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, a 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
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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.


We cannot appreciate the richness of today’s Gospel if we possess no genuine love for brethren let alone for our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. For many today love of brethren is shallow if not, then one of lip service. Yet do they not still call out Lord, Lord? Blood is thicker than water they declare! Really? Have they forgotten how it was through the waters of Baptism that they entered into sonship and daughterhood of God our Heavenly Father? That we are all His children and belong to Him. Through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ we enter into full communion with Him and with one another. So then, how can our love for our brethren be any less than our claim of love for the Lord our God?

The answer to loving our brethren the way we should is to be found upon the foundation of our very own personal relationship with Jesus our Lord. By choosing always to follow His Will for us even though we might encounter challenges and hardships; we have the blessed assurance of His presence. His peace, love and grace will never leave us as we continue to love and to serve Him; and our brethren with joy in our hearts. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 10:14-22 ·We are a single body because we all share the one breadMy dear brothers, you must keep clear of idolatry. I say to you as sensible people: judge for yourselves what I am saying. The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf. Look at the other Israel, the race, where those who eat the sacrifices are in communion with the altar. Does this mean that the food sacrificed to idols has a real value, or that the idol itself is real? Not at all. It simply means that the sacrifices that they offer they sacrifice to demons who are not God. I have no desire to see you in communion with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take your share at the table of the Lord and at the table of demons. Do we want to make the Lord angry; are we stronger than he is?

Gospel

Luke 6:43-49Whoever hears me builds his house on a rockJesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. For every tree can be told by its own fruit: people do not pick figs from thorns, nor gather grapes from brambles. A good man draws what is good from the store of goodness in his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness. For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart. ‘Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and not do what I say? ‘Everyone who comes to me and listens to my words and acts on them – I will show you what he is like. He is like the man who when he built his house dug, and dug deep, and laid the foundations on rock; when the river was in flood it bore down on that house but could not shake it, it was so well built. But the one who listens and does nothing is like the man who built his house on soil, with no foundations: as soon as the river bore down on it, it collapsed; and what a ruin that house became!’


Once I used to attend formation talks, retreats and would often see a fellow parishioner attending the very same ones. I thought to myself how can he attend, listen intently and not change? How could he continue to act all ‘holy’ and yet be so critical of others? Did he think that all the stuff he picked up at the retreats and formation was to guide someone else lesser than him? I will pray that the Lord open his eyes to see!

How did I neglect to see that he my fellow parishioner was my brother in Christ? How blind was I? How prideful? How did I fail to recognise the PLANK in my very own eyes? Had I thought that deep down, the word of God I was reflecting on daily was meant to be shared for everyone else’s sake? Had I subconsciously rejected the hardships of living the word in my own life?

St Paul reminds me today that we are all in a race to the finish! That is to our Heavenly destination. If my brother or sister is humble then I must strive harder to be more humble, by laying down my pride more and carrying my cross for my Lord more. If they are loving I must strive to more loving and so on. NO it is not about being in competition; but rather about encouraging one another to do better, to be better by the way we live our very own lives through Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-27We go into strict training, like fighters at the gamesI do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it, but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands. Do you know what my reward is? It is this: in my preaching, to be able to offer the Good News free, and not insist on the rights which the gospel gives me. So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. I made myself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost; and I still do this, for the sake of the gospel, to have a share in its blessings. All the runners at the stadium are trying to win, but only one of them gets the prize. You must run in the same way, meaning to win. All the fighters at the games go into strict training; they do this just to win a wreath that will wither away, but we do it for a wreath that will never wither. That is how I run, intent on winning; that is how I fight, not beating the air. I treat my body hard and make it obey me, for, having been an announcer myself, I should not want to be disqualified.

Gospel

Luke 6:39-42Can the blind lead the blind?Jesus told a parable to the disciples: ‘Can one blind man guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit? The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,” when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 10, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Yes love the sinners not the sins indeed; but lead them with great patience, gradually back to the bosom of the Lord our God. Otherwise we risk losing their souls to greater sin unwittingly perhaps, by our very own unloving thoughts and actions.

Today we hear our call to love beyond human rationale, wisdom and understanding. To love one another with the love of God!

How then can we comprehend the love of the Lord our God for us? That our Lord Jesus Christ suffered injustice grievously for our sake. He was blameless, without sin yet took upon Himself the heavy burden of our sins in the World, so that we might walk blameless in His love. What pain or struggle do we have that can ever compare to His? Let us strive therefore ato repay the debt of His love for us through our debt of mutual love for one another. As we live out our call to love another with an extraordinary love that is to be found with and in Him. To be compassionate as our Heavenly Father is compassionate. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 8:1-7,11-13 ·Your brethren may be weaker than you: do not lead them astrayNow about food sacrificed to idols. ‘We all have knowledge’; yes, that is so, but knowledge gives self-importance – it is love that makes the building grow. A man may imagine he understands something, but still not understand anything in the way that he ought to. But any man who loves God is known by him. Well then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: we know that idols do not really exist in the world and that there is no god but the One. And even if there were things called gods, either in the sky or on earth – where there certainly seem to be ‘gods’ and ‘lords’ in plenty – still for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things come and for whom we exist; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things come and through whom we exist. Some people, however, do not have this knowledge. There are some who have been so long used to idols that they eat this food as though it really had been sacrificed to the idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled by it. In this way your knowledge could become the ruin of someone weak, of a brother for whom Christ died. By sinning in this way against your brothers, and injuring their weak consciences, it would be Christ against whom you sinned. That is why, since food can be the occasion of my brother’s downfall, I shall never eat meat again in case I am the cause of a brother’s downfall.

Gospel

Luke 6:27-38Love your enemiesJesus said to his disciples: ‘I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

We have to work hard to make a living so that we can provide for ourselves and for our loved ones. On top of that, all of us Christians have a higher calling and that is to glorify the Lord our God by our lives. To live not just for ourselves but for love of one another. And so all of us have different gifts and talents, which when used together for the single purpose of glorifying the Lord our God we become more than the sum of ourselves through Him!

We understand more fully what was said, “And now something greater than Solomon is here, and now One greater than Jonah is here.” This happens when we live in His presence uniting ourselves with source of life itself, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! The world as we know it is passing away indeed, but His Word will never pass away. And so we journey on in our struggles, but in the hope that awaits us; by living in His love now and forever. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 7:25-31 ·The world as we know it is passing awayAbout remaining celibate, I have no directions from the Lord but give my own opinion as one who, by the Lord’s mercy, has stayed faithful. Well then, I believe that in these present times of stress this is right: that it is good for a man to stay as he is. If you are tied to a wife, do not look for freedom; if you are free of a wife, then do not look for one. But if you marry, it is no sin, and it is not a sin for a young girl to get married. They will have their troubles, though, in their married life, and I should like to spare you that. Brothers, this is what I mean: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

Gospel

Luke 6:20-26Happy are you who are poor, who are hungry, who weepFixing his eyes on his disciples Jesus said:‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.‘But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.‘Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’


Dearest Blessed Mother,

As Holy mother Church celebrates your birthday, we call to mind that you were the Lord our God’s specially chosen one. To bring to fruition His great love for us His children, through the Incarnation of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

You lived your life with grace, dignity and with such joy of the Lord in your heart; That we often forget that you too had to endure bitter struggles, pain and sorrow which you carried in your heart.

Today O dearest mother, through your loving intercession may our eyes be opened to see and live our lives through yours. To know deep in our hearts that we too are specially chosen and loved tenderly by our ever loving Father in Heaven. As we go forth glorifying Him by our lives, by uniting our will fully to His Will for us. This and everyday, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Micah 5:1-4 ·He will stand and feed his flock with the power of the LordThe Lord says this:But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel; his origin goes back to the distant past, to the days of old.The Lord is therefore going to abandon them till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.Then the remnant of his brothers will come back to the sons of Israel.He will stand and feed his flock with the power of the Lord, with the majesty of the name of his God.They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power to the ends of the land. He himself will be peace.

Gospel

Matthew 1:1-16,18-23The ancestry and conception of Jesus ChristA genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:Abraham was the father of Isaac,Isaac the father of Jacob,Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,Perez was the father of Hezron,Hezron the father of Ram,Ram was the father of Amminadab,Amminadab the father of Nahshon,Nahshon the father of Salmon,Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,Obed was the father of Jesse;and Jesse was the father of King David.David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,Joram the father of Azariah,Azariah was the father of Jotham,Jotham the father of Ahaz,Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,Manasseh the father of Amon,Amon the father of Josiah;and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.Then the deportation to Babylon took place.After the deportation to Babylon:Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,Abiud the father of Eliakim,Eliakim the father of Azor,Azor was the father of Zadok,Zadok the father of Achim,Achim the father of Eliud,Eliud was the father of Eleazar,Eleazar the father of Matthan,Matthan the father of Jacob;and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’


We cannot be impartial to sin and sinfulness in all its forms. We are responsible for one another’s soul just as we are our very own. If we do not see and understand this, then we do not yet know what it means to be One in communion with Christ Jesus our Lord! For any one person’s tiny sin is like a little drop of black ink in a glass of water. It spreads and taints the whole of the water in the glass. When the community comes together to pray and intervene in Jesus’s name it is like tainted water passing through membrane; through this filtration process, the water becomes pure again.

There is no ‘right’ time and place to do good whether individually or collectively. We must strive at all times and at every opportunity to be merciful, loving, to save souls. This must be the good that we do in Jesus’s name. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 5:1-8 ·

Get rid of the old yeast of evil and wickedness

I have been told as an undoubted fact that one of you is living with his father’s wife. This is a case of sexual immorality among you that must be unparalleled even among pagans. How can you be so proud of yourselves? You should be in mourning. A man who does a thing like that ought to have been expelled from the community. Though I am far away in body, I am with you in spirit, and have already condemned the man who did this thing as if I were actually present. When you are assembled together in the name of the Lord Jesus, and I am spiritually present with you, then with the power of our Lord Jesus he is to be handed over to Satan so that his sensual body may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

The pride that you take in yourselves is hardly to your credit. You must know how even a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough, so get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Gospel

Luke 6:6-11

Is it against the law on the sabbath to save life?

On the sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure a man on the sabbath, hoping to find something to use against him. But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up! Come out into the middle.’ And he came out and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I put it to you: is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?’ Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was better. But they were furious, and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 5, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

To Win Them Back: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Ezekiel 33:7–9
Psalm 95:1–2, 6–9
Romans 13:8–10
Matthew 18:15–20

As Ezekiel is appointed watchman over the house of Israel in today’s first Reading, so Jesus in the Gospel today establishes His disciples as guardians of the new Israel of God, the Church (see Galatians 6:16).

He also puts in place procedures for dealing with sin and breaches of the faith, building on rules of discipline prescribed by Moses for Israel (see Leviticus 19:17–20; Deuteronomy 19:13).

The heads of the new Israel, however, receive extraordinary powers—similar to those given to Peter (see Matthew 16:19). They have the power to bind and loose, to forgive sins and to reconcile sinners in His name (see John 20:21–23).

But the powers He gives the Apostles and their successors depends on their communion with Him. As Ezekiel is only to teach what he hears God saying, the disciples are to gather in His name and to pray and seek the will of our heavenly Father.

But today’s readings are more than a lesson in Church order. They also suggest how we’re to deal with those who trespass against us, a theme that we’ll hear in next week’s readings as well.

Notice that both the Gospel and the First Reading presume that believers have a duty to correct sinners in our midst. Ezekiel is even told that he will be held accountable for their souls if he fails to speak out and try to correct them.
This is the love that Paul in today’s Epistle says we owe to our neighbors. To love our neighbors as ourselves is to be vitally concerned for their salvation. We must make every effort, as Jesus says, to win our brothers and sisters back, to turn them from the false paths.
We should never correct out of anger or a desire to punish. Instead, our message must be that of today’s Psalm—urging the sinner to hear God’s voice, not to harden their hearts, and to remember that He is the one who made us, and the rock of our salvation.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 5, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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‘When we are cursed, we answer with a blessing’

Wait what? Why? This might only be possible for those who are holy moly! Like if I were an Apostle or the Pope!If we have thoughts like this can we truly call ourselves Christian? Are we only Sunday Catholic Christians? Even then who is this Lord we claim to worship on Sundays? Did we forget that by our baptism we are called to be holy (saints) as our Heavenly Father is Holy? Did we also forget that by our confirmation we are sent (apostles) to share in the good news of the Lord our God? Do we even know what the Good News is and do we dwell in it? If you still don’t know what it is then you have not come to the deeper realisation that it is not an ‘it’ but ‘whom’!

Who can ever be more humble, merciful and loving then the Lord our Lord Jesus Christ; whom we claim to serve who is Lord of Lords, King of Kings? He whom humbled himself for love of us took on flesh, who was mocked, cursed, spat upon, tortured, stripped of everything and nailed on the cross. Yet He forgave us from the cross! When He turned His eyes to Heaven and said, “Father forgive them for they not what they do.”

Lord Jesus through Your death and the power of Your Resurrection let me turn all curses into Blessings in Your most precious name. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 4:6-15 ·What do you have that was not given to you?Take Apollos and myself as an example and remember the maxim: ‘Keep to what is written.’ It is not for you, so full of your own importance, to go taking sides for one man against another. In any case, brother, has anybody given you some special right? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given, how can you boast as though it were not? Is it that you have everything you want – that you are rich already, in possession of your kingdom, with us left outside? Indeed I wish you were really kings, and we could be kings with you! But instead, it seems to me, God has put us apostles at the end of his parade, with the men sentenced to death; it is true – we have been put on show in front of the whole universe, angels as well as men. Here we are, fools for the sake of Christ, while you are the learned men in Christ; we have no power, but you are influential; you are celebrities, we are nobodies. To this day, we go without food and drink and clothes; we are beaten and have no homes; we work for our living with our own hands. When we are cursed, we answer with a blessing; when we are hounded, we put up with it; we are insulted and we answer politely. We are treated as the offal of the world, still to this day, the scum of the earth. I am saying all this not just to make you ashamed but to bring you, as my dearest children, to your senses. You might have thousands of guardians in Christ, but not more than one father and it was I who begot you in Christ Jesus by preaching the Good News.

Gospel

Luke 6:1-5The Son of Man is master of the sabbathOne sabbath Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples were picking ears of corn, rubbing them in their hands and eating them. Some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath day?’ Jesus answered them, ‘So you have not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry how he went into the house of God, took the loaves of offering and ate them and gave them to his followers, loaves which only the priests are allowed to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 4, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Many of us baptized Christians fail to realise that having been baptized we have been inserted into the life, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence we have become stewards of God’s kingdom and for one another. It is our call therefore to faithfully love, serve the Lord our God
God and one another in holiness. Will we be found worthy of our Lord’s trust? Have we dwelled in and shared in His mysteries that had been entrusted to us?Are we therefore faithful to His living Word, listening to His voice to teach and show us new ways in reaching out to others in His love? Do we keep faith and hold fast to the traditions of Holy mother Church who through the guidance of the Holy Spirit has kept our faith alive and active through the seasons, through the ages and through to the hope filled future that awaits us. We therefore fast when it is time to fast and feast when it is time to feast all in our Lord’s good time. For through Advent we rejoice at Christmas, through Lent with rejoice at Easter. All glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 ·The Lord alone is our judgePeople must think of us as Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. What is expected of stewards is that each one should be found worthy of his trust. Not that it makes the slightest difference to me whether you, or indeed any human tribunal, find me worthy or not. I will not even pass judgement on myself. True, my conscience does not reproach me at all, but that does not prove that I am acquitted: the Lord alone is my judge. There must be no passing of premature judgement. Leave that until the Lord comes; he will light up all that is hidden in the dark and reveal the secret intentions of men’s hearts. Then will be the time for each one to have whatever praise he deserves, from God.

Gospel

Luke 5:33-39When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fastThe Pharisees and the scribes said to Jesus, ‘John’s disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees too, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely you cannot make the bridegroom’s attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come, the time for the bridegroom to be taken away from them; that will be the time when they will fast.’ He also told them this parable, ‘No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; if he does, not only will he have torn the new one, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old. ‘And nobody puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and then run out, and the skins will be lost. No; new wine must be put into fresh skins. And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. “The old is good” he says.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 3, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In all areas of our lives, have we finally accepted and embraced the fact that the Lord our God is the only one who knows, wants and will provide what is best for us. And not just for us but for all of God our Heavenly Father’s children. He gives and provides us with all that is necessary for us to help one another on the journey to eternal bliss with Him.

We are wiser, kinder, more merciful and loving in as much as we do for our brethren through the love, wisdom, kindness and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord guide me, that I may lead those finding their way and lost souls back to You. Amen

St Gregory the Great pray for us…

First reading

1 Corinthians 3:18-23 ·The wisdom of the world is foolishness to GodMake no mistake about it: if any one of you thinks of himself as wise, in the ordinary sense of the word, then he must learn to be a fool before he really can be wise. Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As scripture says: The Lord knows wise men’s thoughts: he knows how useless they are; or again: God is not convinced by the arguments of the wise. So there is nothing to boast about in anything human: Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.

Gospel

Luke 5:1-11They left everything and followed himJesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point. When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 2, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Do we compare priests one with another? Spiritual leaders? Church Ministry heads? Group leaders? Why do we do so if we know that the Lord our God is over all and above all in charge? So what if say a wonderful parish priest or Spiritual director is replaced with one who is less than perfect or not as good by our standards. Can the Lord our God not fill the gaps? Perhaps the gaps were created for us as a means to grow in our faith by filling them by our very own needed actions in cooperation with His grace. As St Paul mentions in today’s reading ‘We are fellow workers with God; you are God’s farm, God’s building.’ Therefore our focus must always be on the Lord our God, by growing in our spirituality through deepening our relationship with Him as we strive to build His Kingdom through His grace.

In coming together to build His Kingdom even though our Lord already knows what we need we can and should ask Him whether for ourselves or for others; and He will surely help us so that we can do so fully in His love, peace and joy.

Lord grant me the courage to proclaim the Good News of Your Kingdom to all. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 ·
Neither the planter nor the waterer matters, only God, who makes things growBrothers, I myself was unable to speak to you as people of the Spirit: I treated you as sensual men, still infants in Christ. What I fed you with was milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it; and indeed, you are still not ready for it since you are still unspiritual. Isn’t that obvious from all the jealousy and wrangling that there is among you, from the way that you go on behaving like ordinary people? What could be more unspiritual than your slogans, ‘I am for Paul’ and ‘I am for Apollos’?
After all, what is Apollos and what is Paul? They are servants who brought the faith to you. Even the different ways in which they brought it were assigned to them by the Lord. I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God made things grow. Neither the planter nor the waterer matters: only God, who makes things grow. It is all one who does the planting and who does the watering, and each will duly be paid according to his share in the work. We are fellow workers with God; you are God’s farm, God’s building.

Gospel

Luke 4:38-44
He would not allow them to speak because they knew he was the ChristLeaving the synagogue, Jesus went to Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. Leaning over her he rebuked the fever and it left her. And she immediately got up and began to wait on them.
At sunset all those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them. Devils too came out of many people, howling, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.
When daylight came he left the house and made his way to a lonely place. The crowds went to look for him, and when they had caught up with him they wanted to prevent him leaving them, but he answered, ‘I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.’ And he continued his preaching in the synagogues of Judaea.