gods’ for protection, health, wealth and peace.

What do we do? Well we remain steadfast and faithful for we already have the Truth, the Way and the Life. We already know with certainty that Jesus gives us His peace which the world cannot offer and so we cling to the promises of our faithful Lord and God. For He tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe in Me as well. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.

Come Holy Spirit Come!

Just as You moved upon the Void and darkness at creation.

Just as You moved in the tomb of Christ

Just as You moved upon the disciples at Pentecost

Move in my life, in my family, in the Church, in my Nation and in my World today. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 20:28-38 ·

I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, and its power

Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:

    ‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.

    ‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’

    When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Gospel

John 17:11-19

Father, keep those you have given me true to your name

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,

keep those you have given me true to your name,

so that they may be one like us.

While I was with them,

I kept those you had given me true to your name.

I have watched over them

and not one is lost

except the one who chose to be lost,

and this was to fulfil the scriptures.

But now I am coming to you

and while still in the world I say these things

to share my joy with them to the full.

I passed your word on to them,

and the world hated them,

because they belong to the world

no more than I belong to the world.

I am not asking you to remove them from the world,

but to protect them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world

any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth;

your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world,

I have sent them into the world,

and for their sake I consecrate myself

so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’


Today’s readings appears gloomy filled with looming doom, but is actually filled with hope, courage and faithfulness that the promises of Christ Jesus will prevail over all! He has conquered the World! For through Him we have already entered into sonship and daughterhood of God our loving Father who is faithful. And He has never and will never leave us orphans! We have the Holy Spirit with us.

Just like in present times we now live with impending gloom and doom with the unrelenting hold of the covid pandemic! Many are already suffering hardship of putting food on the table, seeking medical attention as whatever resources they may have are depleting or have already depleted. While others are simply fearful for the safety and their loved ones. What hope do they have? Do they share the hope and joy we still have in our Risen Lord? How can they if do not share the truth, light, way and life with Jesus Christ with them? Through the Holy Spirit let us lead them all out of darkness and into the light of our Risen Lord! Amen Alleluia

I like to share this powerful prayer to the Holy Spirit I just learnt from Brother Lalith Perera from the Community Of The Risen Lord. Pray it with me as we count down to Pentecost….

Holy Spirit

Just as You moved upon the Void and darkness at creation.

Just as You moved in the tomb of Christ

Just as You moved upon the disciples at Pentecost

Move in my life, in my family, in the Church, in my Nation and in my World today. Amen

First reading

Acts 20:17-27 ·

I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose

From Miletus Paul sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them:

    ‘You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you, and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus.

    ‘And now you see me a prisoner already in spirit; I am on my way to Jerusalem, but have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear enough that imprisonment and persecution await me. But life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.

    ‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.’

Gospel

John 17:1-11

Father, it is time for you to glorify me

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come:

glorify your Son

so that your Son may glorify you;

and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him,

let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.

And eternal life is this:

to know you,

the only true God,

and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I have glorified you on earth

and finished the work that you gave me to do.

Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me

with that glory I had with you

before ever the world was.

I have made your name known

to the men you took from the world to give me.

They were yours and you gave them to me,

and they have kept your word.

Now at last they know

that all you have given me comes indeed from you;

for I have given them the teaching you gave to me,

and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you,

and have believed that it was you who sent me.

I pray for them;

I am not praying for the world

but for those you have given me,

because they belong to you:

all I have is yours

and all you have is mine,

and in them I am glorified.

I am not in the world any longer,

but they are in the world,

and I am coming to you.’


It is far easier to say that our baptism was simply a conversion event in which we all became children of God our Father and our sins were washed away momentarily, or rather till we fell into sin again. This is far from the truth! For by our baptism we were inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We were baptised with living water and the fire of the Holy Spirit was infused within us. We had received an indelible mark upon us and as God our Father’s children, we are called to live our lives in Holiness. Are we then living our lives in the Spirit today and everyday?

Let us pray earnestly to the Lord our God, as we prepare our hearts minds and soul for a powerful renewal this Sunday. Through a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we shall go out to set the world ablaze with the fire of His love; and we shall renew the face of the earth though Him, with Him and in Him. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 19:1-8 ·

The moment Paul laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ they answered, ‘No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.’ ‘Then how were you baptised?’ he asked. ‘With John’s baptism’ they replied. ‘John’s baptism’ said Paul ‘was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him – in other words, Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of these men.

    He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months.

Gospel

John 16:29-33

Be brave, for I have conquered the world

His disciples said to Jesus, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using metaphors! Now we see that you know everything, and do not have to wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them:

‘Do you believe at last?

Listen; the time will come – in fact it has come already –

when you will be scattered,

each going his own way and leaving me alone.

And yet I am not alone,

because the Father is with me.

I have told you all this

so that you may find peace in me.

In the world you will have trouble,

but be brave: I have conquered the world.’

7Th Sunday Of Easter

Posted: May 15, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

The Kingdom Remains: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 1:15–17, 20–26

Psalm 103:1–2, 11–12, 19–20

1 John 4:11–16

John 17:11–19

(In dioceses where Ascension is celebrated on Sunday, see the reflection for The Ascension of the Lord.)

Today’s First Reading begins by giving us a time frame—the events take place during the days between Christ’s Ascension and Pentecost. We’re at the same point in our liturgical year. On Thursday we celebrated His being taken up in glory, and next Sunday we will celebrate His sending of the Spirit upon the Church.

Jesus’ prayer in the Gospel today also captures the mood of departure and the anticipation. He is telling us today how it will be when He is no longer in the world.

By His Ascension, the Lord has established His throne in heaven, as we sing in today’s Psalm. His kingdom is His Church, which continues His mission on earth.

Jesus fashioned His kingdom as a new Jerusalem and a new house of David (see Psalm 122:4–5; Revelation 21:9–14). He entrusted this kingdom to His Twelve Apostles, who were to preside at the

Eucharistic table, and to rule with Him over the restored twelve tribes of Israel (see Luke 22:29–30).

The Twelve Apostles symbolize the twelve tribes and hence the fulfillment of God’s plan for Israel (see Galatians 6:16). That’s why it is crucial to replace Judas—so that the Church in its fullness receives the Spirit at Pentecost.

Peter’s leadership of the Apostles is another key element of the Church as it is depicted today. Notice that Peter is unquestionably in control, interpreting the Scriptures, deciding a course of action, even defining the nature of the apostolic ministry.

No one has ever seen God, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Yet, through the Church founded on His Apostles, the witnesses to the resurrection, the world will come to know and believe in God’s love, that He sent His Son to be our savior.

Through the Church, Jesus’ pledge still comes to us—that if we love, God will remain with us in our trials and protects us from the evil one. By His word of truth He will help us grow in holiness, the perfection of love.


“Anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.”

And what do we ask for? Do we ask to glorify His name by our lives? Do we ask for wisdom to know His Will? Do we ask for the courage, fortitude and strength to build His Kingdom? Do we ask for a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the conversion of sinners and the saving of souls? Do we ask for His guidance on how we can better love our brethren as we ought to? Are we then living our lives worthy of God our Father’s love who loves us for loving and believing in His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Where is our discipleship?

The world has gone back to becoming both paganistic as well as hedonistic. How else do you account for the promotion of same sex ‘marriages’? And all the different sexual deviations that have risen to destroy family as well as social values. What about the resurfacing of ancient child sacrifices? No? What is abortion then if not the sacrificing of a child’s life for whatever personal reasons? What about the growing atrocities that goes on in the world devaluing human life and dignity?

How could we have allowed this to happen? Yes we allowed it to happen when we chose to be silent! When we keep thinking it is someone’s else’s responsibility so share the truths of the Gospel! When we think doing good deeds alone is enough to bring others into the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord and perhaps conversion. When we do not preach and teach the Kerygma. When we do not talk about repentance and the turning back of hearts to God our Heavenly Father. When we do not step up to serve Him and our brethren as we are called to do. When we refuse to renounce ourselves take up our cross to follow Jesus!

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to renew and set our hearts ablaze, to empower us as we go forth to renew the whole world by His love! Amen Alleluia!

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:23-28 ·

Apollos demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ

Paul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.

    An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.

    When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel

John 16:23-28

The Father loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.

Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.

I have been telling you all this in metaphors,

the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors;

but tell you about the Father in plain words.

When that day comes you will ask in my name;

and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you,

because the Father himself loves you for loving me

and believing that I came from God.

I came from the Father and have come into the world

and now I leave the world to go to the Father.’


Did Jesus choose you? Did He command you to love one another as He loved you? Did He commission You to go out and bear fruit?

If not you then who? Only the Apostles? Are you not His friend but a mere servant? Or are you a complete stranger to Him?

Unless we embrace our baptism for what it truly is we will always think that the responsibility of evangelisation both of Word and in deed falls to another. Perhaps Priests, clergy and religious not so much the laity? Do we not share the same baptism as they do? We are all baptised in Christ, that is we have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, therefore we are all God our Father’s Children through baptism. Hence it is our duty to take up  our ‘office’ which is to live in and build His Kingdom!

Yes Lord I hear Your call. I will go! Amen Allelulia

St. Matthias Pray for us….

First reading

Acts 1:15-17,20-26 ·

‘Let someone else take his office’

One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:

Let his camp be reduced to ruin,

Let there be no one to live in it.

And again:

Let someone else take his office.

‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’

    Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.

Gospel

John 15:9-17

You are my friends if you do what I command you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,

so I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments

you will remain in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments

and remain in his love.

I have told you this

so that my own joy may be in you

and your joy be complete.

This is my commandment:

love one another, as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love

than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends,

if you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more,

because a servant does not know

his master’s business;

I call you friends,

because I have made known to you

everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me:

no, I chose you;

and I commissioned you

to go out and to bear fruit,

fruit that will last;

and then the Father will give you

anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you

is to love one another.’

Ascension of the Lord

Posted: May 13, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

The Good News: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Ascension of the Lord

Readings:

Acts 1:1–11

Psalm 47:2–3, 6–7, 8–9

Ephesians 1:17–23 or Ephesians 1:1-13 or Ephesians 4:1–7, 11–13

Mark 16:15-20

In today’s first reading, St. Luke gives the surprising news that there is more of the story to be told. The story did not end with the empty tomb, or with Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles over the course of forty days. Jesus’ saving work will have a liturgical consummation. He is the great high priest, and he has still to ascend to the heavenly Jerusalem, there to celebrate the feast in the true Holy of Holies.

The truth of this feast shines forth from the Letter to the Hebrews, where we read of the great high priest’s passing through the heavens, the sinless intercessor’s sacrifice on our behalf (see Hebrews 4:14–15).

Indeed, his intercession will lead to the Holy Spirit’s descent in fire upon the Church. Luke spells out that promise in the first reading for the feast of the Ascension: “in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). Ascension is the preliminary feast that directs the Church’s attention forward to Pentecost. On that day, salvation will be complete; for salvation is not simply expiation for sins (that would be wonder enough), but it is something even greater than that. Expiation is itself a necessary precondition of our adoption as God’s children. To live that divine life we must receive the Holy Spirit. To receive the Holy Spirit we must be purified through baptism.

The Responsorial Psalm presents the Ascension in terms familiar from the worship of the Jerusalem Temple in the days of King Solomon: “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord” (Psalm 47). The priest-king takes his place at the head of the people, ruling over the nations, establishing peace.

The Epistle strikes a distinctively Paschal note. In the early Church, as today, Easter was the normal time for the baptism of adult converts. The sacrament was often called “illumination” or “enlightenment” (see, for example, Hebrews 10:32) because of the light that came with God’s saving grace. Saint Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, speaks in terms of glory that leads to greater glories still, as Ascension leads to Pentecost: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,” he writes, as he looks to the divinization of the believers. Their “hope” is “his inheritance among the holy ones,” the saints who have been adopted into God’s family and now rule with him at the Father’s right hand.

This is the “good news” the Apostles are commissioned to spread—to the whole world, to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem—at the first Ascension. It’s the good news we must spread today.


Lesser men would hide the truth of our Lord’s Resurrection from unbelievers for fear of losing their attention or being mocked for revealing such a thing. There is also the temptation to save the truth for a later time when the listeners might be more receptive. In today’s first reading St. Paul skilfully weaves the truth of the existence of their Unknown God with the One true living God for all of mankind! He then proceeds to share the truth held by all Christians, the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! This is what it means to be guided by the Spirit of Truth.

The divine nature of the Holy Spirit is once again revealed by Jesus in today’s Gospel. One with our Heavenly Father and with Jesus Himself. And so if we surrender to the Holy Will of the Lord our God; we will be led by the Holy Spirit and we in turn will lead others to the complete truth to be found in Him alone.

Come Holy Spirit Lord, come and lead me. Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 17:15,22-18:1

I proclaim the God you already worship without knowing it

Paul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could.

    So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech:

    ‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it.

    ‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:

“We are all his children.”

‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man.

    ‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’

    At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides.

    After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Gospel

John 16:12-15

The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truth

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you

but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes

he will lead you to the complete truth,

since he will not be speaking as from himself

but will say only what he has learnt;

and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me,

since all he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.

Everything the Father has is mine;

that is why I said:

All he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.’


Are we still celebrating the joy of our Lord’s resurrection as we should, in this 6th Week of Eastertide? Or have we already strayed from the path and are back to being prisoners of sin, of our unbelief? Have we allowed the voices of the world to bring us down into despair and entrap us!

Rise up! Pray and sing the Lord our God’s praises. For we bask in the light of His resurrection! He had already conquered death and sin for us! And so even if we have fallen, we can turn to Jesus to raise up once again so as to live fully in His love.

Come Holy Spirit come! Come live inside of me. Take away all that is not of You away from me. Help me to remain steadfast in Your love. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:22-34 ·

Become a believer and you will be saved, and your household too

The crowd joined in and showed their hostility to Paul and Silas, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

    Late that night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God’s praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’ The gaoler called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They told him, ‘Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.’ Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them home and gave them a meal, and the whole family celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

Gospel

John 16:5-11

Unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.

Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?”

Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.

Still, I must tell you the truth:

it is for your own good that I am going

because unless I go,

the Advocate will not come to you;

but if I do go,

I will send him to you.

And when he comes,

he will show the world how wrong it was,

about sin,

and about who was in the right,

and about judgement:

about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me;

about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and your seeing me no more;

about judgement: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’


How can those who have not heard of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ experience the joy of the Gospels if we do not share it with them? If we simply hold to preaching the Gospel by our actions of good works. Are muslims, hindus and any others of the world religions incapable of good works? Of course not! Some may do greater works than we.

Why then are we so afraid to share the joy of our resurrected Lord with the rest of the world by our words? For it is our Lord alone who will open hearts and minds to receive Him. We have already been given a powerful advocate and should be fully alive living in the Spirit! Let us therefore be bold in our endeavours for come what may, we will always have Christ by our side. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:11-15 ·

The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to accept what Paul was saying

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

Gospel

John 15:26-16:4

The Spirit of truth will be my witness

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘When the Advocate comes,

whom I shall send to you from the Father,

the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,

he will be my witness.

And you too will be witnesses,

because you have been with me from the outset.

‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.

They will expel you from the synagogues,

and indeed the hour is coming

when anyone who kills you

will think he is doing a holy duty for God.

They will do these things

because they have never known

either the Father or myself.

But I have told you all this,

so that when the time for it comes

you may remember that I told you.’


I am a disciple of the Lord! I will no longer allow myself be tempted, hence I shall refrain from all forms of alcohol. If I were to give spiritual talks and there is a break, I will sit with my own spiritual team. This is to avoid being present at any form of salacious talk and banter. I encourage my team of fellow disciples to always pray, fast and discern all things. But as leader I have to make the final decisions.  Do I come across as one who takes after my master?

Jesus not of this world, came into the world so as to led us out into His. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  How then can I a disciple of Jesus not sit and dine with sinners? To guide, lead and love them out of sin into the Kingdom of the Master whom I serve. Yes I will most definitely have to face resistance, opposition, even jeers, harsh criticism and so on. This is to be expected for a servant is no greater than his master. My Lord died for me so that I may live free from sin and have hope of eternal life with Him; And so I must be prepared to lay down my life for my brethren if need be, so as to lead them into eternal glory with Him. Every soul is precious to Him just as mine is.

Jesus I belong to You. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 16:1-10 ·

‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.

    As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.

    So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.

    They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.

    One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.

Gospel

John 15:18-21

The world hated me before it hated you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you,

remember that it hated me before you.

If you belonged to the world,

the world would love you as its own;

but because you do not belong to the world,

because my choice withdrew you from the world,

therefore the world hates you.

Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;

if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

But it will be on my account that they will do all this,

because they do not know the one who sent me.’


We who are mothers and fathers will always be mother and father to our children. This fact will never change. But how sad it is if our children who have become young adults, are never able to call us friends. Likewise if we are never able to call our children our friends. For me, my father and mother are my best friends (bffs) I will ever have. While I will always be respectful to them, I sit at table with them as equals and can share with them everything and anything under the sun, moon and stars! If we cannot fathom having such a unique and special relationship with our parents then how are we going to fathom that Jesus is willing and able to call us His friends?

Yes the Lord our God whom all Authority of Heaven and Earth have been given to by God our Heavenly Father, calls us His friends! The only provision, caveat is that we do what He commands us. ”Love one another as I have loved you.”

And so today in our Church how are we living out His commandment in our dealings with one another? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in our decisions and care for brothers and sisters during this pandemic? Are we going above and beyond for love of our brethren or are we imposing more restrictions then necessary? Are we afraid that we have limited resources at hand?

Jesus has commissioned us to go out and bear fruit and He will give us anything we ask in His name. What a friend we have in Jesus! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 15:22-31 ·

It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us not to burden you beyond these essentials

The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:

    ‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’

    The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Gospel

John 15:12-17

What I command you is to love one another

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘This is my commandment:

love one another,

as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love

than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends,

if you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more,

because a servant does not know

his master’s business;

I call you friends,

because I have made known to you

everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me:

no, I chose you;

and I commissioned you

to go out and to bear fruit,

fruit that will last;

and then the Father will give you

anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you is to love one another.’


When Covid-19 hit and everything in life changed drastically, none of us could see any good that came out from it. In fact many wondered if it was God’s punishment on us all. But why and what is the lesson for us all? Had the Lord our God abandoned us? No more Church? No more sacraments?

Slowly but surely we began to see the Lord’s guiding hand in everything especially through our difficulties and in the gathering of His flock. Many who follow closely the instruction of wearing the mask as we continue to ride out the pandemic find they do not fall sick as often as they did in the past prior to wearing one.  The air that we breath at home and outside is fresher even through the wearing of the mask. Through the Holy Spirit we were guided to find new ways to gather in His name. Zoom and many video conferencing apps enabled us to do so. His saving grace was at hand and many were touched and healed in His presence which transcends time and space! Coming together to pray and discern as One community we began to see new opportunities of reaching out to those in need and found new ways to evangelise so as to share the joy of the Gospel.

All this was possible and continues to be so because we choose to remain steadfast in His love.  Our joy is complete in Him! Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 15:7-21 ·

I rule that we do not make things more difficult for the pagans who turn to God

After the discussion had gone on a long time, Peter stood up and addressed the apostles and the elders.

    ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the pagans were to learn the Good News from me and so become believers. In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith. It would only provoke God’s anger now, surely, if you imposed on the disciples the very burden that neither we nor our ancestors were strong enough to support? Remember, we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.’

    This silenced the entire assembly, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the pagans.

    When they had finished it was James who spoke. ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘listen to me. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:

After that I shall return

and rebuild the fallen House of David;

I shall rebuild it from its ruins

and restore it.

Then the rest of mankind,

all the pagans who are consecrated to my name,

will look for the Lord,

says the Lord who made this known so long ago.

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

Gospel

John 15:9-11

Remain in my love

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,

so I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments

you will remain in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments

and remain in his love.

I have told you this

so that my own joy may be in you

and your joy be complete.’


We must always remain connected to the source of all life, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Otherwise we will wither and die.

You who were touched by the Lord in your own personal encounter know perfectly well what I am talking about. If like me, then prior to encountering Jesus you would have gone through life searching for love in the wrong places.  Seeking peace of mind but never finding it.  This all changed when you came into the loving embrace of your Lord and God. What was lost is found, the void of emptiness is filled. Peace such that the world can never give flowed through your every being. Your heart could not be contained within itself and it expanded tenfold! You now love as you have never loved before and lead a fruitful life.  And you know through experience that He will prune you so that you can bear much more fruit for Him. And so willing accept the challenges and trials that come.

This is the same wonderful experience of being loved by God our loving Father for ALL of us sisters and brothers in Christ. We the many branches are connected to the One vine who nourishes us. We therefore must be One in Him. Even in our many disagreements we must come together as One to discuss, pray, discern and find solutions for the greater good of all. There will be times where we have to humbly accept that we cannot move forward at this present time and so agree to disagree. We pray the Holy Spirit will find a way for us.

Lord let us be one, as You and our Heavenly Father are one, just as You are in Him and He is in You. May we also be in You so that the world may believe that You have sent us. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 15:1-6

They were to go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.

    All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.

    But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

Gospel

John 15:1-8

I am the vine, you are the branches

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine,

and my Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in me that bears no fruit

he cuts away,

and every branch that does bear fruit

he prunes to make it bear even more.

You are pruned already,

by means of the word that I have spoken to you.

Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.

As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,

but must remain part of the vine,

neither can you unless you remain in me.

I am the vine,

you are the branches.

Whoever remains in me, with me in him,

bears fruit in plenty;

for cut off from me you can do nothing.

Anyone who does not remain in me

is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers;

these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,

and they are burnt.

If you remain in me

and my words remain in you,

you may ask what you will

and you shall get it.

It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,

and then you will be my disciples.’


If we simply read today’s reading as a story, then how will we ever understand or be inspired by the courage, will and sheer determination of St Paul to bring the light of Christ and the joy of the Gospel into the hearts of all who would listen. How he carried  with him the peace of Christ in heart and was neither troubled or afraid

How then can we fully understand the message of the Apostles to persevere in the faith when they said ‘We all have to experience many hardships’. Or how can we share in such hardships so as to declare the reign of Christ in our own lives as we bring forth the fruits of our labour. When we choose to keep silent in our ministry, community, church and family meetings so as to keep the status quo. When we give too many excuses for our lack of action, “I’m too old it’s for the younger generation to take over” “I’m no St Paul, St Barnabas or St Barnabette!” “Let our spiritual director lead us in every aspect” “Everyone will change on their own in God’s time” Instead of allowing the powerful Word of God and the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord transform our every meeting so as to bring about greater discipleship for His glory! 

Let Your peace fill my heart O Lord, as I make known the glorious splendour of Your reign. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 14:19-28 ·

They gave an account of how God had opened the door of faith to the pagans

Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and turned the people against the apostles. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went off to Derbe.

    Having preached the Good News in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

    They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.

    On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

Gospel

John 14:27-31

A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,

a peace the world cannot give,

this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,

for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens,

so that when it does happen you may believe.

I shall not talk with you any longer,

because the prince of this world is on his way.

He has no power over me,

but the world must be brought to know

that I love the Father

and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’


We are all called to be part of something larger than ourselves that is to do greater works than Jesus did for the glory of God our Heavenly Father!

But how can we if we are simply living day to day trying our very best to avoid sin? Struggling to remain faithful while quietly going about our daily affairs. When we can respond to His call to go make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them the ways of the Lord so that they too might have a share of eternal life. How do we this? Well we can start by being part of a Christian community and exercising our ability to share how the Lord had touched us in our own lives. Gradually learning to share on passages of scripture that has inspired and transformed us. This is done intentionally in our ministries, church activities or simply in the office. Ministering to someone each day by and through His Word.  We build our ‘Spiritual muscles’ in order to glorify our Lord more and more each day by our lives! We put into action our love for our Lord and brethren.  For at the end of every Sunday Eucharistic Celebration we sent in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour! To do great works in His Holy name and in His love. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 ·

The Lord appeared to James, and then to all the apostles

Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.

    Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.

Gospel

John 14:6-14

To have seen me is to have seen the father

Jesus said to Thomas:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

No one can come to the Father except through me.

If you know me, you know my Father too.

From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’

    ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,

so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?

Do you not believe

that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:

it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.

You must believe me when I say

that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;

believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever believes in me

will perform the same works as I do myself,

he will perform even greater works,

because I am going to the Father.

Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,

so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If you ask for anything in my name,

I will do it.’

Fifth Sunday Of Easter

Posted: May 1, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

On the Vine: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 9:26–31

Psalm 22:26–28, 30–32

1 John 3:18–24

John 15:1–8

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that He is the true vine that God intended Israel to be—the source of divine life and wisdom for the nations (see Sirach 24:17–24).

In Baptism, each of us was joined to Him by the Holy Spirit. As a branch grows from a tree, our souls are to draw life from Him, nourished by His word and the Eucharist.

Paul in today’s First Reading seeks to be grafted onto the visible expression of Christ the true vine—His Church. Once the chief persecutor of the Church, Paul encounters initial resistance and suspicion. But he is known by his fruits, by his powerful witness to the Lord working in his life (see Matthew 7:16–20).

We too are commanded today to bear good fruits as His disciples so that our lives give glory to God. Like Paul’s life, our lives must bear witness to His goodness.

Jesus cautions us, however, that if we’re bearing fruit, we can expect that God will “prune” us—as a gardener trims and cuts back a plant so that it will grow stronger and bear even more fruit. He is teaching us today how to look at our sufferings and trials with the eyes of faith. We need to see our struggles as pruning, by which we are being disciplined and trained so that we can grow in holiness and bear fruits of righteousness (see Hebrews 12:4–11).

We need to always remain rooted in Him, as today’s Epistle tells us. We remain in Him by keeping His commandment of love, by pondering His words, letting them dwell richly in us (see Colossians 3:16), and by always seeking to do what pleases Him. In everything we must be guided by humility, remembering that apart from Him we can do nothing.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, we must fulfill our vows, turning to the Lord in worship, proclaiming his praises, until all families come to know His justice in their lives.


Can I say to a dearest friend it is alright for you to reject my wife for I have known you longer? Or do I instead hold that bond of my marriage as sacred, and so say to friend, “If you reject my wife, you reject me!” For we are One in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What then are the implications for us when we reject Jesus? In today’s Gospel we are reminded that God our Heavenly Father are One. To know Jesus is to know God our Heavenly Father and so to reject Jesus is to reject God our Heavenly Father. Oh! But I will never reject Jesus! Really have I never rejected Him?

When I refused to sit in His presence daily to listen to His Word? Was I not rejecting Him? When I ignored the poor, the hungry and the sick? When I refused to attend community prayer meetings with my brethren who were gathered in His name? (the whole town assembled to hear the word of God) Do I count myself worthy then of eternal life?

Live in me Lord Jesus! Let me never stray from You! And may all that I say and all that I do bring Glory to You O Lord. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 13:44-52 ·

Since you have rejected the word of God, we must turn to the pagans

The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:

I have made you a light for the nations,

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

It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.

    But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Gospel

John 14:7-14

To have seen me is to have seen the father

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If you know me, you know my Father too.

From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’

    ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,

so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?

Do you not believe

that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:

it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.

You must believe me when I say

that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;

believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever believes in me

will perform the same works as I do myself,

he will perform even greater works,

because I am going to the Father.

Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,

so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If you ask for anything in my name,

I will do it.’