On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 23, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We live in a world filled with trials and challenges. And therefore many are seeking peace and some form of joy. So they turn to books written by folks who seemed to have found them through their own methods and achievements. Or else they turn to people who offer them at a price. Yet all these are fleeting and will not last. For there is only one way in which to live the fullness of life in joy and peace. That is through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

The Holy spirit speaks to us and guides us to do the will of God. How can we hear Him if our hearts and minds are filled with the cares of the world? If we do not have a relationship with the Lord our God built on the foundation of His Word and through prayer?

God our Father wills that all His children whether they be from different folds to be saved, that is why He sent His only beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us listen to His voice, carry out cross and follow Him. Amen

First reading

Acts 11:1-18
God can grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life

The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that the pagans too had accepted the word of God, and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the Jews criticised him and said, ‘So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them, have you?’ Peter in reply gave them the details point by point: ‘One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,’ he began ‘I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet reached the ground quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw all sorts of animals and wild beasts – everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Now, Peter; kill and eat!” But I answered: Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips. And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.” This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.
‘Just at that moment, three men stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me, and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going back with them. The six brothers here came with me as well, and we entered the man’s house. He told us he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, “Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon known as Peter; he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household.”
‘I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning, and I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” I realised then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?’
This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God. ‘God’ they said ‘can evidently grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life.’

Gospel

John 10:1-10
I am the gate of the sheepfold

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

‘I tell you most solemnly,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come are thieves and brigands; but the sheep took no notice of them.
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 21, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Shepherd’s Voice:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on the Fourth Sunday
of Easter

Readings:

Acts 4:8–12
Ps 118:1, 8–9, 21–23, 26, 29
1 Jn 3:1–2
Jn 10:11–18

Jesus, in today’s Gospel, says that He is the good shepherd the prophets had promised to Israel.
He is the shepherd-prince, the new David—who frees people from bondage to sin and gathers them into one flock, the Church, under a new covenant, made in His blood (see Ezekiel 34:10–13, 23–31).
His flock includes other sheep, He says, far more than the dispersed children of Israel (see Isaiah 56:8; John 11:52). And He gave His Church the mission of shepherding all peoples to the Father.
In today’s First Reading, we see the beginnings of that mission in the testimony of Peter, whom the Lord appointed shepherd of His Church (see John 21:15–17).
Peter tells Israel’s leaders that the Psalm we sing today is a prophecy of their rejection and crucifixion of Christ. He tells the “builders” of Israel’s temple that God has made the stone they rejected the cornerstone of a new spiritual temple, the Church (see Mark 12:10–13; 1 Peter 2:4–7).
Through the ministry of the Church, the shepherd still speaks (see Luke 10:16), and forgives sins (see John 20:23), and makes His Body and Blood present, that all may know Him in the breaking of the bread (see Luke 24:35). It is a mission that will continue until all the world is one flock under the one shepherd.
In laying down His life and taking it up again, Jesus made it possible for us to know God as He did—as sons and daughters of the Father who loves us. As we hear in today’s Epistle, He calls us His children, as He called Israel His son when He led them out of Egypt and made His covenant with them (see Exodus 4:22–23; Revelation 21:7).
Today, let us listen for His voice as He speaks to us in the Scriptures, and vow again to be more faithful followers. And let us give thanks for the blessings He bestows from His altar.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 21, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Most live in the flesh for to them that is all there is. So they seek to feed the hunger and thirst of the flesh. And they are never satisfied for the void in their hearts is like a bottomless pit.

We are children of God our Father and share His image and likeness. And He had opened the door to Him through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. So that we can share fully in His nature which gives life. With His spirit dwelling in us we are fulfilled, content, living fully in His peace and love. Our reward for seeking first His kingdom above all else.

Let us strive to live as saints and we will have the power from on high to perform miracles in His name, to build His Kingdom! Your kingdom come Lord, Your will be done. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 9:31-42
The churches grew and were filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit

The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord.
At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’
Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.

Gospel

John 6:60-69
Who shall we go to? You are the Holy One of God

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

‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 20, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Too often do we take the high road thinking we are doing right by the Lord our God. Sometimes taking harsh measures or using words against those who have a different belief system then ours, even a different journey. What we do, does it lead them any closer to God?

Do not seek the repentance of others, seek first your own, so that through His grace you will be transformed into a powerful instrument of His grace for others. We must always stay connected to the vine, our Lord Jesus Christ so that we are nourished by Him. Receiving His divine life and love through the Holy Eucharist which draws us to communion with Him and one another.

Love is His way, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 9:1-20
This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the pagans

Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.
Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.
A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’
When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.
He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’

Gospel

John 6:52-59
My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink

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

‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 19, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Jesus our Lord who died for us, gave Himself completely to us. So that we may truly live a grace filled life in Him.

He had given to us a powerful sacrament of His real presence in the Holy Eucharist. So that we can have a foretaste of the divine life to be had with Him. He also gave us a powerful advocate that in union with our will to love and serve Him we will never be alone. He guides, teaches and shows us the way to our heavenly Father and we too are called to be beacons for others.

Thank You Jesus for the bread of life to be found in You! Amen alleluia!

First reading

Acts 8:26-40
Philip baptizes a eunuch

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

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,
like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,
like these he never opens his mouth. He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.
Who will ever talk about his descendants,since his life on earth has been cut short!

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

Gospel

John 6:44-51
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me,
and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it, is to come to me.
Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father.
I tell you most solemnly,
everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,for the life of the world.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 18, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

How can we live without fear even in the face of persecution? The answer is simply our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and His promise of eternal life with Him.

For He is truly the bread of life! All who have received Him in faith at Holy Eucharist can testify to the fact that they were nourished, renewed and strengthened. Through Him, with Him and in Him we can go forward unafraid to proclaim His love for all.

For heaven awaits us at the end of our journey here on earth. As Jesus waits to embrace us with open arms. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:1-8
They went from place to place, preaching the Good News

That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.
There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.
Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.
Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

Gospel

John 6:35-40
It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son should have eternal life

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.
But, as I have told you,
you can see me and still you do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away;
because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will,
but to do the will of the one who sent me.
Now the will of him who sent me
is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me,
and that I should raise it up on the last day.
Yes, it is my Father’s will
that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life,
and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 17, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Generations and generations of men and women have been searching for peace, love, joy and contentment. Their hunger and thirst is never satisfied for as St Augustine said beautifully; our hearts are restless till they rest in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I would challenge anyone with a disbelieving heart to belive first in Jesus and see! What have you got to lose? You can always go back to your choice of unbelief. Yet by believing in the Risen Lord You have everything to gain and more. Nothing can separate us who belief in Him from the love of God, not even death.

Lord Jesus to believe in You is to be one with You. Help mould my heart to be merciful and loving as You are. You truly are the bread of life. Amen alleluia.

First reading

Acts 7:51-8:1
‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’

Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: ‘You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.’
They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.

Gospel

John 6:30-35
It is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven

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

‘I tell you most solemnly,
it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.’

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

‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.’