On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 31, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Unspoken pride and want of honour and affirmation.

Our Lord who sees and knows everything that goes on in our hearts teaches us a great lesson in today’s Gospel that our humility before God is reflected in our humility before whom we should be serving at all times.

Have we been a little annoyed that having been invited to attend a wedding dinner of close friends or relatives, we were shown to a table at an obscure location at the very end of the ball room? Or having paid to attend a church dinner, we were seated somewhere where we could not see centrestage and with folks we were not familiar with? These and many like these are not only missed but wasted opportunities, if we do not have a clear vision of our mission to bring the love of Christ to others. For no matter where we are or in any situation, if go in Christ then we are living the joy of the Gospel. For our conversations, our whole demeanour will be focused on bringing forth and sharing in the peace, love and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We begin to understand and even relate to the good struggle St Paul speaks about in the first reading. Of wanting to fully unite ourselves with Christ Jesus our Lord in death, yet compelled to glorify Him by our lives in service of our dearly beloved brethren imparting the hope we have in Him. Amen

First reading
Philippians 1:18-26 ·
Life to me is Christ; but death would bring me more

Christ is proclaimed; and that makes me happy; and I shall continue being happy, because I know this will help to save me, thanks to your prayers and to the help which will be given to me by the Spirit of Jesus. My one hope and trust is that I shall never have to admit defeat, but that now as always shall have the courage for Christ to be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results – I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. This weighs with me so much that I feel sure I shall survive and stay with you all, and help you to progress in the faith and even increase your joy in it; and so you will have another reason to give praise to Christ Jesus on my account when I am with you again.


Gospel
Luke 14:1,7-11
Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled

Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’


Love not just for ourselves but love that wills the good of and in another. This kind of extraordinary love does not exist simply in one’s own family since a family generally is one unit in itself; but in community. It is only in a community of disciples in our Lord Jesus Christ that such love is nurtured, flourishes and eventually overflows out into the world! For such love is built upon the rock where living waters flow.

See and feel the love for yourselves in today’s First Reading. Hear the affection the apostle of Christ, St Paul has for His beloved community of disciples who lifts him up just as he lifts them up through Christ our Lord. Do you belong to such a loving community? If you do not then why not? Do they not exist where you’re at? Or rather have you kept yourself away from them? If you are in such a community then how welcoming are you of others as a community, when someone in search of one approaches? Does your community proactively reach out to others?

Sweet saviour grant me a disciple’s heart after Your own, let me to tend to my sister or by brother in need swiftly. Just as You make haste to help me in my need. Amen

First reading
Philippians 1:1-11
Greeting and thanksgiving

From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, together with their presiding elders and deacons. We wish you the grace and peace of God our Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    I thank my God whenever I think of you; and every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes. It is only natural that I should feel like this towards you all, since you have shared the privileges which have been mine: both my chains and my work defending and establishing the gospel. You have a permanent place in my heart, and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.


Gospel
Luke 14:1-6
‘Is it against the law to cure a man on the sabbath?’

Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. There in front of him was a man with dropsy, and Jesus addressed the lawyers and Pharisees. ‘Is it against the law’ he asked ‘to cure a man on the sabbath, or not?’ But they remained silent, so he took the man and cured him and sent him away. Then he said to them, ‘Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a sabbath day without hesitation?’ And to this they could find no answer.


Every day is a challenge and yet it is one that we must face head on if we are to be victorious in our fight against satan, all his works and empty promises.

And so it is not so much as us putting on the breastplate of our personal integrity but rather the-Lord-our-integrity! We carry His truth round us as we go forth into the world as redeemed children so loved by God our Heavenly Father! Our hearts are moved to share His love and the joy of the Gospel with one and all!

I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God! Amen Alleluia

First reading
Ephesians 6:10-20 ·
Put on God’s armour and resist the devil

Grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. Put God’s armour on so as to be able to resist the devil’s tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. That is why you must rely on God’s armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold your ground.
So stand your ground, with truth buckled round your waist, and integrity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. And then you must accept salvation from God to be your helmet and receive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword.
Pray all the time, asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all the saints; and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and speak without fear and give out the mystery of the gospel of which I am an ambassador in chains; pray that in proclaiming it I may speak as boldly as I ought to.

Gospel
Luke 13:31-35
It would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus. ‘Go away’ they said. ‘Leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.’ He replied, ‘You may go and give that fox this message: Learn that today and tomorrow I cast out devils and on the third day attain my end. But for today and tomorrow and the next day I must go on, since it would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.
‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused! So be it! Your house will be left to you. Yes, I promise you, you shall not see me till the time comes when you say:

‘Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is not enough to live as saints or to be saints for others but to be Saint makers ourselves! What do I mean? Simply this, by virtue of our baptism we are called to holiness not just individually but collectively hence the deeper expression ‘communion of Saints’; we must strive therefore to lead one another into greater Holiness. We do this by our own example of our love for Christ Jesus our Lord put into action for others. We endeavour each day to embrace Him through holy communion, by listening to His word and will for us at His feet.

In this day and age we have fight extra hard to avoid sin and temptation. Because the devil too or rather evil at its core uses the new ‘tools’ available. Mobile phones, tablets and so forth are easy access to portals of sin and debauchery! Pornography, or the simple lure to immodesty are at your fingertips. Openly as well hidden behind popular apps and games! Do we continue then to allow ourselves to be tempted? Or do we fight the battle head on by ensuring that our devices are ‘sacramentals’ used towards our desire to grow in holiness by removing all that might lead us astray. And thereafter do we use them to communicate the truth to be found in our Lord Jesus Christ or do we use them for gossip, to spread propaganda, fake news, or anything contrary to our faith?

Lord Jesus it is my desire to be your beacon of light this and everyday. Help me therefore to live always in Your light. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 2:19-22 ·
In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like us

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

Gospel
Luke 6:12-16
Jesus chooses his twelve apostles

Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’: Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 27, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Never mind that the word ‘Love’ in the English language falls very short in conveying what it means even in the context that it is used. It can be filled with emotion or totally devoid of it! How then can we possibly speak to the magnitude, depth, breadth and height of God’s love. Love which is self giving, nurturing and Wills the good of others. It grows beyond itself and increases in depth the more it is given away. If we have an inkling of understanding of His love for us and what is means to live as One in His love; then we might begin to see that the Kingdom of God is built upon the foundation of love and in the realm of His love.

And If we cherish and embrace the fact that the Word of God is life giving. How then can the words that come out from our own mouths be any less life giving? Are we not living as His Children created in His likeness and image? Just as Christ in His great love, laid down His life for His bride, let us love one another as He loved us. It is our call as husbands and wives to lead one another to greater Holiness as we journey together onwards into Heaven. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 5:21-33 ·
Give way to one another in obedience to Christ

Give way to one another in obedience to Christ. Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands, in everything. Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her in water with a form of words, so that when he took her to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless. In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church, because it is his body – and we are its living parts. For this reason, a man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body. This mystery has many implications; but I am saying it applies to Christ and the Church. To sum up; you too, each one of you, must love his wife as he loves himself; and let every wife respect her husband.


Gospel
Luke 13:18-21
The kingdom of God is like the yeast that leavened three measures of flour

Jesus said, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with? It is like a mustard seed which a man took and threw into his garden: it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air sheltered in its branches.’
    Another thing he said, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’


Holiness for us is not something we strive for some of the time, on Sundays or at certain times, but at all times every day. And on our journey towards greater holiness we must be life giving in all aspects our lives. In our words, deeds even in our sexuality. Sex in itself is pure, a gift to further life. It encourages and gives life. Like all things when not ordered towards the Lord our God can be distorted! Therefore we are reminded in today’s first reading that we must order our lives such that we live as children of light in our Lord Jesus Christ. To honour God our Heavenly Father by living in His love always.

We have a loving saviour who seeks to free us from all our bondages of sin and evil. Christ our Lord, will always restore us to fullness of life in Him whenever we turn our hearts towards Him. By His loving example in Today’s Gospel, there is no good time to do good; we must do good all the time and at every opportunity. Afterall God is good all the time! Amen

First reading
Ephesians 4:32-5:8
Follow Christ by loving as he loved you

Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.
    Try, then, to imitate God as children of his that he loves and follow Christ loving as he loved you, giving himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. Among you there must be not even a mention of fornication or impurity in any of its forms, or promiscuity: this would hardly become the saints! There must be no coarseness, or salacious talk and jokes – all this is wrong for you; raise your voices in thanksgiving instead. For you can be quite certain that nobody who actually indulges in fornication or impurity or promiscuity – which is worshipping a false god – can inherit anything of the kingdom of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is for this loose living that God’s anger comes down on those who rebel against him. Make sure that you are not included with them. You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light.


Gospel
Luke 13:10-17
Was it not right to untie this woman’s bonds on the sabbath day?

One sabbath day Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who for eighteen years had been possessed by a spirit that left her enfeebled; she was bent double and quite unable to stand upright. When Jesus saw her he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are rid of your infirmity’ and he laid his hands on her. And at once she straightened up, and she glorified God.
    But the synagogue official was indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, and he addressed the people present. ‘There are six days’ he said ‘when work is to be done. Come and be healed on one of those days and not on the sabbath.’ But the Lord answered him. ‘Hypocrites!’ he said ‘Is there one of you who does not untie his ox or his donkey from the manger on the sabbath and take it out for watering? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has held bound these eighteen years – was it not right to untie her bonds on the sabbath day?’ When he said this, all his adversaries were covered with confusion, and all the people were overjoyed at all the wonders he worked.


Love Commanded: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Exodus 22:20–26
Psalm 18:2–44751
1 Thessalonians 1:5–10
Matthew 22:34–40
 
Jesus came not to abolish the Old Testament law but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17). And in today’s Gospel, He reveals that love—of God and of neighbor—is the fulfillment of the whole of the law (see Romans 13:8–10).

Devout Israelites were to keep all 613 commands found in the Bible’s first five books. Jesus says today that all these, and all the teachings of the prophets, can be summarized by two verses of this law (see Deuteronomy 6:5Leviticus 19:18).

He seems to summarize the two stone tablets on which God was said to have engraved the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 32:15–16). The first tablet set out three laws concerning the love of God, such as the command not to take His name in vain; the second contained seven commands regarding love of neighbor, such as those against stealing and adultery.
Love is the hinge that binds the two tablets of the law. For we can’t love God, whom we can’t see, if we don’t love our neighbor, whom we can (see 1 John 4:20–22).

But this love we are called to is far more than simple affection or warm sentiment. We must give ourselves totally to God—loving with our whole beings, with all our heart, soul, and mind. Our love for our neighbor must express itself in concrete actions, such as those set out in today’s First Reading.
We love because He first loved us (see 1 John 4:19). As we sing in today’s Psalm, He has been our deliverer, our strength when we could not possibly defend ourselves against the enemies of sin and death.
We love in thanksgiving for our salvation. And in this become imitators of Jesus, as Paul tells us in today’s Epistle—laying down our lives daily in ways large and small, seen and unseen; our lives offered as a continual sacrifice of praise (see John 15:12–13Hebrews 13:15).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Indeed we must always remember that we are all children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him. But we cannot simply remain as obstinate children refusing to grow in our faith and love of Him and for one another. We cannot play the ‘I don’t know’ game any longer. If we say we have no special or unique gifts how then are we truly reflecting the love God our Father has for us? It is time for us to stop, reflect and discern through deep prayer.  Where are we in our faith? How many lives have we touched as instruments of grace for love of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Holy Spirit Lord, help me mature more fully in my faith. Help me grow in my love such that the love for my Lord is outpoured through all my actions for Him and to all that I meet. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 4:7-16 ·
By grace, we shall not be children any longer

Each one of us has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. It was said that he would:

When he ascended to the height, he captured prisoners, he gave gifts to men.

When it says, ‘he ascended’, what can it mean if not that he descended right down to the lower regions of the earth? The one who rose higher than all the heavens to fill all things is none other than the one who descended. And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.
    Then we shall not be children any longer, or tossed one way and another and carried along by every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks men play and their cleverness in practising deceit. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up, in love.


Gospel
Luke 13:1-9
‘Leave the fig tree one more year’

Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’
    He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 23, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is our Christian call to live our lives in unity with One spirit, in Holiness through our Lord Jesus Christ. By living in His love we can bear all Him and our brethren.

We will seek out every opportunity to forgive and to ask for forgiveness for our own shortcomings. For reconciliation with brother or sister means full communion with God our Heavenly Father. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 4:1-6 ·
One Body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God

I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.


Gospel
Luke 12:54-59
Do you not know how to interpret these times?

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does. And when the wind is from the south you say it will be hot, and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?
    ‘Why not judge for yourselves what is right? For example: when you go to court with your opponent, try to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the bailiff and the bailiff have you thrown into prison. I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.’


O my Lord my God I love because You first loved me. Even before I came to be in my mother’s womb You knew me.

In knowing Your great love for me Lord Jesus, may I love my brethren!

Disunity, dismissiveness and scattering comes from the evil one. Give me the courage and strength to always strive for unity in Your love. For it You Lord who gathers Your flock.

In knowing Your great love for me Lord Jesus, may I love my brethren!

The right way to love my neighbour as myself, is by loving You with all my heart, mind and soul. It is through that same love I can truly love; family, friends and strangers.

In knowing Your great love for me Lord Jesus, may I love my brethren! Amen

First reading
Ephesians 3:14-21
A prayer that faithful may know the love of Christ

This is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name:
    Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.
    Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.


Gospel
Luke 12:49-53
How I wish it were blazing already!

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!
    ‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’


Yes there are indeed mysteries of our faith not yet revealed and whether or not they will be, we simply do not know. Why did the Lord our God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews? Why was Jesus born a Jew? Why not an Asian? European? And so on.. Why did God not choose to reveal Himself to all of us, all at once? We can go on asking many more questions, but I suppose the fundamental ones would be why would we want to question the infinite wisdom of the Lord our God? Who chose Jesus to be the Light for all nations not just the Jews. His dying on the cross was for the salvation of the world! The lamb of God slain for us so that we might live free from sin in His love. God became man so that man can become more like God in every way. We are united perfectly with Him through Holy Communion.

So then while we are on the journey back to Him. We are called to take up our cross and follow Him. To be good stewards for one another, to lead one another back to Him. Jesus came to serve and not to be served, can we do any less? The more we give off ourselves for Him and for brethren, the more we will receive from Him. He will never give us more than we can manage. We are made for more and more we shall be through Him, with Him and in Him. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 3:2-12 ·
The pagans now share the same inheritance

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery, as I have just described it very shortly. If you read my word you will have some idea of the depths that I see in the mystery of Christ. This that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel. I have been made the servant of that gospel by a gift of grace from God who gave it to me by his own power. I, who am less than the least of all the saints have been entrusted with this special grace, not only of proclaiming to the pagans the infinite treasure of Christ but also of explaining how the mystery is to be dispensed. Through all the ages, this has been kept hidden in God, the creator of everything. Why? So that the Sovereignties and Powers should learn only now, through the Church, how comprehensive God’s wisdom really is, exactly according to the plan which he had had from all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is why we are bold enough to approach God in complete confidence, through our faith in him.


Gospel
Luke 12:39-48
The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect

Jesus said to his disciples:
    ‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
    Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
    The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’


There was a time when I was little envious of the catechumens on the journey to their baptism. Those who were properly catechised and instructed seemed to have a fire burning within them by the time they are baptised into the church. They who have come from different walks of life, cultures, race, beliefs were now united as One with me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Once sinners now saints, children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him on the journey to greater Holiness with and in Him. Why then did my fire only start burning later on in my life when I was born into our faith and brought up in it? Why did I not feel any fraternal love for my brethren from the very beginning?

The answers are found in today’s Gospel. I was asleep! I was too comfortable with inertia and so stubbornly refused to be dressed for action. The wick of my lamp was made damp by my worldly ways and attachments. All these changed, when I finally responded to my Lord’s call and decided to follow Him with all my heart. I was made new once again through His mercy, love and grace. This renewal, this transfiguration in me is not a one time thing for me, for you or even the neophytes! We have to consecrate ourselves daily to the sacred heart of Jesus. We have to commit to knowing His Word and will for us and living it out in our lives. Only then do we stand ready, dressed for action with our lamps lit; ready to greet Him when He returns. Amen Alleluia!

First reading
Ephesians 2:12-22 ·
In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like us

Do not forget that you had no Christ and were excluded from membership of Israel, aliens with no part in the covenants with their Promise; you were immersed in this world, without hope and without God. But now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God: in his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.
    So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.


Gospel
Luke 12:36-38
Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit

Jesus said to his disciples:
    ‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready.’


Don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait for the day to stop talking about this pandemic or use the proper name Co-vid 19 for a long, long time. When will it be become a history lesson for us? And just like every history lesson in the past, what would the take away be?

For many life is resuming to what it was before, and so have already started living as though ‘history’ had already begun. Pity if this rare God-given opportunity and time to draw even closer to Him is simply squandered away. Back to our worldly self centred lives of desiring and seeking more opportunities for ourselves and to have more only ‘me’ and ‘family’ time! ‘The Lord our God will understand”,’ afterall He knows how much we suffered.” “Our community, ministry, our brethren too can wait a little while more, there is always tomorrow!” Are we really that shallow in our faith? How foolish indeed are we to take all that we have for granted once again!

O dearest Lord Jesus I thank God our Father for the opportunity to draw even closer to You and Him during this challenging times. My heart so yearned for the gifts of Your Sacraments of Love for which I had taken for granted. It leapt for joy when I could once again partake in Your loving embrace through them. You showed us that You had never left us and provided for us new ways to gather in Your love as a community. You filled us with Your ever loving presence in our prayer meetings whether its was via Zoom, Google-meet, hangout, Skype etc.  Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit we pray to remain steadfast in our desire to grow in Holiness and in our love for You and for one another. Your Will be done now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 2:1-10 ·
Sinners are saved in Christ Jesus

You were dead through the crimes and the sins in which you used to live when you were following the way of this world, obeying the ruler who governs the air, the spirit who is at work in the rebellious. We all were among them too in the past, living sensual lives, ruled entirely by our own physical desires and our own ideas; so that by nature we were as much under God’s anger as the rest of the world. But God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.
    This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how infinitely rich he is in grace. Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it.


Gospel
Luke 12:13-21
Fool! This very night your soul will be demanded of you

A man in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’ ‘My friend,’ he replied, ‘who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.’
    Then he told them a parable: ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.” But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?” So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.’

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: October 17, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Caesar and the King: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Isaiah 45:1,4–6
Psalm 96:1,3–57–10
1 Thessalonians 1:1–5
Matthew 22:15–21
 
The Lord is king over all the earth, as we sing in today’s Psalm. Governments rise and fall by His permission, with no authority but that given from above (see John 19:11Romans 13:1).

In effect, God says to every ruler what He tells King Cyrus in today’s First Reading: “I have called you . . . though you knew me not.”

The Lord raised up Cyrus to restore the Israelites from exile, and to rebuild Jerusalem (see Ezra 1:1–4). Throughout salvation history, God has used foreign rulers for the sake of His chosen people. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened to reveal God’s power (see Romans 9:17). Invading armies were used to punish Israel’s sins (see 2 Maccabees 6:7–16).

The Roman occupation during Jesus’ time was, in a similar way, a judgment on Israel’s unfaithfulness. Jesus’ famous words in today’s Gospel: “Repay to Caesar” are a pointed reminder of this. And they call us, too, to keep our allegiances straight.
The Lord alone is our king. His kingdom is not of this world (see John 18:36) but it begins here in His Church, which tells of His glory among all peoples. Citizens of heaven (see Philippians 3:20), we are called to be a light to the world (see Matthew 5:14)—working in faith, laboring in love, and enduring in hope, as today’s Epistle counsels.

We owe the government a concern for the common good and obedience to laws—unless they conflict with God’s commandments as interpreted by the Church (see Acts 5:29).
But we owe God everything. The coin bears Caesar’s image. But we bear God’s own image (see Genesis 1:27). We owe Him our very lives—all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, offered as a living sacrifice of love (see Romans 12:1–2).

We should pray for our leaders, that like Cyrus they do God’s will (see 1 Timothy 2:1–2)—until from the rising of the sun to its setting, all humanity knows that Jesus is Lord.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 17, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Start Date    : Today
End Date     : To be advised
Destination : Heaven

Day 1 > 24hr plan

Have you planned your itinerary yet? Has it started? How many hours in a day do you spend in the presence of our Lord since your goal is to be with Him? How many hours in a day do you sacrifice and toil for love of family, brethren, for your community, ministry, Holy mother Church?

Was my declaration to take up my cross and follow my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ only lip service? How have I laid down my life for Him or my brethren? How have I loved them as He loved me?

Transfigure me Lord that I may glorify You by my body, mind and soul all the days of my life now and forever. Amen

St ignatius of Antioch pray for us…

First reading
Philippians 3:17-4:1 ·
Our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes Christ to transfigure us

My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us. I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ. They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things. For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.
    So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.


Gospel
John 12:24-26
If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 16, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Shall we continue with the illusion of thinking we are only accountable to the laws of the land? That we will be judged accordingly only to what can be proven by way of physical evidence? Have we put aside God’s law and commandments? Have we somehow forgotten that the Lord our God sees and knows everything? Perhaps we have taken His love, mercy and patience for granted! “Out of sight, out of mind?!” “There is always tomorrow?!”

Come now brethren let us be mindful that our Heavenly inheritance is not our birthright or entitlement but a gift of love by way of our response to our Lord’s invitation to remain forever in perfect union with Him. Such is His love for us that we can already experience a foretaste of it in the present, in living and loving in His presence. Glory to God in the highest!

O Holy Spirit guide me in my every thought, word and action. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 1:11-14 ·
You have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit


It is in Christ 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.
Now you too, in him, have heard the message of the truth and the good news of your salvation, and have believed it; and you too have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit of the Promise, the pledge of our inheritance which brings freedom for those whom God has taken for his own, to make his glory praised.


Gospel
Luke 12:1-7
Not one sparrow is forgotten in God’s sight

The people had gathered in their thousands so that they were treading on one another. And Jesus began to speak, first of all to his disciples. ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees – that is, their hypocrisy. Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. For this reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed on the housetops.
    ‘To you my friends I say: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not one is forgotten in God’s sight. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid: you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.’


Indeed we groan, oh how we groan! As time goes by, our bodies remind us through pains that we might be closer than we think to returning home to our Heavenly Father. We are made to witness the desparture of friends, family and greatly loved ones who have gone ahead before us.

Through our conviction of faith we thank and praise God our Heavenly Father! For in His great love for us we have hope of eternal life with Him through His son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. How do we know this for sure? For the Spirit speaks this unwavering truth deep into our hearts. And so we wait in eager anticipation for our reunion with those who had returned to our true home.

Even as we wait patiently, our sweet and loving saviour the source of all life invites us to remain connected with Him at all times. Through Him we are nourished, renewed, invigorated to share in His love. Such that we live not for ourselves but for one another. This is what it means to be in communion, this is what it means to bear fruit for the glory of God. Amen

St Theresa of Avila pray for us….

First reading
Romans 8:22-27 ·
The Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words

From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. For we must be content to hope that we shall be saved – our salvation is not in sight, we should not have to be hoping for it if it were – but, as I say, we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet – it is something we must wait for with patience.
    The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

Gospel
John 15:1-8
I am the vine, you are the branches

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 14, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let us not make anymore excuses saying we are only human, are frail and prone to making mistakes. Do we say it over and over without ever striving to overcome once and for all, our habitual sins? Have we convinced ourselves that we somehow have two opposing spirits within us?

What we have is one Spirit, that is holy and desires to be ever holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. We have free will to choose to remain holy and strive for greater holiness. Or we can choose to be self indulgent and dabble with that which is unholy; evil as its source. So what does fire do when stoked? It spreads! Such is the nature of evil which not only spreads like wild fire but it scatters!

We cannot live our lives in duality for we are made to be One with Him, through Him and in Him; our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. So let us consecrate ourselves this day to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. To glorify our One triune God by our lives now and forever. Amen

First reading
Galatians 5:18-25 ·
To belong to Christ, crucify all self-indulgence

If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you. When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility; idolatry and sorcery; feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels; disagreements, factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies and similar things. I warn you now, as I warned you before: those who behave like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. There can be no law against things like that, of course. You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.
    Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.


Gospel
Luke 11:42-46
You overlook justice and the love of God

The Lord said to the Pharisees: ‘Alas for you Pharisees! You who pay your tithe of mint and rue and all sorts of garden herbs and overlook justice and the love of God! These you should have practised, without leaving the others undone. Alas for you Pharisees who like taking the seats of honour in the synagogues and being greeted obsequiously in the market squares! Alas for you, because you are like the unmarked tombs that men walk on without knowing it!
    A lawyer then spoke up. ‘Master,’ he said ‘when you speak like this you insult us too.’
    ‘Alas for you lawyers also,’ he replied ‘because you load on men burdens that are unendurable, burdens that you yourselves do not move a finger to lift.’


O Jesus my Lord rebuke my selfish, self centred heart! For I know it is for love of me that You seek to correct the errors of my waywardness and thoughts. Change my heart O Lord, make me more like You.

Through Your eyes I now see that my service in Church and outside was serving my own need to do so. For were I serving in faith and love of You; then there would be no impatience, no hidden want of affirmation or gratitude, no fear of lack of funds or support, no judgement on the attitude of others and so on. Change my heart O Lord, make me more like You.

May my faith in You Lord, be seen, heard and felt through my love put into action for You and my brethren. Amen

First reading
Galatians 5:1-6 ·
It is faith, not the Law, that justifies us

When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. It is I, Paul, who tell you this: if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all. With all solemnity I repeat my warning: Everyone who accepts circumcision is obliged to keep the whole Law. But if you do look to the Law to make you justified, then you have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen from grace. Christians are told by the Spirit to look to faith for those rewards that righteousness hopes for, since in Christ Jesus whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference – what matters is faith that makes its power felt through love.


Gospel
Luke 11:37-41
Give thanks for what you have and it will all be clean

Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at the table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, ‘Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.’


Why do many of us return or even remain yoked to slavery of sin? Is it simply the familiarity of habit? Are we content with its fleeting comforts if any? Can we claim it is a victory of choice rather than one made from our insecurities? Do we continue to hide our guilt and emptiness? We might convince ourselves we have none of the former but the latter is impossible to fill. Have we not realised by now that being yoked to sin is not simply a bad habit, but that we are yoked to evil? Who then is our master?

Let us choose instead this day, to always remember the great an everlasting love of God our Heavenly Father. As we gaze upon that very sign of His great love for us; our crucified redeemer who hung and died on the Cross that we might live free from the bondage of sin. Let turn to Him in our struggles and moments of weakness so that we draw strength and the needed grace to overcome it. Let us choose to walk in His light and as we live in the joy of our resurrected Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Galatians 4:22-24,26-27,31-5:1
Christ freed us: do not submit again to slavery

The Law says, if you remember, that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave-girl, and one by his free-born wife. The child of the slave-girl was born in the ordinary way; the child of the free woman was born as the result of a promise. This can be regarded as an allegory: the women stand for the two covenants. The first who comes from Mount Sinai, and whose children are slaves, is Hagar. The Jerusalem above, however, is free and is our mother, since scripture says: Shout for joy, you barren women who bore no children! Break into shouts of joy and gladness, you who were never in labour. For there are more sons of the forsaken one than sons of the wedded wife. So, my brothers, we are the children, not of the slave-girl, but of the free-born wife.
    When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.


Gospel
Luke 11:29-32
As Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be a sign

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

Fratelli Tutti

Posted: October 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Memory Book

ENCYCLICAL LETTER
FRATELLI TUTTI
OF THE HOLY FATHER
FRANCIS
ON FRATERNITY AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP

Click to access papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.pdf

Rich insights and depth do take the time to read this 3rd Encyclical by Holy Father Pope Francis

Twenty Eight Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: October 10, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

Dressing for the Feast: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Isaiah 25:6–10
Psalm 23:1–6
Philippians 4:12–14, 19–20
Matthew 22:1–14
 
Our Lord’s parable in today’s Gospel is again a fairly straightforward outline of salvation history.

God is the king (see Matthew 5:35), Jesus the bridegroom (see Matthew 9:15), the feast is the salvation and eternal life that Isaiah prophesies in today’s First Reading. The Israelites are those first invited to the feast by God’s servants, the prophets (see Isaiah 7:25). For refusing repeated invitations and even killing His prophets, Israel has been punished, its city conquered by foreign armies.

Now, Jesus makes clear, God is sending new servants, His apostles, to call not only Israelites, but all people—good and bad alike—to the feast of His kingdom. This an image of the Church, which Jesus elsewhere compares to a field sown with both wheat and weeds, and a fishing net that catches good fish and bad (see Matthew 13:24–43, 47–50).

We have all been called to this great feast of love in the Church, where, as Isaiah foretold, the veil that once separated the nations from the covenants of Israel has been destroyed, where the dividing wall of enmity has been torn down by the blood of Christ (see Ephesians 2:11–14).

As we sing in today’s Psalm, the Lord has led us to this feast, refreshing our souls in the waters of Baptism, spreading the table before us in the Eucharist. As Paul tells us in today’s Epistle, in the glorious riches of Christ, we will find supplied whatever we need.

And in the rich food of His body, and the choice wine of His blood, we have a foretaste of the eternal banquet in the heavenly Jerusalem, when God will destroy death forever (see Hebrews 12:22–24).

But are we dressed for the feast, clothed in the garment of righteousness (see Revelation 19:8)? Not all who have been called will be chosen for eternal life, Jesus warns. Let us be sure that we’re living in a manner worthy of the invitation we’ve received (see Ephesians 4:1).


I have no memory of suckling at my mother’s breast, but I do vaguely remember drinking from a bottle later on in my years. What a Blessing it has been for me to have watched all three of my kids suckling at their mother’s breast. While it was truly a joy for me, I could not help feel a little envious; having witnessed such intimacy, warmth and love all bundled into one. The shared bond of a mother nursing her baby lying next to her is  a breathtaking sight and I can only imagine the feeling of such an intimate, loving act.

How did I miss all those years that the Lord my God wants to share that very nature of an intimate bond with me? How He seeks every morning and as many times in the day to hold me close to His bosom and nourish me with His Word. That I may always remain grafted to my Lord, the source of all life. How He truly wants for me a joy filled live of keeping His word deep within me. God my Heavenly Father truly loves me and He loves His children of all nations the same way!

Dearest Blessed Mother of the Word incarnate, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Pray for us…..

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15 AMEN, ALLELUIA!

First reading
Galatians 3:22-29 ·
There are no more distinctions: all are one in Christ Jesus

Scripture makes no exceptions when it says that sin is master everywhere. In this way the promise can only be given through faith in Jesus Christ and can only be given to those who have this faith.
    Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised.


Gospel
Luke 11:27-28
‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’

As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 9, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Yes it is quite confusing for us to live in this world and yet possess a longing for a spiritual plane or dimension so to speak. Are we not in a deep sense spiritual beings trapped in the flesh of our earthly existence? Or instead of trapped perhaps we shall use encapsulated? We have been given keys to unlock a fair bit of the mystery but there is much we do not yet know. Let us dwell a little today on the our gift of faith.

We were created in the likeness and image of God. We therefore have Him imprinted in our souls. We were born into flesh. The Lord our God gave us laws so that we can live ordered and just lives in harmony with one another. Those who rebel against and break the laws are to be dealt with accordingly. Through our baptism we are united fully as God our Father’s children and His laws are written on our hearts. We have been given the most precious gift of faith when we were inserted into life, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ by our baptism. We are called to Holiness, to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. Our Holiness comes from the deep and personal relationship with have in Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the only thing that can truly unite every living soul in the world.

Therefore all of us must strive each day to live our faith in Jesus and in the Spirit. We make a daily choice to do so, as a resounding Yes to our call to Holiness. We do so because we know it is the only way we can live to the full in His love, peace and joy. It is the only way to live in full communion with the Lord our God. Nothing and no evil can ever separate us from the love of God, for we have likewise chosen Him above all. Amen

First reading
Galatians 3:7-14 ·
The sons of Abraham are those who rely on faith

Don’t you see that it is those who rely on faith who are the sons of Abraham? Scripture foresaw that God was going to use faith to justify the pagans, and proclaimed the Good News long ago when Abraham was told: In you all the pagans will be blessed. Those therefore who rely on faith receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith.
    On the other hand, those who rely on the keeping of the Law are under a curse, since scripture says: Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in observing everything prescribed in the book of the Law. The Law will not justify anyone in the sight of God, because we are told: the righteous man finds life through faith. The Law is not even based on faith, since we are told: The man who practises these precepts finds life through practising them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being cursed for our sake, since scripture says: Cursed be everyone who is hanged on a tree. This was done so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might include the pagans, and so that through faith we might receive the promised Spirit.


Gospel
Luke 11:15-26
The finger of God has overtaken you

When Jesus had cast out a devil, some of the people said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.
    ‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.
    ‘When an unclean spirit goes out of a man it wanders through waterless country looking for a place to rest, and not finding one it says, “I will go back to the home I came from.” But on arrival, finding it swept and tidied, it then goes off and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and set up house there, so that the man ends up by being worse than he was before.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 8, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As we all know anything can be taken out of context if we want to place focus only certain things said without the rest of the pieces that form the masterpiece. And so many will say, “See! St Paul himself says outward observances are not important as living in the Spirit!” They omit the crucial ‘end in’ and ‘what began’, this in itself is unspritual, even unholy! What follows? Shortcuts are taken, corners are cut and what is left is a shallow  worship of the Lord our God. Jesus led by the Holy Spirit in full obedience to the Will God His Heavenly and for love of us; saw what He began to the very end, that is He died on the Cross for us. He was then raised from the dead and opened the gates to new life with Him for us.

Should we not model ourselves after our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? Who had shown us the way, by perfect obedience to God our Heavenly Father’s Will. So then in not only desiring but wanting to do His Will, why would our prayers ever go unanswered? And so with renewed conviction of faith in the Lord our God, let us persevere in our prayers. As we set forth, filled with His grace and in the Spirit, to glorify the Lord by our lives. Amen

First reading
Galatians 3:1-5 ·
You received the Spirit because you believed what was preached

Are you people in Galatia mad? Has someone put a spell on you, in spite of the plain explanation you have had of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? Let me ask you one question: was it because you practised the Law that you received the Spirit, or because you believed what was preached to you? Are you foolish enough to end in outward observances what you began in the Spirit? Have all the favours you received been wasted? And if this were so, they would most certainly have been wasted. Does God give you the Spirit so freely and work miracles among you because you practise Law, or because you believed what was preached to you?


Gospel
Luke 11:5-13
Ask, and it will be given to you

Jesus said to his disciples:
    ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
    ‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 7, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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October is the month of the Rosary and many Catholics around the world pray try to pray the rosary daily, if not then as often as they can. Today the 7th of October is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary Our Lady of the Rosary.  Which was instituted by Pope Pius V to celebrate the anniversary of the defeat of the Turkish fleet at the battle of Lepanto on the first Sunday in October 1571, which ended the threat of Muslim domination of the Mediterranean and was ascribed in part to the prayers and processions of the Rosary confraternity in Rome. Later the feast was moved to the fixed date of 7 October.

The Holy Rosary is indeed a gift from the Lord our God, given to us through the inspiration of our dearest blessed Mother in heaven. Every time we pray the rosary it is a unique and wonderful opportunity to pray it together with our Blessed Mother by our side! Through her we are able to contemplate more deeply on the birth, life, death and Resurrection of her beloved Son; our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Through her our hearts and minds are illumined more brightly by His light. This is precisely why so many millions of God our Father’s children around the world have such a fondness and devotion to our Blessed Mother and her Rosary. For she guides and leads us always and ever closer to her Son’s bosom. Amen

O Dearest Lady of the Rosary, Blessed Mother pray for us….

First reading
Acts 1:12-14 ·
The apostles all joined in continuous prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus

After Jesus was taken up into heaven the apostles went back from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.


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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 6, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Every now and then we must look back at our lives not so much as to dwell in our past; but to remember how through the mercy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, our lives have been transformed by His divine grace. With grateful hearts taking nothing for granted, we seek to glorify Him by our lives.

Yet many of us lead rather hectic and busy lives and often struggle to even take much needed breaks. Still we must never allow the busyness of our lives overwhelm us such that we lose sight and focus of whom we truly are. That is God our Father’s children so loved by Him. We must always spend time therefore to be in our Lord’s presence through prayer, listening to His Word and will for us. For it is through these little tête-à-têtes that He nourishes and fills us with His grace. He ministers to us with great tenderness and love.

Glory and praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ now and forever. Amen

St Bruno pray for us…

First reading
Galatians 1:13-24 ·
God called me through his grace and chose to reveal his Son in me

You must have heard of my career as a practising Jew, how merciless I was in persecuting the Church of God, how much damage I did to it, how I stood out among other Jews of my generation, and how enthusiastic I was for the traditions of my ancestors.
    Then God, who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his Son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans. I did not stop to discuss this with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were already apostles before me, but I went off to Arabia at once and later went straight back from there to Damascus. Even when after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days, I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord, and I swear before God that what I have just written is the literal truth. After that I went to Syria and Cilicia, and was still not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judaea, who had heard nothing except that their one-time persecutor was now preaching the faith he had previously tried to destroy; and they gave glory to God for me.


Gospel
Luke 10:38-42
Martha works; Mary listens

Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’


There is always a temptation to read what is not there in scripture or to interpret it in such a way that it fulfils our personal agenda. If we allow ourselves to do this then we are being unfaithful to the Truth, the Way and the Life, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

We remain true to His Word only through prayerful discernment led by the Holy Spirit. We remain true only by our love for His Word and Will for us put into action for love of brethren and of neighbour. By this we know the heart of our Saviour and will never be led astray. We His voice, He knows us and we follow Him. Amen

St Faustina pray for us..

First reading
Galatians 1:6-12 ·
The Good News I preached is not a human message but from Jesus Christ

I am astonished at the promptness with which you have turned away from the one who called you and have decided to follow a different version of the Good News. Not that there can be more than one Good News; it is merely that some troublemakers among you want to change the Good News of Christ; and let me warn you that if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one we have already preached to you, whether it be ourselves or an angel from heaven, he is to be condemned. I am only repeating what we told you before: if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one you have already heard, he is to be condemned. So now whom am I trying to please – man, or God? Would you say it is men’s approval I am looking for? If I still wanted that, I should not be what I am – a servant of Christ.
    The fact is, brothers, and I want you to realise this, the Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learnt only through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Gospel
Luke 10:25-37
The good Samaritan

There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’
    But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’


Living on the Vine: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Isaiah 5:1–7
Psalm 80:912–1619–20
Philippians 4:6–9
Matthew 21:33–43
 

In today’s Gospel Jesus returns to the Old Testament symbol of the vineyard to teach about Israel, the Church, and the kingdom of God.

And the symbolism of today’s First Reading and Psalm is readily understood.
God is the owner and the house of Israel is the vineyard. A cherished vine, Israel was plucked from Egypt and transplanted in a fertile land specially spaded and prepared by God, hedged about by the city walls of Jerusalem, watched over by the towering Temple. But the vineyard produced no good grapes for the wine, a symbol for the holy lives God wanted for His people. So God allowed His vineyard to be overrun by foreign invaders, as Isaiah foresees in the First Reading.
Jesus picks up the story where Isaiah leaves off, even using Isaiah’s words to describe the vineyard’s wine press, hedge, and watchtower. Israel’s religious leaders, the tenants in His parable, have learned nothing from Isaiah or Israel’s past. Instead of producing good fruits, they’ve killed the owner’s servants, the prophets sent to gather the harvest of faithful souls.

In a dark foreshadowing of His own crucifixion outside Jerusalem, Jesus says the tenants’ final outrage will be to seize the owner’s son, and to kill him outside the vineyard walls.

For this, the vineyard, which Jesus calls the kingdom of God, will be taken away and given to new tenants—the leaders of the Church, who will produce its fruit.

We are each a vine in the Lord’s vineyard, grafted onto the true vine of Christ (see John 15:1–8), called to bear fruits of the righteousness in Him (see Philippians 1:11) and to be the “first fruits” of a new creation (see James 1:18).

We need to take care that we don’t let ourselves be overgrown with the thorns and briers of worldly anxiety. As today’s Epistle advises, we need to fill our hearts and minds with noble intentions and virtuous deeds, rejoicing always that the Lord is near.


Too many times I have let my pride blind me to Your infinite wisdom and Your glory. It was far easier to simply declare that I am only human and to do as I pleased; rather than strive through the challenges of remaining connected to the vine of life, my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

Dwelling on Today’s readings, and in Your presence has opened my eyes to see that all the different hats I wear in life has only one creator. As such in each one and every one, I must endeavour to glorify You. As I ponder more deeply, I realise that the most joyful I have ever been in my life was always in humble service of You and my brethren. Why  have I not guarded this memory and held on tightly to it, instead of allowing it to be robbed from me through temptation, distraction and sin.  I have been complacent indeed, in my prayers and in my spiritual life when it should be ever thriving and fruitful.

Lord I am wise only in Your wisdom, am fully alive only in Your presence, grant me the grace to remain steadfast in Your love and to always be attentive to Your Will for me. Amen

First reading
Job 42:1-3,5-6,12-17
In dust and in ashes I repent

This was the answer Job gave to the Lord:

I know that you are all-powerful:what you conceive, you can perform.
I am the man who obscured your design with my empty-headed words.
I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand, on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.
I knew you then only by hearsay; but now, having seen you with my own eyes, I retract all I have said, and in dust and ashes I repent.

The Lord blessed Job’s new fortune even more than his first one. He came to own fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand she-donkeys. He had seven sons and three daughters; his first daughter he called ‘Turtledove’, the second ‘Cassia’ and the third ‘Mascara.’ Throughout the land there were no women as beautiful as the daughters of Job. And their father gave them inheritance rights like their brothers.
    After his trials, Job lived on until he was a hundred and forty years old, and saw his children and his children’s children up to the fourth generation. Then Job died, an old man and full of days.


Gospel
Luke 10:17-24
Rejoice that your names are written in heaven

The seventy-two came back rejoicing. ‘Lord,’ they said ‘even the devils submit to us when we use your name.’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.’
    It was then that, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said:
    ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
    Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 2, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We will never fathom the immeasurable greatness of God our Heavenly Father likewise the immeasurable love He has for us His children, individually as well as collectively. For having given us the most perfect and complete gift of His Son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, His advocate the Holy spirit, then sends yet again His Holy Angels to guard and guide us. While there is no defined teaching of Holy mother Church on the matter of our guardian angels, it is in her wisdom that we celebrate the feast day of God our Father’s wonderful gift of them for us.

“See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.”

Jesus my Lord You speak deeply into my heart, that I have not been humble enough to understand how just how loved and Blessed I am to be a child of God our Heavenly Father. While I maybe little, I am looked upon greatly in my Heavenly Father’s eyes. And so I should love and serve my fellow brethren in humble servitude after Your own heart; for they like me, are His beloved. Amen

O my guardian angel, I thank you for caring and helping me. Please pray for me…

First reading
Job 38:1,12-21,40:3-5 ·
The immeasurable greatness of God

From the heart of the tempest the Lord gave Job his answer. He said:

Have you ever in your life given orders to the morning or sent the dawn to its post, telling it to grasp the earth by its edges and shake the wicked out of it, when it changes the earth to sealing clay and dyes it as a man dyes clothes; stealing the light from wicked men and breaking the arm raised to strike?
Have you journeyed all the way to the sources of the sea, or walked where the Abyss is deepest?
Have you been shown the gates of Death or met the janitors of Shadowland?
Have you an inkling of the extent of the earth?
    Tell me all about it if you have!
Which is the way to the home of the light, and where does darkness live?
You could then show them the way to their proper places, or put them on the path to where they live!
If you know all this, you must have been born with them, you must be very old by now!

Job replied to the Lord:

My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?
    I had better lay my finger on my lips.
I have spoken once… I will not speak again; more than once… I will add nothing.

Gospel
Matthew 18:1-5,10
Anyone who welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me

The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 1, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is indeed quite rare to find a friend who is also a spiritual buddy of sorts. Who will pray for you, with you and in moments of great trial and difficulty will help discern the Lord’s will for you. This friend will speak the truth regardless, even if it means to say “I don’t know the answer.” They are God sent indeed and to be treasured. Until such time one of such likeness is sent to us, we already have been Blessed to have the greatest one we will ever need. The One that Job speaks about so vividly and passionately about in the latter part of today’s first reading, that it makes us wonder how could he have known lest it was revealed to him; our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. Jn 14:27-31 In reflection of today’s Gospel, I am reminded that the peace of Christ I have received deep in my heart is the same peace I must offer to everyone I meet. For if say I am One with Him as He is One with me, then the peace I give is the peace of Christ I have received freely.

Peace be with you my dear sisters and brothers in Christ. Amen

First reading
Job 19:21-27 ·
My Avenger lives and will set me close to him when I awake

Job said:

Pity me, pity me, you, my friends, for the hand of God has struck me.
Why do you hound me down like God, will you never have enough of my flesh?

Ah, would that these words of mine were written down, inscribed on some monument with iron chisel and engraving tool, cut into the rock for ever.
This I know: that my Avenger lives, and he, the Last, will take his stand on earth.
After my awaking, he will set me close to him, and from my flesh I shall look on God.
He whom I shall see will take my part: these eyes will gaze on him and find him not aloof.

Gospel
Luke 10:1-12

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, “We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near.” I tell you, on that day it will not go as hard with Sodom as with that town.’


How could God allow this to happen to me, my family, my best friend? How can He take the life of my loved one and leave me alone? We blame Him for all the wrong, injustices and evil in the world even natural disasters, pandemics! At the end of our cursing, swearing and blaming or for those who have chosen to bite their tongue; did we win for ourselves justice? Peace of mind? Joy?

The first reading at first glance may come across as someone who is resigned to his fate.   But it actually speaks to Job’s faith, love and reverence for the Lord our God. God our Heavenly Father is creator of things. He is all powerful and all justice begins and ends with Him. Through Job’s steadfast faith love and obedience He had already entered into a deep personal relationship with the Lord His God, such that He is able to endure all that happens for He knows without reservation that nothing can separate Him from the love of God for Him. We are greatly Blessed to have had this truth revealed to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. How then can we not cherish and love the Lord our God above all things in every situation?

Jesus You are the truth, the way and the life. Lead me Lord as I follow You with all my heart. Amen 

First reading
Job 9:1-13,14-16
How can man be in the right against God?

Job spoke to his friends:

Indeed, I know it is as you say: how can man be in the right against God?
If any were so rash as to challenge him for reasons, one in a thousand would be more than they could answer.
His heart is wise, and his strength is great:
who then can successfully defy him?
He moves the mountains, though they do not know it; he throws them down when he is angry.
He shakes the earth, and moves it from its place, making all its pillars tremble.
The sun, at his command, forbears to rise, and on the stars he sets a seal.
He and no other stretched out the skies, and trampled the Sea’s tall waves.
The Bear, Orion too, are of his making, the Pleiades and the Mansions of the South.
His works are great, beyond all reckoning, his marvels, past all counting.
Were he to pass me, I should not see him, nor detect his stealthy movement.
Were he to snatch a prize, who could prevent him, or dare to say, ‘What are you doing?’

How dare I plead my cause, then, or choose arguments against him?
Suppose I am in the right, what use is my defence?
    For he whom I must sue is judge as well.
If he deigned to answer my citation, could I be sure that he would listen to my voice?

Gospel
Luke 9:57-62
‘I will follow you wherever you go’

As Jesus and his disciples travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
    Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me’, replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’
    Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say goodbye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’


Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard.  How then should we believe in Angels?

Our faith is not one in which we are limited by the five senses of most all human beings. We are afterall God’s children created in His likeness and image. Through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we have been awakened to new life with Him. We carry His truth in our hearts. While at this present time we may not physically see or hear the other wonders of God’s creation, His angels; we His faithful who strive for Holiness can sense their presence in our lives just as we know our Lord Himself is present.

We praise and thank You Heavenly Father for Your Holy angels whom You have sent to guide and protect us on our pilgrim journey back Home to You. May we all be reunited in Heaven; as we stand together with the angels and saints to sing Your praises forever, Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, pray for us…..

First reading
Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 ·
His robe was white as snow

As I watched:

Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.

I gazed into the visions of the night.

And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship, and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away, nor will his empire ever be destroyed.


Gospel
John 1:47-51
You will see heaven laid open, and the Son of Man

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael. ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’


In all things, in every situation I humble myself before the Lord my God. Giving Him thanks and praise for loving me with an everlasting love. I will love my brethren first just as He loved me first. Amen

First reading
Job 1:6-22 ·
The Lord gave, the Lord has taken back: blessed be the name of the Lord

One day the Sons of God came to attend on the Lord, and among them was Satan. So the Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you been?’ ‘Round the earth,’ he answered ‘roaming about.’ So the Lord asked him, ‘Did you notice my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth: a sound and honest man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Yes,’ Satan said ‘but Job is not God-fearing for nothing, is he? Have you not put a wall round him and his house and all his domain? You have blessed all he undertakes, and his flocks throng the countryside. But stretch out your hand and lay a finger on his possessions: I warrant you, he will curse you to your face.’ ‘Very well,’ the Lord said to Satan ‘all he has is in your power. But keep your hands off his person.’ So Satan left the presence of the Lord.
    On the day when Job’s sons and daughters were at their meal and drinking wine at their eldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job. ‘Your oxen’ he said ‘were at the plough, with the donkeys grazing at their side, when the Sabaeans swept down on them and carried them off. Your servants they put to the sword: I alone escaped to tell you.’ He had not finished speaking when another messenger arrived. ‘The fire of God’ he said ‘has fallen from the heavens and burnt up all your sheep, and your shepherds too: I alone escaped to tell you.’ He had not finished speaking when another messenger arrived. ‘The Chaldaeans,’ he said ‘three bands of them, have raided your camels and made off with them. Your servants they put to the sword: I alone escaped to tell you.’ He had not finished speaking when another messenger arrived. ‘Your sons and daughters’ he said ‘were at their meal and drinking wine at their eldest brother’s house, when suddenly from the wilderness a gale sprang up, and it battered all four corners of the house which fell in on the young people. They are dead: I alone escaped to tell you.’
    Job rose and tore his gown and shaved his head. Then falling to the ground he worshipped and said:

‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
naked I shall return.
The Lord gave, the Lord has taken back.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!’

In all this misfortune Job committed no sin nor offered any insult to God.

Gospel
Luke 9:46-50
The least among you all is the greatest

An argument started between the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus knew what thoughts were going through their minds, and he took a little child and set him by his side and then said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For the least among you all, that is the one who is great.’
    John spoke up. ‘Master,’ he said ‘we saw a man casting out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you.’

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The Humble Path: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Ezekiel 18:25–28
Psalm 25:4–9
Philippians 2:1–11
Matthew 21:28–32

Echoing the complaint heard in last week’s readings, today’s First Reading again presents protests that God isn’t fair. Why does He punish with death one who begins in virtue but falls into iniquity, while granting life to the wicked one who turns from sin?
This is the question that Jesus takes up in the parable in today’s Gospel.

The first son represents the most heinous sinners of Jesus’ day—tax collectors and prostitutes—who by their sin at first refused to serve in the Lord’s vineyard, the kingdom. At the preaching of John the Baptist, they repented and did what was right and just.

The second son represents Israel’s leaders—who said they would serve God in the vineyard, but refused to believe John when he told them they must produce good fruits as evidence of their repentance (see Matthew 3:8).

Once again, this week’s readings invite us to ponder the unfathomable ways of God’s justice and mercy. He teaches His ways only to the humble, as we sing in today’s Psalm. And in the Epistle today, Paul presents Jesus as the model of that humility by which we come to know life’s true path.

Paul sings a beautiful hymn to the Incarnation. Unlike Adam, the first man, who in his pride grasped at being God, the New Adam, Jesus, humbled himself to become a slave, obedient even unto death on the cross (see Romans 5:14). In this He has shown sinners—each one of us—the way back to the Father. We can only come to God to serve in His vineyard, the Church, by having that same attitude as Christ.

This is what Israel’s leaders lacked. In their vainglory, they presumed their superiority—that they had no further need to hear God’s Word or listen to God’s servants.

But this is the way to death, as God tells Ezekiel today. We are always to be emptying ourselves, seeking forgiveness for our sins and frailties, confessing on bended knee that He is Lord, to the glory of the Father.


Regrets I have a few but the biggest one is having squandered my youth on pursuing my own ambitions and seeking worldly pleasures.

When I could have lived life to the fullest in my Lord and God from an early age. Where peace of mind is as constant as night turns into day. Joy and love of; And in the Lord is to be lived not something to be sought after. 

The struggle to love our neighbour at all times, in all situations is a necessary burden of carrying our cross for our Lord. By laying our life down for them as He did for us, is the means by which we are united most fully in Him.  It is through this union with Him that we have life, and have it to the full! Amen

First Reading

Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:8 Remember your creator in the days of your youth

Rejoice in your youth, you who are young;
let your heart give you joy in your young days. Follow the promptings of your heart
and the desires of your eyes.

But this you must know: for all these things God will bring you to judgement.

Cast worry from your heart, shield your flesh from pain.

Yet youth, the age of dark hair, is vanity. And remember your creator in the days of your youth, before evil days come and the years approach when you say, ‘These give me no pleasure’, before sun and light and moon and stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain;

the day when those who keep the house tremble and strong men are bowed;
when the women grind no longer at the mill, because day is darkening at the windows
and the street doors are shut; when the sound of the mill is faint,
when the voice of the bird is silenced, and song notes are stilled,
when to go uphill is an ordeal
and a walk is something to dread.

Yet the almond tree is in flower, the grasshopper is heavy with food and the caper bush bears its fruit,

while man goes to his everlasting home. And the mourners are already walking to and fro in the street

before the silver cord has snapped,
or the golden lamp been broken,
or the pitcher shattered at the spring,
or the pulley cracked at the well,

or before the dust returns to the earth as it once came from it, and the breath to God who gave it.
   
Vanity of vanities, the Preacher says. All is vanity.

Gospel Luke 9:43-45

They were afraid to ask him what he meant

At a time when everyone was full of admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘For your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: “The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.”’ But they did not understand him when he said this; it was hidden from them so that they should not see the meaning of it, and they were afraid to ask him about what he had just said.


All we need is Christ!

In good times and in bad,
In sickness and in health,
In moments of difficulty, trials and tribulations,
In our victories and successes,

In our infancy and in our old age,
In times of falling into temptations and sin,
In making life choices and tough decisions,
In our joys and in our sorrows.

All we need is Christ!

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ, saviour of the world; who is with us, His faithful every moment of our lives. And so whether we live or die, we do so in Your time and prayerfully through Your Son’s grace. Amen

First reading
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 ·
There is a time for every occupation under heaven

There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven:

A time for giving birth,
    a time for dying;
    a time for planting,
    a time for uprooting what has been planted.

A time for killing,
Q    a time for healing;
    a time for knocking down,
    a time for building.

A time for tears,
    a time for laughter;
    a time for mourning,
    a time for dancing.

A time for throwing stones away,
    a time for gathering them up;
    a time for embracing,
    a time to refrain from embracing.

A time for searching,
    a time for losing;
    a time for keeping,
    a time for throwing away.

A time for tearing,
    a time for sewing;
    a time for keeping silent,
    a time for speaking.

A time for loving,
    a time for hating;
    a time for war,
    a time for peace.

What does a man gain for the efforts that he makes? I contemplate the task that God gives mankind to labour at. All that he does is apt for its time; but though he has permitted man to consider time in its wholeness, man cannot comprehend the work of God from beginning to end.

Gospel
Luke 9:18-22
‘You are the Christ of God’

One day when Jesus was praying alone in the presence of his disciples he put this question to them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ And they answered, ‘John the Baptist; others Elijah; and others say one of the ancient prophets come back to life.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up. ‘The Christ of God’ he said. But he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.
    ‘The Son of Man’ he said ‘is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Did St John the Baptist perform some miracles if not any at all? What did he do so similar to what Jesus was doing that he was thought to have risen from the dead?

The real question for me to reflect on today is how can I bring the presence of the Lord to others? The people looked upon John the Baptist as a righteous man after God’s heart after all he brought many back to be reconciled with God our Father through their repentance. In essence it was he who gave direction to the Way, the Truth and the Life; the lamb of God, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! People as we know it, remember how we make them feel rather that what we do. So will folks feel the love of God and His presence through me?  If I am remembered at all let it not be for vanity in thinking that it was of my own doing but that I had glorified my Lord through my life lived in His love and grace serving my brethren. Amen

First reading
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 ·
Nothing is new and all is vanity

Vanity of vanities, the Preacher says. Vanity of vanities. All is vanity! For all his toil, his toil under the sun, what does man gain by it?
    A generation goes, a generation comes, yet the earth stands firm for ever. The sun rises, the sun sets; then to its place it speeds and there it rises. Southward goes the wind, then turns to the north; it turns and turns again; back then to its circling goes the wind. Into the sea all the rivers go, and yet the sea is never filled, and still to their goal the rivers go. All things are wearisome. No man can say that eyes have not had enough of seeing, ears their fill of hearing. What was will be again; what has been done will be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun. Take anything of which it may be said, ‘Look now, this is new.’ Already, long before our time, it existed. Only no memory remains of earlier times, just as in times to come next year itself will not be remembered.

Gospel
Luke 9:7-9
‘John? I beheaded him; so who is this?’

Herod the tetrarch had heard about all that was being done by Jesus; and he was puzzled, because some people were saying that John had risen from the dead, others that Elijah had reappeared, still others that one of the ancient prophets had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘John? I beheaded him. So who is this I hear such reports about?’ And he was anxious to see Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 23, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As I journey onward Lord as Your disciple. May this day and everyday be Yours as I strive to glorify You through Your Word and Will for me. I surrender everything I have to You, even the baggage that I carry that weighs me down from living fully in Your light. Cleanse me of my sins and protect me from all evil seeking to ruin my soul. Let me sing praises of Your great love, such that all who do not yet know You, will want to learn more about You. By my actions in Your love, may it lead them into a personal relationship with you. Amen

St Pio pray for us…

First reading
Proverbs 30:5-9
Give me neither riches nor poverty, only my share

Every word of God is unalloyed, he is the shield of those who take refuge in him.
To his words make no addition, lest he reprove you and know you for a fraud.

Two things I beg of you, do not grudge me them before I die: keep falsehood and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of bread to eat, for fear that surrounded by plenty, I should fall away and say, ‘the Lord – who is the Lord?’
or else, in destitution, take to stealing and profane the name of my God.


Gospel
Luke 9:1-6
‘Take nothing for the journey’

Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and let none of you take a spare tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave, let it be from there. As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere.


We will remain Sunday Catholics if we do not allow the Eucharistic Celebration to change us from within. For every Eucharistic Celebration, whether it on a weekday or weekend, is a gift from the Lord our God to draw us ever closer to Him. That is why it is a thanksgiving celebration of His great love for us. His ever living, life giving Word is proclaimed and as we listen intently our hearts, minds and souls fall into His loving embrace as we are nurtured. Then He feeds us of Himself, body, blood, soul and divinity. We are renewed, strengthened, fortified against all evil. Therefore every Eucharistic Celebration is an opportunity for us to change and to be more and more like Him, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

If we are not changed in the least then it is due to our own stubborness, our hardness of heart. Having heard His Word we have refused to take concrete actions to live out His Word and Will for us in our lives. We are essentially turning our backs to Holy Communion with Him. How then can we claim that our worship of Him is not one of lip service?

Lord Jesus, may Your Word be on my mind, in my heart and in my actions always. Amen

First reading
Proverbs 21:1-6,10-13
On wickedness and virtue

Like flowing water is the heart of the king in the hand of the Lord, who turns it where he pleases.

A man’s conduct may strike him as upright, the Lord, however, weighs the heart.

To act virtuously and with justice is more pleasing to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughty eye, proud heart, lamp of the wicked, nothing but sin.

The hardworking man is thoughtful, and all is gain;too much haste, and all that comes of it is want.

To make a fortune with the help of a lying tongue,such the idle fantasy of those who look for death.

The wicked man’s soul is intent on evil, he looks on his neighbour with dislike.

When a mocker is punished, the ignorant man grows wiser,when a wise man is instructed he acquires more knowledge.

The Just One watches the house of the wicked: he hurls the wicked to destruction.

He who shuts his ear to the poor man’s cry shall himself plead and not be heard.

Gospel
Luke 8:19-21
‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God’

The mother and the brothers of Jesus came looking for him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you.’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 21, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Why is it far easier to lose our temper and lash out? Instead of being patient and gentle? To be selfish instead of charitable? Why do we make some progress then fallback into old habits? Perhaps the answer lies in how immature we are in our faith and so what follows are our immature actions!

For many of us would have learnt by now, that if we want something badly enough then by working hard for it through determination and discipline we will achieve what we set our hearts upon. The virtues after the heart of Christ that we seek are no different. We need to work at growing in our faith through dwelling on our Lord’s Word, making time to be in His presence through prayer and striving hard to exercise love and mercy in all our interactions with others. And we can surely prevail because we do so Not with our own strengths. It is our loving Lord that seeks us sinners out and through our desire to follow Him, His redeeming grace is upon us. Through Him we are perfected and, made whole. One Body In Him.

Praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

St Matthew pray for us…

First reading
Ephesians 4:1-7,11-13 ·
We are all to come to unity, fully mature in the knowledge of the Son of God

I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.
    Each one of us, however, has been given his own share of grace, given as allotted it. To some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.


Gospel
Matthew 9:9-13
It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick

As Jesus was walking on, he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
    While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’


Following yesterday’s reflection on death and new life in Christ; St Paul through the grace of our Lord and the Holy Spirit gives us a wonderful, keen insight on how and what it will be like for us in our resurrected form. Just as how it is like for him and all the saints in Heaven. And by our faith we know this to be true for through our baptism the Holy Spirit has awakened in us the new birth of life in Him. We no longer see just with our eyes or hear just with our ears. And the peace, love and joy that we have comes not from this world but through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

So today the question for us is, are we then living in the Spirit that has been outpoured in us? How can we say that we are, if we do not spend time daily reflecting on His Word for us? If we do not cherish His Word by living it out daily in our lives? If we do not constantly struggle and fight to resist all evil and temptation? If the gifts we have been given are not used for the good of others?

For if we are living in the Spirit as we should then we will see the gifts we had been given bear fruit. For others will see and experience the joy of our Lord through the work of our hands. We will always discover new and wonderful gifts we can use for His glory. Our reward is simply the joy of living in the Spirit in His presence. Amen!

First reading
1 Corinthians 15:35-37,42-49 ·
The resurrected body is heavenly by nature

Someone may ask, ‘How are dead people raised, and what sort of body do they have when they come back?’ They are stupid questions. Whatever you sow in the ground has to die before it is given new life and the thing that you sow is not what is going to come; you sow a bare grain, say of wheat or something like that. It is the same with the resurrection of the dead: the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit.
    If the soul has its own embodiment, so does the spirit have its own embodiment. The first man, Adam, as scripture says, became a living soul; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. That is, first the one with the soul, not the spirit, and after that, the one with the spirit. The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven. As this earthly man was, so are we on earth; and as the heavenly man is, so are we in heaven. And we, who have been modelled on the earthly man, will be modelled on the heavenly man.


Gospel
Luke 8:4-15
The parable of the sower

With a large crowd gathering and people from every town finding their way to him, Jesus used this parable:
    ‘A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture. Some seed fell amongst thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.’ Saying this he cried, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’
    His disciples asked him what this parable might mean, and he said, ‘The mysteries of the kingdom of God are revealed to you; for the rest there are only parables, so that they may see but not perceive, listen but not understand.

‘This, then, is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God. Those on the edge of the path are people who have heard it, and then the devil comes and carries away the word from their hearts in case they should believe and be saved. Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up. As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and do not reach maturity. As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.’


First and Last: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Isaiah 55:6–9
Psalm 145:2–3, 8–9, 17–18
Philippians 1:20–24, 27
Matthew 20:1–16

 

The house of Israel is the vine of God, who planted and watered it, preparing the Israelites to bear fruits of righteousness (see Isaiah 5:7; 27:2–5).

Israel failed to yield good fruits and the Lord allowed His vineyard, Israel’s kingdom, to be overrun by conquerors (see Psalm 80:9–20). But God promised that one day He would replant His vineyard and its shoots would blossom to the ends of the earth (see Amos 9:15; Hosea 14:5–10).

This is the biblical backdrop to Jesus’ parable of salvation history in today’s Gospel. The landowner is God. The vineyard is the kingdom. The workers hired at dawn are the Israelites, to whom He first offered His covenant. Those hired later in the day are the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, who, until the coming of Christ, were strangers to the covenants of promise (see Ephesians 2:11–13). In the Lord’s great generosity, the same wages, the same blessings promised to the first-called, the Israelites, will be paid to those called last, the rest of the nations.

This provokes grumbling in today’s parable. Doesn’t the complaint of those first laborers sound like that of the older brother in Jesus’ prodigal son parable (see Luke 15:29–30)? God’s ways, however, are far from our ways, as we hear in today’s First Reading. And today’s readings should caution us against the temptation to resent God’s lavish mercy.

Like the Gentiles, many will be allowed to enter the kingdom late—after having spent most of their days idling in sin.

But even these can call upon Him and find Him near, as we sing in today’s Psalm. We should rejoice that God has compassion on all whom He has created. This should console us, too, especially if we have loved ones who remain far from the vineyard.

Our task is to continue laboring in His vineyard. As Paul says in today’s Epistle, let us conduct ourselves worthily, struggling to bring all men and women to the praise of His name.


The idea of dying can send many into having panic attacks. Why? Because we have never experienced it for ourselves and so have many unanswered questions. Such as, is it really the end? Do we disappear into nothingness? All memories of our existence gone forever?  What will happen to our loved ones? Therefore the idea of death alone pains us.

We Christians have the answer and it lies in the truth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For indeed by His resurrection Christ has redeemed the world from eternal death. Through our faith in our resurrected Lord we have hope for eternal life with Him. So together with St Paul and with conviction we declare “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” and like the Saints who have gone ahead we too can die with peace and joy in our hearts in knowing we will rise again with Him.

Today we pause, reflect and remember the many women who have walked and those who are still walking in the presence of our Lord. Whose dedication to follow in His footsteps by their own lives have inspired us to do likewise. I have been blessed to know such women in my life including my own mother.

Blessed Mother Queen of Heaven we consecrate all these women after your own heart through you, to Your Son Jesus our Lord. Amen

First reading
1 Corinthians 15:12-20 ·
If Christ has not been raised, your belief is useless

Now if Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ himself cannot have been raised, and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless and your believing it is useless; indeed, we are shown up as witnesses who have committed perjury before God, because we swore in evidence before God that he had raised Christ to life. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. And what is more serious, all who have died in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people.
    But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.


Gospel
Luke 8:1-3
The women who accompanied Jesus

Jesus made his way through towns and villages preaching, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments: Mary surnamed the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and several others who provided for them out of their own resources.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 17, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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When others look upon us what will they see? Will they see us living in the joy of the Resurrected Lord whom we profess to believe in and follow? Will they be curious, even eager to find out secret for the hope that we carry within us? Or will they see us just like they see themselves, simply trying to get by each day. Some even bickering, criticising and finding fault with others just as they might do. Can others see our true self each and every time from up close or afar? Or does duality exist within us and they see only what we want them to see?

To be able to live in the joy of our Lord’s resurrection we must first have a heart of gratitude. That is to remember that we have been forgiven our many sins and it is only through the love and grace of Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we have been redeemed. Through Him we are able to live life fully in His love. We have joy because we carry the peace and love of our Lord within us.  And so are we humble before the presence of our Lord to get down on our knees to welcome Him, anoint and wash His feet; by our deeds of love and mercy for our brethren?

Guide me Lord to live in Your light always! Glory and praise be Yours now and forever. Amen

First reading
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 ·
I preached what the others preach, and you all believed

Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.
    Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.
    I am the least of the apostles; in fact, since I persecuted the Church of God, I hardly deserve the name apostle; but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless. On the contrary, I, or rather the grace of God that is with me, have worked harder than any of the others; but what matters is that I preach what they preach, and this is what you all believed.


Gospel
Luke 7:36-50
Her many sins have been forgiven, or she would not have shown such great love

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table, a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.
    When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is that is touching him and what a bad name she has.’ Then Jesus took him up and said, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Speak, Master’ was the reply. ‘There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who was pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’
    Then he turned to the woman. ‘Simon,’ he said ‘you see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love. It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 16, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Once again it is time for us to reflect on our lives. Are we living our lives in the light of our resurrected Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? Have we matured in our faith? Is our hope in the life that awaits us strong? Have we grown deep in our love for brethren and for our Lord such that it is our inner most desire to glorify Him with all that we say and do?

We are all aging and sooner than we think, the window to do all that we plan in our minds and in our time closes. Even then we do not know if tomorrow will come for us. And so if we die today, are we more concerned about who will remember us in this world for all that we have done and how we have lived? Or is it more important that we are remembered in Heaven for being found worthy of the rewards of eternal life through the promises of Christ.

Lord Jesus forgive me my shortcomings and indiscretions. Purify my thoughts, words, actions and grant me an ardent desire to always do Your will. That I may one day be remembered as a witness to Your love. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

The supremacy of charityBe ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them. If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me. Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known. In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.

Gospel

Luke 7:31-35

‘We played the pipes, and you wouldn’t dance’Jesus said to the people: ‘What description can I find for the men of this generation? What are they like? They are like children shouting to one another while they sit in the market-place:‘“We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t cry.”‘For John the Baptist comes, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man comes, eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet Wisdom has been proved right by all her children.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 15, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Do we recognize the great blessing of the various spiritual gifts that has been outpoured on all of us baptised? Instead of being envious of one another do we praise and thank God by affirming one another’s gifts? That is being used for us all and to glorify the Lord our God. We should do well to respect the dignity of all our individual calling for every one of us was called by Him to serve Him and one another in His love. Moreover we cannot say we are lacking in anything, for He qualifies and equips all He has called. Eventually we begin to realise that in our desire to do His Will, more and more gifts have been bestowed upon for He has said, “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.”Today we remember as well, the great gift that was given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is the gift of His mother and now ours. Our Blessed mother who stood by Him to the very end will do likewise for us. Hail mary full of grace…… AmenOur Lady of Sorrows pray for us….

First reading

1 Corinthians 12:12-14,27-31 ·
You together are Christ’s body: each of you a different partJust as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.
    Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its many parts. Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it. In the Church, God has given the first place to apostles, the second to prophets, the third to teachers; after them, miracles, and after them the gift of healing; helpers, good leaders, those with many languages. Are all of them apostles, or all of them prophets, or all of them teachers? Do they all have the gift of miracles, or all have the gift of healing? Do all speak strange languages, and all interpret them? Be ambitious for the higher gifts.

Gospel

John 19:25-27
‘Woman, this is your son’Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.


What are the fiery serpents in our lives? Following yesterday’s first reading and Gospel, is unforgiveness not a fiery serpent which is a result of anger and resentment put together? Is giving in to sexual temptation and desires not a fiery serpent? Is gossiping not a fiery serpent? Is speaking ill of our priests not a fiery serpent? All these fiery serpents and more are what bites us and leads us to our death!

Let us look upon Jesus who was lifted high upon the cross to save us from death through our many sins. Far better that we look upon Him even before the fiery serpents come any closer. For by placing our faith and hope in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ; we are redeemed, protected, sanctified and free to live in His great love and mercy. Amen

We adore You O Christ and we praise You. Because by Your Holy cross, You have redeemed the World. Amen

First reading

Numbers 21:4-9 ·If anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked up at the bronze serpent and livedOn the way through the wilderness the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’ At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

Gospel

John 3:13-17God sent his Son so that through him the world might be savedJesus said to Nicodemus:‘No one has gone up to heavenexcept the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven; and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lostbut may have eternal life.For God sent his Son into the worldnot to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.’

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 12, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The Debt We Owe: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Sirach 27:30–28:7
Psalm 103:1–4, 9–12
Romans 14:7–9
Matthew 18:21–35

Mercy and forgiveness should be at the heart of the Christian life.

Yet, as today’s First Reading wisely reminds us, often we cherish our wrath, nourish our anger, refuse mercy to those who have done us wrong. Jesus, too, strikes close to home in today’s Gospel with His realistic portrayal of the wicked servant who won’t forgive a fellow servant’s debt, even though his own slate has just been wiped clean by their master.

It can’t be this way in the kingdom, the Church. In the Old Testament, seven is frequently a number associated with mercy and the forgiveness of sins. The just man sins seven times daily; there is a sevenfold sprinking of blood for atonement of sins (see Proverbs 24:6; Leviticus 16). But Jesus tells Peter today that we must forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven times. That means: every time.

We are to be merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful (see Luke 6:36; Matthew 5:48). But why? Why does Jesus repeatedly warn that we can’t expect forgiveness for our trespasses unless we’re willing to forgive others their trespasses against us?

Because, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle, we are the Lord’s. Each of us has been purchased by the blood of Christ shed for us on the Cross (see Revelation 5:9). As we sing in today’s Psalm, though we deserved to die for our sins, He doesn’t deal with us according to our crimes. The mercy and forgiveness we show to others should be the heartfelt expression of our gratitude for the mercy and forgiveness shown to us.

This is why we should remember our last days, set our enmities aside, and stop judging others. We know that one day we will stand before the judgment seat and give account for what we’ve done with the new life given to us by Christ (see Romans 14:10, 12).

So we forgive each other from the heart, overlook each other’s faults, and await the crown of His kindness and compassion.