On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 20, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In Today’s Responsorial Psalm our response is ‘In God I trust: I shall not fear’

A beautiful response which brings us great comfort and yet can be used as a battle cry against all evil.

If the response holds true for us will we ever be envious or jealous of another? For if we were living fully as children of God our Father then we know He has no favourites! He loves us all uniquely and we are all greatly loved. If we feel we must compete with one another, then let us compete in winning back souls for Him! Let us see then how many we can lead into the loving embrace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By our love in action let us declare to one and all that the Son of God reigns in our hearts now and forever. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 18:6-9,19:1-7

Saul’s envy and Jonathan’s loyal friendship

On their way back, as David was returning after killing the Philistine, the women came out to meet King Saul from all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing to the sound of tambourine and lyre and cries of joy; and as they danced the women sang:

‘Saul has killed his thousands,

and David his tens of thousands.’

Saul was very angry; the incident was not to his liking. ‘They have given David the tens of thousands,’ he said ‘but me only the thousands; he has all but the kingship now.’ And Saul turned a jealous eye on David from that day forward.

    Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants of his intention to kill David. Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, held David in great affection; and so Jonathan warned David; ‘My father Saul is looking for a way to kill you,’ he said ‘so be on your guard tomorrow morning; hide away in some secret place. Then I will go out and keep my father company in the fields where you are hiding, and will talk to my father about you; I will find out what the situation is and let you know.’

    So Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father; he said, ‘Let not the king sin against his servant David, for he has not sinned against you, and what he has done has been greatly to your advantage. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it yourself and rejoiced; why then sin against innocent blood in killing David without cause?’ Saul was impressed by Jonathan’s words and took an oath, ‘As the Lord lives, I will not kill him.’ Jonathan called David and told him all these things. Then Jonathan brought him to Saul, and David attended on him as before.

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 19, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In all our observances of the guidelines, rituals, laws and faith in Jesus through Holy Mother Church have we failed to do good or what is right for the least of our brethren? Have become so sanitised that we are afraid to get down on our hands and knees to serve His flock when necessary? To address quickly what is not right, correct and bridge the missing gaps to allow for more if not all to be able to come into His presence and be healed.

Our greatest battle is against Sin, Pride, Lust and our self inflated egos. If left unchecked we will only do harm by plotting and scheming to get things moving the way we want them to. This will lead to our very own downfall as we lose our ‘heads’.

Heal me Lord of all my sins and my prideful ways, let me serve You and my brethren in humility and love. As I seek always to do Your Holy Will for me. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 17:32-33,37,40-51

David and Goliath

David said to Saul, ‘Let no-one lose heart on his account; your servant will go and fight the Philistine.’ But Saul answered David, ‘You cannot go and fight the Philistine; you are only a boy and he has been a warrior from his youth.’

    ‘The Lord who rescued me from the claws of lion and bear’ David said ‘will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.’ Then Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’

    He took his staff in his hand, picked five smooth stones from the river bed, put them in his shepherd’s bag, in his pouch, and with his sling in his hand he went to meet the Philistine. The Philistine, his shield-bearer in front of him, came nearer and nearer to David; and the Philistine looked at David, and what he saw filled him with scorn, because David was only a youth, a boy of fresh complexion and pleasant bearing. The Philistine said to him, ‘Am I a dog for you to come against me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, ‘Come over here and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.’ But David answered the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have dared to insult. Today the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I shall kill you; I will cut off your head, and this very day I will give your dead body and the bodies of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord gives the victory, for the Lord is lord of the battle and he will deliver you into our power.’

    No sooner had the Philistine started forward to confront David than David left the line of battle and ran to meet the Philistine. Putting his hand in his bag, he took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead; the stone penetrated his forehead and he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone and struck the Philistine down and killed him. David had no sword in his hand. Then David ran and, standing over the Philistine, seized his sword and drew it from the scabbard, and with this he killed him, cutting off his head. The Philistines saw that their champion was dead, and took to flight.

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 18, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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By virtue of our baptism and confirmation we are the chosen ones of the Lord our God, Blessed, holy and anointed to go forth into the world to be priest, prophet and king for others. To build His Kingdom so that all may share in the Heavenly inheritance.

How then are we living our call this day? Are we still groping about in darkness when we should be living in His light? Are we still inward looking or going to meet the need of our Lord’s flock?

Jesus You are my Lord and King, guide me to live my life worthy of Your promises. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Jesse’s youngest son David is anointed king

The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you go on mourning over Saul when I have rejected him as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen myself a king among his sons.’ Samuel replied, ‘How can I go? When Saul hears of it he will kill me.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and then I myself will tell you what you must do; you must anoint to me the one I point out to you.’

    Samuel did what the Lord ordered and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town came trembling to meet him and asked, ‘Seer, have you come with good intentions towards us?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ He purified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

    When they arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed one stands there before him’, but the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Take no notice of his appearance or his height for I have rejected him; God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.’ Jesse then called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel, who said, ‘The Lord has not chosen this one either.’ Jesse then presented Shammah, but Samuel said, ‘The Lord has not chosen this one either.’ Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ He then asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ He answered, ‘There is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he comes.’ Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing. The Lord said, ‘Come, anoint him, for this is the one.’ At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on. As for Samuel, he rose and went to Ramah.

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 17, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We are called to love, all that is created good by the Lord and to will the good in one another. To be holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. To reject satan and all that is evil in world! 

Even in an uncertain, ever changing world we must remain constant in our faith and love for our Lord Jesus Christ. That is to say we may adapt, find new ways of renewing our faith and deepening our love and relationship with Him for He alone makes all things new with and in Him. But we must never try to justify our words and actions of going against His commandments or His will for us. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His word shall never pass away.

So with contrite hearts let us turn to Him for the forgiveness of our many sins. So that we may live free in obedience to the way, the truth and the life, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen   

First reading

1 Samuel 15:16-23 ·

Saul disobeys the Lord and the Lord rejects him

Samuel said to Saul, ‘Stop! Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.’ Saul said, ‘Tell me.’ Samuel continued, ‘Small as you may be in your own eyes, are you not head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king over Israel. The Lord sent you on a mission and said to you, “Go, put these sinners, the Amalekites, under the ban and make war on them until they are exterminated.” Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you fall on the booty and do what is displeasing to the Lord?’ Saul replied to Samuel, ‘But I did obey the voice of the Lord. I went on the mission which the Lord gave me; I brought back Agag king of the Amalekites; I put the Amalekites under the ban. From the booty the people took the best sheep and oxen of what was under the ban to sacrifice them to the Lord your God in Gilgal.’ But Samuel replied:

‘Is the pleasure of the Lord in holocausts and sacrifices

or in obedience to the voice of the Lord?

Yes, obedience is better than sacrifice,

submissiveness better than the fat of rams.

Rebellion is a sin of sorcery,

presumption a crime of teraphim.

‘Since you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.’

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!’

2nd Sunday In Ordinary Sunday

Posted: January 15, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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In the Wedding: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 62:1–5

Psalm 96:1–37–10

1 Corinthians 12:4–11

John 2:1–12

Think of these first weeks after Christmas as a season of “epiphanies.” The liturgy is showing us who Jesus is and what He has revealed about our relationship with God.

Last week and the week before, the imagery was royal and filial—Jesus is the newborn king of the Jews who makes us coheirs of Israel’s promise, beloved children of God. Last week in the liturgy we went to a baptism.

This week we’re at a wedding.

We’re being shown another dimension of our relationship with God. If we’re sons and daughters of God, it’s because we’ve married into the family.

Have you ever wondered why the Bible begins and ends with a wedding—Adam and Eve’s in the garden and the marriage supper of the Lamb (compare Genesis 2:23–24 and Revelation 19:921:922:17)?

Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the covenant relationship God desires with His chosen people. He is the groom, humanity His beloved and sought after bride. We see this reflected beautifully in today’s First Reading.

When Israel breaks the covenant, she is compared to an unfaithful spouse (see Jeremiah 2:20–363:1–13). But God promises to take her back, to “espouse” her to Him forever in an everlasting covenant (see Hosea 2:18–22).

That’s why in today’s Gospel Jesus performs His first public “sign” at a wedding feast.

Jesus is the divine bridegroom (see John 3:29), calling us to His royal wedding feast (see Matthew 22:1–14). By His New Covenant, He will become “one flesh” with all humanity in the Church (see Ephesians 5:21–33). By our baptism, each of us has been betrothed to Christ as a bride to a husband (see 2 Corinthians 11:2).

The new wine that Jesus pours out at today’s feast is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to His bride and body, as today’s Epistle says. This is the “salvation” announced to the “families of nations” in today’s Psalm.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 15, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Oftentimes we get caught up with physical appearances that we become blind to the beauty of the heart of others not quite as attractive. We choose to see the glaring faults in those who irk us,  have difficulty with everything that they say and do and so treat them as social outcasts. We tend to see ourselves as standing head and shoulders taller than the rest of God our Father’s children!

How quickly we forget the teaching of our Lord who said in the Gospel of John 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Yes indeed we are all sinners in need of the mercy and grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He did not come call the virtuous but us sinners.

So then let us turn to Him to take away our empty pride, forgive and free us from our many sins. So that our light will shine once again in the sight of men as we follow after our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 9:1-4,17-19,10:1 ·

The Lord chooses Saul as king; Samuel anoints him

Among the men of Benjamin there was a man named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah; a Benjaminite and a man of rank. He had a son named Saul, a handsome man in the prime of life. Of all the Israelites there was no one more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders taller than the rest of the people. Now some of the she-donkeys of Saul’s father Kish had strayed, so Kish said to Saul, ‘My son, take one of the servants with you and be off; go and look for the she-donkeys.’ They passed through the highlands of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but did not find them; they passed through the land of Shaalim, they were not there; they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.

    When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, ‘That is the man of whom I told you; he shall rule my people.’ Saul accosted Samuel in the gateway and said, ‘Tell me, please, where the seer’s house is?’ Samuel replied to Saul, ‘I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place. You are to eat with me today. In the morning I shall take leave of you and tell you all that is in your heart.’

    Samuel took a phial of oil and poured it on Saul’s head; then he kissed him, saying, ‘Has not the Lord anointed you prince over his people Israel? You are the man who must rule the Lord’s people, and who must save them from the power of the enemies surrounding them.’

Gospel

Mark 2:13-17

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 14, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Day 14 of the year 2022, we need to ask ourselves once again whom do we cry out as Lord of lords, King of kings! Is it Jesus our Lord and Saviour?

Or has our jobs or our studies overwhelmed us such that we feel we have no time to pray, no time for anything else. Or have we given in to the ways of the world seeking pleasures and distractions, food, shopping, pornography, incessant watching of television! How then can we see and tend to those in need? When we are preoccupied with our needs and pleasures; maybe even that of our immediate family. Too  busy to lead others to Jesus and to build His Kingdom! Our Kingdom come!

If we have fallen then it is time to return to the heart of Jesus who is waiting to forgive us our sins. Let us turn to Him so we can once again be free to love and serve Him and brethren.

Save us Saviour of the World, for by Cross and Resurrection, You have set us free. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 8:4-7,10-22 ·

The people of Israel demand a king

All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. ‘Look,’ they said to him ‘you are old, and your sons do not follow your ways. So give us a king to rule over us, like the other nations.’ It displeased Samuel that they should say, ‘Let us have a king to rule us’, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for it is not you they have rejected; they have rejected me from ruling over them.’

    All that the Lord had said Samuel repeated to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, ‘These will be the rights of the king who is to reign over you. He will take your sons and assign them to his chariotry and cavalry, and they will run in front of his chariot. He will use them as leaders of a thousand and leaders of fifty; he will make them plough his ploughland and harvest his harvest and make his weapons of war and the gear for his chariots. He will also take your daughters as perfumers, cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields, of your vineyards and olive groves and give them to his officials. He will tithe your crops and vineyards to provide for his eunuchs and his officials. He will take the best of your manservants and maidservants, of your cattle and your donkeys, and make them work for him. He will tithe your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out on account of the king you have chosen for yourselves, but on that day God will not answer you.’

    The people refused to listen to the words of Samuel. They said, ‘No! We want a king, so that we in our turn can be like the other nations; our king shall rule us and be our leader and fight our battles.’ Samuel listened to all that the people had to say and repeated it in the ears of the Lord. The Lord then said to Samuel, ‘Obey their voice and give them a king.’

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 13, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Only true faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ can save us! Sacramentals we carry or use are meaningless, useless without faith. Can we wear a cross or a crucifix around our necks but curse and swear at others? Criticise and belittle? Whom is it that we represent when do these things? The Rosary is indeed a powerful weapon against Satan but what good is it if we carry it around without praying it in faith?

Jesus our Lord is merciful, loving and kind and He will surely heal us of our afflictions when we call out to Him in faith.

Jesus have mercy me on me for my unfaithfulness, heal my soul from the bondages of sin. Help me grow deeper in my faith and love for You. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 4:1-11 ·

Israel is defeated and the ark of God is captured

It happened at that time that the Philistines mustered to fight Israel and Israel went out to meet them in battle, encamping near Ebenezer while the Philistines were encamped at Aphek. The Philistines drew up their battle line against Israel, the battle was hotly engaged, and Israel was defeated by the Philistines and about four thousand of their army were killed on the field. The troops returned to the camp and the elders of Israel said, ‘Why has the Lord allowed us to be defeated today by the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of our God from Shiloh so that it may come among us and rescue us from the power of our enemies.’’ So the troops sent to Shiloh and brought away the ark of the Lord of Hosts, he who is seated on the cherubs; the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, came with the ark. When the ark of the Lord arrived in the camp, all Israel gave a great shout so that the earth resounded. When the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, ‘What can this great shouting in the Hebrew camp mean?’ And they realised that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. At this the Philistines were afraid; and they said, ‘God has come to the camp.’ ‘Alas!’ they cried ‘This has never happened before. Alas! Who will save us from the power of this mighty God? It was he who struck down Egypt with every kind of plague! But take courage and be men, Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been slaves to you. Be men and fight.’ So the Philistines joined battle and Israel was defeated, each man fleeing to his tent. The slaughter was great indeed, and there fell of the Israelites thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured too, and the two sons of Eli died, Hophni and Phinehas.

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 12, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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There are so many and varied ways in which the Lord calls and speaks to us. In nature, dreams, scripture, visions, signs, smell, family, friends even through a stranger and more. We must desire and strive to grow in our relationship with Him in order to hear Him clearly. We do so through the reading  and dwelling of His Word in scripture, spending quiet time with Him in prayer, resting in His presence in the Blessed Sacrament and serving Him by serving His flock.  

Over time we will be more and more docile to His promptings and recognise His voice most clearly, for we know Him and we follow Him. He will surely hear and answer our prayers for our families and loved ones as we ourselves are sent to hear and answer the prayers of those of those whom have cried out to Him for help. For we have been called to love one another as He has loved us. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 3:1-10,19-20 ·

‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’

The boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli; it was rare for the Lord to speak in those days; visions were uncommon. One day, it happened that Eli was lying down in his room. His eyes were beginning to grow dim; he could no longer see. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of the Lord where the ark of God was, when the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ Then he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli said, ‘I did not call. Go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. Once again the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ He replied, ‘I did not call you, my son; go back and lie down.’ Samuel had as yet no knowledge of the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again the Lord called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli then understood that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, and he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

    The Lord then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’

    Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him and let no word of his fall to the ground. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was accredited as a prophet of the Lord.

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 11, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Lord Jesus I submit myself under Your Authority. Have mercy on me Lord and cast out from me all that does not belong to You. Purify my heart, mind and soul that I may be worthy of Your promises.

I consecrate myself to Your sacred heart, do with me Lord as You Will. For I know You have plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

Teach me Your ways Lord that I may lead transgressors back to You and teach them Your ways. Let me be a disciple after Your own heart, so that I may glorify You with all that I say and do. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 1:9-20

The Lord is mindful of Hannah and she gives birth to Samuel

After they had eaten in the hall, Hannah rose and took her stand before the Lord, while Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to the Lord with many tears and made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord of Hosts! If you will take notice of the distress of your servant, and bear me in mind and not forget your servant and give her a man-child, I will give him to the Lord for the whole of his life and no razor shall ever touch his head.’

    While she prayed before the Lord which she did for some time, Eli was watching her mouth, for she was speaking under her breath; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard. He therefore supposed that she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to be in this drunken state? Rid yourself of your wine.’ ‘No, my lord,’ Hannah replied ‘I am a woman in great trouble; I have taken neither wine nor strong drink – I was pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; all this time I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.’ Then Eli answered her: ‘Go in peace,’ he said ‘and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.’ And she said, ‘May your maidservant find favour in your sight’; and with that the woman went away; she returned to the hall and ate and was dejected no longer.

    They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord and then set out and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah had intercourse with Hannah his wife and the Lord was mindful of her. She conceived and gave birth to a son, and called him Samuel ‘since’ she said ‘I asked the Lord for him.’

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 10, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Our hope, peace and joy comes from the Lord, let us not mope, cry or fall into depression when we feel distressed, dejected, alone. For Jesus is and will always be with us till the end of time. Let us instead pray to Him as we should, pick ourselves up and move forward in His name.

For He has called us all by name, young or old for we all have a part to play in building His Kingdom. Let us leave all our ‘nets’ behind as we rise to follow Him!

I hear You calling Lord, I have come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 1:1-8 ·

Hannah’s rival taunts her for being barren

There was a man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the highlands of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives, one called Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children but Hannah had none. Every year this man used to go up from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there as priests of the Lord.

    One day Elkanah offered sacrifice. He used to give portions to Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; to Hannah, however, he would give only one portion, although he loved her more, since the Lord had made her barren. Her rival would taunt her to annoy her, because the Lord had made her barren. And this went on year after year; every time they went up to the temple of the Lord she used to taunt her. And so Hannah wept and would not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Hannah, why are you crying and why are you not eating? Why so sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’

Gospel

Mark 1:14-20

I will make you into fishers of men

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

    As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.

    Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Posted: January 8, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The Anointing: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Readings:

Isaiah 42:1–46–7

Psalm 29:1–49–10

Acts 10:34–38

Luke 3:15–1621–22

The liturgy last week revealed the mystery of God’s plan—that in Jesus all peoples, symbolized by the Magi, have been made “coheirs” to the blessings promised to Israel. This week, we’re shown how we claim our inheritance.

Jesus doesn’t submit to John’s baptism as a sinner in need of purification. He humbles Himself to pass through Jordan’s waters in order to lead a new “exodus”—opening up the promised land of heaven so that all peoples can hear the words pronounced over Jesus today, words once reserved only for Israel and its king: that each of us is a beloved son or daughter of God (see Genesis 22:2Exodus 4:22Psalm 2:7).

Jesus is the chosen servant Isaiah prophesies in today’s First Reading, anointed with the Spirit to make things right and just on earth. God puts His Spirit upon Jesus to make Him “a covenant of the people,” the liberator of the captives, the light to the nations. Jesus, today’s Second Reading tells us, is the One long expected in Israel, “anointed . . . with the Holy Spirit and power.”

The word messiah means “one anointed” with God’s Spirit. King David was “the anointed of the God of Jacob” (see 2 Samuel 23:1–17Psalm 18:51132:1017). The prophets taught Israel to await a royal offshoot of David, upon whom the Spirit would rest (see Isaiah 11:1–2Daniel 9:25).

That’s why the crowds are so anxious at the start of today’s Gospel. But it isn’t John they’re looking for. God confirms with His own voice what the angel earlier told Mary: Jesus is the Son of the Most High, come to claim the throne of David forever (see Luke 1:32–33).

In the Baptism that He brings, the voice of God will hover over the waters as a fiery flame, as we sing in today’s Psalm. He has sanctified the waters, made them a passageway to healing and freedom—a fountain of new birth and everlasting life.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 8, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Am I the bridegroom’s friend?

Am I His Best man? Do I live out the anointing I have received to prepare the way for Him?

Am I the bridegroom’s friend?

Have I strived for holiness so as to lead His bride (the Church) to holiness?

Am I the bridegroom’s friend?

Have I walked humbly with Him, acting justly, showing great mercy and love for my brethren?

Am I the bridegroom’s friend?

Have I prayed for the conversion of sinners and led them to repentance and reconciliation with the Lord my God by my example, patience and love?

Jesus my Lord You are my bridegroom and my friend, let me grow deeper in my relationship with You. Bless me sweet Jesus and grant me all that I need to do Your Will. 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 3:22-30

‘He must grow greater and I must grow smaller: my joy is complete’

Jesus went with his disciples into the Judaean countryside and stayed with them there and baptised. At the same time John was baptising at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water, and people were going there to be baptised. This was before John had been put in prison.

    Now some of John’s disciples had opened a discussion with a Jew about purification, so they went to John and said, ‘Rabbi, the man who was with you on the far side of the Jordan, the man to whom you bore witness, is baptising now; and everyone is going to him.’

    John replied:

‘A man can lay claim

only to what is given him from heaven.

‘You yourselves can bear me out: I said: I myself am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent in front of him.

‘The bride is only for the bridegroom;

and yet the bridegroom’s friend,

who stands there and listens,

is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.

This same joy I feel, and now it is complete.

He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 7, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus is our healer and redeemer! For this very reason the veil was lifted and we were able to see, touch and feel the Lord our God. To embrace Him and to be embraced. This wonderful revelation is made to each and everyone of us at Holy Baptism where we were inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Again we are fully united with Him in Holy Eucharist, one Body in Him as He is with one with us.

Can we then not bear witness to the water, blood and spirit that flows through us? Are we not epiphanies of Christ living in us when we bring hope, faith, peace and love to all who do not yet know Him?

Thank You Jesus for loving me, You are my saviour, my redeemer, me healer, my all in all. Let Your light shine through me for all. 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

Luke 5:12-16

‘If you want to, you can cure me’

Jesus was in one of the towns when a man appeared, covered with leprosy. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once. He ordered him to tell no one, ‘But go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for your healing as Moses prescribed it, as evidence for them.’

    His reputation continued to grow, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured, but he would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 6, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus in His great love for us had laid down His life for the expiation of our sins. We who have been forgiven much, must love as much and forgive likewise our brethren. For to love the Lord our God is to love our brethren.

To be sure loving and forgiving the sister and brother who hurt us in one way or another will be far from easy. It does not mean we remain as doormats or be subject to abuse in those kind of relationships, but we must forgive them in our hearts and move on as we should. We must forgive always and can do so through the love, peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For when we abide in Him, He will abide in us.  Amen

First reading

1 John 4:19-5:4

Anyone who loves God must also love his brother

We are to love,

because God loved us first.

Anyone who says, ‘I love God’,

and hates his brother,

is a liar,

since a man who does not love the brother that he can see

cannot love God, whom he has never seen.

So this is the commandment that he has given us,

that anyone who loves God must also love his brother.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ

has been begotten by God;

and whoever loves the Father that begot him

loves the child whom he begets.

We can be sure that we love God’s children

if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us;

this is what loving God is –

keeping his commandments;

and his commandments are not difficult,

because anyone who has been begotten by God

has already overcome the world;

this is the victory over the world –

our faith.

Gospel

Luke 4:14-22

‘This text is being fulfilled today, even as you listen’

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.

    He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,

to proclaim liberty to captives

and to the blind new sight,

to set the downtrodden free,

to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 5, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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For a world still living with the pandemic looming over heads, Christmas reminded us that we have a light shining bright for us. That is the light of Christ that brings peace, love and joy.

Having entered into the new year have we quickly forgotten? Are we already worn out once again, by rowing our boats frantically against the wind of the world we live in. Perhaps it is time to go into the ‘hills’ to pray and to recollect how God has been and always will be with us. To call upon Jesus who will come swiftly into our boats as He calms the winds and the sea. Then we can once again live free to love and serve Him and our brethren.

For to love brethren is to love Him and because we live in Him, Jesus our Lord and God lives in us. Our love for one another is perfected through Him. Amen

First reading

1 John 4:11-18 ·

As long as we love one another God’s love will be complete in us

My dear people,

since God has loved us so much,

we too should love one another.

No one has ever seen God;

but as long as we love one another

God will live in us

and his love will be complete in us.

We can know that we are living in him

and he is living in us

because he lets us share his Spirit.

We ourselves saw and we testify

that the Father sent his Son

as saviour of the world.

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,

God lives in him, and he in God.

We ourselves have known and put our faith in

God’s love towards ourselves.

God is love

and anyone who lives in love lives in God,

and God lives in him.

Love will come to its perfection in us

when we can face the day of Judgement without fear;

because even in this world

we have become as he is.

In love there can be no fear,

but fear is driven out by perfect love:

because to fear is to expect punishment,

and anyone who is afraid is still imperfect in love.

Gospel

Mark 6:45-52

His disciples saw him walking on the lake

After the five thousand had eaten and were filled, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the crowd away. After saying goodbye to them he went off into the hills to pray. When evening came, the boat was far out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. He could see they were worn out with rowing, for the wind was against them; and about the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the lake. He was going to pass them by, but when they saw him walking on the lake they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they had all seen him and were terrified. But he at once spoke to them, and said, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind dropped. They were utterly and completely dumbfounded, because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their minds were closed.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 4, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today we are reminded to love as God loves. And how does He love? He so loved us that He laid down His life for us so that we may live free from our sins and in His love. It is not a love of words or an emotion but a life giving love put into action which wills the good in another.

At each and every Eucharistic Celebration, we partake of the Holy Eucharist; the One for all Sacrifice of the Mass and are reminded of God’s great love for us. For He gave of Himself so that we might receive life in us. Having received Jesus, the living, life giving Word made flesh we too can go forth to love others as He first loved us. Amen

First reading

1 John 4:7-10 ·

Let us love one another, since love comes from God

My dear people,

let us love one another

since love comes from God

and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

Anyone who fails to love can never have known God,

because God is love.

God’s love for us was revealed

when God sent into the world his only Son

so that we could have life through him;

this is the love I mean:

not our love for God,

but God’s love for us when he sent his Son

to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

Gospel

Mark 6:34-44

The feeding of the five thousand

As Jesus 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. By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place and it is getting very late. So send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ They answered, ‘Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?’ ‘How many loaves have you?’ he asked. ‘Go and see.’ And when they had found out they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people together in groups on the green grass, and they sat down on the ground in squares of hundreds and fifties. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all. They all ate as much as they wanted. They collected twelve basketfuls of scraps of bread and pieces of fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 3, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The great light which illumines the whole earth has already come and through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour we have hope of eternal glory with God our Heavenly Father. The Spirit of God has revealed this truth in us and as we live in the Spirit, we hear clearly His docile promptings as He leads us on our pilgrim journey home to Him. Let us remain steadfast as we open our hearts to listen daily and do the Will of the Lord our God for us.

Yes indeed we must be wary for there are even many false prophets amongst us and even unbelievers will spin convincing notions that strive to lead us away from our beliefs in Christ Jesus our Lord. We can only be led astray if we continue to live in the ways and the thinking of the world. Those who do not live in the Spirit, will likely have warped interpretations of scripture and hence a warped understanding of the Lord our God, of His mercy and His love. They might say things like God at the beginning was God for the Jews alone and even if the Gentiles wanted to know Him or receive graces from Him they could not until Jesus Christ was born. Do they not know that Father Abraham was a gentile? God’s mercy and love has always and will forever be constant for all His creation! We need to repent of our sins, our human thinking, our pride and to humbly take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Amen (Heb 13:8)

First reading

1 John 3:22-4:6

The Son of God has come and given us the power to know the true God

Whatever we ask God,

we shall receive,

because we keep his commandments

and live the kind of life that he wants.

His commandments are these:

that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ

and that we love one another

as he told us to.

Whoever keeps his commandments

lives in God and God lives in him.

We know that he lives in us

by the Spirit that he has given us.

It is not every spirit, my dear people, that you can trust;

test them, to see if they come from God,

there are many false prophets, now, in the world.

You can tell the spirits that come from God by this:

every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh

is from God;

but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus

is not from God,

but is the spirit of Antichrist,

whose coming you were warned about.

Well, now he is here, in the world.

Children,

you have already overcome these false prophets,

because you are from God and you have in you

one who is greater than anyone in this world;

as for them, they are of the world,

and so they speak the language of the world

and the world listens to them.

But we are children of God,

and those who know God listen to us;

those who are not of God refuse to listen to us.

This is how we can tell

the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood.

Gospel

Matthew 4:12-17,23-25

The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!

Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,

Galilee of the nations!

The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;

on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death

a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

    He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania.


A King to Behold: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Readings:

Isaiah 60:1–6

Psalm 72:1–27–810–1112–13

Ephesians 3:2–35–6

Matthew 2:1–12

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 10:2252 Chronicles 9:24). Interestingly, the only other

places where frankincense and myrrh are mentioned together are in songs about Solomon (see Song of Songs 3:64:614).

One greater than Solomon is here (see Luke 11:31). He has come to reveal that all peoples are “coheirs” 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?


Dearest Mother of God, our mother, how Blessed are we indeed to have you as our mother. We were entrusted into your loving care by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and as we begin a new year we have you by our side once again; as we journey on unfamiliar grounds facing new challenges ahead. We go forth unafraid for we know that through your Son our Lord we have become children of God our Father and are so very loved by Him. We are free from all sin because of the great sacrifice of His life offered up for us so that we can live life to the full in Him, in the light of His Resurrection.

Mother throughout His life on earth much was revealed to you, you treasured and pondered them all in your heart. Help us never to lose our way, guide us on how we too can treasure and ponder over the graces and love outpoured upon us by God our Heavenly, Your Son our Lord and Saviour and the Holy Spirit. Lead us dear mother into deeper relationship with your Son and into our Heavenly inheritance.

Love always and forever, your children. Amen

First reading

Numbers 6:22-27

They are to call down my name on the sons of Israel, and I will bless them

The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘Say this to Aaron and his sons: “This is how you are to bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”

This is how they are to call down my name on the sons of Israel, and I will bless them.’

Second reading

Galatians 4:4-7 ·

God sent his Son, born of a woman

When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba, Father’, and it is this that makes you a son, you are not a slave anymore; and if God has made you son, then he has made you heir.

Gospel

Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem and found the baby lying in the manger

The shepherds hurried away to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.

    When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 31, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The whole knowledge of God revealed to us, our hope and salvation can be found in today’s Gospel. And in this truth is our lived experience as disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Yes we were anointed by the Lord our God at Baptism and again at Confirmation. But how many of are living as disciples of the Lord?

If you are still giving the excuse that everyone are of different faith levels and have remained where you are as infant in the faith, then you are not! If you identify yourself as a volunteer in church, then you are not! If you have given up serving in any capacity whether in church or in community then you are not! If you do proclaim or share the joy of the Gospel both in Word and in actions then you are not!

Lord, it is your desire for everyone to know you. Help me to be a part of that. Help me to be a good disciple for your kingdom and give me the grace to disciple others. Help me to advance your kingdom every day. Lord, reveal to me my weaknesses and give me the strength to grow in these areas so that I am a better example to those that I disciple. Send me out into my community, my country, and all over the world to disciple others and show them how to grow near to you. Help me to remember that I am your tool for accomplishing your plan. You are the one who is working in their lives and drawing them to yourself.  Help me to prepare them to go out and make disciples themselves so that your church can be grown around the globe. Lord Jesus, prepare the hearts of those who will become your disciples to have ears to hear and understand, and that they would become strong followers of you. I love you Lord, help me to show others how to love to too. Amen.

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, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As we draw close to the end of the year and decide to make a new year’s resolution, there can be only One for and that is to do the Will of God our Heavenly Father!

For to keep His commandments and strive for heavenly virtues, so as to do His Holy Will for us is what will give us life to the full in Him. For we live in the light of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So let us always turn to Him in our weakness to bless and sanctify us through His precious blood, so what we may live free from the bondages of sin and to glorify the Lord our God by our lives.

Of the many sins in the world, most are drawn out from these two, Pride and Lust! We must resist with all our might and call upon the Holy Spirit to help us so that we can steer clear of these temptations which plague some of us on a daily basis.

Finally we are very much in need of the Annas of the world, who dedicates their lives to pray through prophetic intercession. That is praying according to the will of God for His people. With purity of heart and mind we can be ‘Anna’ to hear His voice as we pray. Amen

First reading

1 John 2:12-17

Observance of the will of God

I am writing to you, my own children,

whose sins have already been forgiven through his name;

I am writing to you, fathers,

who have come to know the one

who has existed since the beginning;

I am writing to you, young men,

who have already overcome the Evil One;

I have written to you, children,

because you already know the Father;

I have written to you, fathers,

because you have come to know the one

who has existed since the beginning;

I have written to you, young men,

because you are strong and God’s word has made its home in you,

and you have overcome the Evil One.

You must not love this passing world

or anything that is in the world.

The love of the Father cannot be

in any man who loves the world,

because nothing the world has to offer

– the sensual body,

the lustful eye,

pride in possessions –

could ever come from the Father

but only from the world;

and the world, with all it craves for,

is coming to an end;

but anyone who does the will of God

remains for ever.

Gospel

Luke 2:36-40

Anna speaks of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem

There was a prophetess, 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: December 29, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Advent had passed and we find ourselves in the 5th day of the Octave trying our best to remain steadfast in the light of Christ. Indeed it is a struggle, for to love the Lord our God is to keep His Commandments. And we do so not with our lips but our actions of love and mercy for our brethren.

It is likely by now we have already fallen into sin, one way or another. Perhaps our impatience has gotten the better of us. We might have said something hurt others but are to proud to admit our mistake thinking they deserved it or perhaps someone close to us has said something to hurt us and we allow it to fester and decide not to forgive. Some may loosely say I forgive but will not forget! How is this forgiveness? We need to forgive and remember that we have forgiven. We may have longed for intimacy but instead have given in to lustful temptations. There are many other sins that might have led us away from God our Heavenly Father but it is time that we Stop, reflect and turn our hearts back to Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. And so by turning to Jesus our Lord and Saviour we can once again live free in His light.

“Here I am God, I give myself to You.  Unto You, O Lord, do I lay down my entire life. I lay it before You on Your altar.  Do as You please with me.  Speak through me today.  Touch people through me today.  Place me in a position to meet all

divine appointments today.  Make a difference in my world through me today.  You have everything about me available to You for You to utilize according to Your plans and purposes.” Amen

First reading

1 John 2:3-11 ·

Anyone who loves his brother is living in the light

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.’


How do we make sense of it all? Babies barely able to dream, pure hearted and vulnerable. Ripped from their cradles, others from their parents arms and massacred! They died in place of their Saviour who would later lay His life down for all of us! But still how do we make sense of it all? Innocent and pure of heart the little ones had to die? Again innocent and pure of heart our Saviour had to die for us?

This is the nature of sin and darkness and we see it Herod’s miserable life. He lived in fear of losing his power.  And gave in to grave sin by his allowing his wounded pride of being outwitted and his fury to take over. He sought to diminish the light of one life but instead brought darkness upon many lives when he extinguished the light of the Holy Innocents or so he thought! For their light shines brightly with the light of Christ Jesus our Saviour even to this day and forevermore. For Christ died to save us from sin and darkness!

Have we ourselves not sought to diminish the light of innocents? With our snide remarks, gossip, impatience, rage, pride and unforgiveness. How many spirits have we murdered by our loose wicked tongues! How about when we objectify another by our impure thoughts and actions? Can we say then we are holy and pure? That we have not sinned?!

Let us turn our hearts to Jesus as we pray….Save us Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection You have set us free! Amen

First reading

1 John 1:5-2:2 ·

The blood of Jesus Christ purifies us all from sin

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.

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, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Our salvation began with the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and brought to completion by His life, death and Resurrection.

The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. The Lord our God was not only made visible to us but we could touch Him and embrace life to the full through Him. The culmination of this intimate relationship with Him and in Him is when we receive our Eucharistic Lord at Holy Communion! Amen

Saint John, (Apostle, Evangelist) Pray for us….

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.

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.

Feast Of The Holy Family

Posted: December 25, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Our True Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Holy Family

Readings:

Sirach 3:2–612–14

Psalm 128:1–5

Colossians 3:12–21

Luke 2:41–52

Why did Jesus choose to become a baby born of a mother and father and to spend all but His last years living in an ordinary human family? In part, to reveal God’s plan to make all people live as one “holy family” in His Church (see 2 Corinthians 6:16–18).

In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, God reveals our true home. We’re to live as His children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” as the First Reading puts it.

The family advice we hear in today’s readings—for mothers, fathers, and children—is all solid and practical. Happy homes are the fruit of our faithfulness to the Lord, we sing in today’s Psalm. But the Liturgy is inviting us to see more, to see how, through our family obligations and relationships, our families become heralds of the family of God that He wants to create on earth.

Jesus shows us this in today’s Gospel. His obedience to His earthly parents flows directly from His obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. Joseph and Mary aren’t identified by name, but three times are called “his parents” and are referred to separately as his “mother” and “father.” The emphasis is all on their familial ties to Jesus. But these ties are emphasized only so that Jesus, in the first words He speaks in Luke’s Gospel, can point us beyond that earthly relationship to the Fatherhood of God.

In what Jesus calls “my Father’s house,” every family finds its true meaning and purpose (see Ephesians 3:15). The Temple we read about in the Gospel today is God’s house, His dwelling (see Luke 19:46). But it’s also an image of the family of God, the Church (see Ephesians 2:19–22Hebrews 3:3–610:21).

In our families we’re to build up this household, this family, this living temple of God—until He reveals His new dwelling among us and says of every person: “I shall be his God and he will be my son” (see Revelation 21:37).

Christmas 2021

Posted: December 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Through Advent penitent and patiently awaiting the coming of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, we have arrived at the cradle of the Word made flesh! An anamnesis if you will, of profound reverence we kneel to pay homage to the Lord our God who became man for our sake.

And together we pray….

O Lord Jesus Saviour of the world be born again today in our hearts! Let Your dwelling place in us, be warm, filled with virtues and gifts of Gold, frankincense and myrrh. May Your bright an everlasting light shine forth from within our very being to illumine the world through Your love, peace and joy. Amen Alleluia!

Merry Christmas my dear sisters and brothers! May the love and peace of our most precious Jesus fill Your lives and those of your loved ones. And may God our Heavenly Father keep you all in His loving care always. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 52:7-10 ·

Rejoice, for the Lord is consoling his people

How beautiful on the mountains,

are the feet of one who brings good news,

who heralds peace, brings happiness,

proclaims salvation,

and tells Zion,

‘Your God is king!’

Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices,

they shout for joy together,

for they see the Lord face to face,

as he returns to Zion.

Break into shouts of joy together,

you ruins of Jerusalem;

for the Lord is consoling his people,

redeeming Jerusalem.

The Lord bares his holy arm

in the sight of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.

Second reading

Hebrews 1:1-6 ·

God has spoken to us through his Son

At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.

    God has never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-Born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.

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 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let us serve Him in Holiness and Virtue in His presence, all our days!

We must therefore fortify our bodies, mind and spirit and sanctify our hearts to prepare room for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to dwell in.

Let us serve Him in Holiness and Virtue in His presence, all our days!

Blessed indeed is the Lord our God! In His tender mercy He has lifted the veil of darkness and sin, He has freed us and caused His light to shine upon us. And guided us into the way of His peace, love and joy.

Let us serve Him in Holiness and Virtue in His presence, all our days! Amen

First reading

2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16 ·

Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me

Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’

    But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:

    ‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Gospel

Luke 1:67-79

‘You, little child, shall be the prophet of the Most High’

John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel

for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue

and he has raised up for us a power for salvation

in the House of his servant David,

even as he proclaimed,

by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,

that he would save us from our enemies

and from the hands of all who hate us.

Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors,

thus he remembers his holy covenant

the oath he swore

to our father Abraham

that he would grant us, free from fear,

to be delivered from the hands of our enemies,

to serve him in holiness and virtue

in his presence, all our days.

And you, little child,

you shall be called Prophet of the Most High,

for you will go before the Lord

to prepare the way for him,

to give his people knowledge of salvation

through the forgiveness of their sins;

this by the tender mercy of our God

who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us,

to give light to those who live

in darkness and the shadow of death

and to guide our feet

into the way of peace.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 23, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Staying on course, the path laid out by the Lord for His Will be done!

Wonder and awe of His goodness will follow all the days of our lives as we remain faithful in following His Will for us.

Is this path that we take for our Lord easy? Far from it!

For apart from facing external forces in the world, we have to face our own well intentioned family and friends who may try to convince us to take another path. An often tempting easier one, which leads us nowhere or to one that bears no fruit. In today’s Gospel we hear how family and friends were planning to name St John, ‘Zechariah’ after his father and even tried to convince John’s mother otherwise when she spoke up that he was to be named John.

“But no one in your family has that name” sounds subtle enough but is in actual fact a loud outcry! In this day and age the same voices and outcries are not so subtle but piercing and some even derogatory. Staying the course as we see in today’s Gospel, led everyone to astonishment and wonder of the Lord’s hand in the lives of His faithful.

St John the Baptist was chosen to prepare the way of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born! (Luke 1:15) He went on to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers. He led many to the water baptism of repentance thus leading on their way to reconciliation with God our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. Who will fully reconcile them through the forgiveness of their sins.

See how wonderful it is when we stay the course our Lord has set for us! We become powerful instruments of His grace for others. Amen

First reading

Malachi 3:1-4,23-24 ·

Before my day comes, I will send you Elijah my prophet

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.

    Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

Gospel

Luke 1:57-66

‘His name is John’

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

    Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 22, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Have you marveled in awe as I have, at The Magnificat attributed as Mary’s song her canticle.

Her poetic response to Elizabeth, was it done on the spot or developed over time? But then again does it really matter? For this same prayer has been and is still being prayed or sung in our church over the centuries!

It is a heartfelt prayer of adoration, praise and glory of God our Heavenly Father uttered in great reverence, love and humility. This could only have come from the depths of an, intimate relationship filled with the grace of the Lord our God. How then can we pray such a beautiful and grace filled prayer as Mary did? And again at great length as Hannah did? ( 1 Sam 2:1-10) Can you? Yes you can!

You can pray your own unique version of the Magnificat. For you have been and are still continually, uniquely loved by God your Heavenly Father. And when you close your eyes and open your heart to reflect deeply His love for you, you will see with great clarity how He has been by your side all throughout your life! You will see His mighty and yet more often, gentle hand working in your life as well as in those around you. Then slowly you will also see how His grace has been poured out into the world and marvel at His wondrous deeds!

Help us dearest Blessed Mother, to know and to love Your Son more profoundly, so that we can Glorify the Holy Trinity by our lives.

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.

First reading

1 Samuel 1:24-28 ·

This is the child I prayed for: he is made over to the Lord.

When Hannah had weaned the infant Samuel, she took him up with her together with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was with them. They slaughtered the bull and the child’s mother came to Eli. She said, ‘If you please, my lord. As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. This is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.’

    There she left him, for the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Gospel

Luke 1:46-56

The Almighty has done great things for me

Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit exults in God my saviour;

because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

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

for the Almighty has done great things for me.

Holy is his name,

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

He has shown the power of his arm,

he has routed the proud of heart.

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

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

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

– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 21, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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First Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?

Mary carries with her, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the tabernacle of her womb. Elisabeth honour and praises Him while little baby John leaps for joy at the presence of God His saviour!

Has your Advent journey brought you to this point where you are eagerly awaiting the birth of a new intimate relationship with the Lord our God who so deeply loves you! To celebrate with joy in your heart His presence this and every day.  Our Beloved had come and He will come again! Are you standing ready to greet Him?

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Amen

(Ps 51:10-13)

First reading

Song of Songs 2:8-14 ·

See how my Beloved comes, leaping on the mountains

I hear my Beloved.

See how he comes

leaping on the mountains,

bounding over the hills.

My Beloved is like a gazelle,

like a young stag.

See where he stands

behind our wall.

He looks in at the window,

he peers through the lattice.

My Beloved lifts up his voice,

he says to me,

‘Come then, my love,

my lovely one, come.

For see, winter is past,

the rains are over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth.

The season of glad songs has come,

the cooing of the turtledove

is heard in our land.

The fig tree is forming its first figs

and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.

Come then, my love,

my lovely one, come.

My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,

in the coverts of the cliff,

show me your face,

let me hear your voice;

for your voice is sweet

and your face is beautiful.’

Gospel

Luke 1:39-45

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 20, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The Lord says this to us this very day, “How can I convince you of my love for you?” “That you would be faithful and take up your cross to follow me?”

Will our answer be “Oh I will not put the Lord to the test.” Or will we just remain silent and pretend that we did not hear His call? For this is how we behave when we are called to do more, whether at a meeting in person or a call in placed in the group chat. We simply choose not to respond at all!  Is it not strange that we say pray the ‘Our Father’ as One and declare at each Eucharistic Celebration that we are One Body in Him, One family under God our Heavenly Father. Yet will we fail to respond at all in our family group chats? If we say No we will always respond, after all family comes first! Then how is it we treat God’s family of whom we profess to belong to, very differently? How it is it that we can choose not to respond at all? Are we ashamed to give yet another excuse of not making any effort to attend to the call?  Or is it simply that we do not care?! We do what we can, when we can period!

Is God with me? If God is with me then my response would always be, let it be done unto me Lord according to Your Word and Will for me. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 7:10-14 ·

The maiden is with child

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’

Then Isaiah said:

‘Listen now, House of David:

are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men

without trying the patience of my God, too?

The Lord himself, therefore,

will give you a sign.

It is this: the maiden is with child

and will soon give birth to a son

whom she will call Immanuel,

a name which means “God-is-with-us.”’

Gospel

Luke 1:26-38

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.


A Mother’s Greeting: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Readings:

Micah 5:1–4

Psalm 80:2–315–1618–19

Hebrews 5:5–10

Luke 1:39–45

On this last Sunday before Christmas, the Church’s Liturgy reveals the true identity of our Redeemer:

He is, as today’s First Reading says, the “ruler . . . whose origin is from . . . ancient times.” He will come from Bethlehem, where David was born of Jesse the Ephrathite and anointed king (see Ruth 4:11–171 Samuel 16:1–1317:1Matthew 2:6).

God promised that an heir of David would reign on his throne forever (see 2 Samuel 7:12–13; Psalm 89; Psalm 132:11–12).

Jesus is that heir, the One the prophets promised would restore the scattered tribes of Israel into a new kingdom (see Isaiah 9:5–6Ezekiel 34:23–253037:35). He is “the shepherd of Israel” sung of in today’s Psalm. From His throne in heaven, He has “come to save us.”

Today’s Epistle tells us that He is both the Son of David and the only “begotten” Son of God, come “in the flesh” (see also Psalm 2:7). He is also our “high priest,” from the mold of the mysterious Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High,” who blessed Abraham at the dawn of salvation history (see Psalm 110:4Genesis 14:18–20).

All this is recognized by John when he leaps for joy in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth, too, is filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. She recognizes that in Mary “the mother of my Lord” has come to her. We hear in her words another echo of the Psalm quoted in today’s Epistle (see Psalm 2:7). Elizabeth blesses Mary for her faith that God’s Word would be fulfilled in her.

Mary marks the fulfillment not only of the angel’s promise to her, but of all God’s promises down through history. Mary is the one they await in today’s First Reading—“she who is to give birth.” She will give birth this week, at Christmas. And the fruit of her womb should bring us joy—she is the mother of our Lord.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 18, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Emmanuel had come and He is already with us. So then how are we living in His presence? And as we are now closer to celebrating His ‘birthday’ have we prepared room in our hearts to receive Him? Have we stayed awake? Alert!

If our answer is Yes then is it shown in our day to day dealings with one another? Is the gift of His righteousness ingrained in us? Are we people of integrity after our Lord’s heart? Have we been docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit especially in times of uncertainty and disappointments? Have we exercised patience and humility when challenged or in the face of derision? Can we truly proclaim to the World that God is with us!?

My response, “Here I am Lord, I’ve come to do Your Will.” Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Jeremiah 23:5-8 ·

I will raise a virtuous Branch for David

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

when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,

who will reign as true king and be wise,

practising honesty and integrity in the land.

In his days Judah will be saved

and Israel dwell in confidence.

And this is the name he will be called:

The-Lord-our-integrity.

So, then, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when people will no longer say, “As the Lord lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt!” but, “As the Lord lives who led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the land of the North and from all the countries to which he had dispersed them, to live on their own soil.”

Gospel

Matthew 1:18-24

How Jesus Christ came to be born

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son

and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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While still in Advent the readings today points us towards Christmas. God’s intricate plan for salvation foretold long before and the Promised Word fulfilled, was made flesh. Very soon now we will rejoice and celebrate the beginning of our salvation; through the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

As we prepare for Christmas, let us look back at our very own salvation history. Being born into our family how were we led to our Baptism that is the beginning of our salvation when we were inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were we baptised shortly after our birth? Or did we journey on in life before coming to know our Lord and were baptised? Did we have for ourselves role models of our faith in our family tree?

From our birth till now, have we ourselves been instruments of His grace to bring our Lord’s salvation to those who had not known Him? How many of His lost sheep have we brought home to Him by our love and sacrifice? Are we living as beacons of His light that shines out in darkness that still covers the world?

Abba Father You so loved us that You sent Your only Begotten Son to save us from the bondages of sin. May we live free and Holy lives by the newness His long-awaited Nativity. Amen

First reading

Genesis 49:2,8-10 ·

Until he comes, the sceptre will not pass from Judah

Jacob called his sons and said:

‘Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen;

listen to Israel your father.

Judah, your brothers shall praise you:

you grip your enemies by the neck,

your father’s sons shall do you homage,

Judah is a lion cub,

you climb back, my son, from your kill;

like a lion he crouches and lies down,

or a lioness: who dare rouse him?

The sceptre shall not pass from Judah,

nor the mace from between his feet,

until he come to whom it belongs,

to whom the peoples shall render obedience.’

Gospel

Matthew 1:1-17

The ancestry of Jesus Christ, the son of David

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,

Perez was the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram was the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,

Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,

Obed was the father of Jesse;

and Jesse was the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,

Joram the father of Azariah,

Azariah was the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah;

and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.

Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon:

Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,

Abiud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

Azor was the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Achim,

Achim the father of Eliud,

Eliud was the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob;

and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;

of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 16, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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There is No Other God, who loves His children the way God our Heavenly Father loves us! And He offers us all a deep intimate relationship with Him.

Even in our unfaithfulness and disobedience He says to us “My love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken.” This is our God!

So then sisters and brothers, are going to thwart what the Lord our God has in mind for us? By refusing to live out our Baptismal vows to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy? To love one another as He loves us? To prepare the way for our loving redeemer to enter the hearts of those who do not yet know Him?

Let us live justly and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of the glory of our great God. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Isaiah 54:1-10 ·

With great love I will take you back

Shout for joy, you barren women who bore no children!

Break into cries of joy and gladness, you who were never in labour!

For the sons of the forsaken one are more in number

than the sons of the wedded wife, says the Lord.

Widen the space of your tent,

stretch out your hangings freely,

lengthen your ropes, make your pegs firm;

for you will burst out to right and to left.

Your race will take possession of the nations,

and people the abandoned cities.

Do not be afraid, you will not be put to shame,

do not be dismayed, you will not be disgraced;

for you will forget the shame of your youth

and no longer remember the curse of your widowhood.

For now your creator will be your husband,

his name, the Lord of Hosts;

your redeemer will be the Holy One of Israel,

he is called the God of the whole earth.

Yes, like a forsaken wife, distressed in spirit,

the Lord calls you back.

Does a man cast off the wife of his youth?

says your God.

I did forsake you for a brief moment,

but with great love will I take you back.

In excess of anger, for a moment

I hid my face from you.

But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you,

says the Lord, your redeemer.

I am now as I was in the days of Noah

when I swore that Noah’s waters

should never flood the world again.

So now I swear concerning my anger with you

and the threats I made against you;

for the mountains may depart,

the hills be shaken,

but my love for you will never leave you

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

says the Lord who takes pity on you.

Gospel

Luke 7:24-30

‘A prophet, and much more than a prophet’

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to talk to the people about John. ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Oh no, those who go in for fine clothes and live luxuriously are to be found at court! Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:

See, I am going to send my messenger before you;

he will prepare the way before you.

‘I tell you, of all the children born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he is. All the people who heard him, and the tax collectors too, acknowledged God’s plan by accepting baptism from John; but by refusing baptism from him the Pharisees and the lawyers had thwarted what God had in mind for them.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 15, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Happy the man/woman who does not lose faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Are you one then to give in to sin and temptation easily? Or knowing that every day we must stand ready to engage in Spiritual warfare with the forces of evil, you start the day with prayer, the Word of God and put on the armour of God.

For we must fight to live in the light of the Lord our God so that we can be beacons of that very light. So that we bring hope to the blind, the lame, the deaf, those who suffer the leprosy of sin, and those who are spiritually dead. We shine forth the way to Him so that all may come to know and experience His peace, love and joy.

You alone Lord Jesus are unrivalled, there is no God but You. Teach me Your integrity, that I may serve You with honour. Let victory and glory be mine through You O Lord, against the enemies of darkness. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 45:6-8,18,21-25

I, the Lord, shall create deliverance

Apart from me, all is nothing.

I am the Lord, unrivalled,

I form the light and create the dark.

I make good fortune and create calamity,

it is I, the Lord, who do all this.

Send victory like a dew, you heavens,

and let the clouds rain it down.

Let the earth open

for salvation to spring up.

Let deliverance, too, bud forth

which I, the Lord, shall create.

Yes, thus says the Lord,

creator of the heavens,

who is God,

who formed the earth and made it,

who set it firm,

created it no chaos,

but a place to be lived in:

    ‘I am the Lord, unrivalled:

    there is no other god besides me.

    A God of integrity and a saviour:

    there is none apart from me.

    Turn to me and be saved,

    all the ends of the earth,

    for I am God unrivalled.

    ‘By my own self I swear it;

    what comes from my mouth is truth,

    a word irrevocable:

    before me every knee shall bend,

    by me every tongue shall swear,

    saying, “From the Lord alone

    come victory and strength.”

    To him shall come, ashamed,

    all who raged against him.

    Victorious and glorious through the Lord shall be

    all the descendants of Israel.’

Gospel

Luke 7:19-23

‘Are you the one who is to come?’

John, summoning two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for someone else?’ When the men reached Jesus they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you, to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or have we to wait for someone else?”’ It was just then that he cured many people of diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and gave the gift of sight to many who were blind. Then he gave the messengers their answer, ‘Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 14, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The Messiah our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ whom the world longed for, had already come and with His light dispels all darkness. Are we then living in His light? Are we then living our call as Children of God our Heavenly Father obedient and seeking only to do His Holy Will which is love and mercy in the world we live in; as we journey back to His Heavenly embrace.

Too many sons and daughters have said Yes Lord but have not moved in the direction of His call. In fact we have many volunteers but very few are His disciples! For they are not willing to take up their cross to follow Him. To die to themselves and surrender their all, intellect, body, mind and spirit to serve Him and His flock.

Many come before the altar to receive Holy Eucharist but have not come to be One with Him and their brethren. For they count the cost of everything. They think in terms of spiritual levels of the individual instead of striving to raise everyone to the same, including themselves. They make excuses, justify and exclude themselves from attending community prayer meetings. Time is a precious luxury for them to be spent only for their own needs or that of their immediate family, forgetting that we His children live in God our Father’s time; and we all have a mission and that is to make disciples of all nations! 

May I never boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Amen Gal 6: 14

Saint John of the Cross, Pray for us….

“Take God for your spouse and friend and walk with him continually, and you will not sin and will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you.” St John of the Cross

First reading

Zephaniah 3:1-2,9-13

All peoples shall invoke the Lord’s name and serve him

Trouble is coming to the rebellious, the defiled,

the tyrannical city!

She would never listen to the call,

would never learn the lesson;

she has never trusted in the Lord,

never drawn near to her God.

Yes, I will then give the peoples lips that are clean,

so that all may invoke the name of the Lord

and serve him under the same yoke.

From beyond the banks of the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants

will bring me offerings.

When that day comes

you need feel no shame for all the misdeeds

you have committed against me,

for I will remove your proud boasters

from your midst;

and you will cease to strut

on my holy mountain.

In your midst I will leave

a humble and lowly people,

and those who are left in Israel will seek refuge in the name of the Lord.

They will do no wrong,

will tell no lies;

and the perjured tongue will no longer

be found in their mouths.

But they will be able to graze and rest

with no one to disturb them.

Gospel

Matthew 21:28-32

Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’


Can you hear the Word of God speaking to you? Can you see what He wants to show you? Can you prophesy? Yes you can and can do far greater things!

For all these are come from the depths of  our relationship and fidelity to the Lord our God. When we accept that authority is His alone and we truly worship Him as Lord of lords, King of kings. Then He will surely speak to us all the time and in many varied ways. We will be in constant awe and filled with His presence.

Yes the Lord our God can use a sinner, to share insights of His grace, mercy, even plans. For even Balaam had a vision of the coming of Christ! However our Lord does not want us to simply participate, but to be fully united with Him so that One with Him we will experience the fullness of life and in His glory!

Free me Lord from all evil and sin, so that I may see what You want me to see, hear what You want me to hear and do what You want me to do, always in Your presence. Amen

First reading

Numbers 24:2-7,15-17 ·

The oracles of Balaam

Raising his eyes Balaam saw Israel, encamped by tribes; the spirit of God came on him and he declaimed his poem. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,

the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,

the oracle of one who hears the word of God.

He sees what Shaddai makes him see,

receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.

How fair are your tents, O Jacob!

How fair your dwellings, Israel!

Like valleys that stretch afar,

like gardens by the banks of a river,

like aloes planted by the Lord,

like cedars beside the waters!

A hero arises from their stock,

he reigns over countless peoples.

His king is greater than Agag,

his majesty is exalted.’

Then Balaam declaimed his poem again. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,

the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,

the oracle of one who hears the word of God,

of one who knows the knowledge of the Most High.

He sees what Shaddai makes him see,

receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.

I see him – but not in the present,

I behold him – but not close at hand:

a star from Jacob takes the leadership,

a sceptre arises from Israel.’

Gospel

Matthew 21:23-27

‘I will not tell you my authority for acting like this’

Jesus had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’ ‘And I’ replied Jesus ‘will ask you a question, only one; if you tell me the answer to it, I will then tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: where did it come from: heaven or man?’ And they argued it out this way among themselves, ‘If we say from heaven, he will retort, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”; but if we say from man, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’ So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And he retorted, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

3rd Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 11, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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What Do We Do? Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Advent

Readings:

 Zephaniah 3:14–18

Isaiah 12:2–6

Philippians 4:4–7

Luke 3:10–18

The people in today’s Gospel are “filled with expectation.” They believe John the Baptist might be the messiah they’ve been waiting for. Three times we hear their question: “What then should we do?”

The messiah’s coming requires every man and woman to choose—to “repent” or not. That’s John’s message and it will be Jesus’ too (see Luke 3:35:3224:47).

“Repentance” translates a Greek word, metanoia (literally, “change of mind”). In the Scriptures, repentance is presented as a twofold “turning”—away from sin (see Ezekiel 3:1918:30) and toward God (see Sirach 17:20–21Hosea 6:1).

This “turning” is more than attitude adjustment. It means a radical life change. It requires “good fruits as evidence of your repentance” (see Luke 3:8). That’s why John tells the crowds, soldiers, and tax collectors they must prove their faith through works of charity, honesty, and social justice.

In today’s Liturgy, each of us is being called to stand in that crowd and hear the “good news” of John’s call to repentance. We should examine our lives, asking from our hearts as they did: “What should we do?” Our repentance should spring not from our fear of coming wrath (see Luke 3:7–9) but from a joyful sense of the nearness of our saving God.

This theme resounds through today’s readings: “Rejoice! . . . The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all,” we hear in today’s Epistle. In today’s Responsorial, we hear again the call to be joyful, unafraid at the Lord’s coming among us.

In today’s First Reading, we hear echoes of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary. The prophet’s words are very close to the angel’s greeting (compare Luke 1:28–31). Mary is the Daughter Zion—the favored one of God, told not to fear but to rejoice that the Lord is with her, “a mighty Savior.”

She is the cause of our joy. For in her draws near the Messiah, as John had promised: “One mightier than I is coming.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 11, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Three questions for us to ponder on this day. One, who was Elijah? Two, who is Elijah for you? And lastly, can you be Elijah for others?

The first reading tells us about father Elijah, he was a powerful prophet of the Lord our God. Who spoke God’s truth and turned infidelity into faithfulness, who turned hearts of fathers towards their children and most importantly of all, reconciled the children of God our Father to Him. Yes indeed God’s glory shone through him in the miracles he performed!

So then in this day and age have you not seen ‘Elijah’? One who speaks with conviction the Word of God and exudes integrity. Who brings about healing, peace and the joy of reconciliation with God our Heavenly Father, through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I can name at least three godly men who were ‘Elijah’ for me who led me into deeper faith, greater conversion. What about you?

Now the question remains, can you be Elijah for others? What is you answer?

Yes Lord I can! For you have spoken this words to me, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” Ps 32:8 Amen Alleluia!

Father Elijah pray for us……

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 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We are drawing close to Christmas how ready are you? If your answer is by way of the question what so special about Christmas any way? Or Oh I have not done anything different this Advent so it’s too late right? Or anything other than I stand ready to greet my Lord when He comes again then you my dear sister and brother are NOT READY! We think Christmas is just one ordinary day in the year, well then what if this Christmas is the day that you die? Are you ready then to meet the Lord your God? What excuses will you give? How different are you from those that Jesus refers was describing as that generation in today’s Gospel? Quick to criticise and find fault but refusing to grow in their faith so as to live according to the will of God our Heavenly Father.

Today’s first reading describes what that generation and all generations following are missing when they refuse to be obedient to the Lord our God.

  • Happiness which flows like a river
  • Integrity like the waves of the sea
  • Generation upon generation, children like olive shoots
  • Always and forevermore in His presence

Therefore sisters and brothers it is never too late while there is still life in you to repent and be faithful to the Gospel. Make an appointment today and go for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ reign in your hearts. 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

They heed neither John nor the Son of Man

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.’



In today’s first reading we can all take comfort in the promises of the Lord our God for His living Word is active today as it was  for Israel then. We need not be afraid for He will take our hand and lead us out of the wilderness into His loving embrace.

Yet there are many and at this very time of the year, who are lost, drained of all hope and have no one to turn to. They do not yet know our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who can give them peace that the world cannot give. Hope, joy, love and life to the full! Can we not be Saint John the Baptist for them? To help prepare the way of the Lord into their hearts. To reconcile them with the Lord our God through repentance and forgiveness of heart.

For just at the Lord is our Shepherd, we must be shepherds after His heart for His flock. Amen


Saint Juan Diego pray for us…



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
A greater than John the Baptist has never been seen

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!’


It was always God’s plan for us all that, we should walk blameless in His presence and to live life to the full in Him. But it was our disobedience that led to our downfall. We had to walk in shame and face the misery of no longer being able walk in the glory of His presence.

God our Father loved us even when we were sinners and so He sent His only begotten Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to redeem us. Mary our Blessed mother a fellow creature was spared the stain of original sin and chosen to be the mother of our Lord. She is the new Eve the mother of all those who live for she walked blameless in the glory of the presence of God, full of grace! Her unwavering obedience and faith is a model for all of us her children. And if we follow her example and take up our cross to follow her Son our Lord, then we too shall walk in the presence of God all the days of our life.

Sanctify me Lord, wash me clean by Your precious blood so that I may once again walk blameless in Your sight. Amen

Immaculate Mary our Mother, pray for us….

First reading

Genesis 3:9-15,20 ·

The mother of all those who live

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

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

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,

all wild beasts.

You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust

every day of your life.

I will make you enemies of each other:

you and the woman,

your offspring and her offspring.

It will crush your head

and you will strike its heel.’

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

Second reading

Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12 ·

Before the world was made, God chose us in Christ

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.

Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ,

to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,

determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ

for his own kind purposes,

to make us praise the glory of his grace,

his free gift to us in the Beloved,

And it is in him that we were claimed as God’s own,

chosen from the beginning,

under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things

as he decides by his own will;

chosen to be,

for his greater glory,

the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.

Gospel

Luke 1:26-38

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.


Do you still not realise just how much Jesus loves you? Yes you the one reading this at this very moment! You who are uniquely created and loved as a child of God your Heavenly Father. You of whom He sent His only begotten Son to search out and redeem upon the cross which He hung and died in your stead. Yes that is how much the Lord our God loves you. That you may live free in the light of His resurrection.

Now then are you living in His light this very day? or have you chosen to live in darkness? For if you have chosen to live in His light then you should be out with us your sisters and brothers in Christ; each one in search of a sinner who had gone astray and to lead them home to Him. For the joy and glory of God our Heavenly Father through the grace of His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Saint Ambrose, Bishop, Doctor Pray for us…..

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 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Sin can paralyze us from doing the will of God our Heavenly Father. It therefore also robs us of a life filled with grace, love and peace of Him who loves us like no other. Many lay helpless in their misery and shame!

Are we so Blessed then to have men and women by our side to carry us to the only One who can heal and restore us through their prayers, intercessions. To lead and place us in His presence. So that with contrite heart and spirit we can hear Him say to us, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’

Then with joy and gladness we shall go forth to glorify the Lord by our lives!

Sisters and brothers in Christ I am praying for you! Turn your hearts to the Lord and be saved. 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.’

2nd Sunday Of Advent

Posted: December 4, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The Road Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Advent

Readings:

Baruch 5:1–9
Psalm 126:1–6
Philippians 1:4–68–11
Luke 3:1–6
 

Today’s Psalm paints a dreamlike 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 and 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 1:1–411). 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.”


 ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’

So what makes up for a rich harvest? Looking through the eyes Jesus we will see then that in our own neighbourhoods, communities, workplaces, in our nation, many who are dejected, treated as outcasts, poor, homeless, lonely, distressed and depressed.

When we ask the Lord to send labourers to His harvest who do you think He sends? His Bishops, priests and clergy? Nay! He may send one or two of them but He sends us all His disciples! We are the labourers in His vineyard, we are His watchmen! We are the ones to bring hope when there is none, we are to bring His light into the darkness, we are to bring His healing and comfort. And we are to gather His flock and lead them onwards as we proclaim the Kingdom of God is close at hand.

As we journey towards the 2nd week of Advent dear sisters and brothers, let us stop looking inwards and seeing only our weaknesses and shortcomings but let us look towards our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and see with the eyes of faith that we are His hope to bring His peace into a fallen world. Amen

Saint John Damascene, Priest, Doctor  Pray for us…

First reading

Isaiah 30:19-21,23-26 ·

The Lord God will be gracious to you and hear your cry

Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:

    People of Zion, you will live in Jerusalem and weep no more. He will be gracious to you when he hears your cry; when he hears he will answer. When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes. Whether you turn to right or left, your ears will hear these words behind you, ‘This is the way, follow it.’ He will send rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the bread that the ground provides will be rich and nourishing. Your cattle will graze, that day, in wide pastures. Oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat a salted fodder, winnowed with shovel and fork. On every lofty mountain, on every high hill there will be streams and watercourses, on the day of the great slaughter when the strongholds fall. Then moonlight will be bright as sunlight and sunlight itself be seven times brighter – like the light of seven days in one – on the day the Lord dresses the wound of his people and heals the bruises his blows have left.

Gospel

Matthew 9:35-10:1,5,6-8

The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.

    And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’

    He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus is a loving God who saves! He will restore all that is lost so that we might live to the full in Him. All that is required of us is to have faith and trust in Him.

But what faith will He find in us?

If we say we have placed all our trust and faith in Him and have decided to carry our cross to follow Him. Will He find us grumbling, complaining or even speaking ill of another in any given situation? Will He find us withholding mercy and love for someone who has offended us? Will we remain bystanders in the face of injustices committed in front of us?

Lord Jesus Son of the most High God, have mercy on me! Open my eyes to see Your Glory in everything! And the courage to take up my cross to follow after You always. Amen

Saint Francis Xavier Pray for us….

First reading

Isaiah 29:17-24 ·

In a very short time, the deaf will hear and the eyes of the blind will see

The Lord says this:

In a short time, a very short time,

shall not Lebanon become fertile land

and fertile land turn into forest?

The deaf, that day,

will hear the words of a book

and, after shadow and darkness,

the eyes of the blind will see.

But the lowly will rejoice in the Lord even more

and the poorest exult in the Holy One of Israel;

for tyrants shall be no more, and scoffers vanish,

and all be destroyed who are disposed to do evil:

those who gossip to incriminate others,

those who try at the gate to trip the arbitrator

and get the upright man’s case dismissed for groundless reasons.

Therefore the Lord speaks,

the God of the House of Jacob,

Abraham’s redeemer:

No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,

no more shall his face grow pale,

for he shall see what my hands have done in his midst,

he shall hold my name holy.

They will hallow the Holy One of Jacob,

stand in awe of the God of Israel.

Erring spirits will learn wisdom

and murmurers accept instruction.

Gospel

Matthew 9:27-31

‘Take care that no-one learns about this’

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 2, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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You know what is sad? Most of us have built our houses on sand and we don’t even realise it! That is why we continue to cry our Lord, Lord but nothing seems to change or happen and we quietly blame all that has happened or is happening on the Lord our God. We think our prayers are being ignored and rightfully so!

For time after time we have taken shortcuts and taken our faith for granted. We have not fully reconciled with the Lord and our God and surrendered ourselves to His Holy Will for us. And so the Lord says this to us…..

“Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Is 59:2

Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight”. Psalm 24:3-4: “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.”

So then in order for us to build our houses on our everlasting Rock, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; we must set our hearts and minds to be right with Him. To turn to Him with contrite hearts and to allow Him to heal us through the mercy of His grace so that we can once again hear His voice and unite our wills with His. Only then can we always know what the Will of God our Father is and we will eagerly seek to accomplish His Will for us with joy in our hearts. For we have built our houses on Rock! Amen

First reading

Isaiah 26:1-6 ·

Open the gates; let the upright nation come in

That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

We have a strong city;

to guard us he has set

wall and rampart about us.

Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in,

she, the faithful one

whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace,

because she trusts in you.

Trust in the Lord for ever,

for the Lord is the everlasting Rock;

he has brought low those who lived high up

in the steep citadel;

he brings it down, brings it down to the ground,

flings it down in the dust:

the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor

trample on it.

Gospel

Matthew 7:21,24-27

The wise man built his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’