5th Feb Sunday

Posted: February 5, 2023 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book, Testimonies

Today I decided to attend mass at Church of St Anthony not expecting to pray for anyone. Still I was open to my Lord’s prompting. As I walked in I saw Clement my brother in Christ, whom I was eager to share my recent prophesy praticuum adventure. Before I started sharing I asked how he was doing and was surprised to learn he was not too good. He was having diarrhea and was going to meet a couple who after mass to answer their questions about our Catholic faith. They were keen to join RCIA but had some questions before signing up. Clement thought his diarrhea might be the evil one’s work. I leaned in to pray for his swift recovery.

Later at mass I happened to see Aunty Alice seated a few rows in front of me. She is the mother of a good friend who had migrated to Australia. Aunty now in her late seventies, early eighty is battling cancer all alone ever since her husband passed on last year. In the past she had volunteered for many years at the coffee corner at our Parish serving, coffee, tea and milo for free. (reimbursed by the church) She had also taught line dancing and even performed at events from time to time. She attended daily mass and had a generous heart. I was so happy to see her up and about and attending the Sunday Eucharist. I was sure the Lord wanted me to pray for her. So immediately after mass ended I rushed to where she was seated, sat beside, hugged and offered to pray for her. As I prayed over her, I told her that I sensed the Lord wanted me to tell her that He was pleased with her faithfulness over the years. And that He had asked His mother our Blessed Mother to accompany her to the very end. She was not alone! She teared, thanked and commented ‘what a beautiful prayer’ I kissed her on her head and bid her farewell.

As I was leaving church, I saw Sharon, Clement’s wife. She looked a little worn out. Probably because she was caring for her aged mum who had just been discharged from the hospital for having seizures. I prayed over her that the Lord would rejuvenate her drooping spirit. And for a renewed, reinvigorated body, mind and spirit.

I am just so very thankful for this blessed Sunday, for being able to minister to His beloved ones. Amen

4th Feb 2023 Praticuum- Prophesy

Posted: February 5, 2023 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book, Testimonies

Wow! The Lord was truly present.

Group 3 first guest/s to come in was an elderly couple who happened to be the parents of a lady in our group and her husband too was also in our group. For the elderly lady I sensed the Lord saying to her that He knows how much she loves Him. And in her desire to have a deeper encounter with Him all she needed to do was to lift up her hands and He will lift her up in a loving embrace. For the uncle I saw the word struggling. Told him that I didn’t know what he was struggling with, only that it was nothing physical more a mental struggle. However as uncle was taciturn, he remained silent. Later when he left, his daughter shared that her sister was going through something and he was struggling with it. Praise the Lord.

The second lady who came in was in her 60s, requested we pray for her health issues and wanted to know what the Lord thought about what she was doing for Him. When it was my turn I shared that the Lord was pleased with her. She had a mother’s heart for people and wanted her minister to others out of that mother’s love and heart. As for her health issue, as she did not share what it was I had the sense from the Lord that it was her legs. I asked her for confirmation and she teared as she shared that she had just recently come home from the hospital and of which her legs were healing up. I leaned it to pray for her healing.

The last lady to come in, I prophesied that the joy of the Lord was upon her. The Lord knows she is a rather joyful soul and she brings joy to others. That being said she hides her own problems behind her smile. The Lord knows it and will be with her throughout.

Group prophesy is a amazing because we each uniquely carry our Father’s heart for the person He sends our way to minister. Collectively we bring about the fullness of God His love He has for them. Amen

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 4, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Light Breaking Forth: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 58:7–10

Psalm 112:4–9

1 Corinthians 2:1–5

Matthew 5:13–16

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Jesus came among us as light to scatter the darkness of a fallen world.

As His disciples, we too are called to be “the light of the world,” He tells us in the Gospel this Sunday (see John 1:4–4, 9; 8:12; 9:5).

All three images that Jesus uses to describe the Church are associated with the identity and vocation of Israel.

God forever aligned His kingdom with the kingdom of David and his sons by a “covenant of salt,” salt being a sign of permanence and purity (see 2 Chronicles 13:5, 8; Leviticus 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24).

Jerusalem was to be a city set on a hill, high above all others, drawing all nations toward the glorious light streaming from her Temple (see Isaiah 2:2; 60:1–3).

And Israel was given the mission of being a light to the nations, that God’s salvation would reach to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).

The liturgy shows us this week that the Church, and every Christian, is called to fulfill Israel’s mission.

By our faith and good works we are to make the light of God’s life break forth in the darkness, as we sing in this week’s Psalm.

This week’s readings remind us that our faith can never be a private affair, something we can hide as if under a basket.

We are to pour ourselves out for the afflicted, as Isaiah tells us in the First Reading. Our light must shine as a ray of God’s mercy for all who are poor, hungry, naked, and enslaved.

There must be a transparent quality to our lives. Our friends and family, our neighbors and fellow citizens, should see reflected in us the light of Christ and through us be attracted to the saving truths of the Gospel.

So let us pray that we, like St. Paul in the Epistle, might proclaim with our whole lives “Christ, and him crucified.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 4, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We all want to be known as disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ do we not? He is our Good Shepherd there is nothing we shall want! We declare this when we pray psalm 23 and yet what about the want or rather the will of our Lord for His sheep? Especially His sheep of other flocks?

We all know that we are to carry our cross and follow after our Lord, but do we know that we cannot be His disciples if we are not also shepherds of His flock? While we may not all be leaders, can we not obey our leaders and do what is takes to tend to His flock, in our parish, in our communities?

Are we truly our Lord’s disciples then if….

  • We are not prepared to take up any form of leadership when we are called to?
  • We do not have a heart for the community. That is to pray with, guide and worship the Lord as One?
  • We refuse to attend community prayer meetings of any kind?
  • We do share the Gospel with family, friends, community or even in our ministry?
  • We will not sacrifice time or talent in building our Lord’s Kingdom?

Lord I am ready, let be me a shepherd after Your own heart for Your flock. Amen

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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.

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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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 3, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Love one another as I have loved you.

How have I loved then? Have I opened my doors to a stranger in great expectation of receiving my Lord into my home? Have I loved someone enough to feel the pain and anxiety of them being imprisoned, badly treated? Have I loved those living in the peripheries?

Or have I simply been inward looking? Thinking only of myself, continuously battling habitual sin, giving in cheaply to temptations? Have I indulged, seeking happiness in material things. Have I thought to myself ‘charity begins at home’ and have no consideration for others outside?

Lord Jesus forgive me for what all that I have done not according to Your Will for me, I especially ask Your forgiveness for all the things I have failed to do. For not loving my neighbour as I should. Help me love them as You love them. Amen

Saint Ansgar (Oscar) and Saint Blaise Pray for us….

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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.

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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.


Today, Lord in a prophetic act I bow by head and kneel before You.  I present my body, mind and spirit as a living sacrifice. Consecrate me Lord that I may be Holy unto You. Purify me that I may be white as snow. Like a candle that illuminates the darkest room, let my light shine bright for You.

Let me glorify You Lord Jesus by the way I live my life. Let me open the hearts of those You send before me, to prepare them for Your coming. So that they may be filled with the joy of Your presence. The same joy I have because You dwell in me.

I am Your Holy temple Lord, let all be done according to Your will for me. 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, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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When you look at your sister, brother, father, mother or even a community member who do you see? We look at them knowingly, as though we know them through and through. Often times with affection but other times when they don’t behave up to our expectations, then disdain!

Why do we not look at one another as a fellow child of God of our Heavenly Father so loved by Him? Such that we see in one another the potential that He sees, the will to see the good and the will for good for them. Our loving Father who will continue to train them through their own trials and suffering, so that they might rise to new life in Him.

And they do, that is when they are transfigured and strive to minister to others; will we praise and Glorify our Lord by accepting, affirming and edifying them for His greater Glory?

Open my eyes Lord to see the good in everyone, that I may love them just as You do. Amen

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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.

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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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 31, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What struck me the most in today’s readings was this line from Hebrews. “In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.”

If we were to take a poll, I am sure many will own up that we give in too cheaply to sin. Our excuse? The stressful times we live in, the many challenges we face. The pain and suffering we have to go through and so we seek reprieve, relief and what not!

I read and loved this from a book by Bill Johnson a pastor of Bethel Church. Many define self-control as the ability to say no to all the distracting options we have in life. Whilst in some measure that is true, it is better to consider this virtue as the ability to say Yes to the “one thing” so completely that we have nothing left to give to distractions.

What is that ‘one thing’? Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Jesus wants to heal and restore all of us, young and old! But will He find such faith in us to remain pure, spotless so as to be powerful instruments of His grace, mercy and healing for others?

Today’s Gospel challenges us to have the faith of both Jairus and the woman who suffered from a haemorrhage. Jairus had faith to approach Jesus to heal his daughter, then was challenged to have a deeper faith in Jesus when she died. “Do not be afraid; only have faith.” And his daughter was raised! “If I can touch even his clothes,” she had told herself, “I shall be well again.” And she was made well by her faith in Jesus!
 

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

Saint John Bosco pray for us…

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First reading

Hebrews 12:1-4 ·

We should keep running steadily in the race we have started

With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way he stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.

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Gospel

Mark 5:21-43

Little girl, I tell you to get up

When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.

    Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she spent all she had without being any the better for it, in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. ‘If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself ‘I shall be well again.’ And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. ‘My daughter,’ he said ‘your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.’

    While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, ‘Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble?’ But Jesus had overheard this remark of theirs and he said to the official, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 30, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we have hope of eternal rest with Him. Our strength lies on our Rock, our saviour and we can do all through Christ who gives us strength. Phi 4:13 Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that we may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Col 1:11-12

We shall be victorious even against an army of evil spirits for cast out without souls to control they shall perish in the name of Jesus, Son of the Most High! Darkness has no hold over us, for we are children of light!

Let us share in the hope that we have and carry, so that people living in darkness shall see the light of Christ through us. Amen

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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.

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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.


29 Sun Church of St Michael

A cold, morning with light gentle showers of Blessing. Managed to arrive safely with my family and had just enough time to go for the sacrament of reconciliation.

Sat next to a nice lady who was attentive to hear me say to our kids that there was enough room for their mum who hadn’t yet come in. So she moved in closer to her husband so that we all could sit together in the pew. At the exchange of peace, I introduced myself and Suzy did likewise. So after mass I offered to pray for her. Apart for the healing from an itchy throat and cough, I had the sense while praying that the Lord was pleased with her and that He wanted her to minister to those He will send her way with that motherly heart. Praise the Lord!

Then I met a brother from my parish, Church of St Anthony who is serving at CSM under some food and beverage ministry of sorts. They serve free breakfast after the early morning mass. I was very interested to know what goes on behind the scenes and how they manage it. It was amazing to see parishioners intermingling, talking and getting to know one another over breakfast. I offered to pray over him. As I prayed for a fresh anointing from our Lord I suddenly stopped mid prayer, as I saw a vision of a powerful waterfall, I declared it to him saying it was the anointing over him. Immediately he said he saw and received it, then started tearing. He shared then whenever he experiences a powerful presence of the Lord, he starts to tear.a Praise the Lord!

As I walked over to the library two lovely ladies, ex parishioners of CSA now serving as wardens at CSM came up to greet and hug me at the same time! I was delighted at such a warm reception and held them with each arm and prayed over them. Just as I was about to announce that rays from heaven were descending upon them, the lady on my left just plopped her head on my shoulder thankfully her legs were still stable as the other lady beside her gently lifted her head up. She shared later that she had felt a very warm session come over her. Praise the Lord!

Will I be given this wonderful opportunity every week? The Lord only knows… As I shared before, here I am Lord, I come to do Your will. Amen

Prayer Room Encounter

Posted: January 29, 2023 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Prayers

Over the last a month and a half, I was invited by two fellow students of Encounter to join a prayer team via Zoom exactly or very close to our praticuum.

I have participated three times so far. The first time, I was paired up with a fellow student who was more experienced in this. The last two times I was alone because of a shortage of prayer ministers.

Basically what takes place before the the prayer room is opened, we attend a live meeting taking place in Sri Lanka. It is a charismatic prayer meeting with Gospel sharing/formation and healing service. After that the rooms are opened for those who cannot make it in person.

It was a little overwhelming in the beginning because the participants that come in generally have multiple prayer requests for themselves and very often for their families. Also I had never encountered a simple prayer request so far. Egs. Apart from healing prayers, there were requests for deliverance, protection against evil spirits, pension to make medical bills and employment to feed the family.

Still I will continue to lean in to pray and minister from my Father’s heart. Amen

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 28, 2023 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The Blessed Path: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

Psalm 146:6-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 5:1-12

________________________________________

In the readings since Christmas, Jesus has been revealed as the new royal son of David and Son of God. He is sent to lead a new exodus that brings Israel out of captivity to the nations and brings all the nations to God.

As Moses led Israel from Egypt through the sea to give them God’s law on Mount Sinai, Jesus too has passed through the waters in baptism. Now, in today’s Gospel, He goes to the mountain to proclaim a new law—the law of His Kingdom.

The Beatitudes mark the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to Abraham—that through his descendants all the nations of the world would receive God’s blessings (see Genesis 12:3; 22:18).

Jesus is the son of Abraham (see Matthew 1:1). And through the wisdom He speaks today, He bestows the Father’s blessings upon “the poor in spirit.”

God has chosen to bless the weak and lowly, those foolish and despised in the eyes of the world, Paul says in today’s Epistle. The poor in spirit are those who know that nothing they do can merit God’s mercy and grace. These are the humble remnant in today’s First Reading, taught to seek refuge in the name of the Lord.

The Beatitudes reveal the divine path and purpose for our lives. All our striving should be for these virtues—to be poor in spirit; meek and clean of heart; merciful and makers of peace; seekers of the righteousness that comes from living by the law of Kingdom.

The path the Lord sets before us today is one of trials and persecution. But He promises comfort in our mourning and a great reward.

The Kingdom we have inherited is no earthly territory but the promised land of heaven. It is Zion where the Lord reigns forever. And, as we sing in today’s Psalm, its blessings are for those whose hope is in the Lord.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 28, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Who are we if not for our faith? Ever think about that?

Let us make some simple declarations today and let the Holy Spirit fill our hearts with His presence…

  • I am a child of God my Heavenly Father so uniquely loved and cherished by Him.
  • By my baptism I am His Priest, Prophet and King for others.
  • I have hope of eternal life with Him.
  • Therefore when I die, I will rise with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
  • Jesus is my Rock, my salvation
  • As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord
  • I have been given the authority to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey my Lord’s commands.

Today and all the days of my life, I will weather all storms. For Jesus is by my side now and forever. Amen

Saint Thomas Aquinas pray for us…

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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.

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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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 27, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Stay awake for you do know when our Lord will come again! Yes, indeed we are to remain steadfast and dutiful to the will of the Lord our God. For we really do not know the hour He will come again. But is our waiting out of fear when we are faithful? Or rather is it one of joyful expectation?

What then if we fall to our eternal rest? Well then we have hope to rise with Him! Being faithful means that we can look forward to embracing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For the Kingdom of God is already upon us even now. This is a reality for all us faithful who already live in the presence of the Lord our God. And when we partake of the Holy Eucharist! Let us share this reality we all that we meet, so that they too can shelter in the shade of His Kingdom.

Thy Kingdom come, they will be done Lord. Amen

 Saint Angela Merici pray for us… 

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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.

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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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 26, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What then is the purpose of light, if not to shine? To shine brightly so as to drive out all darkness. That is precisely what every Christian, disciples of Christ Jesus our Lord must do. We are to be His light into the world, to love, heal and drive out all darkness in the lives of those who do not yet know Him.

We have power from on High to love others into the kingdom. We must therefore be disciplined, exercising self control so as to be powerful witnesses of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We want more of You Lord in our lives! More! Come Holy Spirit fill us with Your presence! Drive out all forms of darkness within us, so that we can pure lights of Him who sends us into the world. Amen

Saints Timothy and Titus pray for us…

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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.

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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 25, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We often hear this Gospel and at once we assume that we are to simply proclaim the Good news. That is our call for evangelisation. Yes and more! We are to heal the sick and cast our demons! For it is through signs and wonders that the unbelievers will know the glory, power and mercy of the Lord our God who loves them so much that they are freed from evil and healed. For it is through the name of Jesus that we bring about this restoration.

By example of this Great Saint, St Paul whose conversion brought about a great multitude to Christ Jesus our Lord. We see how the grace of almighty God was upon him and he boldly went out to win many souls for our Lord; through his obedience and zeal. Let our hearts too be converted such that we bear great fruit for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

St Paul pray for us…..Amen

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First reading

Acts 22:3-16 ·

‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’

Paul said to the people, ‘I am a Jew and was born at Tarsus in Cilicia. I was brought up here in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was taught the exact observance of the Law of our ancestors. In fact, I was as full of duty towards God as you are today. I even persecuted this Way to the death, and sent women as well as men to prison in chains as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify, since they even sent me with letters to their brothers in Damascus. When I set off it was with the intention of bringing prisoners back from there to Jerusalem for punishment.

    ‘I was on that journey and nearly at Damascus when about midday a bright light from heaven suddenly shone round me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” I answered: Who are you, Lord? and he said to me, “I am Jesus the Nazarene, and you are persecuting me.” The people with me saw the light but did not hear his voice as he spoke to me. I said: What am I to do, Lord? The Lord answered, “Stand up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told what you have been appointed to do.” The light had been so dazzling that I was blind and my companions had to take me by the hand; and so I came to Damascus.

    ‘Someone called Ananias, a devout follower of the Law and highly thought of by all the Jews living there, came to see me; he stood beside me and said, “Brother Saul, receive your sight.” Instantly my sight came back and I was able to see him. Then he said, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Just One and hear his own voice speaking, because you are to be his witness before all mankind, testifying to what you have seen and heard. And now why delay? It is time you were baptised and had your sins washed away while invoking his name.”’

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Gospel

Mark 16:15-18

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:

    ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 24, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Yes, by our baptism we are all children of God our Heavenly Father, but what truly sets us apart is always doing His Will for us.  For we cherish the deep personal relationship we have with the Lord our God, not just as sons and daughters of the most High, but brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus our Lord. Yes, Jesus is the Lord of lords, King of kings, yet He who is above all creation call us friends!

How then can we go on living as strangers to the rest of the world? When we are to be his light bearers! The people living in darkness have seen a great light! Matt 4:16 How many of them have seen this great light of Christ through us?

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

Saint Francis de Sales pray for us….

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First reading

Hebrews 10:1-10 ·

Christ’s self-offering sanctifies us

Since the Law has no more than a reflection of these realities, and no finished picture of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, with the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year. Otherwise, the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins. Instead of that, the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices. Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what he said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,

prepared a body for me.

You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;

then I said,

just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,

‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

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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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 23, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Who’s Kingdom are we building?

Our own?

Is there unity in our ministry, community, parish and family?

Let us not forget that if we truly believe that we are One Body in Christ through Holy Communion then we must always strive for Oneness in Him. For Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel that if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand.

Your Kingdom come Lord, Your will be done. Amen

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First reading

Hebrews 9:15,24-28 ·

Christ offers himself only once to take on the faults of many

Christ brings a new covenant, as the mediator, only so that the people who were called to an eternal inheritance may actually receive what was promised: his death took place to cancel the sins that infringed the earlier covenant. It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was only modelled on the real one; but it was heaven itself, so that he could appear in the actual presence of God on our behalf. And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself. Since men only die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, too, offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.

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Gospel

Mark 3:22-30

A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.

    ‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’

Prophesy and Word of Knowledge

Posted: January 22, 2023 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Testimonies
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21 Jan 2023 Sat SG

Another exciting session of activations on Prophesying out of words of knowledge and wisdom.

I had to get a word of knowledge from something in the past then ask the Lord for a prophesy for something in the future for the person grouped with me. And I got Father Ken Barker! Needless to say how affirming it was to hear him say spot on! His sharing for the word of knowledge was spot on too! Praise the Lord. A snippet on what he shared is that he has the sense the Lord has given victory over a habitual sin I had struggled with for many years. And now I am to minister to others showing them how to overcome habitual sins!

We then had to be grouped in pairs once again and ask the Lord for 5 words of knowledge for our partner. Again all five with be either a yes or no answer for both of us. A lady from Australia went first and got 4 out of 5 correct. The last one being wrong was if I was prone to headaches. Praise the Lord! When it came to my turn I just went what the Lord showed and told me, and I was relived abs thankful that I got it all right!

We had a few more rounds before it was time to prophesy at a group level. Basically 8 pairs would take turns to pray and see the Lord highlight a person in the whole group and prophesy to that person in front of the rest. I volunteered as someone was very quickly highlighted to me. It was a little nerve wrecking doing it before the the whole group but the Lord had highlighted the lady to me so I simply trusted and leaned into His word for her. She said it resonated with her and was edified to take the next step forward. Praise the Lord!

After today’s two hour session I was still reeling and a little dazed by the wonders that took place. What struck me the most, was that by taking risks, we can minister more fully to the ones our Lord put before us.

How wonderful it is to hear the Lord speak to us intimately through the details shared by His prophets!

I attended evening mass and the Lord highlighted an old lady in a wheelchair to pray for, so I walked up to her then saw a church friend sitting bedside her. Turns out it was her mother, I asked the friend for mum’s name and prayed over her. As I walked back to my seat next to my wife who was the lector on duty, I saw a mutual friend standing outside the church hall, a Eucharistic minister preparing to serve. My wife had mentioned a week back that he was in a lot of pain and was going for an operation very soon. I went over to him, joked a little wth him before I prayed for his pain to subside. For Jesus to heal him and if not right away, then to please Bless the surgeon preforming the operation, so that all will be well. I then quickly made my way back to my seat as mass was starting soon.

After communion I noticed he was walking back to his seat in an odd manner. Most likely he was still very much in pain. I decided to lean into praying for the pain away. The Lord showed me a vision of a leather wine skin. I asked the Lord what it meant for him? All I got was ‘new wine skin.’

So after mass I went up and told him I sensed that he still in great pain, so prayed for the pain to go away. Then I shared the vision and what I got from the Lord about it. I asked if it made any sense to him as I was clueless. He shared that it made perfect sense to him. What?? He shared that his doctor had told him that was going to get a graft to replace the ruptured skin, a result caused by the hernia so in essence new skin! Praise the Lord!

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 21, 2023 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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History Redeemed: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 8:23–9:3

Psalm 27:1, 4, 13–14

1 Corinthians 1:10–13, 17

Matthew 4:12–23

Today’s Liturgy gives us a lesson in ancient Israelite geography and history.

Isaiah’s prophecy in today’s First Reading is quoted by Matthew in today’s Gospel. Both intend to recall the apparent fall of the everlasting kingdom promised to David (see 2 Samuel 7:12–13; Psalm 89; Psalm 132:11–12).

Eight centuries before Christ, that part of the kingdom where the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali lived was attacked by the Assyrians, and the tribes were hauled off into captivity (see 2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26).

It marked the beginning of the kingdom’s end. The Davidic empire finally crumbled in the sixth century BC, when Jerusalem was seized by Babylon and the remaining tribes were driven into exile (see 2 Kings 24:14).

Isaiah prophesied that Zebulun and Naphtali, the lands first to be degraded, would be the first to see the light of God’s salvation. Jesus today fulfills that prophecy—announcing the restoration

of David’s kingdom at precisely the spot where the kingdom began to fall.

His gospel of the Kingdom includes not only the twelve tribes of Israel but all the nations—symbolized by the “Galilee of the Nations.” Calling His first disciples, two fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, He appoints them to be “fishers of men,” gathering people from the ends of the earth.

They are to preach the gospel, Paul says in today’s Epistle, to unite all peoples in the same mind and in the same purpose—in a worldwide kingdom of God.

By their preaching, Isaiah’s promise has been delivered. A world in darkness has seen the light. The yoke of slavery and sin, borne by humanity since time began, has been smashed.

And we are able now, as we sing in today’s Psalm, to dwell in the house of the Lord, to worship Him in the land of the living.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 21, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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To have our minds renewed, is to know and act on the will of God our Heavenly Father. That we shall lay our bodies down as living sacrifices Holy and pleasing to God. (Rm 12:1) Bringing souls to Christ Jesus our Lord to be fully reconciled as we go out to the world to share the Gospel, healing and restoring through the power of our risen Lord.

Cover us with Your precious Blood O Lord so that we might rise to new life in You. Amen

Saint Agnes, Virgin pray for us…

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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.

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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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 20, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We were never meant to be alone, that is why whether from the pulpit or scripture there is stress on belonging to a community. Like minded disciples journeying as companions of Christ Jesus our Lord ministering to His flock. To preach and with power to cast out demons! Power to heal and to restore!

We then are able to testify to the glory our Lord in the signs and wonders we witness, for the building up of faith in one another. We edify, affirm and encourage one another to boldly go forth to share the joy of the Gospel as we build our Lord’s Kingdom. We see and experience most profoundly, what it means to be in full communion with the Holy Trinity!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian pray for us… 

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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.

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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 19, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus the lamb of God had laid down His life for us through the once for all time sacrifice. Now through the Holy Eucharist we unite ourselves fully with Him through that once for all sacrifice which transcends above, beyond space and time!

He is indeed our High Priest forever and through Him alone we are reconciled with God our Heavenly Father.

Having received Him, body, blood, soul and divinity we are to become like Him in every way. For this is what it truly means to be One with Him in Holy Communion.

Therefore we too must go out into the world to bring about His healing, peace, love and cast out all that is not of Him in people’s lives. So that they too can experience His mercy and love.

Here I am Lord, I come to do Your will! Amen

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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.

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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 18, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus in today’s Gospel does not need to be asked to heal the man with the withered hand, neither does he tell the man if you want to be healed come back tomorrow. He the prince of peace, heals Him there and then in the synagogue. 

What is the lesson here? ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ or perhaps in today’s context, is there a good time to love? To be compassionate enough to act in love! Perhaps we can start following after our Lord, when we see someone perhaps in our church who needs healing, whether it is body, mind or spirit; we boldly go up to them and offer to pray over them for healing?

Let not wait to love but love everyone as we are called to, in the present. Bringing the peace, love and joy of our Lord wherever we go. Amen

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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.

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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 17, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We have hope because we have a loving Father in heaven who keeps His promises and is faithful beyond measure. Jesus is the fulfilment of all His promises and through Jesus His Son we who believe, have hope of eternal life with Him.

Ah whom the Son sets free we are free indeed! Free to love one another as we should. Love which transcends laws and time for it is our duty above all else, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend to the sick, visit the prisoner, give drink to the thirsty.

Jesus I trust in You. Amen

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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.

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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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 16, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Again, what does it mean for us that by our baptism we are priests, prophet and king for one another? Shouldn’t our way of thinking change? That we are already empowered to go out and make disciples of all nations? Are our minds renewed such that we have begun to minister to His flock? For such a time as this we are called, and we must act!

Yes, we may not be consecrated priests such as the fathers of the church, but have we dwelled upon our role or rather our priestly function in the laity? Is it not to reconcile those who have lost their way to the Lord our God? To pray for and bring healing for those who are sick and suffering? In body, mind and spirit! To offer ourselves up as living sacrifices so that our Heavenly Father may be glorified.

Bless and anoint me Lord I have come to do your will. Amen

Sharing…

15 Jan 23 Sunday

So, I arrived early at Church of the Holy Spirit so that I could go for the sacrament of reconciliation. I placed my bag on the seat then went to seat in front at the waiting area just in front of the confessionals. I was praying the Rosary when I saw a (nun) sister without the habit coughing loudly, she lowered her mask and I think to spit out phlegm. She was seated about 10 rows in front of the confessional. I continued to pray the Rosary. Then about five minutes later still coughing she got up and hobbled all the way then sat down beside the guy next to me. I wondered if it was a sign from the Lord highlighting for me to pray for her.

As I was first in line for confession and the priest was about to arrive, I decided to with till after. Fully reconciled, I took courage and sat next to her saying, “Sister can I pray for you?” She looked bewildered and I supposed was caught off guard. So I leaned in to pray for healing in Jesus’s name. She thanked me uttered a “God bless you“

I noticed as she sat a few rows in front to the left of me that she had stopped coughing for a whole 30 minutes. But later coughed softly and less frequently throughout the mass.

Praise the Lord! 🙏❤

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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.

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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 14, 2023 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Perfect Offering: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 49:3, 5–6

Psalm 40:2, 4, 7–10

1 Corinthians 1:1–3

John 1:29–34

Jesus speaks through the prophet Isaiah in today’s First Reading.

He tells us of the mission given to Him by the Father from the womb: “‘You are My servant,’ He said to Me.”

Servant and Son, our Lord was sent to lead a new exodus—to raise up the exiled tribes of Israel, to gather and restore them to God. More than that, He was to be a light to the nations, that God’s salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (see Acts 13:46–47).

Before the first exodus, a lamb was offered in sacrifice and its blood painted on the Israelites’ door posts. The blood of the lamb identified their homes and the Lord “passed over” these in executing judgment on the Egyptians (see Exodus 12:1–23, 27).

In the new exodus, Jesus is the “Lamb of God,” as John beholds Him in the Gospel today (see 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18–19). Our Lord sings of this in today’s Psalm. He has come, He says, to offer His body to do the will of God (see Hebrews 10:3–13).

The sacrifices, oblations, holocausts, and sin-offerings given after the first exodus had no power to take away sins (see Hebrews 10:4). They were meant not to save but to teach (see Galatians 3:24). In offering these sacrifices, the people were to learn self-sacrifice—that they were made for worship, to offer themselves freely to God and to delight in His will.

Only Jesus could make that perfect offering of Himself. And through His sacrifice, He has given us ears open to obedience and made it possible for us to hear the Father’s call to holiness, as Paul says in today’s Epistle.

He has made us children of God, baptized in the blood of the Lamb (see Revelation 7:14). And we are to join our sacrifice to His, to offer our bodies—our lives—as living sacrifices in the spiritual worship of the Mass (see Romans 12:1).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 14, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Jesus came for you and me, He is for everyone! There is no sin too great that He will not forgive if we turn to Him. For He came to call sinners and He meets us at where we are. For we are God our Father’s children, and nothing can separate us from the love of God our Father. How then can we no be confident in approaching the throne of grace?

How can we not turn to Him whose life, death and resurrection has set us free? Who transforms and transfigures through the light of His resurrection. So that we can be His light in the world. To sit with sinners and share the joy of the Gospel that too might likewise be set free!

“Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.”  Amen (Matt 5:16)

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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.

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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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 13, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so, we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you – we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. St Augustine if Hippo

Indeed many have sins too much to bear that it can manifest in the breaking down of the body, mind and spirit. What did Jesus say? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Our ever loving Lord so merciful and gracious will set us free when we go to Him. He will heal and restore us! Let us ‘carry’ those who cannot walk on their own, upon our shoulders and lay them down before Him; for seeing our faith He will surely restore them.

Deliver us from all evil and sin Lord, that we may boldly go out to preach repentance and share the joy of the Gospel. For the Kingdom of God is at hand. Amen

Saint Hilary pray for us… 

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First reading

Hebrews 4:1-5,11 ·

None of you has come too late for God’s promise

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

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Gospel

Mark 2:1-12

The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 12, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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All of us are called to fidelity to the Lord our God, to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. Therefore, it is not meant to be a journey in which we all go our separate ways trying to reach our final destination on our own. We are sisters and brothers, children of God our Heavenly Father and so we journey as One in Christ. How then can we say we do not belong or are not part of any community? The real question for us is how many have we helped along our pilgrim journey? How many  have encountered the presence of our Lord through us? Do we get to see how much they have grown in their faith and in their relationship with Lord? How everyone loves one another and are encouraging one another to go deeper? Have we sacrificed ourselves such that we are willing to lay down our lives to save another?

In His compassion and love we see Jesus a healing a leper an untouchable who called out to Him in faith. Jesus healed in Him not only in word but laid His hand and touched Him. Someone loved Him enough to touch him, someone fully man and yet carried the divine touch of God. By doing so Jesus set the leper who had to live in seclusion far away from society free! Free to live fully in His love. Jesus in sense became the ‘leper’ for He could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. The leper had to make an offering which consisted of two birds, one as a sacrifice and the other dipped in the blood of the first’s sacrifice was set free. Jesus would do the same for all of us. The lamb of God would lay down His live for us all so that we can be set free!

Jesus my Lord I love You with all my heart! Let me be bring You glory by loving and serving my brethren as I am called to do. Amen

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First reading

Hebrews 3:7-14 ·

Keep encouraging one another

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

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Gospel

Mark 1:40-45

The leprosy left the man at once, and he was cured

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 11, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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“God does not understand the pain, suffering and challenges we go through for He is God!” Really? Have not entertained such a thought ourselves?

What does our faith teach us? Jesus our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the word made flesh came and dwelt among us. He was fully God as He was fully man! Which means as man, he suffered the same things we do, cuts bruises and so on and was exposed to the same weather conditions. He would have gone through fatigue and tiredness. Faced the very same temptations of being lazy, sexual, greedy, impatient, jealous and so on but only he was not led astray by these temptations. He was sinless because God His Father was always on his mind and how he was on mission to do his Will. To preach that the Kingdom of God was at hand and that repentance will be bring about reconciliation and hope for eternal life through him.

Jesus demonstrated the love and power of God our Heavenly Father by casting our evil spirits from His children and healing them of disease and sickness. Likewise, we have been given the authority to cast out evil spirits and heal in His name, to bring others to realisation that even today we have a living and loving God who loves them dearly at that the Kingdom of God is at hand for them.

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

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First reading

Hebrews 2:14-18 ·

He took to himself descent from Abraham

Since all the children share the same blood and flesh, Christ too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could take away all the power of the devil, who had power over death, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself descent from Abraham. It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers so that he could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God’s religion, able to atone for human sins. That is, because he has himself been through temptation he is able to help others who are tempted.

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Gospel

Mark 1:29-39

He cast out devils and cured many who were suffering from disease

On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.

    That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

    In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 10, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Ten days into the new year! Oh how has our faith grown? How deeply have we fallen in love with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ such that we reflect that love in all that we say and do? Or have we fallen back to old habits and given in to temptations!

We must resist, fight and put all sinful inclinations behind us. For we have a destiny to fulfil and that is to glorify Him who laid down His life for us so we can live as free men and women. To save our brethren from the clutches of evil and to heal in His name; for it is written “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be made well.” Mark 16:17-18

Sanctify me anew Lord and let me be a powerful instrument of Your grace. Amen

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First reading

Hebrews 2:5-12 ·

The one who sanctifies and the ones who are sanctified are of the same stock

God did not appoint angels to be rulers of the world to come, and that world is what we are talking about. Somewhere there is a passage that shows us this. It runs: What is man that you should spare a thought for him, the son of man that you should care for him? For a short while you made him lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and splendour. You have put him in command of everything. Well then, if he has put him in command of everything, he has left nothing which is not under his command. At present, it is true, we are not able to see that everything has been put under his command, but we do see in Jesus one who was for a short while made lower than the angels and is now crowned with glory and splendour because he submitted to death; by God’s grace he had to experience death for all mankind.

    As it was his purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory, it was appropriate that God, for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect, through suffering, the leader who would take them to their salvation. For the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified, are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers in the text: I shall announce your name to my brothers, praise you in full assembly.

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Gospel

Mark 1:21-28

Unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority

Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 9, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Born without sin our Lord by way of example for us, embraced a sinner’s baptism. Fully human He took on the sins of the world as He was plunged below the waters. He emerged to the delight of His Father who declared His love and favour for His Son. He willed that we be obedient unto Him.

By our very own baptism we emerge as holy children of God our Father so loved by Him. And if we remain rooted and obedient unto our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ then we become holy unto Him.

Thank You Father for embracing us as Your sons and daughters through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

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First reading

Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7 ·

Here is my servant, in whom my soul delights

Thus says the Lord:

Here is my servant whom I uphold,

my chosen one in whom my soul delights.

I have endowed him with my spirit

that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud,

or make his voice heard in the streets.

He does not break the crushed reed,

nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice;

he will neither waver, nor be crushed

until true justice is established on earth,

for the islands are awaiting his law.

I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;

I have taken you by the hand and formed you;

I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,

to open the eyes of the blind,

to free captives from prison,

and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.

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Gospel

Matthew 3:13-17

‘This is my Son, the Beloved’

Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.

    As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’

Feast of the Epiphany

Posted: January 7, 2023 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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A King to Behold: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Epiphany

Readings:

Isaiah 60:1–6

Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 10–13

Ephesians 3:2–3, 5–6

Matthew 2:1–12

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An “epiphany” is an appearance. In today’s readings, with their rising stars, splendorous lights, and mysteries revealed, the face of the Child born on Christmas day appears.

Herod, in today’s Gospel, asks the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah is to be born. The answer Matthew puts on their lips says much more, combining two strands of Old Testament promise—one revealing the Messiah to be from the line of David (see 2 Samuel 2:5), the other predicting “a ruler of Israel” who will “shepherd his flock” and whose “greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth” (see Micah 5:1–3).

Those promises of Israel’s king ruling the nations resound also in today’s Psalm. The psalm celebrates David’s son, Solomon. His kingdom, we sing, will stretch “to the ends of the earth,” and the world’s kings will pay him homage. That’s the scene too in today’s First Reading, as nations stream from the East, bearing “gold and frankincense” for Israel’s king.

The Magi’s pilgrimage in today’s Gospel marks the fulfillment of God’s promises. The Magi, probably Persian astrologers, are following the star that Balaam predicted would rise along with the ruler’s staff over the house of Jacob (see Numbers 24:17).

Laden with gold and spices, their journey evokes those made to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba and the “kings of the earth” (see 1 Kings 10:2, 25; 2 Chronicles 9:24). Interestingly, the only other places where frankincense and myrrh are mentioned together are in songs about Solomon (see Song of Songs 3:6; 4:6, 14).

One greater than Solomon is here (see Luke 11:31). He has come to reveal that all peoples are “co-heirs” of the royal family of Israel, as today’s Epistle teaches.

His manifestation forces us to choose: will we follow the signs that lead to Him as the wise Magi did? Or will we be like those priests and scribes who let God’s words of promise become dead letters on an ancient page?

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 7, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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When we live in sonship and daughterhood of God our Heavenly Father, we can be sure He listens to the prayers of His beloved Children.  And as His beloved children we know our Father’s heart for us; that we love one another and build His Kingdom. So that all who come to believe in His Son our Lord and Savour Jesus Christ, will have life! And life to the full!

When we pray in love for another He will surely answer us. Just as Mary our Mother, turned to her Son in the couple’s hour of need. Mary also shows us the way to our Lord’s heart, that we should be obedient unto Him and do whatever He tells us. For He knows the plans He has for us, not to do us harm but to prosper us. To give us hope and a future.

Sweet Saviour Lord, let it be done according to Your Word and Will for me. Amen

________

First reading

1 John 5:14-21 ·

If we ask for anything, he will hear us

We are quite confident that if we ask the Son of God for anything,

and it is in accordance with his will,

he will hear us;

and, knowing that whatever we may ask, he hears us,

we know that we have already been granted what we asked of him.

If anybody sees his brother commit a sin

that is not a deadly sin,

he has only to pray, and God will give life to the sinner

– not those who commit a deadly sin;

for there is a sin that is death,

and I will not say that you must pray about that.

Every kind of wrong-doing is sin,

but not all sin is deadly.

We know that anyone who has been begotten by God

does not sin,

because the begotten Son of God protects him,

and the Evil One does not touch him.

We know that we belong to God,

but the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.

We know, too, that the Son of God has come,

and has given us the power

to know the true God.

We are in the true God,

as we are in his Son, Jesus Christ.

This is the true God,

this is eternal life.

Children, be on your guard against false gods.

________

Gospel

John 2:1-11

‘My hour has not come yet’ – ‘Do whatever he tells you’

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’

    This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 6, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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My son, my daughter, you are my beloved and my favour rests on you. This is what our loving Father in Heaven is saying to you and me today. Reminding us that through our Baptism in Christ Jesus our Lord, we have become His beloved children so loved by Him. And we are One with Him through the Holy Eucharist, body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We are therefore called to live as a community of love. Going out to minister to all through the power of the Holy Spirit and tender loving care; bringing about healing and restoration in His Holy name.

Let Your light shine upon us Lord. Amen

________

First reading

1 John 5:5-13

There are three witnesses: the Spirit and the water and the blood

Who can overcome the world?

Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:

Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,

not with water only,

but with water and blood;

with the Spirit as another witness –

since the Spirit is the truth –

so that there are three witnesses,

the Spirit, the water and the blood,

and all three of them agree.

We accept the testimony of human witnesses,

but God’s testimony is much greater,

and this is God’s testimony,

given as evidence for his Son.

Everybody who believes in the Son of God

has this testimony inside him;

and anyone who will not believe God

is making God out to be a liar,

because he has not trusted

the testimony God has given about his Son.

This is the testimony:

God has given us eternal life

and this life is in his Son;

anyone who has the Son has life,

anyone who does not have the Son does not have life.

I have written all this to you

so that you who believe in the name of the Son of God

may be sure that you have eternal life.

________

Gospel

Mark 1:6-11

‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you’

In the course of his preaching John said:

    ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

    It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 5, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How wonderful to sit under a fig tree to dwell on the Word and Will of the Lord our God in His presence. He knows our heart and how Blessed are we indeed when He finds us incapable of deceit, full of integrity. For heaven is opened for us to bring His glory to His people. We love because he first loved us. 1 JN 4:19

His loved for us freed us from all sin, that we can love our brethren fully without reservation. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jn15:13 In the same way our Good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep. Jn 10:11

So with joy and excitement in our hearts, let us go out invite our family and friends to “Come and see” so that they too can revel in the presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

________

First reading

1 John 3:11-21

Our love is to be something real and active

This is the message

as you heard it from the beginning:

that we are to love one another;

not to be like Cain, who belonged to the Evil One

and cut his brother’s throat;

cut his brother’s throat simply for this reason,

that his own life was evil and his brother lived a good life.

You must not be surprised, brothers, when the world hates you;

we have passed out of death and into life,

and of this we can be sure

because we love our brothers.

If you refuse to love, you must remain dead;

to hate your brother is to be a murderer,

and murderers, as you know, do not have eternal life in them.

This has taught us love –

that he gave up his life for us;

and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers.

If a man who was rich enough in this world’s goods

saw that one of his brothers was in need,

but closed his heart to him,

how could the love of God be living in him?

My children,

our love is not to be just words or mere talk,

but something real and active;

only by this can we be certain

that we are children of the truth

and be able to quieten our conscience in his presence,

whatever accusations it may raise against us,

because God is greater than our conscience and he knows everything.

My dear people,

if we cannot be condemned by our own conscience,

we need not be afraid in God’s presence.

________

Gospel

John 1:43-51

You will see heaven laid open, and the Son of Man

After Jesus had decided to leave for Galilee, he met Philip and said, ‘Follow me.’ Philip came from the same town, Bethsaida, as Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael. ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 4, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must resist sin at all costs, if we want to remain His faithful disciples. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Heb 12:4 Let us make no more excuses, for if we truly love and honour the Lord our God then we will strive for Holiness. Every day we awake in the presence in prayer and attentive listening of His word for us. Our relationship with Him grows as we put our love for Him and brethren into action.

Having grown in our relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, it is easy to cry out to others who do not yet know Him, “We have found the Messiah, come and see!” For we are bursting to share the joy of finding the Lord ourselves and living each day in His presence.

Let me be a Shepherd after Your own heart, Lord. Amen

________

First reading

1 John 3:7-10 ·

No-one sins who has been begotten by God

My children, do not let anyone lead you astray:

to live a holy life

is to be holy just as he is holy;

to lead a sinful life is to belong to the devil,

since the devil was a sinner from the beginning.

It was to undo all that the devil has done

that the Son of God appeared.

No one who has been begotten by God sins;

because God’s seed remains inside him,

he cannot sin when he has been begotten by God.

In this way we distinguish the children of God

from the children of the devil:

anybody not living a holy life

and not loving his brother

is no child of God’s.

________

Gospel

John 1:35-42

‘We have found the Messiah’

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

    One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.


In the most Holy Name of Jesus we are saved for He is our rock our salvation.

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:10-11

And so, sisters and brothers let us model our lives after our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As children of God our Father we are children of light, and we must never stop striving for greater Holiness. We reject all sin and live in the joy of the Gospel.

Our mission is clear that we should lead one another, His children into the Kingdom of God our Father. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus our Lord. Amen

________

First reading

1 John 2:29-3:6

Everyone must try to be as pure as Christ

You know that God is righteous –

then you must recognise that everyone whose life is righteous

has been begotten by him.

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,

by letting us be called God’s children;

and that is what we are.

Because the world refused to acknowledge him,

therefore it does not acknowledge us.

My dear people, we are already the children of God

but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;

all we know is, that when it is revealed

we shall be like him

because we shall see him as he really is.

Surely everyone who entertains this hope

must purify himself, must try to be as pure as Christ.

Anyone who sins at all

breaks the law,

because to sin is to break the law.

Now you know that he appeared in order to abolish sin,

and that in him there is no sin;

anyone who lives in God does not sin,

and anyone who sins

has never seen him or known him.

________

Gospel

John 1:29-34

‘Look: there is the Lamb of God’

Seeing Jesus coming towards him, John said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This is the one I spoke of when I said: A man is coming after me who ranks before me because he existed before me. I did not know him myself, and yet it was to reveal him to Israel that I came baptising with water.’ John also declared, ‘I saw the Spirit coming down on him from heaven like a dove and resting on him. I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is going to baptise with the Holy Spirit.” Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 2, 2023 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Second day into the New Year it is wonderful reminder that we must hold fast to our faith in Jesus Christ whose life, death and resurrection we were inserted into by our Baptism. We are His priests, prophets and kings!

Therefore like St John the Baptist we too must be voices in the wilderness crying out “Make a straight way for the Lord” We must be bold enough to remind one another to repent and seek reconciliation. To unite those estranged from family, bring peace to homes where there is none. And much more than that we are called to be the light of Christ for everyone, to carry His presence where ever we may go. Surely signs and wonders will follow! Amen

Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen pray for us…

________

First reading

1 John 2:22-28 ·

The anointing he gave you teaches you everything

The man who denies that Jesus is the Christ –

he is the liar,

he is Antichrist;

and he is denying the Father as well as the Son,

because no one who has the Father can deny the Son,

and to acknowledge the Son is to have the Father as well.

Keep alive in yourselves what you were taught in the beginning:

as long as what you were taught in the beginning is alive in you,

you will live in the Son

and in the Father;

and what is promised to you by his own promise

is eternal life.

This is all that I am writing to you about the people who are trying to lead you astray.

But you have not lost the anointing that he gave you,

and you do not need anyone to teach you;

the anointing he gave teaches you everything;

you are anointed with truth, not with a lie,

and as it has taught you, so you must stay in him.

Live in Christ, then, my children,

so that if he appears, we may have full confidence,

and not turn from him in shame

at his coming.

________

Gospel

John 1:19-28

‘One is coming after me who existed before me’

This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:

a voice that cries in the wilderness:

Make a straight way for the Lord.’

Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.

2023

Posted: January 1, 2023 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

Mary Mother Of God

Posted: December 31, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

Children of God: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of Mary, Mother of God

 

Readings:

Numbers 6:22–27

Psalm 67:2–3, 5–6, 8

Galatians 4:4–7

Luke 2:16–21

________________________________________

Today we give thanks to Mary, the Mother of God. Her response to the angel, born of a humble heart, brought us life and salvation in the Child conceived in her womb.

From before all ages, God had destined her for this decisive role in salvation history. She was to be the woman who in the fullness of time would bear God’s only Son, as Paul tells us in today’s Epistle.

In times past, God spoke to His chosen people, the Israelites, through prophets (see Hebrews 1:1–2), and imparted His blessings upon them through His priests, as we hear in today’s First Reading.

But now, He has sent His Son to reveal His glory and His kingdom, to make His way of salvation known to all nations, as we sing in today’s Psalm. In the Infant lying in the manger, God has shone His face upon us (see John 14:8–9).

Jesus is made a child of Israel, an heir of God’s covenant with Abraham, by His circumcision in today’s Gospel (see Genesis 17:1–14). And we have been made adopted sons and daughters by Baptism, which is the circumcision of Christ, the true circumcision (see Colossians 2:11; Philippians 3:3).

As children of God, Paul says today, we are heirs of the Father’s blessings, which He promised to bestow on all peoples through the descendants of Abraham (see Genesis 12:3; 22:18; Galatians 3:14). This is the blessing that Aaron imparted to Israel, the people descended from Abraham. And this blessing comes to us through Mary and the Child.

This is the good news of great joy that the shepherds make known in Bethlehem today (see Luke 2:10).

Like the shepherds, we too should make haste today to find Jesus with Mary and Joseph, to glorify God for His blessings. And like Mary, we should keep His word and reflect upon it, letting it dwell richly in our hearts (see Colossians 3:16).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 31, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today as 2022 comes to an end, let us take some time to reflect if we have been witnesses to the light of Christ in our lives; for family, friends, community, ministry, colleagues and the rest of the world.

Have we spoken His peace, love, word and truth? Such that it changed the atmosphere and brough His peace in difficult and challenging situations?

Have we prophesied over the lives of our brethren to share His thoughts and the joy He has for them? Sharing just how much He loves them and He has wonderful plans for them?

Have we prayed for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the lives of His flock and guided them into a deeper relationship with the Lord our God?

Have we brought the joy of knowing the Lord to unbelievers by loving them into His Kingdom?

Have whatever we said and done in His name bore witness to the light of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

As we enter into the new year, let us not cling to what we have failed to do or on any other shortcomings we may have. Instead let us rejoice that God our loving Father loves us all with an endearing love. Let us begin 2023 with a renewal of mind, that we are His children so loved by Him and that we are empowered to make a great difference in the lives of everyone we meet as light bearers of Christ our Lord. Amen

Happy Blessed New Year!

________

First reading

1 John 2:18-21 ·

You have been anointed by the Holy One

Children, these are the last days;

you were told that an Antichrist must come,

and now several antichrists have already appeared;

we know from this that these are the last days.

Those rivals of Christ came out of our own number, but they had never really belonged;

if they had belonged, they would have stayed with us;

but they left us, to prove that not one of them

ever belonged to us.

But you have been anointed by the Holy One,

and have all received the knowledge.

It is not because you do not know the truth that I am writing to you

but rather because you know it already

and know that no lie can come from the truth.

________

Gospel

John 1:1-18

The Word was made flesh, and lived among us

In the beginning was the Word:

and the Word was with God

and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things came to be,

not one thing had its being but through him.

All that came to be had life in him

and that life was the light of men,

a light that shines in the dark,

a light that darkness could not overpower.

A man came, sent by God.

His name was John.

He came as a witness,

as a witness to speak for the light,

so that everyone might believe through him.

He was not the light,

only a witness to speak for the light.

The Word was the true light

that enlightens all men;

and he was coming into the world.

He was in the world

that had its being through him,

and the world did not know him.

He came to his own domain

and his own people did not accept him.

But to all who did accept him

he gave power to become children of God,

to all who believe in the name of him

who was born not out of human stock

or urge of the flesh

or will of man

but of God himself.

The Word was made flesh,

he lived among us,

and we saw his glory,

the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,

full of grace and truth.

John appears as his witness. He proclaims:

‘This is the one of whom I said:

He who comes after me ranks before me

because he existed before me.’

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received –

yes, grace in return for grace,

since, though the Law was given through Moses,

grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God;

it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,

who has made him known.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 30, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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On this day of the feast of the Holy Family, it is only fitting that we dwell on God our Father’s great love for each and everyone of us. Being obedient unto Him and faithful we see just how Blessed we are. He has kept us free from all evil and harm and we thrive in living our lives to the full through our His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

That loving exchange of love between God our Father and us, must naturally flow down to love of parents, then of our children and our brethren. If we say that we honour God our Father can we then say we do not honour our father and mother. We all do not have perfect parents but nonetheless we are called to honour and love them just the same. Not just in their presence but even when we are not alongside them in our thoughts, words and actions.

Just as children see and learn from the words and actions of their parents, let us turn to the Holy Family for guidance how we should live together as one family in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

__________

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 3:2-6,12-14 ·

He who fears the Lord respects his parents

The Lord honours the father in his children,

    and upholds the rights of a mother over her sons.

Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins,

    he who honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune.

Whoever respects his father will be happy with children of his own,

    he shall be heard on the day when he prays.

Long life comes to him who honours his father,

    he who sets his mother at ease is showing obedience to the Lord.

My son, support your father in his old age,

    do not grieve him during his life.

Even if his mind should fail, show him sympathy,

    do not despise him in your health and strength;

for kindness to a father shall not be forgotten

    but will serve as reparation for your sins.

________

Gospel

Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

The flight into Egypt and the return to Nazareth

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:

‘He will be called a Nazarene.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 29, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Am I living in the light of Christ? Am I a beacon of His light in the world?

Dwelling deeply on this question I have to ask myself…

Am I quick to forgive? Do I act humbly and mercifully in all situations?

To those that I have wronged, have I sought forgiveness from be it family, colleagues, community, church and others?

Have I been an instrument of His peace, love and joy?

In short have I loved as my Lord commanded me to love?

Lord Jesus let me a guiding light for my brethren in the world. Bless and keep me in Your loving embrace and protect me from all evil. So that my light may shine brightly for You. Amen

________

First reading

1 John 2:3-11 ·

We can be sure that we know God

only by keeping his commandments.

Anyone who says, ‘I know him’,

and does not keep his commandments,

is a liar,

refusing to admit the truth.

But when anyone does obey what he has said,

God’s love comes to perfection in him.

We can be sure that we are in God

only when the one who claims to be living in him

is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.

My dear people,

this is not a new commandment that I am writing to tell you,

but an old commandment

that you were given from the beginning,

the original commandment which was the message brought to you.

Yet in another way, what I am writing to you,

and what is being carried out in your lives as it was in his,

is a new commandment;

because the night is over

and the real light is already shining.

Anyone who claims to be in the light

but hates his brother

is still in the dark.

But anyone who loves his brother is living in the light

and need not be afraid of stumbling;

unlike the man who hates his brother and is in the darkness,

not knowing where he is going,

because it is too dark to see.

________

Gospel

Luke 2:22-35

‘You have prepared a light to enlighten the pagans’

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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 28, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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There are still many unsung heroes of our faith, babes, children even adults who are slaughtered for holding on to their faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Their martyrdom is hidden from the eyes of the world.

What about abortion? If we dwell on the truth that Lord our God is the author of life itself how can we ever condone abortion? Are they not holy innocents?

Let us offer up our sins and the sins of the world; let us pray that the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord purifies us all. Blessed mother pray for us…

Hail, Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners,

now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

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First reading

1 John 1:5-2:2 ·

This is what we have heard from Jesus Christ,

and the message that we are announcing to you:

God is light; there is no darkness in him at all.

If we say that we are in union with God

while we are living in darkness,

we are lying because we are not living the truth.

But if we live our lives in the light,

as he is in the light,

we are in union with one another,

and the blood of Jesus, his Son,

purifies us from all sin.

If we say we have no sin in us,

we are deceiving ourselves

and refusing to admit the truth;

but if we acknowledge our sins,

then God who is faithful and just

will forgive our sins and purify us

from everything that is wrong.

To say that we have never sinned

is to call God a liar

and to show that his word is not in us.

I am writing this, my children,

to stop you sinning;

but if anyone should sin,

we have our advocate with the Father,

Jesus Christ, who is just;

he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away,

and not only ours,

but the whole world’s.

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Gospel

Matthew 2:13-18

The massacre of the innocents

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

Herod was furious when he realised that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled:

A voice was heard in Ramah,

sobbing and loudly lamenting:

it was Rachel weeping for her children,

refusing to be comforted because they were no more.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 27, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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He saw and he believed!

What did he see? Linen cloths and the cloth that was wrapped on Jesus’s head. With all His heart he believed…What did he believe? In the resurrection of His Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

We are given the opportunity of seeing the Risen Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Do we see and believe?

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe John 20:-29

Lord I believe and trust in You Amen

Saint John pray for us…

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First reading

1 John 1:1-4 ·

The Word, who is life – this is our subject

Something which has existed since the beginning,

that we have heard,

and we have seen with our own eyes;

that we have watched

and touched with our hands:

the Word, who is life –

this is our subject.

That life was made visible:

we saw it and we are giving our testimony,

telling you of the eternal life

which was with the Father and has been made visible to us.

What we have seen and heard

we are telling you

so that you too may be in union with us,

as we are in union

with the Father

and with his Son Jesus Christ.

We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.

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Gospel

John 20:2-8

The other disciple saw, and he believed

On the first day of the week Mary of Magdala came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

    So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 26, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Why are the readings on the first day after Christmas about St Stephen’s martyrdom? Perhaps it is a sobering message to stay awake after the joyous celebration of remembering that Christ was born for us to dispel all darkness by the light of His life, death and Resurrection!

That we who have encountered Christ would gladly lay down our lives for Him and brethren to rise again with and in Him. Many define self-control as the ability to say no to all the distractions that come our way in life. While this may be true to a certain extent, St Stephen shows us that this virtue is saying Yes to Christ so completely that we have nothing left to give in to distractions. Filled with the Holy Spirit we too shall see Heaven, and through His grace and power we shall begin to work miracles and great signs among the people. Amen

Saint Stephen pray for us…

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First reading

Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59 ·

The martyrdom of Stephen

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.

    But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’

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Gospel

Matthew 10:17-22

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.

    ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.’

Nativity Of the Lord

Posted: December 24, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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New Song: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Nativity of the Lord

Readings:

Isaiah 52:7–10

Psalms 98:1–6

Hebrews 1:1–6

John 1:1–18

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The Church’s Liturgy rings in Christmas with a joyful noise. We hear today of uplifted voices, trumpets and horns, and melodies of praise.

In the First Reading, Isaiah fortells Israel’s liberation from captivity and exile in Babylon. He envisions a triumphant homecoming to Zion marked by joyful singing.

The new song in today’s Psalm is a victory hymn to the marvelous deeds done by our God and King.

Both the prophet and psalmist sing of God’s power and salvation. God has shown the might of His holy arm, they say. This language recalls the Exodus, where the people first sang of God’s powerful arm that shattered Israel’s enemy, Egypt (see Exodus 15:1, 6, 16).

The coming of the Christ child into the world fulfills all that the Exodus and the return from exile prefigured.

In Jesus, all nations to the ends of the earth will see the victory of God over the forces of sin and death.

Jesus is the new king. He is the royal firstborn son and Son of God promised to David, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see Psalms 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14).

And as our Gospel reveals, He is the Word of God, the one through whom the universe was created, the one through whom the universe is sustained.

In speaking to us through His Son, God has unveiled a new age, the last days.

The new age is a new creation. In the beginning, God spoke His Word and light shone in the darkness. Now, in this new age, He sends us the true light to scatter the darkness of a world that has exiled itself from God.

He is the one Isaiah foretold—who brings good tidings of peace and salvation, who announces to the world that God has come to dwell and to reign (see Revelation 21:3–4).

So we sing a new song on Christmas. It is the song of those who have believed in the Christ child and have been born again—who have by grace been given the power to become children of God.


Image  —  Posted: December 24, 2022 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book
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