On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 4, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Our loving Lord always calls us gently back to faithfulness. For He only desires what is best for us and that only happens when we enter into an intimate relationship with Him. We are able to live life to the full in Him.

However many a time due to our unfaithfulness we feel the life being drained out of us. We feel listless and spiritually dry and often peace of mind eludes. We need to examine our conscience and acknowledge that we have sinned; turn back swiftly to our Lord through penance and reconciliation otherwise we will surely head towards spiritual death. Prayerfully we have time to change our hearts before our ultimate end God willing.

Let us therefore, confidently turn to Jesus so that He can heal and restore us. So that we may once again become the saints we are called to be, Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. Amen

First reading

Hosea 2:16,17-18,21-22 ·

I will betroth you to myself and you will come to know the name of the Lord

It is the Lord who speaks:

I am going to lure her

and lead her out into the wilderness

and speak to her heart.

I am going to give her back her vineyards,

and make the Valley of Achor a gateway of hope.

There she will respond to me as she did when she was young,

as she did when she came out of the land of Egypt.

When that day comes – it is the Lord who speaks –

she will call me, ‘My husband’,

no longer will she call me, ‘My Baal.’

I will betroth you to myself for ever,

betroth you with integrity and justice,

with tenderness and love;

I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness,

and you will come to know the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 9:18-26

‘Your faith has restored you to health’

While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.

    When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.


Harvest Time: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

 

Readings:

Isaiah 66:10-14

Psalm 66:1-71620

Galatians 6:14-18

Luke 10:1-1217-20

Jesus has a vision in this week’s Gospel: Satan falling like lightning from the sky, the enemy vanquished by the missionary preaching of His Church.

Sent out by Jesus to begin gathering the nations into the harvest of divine judgment (see Isaiah 27:12–13; Joel 4:13), the seventy are a sign of the continuing mission of the Church.

Carrying out the work of the seventy, the Church proclaims the coming of God’s kingdom. She offers His blessings of peace and mercy to every household on earth, “every town and place He intended

to visit.”

Our Lord’s tone is solemn today, for in the preaching of the Church “the kingdom of God is at hand,” the time of decision has come for every person. Those who do not receive His messengers will be doomed like Sodom.

But those who believe will find peace and mercy, protection and nourishment in the bosom of the Church, the Mother Zion we celebrate in this week’s beautiful First Reading, the “Israel of God” Paul blesses in this week’s Epistle.

The Church is a new family of faith (see Galatians 6:10) in which we receive a new name that will endure forever (see Isaiah 66:22), a name written in heaven.

In this week’s Psalm, we sing of God’s “tremendous deeds among men” throughout salvation history. But of all the works of God, none has been greater than what He has wrought by the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Changing the sea into dry land was but an anticipation and preparation for our passing over, for what Paul calls the “new creation.” And as the Exodus generation was protected in a wilderness of serpents and scorpions (see Deuteronomy 8:15), He has given His Church power now over “the full force of the enemy.” Nothing will harm us as we make our way through the wilderness of this world, awaiting the Master of the harvest, awaiting the day when all on earth will shout joyfully to the Lord and sing praise to the glory of His name.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 2, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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When I had a profound encounter with the Lord through the Holy Spirit and had a new found desire to read His Word I turned to two seniors in the faith to guide me on where I should start. One was an elderly leader in the Charismatic movement who has passed on, and the other an established Catholic speaker invited to give us a talk in our Parish who has since left the Catholic Church to pursue his faith in some other Christian denomination. They both shared with conviction the exact same thing, “Don’t even bother with the Old Testament, just concentrate wholly on the New Testament which is more than enough!” Who was I to question these esteemed leaders of the faith? Still it unsettled me even then, for whether Old or New aren’t they both the inspired Word of God? Was I not meant to take their guidance literally? Was the guidance received taken out of context somehow?

Well as I grew deeper in love with Word of God, I find this statement holds true “The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.” A variation would be the “New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New” Both Old and New point us in the same direction and that is to the way, the truth and the life; Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who came to make all things new. To draw all of us unto Himself and to the heart of God our Heavenly Father.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

First reading

Amos 9:11-15 ·

I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel

It is the Lord who speaks:

‘That day I will re-erect the tottering hut of David,

make good the gaps in it, restore its ruins

and rebuild it as it was in the days of old,

so that they can conquer the remnant of Edom

and all the nations that belonged to me.’

It is the Lord who speaks, and he will carry this out.

‘The days are coming now – it is the Lord who speaks –

when harvest will follow directly after ploughing,

the treading of grapes soon after sowing,

when the mountains will run with new wine

and the hills all flow with it.

I mean to restore the fortunes of my people Israel;

they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them,

plant vineyards and drink their wine,

dig gardens and eat their produce.

I will plant them in their own country,

never to be rooted up again

out of the land I have given them,

says the Lord, your God.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:14-17

When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast

John’s disciples came to him and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunken cloth on to an old cloak, because the patch pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; if they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost. No; they put new wine into fresh skins and both are preserved.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 1, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We all know what happens when we do not hear the Lord our God speaking to us through His Word. For we have all experienced it at what point or another in our lives! When we chose our ways and our will over His and the choices we made caused our lives to spin out of control. Self indulgent lifestyles, doing as we please not caring about others or the results of our actions. There were other times when all seem quiet in our lives but there was no peace or love in our hearts!

Today as we have embraced the endemic phase many have decided to throw caution in the air to do as they please. Party, Party, Party! And so everyone will have to face the consequences. Where is the mercy within us for others?

Have we lost sight of Christ Jesus our Saviour? Is He still very much present in our lives? He had come for us sinners, to free us from the bondages of sin. So that we can live our lives to the full in His peace and love. Let us turn our hearts back to Him, so that we can hear His word and will for us once again. Let us pray the first few lines of Psalm 119 together….

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,

    who walk according to the law of the Lord.

2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes

    and seek him with all their heart—

3 they do no wrong

    but follow his ways.

4 You have laid down precepts

    that are to be fully obeyed.

5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast

    in obeying your decrees!

6 Then I would not be put to shame

    when I consider all your commands.

7 I will praise you with an upright heart

    as I learn your righteous laws.

8 I will obey your decrees;

    do not utterly forsake me.

Amen

First reading

Amos 8:4-6,9-12 ·

A famine not of bread, but of hearing the word of the Lord

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy

and try to suppress the poor people of the country,

you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over

so that we can sell our corn,

and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?

Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel,

by swindling and tampering with the scales,

we can buy up the poor for money,

and the needy for a pair of sandals,

and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’

That day – it is the Lord who speaks –

I will make the sun go down at noon,

and darken the earth in broad daylight.

I am going to turn your feasts into funerals,

all your singing into lamentation;

I will have your loins all in sackcloth,

your heads all shaved.

I will make it a mourning like the mourning for an only son,

as long as it lasts it will be like a day of bitterness.

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

days when I will bring famine on the country,

a famine not of bread, a drought not of water,

but of hearing the word of the Lord.

They will stagger from sea to sea,

wander from north to east,

seeking the word of the Lord

and failing to find it.

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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 30, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Have you gone for the sacrament of reconciliation? You should go for the Lord wants to take away your sins and set you free to live fully in His love. This is what we should be saying to our spouses, our children, family even close friends. And we should never reply to one another, “Mind your own business” or “It is between me and God, I will go when I am ready!” You see it is fundamental duty as Christians so safeguard and safe souls. We are called to be priest, prophets and kings for one another so as to lead everyone into the Kingdom of God our Heavenly Father.

Jesus You came to heal, forgive and set us free. Restore me Lord, that I may give You all the glory, in everything I say and do this and every day. Amen

First reading

Amos 7:10-17 ·

The Lord took me from herding the flock and sent me to prophesy

Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel as follows. ‘Amos is plotting against you in the heart of the House of Israel; the country can no longer tolerate what he keeps saying. For this is what he says, “Jeroboam is going to die by the sword, and Israel go into exile far from its country.”’ To Amos, Amaziah said, ‘Go away, seer;’ get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’ ‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was the Lord who took me from herding the flock, and the Lord who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” So listen to the word of the Lord.

‘You say:

‘“Do not prophesy against Israel,

utter no oracles against the House of Isaac.”

‘Very well, this is what the Lord says,

‘“Your wife will be forced to go on the streets,

your sons and daughters will fall by the sword,

your land be parcelled out by measuring line,

and you yourself die on unclean soil

and Israel will go into exile far distant from its own land.”’

Gospel

Matthew 9:1-8

‘Your sins are forgiven; get up and walk’

Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 29, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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On this Solemnity of St Peter and Paul, I call to mind how these two great and wonderful Saints had lived and died in the hope of rising with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. They gave their all for our Lord and by their faithfulness, obedience and love; He was ever present to the very end of their lives on earth and to the beginning of their new life in and with Him.

And as I recollect and dwell on how I have lived, I am ashamed! I have not been as faithful as I should be. I have given in to temptation and sin on countless occasions. I have not given my all to the Lord my God. Still I know my Lord Jesus loves me and so I will not take His love for me for granted. I will endeavour as both these great Saints have done, to fight the good fight to the end; and to run the race to the finish. Amen

Saints Peter and Paul pray for us… 

First reading

Acts 12:1-11 ·

‘Now I know the Lord really did save me from Herod’

King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.

    On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’

Second reading

2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18 ·

All there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

    The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 28, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus is the Lord of sea and sky what have we to fear? If we do fear perhaps the Lord seems to absent in our lives? Is He then fast asleep in our lives?

For in our own busyness we have chosen not to awake Him through prayer. We have refused to enter into His presence through His Word. We have made no time for the Lord our God. Have we then decided that we can resist all temptation and sin on our own and so have no need for the sacraments? With the easing of restrictions have we rushed to gather as One to pray and to share the joy of the Gospel? Or have we rushed for our own entertainment and enjoyment?

If we have been faithfully living in our Lord’s presence then we will never have to wait for a catastrophe to strike before we call on Him; for we know He is already with us. That He will surely save us and even if we die, we will rise in Him.

Lead me, O Lord, in your justice. Amen

Saint Irenaeus pray for us…

First reading

Amos 3:1-8,4:11-12

It is for all your sins that I mean to punish you

Listen, sons of Israel, to this oracle the Lord speaks against you, against the whole family I brought out of the land of Egypt:

You alone, of all the families of earth, have I acknowledged,

therefore it is for all your sins that I mean to punish you.

Do two men take the road together

if they have not planned to do so?

Does the lion roar in the jungle

if no prey has been found?

Does the young lion growl in his lair

if he has captured nothing?

Does the bird fall to the ground

if no trap has been set?

Does the snare spring up from the ground

if nothing has been caught?

Does the trumpet sound in the city

without the populace becoming alarmed?

Does misfortune come to a city

if the Lord has not sent it?

No more does the Lord do anything

without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.

The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid?

The Lord speaks: who can refuse to prophesy?

I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,

and you were like a brand snatched from the blaze;

and yet you never came back to me.

It is the Lord who speaks.

This therefore, Israel, is what I plan to do to you,

and because I am going to do this to you,

Israel, prepare to meet your God!

Gospel

Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus rebuked the winds and the seas, and all was calm

Jesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?’ And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’


Taking the Call: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

1 Kings 19:16–21

Psalm 16:1–257–11

Galatians 5:113–18

Luke 9:51–62

In this week’s First Reading, Elijah’s disciple is allowed to kiss his parents goodbye before setting out to follow the prophet’s call.

But we are called to follow a “greater than Elijah”, this week’s Liturgy wants us to know.

In Baptism, we have put on the cloak of Christ, been called to the house of a new Father, and been given a new family in the kingdom of God. We have been called to leave behind our past lives and never look back—to follow wherever He leads.

Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind and his disciple was given a double portion of his spirit (see 2 Kings 2:9–15).

Jesus too, the Gospel reminds us, was “taken up” (see Acts 1:2, 11, 22), and He gave us His Spirit to live by, to guide us in our journey in His kingdom.

As this week’s Epistle tells us, the call of Jesus shatters the yoke of every servitude, sets us free from the rituals of the old Law, and shows us the Law’s fulfillment in the following of Jesus, in serving one another through love.

His call sets our hands to a new plow, a new task—to be His messengers, sent ahead to prepare all peoples to meet Him and enter into His Kingdom.

Elijah called down fire to consume those who wouldn’t accept God (see 2 Kings 1:1–16). But we have a different Spirit with us.

To live by His Spirit is to face opposition and rejection, as the Apostles do in this week’s Gospel. It is to feel like an exile, with no lasting city (see Hebrews 13:14), no place in this world to lay our head or call home.

But we hear the voice of the One we follow in this week’s Psalm (see Acts 2:25–32; 13:35–37). He calls us to make His faith our own—to abide in confidence that He will not abandon us, that He will show us “the path to life,” leading us to the fullness of joy in His presence forever.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 25, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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On this Blessed day in which we call to remembrance the Birthday of St John the Baptist; we too recall our very own baptism in which we were set apart to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. We are likewise called to mission to prepare the way of the Lord into the hearts of those who do not yet know Him. For He is the truth, the way and the life!

While the readings of the call, birth and life of St John the Baptist is certainly inspiring it should inspire us too to live as he did. With integrity, courage and conviction! And so this prayer extracted from the Benedictus is a call for you and me…

As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.

You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 ·

I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth

Islands, listen to me,

pay attention, remotest peoples.

The Lord called me before I was born,

from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword,

and hid me in the shadow of his hand.

He made me into a sharpened arrow,

and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)

in whom I shall be glorified’;

while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,

I have exhausted myself for nothing’;

and all the while my cause was with the Lord,

my reward with my God.

I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,

my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,

he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,

to bring Jacob back to him,

to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,

to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;

I will make you the light of the nations

so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Second reading

Acts 13:22-26 ·

Jesus, whose coming was heralded by John

Paul said: ‘God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

    ‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’

Gospel

Luke 1:57-66,80

‘His name is John’

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

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

    Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 24, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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On this Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, you can hear Him calling through the readings, “Come back to me with all your heart.”

Yes come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden; and I will give you rest. Do not let fear keep us apart, come to me as you are and I will wash you clean, I make you white as snow. I will restore you to who you are, a child of God our Father so loved by Him, created in His likeness and image. Come receive the graces I want to give you through the Holy Sacraments I have entrusted to Holy Mother Church. Come and be united as One in me through Holy Communion.

O most Holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with lively sorrow for my sins I offer you this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will. Grant, Good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you. Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.

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First reading

Ezekiel 34:11-16 ·

I will look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view

The Lord God says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I shall bring them out of the countries where they are; I shall gather them together from foreign countries and bring them back to their own land. I shall pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in every inhabited place in the land. I shall feed them in good pasturage; the high mountains of Israel will be their grazing ground. There they will rest in good grazing ground; they will browse in rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

Second reading

Romans 5:5-11 ·

Now we have been reconciled by the death of his Son, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son

The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

Gospel

Luke 15:3-7

There will be rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner

Jesus spoke this parable to the scribes and Pharisees:

    ‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 23, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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No one is exempt from challenges, trials, even some form of suffering so long as we are alive. For this is part and parcel of our human condition. But how we weather them when they do arrive is what sets us apart. Is the Lord our God ever present with us or do we live in exile from Him by our disobedience and unfaithfulness! Is it our will be done or God our Father’s will?

Some who are very active in Church either serving in ministry or even working there may think the Lord is with them, for how can He not be since it is His dwelling place? Well they may wish to rethink their position! For the Lords says this to all of us ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.

For what are the fruits of our labour? Have we grown in love for our neighbour? Have we grown in our faith? How have we helped others grow in love and faith? How many souls have we saved for Him? Have we grown in our relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ such that we know that building our house on rock does not simply mean building our own personal prayer life, devotions and knowledge of scripture; but building our Lord’s Kingdom through corporal and spiritual acts of mercy!

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

    And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.(Micah 6:8) Amen

First reading

2 Kings 24:8-17

The first deportation into captivity in Babylon

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to the Lord, just as his father had done.

    At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.

    The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.

    The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Gospel

Matthew 7:21-29

The wise man built his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!

    ‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

    Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 22, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We all know that the Lord our God is always watching us even though we might often think to ourselves ‘out of sight, out of mind’. But He alone is not the one watching, whether we are at home, work, school or even Church someone is always watching. How we speak, how we act and how we behave. Will they witness duplicity in our lives? Crudeness and vulgarity? Are we always critical of others? Judging and complaining? Or will they see in us disciples of the Lord faithful and obedient unto Him? Will they see Christ Jesus our Lord in us?

What are the fruits that we bear for Him? How many are happy to see and speak to us? How many are filled joy and His peace because we bring Him with us into their presence? In other words how many have encountered Jesus through us being instruments of His grace? How many lives have been touched by Jesus through our hands, feet, mouths in loving servitude? Of the poor, the old, the sick and the downtrodden and all in need.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed You that You should go and bear fruit” ( John 15:16) Yes Lord I hear and heed Your call, be with me in my every endeavour to glorify and bear fruit for Your glory. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 22:8-13,23:1-3

The Book of the Law is found in the Temple of the Lord

The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Temple of the Lord.’’’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, who read it. Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him as follows, ‘Your servants’ he said ‘have melted down the silver which was in the Temple and have handed it over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of the Lord.’ Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book’; and Shaphan read it aloud in the king’s presence.

    On hearing the contents of the Book of the Law, the king tore his garments, and gave the following order to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s minister: ‘Go and consult the Lord, on behalf of me and the people, about the contents of this book that has been found. Great indeed must be the anger of the Lord blazing out against us because our ancestors did not obey what this book says by practising everything written in it.’

    The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned to him, and the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, priests, prophets and all the people, of high or low degree. In their hearing he read out everything that was said in the book of the covenant found in the Temple of the Lord. The king stood beside the pillar, and in the presence of the Lord he made a covenant to follow the Lord and keep his commandments and decrees and laws with all his heart and soul, in order to enforce the terms of the covenant as written in that book. All the people gave their allegiance to the covenant.

Gospel

Matthew 7:15-20

You will be able to tell them by their fruits

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 21, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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“Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.”

I had always found this passage harsh and thought to myself just pass it over and hold onto the rest of the passage which I can grasp better and apply. However over the years I see the truth and wisdom in it, having to deal with very stubborn people who refuse to listen to the call to holiness and to change so as to lead others. Refusing to be led or to lead; and simply refusing to ‘Come and See’ They prefer to gossip and rip others to pieces and are content to live as they are. And majority of them are from within the Church. Afterall hostile reactions if any, from outside is more or less expected. Yet many have heard with open hearts and received His loving embrace.

Then another truth I see in this passage is what about me? Am I striving for holiness? Such that I can receive fully that which is Holy? Do I fight to avoid all temptations so as not to be soiled? Do I seek the sacrament of reconciliation as often as needed to be fully reconciled with the Lord my God? Am I humble to hear His words and will for me through those He had sent to admonish me?

The battle is often within ourselves not with others outside. And even if it were with others from outside; If God is for us, many in the world will be against us. We know we are to expect the same sufferings that Christ endured on earth (1 Peter 4:12-19).  “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Amen

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga pray for us….

First reading

2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36

The Lord protects Jerusalem from Sennacherib and the Assyrians

Sennacherib, King of the Assyrians, sent messengers to Hezekiah saying, ‘Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, “Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you, when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria. You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?”’

    Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messenger and read it; he then went up to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of the Lord, ‘O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth.

‘Give ear, Lord, and listen.

Open your eyes, Lord, and see.

Hear the words of Sennacherib

who has sent to insult the living God.

‘It is true, O Lord, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them. But now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, I pray you, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, Lord.’

    Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ‘The Lord, the God of Israel,’ he said, ‘says this, “I have heard the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.” Here is the oracle that the Lord has pronounced against him:

‘“She despises you, she scorns you,

the virgin, daughter of Zion;

she tosses her head behind you,

the daughter of Jerusalem.

A remnant shall go out from Jerusalem,

and survivors from Mount Zion.

The jealous love of the Lord of Hosts shall accomplish this.”

‘This, then, is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:

‘“He will not enter this city,

he will let fly no arrow against it,

confront it with no shield,

throw up no earthwork against it.

By the road that he came on he will return;

he shall not enter this city. It is the Lord who speaks.

I will protect this city and save it

for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”’

That same night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.

Gospel

Matthew 7:6,12-14

Treat others as you would like them to treat you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.

    ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.

    ‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 20, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let God be the judge alone! Yes it is frustrating when you set high standards for yourself and everyone else, but it seems everyone is falling short. Giving excuses after excuses, taking short cut after shortcut! And putting the blame on others instead of owning it and finding solutions to bring Him Glory and praise. Whom is it again that we serve? Is what we offer our very best for the Lord our God? Are we fully committed to walking in His presence always?

We are called to faithfulness and obedience not to be successful. For whether we are fruitful or successful or not is decided by the Lord our God by His standards. We on our part must always love mercy first and walk humbly with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us therefore not remain in dismay or regret, but seek new frontiers to walk in the light of His resurrection. To go where we are needed to bring Glory to our Lord. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 17:5-8,13-15,18 ·

There was none left, but the tribe of Judah only

The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

    This happened because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, they followed the practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed for them.

    And yet through all the prophets and all the seers, the Lord had given Israel and Judah this warning, ‘Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law I laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets.’ But they would not listen, they were more stubborn than their ancestors had been who had no faith in the Lord their God. They despised his laws and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the warnings he had given them. They pursued emptiness, and themselves became empty through copying the nations round them although the Lord had ordered them not to act as they did. For this, the Lord was enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

Gospel

Matthew 7:1-5

Do not judge, and you will not be judged

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.’


Image  —  Posted: June 18, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 18, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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I strongly believe that most of us do not take the time to dwell and bask in God our Father’s great and enduring love for us. That is why we are often distracted by the lures and ways of the world. Seeking for love, affirmation and to satisfy our insatiable desires in the wrong places! We refuse to listen and obey His commandments given to us to provide order and life to the fullest in Him. We turn to the wisdom of the world and quote “wise” sayings of men and women when we have the divine Word of God within reach to ponder over and share!

If only we knew how much the Lord our God loves us we will not waste any time worrying, about how we are to live in this world. For we know His Kingdom come, His Will be done. Let us set our hearts on His Kingdom first, and on His righteousness, and all other things will be given us as well.

God our Father reminds us in today’s responsorial psalm taken from Psalm 89:33

‘But I will never take back my love, my truth will never fail.’

Let our resounding response be, “I will keep my love for Him always.” Amen

First reading

2 Chronicles 24:17-25

‘You have deserted the Lord: now he deserts you’

After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came to pay court to the king, and the king now turned to them for advice. The Judaeans abandoned the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, for the worship of sacred poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. He sent them prophets to bring them back to the Lord, but when these gave their message, they would not listen. The spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said, ‘God says this, “Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord to no good purpose? You have deserted the Lord, now he deserts you.”’ They then plotted against him and by order of the king stoned him in the court of the Temple of the Lord. King Joash, forgetful of the kindness that Jehoiada, the father of Zechariah, had shown him, killed Jehoiada’s son who cried out as he died, ‘The Lord sees and he will avenge!’

    When a year had gone by, the Aramaean army made war on Joash. They reached Judah and Jerusalem, and executed all the officials among the people, sending back to the king at Damascus all that they had plundered from them. Though the Aramaean army had by no means come in force, the Lord delivered into its power an army of great size for having deserted him, the God of their ancestors.

    The Aramaeans treated Joash as he had deserved, and when they retired they left him a very sick man; and his officers, plotting against him to avenge the death of the son of Jehoiada the priest, murdered him in his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the Citadel of David, though not in the tombs of the kings.

Gospel

Matthew 6:24-34

Do not worry about tomorrow: your holy Father knows your needs

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

    ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 17, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:21

It is not wrong in having moments of leisure and fun. In fact it is encouraged! Neither is it wrong to work hard to secure a somewhat comfortable future. But what happens when we spend hours after hours going after it? Working 24×7 with no time for family, self, let alone the Lord our God? What about computer or mobile games? Endless streaming of movies and television series? Watching the sports channel following all the games? Internet Shopping? Are these our treasures or our addictions?

Can we say that we set an equal if not more time to dwell on the Lord’s Word or prayer? To build fraternal bonds with our sisters and brothers in Christ through community prayers and gatherings? To perform Corporal and Spiritual acts of mercy? To share the joy of the Gospel? If not then who’s Kingdom are we building? Who is it that we serve?

Jesus You are my treasure, You love me without measure. Lead the way Lord as I take up my Cross to follow You. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 11:1-4,9-18,20 ·

Saved from the massacre, the true king is anointed by the high priest

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah learned that her son was dead, she promptly did away with all those of royal stock. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, secretly took away Jehoash, her brother’s son, from among the sons of the king who were being murdered, and put him with his nurse in the sleeping quarters; in this way she hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death. He stayed with her for six years, hidden in the Temple of the Lord, while Athaliah governed the country.

    In the seventh year, Jehoiada sent for the commanders of hundreds of the Carians and of the guards, and had them brought to him in the Temple of the Lord. He made a pact with them and, putting them under oath, showed them the king’s son.

    The commanders of hundreds did everything as Jehoiada the priest had ordered. They brought their men, those coming off duty on the sabbath together with those mounting guard on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. The priest equipped the commanders of hundreds with King David’s spears and shields which were in the Temple of the Lord. The guards formed up, each man with his weapon in his hand, from the south corner to the north corner of the Temple, surrounding the altar and the Temple. Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son, put the crown and armlets on him, and he anointed him king. They clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’

    Athaliah, on hearing the shouts of the people made for the Temple of the Lord where the people were. When she saw the king standing there beside the pillar, as the custom was, with the captains and trumpeters at the king’s side, and all the country people rejoicing and sounding trumpets, Athaliah tore her garments and shouted, ‘Treason, treason!’ Then Jehoiada the priest gave the order to the army officers: ‘Take her outside the precincts and put to death anyone who follows her.’ ‘For,’ the priest had reasoned, ‘she must not be put to death in the Temple of the Lord.’ They seized her, and when she had reached the palace through the Entry of the Horses, she was put to death there.

    Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and king and people, by which the latter undertook to be the people of the Lord; and also between king and people. All the country people then went to the temple of Baal and demolished it; they smashed his altars and his images and killed Mattan, priest of Baal, in front of the altars.

    The priest posted sentries to guard the Temple of the Lord. All the country people were delighted, and the city made no move. And they put Athaliah to death in the royal palace.

Gospel

Matthew 6:19-23

Store up treasure for yourselves in heaven

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

    ‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 16, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How do you know if the Lord our God is with you and in the lives who serve alongside you if you refuse to place Him first above all in everything you do? If you refuse to set aside time to dwell and share how Jesus has touched you or hear how the rest of your community are walking in His presence? If you place the importance of meetings above Him, whom are you serving? Whose Kingdom do you build? Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Unless the LORD guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. Ps 127:1

The Lord our God was above and beyond everything in the lives of Elijah and Elisha and they lived according to His Will for them. God our Father’s name was held Holy, His Kingdom come, His Will be done! By their commitment and zeal they reconciled many unto the Lord their God, turning the hearts of fathers towards their children! They won over lives heading towards death and destruction by sin and unrepentance.  Their deeds for the Lord our God were indeed great and marvellous but they were simply foreshadows of God’s only begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who would come to reconcile the world unto Himself. In His ultimate sacrifice for us, we have hope of eternal life with Him, His mercy, love and peace is upon us. How then can He not be placed above all in everything we say and do?

Lord Jesus You are the Lord of Lords, King of kings. Reign now in my heart forevermore. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 48:1-15

The spirit of Elijah fills Elisha

The prophet Elijah arose like a fire,

    his word flaring like a torch.

It was he who brought famine on the people,

    and who decimated them in his zeal.

By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens,

    he also, three times, brought down fire.

How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah!

    Has anyone reason to boast as you have? –

rousing a corpse from death,

    from Sheol by the word of the Most High;

dragging kings down to destruction,

    and high dignitaries from their beds;

hearing reproof on Sinai,

    and decrees of punishment on Horeb;

anointing kings as avengers,

    and prophets to succeed you;

taken up in the whirlwind of fire,

    in a chariot with fiery horses;

designated in the prophecies of doom

    to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks,

to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children,

    and to restore the tribes of Jacob,

Happy shall they be who see you,

    and those who have fallen asleep in love;

for we too will have life.

Elijah was shrouded in the whirlwind,

    and Elisha was filled with his spirit;

throughout his life no ruler could shake him,

    and no one could subdue him.

No task was too hard for him,

    and even in death his body prophesied.

In his lifetime he performed wonders,

    and in death his works were marvellous.

Gospel

Matthew 6:7-15

How to pray

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

‘Our Father in heaven,

may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test,

but save us from the evil one.

‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 15, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We see Elisha in this first reading and we think to ourselves yeah no we are no Elisha let alone Elijah! These were set apart by the Lord our God.

How is it that we have forgotten that by our baptism and confirmation we too are set apart, made Holy unto to the Lord our God! Did we also forget Jesus’s own words to us when He said “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12

So then all the formation we have received over the years in our Parish or elsewhere  how have we put it to use? All the graces upon graces received at retreats and even at Holy Eucharist what have we done with them? How many disciples have we made being disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ? How many who did not know Him now do, through our love, words and actions? Have we done anything for our Lord?

Or have you done something and paraded what you have done before your brethren to attract their notice? Perhaps going around through the pews to be seen, and greeting those you are familiar with while they are praying preparing for Holy Eucharist? Or are you ever eager to declare “I did this, I did that!” qualifying them by saying all for the Lord! Pray then that you do not lose your reward in Heaven.

Thank You Jesus for drawing me ever closer to Your bosom over the years and the many blessings and graces You have showered upon me. Help me to remain Your humble servant, a powerful instrument of Your grace for others. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 2:1,6-14 ·

Elijah is taken up to heaven

This is what happened when the Lord took Elijah up to heaven in the whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, the Lord is only sending me to the Jordan.’ But he replied, ‘As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ And they went on together.

    Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance away as the two of them stood beside the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right, and the two of them crossed over dry-shod. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Make your request. What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha answered, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ ‘Your request is a difficult one’ Elijah said. ‘If you see me while I am being taken from you, it shall be as you ask; if not, it will not be so.’ Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’ Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half. He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

    He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he cried. He struck the water, and it divided to right and left, and Elisha crossed over.

Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

    ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

    ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 14, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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“Treat me well and good and I will treat you very well and good, treat me poorly and I will treat you tenfold poorly!” This was my adage and perhaps many share the same or at the very least a similar one. But can a Christian hold to this? NO! we cannot for we ours is higher calling, to love beyond our limits. To love one another with a divine love that can only come through our faith, love and ever growing relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For how then can we love our enemies if not through His, peace, mercy and love!

Such grace is available to all who repents of their sins and turns to Him. It is never too late! For He had forgiven us from the Cross in which He hung and died for us. To free us from our sins and to give us hope of eternal life with Him. God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, and he has entrusted to us the news that all who believe and follow Jesus are reconciled. 2Co5:19

Today I am reminded Jesus, that You commanded us to love one another as You have loved us. Grant me the grace to do so in Your most precious name, as I endeavour to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 21:17-29

The punishment of Ahab and Jezebel foretold

After the death of Naboth, the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Up! Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, in Samaria. You will find him in Naboth’s vineyard; he has gone down to take possession of it. You are to say this to him, “The Lord says this: You have committed murder; now you usurp as well. For this – and the Lord says this – in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick your blood too.”’

    Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me out, O my enemy!’ Elijah answered, ‘I have found you out. For your double dealing, and since you have done what is displeasing to the Lord, I will now bring disaster down on you; I will sweep away your descendants, and wipe out every male belonging to the family of Ahab, fettered or free in Israel. I will treat your House as I treated the House of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah, for provoking my anger and leading Israel into sin. (Against Jezebel the Lord spoke these words: The dogs will eat Jezebel in the Field of Jezreel.) Those of Ahab’s family who die in the city, the dogs will eat; and those who die in the open country, the birds of the air will eat.’

    And indeed there never was anyone like Ahab for double dealing and for doing what is displeasing to the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the most abominable way, adhering to idols, just as the Amorites used to do whom the Lord had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

    When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put sackcloth next his skin and fasted; he slept in the sackcloth; he walked with slow steps. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; I will bring the disaster down on his House in the days of his son.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:43-48

Pray for those who persecute you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 13, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today is the Feast day of Saint Anthony and over the years I have prayed for the intercession of this great Saint not so much for help in finding lost items but the grace to be eloquent in sharing the Gospel as he was. Here are a few of my reflections of this Saint…

  • He truly loved Jesus with all his heart, mind, soul and strength.
  • His eloquence came from this fact, for through his deep love for Him, He expressed it in his writings, his homilies and always when he simply spoke with those who would gather around him to hear him speak.
  • He loved the poor with same love he had for Jesus and perhaps saw His Saviour in their eyes. He fed the poor with bread as well as the bread of life!
  • He was never known to tire in sharing the joy of the Gospel even when he was ailing.

Today I chose the feria readings instead of the memorial to show the contrast of a life lived with and in God and one with God absent.

Ahab lived a godless life, he married a godless woman and they lived only for themselves. With Ahab’s insatiable greed an innocent man was murdered for his land and we will hear more of the evil wrongdoings later of Jezebel in the later chapters.

In today’s Gospel it is not about us being doormats to be trampled upon by others but the emphasis is of us being merciful and loving and going beyond what we can or would normally do. In other words we should love with a supernatural love which can only come from Christ Jesus our Lord whom we profess to love. In the Gospel of the memorial we are being sent as lambs among wolves. To proclaim that the Kingdom of God is near to all who will believe in Jesus; and that they will have eternal life through Him! Amen

Saint Antony of Padua Pray for us….. 

Readings for the Memorial – Isaiah 61:1-3, Gospel Luke 10:1-9

First reading

1 Kings 21:1-16 ·

Ahab covets Naboth’s vineyard and Jezebel has him killed

Naboth of Jezreel had a vineyard close by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria, and Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it adjoins my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will give you its worth in money.’ But Naboth answered Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!’

    Ahab went home gloomy and out of temper at the words of Naboth of Jezreel, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ He lay down on his bed and turned his face away and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came to him. ‘Why are you so dispirited’ she said ‘that you will not eat?’ He said, ‘I have been speaking to Naboth of Jezreel; I said: “Give me your vineyard either for money or, if you prefer, for another vineyard in exchange.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’ Then his wife Jezebel said, ‘You make a fine king of Israel, and no mistake! Get up and eat; cheer up, and you will feel better; I will get you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel myself.’

    So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, sending them to the elders and nobles who lived where Naboth lived. In the letters she wrote, ‘Proclaim a fast, and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Confront him with a couple of scoundrels who will accuse him like this, “You have cursed God and the king.” Then take him outside and stone him to death.’

    The men of Naboth’s town, the elders and nobles who lived in his town, did what Jezebel ordered, what was written in the letters she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Then the two scoundrels came and stood in front of him and made their accusation, ‘Naboth has cursed God and the king.’ They led him outside the town and stoned him to death. They then sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’ When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up! Take possession of the vineyard which Naboth of Jezreel would not give you for money, for Naboth is no longer alive, he is dead.’ When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel and take possession of it.

Gospel

Matthew 5:38-42

Offer the wicked man no resistance

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’

Trinity Sunday

Posted: June 11, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Glorious Processions: Scott Hahn Reflects on Trinity Sunday

Readings:

Proverbs 8:22–31

Psalms 8:4–9

Romans 5:1–5

John 16:12–15

In today’s Liturgy we’re swept through time in glorious procession—from before earth and sky were set in place to the coming of the Spirit upon the new creation, the Church.

We begin in the heart of the Trinity, as we listen to the testimony of Wisdom in today’s First Reading. Eternally begotten, the firstborn of God, He is poured forth from of old in the loving delight of the Father.

Through Him, the heavens were established, the foundations of the earth fixed. From before the beginning, He was with the Father as His “Craftsman,” the artisan by Whom all things were made. And He took special delight, He tells us, in the crowning glory of God’s handiwork—the human race, the “sons of men.”

In today’s Psalm, He comes down from heaven, is made a little lower than the angels, comes among us as “the Son of Man” (see Hebrews 2:6–10).

All things are put under His feet so that He can restore to humanity the glory for which we were made from the beginning, the glory lost by sin. He tasted death that we might be raised to life in the Trinity, that His name might be made glorious over all the earth.

Through the Son, we have gained grace and access in the Spirit to the Father, as Paul boasts in today’s Epistle (see Ephesians 2:18).

The Spirit, the Love of God, has been poured out into our hearts—a Spirit of adoption, making us children of the Father once more (see Romans 8:14–16).

This is the Spirit that Jesus promises in today’s Gospel.

His Spirit comes as divine gift and anointing (see 1 John 2:27), to guide us to all truth, to show us “the things that are coming,” the things that were meant to be from before all ages—that we will find peace and union in God, share the life of the Trinity, and dwell in God as He dwells in us (see John 14:23; 17:21).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 11, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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A good man filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith! Ah how I long to live as you lived St Barnabas. A man without deceit, a man of integrity who’s yes was yes and no was no. Who discipled others gently to have a heartfelt devotion and to remain faithful to the way, the truth and the life; our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You instructed the great St Paul and led him into the welcoming embrace of the Apostles. And together won a large number of people over to the Lord and discipled them.

Thank you Lord for the gift of St Barnabas to Holy Mother Church, by your grace may we be set us on fire with the flame of your love, by which Saint Barnabas

brought the light of the Gospel to the nations. Amen

Saint Barnabas Pray for us….

First reading

Acts 11:21-26,13:1-3

He was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith

A great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

    The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.

    Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’

    In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Gospel

Matthew 5:33-37

Do not swear: say ‘Yes’ if you mean Yes, ‘No’ if you mean No

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne; or by the earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great king. Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 10, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The Lord our God is not to be found in the wind of our emotions, the ‘earthquake’ of our inner turmoil nor the fire of our desires! He dwells in our heart as we enter into His presence in silent prayer eager to hear His voice. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” JN 10:27

Fidelity of heart and mind in God is what allows us to hear Him clearly. Since it is our desire to have an intimate relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we must hard fight each day against sin and temptation. Be filled with His grace by entering into His presence through His Word and docile to His Will for us. Then we can truly declare, God is dwelling in our hearts; We are One in Him. Amen

 

First reading

1 Kings 19:9,11-16

The Lord was not in the wind, or the earthquake, or the fire

When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for the Lord of Hosts, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, broken down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and they want to kill me.’

    ‘Go,’ the Lord said, ‘go back by the same way to the wilderness of Damascus. You are to go and anoint Hazael as king of Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:27-32

If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.

    ‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 9, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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When we surrender fully to the Lord our God trusting He has great plans for us, He will give us the graces we need to do His Will. We will witness His hand in all that we do. What we would normally do in a week, we can accomplish in a day through Him. We are renewed and invigorated! Strength and speed are ours to accomplish His call for us. We can forgive the gravest hurts caused by our brethren, for when we choose to remain steadfast in His love; He gives us His peace, love and joy to do so.

However if we choose unforgiveness, then we distant ourselves from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Woe to us indeed if we curse out brother or sister, for in doing so we are murderers of their spirit! Retaliation of any kind will not be tolerated for God is love and such actions are going against His love for us and for one another. Therefore we must always seek reconciliation, we must forgive as we are forgiven.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Amen

Saint Ephraem pray for us….

First reading

1 Kings 18:41-46

‘A cloud no bigger than a man’s hand’

Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go back, eat and drink; for I hear the sound of rain.’ While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the earth, putting his face between his knees. ‘Now go up,’ he told his servant ‘and look out to the sea.’ He went up and looked. ‘There is nothing at all’ he said. ‘Go back seven times’ Elijah said. The seventh time, the servant said, ‘Now there is a cloud, small as a man’s hand, rising from the sea.’ Elijah said, ‘Go and say to Ahab, “Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you.”’ And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel. The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and tucking up his cloak he ran in front of Ahab as far as the outskirts of Jezreel.

Gospel

Matthew 5:20-26

Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

    ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’

Recognising The Hand of God

Posted: June 8, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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**Recognising the Hand of God**

My daughter pleaded with me to have a ride on the sampan at the indoor water feature at Marina Bay sands. I told her ok but she would have to go alone while I took pictures. I was not going to pay another $13 for myself for a 10 minute ride! Moreover my wife was adamant that she didn’t want to go as well, even though I offered to pay for her. While my wife was queuing with my daughter for her turn, a lady tapped my wife’s shoulder to say they had an extra ticket to giveaway to us. We offered to pay but they refused to accept payment! Praise the Lord for His blessing!

This morning as I was sitting at the coffee shop, correcting and editing the grammar of my already posted reflection, I had the urge to have another coffee but the queue was super long and the only lady taking orders was busy herself queuing. So I just waited to finish up and make my way home. Lo and behold! The lady who takes orders walked up straight to me passing all the other occupied tables and asked if I wanted the cup of coffee in her hand as she got someone else`s order wrong! (doubt she recognised the I desperately need another coffee look)
Praise the Lord for His blessing!

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 8, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Who is the God we worship, obey and serve? Who or what is it that we are focused on throughout the day? Is it the games we play? Television series we watch? Pornography? Shopping and more shopping? Feasting and drinking? Where does it all lead us? Does it satisfy us? Or do we go one hobbling for more? Hurting ourselves in our pursuit for more searching in the process for peace, love and joy?

How can we say love and worship the One true God if we spend only ten minutes a day in pray or twenty minutes at most in some form of devotional prayer? How do we grow in love and our relationship with Him if we will not spend time in His presence? Dwelling on His Word and Will for us? For He knows the plans He has for us, not to do us harm but to prosper us.

Let us this day make up our minds to remain steadfast, carry our cross to follow Him. For He alone is the way the truth and the life and so let us turn away from all sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 18:20-39 ·

Elijah vanquishes the priests of Baal

Ahab called all Israel together and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah stepped out in front of all the people. ‘How long’ he said ‘do you mean to hobble first on one leg then on the other? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.’ But the people never said a word. Elijah then said to them, ‘I, I alone, am left as a prophet of the Lord, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty. Let two bulls be given us; let them choose one for themselves, dismember it and lay it on the wood, but not set fire to it. I in my turn will prepare the other bull, but not set fire to it. You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of mine; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.’ The people all answered, ‘Agreed!’ Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull and begin, for there are more of you. Call on the name of your god but light no fire.’ They took the bull and prepared it, and from morning to midday they called on the name of Baal. ‘O Baal, answer us!’ they cried, but there was no voice, no answer, as they performed their hobbling dance round the altar they had made. Midday came, and Elijah mocked them. ‘Call louder,’ he said ‘for he is a god: he is preoccupied or he is busy, or he has gone on a journey; perhaps he is asleep and will wake up.’ So they shouted louder and gashed themselves, as their custom was, with swords and spears until the blood flowed down them. Midday passed, and they ranted on until the time the offering is presented; but there was no voice, no answer, no attention given to them.

    Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come closer to me’, and all the people came closer to him. He repaired the altar of the Lord which had been broken down. Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, ‘Israel shall be your name’, and built an altar in the name of the Lord. Round the altar he dug a trench of a size to hold two measures of seed. He then arranged the wood, dismembered the bull, and laid it on the wood. Then he said, ‘Fill four jars with water and pour it on the holocaust and on the wood’; this they did. He said, ‘Do it a second time’; they did it a second time. He said, ‘Do it a third time’; they did it a third time. The water flowed round the altar and the trench itself was full of water. At the time when the offering is presented, Elijah the prophet stepped forward. ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,’ he said ‘let them know today that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, that I have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, the Lord, are God and are winning back their hearts.’

    Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the holocaust and wood and licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. ‘The Lord is God,’ they cried, ‘the Lord is God.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:17-19

I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to complete them

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 7, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Are you and I lights for the world shining bright for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Do folks light up with joy when they see you? Are they eager to hear your voice? To hear about the hope that they should carry in their hearts and the peace that you bring with You, the presence of Christ Jesus Himself! For when we bring Jesus with us, “Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied.” For the Lord Himself sends rain on the face of the earth.

But how can we such a light of the world? We already are by virtue of our baptism and later confirmation. If we remain steadfast and obedient in our faith then the word of the Lord shall surely come to us and lead us to where we must go and what we must do and say. This is what it means to live in the Spirit!

However if we continue to live distracted lives, that is remaining only as Sunday Christians and giving in to the ways and wiles of the world. Then we are simply lamps placed by ourselves under tubs. We have lost our saltiness!

Let us pray by singing this hymn with vigour!

1. A light within the world

Yes, witnesses are we,

To bear the light of Christ

For all the world to see

Refrain:

We come with joy, O Christ

In answer to Your Call;

Through love we give all.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

2. Your love and light, O Lord,

You send us to impart

To those who know You not

Yet love You in their heart.

3. Have mercy on the world

That sin and strife may cease;

Extend your reign, O Christ,

You are the King of Peace.

First reading

1 Kings 17:7-16 ·

The widow gives food to Elijah, and is fed

The stream in the place where Elijah lay hidden dried up, for the country had no rain. And then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, ‘Up and go to Zarephath, a Sidonian town, and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to give you food.’ So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a vessel for me to drink.’ She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please’ he said ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’ ‘As the Lord your God lives,’ she replied ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’ But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel:

“Jar of meal shall not be spent,

jug of oil shall not be emptied,

before the day when the Lord sends

rain on the face of the earth.”’

The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.

Gospel

Matthew 5:13-16

Your light must shine in the sight of men

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

    ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 6, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Mary is the new ‘Eve’ the mother of all those who live. For through her intercession and example we have every opportunity to have life to the full in and through Her Son of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! That is why so many around the world have such a great devotion to her. Not that we who do have such a devotion, worship her in any way or form but we truly love and honour her as our mother; she is both our mother individually, personally as well as Mother of our Church. For our Lord Jesus Himself gave her to us when He said ‘This is your mother.’

Mary our dearest mother leads us to greater Holiness, purity of heart, mind and soul. Through her we can enter into a great, deeper, loving relationship with Her Son our Lord Jesus. For she has united herself in total surrender and is fully in communion with God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit; and she bids us to do likewise. So that we will glorify and magnify the Lord our God by our lives, in all that we say and do. So sisters and brothers in Christ, if you have not already started, I bid you to pray at least one Rosary each day. Let us all be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit through Mary our Mother. Amen

Mary Mother of the Church pray for us……

Together we pray…..

Hail, Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners,

now and at the hour of our death. 

Amen.

First reading

Genesis 3:9-15,20 ·

The mother of all those who live

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

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

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,

all wild beasts.

You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust

every day of your life.

I will make you enemies of each other:

you and the woman,

your offspring and her offspring.

It will crush your head

and you will strike its heel.’

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

Gospel

John 19:25-34

‘Behold your son. Behold your mother.’

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.

    After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said, ‘I am thirsty.’

    A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, ‘It is accomplished’; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

    It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.

Pentecost Sunday

Posted: June 4, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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A Mighty Wind: Scott Hahn Reflects on Pentecost Sunday

Readings:

Acts 2:1–11
Psalm 104:12429–3134
1 Corinthians 12:3–712–13
John 20:19–23

The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.

The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15–21Deuteronomy 16:9–11).

In today’s First Reading the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (see Acts 1:14).

The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (see 2 Corinthians 3:2–8Romans 8:2).

The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things, as we sing in today’s Psalm. In the beginning, the Spirit came as a “mighty wind” sweeping over the face of the earth (see Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as “a strong, driving wind” to renew the face of the earth.

As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit (see Genesis 2:7), in today’s Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (see 1 Corinthians 15:4547).

Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see also John 7:37–39).

We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a “new creation” in Baptism (see 2 Corinthians 5:17Galatians 6:15). Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity—fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 4, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Don’t you wish that you could say, “I am the disciple that Jesus loved!” The one who leans at His breast at Holy Eucharist, the one who stands at the foot of the Cross of Jesus close to the heart of His mother Mary, the one who discovers the empty tomb in the light of His resurrection and the one now to stay behind till He comes again!

Yes you and I are that very disciple Jesus loves! For He loved us while we were still sinners. Rm 5:8 And when we are obedient to Him, it shows the world that we truly love the Lord of lord, King of kings! For we love as He loved us.

Come Holy Spirit come purify by thoughts, words and actions so that I can remain in fully in Jesus and He in me, One in Communion with You and our Heavenly Father always and forever. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 28:16-20,30-31 ·

In Rome, Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God without hindrance from anyone

On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in lodgings of his own with the soldier who guarded him.

    After three days he called together the leading Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, ‘Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and would have set me free, since they found me guilty of nothing involving the death penalty; but the Jews lodged an objection, and I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation to make against my own nation. That is why I have asked to see you and talk to you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear this chain.’

    Paul spent the whole of the two years in his own rented lodging. He welcomed all who came to visit him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete freedom and without hindrance from anyone.

Gospel

John 21:20-25

This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and we know that his testimony is true

Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned on his breast at the supper and had said to him, ‘Lord, who is it that will betray you?’ Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’ The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, ‘He will not die’, but, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come.’

    This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true.

    There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 3, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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All of us are aging day by day and our bodies reminds us of this fact. Many of us have young vibrant minds trapped in old run down bodies, yet how many of us are using our young vibrant minds for our Lord’s Glory? If we declare that we love Him  with all our heart, mind, soul and strength then how many of His sheep and lambs have we fed and cared for? How many have been led by us into His Kingdom? Can we then declare as St Paul did, that we have fought the good fight? That we have stayed on course and run the race to the very end!

Sisters and brothers the time is NOW! Not tomorrow! Not when you turn 40, 50, 60 or 80! Let us be faithful to the Gospel, in our communities and work hand in hand as One for His Glory! So that when our time is up we can hear our Lord say to us,

Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matt 25:23  Amen Alleluia!

Saints Charles Lwanga and his Companions pray for us….

 

First reading

Acts 25:13-21 ·

‘I ordered Paul to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar’

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

Gospel

John 21:15-19

Feed my lambs, feed my sheep

Jesus showed himself to his disciples, and after they had eaten he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,

when you were young

you put on your own belt

and walked where you liked;

but when you grow old

you will stretch out your hands,

and somebody else will put a belt round you

and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 2, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In order to bear witness to Christ where ever we go does not only take courage but love. An extraordinary love that can only come from a deep personal relationship with the Lord our God. And so we must love all unbelievers into becoming believers; perhaps many will still refuse to believe in the One true God, however they will still acknowledge you to be a Son or Daughter of God the Father by your love!

What about us Christians? Have we put aside our differences and what divides us and chosen to simply love one another with the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? For He loved us with His Father’s love by dying on the cross for us! So do we bear the face of Christ Jesus when we minister to one another? Have we been faithful then to His commandment?  “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn 13:35

Abba Father let Your love dwell in my heart as I carry Jesus with me wherever I go. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 22:30,23:6-11 ·

‘You have borne witness in Jerusalem: now you must do the same in Rome’

Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.

    Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’

Gospel

John 17:20-26

Father, may they be completely one

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,

I pray not only for these,

but for those also

who through their words will believe in me.

May they all be one.

Father, may they be one in us,

as you are in me and I am in you,

so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.

I have given them the glory you gave to me,

that they may be one as we are one.

With me in them and you in me,

may they be so completely one

that the world will realise that it was you who sent me

and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.

Father, I want those you have given me

to be with me where I am,

so that they may always see the glory you have given me

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Father, Righteous One,

the world has not known you,

but I have known you,

and these have known that you have sent me.

I have made your name known to them

and will continue to make it known,

so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,

and so that I may be in them.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 1, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We know for a fact that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ intercedes for us and that the protection of God our Father against all evil is upon all of us His children who have been baptised and entered into the life, death and Resurrection of His only begotten Son.

Still we must be on our guard as St Paul reminds us today. For fierce wolves are amongst us! They seek to weaken our resolve to follow the will of the Lord our God. Therefore we must commend ourselves to Jesus daily to allow His Word and saving grace to empower us. And we must be outward looking, that is to look beyond ourselves; to love and serve one another. Only then can we remain focused on our mission to make disciples of all nations. Amen Alleluia!

Saint Justin, Martyr pray for us…

First reading

Acts 20:28-38 ·

I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, and its power

Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:

    ‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.

    ‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’

    When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Gospel

John 17:11-19

Father, keep those you have given me true to your name

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,

keep those you have given me true to your name,

so that they may be one like us.

While I was with them,

I kept those you had given me true to your name.

I have watched over them

and not one is lost

except the one who chose to be lost,

and this was to fulfil the scriptures.

But now I am coming to you

and while still in the world I say these things

to share my joy with them to the full.

I passed your word on to them,

and the world hated them,

because they belong to the world

no more than I belong to the world.

I am not asking you to remove them from the world,

but to protect them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world

any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth;

your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world,

I have sent them into the world,

and for their sake I consecrate myself

so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 31, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Just a few days ago as a fellow sister in Christ and I went over to the home of a dear sister who is migrating to another country in a month or so. When she saw us at her doorstep her face lit up and greeted us with joy, then we briefly embraced in a warm hug. In that moment I recalled the visitation of our Blessed Mother to her cousin’s Elisabeth’s home; how when Elisabeth heard our Blessed Mother’s greeting St John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother’s womb. We were there visiting after all to do the 7th Sunday of Easter reflections and so in a sense we too brought Jesus with us. Our intention was to magnify Him in our reflections, to deepen our relationship with Him and one another; And to go on thereafter glorifying Him by our lives!

How many of us would have looked upon this as an opportunity to bring Christ Jesus our Lord with us? Wherever we go? Are we willing to sacrifice our time? To bring Jesus with us when we journey to a Church meeting, community prayer meeting, Ministry meeting, when we visit our aged parents, a home for the aged and sick, Children’s home, Hospice even to a wake. If we are not willing to do so then how are magnifying the Lord by our lives?

When was the last time you brought the joy of our risen Lord with you to someone’s home?

Come dwell in me Lord Jesus Christ as I live my life for You. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Zephaniah 3:14-18 ·

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,

Israel, shout aloud!

Rejoice, exult with all your heart,

daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has repealed your sentence;

he has driven your enemies away.

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst;

you have no more evil to fear.

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem:

Zion, have no fear,

do not let your hands fall limp.

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a victorious warrior.

He will exult with joy over you,

he will renew you by his love;

he will dance with shouts of joy for you

as on a day of festival.

Gospel

Luke 1:39-56

The Almighty has done great things for me

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

    And Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit exults in God my saviour;

because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

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

for the Almighty has done great things for me.

Holy is his name,

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

He has shown the power of his arm,

he has routed the proud of heart.

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

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

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

– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 30, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The baptism of the Holy Spirit as many call it, is in fact an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Which again many would have already received during their baptism and later again at confirmation. If given an opportunity however, we all should attend such a retreat where it ends with the outpouring. Why? Because it is the Holy Spirit that teaches, guides and shows us how we should be living fully in God our Father’s love. Fully alive with joy in our hearts and emboldened to share the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Gospel with all! And we all have need of a reawakening, reigniting, rekindling if you will.

Yes indeed I have witnessed the transformation of many over the years after they had attended such retreats because I either helped facilitate the sessions or was present to help in any way I could. Apart from witnessing their gifts put into action, like praising the Lord in tongues, healing of others and too many to list, they began new lives in church ministry or in neighborhood communities serving with joy.

Do not worry, if you don’t have an opportunity to attend such a retreat now. You can still pray to the Holy Spirit to enter into your life more profoundly and prepare your hearts to receive Him at Pentecost through prayer, fasting, and dwelling on His Word.

Come Holy Spirit, come. Amen Alleluia!


First reading
Acts 19:1-8 ·
The moment Paul laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ they answered, ‘No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.’ ‘Then how were you baptised?’ he asked. ‘With John’s baptism’ they replied. ‘John’s baptism’ said Paul ‘was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him – in other words, Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of these men.
    He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months.




Gospel
John 16:29-33
Be brave, for I have conquered the world

His disciples said to Jesus, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using metaphors! Now we see that you know everything, and do not have to wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them:

‘Do you believe at last?
Listen; the time will come – in fact it has come already –
when you will be scattered,
each going his own way and leaving me alone.
And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world.’

7th Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 28, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Perfection as One: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 7:55–60
Psalm 97:1–26–79
Revelation 22:12–1416–1720
John 17:20–26


(In dioceses where Ascension is celebrated on Sunday, see also the reflection for the Ascension of the Lord.)

Jesus is praying for us in today’s Gospel. We are those who have come to believe in Him through the Word of the Apostles, handed on in His Church.

Jesus showed the Apostles His glory, made known the Father’s name and the love He has had for us from “before the foundation of the world.”

He revealed that He and the Father are one (see John 14:9).

Jesus is the “first and the last” (see Isaiah 44:6), the root of David (see Isaiah 11:102 Samuel 7:12), as today’s Second Reading declares.

Wrapped in clouds and darkness as God was at Sinai (see Exodus 19:16), He is “the king . . . the Most High over all the earth,” as we sing in today’s Psalm.

Exalted at God’s right hand, as Stephen sees in the First Reading, the Lord calls to us through the Church, His Bride.

He calls us to “the tree of life,” to communion with God. This is the goal of His love, His saving purpose from all eternity—that each of us enter into the life of the Blessed Trinity and be “brought to perfection as one” with the Father and Son in the Spirit.

The story of Stephen, the first martyr, shows us how we are to answer His call.

Listen for the echoes of the Crucifixion: Stephen, like Jesus, sees the Son of Man in glory and dies with words of forgiveness and self-offering on his lips (compare Acts 7:56–60Matthew 26:64–65Luke 23:24,46).

We, too, are to commend our spirits to the Father, to pray and offer our lives in love for our brethren, awaiting His coming in judgment. We renew our vows in every Mass, coming forward to receive the gift of His life.

We answer His call by crying out a call of our own: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

And in our communion we answer our Lord’s prayer: “That they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 28, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How well do you know scriptures? “Oh not well but I believe Jesus Christ and that is enough!” Really?

How are you then ever going to grow deeper in your faith and relationship with the Lord Your God? Such that you are able to help others who are struggling in their faith or do not yet know Him. For the bible is not simply a book! It is the inspired work of God, and His Word give life! Pray to the Holy Spirit and He will guide you and your life will be enriched greatly. In time you will be able to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Christ the Lord of all nations!

Because you would understand most profoundly today’s Gospel of God our Father’s love for You and me. Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 18:23-28 ·

Apollos demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ

Paul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.

    An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.

    When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel

John 16:23-28

The Father loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.

Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.

I have been telling you all this in metaphors,

the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors;

but tell you about the Father in plain words.

When that day comes you will ask in my name;

and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you,

because the Father himself loves you for loving me

and believing that I came from God.

I came from the Father and have come into the world

and now I leave the world to go to the Father.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 27, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Happy Easter everyone! Yes for many Easter was just one day, but for us who know our faith it is fifty days in Eastertide! This Sunday marks the 7th Sunday in Easter as we count down to Pentecost. So sisters and brothers in Christ, how joyful are you? Are you walking in the light of our Lord’s resurrection? Are you bringing hope, peace and joy to those who have none?

If all of us do our part in sharing the joy of the Gospel with world, then surely God our Father in Heaven will bless all His children and dwell in their hearts then there will be no senseless violence and massacres by those without hope, peace and joy for they would have heard that God our Father loves them and would have experienced the peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Today let us not be afraid to speak out in love, nor allow ourselves to be silenced as we share the Gospel truths: Our Resurrected Lord is with us! Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 18:9-18 ·

‘I have many people on my side in this city’

At Corinth one night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’ So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months.

    But, while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. ‘We accuse this man’ they said ‘of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.’ Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, I would not hesitate to attend to you; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves – I have no intention of making legal decisions about things like that.’ Then he sent them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the court house. Gallio refused to take any notice at all.

    After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.

Gospel

John 16:20-23

Your hearts will be full of joy that no-one will take from you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

you will be weeping and wailing

while the world will rejoice;

you will be sorrowful,

but your sorrow will turn to joy.

A woman in childbirth suffers,

because her time has come;

but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering

in her joy that a man has been born into the world.

So it is with you: you are sad now,

but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy,

and that joy no one shall take from you.

When that day comes,

you will not ask me any questions.’

Ascension of the Lord

Posted: May 26, 2022 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles
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The Good News: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Ascension of the Lord

Acts 1:1–11
Psalm 47:2–3, 6–7, 8–9
Ephesians 1:17–23 or Hebrews 9:24–28; 10:19–23
Luke 24:46–53

In today’s First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke gives the surprising news that there is more of the story to be told. The story did not end with the empty tomb, or with Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles over the course of forty days. Jesus’ saving work will have a liturgical consummation. He is the great high priest, and He has still to ascend to the heavenly Jerusalem, there to celebrate the feast in the true Holy of Holies.

The truth of this feast shines forth from the Letter to the Hebrews, where we read of the great high priest’s passing through the heavens, the sinless intercessor’s sacrifice on our behalf (see Hebrews 4:14–15).

Indeed, His intercession will lead to the Holy Spirit’s descent in fire upon the Church. Luke spells out that promise in the First Reading for the feast of the Ascension: “in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). The Ascension is the preliminary feast that directs the Church’s attention forward to Pentecost. On that day, salvation will be complete; for salvation is not simply expiation for sins (that would be wonder enough), but it is something even greater than that. Expiation is itself a necessary precondition of our adoption as God’s children. To live that divine life we must receive the Holy Spirit. To receive the Holy Spirit we must be purified through Baptism.

The Responsorial Psalm presents the Ascension in terms familiar from the worship of the Jerusalem Temple in the days of King Solomon: “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord” (Psalm 47). The priest-king takes his place at the head of the people, ruling over the nations, establishing peace.

The Epistle strikes a distinctively Paschal note. In the early Church, as today, Easter was the normal time for the baptism of adult converts. The sacrament was often called “illumination” or “enlightenment” because of the light that came with God’s saving grace (see, for example, Hebrews 10:32). Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, speaks in terms of glory that leads to greater glories still, as Ascension leads to Pentecost:

“May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,” he writes, as he looks to the divinization of the believers. Their “hope” is “his inheritance among the holy ones,” the saints who have been adopted into God’s family and now rule with Him at the Father’s right hand.

This is the “good news” the Apostles are commissioned to spread—to the whole world, to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem—at the Ascension. It’s the good news we must spread today

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 25, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Why is it that we often dumb down our faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ around others who may not yet be believers in Him? We are afraid to overwhelm them and want to gradually bring them in perhaps by way of ‘hooks’. Let us ask ourselves then, why did St Paul who managed to garner the attention of the non-believers with his eloquence on how their Unknown God was indeed the same One true God that we all believe; go on to talk about Jesus rising from the dead? Why not save that for later when they are more convinced? Why not take time to build the relationship with them first before leading them to Jesus?

Jesus is the truth, the way and the life! He is the Lord of lords, King of kings! This is truth that we hold dear in our hearts does not change in the presence of unbelievers. If the LORD does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless; if the LORD does not protect the city, it does no good for the sentries to stand guard. Ps 127:1 It is the Lord who will grow the relationship we are only called to sow the seeds of love. For our Lord had said, ““Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” Matt 10:32-33

O Holy Spirit Lord, lead us all to the complete truth now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 17:15,22-18:1

I proclaim the God you already worship without knowing it

Paul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could.

    So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech:

    ‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it.

    ‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:

“We are all his children.”

‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man.

    ‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’

    At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides.

    After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Gospel

John 16:12-15

The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truth

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you

but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes

he will lead you to the complete truth,

since he will not be speaking as from himself

but will say only what he has learnt;

and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me,

since all he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.

Everything the Father has is mine;

that is why I said:

All he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 24, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In times of adversity how many of us would think to turn to our Lord in prayer not so much as to offer petitions for ourselves but simply to offer our praise and worship of the Lord our God? How many would sing God’s praises?

For if we truly in believe our resurrected Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ then we know that the victory is already ours! For He had already conquered death and set us free to live fully in His love. And nothing can separate us from the love of God our Heavenly Father. Heaven and earth will move to liberate us! That is why we should Glorify the Lord our God at all times. In good times as well as in bad times, for all the time God is good! And He makes all things new!

Come Holy Spirit come; Come and lead the way. Amen Alleluia

 

First reading

Acts 16:22-34 ·

Become a believer and you will be saved, and your household too

The crowd joined in and showed their hostility to Paul and Silas, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

    Late that night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God’s praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’ The gaoler called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They told him, ‘Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.’ Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them home and gave them a meal, and the whole family celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

Gospel

John 16:5-11

Unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.

Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?”

Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.

Still, I must tell you the truth:

it is for your own good that I am going

because unless I go,

the Advocate will not come to you;

but if I do go,

I will send him to you.

And when he comes,

he will show the world how wrong it was,

about sin,

and about who was in the right,

and about judgement:

about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me;

about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and your seeing me no more;

about judgement: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 23, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Even before the pandemic hit very few folks were willing to open their homes for community prayer meetings. They might gladly do so for family gatherings which was infrequent or for one or two close friends but prayer meetings were by far too much of a hassle.

That said I have been Blessed to know a few ‘Lydias’ who are not simply hospitable but outright generous, loving and kind. They do not only prepare their homes for the Lord’s coming (presence) for the meetings but they seem to look upon you their guest as`Jesus’ In other words, they made feel you welcomed as they would have welcomed our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! No exaggeration! They are true witnesses of living life in the Spirit!

Come Holy Spirit come, come live inside of me. Amen

First reading
Acts 16:11-15 ·
The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to accept what Paul was saying

Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

Gospel
John 15:26-16:4
The Spirit of truth will be my witness

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘When the Advocate comes,
whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,
he will be my witness.
And you too will be witnesses,
because you have been with me from the outset.

‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues, and indeed the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things
because they have never known either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this,
so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you.’

6th Sunday Of Easter

Posted: May 21, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Council of Jerusalem: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday of Easter 

Readings:

Acts 15:1–2, 22–29 

Psalm 67:2–3, 5–6, 8

Revelation 21:10–14, 22–23

John 14:23–29

The first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem we hear about in today’s First Reading, decided the shape of the Church as we know it.

Some Jewish Christians had wanted Gentile converts to be circumcised and obey all the complex ritual and purity laws of the Jews.

The council called this a heresy, again showing us that the Church in the divine plan is meant to be a worldwide family of God, no longer a covenant with just one nation.

Today’s Liturgy gives us a profound meditation on the nature and meaning of the Church. The Church is One, as we see in the First Reading: “the Apostles [bishops] and presbyters [priests], in agreement with the whole Church [laity].”

The Church is Holy, taught and guided by the Spirit that Jesus promises the Apostles in the Gospel.

The Church is Catholic, or universal, making known God’s ways of salvation to all peoples, ruling all in equity, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

And the Church, as John sees in the Second Reading, is Apostolic—founded on the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

All these marks of the Church are underscored in the story of the council.

Notice that everybody, including Paul, looks to “Jerusalem [and] . . . the Apostles” to decide the Church’s true teaching. The Apostles, too, presume that Christian teachers need a “mandate from us.”

And we see the Spirit guiding the Apostles in all truth. Notice how they describe their ruling: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us.”

Knowing these truths about the Church, our hearts should never be troubled. The Liturgy’s message today is that the Church is the Lord’s, watched over and guarded by the Advocate, the Holy Spirit sent by the Father in the name of the Son.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 21, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Are we docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? How can we if we will not spend time in prayer, reflection of His Word for us in His presence? When we do  We do not discern His Will as a community or family? Where is the Lord our God in our lives? When we make our own travel plans, our own decisions to migrate, to switch jobs, ministries and so on? Then when something goes wrong whom do we choose to blame?

God our Heavenly Father only wants what is best for His Children and the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us if we ask Him for help. He does not impose His Will on us. We will do well to remember this scripture text by hard, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer 29:11-13

Following after Christ as a disciple, we will be led on a great adventure in His love with many twists and turns. Challenges and trials are to be expected. Yes we will indeed face rejection! For our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ too was rejected as He died on a cross for us. He rose from the dead and through Him we know that we too will be raised up by the power of His resurrection; so we gladly await our Heavenly reward of eternal life with Him. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 16:1-10 ·

‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.

    As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.

    So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.

    They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.

    One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.

Gospel

John 15:18-21

The world hated me before it hated you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you,

remember that it hated me before you.

If you belonged to the world,

the world would love you as its own;

but because you do not belong to the world,

because my choice withdrew you from the world,

therefore the world hates you.

Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;

if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

But it will be on my account that they will do all this,

because they do not know the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 20, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How do we truly love one another? Do we go out of our way for one another? Are we willing to sacrifice time? Our talents and gifts? Are we at willing to lay down our life for a friend? If not then how do we hope to bear fruit for our Lord?

Is it enough to simply send our prayers and well wishes by whatsapp, messenger, text message, instagram or tweeter to a friend in need? Is it right not to be there for family or friend at a wake? Is it enough to simply give money instead of helping with the care for the poor? Entrust someone else with the care for the downtrodden? If we will not be present for a friend or community then we will not be present for the stranger in need! We will not be present for Jesus!

Jesus by the power of Your resurrection free me from everything that holds me back from loving my friends, family, even the stranger as I should. Grant me the courage, strength, grace and humility to put their needs first before my very own. Let me glorify You by my love and my life for You and my brethren. Amen

First reading

Acts 15:22-31 ·

It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us not to burden you beyond these essentials

The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:

    ‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’

    The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Gospel

John 15:12-17

What I command you is to love one another

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘This is my commandment:

love one another,

as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love

than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends,

if you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more,

because a servant does not know

his master’s business;

I call you friends,

because I have made known to you

everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me:

no, I chose you;

and I commissioned you

to go out and to bear fruit,

fruit that will last;

and then the Father will give you

anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you is to love one another.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 19, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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God our Father’s Commandments are a gift for us because it brings about order, peace, love, joy and most importantly life. Hence the sanctity of life is protected.

Why then do many frown upon them, shrug and give up saying too difficult to follow? “I need my distractions, I have needs and desires to be fulfilled!”

When we have disagreements amongst ourselves, how many would turn to scripture for a solution? To invite the Holy Spirit to come, guide and bring about resolution? How many would allow for a new and better way instead of holding fast to the norms and traditional approaches to matters outside of faith?

Yes Lord I love You and I endeavour this and every day to keep Your commandments. Bless, Protect and guide me Lord to know and do Your Will always. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 15:7-21 ·

I rule that we do not make things more difficult for the pagans who turn to God

After the discussion had gone on a long time, Peter stood up and addressed the apostles and the elders.

    ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the pagans were to learn the Good News from me and so become believers. In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith. It would only provoke God’s anger now, surely, if you imposed on the disciples the very burden that neither we nor our ancestors were strong enough to support? Remember, we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.’

    This silenced the entire assembly, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the pagans.

    When they had finished it was James who spoke. ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘listen to me. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:

After that I shall return

and rebuild the fallen House of David;

I shall rebuild it from its ruins

and restore it.

Then the rest of mankind,

all the pagans who are consecrated to my name,

will look for the Lord,

says the Lord who made this known so long ago.

‘I rule, then, that instead of making things more difficult for pagans who turn to God, we send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from fornication, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has always had his preachers in every town, and is read aloud in the synagogues every sabbath.’

Gospel

John 15:9-11

Remain in my love

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,

so I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments

you will remain in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments

and remain in his love.

I have told you this

so that my own joy may be in you

and your joy be complete.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 18, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Yes our Church indeed has its fair share of problems, challenges even obstacles to overcome. One of the main ones today amongst many others is how to bring those who have left the Church back? And we are truly Blessed to have a Pope who has already inspired everyone in starting the synodal process. A means to hear from everyone and allow the Holy Spirit to open new doors as Christ once again makes all things new!

Question is how many are truly connected to the Vine, the source and summit of our lives who gives us life? That is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! How many meetings have we attended where the focus was on Him, He was the centre of our meetings not the agenda! Meetings where we started with Adoration (not a 5-10 minute one) prayer, praise and worship, breaking of the Word only after did we begin our meeting with the invocation of the Holy Spirit. For unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. PS 127:1

Lord Jesus I remain Yours, through You, with You and in You. You are my rock and my salvation and so I pledge to take up my cross and follow after You this and every day. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 15:1-6

They were to go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.

    All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.

    But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

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: May 17, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Do not let your hearts be troubled for the prince of this world has no power over Jesus. We have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God our Heavenly Father through our baptism, therefore the prince of this world has no power over us too! For we are children of God our Heavenly Father so loved and protected by Him.

That is why even when St Paul was terribly beaten, stoned and left to die outside of town, he picked him himself up and went back to the very town that left him for dead! Unthinkable? Why would he do such a thing? How did he do it? Well he carried the peace, love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with him! Recuperated and renewed by Jesus he went on with St. Barnabas to preach the Good News and put fresh heart into the disciples. For every disciple knows that before we enter the kingdom of God we will have face many hardships and persevere in our faith.

We can do so, because having searched the world over we know that only true peace and joy is to be found in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ alone. He is the way, the truth and the life. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 14:19-28 ·

They gave an account of how God had opened the door of faith to the pagans

Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and turned the people against the apostles. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went off to Derbe.

    Having preached the Good News in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

    They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.

    On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

Gospel

John 14:27-31

A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,

a peace the world cannot give,

this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,

for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens,

so that when it does happen you may believe.

I shall not talk with you any longer,

because the prince of this world is on his way.

He has no power over me,

but the world must be brought to know

that I love the Father

and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 16, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Every level in our faith journey is a test of our faithfulness and love for our Lord, our saviour Jesus Christ.  For if we do bear fruit for Him we will often have an opportunity to witness these fruits in others. Many touched deeply by our Lord through us being instruments of His grace may shower us with fervour, gifts and affirmation. Be wary for the evil one lurks and is waiting to snare you and I! Many have fallen into believing that power and glory is theirs! Even if the Lord is added at the end of ” ‘I’ did this for the Lord!” By St Barnabas and St Paul’s example in today’s first reading, we too should be ‘tearing’ at our clothes at this juncture shouting ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have only come to share in the good news of the Gospel and to turn your hearts back to the Lord our God.

If we continue to let ourselves be deceived then will we not only lose our way but lead others to do likewise. We will begin to take shortcuts, cut corners and soon even irreverence for the Lord our God sets in as we declare “My Will be done!”

Lord Jesus help me to remain steadfast to Your Word and Will for me. Holy Spirit Lord, teach, counsel and guide me to the Way, the Truth and the life! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 14:5-18

We have come with good news to turn you to the living God

Eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on the apostles and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.

    A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, ‘Get to your feet – stand up’, and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.

    When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, ‘These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.’ They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he gives you food and makes you happy.’ Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop the crowd offering them sacrifice.

Gospel

John 14:21-26

The Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them

will be one who loves me;

and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,

and I shall love him and show myself to him.’

Judas – this was not Judas Iscariot – said to him, ‘Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied:

‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,

and my Father will love him,

and we shall come to him and make our home with him.

Those who do not love me do not keep my words.

And my word is not my own:

it is the word of the one who sent me.

I have said these things to you while still with you;

but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,

whom the Father will send in my name,

will teach you everything

and remind you of all I have said to you.’