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.’


If Jesus had not resurrected then Christianity would not exist! Death would have the final victory over all of us. What kind of life would we have? Will we have hope? Will we all have become atheists? Or would we cling to some notion of a God so far above us and distant? Or that our ‘lifeforce’ will somehow return to perpetuate our existence though with memories erased? What is the truth?

Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God our Father still and trust in me says our Resurrected Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And so if we identify ourselves as Christians then how can we not live with the joy of this truth in our hearts? How can we keep this Good news or rather this most Wonderful News to ourselves? For we have the answer to life after death! We have the source of life itself, who is the Way, Truth and life and we are One in Him. Amen Alleluia! 

First reading

Acts 13:26-33 ·

God has fulfilled his promise by raising Jesus from the dead

Paul stood up in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

    ‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you. What the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did, though they did not realise it, was in fact to fulfil the prophecies read on every sabbath. Though they found nothing to justify his death, they condemned him and asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree and buried him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem: and it is these same companions of his who are now his witnesses before our people.

    ‘We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead. As scripture says in the second psalm: You are my son: today I have become your father.’

Gospel

John 14:1-6

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God still, and trust in me.

There are many rooms in my Father’s house;

if there were not, I should have told you.

I am going now to prepare a place for you,

and after I have gone and prepared you a place,

I shall return to take you with me;

so that where I am you may be too.

You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:

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

No one can come to the Father except through me.’


It is always good to look back from time to time and see where we have come from and where we are heading. That is to remember the Lord’s goodness in our lives, of how His mercy and love has freed us to live in the joy of His resurrection. In other words to remember our own salvation history in light of the salvation history of the World through Christ our Lord. We also remember that not too long ago we had renewed our baptismal vows as new creations in Him during Easter Vigil, after having journeyed through the wilderness of our Lenten observances.

Having been faithful and steadfast in our journey it would have led us into the bosom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ which is fidelity to God our Father through love and service according to His Will. In joyful expectation of eternal life with Him, we readily lay down our lives for Him and for our brethren. It is our humble servitude that highlights the dignity of Him who has called to Holiness, for we mirror His likeness and image.

Your Will be done Lord now and forever. Amen Alleluia!

St Catherine of Siena pray for us….

First reading

Acts 13:13-25

God has raised up one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour

Paul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, please do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

    ‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’

Gospel

John 13:16-20

Whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me

After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

no servant is greater than his master,

no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.

‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.

‘I tell you this now, before it happens,

so that when it does happen

you may believe that I am He.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,

and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’


As we draw closer to Pentecost let us prepare our hearts, minds and souls to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Through earnest steadfast prayer, fasting and attentive listening to God our Father’s Word and Will for us. Then like St Paul and St Barnabas who were docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we too shall be led to be lights of Christ sent forth to illumine the hearts and minds of His flock.

Jesus light of the World, my Lord and my God. Let Your perpetual light shine upon me all the days of my life. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 12:24-13:5 ·

‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart’

The word of God continued to spread and to gain followers. Barnabas and Saul completed their task and came back from Jerusalem, bringing John Mark with them.

    In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

    So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; John acted as their assistant.

Gospel

John 12:44-50

I, the light, have come into the world

Jesus declared publicly:

‘Whoever believes in me

believes not in me

but in the one who sent me,

and whoever sees me,

sees the one who sent me.

I, the light, have come into the world,

so that whoever believes in me

need not stay in the dark any more.

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,

it is not I who shall condemn him,

since I have come not to condemn the world,

but to save the world.

He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already:

the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

For what I have spoken does not come from myself;

no, what I was to say,

what I had to speak,

was commanded by the Father who sent me,

and I know that his commands mean eternal life.

And therefore what the Father has told me

is what I speak.’


4th Week into Eastertide are we still awake? Alive and joyful in the celebration of our Resurrected Lord? Have we remained steadfast so as to hear His soft promptings guiding us and leading closer to the bosom of God our Heavenly Father?

Or have we once again allowed the voices of the World overpower us? Have we gone back to our old routines of work and worldly distractions. Had we decided to miss our community prayer meetings as they now hold little importance to us? Well then it is we who have chosen to abandon our Shepherd! He has become a stranger to us and we can no longer recognise His voice.

While there is still breath in us it is not too late. Turn back to Him with contrite hearts and be reconciled! It is only through Jesus that we are fully alive. It is only through Him that we are One with our Heavenly Father.

Lord Jesus have mercy on me a sinner. Be with me always and never let me lose my way. You are my Shepherd I belong to You, let me always listen to Your voice. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 11:19-26 ·

They started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Lord Jesus

Those who had escaped during the persecution that happened because of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they usually proclaimed the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

    The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.

    Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’

Gospel

John 10:22-30

The Father and I are one

It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus replied:

‘I have told you, but you do not believe.

The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness;

but you do not believe,

because you are no sheep of mine.

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;

I know them and they follow me.

I give them eternal life;

they will never be lost

and no one will ever steal them from me.

The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone,

and no one can steal from the Father.

The Father and I are one.’


Following yesterday’s second reading where we were reminded that it was God our Father’s lavish love for us that He let us be called His Children and yesterday’s Gospel where Jesus clearly mentions He has other sheep not of this fold which He must lead; how then can we frown upon those who are different from us, say a foreign worker in our Country. Or someone of another ethnicity? Or someone who was brought up in a different religion or belief system? How is it that we fail to recognise a fellow sister and brother? A fellow child of God our Heavenly Father?

How then can we fully embrace today’s Gospel and understand that Jesus is for EVERYONE. It is through Him that we enter into sonship and daughterhood of God our Heavenly Father. Through Him we are safe and go freely in and out and are sure to find pasture. He is both Shepherd and Gate of the sheepfold.

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

First reading

Acts 11:1-18

God can grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life

The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that the pagans too had accepted the word of God, and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the Jews criticised him and said, ‘So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them, have you?’ Peter in reply gave them the details point by point: ‘One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,’ he began ‘I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet reached the ground quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw all sorts of animals and wild beasts – everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Now, Peter; kill and eat!” But I answered: Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips. And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.” This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.

    ‘Just at that moment, three men stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me, and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going back with them. The six brothers here came with me as well, and we entered the man’s house. He told us he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, “Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon known as Peter; he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household.”

    ‘I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning, and I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” I realised then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?’

    This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God. ‘God’ they said ‘can evidently grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life.’

Gospel

John 10:1-10

I am the gate of the sheepfold

Jesus said:

    ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’

    Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.

    So Jesus spoke to them again:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

I am the gate of the sheepfold.

All others who have come

are thieves and brigands;

but the sheep took no notice of them.

I am the gate.

Anyone who enters through me will be safe:

he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Shepherd’s Voice: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Easter


Readings:

Acts 4:8–12

Psalm 118:1, 8–9, 21–23, 26, 29

1 John 3:1–2

John 10:11–18
 

Jesus, in today’s Gospel, says that He is the good shepherd the prophets had promised to Israel.
He is the shepherd-prince, the new David—who frees people from bondage to sin and gathers them into one flock, the Church, under a new covenant, made in His blood (see Ezekiel 34:10–13, 23–31).


His flock includes other sheep, He says, far more than the dispersed children of Israel (see Isaiah 56:8; John 11:52). And He gave His Church the mission of shepherding all peoples to the Father.


In today’s First Reading, we see the beginnings of that mission in the testimony of Peter, whom the Lord appointed shepherd of His Church (see John 21:15–17).


Peter tells Israel’s leaders that the Psalm we sing today is a prophecy of their rejection and crucifixion of Christ. He tells the “builders” of Israel’s temple that God has made the stone they rejected the cornerstone of a new spiritual temple, the Church (see Mark 12:10–13; 1 Peter 2:4–7).


Through the ministry of the Church, the shepherd still speaks (see Luke 10:16), and forgives sins (see John 20:23), and makes His body and blood present, that all may know Him in the breaking of the bread (see Luke 24:35). It is a mission that will continue until all the world is one flock under the one shepherd.


In laying down His life and taking it up again, Jesus made it possible for us to know God as He did—as sons and daughters of the Father who loves us. As we hear in today’s Epistle, He calls us His children, as He called Israel His son when He led them out of Egypt and made His covenant with them (see Exodus 4:22–23; Revelation 21:7).


Today, let us listen for His voice as He speaks to us in the Scriptures, and vow again to be more faithful followers. And let us give thanks for the blessings He bestows from His altar.


Jesus our Risen Lord is also our Eucharistic Lord and God! The reality of this truth does not change whether we choose to accept it or not.  That is why I have chosen to share this truth knowing full well I have quite a number of sisters and brothers from other denominations around the globe following my reflections and it is difficult for them to accept.  Temptation is to adulterate the truth and to make it more palatable. But what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? What did Jesus do when many of His ‘disciples’  left Him because they could not accept His doctrine of what we now accept to be His teaching of the Holy Eucharist? He did not try to convince them, offer clarification, or justification but simply turned to His twelve and said ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’

Jesus is truly the bread of life, whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood has eternal life; And Jesus will raise all who believe and are faithful up at the last day.

We who have been given life to the full must therefore in turn be life giving! In every aspect of our lives, in thought, word and deed.  St Peter in today’s first reading testifies powerfully to this by His living example of visiting one place after another sharing in the light of the resurrection and offering all who would listen, life in Christ! For our Lord had promised, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 9:31-42 ·

The churches grew and were filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit

The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

    Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord.

    At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’

    Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.

Gospel

John 6:60-69

Who shall we go to? You are the Holy One of God

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?

‘It is the spirit that gives life,

the flesh has nothing to offer.

The words I have spoken to you are spirit

and they are life.

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.

    Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’


If only Catholics around the world knew and understood the breadths, lengths, heights and depths of their faith in our Risen Eucharistic Lord nothing could ever shake or rob them of the truth in their belief.  It is in our credo of a living, merciful and ever loving God, of all His works visible and invisible!

Jesus the source of all life offers us eternal life with and in Him. This foretaste and yet a reality of divine revelation is embraced by each and everyone of us who partakes of Him in Holy Eucharist! All Praise, Glory and thanksgiving be to the Lord our God!

Christ in us how can we not go forth to preach Jesus is the Son of God most high?! How can we not preach repentance of sins and salvation for all? That everyone who believes is inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And through Him alone they shall have life to the full!

Let us share our Eucharistic Lord with one and all! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 9:1-20 ·

This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the pagans

Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.

    Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.

    A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask at the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’

    When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.

    He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’

Gospel

John 6:52-59

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

has eternal life,

and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food

and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood

lives in me

and I live in him.

As I, who am sent by the living Father,

myself draw life from the Father,

so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven;

not like the bread our ancestors ate:

they are dead,

but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.


The Word of God is indeed alive and active. For it is a living Word that gives life. And anyone who hears it, is drawn by God our Heavenly Father to Himself, through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

With this truth in mind, are we who have experienced this very truth not filled with zeal to be powerful instruments of His grace? With the joy of the Risen Lord in our hearts shall we not lead those who are eager to listen to the deep well of living water? Such that they will surely declare their overwhelming desire to be embraced as God our Father’s Children through baptism; as the eunuch did in today’s first reading when he said ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’

 Yes Lord I hear Your call to go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything You have commanded me. And that You are with me always. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 8:26-40

Philip baptizes a eunuch

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’ So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia, and was in fact her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this:

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,

like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,

like these he never opens his mouth.

He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.

Who will ever talk about his descendants,

since his life on earth has been cut short!

The eunuch turned to Philip and said, ‘Tell me, is the prophet referring to himself or someone else?’ Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.

    Further along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’ He ordered the chariot to stop, then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptised him. But after they had come up out of the water again Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.

Gospel

John 6:44-51

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me

unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me,

and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is written in the prophets:

They will all be taught by God,

and to hear the teaching of the Father,

and learn from it,

is to come to me.

Not that anybody has seen the Father,

except the one who comes from God:

he has seen the Father.

I tell you most solemnly,

everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.

Your fathers ate the manna in the desert

and they are dead;

but this is the bread that comes down from heaven,

so that a man may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.

Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;

and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,

for the life of the world.’


Unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies it remains a single seed. But if it dies in produces many seeds.

If we say we have died to ourselves and have taken up our cross to follow Jesus then where are the many seeds we have produced? How many have we led to RCIA? How many have we touched and ministered to? How many have we led out of bondage and have set free through Christ our Lord? How many no longer hunger and thirst for they have experienced the living bread, the Bread of Life?

It is not about being thick skinned enough but rather how filled are You with the love of God our Heavenly Father? Have you not partaken of the Bread of Life yourself? Are you not nourished daily through His living Word? For if you were truly living as a child of God so loved by Your Heavenly Father and are a disciple of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; then you will not allow criticism, persecution or anything for that matter, get in the way of sharing His truth, way and life!

It is my Father’s will, says the Lord, that whoever believes in the Son shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day. Amen

Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 8:1-8

They went from place to place, preaching the Good News

That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.

    There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.

    Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.

    Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

 

Gospel

John 6:35-40

It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son should have eternal life

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry;

he who believes in me will never thirst.

But, as I have told you,

you can see me and still you do not believe.

All that the Father gives me will come to me,

and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away;

because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will,

but to do the will of the one who sent me.

Now the will of him who sent me

is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me,

and that I should raise it up on the last day.

Yes, it is my Father’s will

that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’


I used to love this proverb, ‘Speech is silver, silence is golden.’ Yes this helped me on many occasions when used together with ‘choose  your battles.’  However if I am truly a disciple of Christ, can I keep silent when souls are at stake? Even though I know that by speaking up, I would most certainly be ‘stoned’!

Can I keep silent…….? When my teenage son or daughter brings someone  they are sexually attracted to, home with them to stay over behind closed doors? When someone I know is contemplating abortion? When someone close to me is committing adultery with another? When my children refuses to go to the church?

Let me choose to look heavenward Lord Jesus to see Your glory! As I obey Your Holy Will to speak Your truth through the power of the Holy Spirit. And if I am thereafter scorned, mocked or put to death literally or otherwise. Lord Jesus into Your hands I commend my Spirit. For I know You will raise me up on the last day! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 7:51-8:1 ·

‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’

Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: ‘You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.’

    They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.

    But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.

Gospel

John 6:30-35

It is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven

The people said to Jesus, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’

    Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven,

it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven,

the true bread;

for the bread of God

is that which comes down from heaven

and gives life to the world.’

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:

‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry;

he who believes in me will never thirst.’


Whether it be with separated Christians of other denominations, atheists or believers of other religions. If we enter into discussions with them or even debates it is not about winning the arguments or displaying superior knowledge or wisdom; it is about how much more we can love them through Christ our Lord,  both in our words and in our deeds. Such that the light of Christ shines through us. For whether they reject us personally or reject all that we have shared with them, it does not change the reality of the truth, the way and the life to be found in Jesus alone.

We can share His love and peace with all that we meet because we have ourselves received His immense love for us, His peace and joy; having sought Him daily through His Word and entering into His presence to listen to His will for us.  Grace filled we go out as witnesses to His love, peace and share the great joy of the Gospel.

Lord Jesus we desire the food that You offer us, that which endures to eternal life. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 6:8-15

They could not get the better of Stephen because the Spirit prompted what he said

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.

Gospel

John 6:22-29

Do not work for food that cannot last, but for food that endures to eternal life

After Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’

    Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs

but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.

Do not work for food that cannot last,

but work for food that endures to eternal life,

the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you,

for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

Third Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

Understanding the Scriptures: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Easter

Readings:
Acts 3:13–1517–19
Psalm 4:247–9
1 John 2:1–5
Luke 24:35–48
 
Jesus in today’s Gospel teaches His apostles how to interpret the Scriptures.

He tells them that all the Scriptures of what we now call the Old Testament refer to Him. He says that all the promises found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in His Passion, death, and Resurrection. And He tells them that these Scriptures foretell the mission of the Church—to preach forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
In today’s First Reading and Epistle, we see the beginnings of that mission. And we see the apostles interpreting the Scriptures as Jesus taught them to.

God has brought to fulfillment what He announced beforehand in all the prophets, Peter preaches. His sermon is shot through with Old Testament images. He evokes Moses and the Exodus, in which

God revealed himself as the ancestral God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Exodus 3:615). He identifies Jesus as Isaiah’s suffering servant who has been glorified (see Isaiah 52:13).

John, too, describes Jesus in Old Testament terms. Alluding to how Israel’s priests offered blood sacrifices to atone for the people’s sins (see Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9–10), he says that Jesus intercedes for us before God (see Romans 8:34), and that His blood is a sacrificial expiation for the sins of the world (see 1 John 1:7).

Notice that in all three readings, the Scriptures are interpreted to serve and advance the Church’s mission—to reveal the truth about Jesus, to bring people to repentance, the wiping away of sins, and the perfection of their love for God.

This is how we, too, should hear the Scriptures. Not to know more “about” Jesus, but to truly know Him personally, and to know His plan for our lives.

In the Scriptures, the light of His face shines upon us, as we sing in today’s Psalm. We know the wonders He has done throughout history. And we have the confidence to call to Him, and to know that He hears and answers.


Where is Jesus in our lives? Is He present in all our discussions, our decision making process? In our goals and aspirations? In our lives? Do we keep Him at a distance and only call out to Him when things become challenging?

How can we invite Jesus to our meetings then say ok Lord we only have 10 minutes set aside for prayer, to praise and worship You. We ask for Your intercession thereafter to make our meeting and discussions fruitful. Surely You understand Lord because we have much work and ground to cover for the building of Your Kingdom. Really? Who’s kingdom are we building? What kind of fruits are we hoping to reap? How are we to grow in discipleship to truly serve Him and our brethren?

Lord Jesus reign in my Heart! Let Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done always in my thoughts, words and deeds. Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 6:1-7 ·

They elected seven men full of the Holy Spirit

About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked. So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’ The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

    The word of the Lord continued to spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increased, and a large group of priests made their submission to the faith.

Gospel

John 6:16-21

They saw Jesus walking on the lake

In the evening the disciples went down to the shore of the lake and got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the lake. It was getting dark by now and Jesus had still not rejoined them. The wind was strong, and the sea was getting rough. They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat. This frightened them, but he said, ‘It is I. Do not be afraid.’ They were for taking him into the boat, but in no time it reached the shore at the place they were making for.


There is one thing I ask of the Lord,  to live in the house of the Lord! Yes sisters and brothers in Christ, is this not our deepest desire? So how wonderful it is to stand together with you and cry out in prayer our response to Psalm 26 (27)

As we walk hand in hand on our pilgrim journey back home to Him, we are assured that He, our Risen Lord walks with us. Come what may, we advance unafraid, for God with us who can be against us?

We are reminded in Today’s Gospel of the great and enduring love the Lord has for us. He does not wait for His flock to cry out to Him in hunger, He lovingly seeks to nourish all who walk with Him. The foreshadowing of Holy Eucharist in His feeding of the five thousand. Ah such love! “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” 

And just like a mother does not need her daughter’s help to bake cookies or a father who does not need his son’s help to replace a light bulb, Jesus invites us to participate in His salvific plan. ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’

Here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will. Amen Alleulia!

First reading

Acts 5:34-42 ·

They were glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name

One member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a doctor of the Law and respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the apostles taken outside for a time. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, ‘Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people. There was Theudas who became notorious not so long ago. He claimed to be someone important, and he even collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he got killed too, and all his followers dispersed. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.’

    His advice was accepted; and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.

    They preached every day both in the Temple and in private houses, and their proclamation of the Good News of Christ Jesus was never interrupted.

Gospel

John 6:1-15

The feeding of the five thousand

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.

    Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.


The fundamental question for us this Eastertide is how can we remain joyful? How can we continue each day to live in the peace, joy and light of our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ?

The answer is simple and had already been revealed to us long ago. However many of us had chosen either to ignore or brush it aside either due to lack of knowledge or know how, lack of  belief or simply we gave in to our inertia. Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life had revealed and given us the Holy Spirit to be our Counsellor and our guide. Hence choosing to live in the Spirit is what enables us to live in the light of the Resurrection. Being docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit is what enables us to be obedient to the Lord our God and enkindles in us the fire to become great instruments of His grace. What flows through us then is His peace, love and joy. It all begins with a simple prayer every morning, “Come Holy Spirit, Come; Come dwell in my heart, take full control, lead and guide me this and everyday.”

By His guiding hand, we are no longer slaves to fear, we live as children God our Father so loved by Him. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 5:27-33 ·

We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit

When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’

    This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.

Gospel

John 3:31-36

The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him

John the Baptist said to his disciples:

‘He who comes from above is above all others;

he who is born of the earth is earthly himself

and speaks in an earthly way.

He who comes from heaven

bears witness to the things he has seen and heard,

even if his testimony is not accepted;

though all who do accept his testimony

are attesting the truthfulness of God,

since he whom God has sent

speaks God’s own words:

God gives him the Spirit without reserve.

The Father loves the Son

and has entrusted everything to him.

Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,

but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life:

the anger of God stays on him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 14, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Happy Easter! The joy, peace and love of our Lord be with you all.

Yes indeed time flies and we are already in the second week of Eastertide. So how have your Easter Celebrations been? Even with all the restrictions in place we still have lots and lots of opportunity to share the Easter joy with one another and with all that we meet.

After all we have been set free to share with all, the new life we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. And so with great joy in our hearts we proclaim the Good news both in word and in deed. So that all will be drawn to the light that we carry with us. They who were lost are found and everyone who believes in Him shall have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world so that through Him the world might be saved. Amen Alleulia!

First reading

Acts 5:17-26 ·

The men you imprisoned are in the Temple, preaching to the people

The high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.

    But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.

    When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Gospel

John 3:16-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost

but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world

not to condemn the world,

but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be condemned;

but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,

because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced:

that though the light has come into the world

men have shown they prefer darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong

hates the light and avoids it,

for fear his actions should be exposed;

but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,

so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’


How can we believers be united heart and soul if we do not belong to a community of believers? If we believe that however we behave, say or do is between us and God individually? If everything and everyone else is a priority over our community prayer meetings? If we do not meet to pray and dwell on the Word of the Lord as one body in Him? If we do not testify to His great love for us in our lives? If we do not care for the well being of one another? If we hold back and do not give our all, then in essence we deprive ourselves of life to the full in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

For if we are truly united heart and soul then we too will testify to the resurrection of our Lord with great power. Together we will bear our crosses and lift our Lord up high so that everyone who believes will have a share of eternal life in Him. Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 4:32-37 ·

The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul

The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.

    The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.

    None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.

    There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Gospel

John 3:7-15

No-one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man who has come down from heaven

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Do not be surprised when I say:

You must be born from above.

The wind blows wherever it pleases;

you hear its sound,

but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.

That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.

‘I tell you most solemnly,

we speak only about what we know

and witness only to what we have seen

and yet you people reject our evidence.

If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world,

how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven

except the one who came down from heaven,

the Son of Man who is in heaven;

and the Son of Man must be lifted up

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’


If the joy and peace of Easter has fizzled out and we are back to our daily routines and drudgery, then we are not living in the Spirit as we called to do. For we began our journey in Lent with the desire to be renewed, rejuvenated and prayed to the Lord to bring to fruition our Lenten observances. We renewed our baptismal promises at Easter Vigil, and have been brought to new life once again in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Let us choose then to remain steadfast and pray to the Holy Spirit as we prepare our hearts for Pentecost this very day. Let us bask in the joy of our resurrected Lord as we live in the light of His resurrection. For our Lord will heal, restore and empower us to share His glory with all. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:23-31 ·

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly

As soon as Peter and John were released they went to the community and told them everything the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they lifted up their voice to God all together. ‘Master,’ they prayed ‘it is you who made heaven and earth and sea, and everything in them; you it is who said through the Holy Spirit and speaking through our ancestor David, your servant:

Why this arrogance among the nations,

these futile plots among the peoples?

Kings on earth setting out to war,

princes making an alliance,

against the Lord and against his Anointed.

‘This is what has come true: in this very city Herod and Pontius Pilate made an alliance with the pagan nations and the peoples of Israel, against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, but only to bring about the very thing that you in your strength and your wisdom had predetermined should happen. And now, Lord, take note of their threats and help your servants to proclaim your message with all boldness, by stretching out your hand to heal and to work miracles and marvels through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ As they prayed, the house where they were assembled rocked; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly.

Gospel

John 3:1-8

Unless a man is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God

There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.’ Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

unless a man is born from above,

he cannot see the kingdom of God.’

Nicodemus said, ‘How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

unless a man is born through water and the Spirit,

he cannot enter the kingdom of God:

what is born of the flesh is flesh;

what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Do not be surprised when I say:

You must be born from above.

The wind blows wherever it pleases;

you hear its sound,

but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.

That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

Divine Mercy Sunday

Posted: April 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The Day the Lord Made: Scott Hahn Reflects on Divine Mercy Sunday

Readings:

Acts 4:32–35

Psalms 118:2–4, 13–15, 22–24

1 John 5:1–6

John 20:19–31

Three times in today’s Psalm we cry out a victory shout: “His mercy endures forever.”

Truly we’ve known the everlasting love of God, who has come to us as our Savior. By the blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ pierced side (see John 19:34), we’ve been made God’s children, as we hear in today’s Epistle.

Yet we never met Jesus, never heard Him teach, never saw Him raised from the dead. His saving Word came to us in the Church—through the ministry of the apostles, who in today’s Gospel are sent as He was sent.

He was made a life-giving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45) and He filled His apostles with that Spirit. As we hear in today’s First Reading, they bore witness to His resurrection with great power. And through their witness, handed down in the Church through the centuries, their teaching and traditions have reached us (see Acts 2:42).

We encounter Him as the apostles did—in the breaking of the bread on the Lord’s day (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10).

There is something liturgical about the way today’s Gospel scenes unfold. It’s as if John is trying to show us how the risen Lord comes to us in the liturgy and sacraments.

In both scenes it is Sunday night. The doors are bolted tight, yet Jesus mysteriously comes. He greets them with an expression, “Peace be with you,” used elsewhere by divine messengers (see Daniel 10:19; Judges 6:23). He shows them signs of His real bodily presence. And on both nights the disciples respond by joyfully receiving Jesus as their “Lord.”

Isn’t this what happens in the Mass—where our Lord speaks to us in His Word, and gives himself to us in the sacrament of His body and blood?

Let us approach the altar with joy, knowing that every Eucharist is the day the Lord has made—when the victory of Easter is again made wonderful in our eyes.


For those who believe no proof is necessary, for those who disbelieve no proof is sufficient.

And yet everything changes with a personal encounter with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! For no amount of unbelieve will change the reality that He is Lord of lords, King of kings! God from God, light from light, true God from true God. Our Risen Lord who saved us from death and through Him we have eternal life!

When we meet with like minded souls who have encountered the Lord, we never exchange testimonies with incredulity or sheer skepticism but the warm embrace of His truth. For we hear His voice, we know Him and we follow Him. It is of great importance  therefore that we should belong to a community of believers, so that we can affirm and encourage one another as we journey on as one Body in Him. With the fire of Lord burning deep within us we shall go forth to share the joy of the Gospel to all creation. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:13-21 ·

We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard

The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’

    So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel

Mark 16:9-15

Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.

    After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.

    Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 9, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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From Good Friday to Easter Friday in the Octave how much more alive are we? In our faith and in our life in the resurrected Lord?

Jesus saved us from Sin and eternal death when He laid down His life for us on ‘Good Friday’ and on ‘Easter Sunday’ He rose from the dead, conquering death for us so that we have hope of new life in Him now and forever! His very name in Hebrew means Salvation and that is why St Peter boldly declares ‘For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’ How are we then as disciples of our Lord, bringing new life to others? How are we ministering to others in His precious name? How many lives have we touched, healed and restored in Jesus’s name? How many souls are we reaching out to today to lead them home to Him?

In today’s Gospel we see the endearing love He has for His disciples. He feeds and nourishes them just as He does today for us His Church, His One Body through the Holy Eucharist. Glory and Praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Lord I pray for each and every one of my brethren today, that You grant them a fresh anointing, a healing of body, mind and spirit. That renewed in the light of Your resurrection we shall go forth to lead a great haul of souls into Your Kingdom. In Your most precious name….Jesus! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:1-12

The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be saved

While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.

    The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel

John 21:1-14

Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

    It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

    As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.


Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Rev 3:20

Lord Jesus this promise was fulfilled in today’s Gospel and this promise is now offered to me and my brethren. For You are my loving saviour who loves me dearly and wants to have fellowship with me. I open the door of my heart to You and renounce all my sins Lord; bless me and keep my heart pure. Let me be a powerful instrument of Your grace for my brethren. Just like St Peter and all the saints, grant me the gifts to bring about healing and restoration in the lives of God our Father’s children. So that together we can glorify You and share in the glory of Your resurrection. Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 3:11-26 ·

You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the dead

Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.

    ‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.

    ‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Gospel

Luke 24:35-48

It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.

    They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

    Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’


Many will not turn a blind eye to someone crying out their way for help. They are quick to whip out $10 even $50 dollars to give to the one in need. (some may offer less whilst others may even offer more) Others may take a while to review, ask qualifying questions before doing likewise. Very few would spend their precious time with the one in need, to minister to them. What if the one crying out to you was Jesus? How much more will you give? How much more will you do for Him?

If we do not spend time daily in His precious presence how then are we to recognise our Lord Jesus when He stands before us? How are we to see His face in our brethren? Fortunately we have saints that have gone before us, who have seen His face in others and have shown us how to by their very own lives. Two fine examples would be St John Paul II and St Teresa of Calcutta affectionately know as Mother Teresa! Can we not do the same?

We cannot say we are not equipped or lack anything the saints had. We have the living Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the most precious gift of the Holy Eucharist; the Body, Blood, Soul and divinity of Christ Jesus Himself! There is nothing else we need!

Lord You are my Shepherd, I shall not want. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:1-10 ·

I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus, walk!

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Gospel

Luke 24:13-35

They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

    Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

    Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

    When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

    They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags:

Look forward and do not the turn back for we must live anew in the light of the Resurrection of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Now more than ever the evil one seeks to rob us of our joy and peace. And so let us not listen to his promptings nor desire the wiles of the world which seeks to lure us back to the darkness of sin.

We must hold fast to our baptismal promise to walk, grow in holiness and to reject all sin. Let us pray and praise Him constantly as we seek to walk in His presence each and every day. Then the world will know that we not a mournful bunch but truly an alleluia people!

Glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 2:36-41 ·

You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus

On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’

    Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Gospel

John 20:11-18

‘I have seen the Lord and he has spoken to me’

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


After forty days in the wilderness of our hearts and the desert of our minds in which we hungered and thirst after the Lord our God; by and through our Lenten Observances we have arrived at the land when milk and honey flows! All has been brought to fruition by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the light of His Resurrection!

Let us not deny our Lord’s resurrection by returning to our old way of life.  For we are not of this World but children of the light! We have come out of our tombs and entered into new life with Him. Renewed, transfigured and led by the Holy Spirit let us go forth as witnesses to the Risen Lord sharing His joy, peace and love with all we meet this Monday morning and every day thereafter. Amen

Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always,

for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.

So my heart was glad

and my tongue cried out with joy;

my body, too, will rest in the hope

that you will not abandon my soul to Hades

nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.

You have made known the way of life to me,

you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Gospel

Matthew 28:8-15

Tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee: they will see me there

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

    And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

    While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Happy Easter

Posted: April 4, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

A blessed and joyous Easter to you and your family

Love from all of us at home

Easter Vigil Readings

Posted: April 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Meditations

First reading

Genesis 1:1-2:2 ·

God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water.

    God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light ‘day’, and darkness he called ‘night.’ Evening came and morning came: the first day.

    God said, ‘Let there be a vault in the waters to divide the waters in two.’ And so it was. God made the vault, and it divided the waters above the vault from the waters under the vault. God called the vault ‘heaven.’ Evening came and morning came: the second day.

    God said, ‘Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear.’ And so it was. God called the dry land ‘earth’ and the mass of waters ‘seas’, and God saw that it was good.

    God said, ‘Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees bearing fruit with their seed inside, on the earth.’ And so it was. The earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seed in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the third day.

    God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of heaven to divide day from night, and let them indicate festivals, days and years. Let them be lights in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth.’ And so it was. God made the two great lights: the greater light to govern the day, the smaller light to govern the night, and the stars. God set them in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth, to govern the day and the night and to divide light from darkness. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the fourth day.

    God said, ‘Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth within the vault of heaven.’ And so it was. God created great sea-serpents and every kind of living creature with which the waters teem, and every kind of winged creature. God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas; and let the birds multiply upon the earth.’ Evening came and morning came: the fifth day.

    God said, ‘Let the earth produce every kind of living creature: cattle, reptiles, and every kind of wild beast.’ And so it was. God made every kind of wild beast, every kind of cattle, and every kind of land reptile. God saw that it was good.

    God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.’

God created man in the image of himself,

in the image of God he created him,

male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food. To all wild beasts, all birds of heaven and all living reptiles on the earth I give all the foliage of plants for food.’ And so it was. God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning came: the sixth day.

    Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array. On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing.

Psalm

Psalm 103(104):1-2,5-6,10,12-14,24,35

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

    Lord God, how great you are,

clothed in majesty and glory,

    wrapped in light as in a robe!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

You founded the earth on its base,

    to stand firm from age to age.

You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:

    the waters stood higher than the mountains.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;

    they flow in between the hills.

On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;

    from the branches they sing their song.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

From your dwelling you water the hills;

    earth drinks its fill of your gift.

You make the grass grow for the cattle

    and the plants to serve man’s needs.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

How many are your works, O Lord!

    In wisdom you have made them all.

    The earth is full of your riches.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Second reading

Genesis 22:1-18 ·

The sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith

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

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

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

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

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

    Abraham called this place ‘The Lord Provides’, and hence the saying today: On the mountain the Lord provides.

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

Psalm

Psalm 15(16):5,8-11

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;

    it is you yourself who are my prize.

I keep the Lord ever in my sight:

    since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;

    even my body shall rest in safety.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead,

    nor let your beloved know decay.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

You will show me the path of life,

    the fullness of joy in your presence,

    at your right hand happiness for ever.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

 

Third reading

Exodus 14:15-15:1

The sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea

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

    Then the angel of God, who marched at the front of the army of Israel, changed station and moved to their rear. The pillar of cloud changed station from the front to the rear of them, and remained there. It came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. The cloud was dark, and the night passed without the armies drawing any closer the whole night long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canticle

Exodus 15

Hymn of victory after crossing the Red Sea

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

    Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!

The Lord is my strength, my song, my salvation.

    This is my God and I extol him,

    my father’s God and I give him praise.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

The Lord is a warrior! ‘The Lord’ is his name.

    The chariots of Pharaoh he hurled into the sea,

the flower of his army is drowned in the sea.

    The deeps hide them; they sank like a stone.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

Your right hand, Lord, glorious in its power,

    your right hand, Lord, has shattered the enemy.

    In the greatness of your glory you crushed the foe.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

You will lead your people and plant them on your mountain,

    the place, O Lord, where you have made your home,

the sanctuary, Lord, which your hands have made.

    The Lord will reign for ever and ever.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

Fourth reading

Isaiah 54:5-14 ·

With everlasting love the Lord your redeemer has taken pity on you

Thus says the Lord:

Now your creator will be your husband,

his name, the Lord of Hosts;

your redeemer will be the Holy One of Israel,

he is called the God of the whole earth.

Yes, like a forsaken wife, distressed in spirit,

the Lord calls you back.

Does a man cast off the wife of his youth?

says your God.

I did forsake you for a brief moment,

but with great love will I take you back.

In excess of anger, for a moment

I hid my face from you.

But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you,

says the Lord, your redeemer.

I am now as I was in the days of Noah

when I swore that Noah’s waters

should never flood the world again.

So now I swear concerning my anger with you

and the threats I made against you;

for the mountains may depart,

the hills be shaken,

but my love for you will never leave you

and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken,

says the Lord who takes pity on you.

Unhappy creature, storm-tossed, disconsolate,

see, I will set your stones on carbuncles

and your foundations on sapphires.

I will make rubies your battlements,

your gates crystal,

and your entire wall precious stones.

Your sons will all be taught by the Lord.

The prosperity of your sons will be great.

You will be founded on integrity;

remote from oppression, you will have nothing to fear;

remote from terror, it will not approach you.

Psalm

Psalm 29(30):2,4-6,11-13

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me

    and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,

    restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,

    give thanks to his holy name.

His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.

    At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

The Lord listened and had pity.

    The Lord came to my help.

For me you have changed my mourning into dancing:

    O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

Fifth reading

Isaiah 55:1-11 ·

Come to me and your soul will live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you

Thus says the Lord:

Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;

though you have no money, come!

Buy corn without money, and eat,

and, at no cost, wine and milk.

Why spend money on what is not bread,

your wages on what fails to satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat

and rich food to enjoy.

Pay attention, come to me;

listen, and your soul will live.

With you I will make an everlasting covenant

out of the favours promised to David.

See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples,

a leader and a master of the nations.

See, you will summon a nation you never knew,

those unknown will come hurrying to you,

for the sake of the Lord your God,

of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you.

Seek the Lord while he is still to be found,

call to him while he is still near.

Let the wicked man abandon his way,

the evil man his thoughts.

Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him,

to our God who is rich in forgiving;

for my thoughts are not your thoughts,

my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.

Yes, the heavens are as high above earth

as my ways are above your ways,

my thoughts above your thoughts.

Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.

Canticle

Isaiah 12

The rejoicing of a redeemed people

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Truly, God is my salvation,

    I trust, I shall not fear.

For the Lord is my strength, my song,

    he became my saviour.

With joy you will draw water

    from the wells of salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!

    Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!

    Declare the greatness of his name.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Sing a psalm to the Lord

    for he has done glorious deeds;

    make them known to all the earth!

People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,

    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Sixth reading

Baruch 3:9-15,32-4:4 ·

In the radiance of the Lord, make your way to light

Listen, Israel, to commands that bring life;

hear, and learn what knowledge means.

Why, Israel, why are you in the country of your enemies,

growing older and older in an alien land,

sharing defilement with the dead,

reckoned with those who go to Sheol?

Because you have forsaken the fountain of wisdom.

Had you walked in the way of God,

you would have lived in peace for ever.

Learn where knowledge is, where strength,

where understanding, and so learn

where length of days is, where life,

where the light of the eyes and where peace.

But who has found out where she lives,

who has entered her treasure house?

But the One who knows all knows her,

he has grasped her with his own intellect,

he has set the earth firm for ever

and filled it with four-footed beasts.

He sends the light – and it goes,

he recalls it – and trembling it obeys;

the stars shine joyfully at their set times:

when he calls them, they answer, ‘Here we are’;

they gladly shine for their creator.

It is he who is our God,

no other can compare with him.

He has grasped the whole way of knowledge,

and confided it to his servant Jacob,

to Israel his well-beloved;

so causing her to appear on earth

and move among men.

This is the book of the commandments of God,

the Law that stands for ever;

those who keep her live,

those who desert her die.

Turn back, Jacob, seize her,

in her radiance make your way to light:

do not yield your glory to another,

your privilege to a people not your own.

Israel, blessed are we:

what pleases God has been revealed to us.

Psalm

Psalm 18(19):8-11

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The law of the Lord is perfect,

    it revives the soul.

The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,

    it gives wisdom to the simple.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The precepts of the Lord are right,

    they gladden the heart.

The command of the Lord is clear,

    it gives light to the eyes.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The fear of the Lord is holy,

    abiding for ever.

The decrees of the Lord are truth

    and all of them just.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

They are more to be desired than gold,

    than the purest of gold

and sweeter are they than honey,

    than honey from the comb.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

Seventh reading

Ezekiel 36:16-17,18-28 ·

I shall pour clean water over you and I shall give you a new heart

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, the members of the House of Israel used to live in their own land, but they defiled it by their conduct and actions. I then discharged my fury at them because of the blood they shed in their land and the idols with which they defiled it. I scattered them among the nations and dispersed them in foreign countries. I sentenced them as their conduct and actions deserved. And now they have profaned my holy name among the nations where they have gone, so that people say of them, “These are the people of the Lord; they have been exiled from his land.”

    ‘But I have been concerned about my holy name, which the House of Israel has profaned among the nations where they have gone.

    ‘And so, say to the House of Israel, “The Lord says this: I am not doing this for your sake, House of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord – it is the Lord who speaks – when I display my holiness for your sake before their eyes. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land.

    ‘“I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances. You will live in the land which I gave your ancestors. You shall be my people and I will be your God.”’

Psalm

Psalm 41(42):2-3,5,42:3-4

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God,

    the God of my life;

when can I enter and see

    the face of God?

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

These things will I remember

    as I pour out my soul:

how I would lead the rejoicing crowd

    into the house of God,

amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving,

    the throng wild with joy.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

O send forth your light and your truth;

    let these be my guide.

Let them bring me to your holy mountain,

    to the place where you dwell.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

And I will come to the altar of God,

    the God of my joy.

My redeemer, I will thank you on the harp,

    O God, my God.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

Epistle

Romans 6:3-11 ·

Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.

    If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection. We must realise that our former selves have been crucified with him to destroy this sinful body and to free us from the slavery of sin. When a Christian dies, of course, he has finished with sin.

    But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no power over him any more. When he died, he died, once for all, to sin, so his life now is life with God; and in that way, you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel

Mark 16:1-8

Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, has risen

When the sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb, just as the sun was rising.

    They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ But when they looked they could see that the stone – which was very big – had already been rolled back. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, ‘There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him, just as he told you.”’

Easter Sunday

Posted: April 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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New Morning: Scott Hahn Reflects on Easter Sunday

Readings:

Acts 10:3437–43

Psalm 118:1–216–1722–23

Colossians 3:1–4

John 20:1–9

The tomb was empty. In the early morning darkness of that first Easter, there was only confusion for Mary Magdalene and the other disciples. But as the daylight spread, they saw the dawning of a new creation.

At first they didn’t understand the Scripture, today’s Gospel tells us. We don’t know which precise Scripture texts they were supposed to understand. Perhaps it was the sign of Jonah, who rose from the belly of the great fish after three days (see Jonah 1:17). Or maybe Hosea’s prophecy of Israel’s restoration from exile (see Hosea 6:2). Perhaps it was the psalmist who rejoiced that God had not abandoned him to the netherworld (see Psalm 16:9–10).

Whichever Scripture it was, as the disciples bent down into the tomb, they saw and they believed. What did they see? Burial shrouds in an empty tomb. The stone removed from the tomb. Seven times

in nine verses we hear that word—“tomb.”

What did they believe? That God had done what Jesus said He would do—raised Him up on the third day (see Mark 9:3110:34).

What they saw and believed they bore witness to, as today’s First Reading tells us. Peter’s speech is a summary of the gospels—from Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan t His hanging on a tree (see Deuteronomy 21:22–23), to His rising from the dead.

We are children of the apostles, born into the new world of their witness. Our lives are now “hidden with Christ in God,” as today’s Epistle says. Like them, we gather in the morning on the first day of the week —to celebrate the Eucharist, the feast of the empty tomb.

We rejoice that the stones have been rolled away from our tombs, too. Each of us can shout, as we do in today’s Psalm: “I shall not die, but live.” They saw and believed. And we await the day they promised would come—when we, too, “will appear with Him in glory.”

Holy Saturday

Posted: April 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Meditations
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HOLY SATURDAY

Holy Saturday – An Animation

Good Friday

Posted: April 2, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today is Not a Holiday for us! It is the DAY of all days that we fast, pray and reflect deeply on the Passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! We remove the veil and the ‘sanitisation’ of the gold or other forms of designer crucifixes we have and gaze lovingly at the plain ugly plain wooden cross in which our battered Lord hung and died for our many heinous sins against Him and one another.

We mourn over all our sins with heartfelt and deep sorrow. For the many times we betrayed Jesus by our unloving thoughts, words and deeds. For the all the times we sold Him for ‘thirty pieces of silver’. (the choices we made over Him) For all the days we refused to stay awake and to pray even for an hour. For the many instances we abandoned Him and chose to hide instead in fear. When we denied knowing Him for fear of persecution, ridicule or rejection. For each and every time we refuse to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

Before taking His last breath Jesus our loving and merciful Lord forgave us from the cross, when He prayed, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And so let us turn to Him with broken, contrite hearts and we shall surely hear Him say to us, “This day you will be with me in paradise.”

We adore You O Christ and we Bless You,

Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Amen

First reading

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The servant of the Lord, an expiatory Sacrifice

See, my servant will prosper,

he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

As the crowds were appalled on seeing him

– so disfigured did he look

that he seemed no longer human –

so will the crowds be astonished at him,

and kings stand speechless before him;

for they shall see something never told

and witness something never heard before:

‘Who could believe what we have heard,

and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us,

like a root in arid ground.

Without beauty, without majesty we saw him,

no looks to attract our eyes;

a thing despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering,

a man to make people screen their faces;

he was despised and we took no account of him.

And yet ours were the sufferings he bore,

ours the sorrows he carried.

But we, we thought of him as someone punished,

struck by God, and brought low.

Yet he was pierced through for our faults,

crushed for our sins.

On him lies a punishment that brings us peace,

and through his wounds we are healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep,

each taking his own way,

and the Lord burdened him

with the sins of all of us.

Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly,

he never opened his mouth,

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house,

like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers

never opening its mouth.

By force and by law he was taken;

would anyone plead his cause?

Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living;

for our faults struck down in death.

They gave him a grave with the wicked,

a tomb with the rich,

though he had done no wrong

and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering.

If he offers his life in atonement,

he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life

and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

His soul’s anguish over

he shall see the light and be content.

By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,

taking their faults on himself.

Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute,

he shall divide the spoil with the mighty,

for surrendering himself to death

and letting himself be taken for a sinner,

while he was bearing the faults of many

and praying all the time for sinners.

Second reading

Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9 ·

The Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

    During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel

John 18:1-19:42

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

Key: N. Narrator. ✠ Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.

    N. Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kedron valley. There was a garden there, and he went into it with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was going to happen to him, Jesus then came forward and said,

    ✠ Who are you looking for?

    N. They answered,

    C. Jesus the Nazarene.

    N. He said,

    ✠ I am he.

    N. Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said, ‘I am he’, they moved back and fell to the ground. He asked them a second time,

    ✠ Who are you looking for?

    N. They said,

    C. Jesus the Nazarene.

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.

    N. This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’

    Simon Peter, who carried a sword, drew it and wounded the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,

    ✠ Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?

    N. The cohort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had suggested to the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’

    Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who was keeping the door and brought Peter in. The maid on duty at the door said to Peter,

    O. Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?

    N. He answered,

    O. I am not.

    N. Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others.

    The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered,

    ✠ I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret. But why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught: they know what I said.

    N. At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying,

    O. Is that the way to answer the high priest?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ If there is something wrong in what I said, point it out; but if there is no offence in it, why do you strike me?

    N. Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

    As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him,

    O. Aren’t you another of his disciples?

    N. He denied it, saying,

    O. I am not.

    N. One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said,

    O. Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?

    N. Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crew.

    They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves or they would be defiled and unable to eat the passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said,

    O. What charge do you bring against this man?

    N. They replied,

    C. If he were not a criminal, we should not be handing him over to you.

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.

    N. The Jews answered,

    C. We are not allowed to put a man to death.

    N. This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.

    So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, and asked,

    O. Are you the king of the Jews?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?

    N. Pilate answered,

    O. Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.

    N. Pilate said,

    O. So you are a king, then?

    N. Jesus answered,

    ✠ It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Truth? What is that?

    N. and with that he went out again to the Jews and said,

    O. I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release the king of the Jews?

    N. At this they shouted:

    C. Not this man, but Barabbas.

    N. Barabbas was a brigand.

    Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying,

    C. Hail, king of the Jews!

    N. and they slapped him in the face.

    Pilate came outside again and said to them,

    O. Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case.

    N. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said,

    O. Here is the man.

    N. When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted,

    C. Crucify him! Crucify him!

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him.

    N. The Jews replied,

    C. We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the Son of God.

    N. When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus

    O. Where do you come from?

    N. But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him,

    O. Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.

    N. From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted,

    C. If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.

    N. Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews,

    O. Here is your king.

    N. They said,

    C. Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Do you want me to crucify your king?

    N. The chief priests answered,

    C. We have no king except Caesar.

    N. So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

    They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate,

    C. You should not write ‘King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said: “I am King of the Jews.”’

    N. Pilate answered,

    O. What I have written, I have written.

    N. When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,

    C. Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.

    N. In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled:

    They shared out my clothing among them.

    They cast lots for my clothes.

This is exactly what the soldiers did.

    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.

    N. Then to the disciple he said,

    ✠ This is your mother.

    N. 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.

    N. 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;

    N. and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

    Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

    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.

After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.


If the Son of Man, Son of God can strip himself of all titles and show us by His example how to love perfectly by way of humble servitude of others. How can we who call Him master, not live by His command to love. To love one another as He loved us?

The unblemished lamb of God laid down His life for love of us. So that we might live free from all blemish of sin, fully in His peace and love. Divine love outpoured into our hearts and souls as we partake of Him in Holy Eucharist.

Today we remember God our Heavenly Father’s great love for us, as we commemorate the institution of the Priesthood and Holy Communion by His only begotten Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Glory to God in the highest! Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 ·

The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

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

    ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Second reading

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ·

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Gospel

John 13:1-15

Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

    They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’

    When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’


In order to use my disciple’s tongue to give hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the heavy burdened and inject new life into the spiritually dead; I must first listen like a disciple at the feet of my master, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Only then will His grace flow through me. Only then will my tongue be guarded against saying more than is necessary for it is the Holy Spirit that leads through and through.

Woe to me if I preach a different Gospel from what was given to me by my Lord. Woe to me if I added flavour to what was already perfected in Him! For if I do so it means I have not surrendered my all to Him, I have not laid my self down as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Lord my God. I have betrayed the Lord my God for ‘thirty pieces of silver’.  What are these thirty pieces of silver? Want of personal recognition? Affirmation? Vain glory? Honour? Empty pride? Hidden lustful desires? Want for vengeance? Wrath? Greed? Or just plain laziness! Who’s disciple am I really? Who am I serving?

Lord Jesus make me a disciple after Your own heart! Come Holy Spirit come. Come dwell in my heart, remove all that is not of You. Wash me clean and I will be white as snow. Fill me with Your grace, peace, love and joy. So that I may glorify my Lord by my life. Amen

First Reading

Isaiah 50:4-9 ·

Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me

a disciple’s tongue.

So that I may know how to reply to the wearied

he provides me with speech.

Each morning he wakes me to hear,

to listen like a disciple.

The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance,

neither did I turn away.

I offered my back to those who struck me,

my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;

I did not cover my face

against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help,

so that I am untouched by the insults.

So, too, I set my face like flint;

I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?

Then let us go to court together.

Who thinks he has a case against me?

Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help,

who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25

‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

    Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

    When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.


We are all called to be salt and light of the world! But it is not through our bravado or a simple declaration that we are Christians and therefore are followers of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

We have to go through a kenosis so as to be free from the attachments of the world. We draw ever closer to Him through His Word, and are attentive in listening to His Will for us by entering into His presence daily in prayer. We are then fully united with the Lord our God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Only through His grace are we able to sacrifice what we must, for the greater glory of God our Heavenly Father. Only then can we love brethren as we ought to, and lay down our lives for them if needed. Jesus for us is not someone we turn Heavenwards to see, but who lives and reigns deep within our hearts, minds and soul.

Transform me Lord this Holy Week, that I may draw ever closer to You. Let me be a beacon of Your hope and light . Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 ·

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

Islands, listen to me,

pay attention, remotest peoples.

The Lord called me before I was born,

from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword,

and hid me in the shadow of his hand.

He made me into a sharpened arrow,

and concealed me in his quiver.

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

in whom I shall be glorified’;

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

I have exhausted myself for nothing’;

and all the while my cause was with the Lord,

my reward with my God.

I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,

my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,

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

to bring Jacob back to him,

to gather Israel to him:

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

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

I will make you the light of the nations

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

Gospel

John 13:21-33,36-38

‘What you are going to do, do quickly’

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.

    When he had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,

and in him God has been glorified.

If God has been glorified in him,

God will in turn glorify him in himself,

and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children,

I shall not be with you much longer.

You will look for me,

And, as I told the Jews,

where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’