Third Sunday Of Lent

Posted: March 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Spiritual Sacrifice: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Lent

Readings:

Exodus 20:1–17

Psalm 19:8–11

1 Corinthians 1:22–25

John 2:13–25

Jesus does not come to destroy the temple, but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17)—to reveal its true purpose in God’s saving plan.

He is the Lord the prophets said would come—to purify the temple, banish the merchants, and make it a house of prayer for all peoples (see Zechariah 14:21; Malachi 3:1–5; Isaiah 56:7).

The God who made the heavens and the earth, who brought Israel out of slavery, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands (see Acts 7:48; 2 Samuel 7:5).

Nor does He need offerings of oxen, sheep, or doves (see Psalm 50:7–13).

Notice in today’s First Reading that God did not originally command animal sacrifices—only that Israel heed His commandments (see Jeremiah 7:21–23; Amos 5:25).

His law was a gift of divine wisdom, as we sing in today’s Psalm. It was a law of love (see Matthew 22:36–40), perfectly expressed in Christ’s self-offering on the Cross (see John 15:13).

This is the “sign” Jesus offers in the Gospel today—the sign that caused Jewish leaders to stumble, as Paul tells us in the Epistle.

Jesus’ body—destroyed on the Cross and raised up three days later—is the new and true sanctuary. From the temple of His body, rivers of living water flow, the Spirit of grace that makes each of us a temple (see 1 Corinthians 3:16) and together builds us into a dwelling place of God (see Ephesians 2:22).

In the Eucharist we participate in His offering of His body and blood. This is the worship in Spirit and in truth that the Father desires (see John 4:23–24).

We are to offer praise as our sacrifice (see Psalm 50:14, 23). This means imitating Christ—offering our bodies—all our intentions and actions in every circumstance, for the love of God and the love of others (see Hebrews 10:5–7; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We have often dwelled on how important it is to enter into deep relationship with the Lord our God? But what does relationship in itself mean for us?

Relationship by definition means being connected or associated in some way whether by blood, marriage or kinship. Romantically, sexually involved or simply sharing an emotional connection through feelings and a strong sense of belonging. But can we continue to have strong relationships which grows ever stronger in the absence of love and mercy? Without love and mercy there is No relationship!

What about us Christians? We are grafted unto the vine, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and share an eternal bond with Him and a fraternal bond with one another by virtue of our Baptism. We are one Body in Him but are we then living this truth?  In today’s responsorial psalm our united response is ‘The Lord is compassion and Love’ and we know this to be true. He is indeed slow to anger, rich in abounding steadfast love. This is how our Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us; can we then love any of His children, our sisters and brothers any less? How then do we reflect our Heavenly Father’s love and mercy in our daily dealings with one another?

For just as we had strayed from Him on many occasions and had become prodigal sons and daughters; who yearned for our Heavenly Father’s embrace which He never ever withholds from us. We too must readily embrace those who have hurt us and strayed far from us whether physically, emotionally or spiritually. Amen

First reading

Micah 7:14-15,18-20 ·

Have pity on us one more time

With shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture,

the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest with meadow land all around.

Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.

As in the days when you came out of Egypt grant us to see wonders.

What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy?

Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults, to the bottom of the sea throw all our sins.

Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your mercy, as you swore to our fathers from the days of long ago.

Gospel

Luke 15:1-3,11-32

The prodigal son

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:

    ‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

    ‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.

    ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.

    ‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”

    ‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’


Jealousy, plotting the downfall of someone doing well or is well liked; and thinking how we must let the world know how he or she ‘really’ is, where does all this come from? What is missing from our very own lives that we fill them with such thoughts and plans?

The love of God and His presence in our lives is what is missing! For why would we be jealous of our sisters and brothers when He gives us specially made custom fit ‘coats with long sleeves’ for each of His children? Where will we have time for plotting anything, when we must be busy working joyfully in His vineyard; and eagerly waiting for the fruits to bear for the Glory of God our Heavenly Father.

Let these two verses of this beautiful hymn be our prayer this day…..

Search me, O God, and know my heart today,

Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;

See if there be some wicked way in me;

Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;

Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within;

Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;

Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Amen

First reading

Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28 ·

Let us kill him: then we shall see what becomes of his dreams

Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.

    His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

    They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’

    But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.

    Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed.

    Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.

Gospel

Matthew 21:33-43,45-46

This is the landlord’s heir: come, let us kill him

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders

that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing

and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

    When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.


Today Lord I ponder on how I can be rich in Your love?

The answers are so clear in Your Word? But why is it so difficult Lord to follow through on them?

Blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord with the Lord for His hope.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Grant me the grace to live according to Your Word Lord and I shall be rich in Your love. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 17:5-10

A curse on the man who puts his trust in man and turns from the Lord

The Lord says this:

‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man,

who relies on things of flesh,

whose heart turns from the Lord.

He is like dry scrub in the wastelands:

if good comes, he has no eyes for it,

he settles in the parched places of the wilderness,

a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord,

with the Lord for his hope.

He is like a tree by the waterside

that thrusts its roots to the stream:

when the heat comes it feels no alarm,

its foliage stays green;

it has no worries in a year of drought,

and never ceases to bear fruit.

‘The heart is more devious than any other thing,

perverse too: who can pierce its secrets?

I, the Lord, search to the heart,

I probe the loins,

to give each man what his conduct

and his actions deserve.’

Gospel

Luke 16:19-31

Dives and Lazarus

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

    ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

    ‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Thank You Lord for Your companionship on my journey through this Lent and all the days of my life. I complain to You about my life being hard because I need Your listening ear and good counsel. I used to worry that I might bore You when You have so many others doing likewise, but having entered into a deeper relationship with You I realise now just how much You love me individually.  I want to share my whole life with You Lord, my inner sorrows as well as my joys.

I know Lord I have been selfish and have made many excuses for my personal feelings of inadequacy as well as my inertia. Ever so often those that I work or have dealings with might have felt I was on a power trip, but would not know that I actually suffer from an inferiority complex. I constantly desire to be affirmed instead of seeking only to be affirmed by You who love me in spite of my many shortcomings.

You O Lord have changed me and opened my eyes to see that true love and happiness comes from embracing my cross and sacrifice for love of others. Jesus my Saviour be my ever guiding light, as I lead all whom You entrust me with, into Your Kingdom. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 18:18-20

My enemies are digging a pit for me

‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’

Listen to me, O Lord,

hear what my adversaries are saying.

Should evil be returned for good?

For they are digging a pit for me.

Remember how I stood in your presence

to plead on their behalf,

to turn your wrath away from them.

Gospel

Matthew 20:17-28

They will condemn the Son of Man to death

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’

    Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

    When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’


Hypocrisy is often seen more of a condition rather than the evil that it is. And those who are gullible are easily led away from the actual truth by the hypocrisy of those they follow. It is ironic that those who identify others as hypocrites are often hypocrites themselves! Jesus our Lord calls out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes in today’s Gospel and will He not do the same for ‘Christians’ who are blinded by their own version of the truth, especially those who are in some form of authority?

Let us ask ourselves this day, do we often fail to understand the spirit of the law; that is the intent for which it is written and instead follow the letter of the law at times imposing greater restrictions than necessary? In all that we say and do are we bringing Glory to God our Heavenly Father? Do we lead others to closer to Jesus by our words, actions and every fibre of our being?

In today’s context how are we helping the elderly and sick to either attend the Eucharistic Celebration virtually or otherwise? Are we looking into how they can receive Jesus in the sacraments often, if not at least from time to time? How are we who are not in healthcare per se offering to help with the needs of the sick in these trying times? How have we extended our hands and feet in helping our parishes so that many more can return to Church? Or help in forming neighbourhood groups so that the communities of Christ Jesus our Lord, can remain grounded in His Word and live out their lives with His love, peace and joy in their hearts.

Open our hearts and minds to live more fully in Your love Lord, and let Your Word be a lamp unto our feet. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 1:10,16-20

Cease to do evil; learn to do good

Hear the word of the Lord,

you rulers of Sodom;

listen to the command of our God,

you people of Gomorrah.

‘Wash, make yourselves clean.

Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.

Cease to do evil.

Learn to do good,

search for justice,

help the oppressed,

be just to the orphan,

plead for the widow.

‘Come now, let us talk this over,

says the Lord.

Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

they shall be like wool.

‘If you are willing to obey,

you shall eat the good things of the earth.

But if you persist in rebellion,

the sword shall eat you instead.’

Gospel

Matthew 23:1-12

They do not practise what they preach

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

    ‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’


We must acknowledge we have sinned before our merciful and ever loving Lord so that we can live free and fully in His love. For sin, guilt and shame only weighs us down.

So when was the last time you had gone for the sacrament of reconciliation my dear sisters and brothers in Christ?

We must rightfully ask one another this question so as to encourage one another to go and be made right before the Lord our God! For loving one another also means asking such difficult questions of one another. And if we ourselves are asked this then we should not take offence for it is fraternal love that begs the question.  How else can we hope to be compassionate as our Heavenly Father is compassionate?

For many of our sins stems from us NOT being compassionate with one another especially those outside of our inner circles! We expect mercy but are far from merciful ourselves! Lord Jesus have mercy on us and teach us how to be merciful and loving like You.

Father, let me call Thee Father, ‘Tis Thy child returns to Thee. Amen

First reading

Daniel 9:4-10

Yours is the integrity, Lord; ours the shame

O Lord, God great and to be feared, you keep the covenant and have kindness for those who love you and keep your commandments: we have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly, we have betrayed your commandments and your ordinances and turned away from them. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Integrity, Lord, is yours; ours the look of shame we wear today, we, the people of Judah, the citizens of Jerusalem, the whole of Israel, near and far away, in every country to which you have dispersed us because of the treason we have committed against you. To us, Lord, the look of shame belongs, to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God mercy and pardon belong, because we have betrayed him, and have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God nor followed the laws he has given us through his servants the prophets.

Gospel

Luke 6:36-38

Grant pardon, and you will be pardoned

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’

Second Sunday of Lent

Posted: February 27, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Bonds Loosed: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Lent

Readings:
Genesis 22:1–2, 9–13, 15–18
Psalm 116:10, 15–19
Romans 8:31–34
Mark 9:2–10

The Lenten season continues with another story of testing. Last Sunday, we heard the trial of Jesus in the desert. In this week’s First Reading, we hear of how Abraham was put to the test.
The Church has always read this story as a sign of God’s love for the world in giving His only-begotten son.
In today’s Epistle, Paul uses exact words drawn from this story to describe how God, like Abraham, did not withhold His only Son, but handed Him over for us on the Cross (see Romans 8:32; Genesis 22:12,16).

In the Gospel today, too, we hear another echo. Jesus is called God’s “beloved Son”—as Isaac is described as Abraham’s beloved son.

These readings are given to us in Lent to reveal Christ’s identity and to strengthen us in the face of our afflictions.

Jesus is shown to be the true son that Abraham rejoiced to see (see Matthew 1:1; John 8:56). In His transfiguration, He is revealed to be the “prophet like Moses” foretold by God—raised from among their own kinsmen, speaking with God’s own authority (see Deuteronomy 18:15, 19).

Like Moses, He climbs the mountain with three named friends and beholds God’s glory in a cloud (see Exodus 24:1, 9, 15). He is the one prophesied to come after Elijah’s return (see Sirach 48:9–10; Malachi 3:1, 23–24).
And, as He discloses to the Apostles, He is the Son of Man sent to suffer and die for our sins (see Isaiah 53:3).
As we sing in today’s Psalm, Jesus believed in the face of His afflictions, and God loosed Him from the bonds of death (see Psalm 116:3).

His rising should give us the courage to face our trials, to offer ourselves totally to the Father—as He did, as Abraham and Isaac did.

Freed from death by His death, we come to this Mass to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and to renew our vows—as His servants and faithful ones.


Yes Lord I am Yours and I Love You above all. I love You more than my inclinations towards sin. I love You above all who are closest and dearest to my heart. Yet Lord I am far from perfect and too often fall short. I am constantly tempted as wanton desires rage within me. When challenged, insulted or simply not allowed to speak my ‘peace’ Pride takes over and I react by lashing out! How then can I ever hope to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect?

You O Lord have opened my eyes to see that the road to perfection is not the destination but in the journey. The narrow road I must take is by way of the cross. And so I am perfected through and in You my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By my faithfulness in knowing and living out Your Word and Will in my life. And loving my neighbour as You have loved me. Who is my neighbour? All… whom God our Father has caused His sun to rise on and the rain to fall! How then can I denigrate a fellow child of God? How can I entertain lustful thoughts over any of His children? How can I not forgive my sister and brother? How can I withhold mercy and love from any of His children? After all I am a fellow child of God so loved by Heavenly Father. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 ·

You will be a people consecrated to the Lord

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God today commands you to observe these laws and customs; you must keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

    ‘You have today made this declaration about the Lord: that he will be your God, but only if you follow his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and listen to his voice. And the Lord has today made this declaration about you: that you will be his very own people as he promised you, but only if you keep all his commandments; then for praise and renown and honour he will set you high above all the nations he has made, and you will be a people consecrated to the Lord, as he promised.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:43-48

Pray for those who persecute you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 26, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Unforgiveness is a sin! It is a poison which spreads. Anger and indignation towards those who irk or have hurt us will only fester and lead us away from the Lord our God. For He withholds His forgiveness, if we withhold our forgiveness of others. It is in our broken nature that we might sin against one another from time to time, but just as our loving Lord readily forgives our sins when we turn back to Him; we must readily forgive one another and seek reconciliation.

How can we say that we are following our Lord’s command to love one another if we refuse to forgive? If we do not see one another as fellow children of God our Heavenly Father. Perhaps we do not realise just how much God our Father loves us both individually and collectively? And that is why we act out and perhaps even fail to love ourselves as we should. How then can we love our brethren? We forget that we are made in the likeness and image of God and created Holy unto Him. Therefore to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy we must be obedient to His Will for us.

Let all I do be Holy unto You my Lord and my God. In my waking or in my sleeping, in my words and in my deeds. Whether I am sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, doing the laundry or working in the office let all I do be Holy unto You. Whether at home, in church or in the street, let everything I say and do be Holy unto You. For I love You Lord and I know You love me. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 18:21-28 ·

I prefer to see the wicked man renounce his wickedness and live

Thus says the Lord:

    ‘If the wicked man renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and honest, he will certainly live; he will not die. All the sins he committed will be forgotten from then on; he shall live because of the integrity he has practised. What! Am I likely to take pleasure in the death of a wicked man – it is the Lord who speaks – and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live?

    ‘But if the upright man renounces his integrity, commits sin, copies the wicked man and practises every kind of filth, is he to live? All the integrity he has practised shall be forgotten from then on; but this is because he himself has broken faith and committed sin, and for this he shall die. But you object, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:20-26

Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it

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

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


O God my Heavenly Father, I do not enter into Your presence through prayer as often as I should, neither do I dwell on Your great love for me; or allow You to embrace me fully with Your grace and love through Your Word.

Had I done all these most fervently I would not be so inward looking or where I am at in my faith today. Praying for Your help only from one crisis to the next. Or to simply battle temptation one after the other and resisting sin and sinful inclinations.

I see more clearly now that I should LIVE fully in Your love according to Your most Holy will for me. This comes naturally when Your Kingdom comes first and You reign in my heart. Then my prayer to You will be One in full Communion with You as I seek to love my brethren into Your Kingdom. You O most loving Heavenly Father will always be by side through it all. Father into Your hands I commend my spirit. Amen 

First reading

Esther 4:17 ·

I am alone, Lord, and have no-one but you

Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words:

‘My Lord, our King, the only one,

come to my help, for I am alone

and have no helper but you

and am about to take my life in my hands.

‘I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family,

that you, Lord, chose

Israel out of all the nations

and our ancestors out of all the people of old times

to be your heritage for ever;

and that you have treated them as you promised.

‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself

in the time of our distress.

‘As for me, give me courage,

King of gods and master of all power.

Put persuasive words into my mouth

when I face the lion;

change his feeling into hatred for our enemy,

that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end.

‘As for ourselves, save us by your hand,

and come to my help, for I am alone

and have no one but you, Lord.’

Gospel

Matthew 7:7-12

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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By now many have already gone back to their routines and way of life. Some have even started turning back to habitual sins and worldly distractions. Why because many think it is personal matter between them and the Lord our God. Lent is an individual journey to conversion. How wrong they are and continue to believe this to be true. Simply let us all dwell upon what does is mean to be One Body in Christ Jesus our Lord? If we are truly One Body in Him, then can we not see how individual sin affects the Body as a whole? That is why it imperative we belong to a community of ‘saints’ in that we are all called to Holiness; and being part of a community of like minded believers helps us to stay on the narrow path. All of the Ninevites (One community who believed in God) repented and God our Father was compassionate and merciful towards them.

‘Only forty days more’ in our case 30+ balance before Easter. But hey did we miss just how much God loves us? He could have easily told Jonah to declare 24hrs before Nineveh is destroyed, but the Lord our God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Let us not take His love for us for granted and use this time He has given us to turn back from sin and draw closer to Him. Let us gaze upon the crucifix that we have and dwell upon the great mercy and love of our and saviour Jesus Christ who died for us so that we may live. Amen

First reading

Jonah 3:1-10 ·

The Ninevites repent, and God spares them

The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’ God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.

Gospel

Luke 11:29-32

As Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be a sign

The crowds got even bigger, and Jesus addressed them:

    ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 23, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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God our Father’s Will for us is that we live life to full in His love, mercy and grace. For He loves with an everlasting and endearing love. We can do so by cooperating with the Holy Spirit who is always ready to guide us as we obey the Lord our God’s commands to love Him with all our heart, mind, strength, soul; and that we must love another as He loved us. With love which is merciful, for mercy is inseparable from love. So then just as He readily forgives us our sins, we must readily forgive those who have sinned against us.

All is made possible through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For the ever living Word of God was made flesh and dwelled among us. Just as He dwells in our midst today, allowing us to enter into His Presence as we get down on our knees to pray. Prayer that stems from our ever growing, deepening relationship with Him. Prayer that surrenders our all into the hands His loving care. Prayer that opens the door of our hearts for Him to enter and dine with us. And as He speaks deep into our heart we are transformed from within and filled with His grace, we are One with Him as He is One with us!

Glory and Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen

Saint Polycarp Pray for us…..

First reading

Isaiah 55:10-11 ·

The word that goes out from my mouth does not return to me empty

Thus says the Lord: ‘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.’

Gospel

Matthew 6:7-15

How to pray

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

‘Our Father in heaven,

may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test,

but save us from the evil one.

‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 22, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today Catholics around the world celebrate the feast day of the Chair of St Peter. It signifies the unity of Holy Mother Church founded upon Peter and the Apostles through Christ our Lord.  Through sacred scripture we can understand the great importance of the role of St Peter as vicar of  Christ for us and the sacredness of Apostolic succession.

Jesus did not choose pure, perfect, unblemished and highly educated men to be sent His Apostles; to be His light in the world. St Peter and most of his companions were simple ordinary fishermen made extraordinary through the power and authority of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who died for our sins. After His resurrection the Apostles were led by the Holy Spirit to become great fishers of men for God our Father’s Kingdom.

The same Holy Spirit guides Holy Mother Church this day and so the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.  Therefore we must honour our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by pledging our allegiance to Holy father Pope Francis who bears his cross and sits in St Peter’s chair to lead us our Good Shepherd’s flock.

Let us pray one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be for him and his intentions…..Amen

First reading

1 Peter 5:1-4 ·

Watch over the flock, not simply as a duty but gladly

Now I have something to tell your elders: I am an elder myself, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and with you I have a share in the glory that is to be revealed. Be the shepherds of the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it; not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow. When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19

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

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

First Sunday of Lent

Posted: February 20, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The New Creation: Scott Hahn Reflects on the First Sunday of Lent

Readings:
Genesis 9:8–15
Psalm 25:4–9
1 Peter 3:18–22
Mark 1:12–15

Lent bids us to return to the innocence our baptism. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the deluge, we were saved through the waters of Baptism, Peter reminds us in today’s Epistle.

And God’s covenant with Noah in today’s First Reading marked the start of a new world. But it also prefigured a new and greater covenant between God and His creation (see Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 11:1–9).

We see that new covenant and that new creation begin in today’s Gospel.

Jesus is portrayed as the new Adam—the beloved son of God (see Mark 1:11; Luke 3:38), living in harmony with the wild beasts (see Genesis 2:19–20), being served by angels (see Ezekiel 28:12–14).

Like Adam, He too is tempted by the devil. But while Adam fell, giving reign to sin and death (see Romans 5:12–14, 17–20), Jesus is victorious.

This is the good news, the “gospel of God” that He proclaims. Through His death, resurrection, and enthronement at the right hand of the Father, the world is once again made God’s kingdom.

In the waters of Baptism, each of us entered the kingdom of His beloved Son (see Colossians 1:13–14). We were made children of God, new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 4:3–7).

But like Jesus, and Israel before Him, we have passed through the baptismal waters only to be driven into the wilderness—a world filled with afflictions and tests of our faithfulness (see 1 Corinthians 10:1–4, 9,13; Deuteronomy 8:2, 16).

We are led on this journey by Jesus. He is the Savior—the way and the truth we sing of in today’s Psalm (see John 14:6). He feeds us with the bread of angels (see Psalm 78:25; Wisdom 16:20), and cleanses our consciences in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As we begin this holy season, let us renew our baptismal vows—to repent and believe the gospel


Do we realised just how Blessed we are to have an ever loving and merciful God? That He our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ looks not on our sins but into deep into our hearts and sees the powerful instrument of His grace that we can become! And He sees this in ALL of us not any special select few.

That said let us see how it would be like if the Lord looked at us the way we look at others. “He will never change why bother?” “She is what she is! Just let her be” “Uncouth, vulgar leave him be!” “He should get a job instead of just sitting around begging” “She is a divorcee how dare she serve as communion minister” You and I very well know that the lists is far too long and if Christ looked upon us the way we do others, then what hope do we have? We look upon the imperfections of others as though we were perfect. While He who is perfect looks upon us, as the perfection we can be through Him.

That is why He called Levi to follow Him, just as He is calling each and everyone of us to do likewise. So that leaving our past behind us to follow Him, we experience God our Father’s love for us to the full; and having experienced His love we can look upon others with the same merciful and loving eyes. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 58:9-14

You will be like a spring whose waters never run dry

The Lord says this:

If you do away with the yoke,

the clenched fist, the wicked word,

if you give your bread to the hungry,

and relief to the oppressed,

your light will rise in the darkness,

and your shadows become like noon.

The Lord will always guide you,

giving you relief in desert places.

He will give strength to your bones

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water

whose waters never run dry.

You will rebuild the ancient ruins,

build up on the old foundations.

You will be called ‘Breach-mender’,

‘Restorer of ruined houses.’

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,

and doing business on the holy day,

if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’,

and the day sacred to the Lord ‘Honourable’,

if you honour it by abstaining from travel,

from doing business and from gossip,

then shall you find your happiness in the Lord

and I will lead you triumphant over the heights of the land.

I will feed you on the heritage of Jacob your father.

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Gospel

Luke 5:27-32

Jesus comes not to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him.

    In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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I fast during this period of Lent not because I want to lose much needed weight. Not because I want to impress anyone of my sheer will and determination by doing so for my faith. Nor do I do it for my Lord who gains nothing from my fast!

I fast because I am truly sorry for all my sins especially for falling back too often into habitual sins. While I am indeed very sorry for all that I have done, I am more sorry for all that I have failed to do. For failing to see and help the hungry, the oppressed, the sick, and those in most need of mercy and love. I fast to renounce and empty myself of all that is not of my Lord, so that He may fill me with His grace and allow me to love as He loves. To be merciful as He is merciful. I am waiting eagerly for my bridegroom this Lent to return and dwell in my home for all eternity.

I therefore fast not just from food, drink or both but from anger, impatience, empty pride, from all that takes my attention and focus away from my Lord. So that I may hunger and thirst for souls who are in need of His mercy and love. I therefore fast not just for myself but for my family, ministry, community and Church. So that together our hearts will be transformed, filled with such compassion and love; that we may carry out corporal and spiritual acts of mercy in His Holy name. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 58:1-9 ·

The sort of fast that pleases me

Thus says the Lord:

Shout for all you are worth,

    raise your voice like a trumpet.

Proclaim their faults to my people,

    their sins to the House of Jacob.

They seek me day after day,

    they long to know my ways,

like a nation that wants to act with integrity

    and not ignore the law of its God.

They ask me for laws that are just,

    they long for God to draw near:

‘Why should we fast if you never see it,

    why do penance if you never notice?’

Look, you do business on your fast-days,

    you oppress all your workmen;

look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast

    and strike the poor man with your fist.

Fasting like yours today

    will never make your voice heard on high.

Is that the sort of fast that pleases me,

    a truly penitential day for men?

Hanging your head like a reed,

    lying down on sackcloth and ashes?

Is that what you call fasting,

    a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me

 – it is the Lord who speaks –

to break unjust fetters and

    undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

    and break every yoke,

to share your bread with the hungry,

    and shelter the homeless poor,

to clothe the man you see to be naked

    and not turn from your own kin?

Then will your light shine like the dawn

    and your wound be quickly healed over.

Your integrity will go before you

    and the glory of the Lord behind you.

Cry, and the Lord will answer;

    call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:14-15

When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast

John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’


Love, 2010, by Larry Cole © Larry Cole Art

“Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” This Lord is Your invitation Lord for me to love and be loved in and through You. For You O Lord are LOVE!

Why have I been so reluctant in the past to take up Your offer? Was it fear of losing my autonomy? Was it fear that I was expected to experience some form of horrible death as You did upon the cross? Was is fear of losing my little enjoyments and pleasures? Fear of this and of that! Was it simply FEAR that prevented me from entering into a deeper relationship with You?

You O Lord had spoken lovingly and ever so often in Your Word telling me each time “Do not fear…”

‘Do not fear for I am with You, do not fear only believe, do not fear little flock.’ And so the truth Lord is that I did not trust You enough to surrender to Your endearing love for me.

I was a fool for going my own way Lord, for there is nothing more fulfilling then falling deeply into Your loving embrace when I renounce myself, take up my cross and follow You. I know now that as I live in the world,  this is not a one time thing but a daily decision.

I have decided this day and every day to trust and follow You, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ·

I set before you today life or death, blessing or curse

Moses said to the people: ‘See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin on you today, if you love the Lord your God and follow his ways, if you keep his commandments, his laws, his customs, you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to make your own. But if your heart strays, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn into worshipping other gods and serving them, I tell you today, you will most certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of the Lord your God, obeying his voice, clinging to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends your long stay in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob he would give them.’

Gospel

Luke 9:22-25

Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it

Jesus said to his disciples:

    ‘The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

    Then to all he said:

    ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?’

Ash Wednesday (OTG)

Posted: February 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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O what a drag! Day of Ashes is here again so what? Not even a day of obligation but folks still rush to book for a slot at Mass! To go up and this time round get dirt sprinkled over you? Can’t you get dirty on your own? And why oh why do you have to torture yourself by starving???

Familiar yet somewhat distant voices seem to be taunting our faith and our very Catholic tradition? And here is the thing are we offended? Could the voices be familiar because they were our very own before we began to truly understand?

That today marks the day that we as one Body in Him respond to our Lord’s call to repentance, for God our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom is at hand. We are saying Yes to the invitation and opportunity to be fully reconciled with Him by embarking on this spiritual journey to listen more fully with all our hearts, minds and souls. We observe a fast to show the seriousness of our intent, a physical response of an inward spiritual desire to grow in Holiness; by emptying ourselves to all that is worldly so as to await the Heavenly Graces that will surely be poured out into us. For the Lord assures us that He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night will yield fruit in due season.

So sisters and brothers let us keep one another in prayer as we embark on this Blessed journey together, keeping in mind that our Lenten observances are to lead us more deeply and wonderfully into the light of the resurrection of our and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Glory and Praise to our Lord!

First reading

Joel 2:12-18 ·

Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn

‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –

come back to me with all your heart,

fasting, weeping, mourning.’

Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn,

turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, and ready to relent.

Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent,

will not leave a blessing as he passes, oblation and libation

for the Lord your God?

Sound the trumpet in Zion!

Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, call the people together,

summon the community assemble the elders, gather the children,

even the infants at the breast.

Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom and the bride her alcove.

Between vestibule and altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, lament.

Let them say, ‘Spare your people, Lord!

Do not make your heritage a thing of shame, a byword for the nations.

Why should it be said among the nations, “Where is their God?”’

Then the Lord, jealous on behalf of his land, took pity on his people.

Second reading

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

Be reconciled to God

We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God. As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.

Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

    ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

    ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 16, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Even as Christians trying our best to live out the Gospel values in our lives we sometimes fall enter into sin. If we do nothing and allow our sinfulness to fester, it will eventually spread to other areas of our lives and take control. This happens even if we are convinced that we did nothing terribly wrong and feel no guilt or shame. Though many will have retain some control and not fall into great wickedness through evil deeds that leads to destruction; the greatest travesty is losing the Lord our God’s presence in our lives.  What about the unbelievers then? Whom can they turn to? Who can help them out of the darkness they live in?

That is why we should never forget the gift of our baptism. How we were cleansed, purified and set free to live as God our Father’s children. And as His beloved children we entered into a deep personal relationship with God our Heavenly Father, through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who reconciles us all unto Him. How many then have we led to the waters of baptism? How many have we helped enter into sonship and daughterhood with our ever loving Father in Heaven? How many are we journeying with and leading into the Ark of the eternal covenant? So that they too will experience the peace, love and joy of living in His presence this day and for all eternity. 

We are also reminded this day to be wary of anyone who preaches a different Gospel from that of our Lord Jesus. And to those who modify and create perverse traditions that leads people further from the truth to be found in Christ alone. Importantly in this trying times of the pandemic, let also not fall into some form of ‘sanitised’ spirituality.  Where we live in fear of touching someone who needs to be touched or held. Where we do nothing for the sick, the homeless and the poor. Where we forget about those who are deprived of the Sacraments for longer than necessary? We can do so much more with all precautionary measures taken and put in place but fail to do so because it is too much of a hassle!

My Lord and my God, grant us the wisdom and grace to build a bigger Ark, so that we can courageously lead more into Your presence and loving embrace. Amen

First reading

Genesis 6:5-8,7:1-5,10

Noah’s Ark

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that the thoughts in his heart fashioned nothing but wickedness all day long. The Lord regretted having made man on the earth, and his heart grieved. ‘I will rid the earth’s face of man, my own creation,’ the Lord said ‘and of animals also, reptiles too, and the birds of heaven; for I regret having made them.’ But Noah had found favour with the Lord.

    The Lord said to Noah, ‘Go aboard the ark, you and all your household, for you alone among this generation do I see as a good man in my judgement. Of all the clean animals you must take seven of each kind, both male and female; of the unclean animals you must take two, a male and its female (and of the birds of heaven also, seven of each kind, both male and female), to propagate their kind over the whole earth. For in seven days’ time I mean to make it rain on the earth for forty days and nights, and I will rid the earth of every living thing that I made.’ Noah did all that the Lord ordered.

    Seven days later the waters of the flood appeared on the earth.

Gospel

Mark 8:14-21

Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod

The disciples had forgotten to take any food and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Then he gave them this warning, ‘Keep your eyes open; be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ And they said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And Jesus knew it, and he said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you not yet understand? Have you no perception? Are your minds closed? Have you eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear? Or do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ They answered, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ And they answered, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Are you still without perception?’


What do we offer to the Lord the God this day and every day from the work of our hands? For if we are faithful to Him we know that He needs absolutely nothing from us, yet we do so because of love for Him and by extension for one another. Our offerings to Him stems from the loving relationship we have with Him. If we give fully from our heart then whatever we offer up is blessed  indeed. We will not look to see what others offer or how they are received. For we only look to being One with our Heavenly Father.

By our baptism we have an indelible mark upon us. We belong to God our Heavenly Father. And so are we loving one another as we should? Do we even recognise one another as fellow children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him? If we say that we do then how is it that we are so often harsh with our words, at times even crude and vulgar? Has our actions towards and for one another always be loving in every aspect?

How do we expect to see signs and wonders from the Lord our God when we are not loving others into His Kingdom? When we are fearful of sharing His Gospel with others? How will anyone see the greatest sign of God’s love, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when He does not dwell in us?

Jesus my Lord, make me a living testimony of Your love for all. Come dwell in me as I carry my cross to follow You. Here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Genesis 4:1-15,25

The mark of Cain

The man had intercourse with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. ‘I have acquired a man with the help of the Lord’ she said. She gave birth to a second child, Abel, the brother of Cain. Now Abel became a shepherd and kept flocks, while Cain tilled the soil. Time passed and Cain brought some of the produce of the soil as an offering for the Lord, while Abel for his part brought the first-born of his flock and some of their fat as well. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering. But he did not look with favour on Cain and his offering, and Cain was very angry and downcast. The Lord asked Cain, ‘Why are you angry and downcast? If you are well disposed, ought you not to lift up your head? But if you are ill disposed, is not sin at the door like a crouching beast hungering for you, which you must master?’ Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out’; and while they were in the open country, Cain set on his brother Abel and killed him.

    The Lord asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I do not know’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s guardian?’ ‘What have you done?’ the Lord asked. ‘Listen to the sound of your brother’s blood, crying out to me from the ground. Now be accursed and driven from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood at your hands. When you till the ground it shall no longer yield you any of its produce. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth.’ Then Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear. See! Today you drive me from this ground. I must hide from you, and be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth. Why, whoever comes across me will kill me!’ ‘Very well, then,’ the Lord replied ‘if anyone kills Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be taken for him.’ So the Lord put a mark on Cain, to prevent whoever might come across him from striking him down.

    Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth, ‘because God has granted me other offspring’ she said ‘in place of Abel, since Cain has killed him.’

Gospel

Mark 8:11-13

No sign shall be given to this generation

The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with Jesus; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to test him. And with a sigh that came straight from the heart he said, ‘Why does this generation demand a sign? I tell you solemnly, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And leaving them again and re-embarking, he went away to the opposite shore.

Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: February 13, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Made Clean: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Leviticus 13:1–2, 44–46

Psalm 32:1–2, 5, 11

1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1

Mark 1:40–45

In the Old Testament, leprosy is depicted as punishment for disobedience of God’s commands (see Numbers 12:12–15; 2 Kings 5:27; 15:5).

Considered “unclean”—unfit to worship or live with the Israelites, lepers are considered “stillborn,” the living dead (see Numbers 12:12). Indeed, the requirements imposed on lepers in today’s First Reading—rent garments, shaven head, covered beard—are signs of death, penance, and mourning (see Leviticus 10:6; Ezekiel 24:17).

So there’s more to the story in today’s Gospel than a miraculous healing.

When Elisha, invoking God’s name, healed the leper, Naaman, it proved there was a prophet in Israel (see 2 Kings 5:8). Today’s healing reveals Jesus as far more than a great prophet—He is God visiting His people (see Luke 7:16).

Only God can cure leprosy and cleanse from sin (see 2 Kings 5:7), and only God has the power to bring about what He wills (see Isaiah 55:11; Wisdom 12:18).

The Gospel scene has an almost sacramental quality about it.

Jesus stretches out His hand—as God, by His outstretched arm, performed mighty deeds to save the Israelites (see Exodus 14:6; Acts 4:30). His ritual sign is accompanied by a divine word (“Be made clean”). And, like God’s word in creation (“Let there be”), Jesus’ word “does” what He commands (see Psalm 33:9).

The same thing happens when we show ourselves to the priest in the sacrament of penance. On our knees like the leper, we confess our sins to the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm. And through the outstretched arm and divine word spoken by His priest, the Lord takes away the guilt of our sin.

Like the leper we should rejoice in the Lord and spread the good news of His mercy. We should testify to our healing by living changed lives. As Paul says in today’s Epistle, we should do even the littlest things for the glory of God and that others may be saved.


How are we to grow in the maturity of faith and love in God our Heavenly Father when we think we know better than Him? When we stubbornly hold on to the reins of control over everything and still want to have control over others? Today’s reading is not simply about disobedience but of not knowing our place before the Lord our God. If we reflect deeply enough we might begin to see, how we often make ourselves into ‘gods’ and lord it over others!

Still our ever merciful and loving Father in Heaven desires for us to continue to walk i humbly in His presence. For without Him in our lives we are surely doomed. He clothes us with His righteousness so that we have hope to be Holy as He is Holy. What is man and woman that You O Lord should love us so?

Forgive us Father for the many times we have let you down. For not realising how deeply we offend You by our disobedience and our lack of love for you and for one another. We are grateful and thankful for Your Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ whom You have sent to reconcile us all with You.

Lord Jesus You have given us a taste from the tree of life through Holy Eucharist. Let us never take Your mercy and love for granted. Grant us dear Lord, the grace to glorify You by our lives now and forever. Amen

First reading

Genesis 3:9-24 ·

The expulsion from the Garden of Eden

The Lord God called to the man. ‘Where are you?’ he asked.

    ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’

    ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’

    The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’

    Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’

    The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’

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

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,

all wild beasts.

You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust

every day of your life.

I will make you enemies of each other:

you and the woman,

your offspring and her offspring.

It will crush your head

and you will strike its heel.’

To the woman he said:

‘I will multiply your pains in childbearing,

you shall give birth to your children in pain.

Your yearning shall be for your husband,

yet he will lord it over you.’

To the man he said, ‘Because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,

‘Accursed be the soil because of you.

With suffering shall you get your food from it

every day of your life.

It shall yield you brambles and thistles,

and you shall eat wild plants.

With sweat on your brow

shall you eat your bread,

until you return to the soil,

as you were taken from it.

For dust you are

and to dust you shall return.’

The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live. The Lord God made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on. Then the Lord God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch his hand out next and pick from the tree of life also, and eat some and live for ever.’ So the Lord God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he had been taken. He banished the man, and in front of the garden of Eden he posted the cherubs, and the flame of a flashing sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Gospel

Mark 8:1-10

The feeding of the four thousand

A great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said. Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them among the crowd. They had a few small fish as well, and over these he said a blessing and ordered them to be distributed also. They ate as much as they wanted, and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over. Now there had been about four thousand people. He sent them away and immediately, getting into the boat with his disciples, went to the region of Dalmanutha.


Too often have I gone my own way thinking I knew better than You Lord. After all I am charge of my own life and want to live it as I see fit! I will be no one’s puppet! When things got busy or hard I looked for distractions that which were ‘good’ and pleasing to my eye.  I clothed myself in darkness and hid myself from You in guilt and shame.  I shut my ears and eyes to You, my mouth was sealed with my own pride and I would sing of my own praises from the depths of my insecurity.

Still You looked for and called out to me! You spoke deep into my wounded heart.  Your gentle voice coaxed me and I gave the truth of my heart to You. “O my Jesus, I am so sorry for having sinned against You. Look not on my sins Lord but in Your mercy and love grant me Your grace to be fully united once again with Holy mother Church, Your One Body.” You then covered me with Your light and embraced me with the glowing warmth of Your Love. You commanded my ears, eyes and tongue to be opened so that I can once again glorify You with my body, mind and spirit. By Your grace I live free and I will sing Your praises this and everyday! Oh who am I Lord that You would love be so?

Sweet Jesus my Saviour, shield me from all evil, guard my heart against all temptations. Let me be faithful to Your word and will for me now and forever. Amen

First reading

Genesis 3:1-8 ·

The fall of man

The serpent was the most subtle of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made. It asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’ The woman answered the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, “You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘No! You will not die! God knows in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.’ The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised that they were naked. So they sewed fig-leaves together to make themselves loin-cloths.

    The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Gospel

Mark 7:31-37

‘He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak’

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 11, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In His infinite wisdom the Lord our God created woman from man to be a perfect helpmate. So that together they can journey on as perfect companions leading one another to greater Holiness and into Heaven. In perfect union they shall procreate to bring forth life and thus a family is born.  Therefore we must always protect and defend the sanctity of marriage and the dignity of family life which must always be in full communion with the Lord our God.

And so whether one is born into a Christian family or not it makes no difference, we must all strive to protect and defend the sanctity of marriage and family life! For we are all God our Heavenly Father children. And so Jesus is for everyone! In His great mercy and love, He will heal the unbeliever just as readily as He would the believer when each one humble themselves and allow themselves to receive His mercy, grace and love. As Christians we are called to love and lead those who do not yet know Him by our love. So that they too can experience His peace, love and joy which only He can provide.

Open my eyes to see those in need of Your love Lord, and instil me the courage to reach out to them in Your most Holy name. Amen

First reading

Genesis 2:18-25 ·

Man and wife become one body

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.’ So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. So the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed:

‘This at last is bone from my bones,

and flesh from my flesh!

This is to be called woman,

for this was taken from man.’

This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.

    Now both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame in front of each other.

Gospel

Mark 7:24-30

The astuteness of the Syro-Phoenician woman

Jesus left Gennesaret and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straightaway and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was a pagan, by birth a Syrophoenician, and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, ‘The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ But she spoke up: ‘Ah yes, sir,’ she replied ‘but the house-dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps.’ And he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go home happy: the devil has gone out of your daughter.’ So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Lent is fast approaching and soon we will hear the words ‘from dust you came, from dust you shall return’ though many would rather hear the words “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel” instead as they see this as a blessing rather than the former which comes across more like a curse.  But why would this be??

For was it not the Lord of all life that fashioned and created us His masterpiece in love? Yes singular as in One Body in Him! He breathed life into us and saw that it was good. We bear His likeness and image and by our baptism have been grafted unto the vine of life, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We have all in essence an expiry date and so could look at this morbidly or we can choose to see it as quality time given to us; to share a lived experience of God’s love through the humble service of others, before returning to eternal life with Him. After all Heaven in our final destination! What we have therefore in this short time is an opportunity to grow in Holiness as we are called to do. To be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. To have our hearts moulded after His.

Essentially in the dignity of being human, all of us need food to survive. To grow, strengthen and sustain us.  Christ in His great love has given us of Himself to partake of, we therefore have spiritual food, the bread of life! So if want to grow in our love of Him, of neighbour so as to live according to His Will then what do you think we should feed ourselves with? Is it not on His daily Word? His body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Eucharist? In praying for the Holy Spirit to fill us up so as to be sent forth to the Will of our Heavenly Father? Or do we want to continue to feed ourselves with the ‘Food’ of the world? Food that does not last!

Lord Jesus feed me with Your love, fill me with Your grace, cleanse my heart from within so that I may serve You and my brethren faithfully according to Your Will. Amen

First reading

Genesis 2:4-9,15-17 ·

The Lord God fashioned man out of dust

At the time when the Lord God made earth and heaven there was as yet no wild bush on the earth nor had any wild plant yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, nor was there any man to till the soil. However, a flood was rising from the earth and watering all the surface of the soil. The Lord God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being.

    The Lord God planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. The Lord God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. The Lord God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. Then the Lord God gave the man this admonition, ‘You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.’

Gospel

Mark 7:14-23

It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean

Jesus called the people to him and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’

    When he had gone back into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Do you not understand either? Can you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart but through his stomach and passes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.) And he went on, ‘It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’


What is man and woman that God our Father loves us so? That of all creatures we were created in His likeness and image and He our Lord and God, entrusted us all to be stewards of His creation.

Do we have mastery over self first through the love and grace of our Lord?  Before setting out to perform our baptismal duties of being priest, prophet and king for others. For if we ourselves are not living in the light of our risen Lord then how can we be His light for them?

For the command above all commands, is to love. Not just any old kind of love but extraordinary love! To love with the love of Christ, that is to love everyone as He loved us. And in loving them may they look upon us and see that we bear the image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Genesis 1:20-2:4 ·

‘Let us make man in our own image’

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. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he had rested after all his work of creating.

    Such were the origins of heaven and earth when they were created.

Gospel

Mark 7:1-13

You get round the commandment of God to preserve your own tradition

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service,

while their hearts are far from me.

The worship they offer me is worthless,

the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Corban (that is, dedicated to God), then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 8, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections, Prayers
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From nothingness and chaos God created and ordered everything in His love. He breathed life when there was none and saw good in the works of His hand. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Was it not just yesterday we heard the psalmist sing of the Lord’s goodness for He heals the broken hearted and binds up all their wounds. He fixes the number of the stars and calls each one by its name. And once again today in today’s Gospel we see His love for us in action such that by simply touching the fringe of His cloak many were healed. Will the love of our Lord for us diminish tomorrow?

We know deep down in our hearts that the love of the Lord our God is forever constant and His mercy endures forever! Let us boldly bear witness to His enduring love and mercy such that many like the stars in Heaven can shine brightly in His love. Amen

First reading

Genesis 1:1-19 ·

God saw that it was 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.

Gospel

Mark 6:53-56

All those who touched him were cured

Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Raised to Serve: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Job 7:1–4, 6–7
Psalm 147:1–6
1 Corinthians 9:16–19, 22–23
Mark 1:29–39

In today’s First Reading, Job describes the futility of life before Christ.

His lament reminds us of the curse of toil and death placed upon Adam following his original sin (see Genesis 3:17–19). Men and women are like slaves seeking shade, unable to find rest. Their lives are like the wind that comes and goes.

But, as we sing in today’s Psalm, He who created the stars promised to heal the brokenhearted and gather those lost in exile from Him (see Isaiah 11:12; 61:1). We see this promise fulfilled in today’s Gospel.

Simon’s mother-in-law is like Job’s toiling, hopeless humanity. She is laid low by affliction but too weak to save herself.

But as God promised to take His chosen people by the hand (see Isaiah 42:6), Jesus grasps her by the hand and helps her up. The word translated “help” is actually Greek for “raising up.” The same verb is used when Jesus commands a dead girl to arise (see Mark 5:41–42). It’s used again to describe His own resurrection (see Mark 14:28; 16:7).

What Jesus has done for Simon’s mother-in-law, He has done for all humanity—raised all of us who lay dead through our sins (see Ephesians 2:5).

Notice all the words of totality and completeness in the Gospel. The whole town gathers; all the sick are brought to Him. He drives out demons in the whole of Galilee. Everyone is looking for Christ.

We too have found Him. By our baptism, He healed and raised us to live in His presence (see Hosea 6:1–2).

Like Simon’s mother-in-law, there is only one way we can thank Him for the new life He has given us. We must rise to serve Him and His gospel.

Our lives must be our thanksgiving, as Paul describes in today’s Epistle. We must tell everyone the good news, the purpose for which Jesus has come—that others, too, may have a share in this salvation.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let us sing our praises to the Lord our God accompanied by our acts of obedient love for Him and for brethren. This is what it means to offer Him an unending sacrifice of praise. For we have heard Him say to us, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” 1 Sam 15:22 and so we must always be attentive to obey His Will for us.  Our Lord had also instructed us, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matt 9:13 And our beloved Shepherd showed us how much He loved us, for in His mercy He sacrificed Himself by laying down His life for His sheep. So that we have hope of eternal life with God our Heavenly Father.

How merciful and loving then are we? How have we sacrificed ourselves for love of the Gospel? That we would do whatever it takes to share His message of love and mercy to all who will listen? Are we not called to likewise be Shepherds after His own heart in caring for His sheep? To teach them the ways of our Lord and to lead them into His heavenly fold. We can only do so if we are living His Word and journeying with Him, through Him and in Him. We therefore need to spend time in solitude and prayer, so as to be nurtured by Him; and filled with His grace we can then minister to His flock as we should.

You O Lord are my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Amen

St Paul Miki and companions pray for us…..

First reading

Hebrews 13:15-17,20-21 ·

May God turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ

Through Christ, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, a verbal sacrifice that is offered every time we acknowledge his name. Keep doing good works and sharing your resources, for these are sacrifices that please God.

    Obey your leaders and do as they tell you, because they must give an account of the way they look after your souls; make this a joy for them to do, and not a grief – you yourselves would be the losers. I pray that the God of peace, who brought our Lord Jesus back from the dead to become the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood that sealed an eternal covenant, may make you ready to do his will in any kind of good action; and turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.

Gospel

Mark 6:30-34

They were like sheep without a shepherd

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.


We probably do not dwell enough on just how Blessed and loved we are to have Christ Jesus in our lives and have likely over time taken Him for granted. We fall too quickly back into habitual sins, bad habits and routines that are far from loving. Then instead of turning back to Him swiftly, we allow guilt and shame to overpower us. We are so caught up in it, that we probably do not even realise that we go on making choices and decisions that lead us to fall into greater sins. We must put a stop to any wayward thinking that we can overcome this on our own. We need the grace and mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! We need to turn back to our loving and faithful Lord and to God our Heavenly Father whose immeasurable love for us is constant.

Let us not allow the ways and thinking of the world corrupt us such that we begin to objectify one another! Let us always remember that we are all God our Heavenly Father’s children created in His likeness and image. And let us heed His command to love one another as He loves us. Let us be hospitable and loving as Father Abraham was with the strangers who turned out to be angels, for even if our guests are not angels, they are still His children and thereby our fellow sisters and brothers.

Let us this day lift up our prayers for marriages and family life which are under attack. And for our spiritual leaders to remain steadfast as they lead us through this trying times. Lord Jesus be with us, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 13:1-8 ·

Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and will be for ever

Continue to love each other like brothers, and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Keep in mind those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; and those who are being badly treated, since you too are in the one body. Marriage is to be honoured by all, and marriages are to be kept undefiled, because fornicators and adulterers will come under God’s judgement. Put greed out of your lives and be content with whatever you have; God himself has said: I will not fail you or desert you, and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord to help me, I fear nothing: what can man do to me?

    Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.

Gospel

Mark 6:14-29

The beheading of John the Baptist

King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah’; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.’

    Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.

    An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


Take nothing with you….

Why am I always holding on to something? Whether it’s baggage of the past, fear of rejection, fear of losing my job, past and present hurts, unforgiveness, habitual sin, shattered hopes, dreams and the list goes on!

How then can I ever hope to follow after Father Abraham who left everything and everyone behind to go forth according to the Will of God our Heavenly Father? Or the disciples who left their livelihood, family and home to follow Jesus?

No matter how complicated or intricate the reasons for my actions or inactions the answer behind all of it is rather simple.  I am not living as a child so loved by God my Heavenly Father.  For I have not dwelled on His Word neither have I entered into His presence to rest in His loving embrace often enough. I have allowed the cares of the World to distract me from my ever faithful and loving Lord. For if I were living as a child so loved my God my Heavenly Father and have obedient to His Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; then I would be going forth into the world under His authority bringing the joy of the Gospel to others, together with His peace, mercy and love. Even healing in many forms will take place through His grace. This is not some wishful thinking but the truth I will embrace through the promises of Christ my Lord.

Change my heart O Lord, make it ever true. Mould me to be more like You. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 12:18-19,21-24 ·

You have come to Mount Zion and the city of the living God

What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing fire, or a gloom turning to total darkness, or a storm; or trumpeting thunder or the great voice speaking which made everyone that heard it beg that no more should be said to them. The whole scene was so terrible that Moses said: I am afraid, and was trembling with fright. But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant and a blood for purification which pleads more insistently than Abel’s.

Gospel

Mark 6:7-13

‘Take nothing with you’

Jesus made a tour round the villages, teaching. Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let us never lose hope or give up fighting against sin, especially habitual sins! For it is true many of us have not had to fight to the point of death. On the contrary we have often taken the battle against sin too lightly and neglected to safeguard our Holiness. For it is only through Holiness that we can walk in His presence. Therefore no matter what we have done or have failed to do, let us always turn to our Lord for reconciliation. For we need His mercy, grace, peace and love in our lives.

We cannot afford to allow any hurts or bitterness to fester within us or our community, we must seek readily to forgive as well as to be forgiven; to be fully reconciled with one another. Only then can we hope to be fully reconciled with Him as His One Body.

Likewise we should never deprive anyone of His grace by keeping silent about Him and our relationship with Him. We must share His love with everyone especially those closest to us who might be the first to reject what we have to say. We continue to love them first in our actions and pray that through our Lord’s grace and in His time their hearts will be softened to hear His voice.

Lord in Your mercy and love train me to a better ‘soul-dier’ of Your mercy, love and grace. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 12:4-7,11-15

God is training you as his sons

In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.

    Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.

    Always be wanting peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord. Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a whole community.

Gospel

Mark 6:1-6

‘A prophet is only despised in his own country’

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.


It is my desire Lord that You should come dwell in Your Holy temple, my heart, mind, body and soul.

I know I am not worthy Lord for having sinned in thought, word and deed. Have mercy O Lord and cleanse me so that I may be white as snow! Dispel all darkness in my soul and purify me Lord that I may shine brightly for You. For You have created me in Your likeness and image. Let me be consecrated to Your sacred heart O Lord Jesus.

Mary my mother, guide and show me the way, that I may be Holy and acceptable to Your Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Intercede for me dear mother that I may be made worthy of His promises, to stand ever ready to present myself to Him. Amen

First reading

Malachi 3:1-4 ·

The Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

Gospel

Luke 2:22-40

My eyes have seen your salvation

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

    Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,

just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

    There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

    When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 1, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today we are reminded of the immense love God our Father has for ALL His Children and that ALL were to be saved and brought to perfection at the same time through His beloved Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! There is no distinction between race, culture or language. Our final destination is eternal life with Him.

Our Lord has set us free from the bondage of sin even eternal death are we then living in the light of His resurrection with peace and joy in our lives? Are we living testimonies for Him such that our lives speaks of all that the Lord in His mercy has done for us? So that many more souls shall be saved by our witness to live fully in His love and light. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 11:32-40

The example of the Old Testament saints

Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets – these were men who through faith conquered kingdoms, did what is right and earned the promises. They could keep a lion’s mouth shut, put out blazing fires and emerge unscathed from battle. They were weak people who were given strength, to be brave in war and drive back foreign invaders. Some came back to their wives from the dead, by resurrection; and others submitted to torture, refusing release so that they would rise again to a better life. Some had to bear being pilloried and flogged, or even chained up in prison. They were stoned, or sawn in half, or beheaded; they were homeless, and dressed in the skins of sheep and goats; they were penniless and were given nothing but ill-treatment. They were too good for the world and they went out to live in deserts and mountains and in caves and ravines. These are all heroes of faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had made provision for us to have something better, and they were not to reach perfection except with us.

 Gospel

Mark 5:1-20

The Gadarene swine

Jesus and his disciples reached the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain; because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear by God you will not torture me!’ – for Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’ ‘What is your name?’ Jesus asked. ‘My name is legion,’ he answered ‘for there are many of us.’ And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.

    Now there was there on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.’ So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The swineherds ran off and told their story in the town and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his full senses – the very man who had had the legion in him before – and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave the neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ So the man went off and proceeded to spread throughout the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 30, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The King’s Authority: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Deuteronomy 18:15–20
Psalm 95:1–26–9
1 Corinthians 7:32–35
Mark 1:21–28
 

Last week, Jesus announced the kingdom of God is at hand. This week, in mighty words and deeds, He exercises His dominion—asserting royal authority over the ruler of this world, Satan (see John 12:31).

Notice that today’s events take place on the sabbath. The sabbath was to be an everlasting sign—both of God’s covenant love for His creation (see Exodus 20:8–1131:12–17), and His deliverance of His covenant people, Israel, from slavery (see Deuteronomy 6:12–15).

On this sabbath, Jesus signals a new creation—that the Holy One has come to purify His people and deliver the world from evil.

“With an unclean spirit” is biblical language for a man possessed by a demon, Satan being the prince of demons (see Mark 3:22).

The demons’ question: “What have you to do with us?” is often used in Old Testament scenes of combat and judgment (see Judges 11:121 Kings 17:18).

And as God by His Word “rebuked” the forces of chaos in creating the world (see Psalms 104:7Job 26:10–12), and again rebuked the Red Sea so the Israelites could make their exodus (see Psalm 106:9), Mark uses the same word to describe Jesus rebuking the demons (see Mark 4:39Zechariah 3:2).

Jesus is the prophet foretold by Moses in today’s First Reading (see Acts 3:22). Though He has authority over heaven and earth (see Daniel 7:1427Revelation 12:10), He becomes one of our own kinsmen.

He comes to rebuke the forces of evil and chaos—not only in the world, but in our lives. He wants to make us holy in body and spirit, as Paul says in today’s Epistle (see Exodus 31:12).

In this liturgy, we hear His voice and “see” His works, as we sing in today’s Psalm. And as Moses tells us today, we should listen to Him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 30, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus with You in my boat what do I have to fear?

I shall not sink into the abyss to be forgotten forever, for You O Lord have redeemed me. And even if I should die, I will do so in Your loving embrace and I shall rise again to new life in You.

Jesus with You in my boat what do I have to fear?

The raging sea of despair, torrential winds of change and uncertainties, thunders of doom, lightning threats of destruction will never overrun me. For I lie next to You in the slumber of Your peace and love.

Jesus with You in my boat what do I have to fear?

O Faithful Shepherd my Lord and my God I belong to You. I listen to Your voice and I follow You. For I live in the blessed assurance of Your words, “I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from my hand. The Father, for what he has given me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal anything from the Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29

My faith is in You Lord now and forever. Amen Alleluia!

First Reading

Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19 ·

Abraham looked forward to a city founded, designed and built by God

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.

    It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he arrived, as a foreigner, in the Promised Land, and lived there as if in a strange country, with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. They lived there in tents while he looked forward to a city founded, designed and built by God.

    It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise would be faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who was already as good as dead himself, more descendants than could be counted, as many as the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore.

    All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them.

    It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though the promises had been made to him and he had been told: It is through Isaac that your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.

Gospel

Mark 4:35-41

‘Even the wind and the sea obey him’

With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’


Yes we all go through personal sufferings and hardships in life. But how many of us have gone through or are even prepared to suffer for our faith? To endure persecution, taunts, beatings even having our belongings taken awaken away from us forcefully all for the sake of our belief in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?  Indeed many of us are blessed that we never have to face such trials or adversity.

Still can we not endure and overcome powerful urges to fall into temptation and sin for His namesake? Are we too thin skinned to endure a little rejection for sharing the joy of the Gospel with others? Can we not sacrifice a little for our family, ministry and community to lead and journey with them towards greater Holiness?

Let us strive to lead one another through the love of Christ into the Kingdom of God. Where Jesus Christ our Lord reigns as King and God our Father’s authority is above and over all.  For His Kingdom exists here and now in the lives and hearts of His redeemed, as well as in perfection and fullness in the future. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 10:32-39 ·

We are the sort who keep faithful

Remember all the sufferings that you had to meet after you received the light, in earlier days; sometimes by being yourselves publicly exposed to insults and violence, and sometimes as associates of others who were treated in the same way. For you not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but you happily accepted being stripped of your belongings, knowing that you owned something that was better and lasting. Be as confident now, then, since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.

Only a little while now, a very little while,

and the one that is coming will have come; he will not delay.

The righteous man will live by faith,

but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.

You and I are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it; we are the sort who keep faithful until our souls are saved.

Gospel

Mark 4:26-34

The kingdom of God is a mustard seed growing into the biggest shrub of all

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

    He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

    Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.


Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. How do we this? By being committed to one another and to our Lord Jesus Christ by entering into His presence as One Body through our prayer meetings and fellowship in Him. If we absent ourselves then we absent ourselves from our Lord Himself and the grace then He wants to bestow on us during our meetings. Keeping this in mind is how we give an account of ourselves to Him and to one another.

Praise, thanks and glory be to God that even in this challenging times we are able to meet via video conferencing to continue to stir in another a response of love and good works by gathering as One Body in His presence! But how is it that many still continue to absent themselves? How is it that during a prayer or community meeting in His name we turn our videos off and choose to mute ourselves even when we need to give a response? For some there might be extenuating circumstances that require them to do so while it is still their desire to listen in but how can it be that perhaps out of ten logged in, seven are doing so? It is not a formation talk or lecture we are attending but a meeting of mind, body and spirit in the presence of our Lord!! How then can we all be a light for Christ if we are not even prepared to be a light for one another? How can we share the good news of our salvation to the rest of the world when our behaviour towards one another serves as contrary witness!

Sisters and brothers let us never take one another or the Lord our God for granted.  Let us keep firm in the hope we profess through our words and deeds, in the love of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

St Thomas Aquinas Pray for us…..

First reading

Hebrews 10:19-25

Let us keep firm in the hope we profess

Through the blood of Jesus we have the right to enter the sanctuary, by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his body. And we have the supreme high priest over all the house of God. So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our minds sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is faithful. Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. Do not stay away from the meetings of the community, as some do, but encourage each other to go; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.

Gospel

Mark 4:21-25

A lamp is to be put on a lampstand. The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given

Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Would you bring in a lamp to put it under a tub or under the bed? Surely you will put it on the lamp-stand? For there is nothing hidden but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’

    He also said to them, ‘Take notice of what you are hearing. The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given – and more besides; for the man who has will be given more; from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 27, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How long will we allow the precious life giving Word of God to wash over us? Every time we read today’s Gospel we tend to make empty promises to do better and to live better but when will we actually put our resolve into action? If we think that we have already done so or are hard at work in doing so, then what fruits have we bore? How much has changed in our lives by living His Word? And how have we contributed to effect the same change in others such that they too are living the word of God in their lives to the full?

Receiving the Word of God is not just a matter of attentive listening, it is about the preparation of our hearts to receive His Word and the uniting of our wills with His so as to put His Word for us into action.  The willing sacrifice to do what is necessary in order to bear fruit. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

Let Your Word be a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Always and forever. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 10:11-18 ·

Jesus achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying

All the priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place forever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. The Holy Spirit assures us of this; for he says, first:

This is the covenant I will make with them

when those days arrive;

and the Lord then goes on to say:

I will put my laws into their hearts

and write them on their minds. I will never call their sins to mind,

or their offences.

When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.

Gospel

Mark 4:1-20

The parable of the sower

Jesus began to teach by the lakeside, but such a huge crowd gathered round him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there. The people were all along the shore, at the water’s edge. He taught them many things in parables, and in the course of his teaching he said to them, ‘Listen! Imagine a sower going out to sow. Now it happened that, as he sowed, some of the seed fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground where it found little soil and sprang up straightaway, because there was no depth of earth; and when the sun came up it was scorched and, not having any roots, it withered away. Some seed fell into thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it produced no crop. And some seeds fell into rich soil and, growing tall and strong, produced crop; and yielded thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold.’ And he said, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’

    When he was alone, the Twelve, together with the others who formed his company, asked what the parables meant. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God is given to you, but to those who are outside everything comes in parables, so that they may see and see again, but not perceive; may hear and hear again, but not understand; otherwise they might be converted and be forgiven.’

    He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those on the edge of the path where the word is sown are people who have no sooner heard it than Satan comes and carries away the word that was sown in them. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock are people who, when first they hear the word, welcome it at once with joy. But they have no root in them, they do not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, they fall away at once. Then there are others who receive the seed in thorns. These have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches and all the other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And there are those who have received the seed in rich soil: they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 26, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Whether we were born into a family of believers or having entered into the larger family of Christ Jesus by our baptism, we are all One Body in Him. We therefore must keep the faith alive and strong by fanning into a Hot Holy smouldering flame; the gift we received from God our Heavenly Father by living in the Spirit.  So that everyone in the world can witness the love of Jesus by our Love for them and for one another.

We must strive with all vigour and conviction to encourage one another to attend community and family prayer meetings so as to centre ourselves on the Word of God so as to live out our lives according to His Will for us.

Jesus we are Yours as You are ours! Bless and keep all in Your loving care. Holy Spirit live in us and be our guide. Amen

Saints Timothy and Titus pray for us.

First reading

2 Timothy 1:1-8

Fan into a flame the gift God gave you

From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus in his design to promise life in Christ Jesus; to Timothy, dear child of mine, wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Night and day I thank God, keeping my conscience clear and remembering my duty to him as my ancestors did, and always I remember you in my prayers; I remember your tears and long to see you again to complete my happiness. Then I am reminded of the sincere faith which you have; it came first to live in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I have no doubt that it is the same faith in you as well.

    That is why I am reminding you now to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy.

Gospel

Mark 3:31-35

Who are my mother and my brothers? Those that do the will of God

The mother and brothers of Jesus arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 23, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Following Him: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Calling of Sts. Peter and Andrew

Readings:
Jonah 3:1–5,10
Psalm 25:4–9
1 Corinthians 7:29–31
Mark 1:14–20

The calling of the brothers in today’s Gospel evokes Elisha’s commissioning by the prophet Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:19–21).

As Elijah comes upon Elisha working on his family’s farm, so Jesus sees the brothers working by the seaside. And as Elisha left his mother and father to follow Elijah, so the brothers leave their father to come after Jesus.
Jesus’ promise—to make them “fishers of men”—evokes Israel’s deepest hopes. The prophet Jeremiah announced a new exodus in which God would send “many fishermen” to restore the Israelites from exile, as once He brought them out of slavery in Egypt (see Jeremiah 16:14–16).

By Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection, this new exodus has begun (see Luke 9:31). And the apostles are the first of a new people of God, the Church—a new family, based not on blood ties, but on belief in Jesus and a desire to do the Father’s will (see John 1:12–13; Matthew 12:46–50).

From now on, even our most important worldly concerns—family relations, occupations, and possessions—must be judged in light of the Gospel, Paul says in today’s Epistle.

The first word of Jesus’ Gospel—repent—means we must totally change our way of thinking and living, turning from evil, doing all for the love of God.

And we should be consoled by Nineveh’s repentance in today’s First Reading. Even the wicked Nineveh could repent at Jonah’s preaching. And in Jesus we have “something greater than Jonah” (Matthew 12:41). We have God come as our savior, to show sinners the way, as we sing in today’s Psalm. This should give us hope—that loved ones who remain far from God will find compassion if they turn to Him.

But we, too, must continue along the path of repentance—striving daily to pattern our lives after His.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 23, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Nothing we offer up, do on our own can cover our sins or take away the guilt and shame that we rightfully should have for what we have done and failed to do that separated us from God our Heavenly Father.  How grateful and thankful are we that in His great love and mercy God our Heavenly Father sent His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to cleanse us in His precious Blood, to purify, sanctify and set us free from all guilt and shame so that we can live fully in His peace, love and joy? Do we take the Sacrament of love and reconciliation with Him for granted? Or do we marvel at our awesome God who unveiled for love of us so that we can gaze upon His face and walk hand in hand with Him and live in His presence.

Having ourselves been cleansed of our sins do we go on walking steadfast in His light and in Holiness sharing His love with all with courage and conviction so that they too might enter into the wonderful relationship we share?

I remember distinctly my own transformative encounter with my Lord such that my own wife became quite exasperated and perhaps thought I had gone cuckoo! At one point she cried out,” You know we use to talk about music, movies, vacation spots, family and a whole lot more. Now it’s Jesus this and Jesus that, enough already!” She was simply acting out because she had not yet had the same encounter with the Lord as I had. I knew I had to just continue to be patient, loving and charitable towards her but it was not easy and I failed on occasion. I had to face criticism as well as sarcasm not just from her but from a lot of others both, family, friends and colleagues. “It’s just a matter of time before you revert to your old self” “Don’t think you’re all holy moly now!” Praise the Lord! That if we remain steadfast and perservere, He will make a way! Today my wife is serving as a Lector! Hallelujah!

Jesus thank You for loving me, my spouse, my children, my parents, siblings and my community. Lead us to walk always in Your presence. Amen

Hear The Reflection Read Out (Computer audio)

First reading

Hebrews 9:2-3,11-14

He has entered the sanctuary once and for all through his own blood

There was a tent which comprised two compartments: the first, in which the lamp stand, the table and the presentation loaves were kept, was called the Holy Place; then beyond the second veil, an innermost part which was called the Holy of Holies.

    But now Christ has come, as the high priest of all the blessings which were to come. He has passed through the greater, the more perfect tent, which is better than the one made by men’s hands because it is not of this created order; and he has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer are sprinkled on those who have incurred defilement and they restore the holiness of their outward lives; how much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.

Gospel

Mark 3:20-21

Jesus’ relatives were convinced he was out of his mind

Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.


From the very beginning we were the unfaithful ones, yet the Lord our God remained ever faithful, merciful and loving. In His great undying love for us God our Father established an eternal covenant with us through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are His Children so loved by Him.

If we so desire as our Lord does, then we too can journey as His companions bringing His light into the World. We like the Apostles will be granted the gifts necessary to be powerful instruments of His Grace, mercy and love for all. The only question that remains for us, is how much are we willing to sacrifice in order to walk in Holiness and fidelity to the Lord our God?

Jesus You are the Lord our God and we are Your people. Your laws are written on our hearts and we them in our minds, Your will be done in our lives now and for all time. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 8:6-13

The first covenant is already old

We have seen that Christ has been given a ministry of a far higher order, and to the same degree it is a better covenant of which he is the mediator, founded on better promises. If that first covenant had been without a fault, there would have been no need for a second one to replace it. And in fact God does find fault with them; he says:

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –

when I will establish a new covenant

with the House of Israel and the House of Judah,

but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors

on the day I took them by the hand

to bring them out of the land of Egypt.

They abandoned that covenant of mine,

and so I on my side deserted them. It is the Lord who speaks.

No, this is the covenant I will make

with the House of Israel

when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks.

I will put my laws into their minds

and write them on their hearts.

Then I will be their God

and they shall be my people.

There will be no further need for neighbour to try to teach neighbour,

or brother to say to brother,

‘Learn to know the Lord.’

No, they will all know me,

the least no less than the greatest,

since I will forgive their iniquities

and never call their sins to mind.

By speaking of a new covenant, he implies that the first one is already old. Now anything old only gets more antiquated until in the end it disappears.

Gospel

Mark 3:13-19

He appointed twelve to be his companions

Jesus went up into the hills and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to preach, with power to cast out devils. And so he appointed the Twelve: Simon to whom he gave the name Peter, James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom he gave the name Boanerges or ‘Sons of Thunder’; then Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 21, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The darling of Heaven, the Alpha and Omega, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ came for love of us as a living sacrifice once for all to save us from eternal death. Before leaving us to ascend to God our Heavenly Father He left us the gift of a new Heavenly reality, whereby earth unites with Heaven through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at Holy Mass. We then receive Him body, blood, soul and divinity into our very being as we are united with through Him with the Holy Trinity in Communion.

Are we worthy then to call out and praise His Holy name? Or have we allowed sin to prevail in our lives such that it has deprived us of the privilege of worshipping and glorifying Him by singing His praises and witnessing to His love and joy in our lives. For evil ones can never pay Him proper homage or give credible witness to His promises fulfilled.

Guard my soul dear Jesus for into Your hands I commend my spirit. Amen

St Agnes Pray for us….

First reading

Hebrews 7:25-8:6

He has offered sacrifice once and for all by offering himself

The power of Jesus to save is utterly certain, since he is living for ever to intercede for all who come to God through him.

    To suit us, the ideal high priest would have to be holy, innocent and uncontaminated, beyond the influence of sinners, and raised up above the heavens; one who would not need to offer sacrifices every day, as the other high priests do for their own sins and then for those of the people, because he has done this once and for all by offering himself. The Law appoints high priests who are men subject to weakness; but the promise on oath, which came after the Law, appointed the Son who is made perfect for ever.

    The great point of all that we have said is that we have a high priest of exactly this kind. He has his place at the right of the throne of divine Majesty in the heavens, and he is the minister of the sanctuary and of the true Tent of Meeting which the Lord, and not any man, set up. It is the duty of every high priest to offer gifts and sacrifices, and so this one too must have something to offer. In fact, if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are others who make the offerings laid down by the Law and these only maintain the service of a model or a reflection of the heavenly realities. For Moses, when he had the Tent to build, was warned by God who said: See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

    We have seen that he has been given a ministry of a far higher order, and to the same degree it is a better covenant of which he is the mediator, founded on better promises.

Gospel

Mark 3:7-12

He warned them not to make him known as the Son of God

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him. From Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Transjordania and the region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was doing came to him. And he asked his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, to keep him from being crushed. For he had cured so many that all who were afflicted in any way were crowding forward to touch him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, would fall down before him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he warned them strongly not to make him known.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 20, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is intriguing and rather exciting to peek into the past to see how God’s plan of salvation slowly unraveled itself from the beginning in Genesis all the way through to the unveiling of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In today’s first reading it mentions that the King of peace came to Abraham Father of all nations bearing gifts of bread and wine, can we still not see that this a foreshadowing of our high priest Jesus; our Prince of Peace who will later offer Himself as a sacrifice from which the bread of life (Body) and wine of our salvation (Blood) will be offered up to redeem the World and grant us eternal life!

Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel that there is no ‘good and appropriate time’ to exercise mercy and love. For Jesus never takes a rest day from caring for and loving us, so like Him we must exercise mercy and love all the time. For He came to give us new life in Him restoring and making us whole so that we can live in His peace, love and joy. Let us not be obstinate and readily forgive others who have hurt us otherwise through hardness of heart we will plot and scheme to our own destruction.

Jesus my Lord and King reign in my heart now and forever. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 7:1-3,15-17

You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, for ever

You remember that Melchizedek, king of Salem, a priest of God Most High, went to meet Abraham who was on his way back after defeating the kings, and blessed him; and also that it was to him that Abraham gave a tenth of all that he had. By the interpretation of his name, he is, first, ‘king of righteousness’ and also king of Salem, that is, ‘king of peace’; he has no father, mother or ancestry, and his life has no beginning or ending; he is like the Son of God. He remains a priest for ever.

    This becomes even more clearly evident when there appears a second Melchizedek, who is a priest not by virtue of a law about physical descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it was about him that the prophecy was made: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.

Gospel

Mark 3:1-6

Is it against the law on the sabbath day to save life?

Jesus went into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Blessed are You Lord God of all creation, Your mercy and love endures forever! And I will sing Your praises!

This is how our hearts filled with the joy of our Lord, should awake to greet the Lord our God at the start and the end of our day. He our faithful and ever loving God who remembers not our sins but came for love of us to unite us forever with God our Heavenly Father. For we are truly beloved children of God our Father we must therefore love one another as He loves us.

In today’s Gospel I am reminded that we should ask important question especially in these times of the pandemic. Are we taking the administrative approach such that it prevails over a pastoral one? Have we shifted our focus to our very own survival and have forgotten those who are hungry and thirsty? Are we still counting the cost of savings souls?

Jesus my Master in all that I say and do let it be after Your own heart. Let me love everyone with and in Your love. Amen

First reading
Hebrews 6:10-20
In this hope we have an anchor for our soul

God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love that you have for his name or the services you have done, and are still doing, for the saints. Our one desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same earnestness to the end, to the perfect fulfilment of our hopes, never growing careless, but imitating those who have the faith and the perseverance to inherit the promises.
When God made the promise to Abraham, he swore by his own self, since it was impossible for him to swear by anyone greater: I will shower blessings on you and give you many descendants. Because of that, Abraham persevered and saw the promise fulfilled. Men, of course, swear an oath by something greater than themselves, and between men, confirmation by an oath puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God wanted to make the heirs to the promise thoroughly realise that his purpose was unalterable, he conveyed this by an oath; so that there would be two unalterable things in which it was impossible for God to be lying, and so that we, now we have found safety, should have a strong encouragement to take a firm grip on the hope that is held out to us. Here we have an anchor for our soul, as sure as it is firm, and reaching right through beyond the veil where Jesus has entered before us and on our behalf, to become a high priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.

Gospel
Mark 2:23-28
The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath

One sabbath day, Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples began to pick ears of corn as they went along. And the Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing something on the sabbath day that is forbidden?’ And he replied, ‘Did you never read what David did in his time of need when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the loaves of offering which only the priests are allowed to eat, and how he also gave some to the men with him?’
And he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; the Son of Man is master even of the sabbath.’


Jesus sacrificed Himself for love of us so that we can have new life in Him. And as we entered into the new liturgical year at Advent we reflected on how we should stay awake to prepare more fully to receive Him into our hearts at Christmas and to stand ready to greet Him when comes again. Now 18 days into the new year have we gone back to our old bad habits? Our old way of life? Of old routines that brought us neither spiritual growth or deepening of our relationship with Christ our Lord and one another?

New wine, fresh skins!’ we must strive to live new life in the Spirit and to continue our journey walking in His light, always docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We must listen attentively to the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ who speaks to us daily through His Word. And living His Word through Communion with Him and with one another, we will walk together in His presence. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Hebrews 5:1-10 ·
Although he was Son, he learned to obey through suffering

Every high priest has been taken out of mankind and is appointed to act for men in their relations with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins; and so he can sympathise with those who are ignorant or uncertain because he too lives in the limitations of weakness. That is why he has to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honour on himself, but each one is called by God, as Aaron was. Nor did Christ give himself the glory of becoming high priest, but he had it from the one who said to him: You are my son, today I have become your father, and in another text: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever. 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 and was acclaimed by God with the title of high priest of the order of Melchizedek.


Gospel
Mark 2:18-22
‘Why do your disciples not fast?’

One day when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Why is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of fasting while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they could not think of fasting. But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then, on that day, they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; if he does, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine, fresh skins!’

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 16, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Hearing the Call: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
1 Samuel 3:3–1019
Psalm 40:247–10
1 Corinthians 6:13–1517–20
John 1:35–42
 

In the call of Samuel and of the first Apostles, today’s readings shed light on our own calling to be followers of Christ.
Notice in the Gospel today that John’s disciples are prepared to hear God’s call. They are already looking for the Messiah, so they trust in John’s word and follow when he points out the Lamb of God walking by.
Samuel is also waiting on the Lord—sleeping near the Ark of the Covenant where God’s glory dwells, taking instruction from Eli, the high priest.

Samuel listened to God’s word and the Lord was with him. And Samuel, through his word, turned all Israel to the Lord (see 1 Samuel 3:217:2–3). The disciples too heard and followed—words we hear repeatedly in today’s Gospel. They stayed with the Lord and by their testimony brought others to the Lord.

These scenes from salvation history should give us strength to embrace God’s will and to follow His call in our lives.

God is constantly calling to each of us—personally, by name (see Isaiah 43:1John 10:3). He wants us to seek Him in love, to long for His word (see Wisdom 6:11–12). We must desire always, as the Apostles did, to stay where the Lord stays, to constantly seek His face (see Psalm 42:2).

For we are not our own, but belong to the Lord, as Paul says in today’s Epistle.
We must have ears open to obedience, and write His word within our hearts. We must trust in the Lord’s promise—that if we come to Him in faith, He will abide with us (see John 15:1414:21–23), and raise us by His power. And we must reflect in our lives the love He has shown us, so that others too may find the Messiah.

As we renew our vows of discipleship in this Eucharist, let us approach the altar singing the new song of today’s Psalm: “Behold I come . . . to do your will O God.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 16, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus lovingly seeks us sinners out, to offer us freedom from the bondages of sin and an opportunity to walk in His light. And the only response He requires from us is to follow Him; not simply in word but in action. That is to follow Him as His disciple so as to lead others to Him by our example.

How can we ask anyone to follow us if we lead lives of duality even duplicity?

We wear our Christian ‘hat’ in church and take it off to wear another outside of church. We lead double lives one for our church friends to see while another is seen by family and friends. We might again exhibit another different behaviour when it comes to strangers. We tend to forget that the Lord our God sees and knows everything! “No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.”

Let us simply be identified as a child of God so loved by our Heavenly Father to one and all. That we who are so loved by Him have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ by Baptism. We are therefore His One Body, His disciples on mission to make disciples of all nations. And such we are always confident in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from Him and find grace when we are in need of help. Amen. Allelulia!

First reading

Hebrews 4:12-16

Let us be confident in approaching the throne of grace

The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.

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

Gospel

Mark 2:13-17

Your light must shine in the sight of men

Jesus went out to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them. As he was walking on he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus, sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

    When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at the table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers. When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this he said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’