On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 15, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

How well have we prepared ourselves and others for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ this Advent? Is there joy in our hearts?

Nothing is more precious then souls who have turned back to the Lord our God. Conversion taken place from deep within. Such is the desire of our Lord that we are one united in Him. Happy are we who dwell in His presence!

Emmanuel…

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 48:1-4,9-12
The prophet Elijah will come again

The prophet Elijah arose like a fire,his word flaring like a torch.
It was he who brought famine on the people, and who decimated them in his zeal.
By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens, he also, three times, brought down fire.
How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah! Has anyone reason to boast as you have?
Taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob,
Happy shall they be who see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love.

Gospel

Matthew 17:10-13
Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him

As they came down from the mountain the disciples put this question to Jesus, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True;’ he replied ‘Elijah is to come to see that everything is once more as it should be; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’ The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 14, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Children of God our Father listen and be obedient unto Him. For He loves us all dearly and only wants the best for us.

Do not be stubborn for it only leads to doom and gloom! See for yourselves where has it led you? Do you live with joy in your hearts? Does it carry throughout the day and night? Do you have peace of mind?

Come Lord Jesus, come. Come into my heart dear saviour. Wash me clean and I will be white as snow. Let me live fully in your love. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 48:17-19
If you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river

Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is good for you,
I lead you in the way that you must go.
If only you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river, your integrity like the waves of the sea.
Your children would have been numbered like the sand, your descendants as many as its grains.
Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.

Gospel

Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:

“We played the pipes for you,
and you wouldn’t dance;
we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t be mourners.”

‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 13, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

O that you would listen to my word, harden not your hearts! Open your ears and listen. Says the Lord!

Yet we are indeed a stubborn lot! We hear only what we want. We choose to obey what we think makes the most sense. And we let our salvation pass us by!

The promises of the Lord our God has been fulfilled in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have new life in and through Him. So unless we are in communion with Him through our fidelity we have nothing. Let us open our minds and turn to Him. Let the living word of God transform our hearts. Listen and be saved. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 41:13-20
I, the Holy One of Israel, am your redeemer

I, the Lord, your God, I am holding you by the right hand;I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid, I will help you.’

Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm, Israel, puny mite.’
I will help you – it is the Lord who speaks – the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.

See, I turn you into a threshing-sled, new, with doubled teeth;you shall thresh and crush the mountains, and turn the hills to chaff.

You shall winnow them and the wind will blow them away,
the gale will scatter them.
But you yourself will rejoice in the Lord,and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none,
their tongue is parched with thirst. I, the Lord, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.

I will make rivers well up on barren heights,and fountains in the midst of valleys;turn the wilderness into a lake,and dry ground into waterspring.

In the wilderness I will put cedar trees, acacias, myrtles, olives.
In the desert I will plant juniper, plane tree and cypress side by side; so that men may see and know, may all observe and understand that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Gospel

Matthew 11:11-15

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm. Because it was towards John that all the prophecies of the prophets and of the Law were leading; and he, if you will believe me, is the Elijah who was to return. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 12, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

True Christians possesses joy in their hearts. For they carry with them the peace and joy of the Risen Lord in their hearts. They never tire or grow weary while doing His Will for them. For the Lord’s strength is upon them. It is He whom they turn to and are renewed, nourished.

So turn to Him indeed all you who labour and are overburdened and our Lord Jesus Christ will give you rest. He will restore you and grant you peace. His love will flow through your very being bringing life. Such is the love of our Lord. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 40:25-31
The Lord strengthens the powerless

‘To whom could you liken me
and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look.
Who made these stars if not he who drills them like an army, calling each one by name? So mighty is his power, so great his strength, that not one fails to answer.

How can you say, Jacob,
how can you insist, Israel,
‘My destiny is hidden from the Lord, my rights are ignored by my God’?
Did you not know?
Had you not heard?

The Lord is an everlasting God, he created the boundaries of the earth.
He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming. He gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless.
Young men may grow tired and weary, youths may stumble, but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength, they put out wings like eagles. They run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire.

Gospel

Matthew 11:28-30
My yoke is easy and my burden light

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 11, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Do you realise just how much God our Father loves you? How precious you are to Him? Such is His love for you that it defies logic and human understanding. Would you a Shepherd leave ninety nine of your sheep to go in search of the one who strayed away? Yet it is the Lord himself who comes looking for you. Tenderly He picks you up, cleans you up and restores you fully. No anger, no resentment, pure joy! You were once lost but now are found.

Come now people be humble and turn to the Lord your God. For He only desires the best for you. Let us turn our hearts to Him and be filled with His grace. So that we may be one with Him as He is one with us. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 40:1-11
Consolations from the heart of Jerusalem

‘Console my people, console them’ says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for, that she has received from the hand of the Lord double punishment for all her crimes.’

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley;then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice commands, ‘Cry!’
and I answered, ‘What shall I cry?’”– ‘All flesh is grass
and its beauty like the wild flower’s.
The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on them. (The grass is without doubt the people.) The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever.’

Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah,‘Here is your God.’

Here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Gospel

Matthew 18:12-14
The one lost sheep gives him more joy than the ninety-nine that did not stray

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 10, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Many of us live in ivory towers above the smells of poverty and despair. We are blind to the needs of the sick and downtrodden. So unless we belong to a Christian community grounded in Christ Jesus our Lord. We will go on our merry way thinking all is good in the world.

Our faith opens our eyes to see the least of our brethren. We tend to them the best we can. We see to their immediate needs. Most of all we lead them all to Christ by our love. For He alone can set them free from sin and restore them to life in the fullest. For He wills the good in us to shine forth. To be beacons for others.

Lord lead us to be a community of disciples ready to serve the needs of those starved of Your love and mercy. Seeing our faith in action may Your saving grace be upon them. Through Your most Holy name,Jesus. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 35:1-10
The return of the redeemed through the desert

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil, let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.

‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming, the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy; for water gushes in the desert, streams in the wasteland, the scorched earth becomes a lake, the parched land springs of water.

The lairs where the jackals used to live become thickets of reed and papyrus…

And through it will run a highway undefiled
which shall be called the Sacred Way; the unclean may not travel by it,
nor fools stray along it.

No lion will be there
nor any fierce beast roam about it, but the redeemed will walk there, for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy, everlasting joy on their faces;joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.

Gospel

Luke 5:17-26
‘Your sins are forgiven you: get up and walk’

Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

Second Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 8, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Road Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Advent

Readings:

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Today’s Psalm paints a dream-like scene—a road filled with liberated captives heading home to Zion (Jerusalem), mouths filled with laughter, tongues rejoicing.

It’s a glorious picture from Israel’s past, a “new exodus,” the deliverance from exile in Babylon. It’s being recalled in a moment of obvious uncertainty and anxiety. But the psalmist isn’t waxing nostalgic.

Remembering “the Lord has done great things” in the past, he is making an act of faith and hope—that God will come to Israel in its present need, that He’ll do even greater things in the future.

This is what the Advent readings are all about: We recall God’s saving deeds—in the history of Israel and in the coming of Jesus. Our remembrance is meant to stir our faith, to fill us with confidence that, as today’s Epistle puts it, “the One who began a good work in [us] will continue to complete it” until He comes again in glory.

Each of us, the Liturgy teaches, is like Israel in her exile—led into captivity by our sinfulness, in need of restoration, conversion by the Word of the Holy One (see Baruch 5:5). The lessons of salvation history should teach us that, as God again and again delivered Israel, in His mercy He will free us from our attachments to sin if we turn to Him in repentance.

That’s the message of John, introduced in today’s Gospel as the last of the great prophets (compare Jeremiah 1:1–4, 11). But John is greater than the prophets (see Luke 7:27). He’s preparing the way, not only for a new redemption of Israel, but for the salvation of “all flesh” (see also Acts 28:28).

John quotes Isaiah (40:3) to tell us he’s come to build a road home for us, a way out of the wilderness of sin and alienation from God. It’s a road we’ll follow Jesus down, a journey we’ll make, as today’s First Reading puts it, “rejoicing that [we’re] remembered by God.”