Archive for June, 2011

July 3rd, 2011 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: June 30, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

A Yoke for the Childlike

Readings:
Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
Romans 8:9, 11-13
Matthew 11:25-30


 

Jesus is portrayed in today’s Gospel as a new and greater Moses.

Moses, the meekest man on earth (see Numbers 12:3), was God’s friend (see Exodus 34:12,17). Only he knew God “face to face” (see Deuteronomy 34:10). And Moses gave Israel the yoke of the Law, through which God first revealed himself and how we are to live (see Jeremiah 2:20; 5:5).

Jesus too is meek and humble. But He is more than God’s friend. He is the Son who alone knows the Father. He is more also than a law-giver, presenting himself today as the yoke of a new Law, and as the revealed Wisdom of God.

As Wisdom, Jesus was present before creation as the firstborn of God, the Father and Lord of heaven and earth (see Proverbs 8:22; Wisdom 9:9). And He gives knowledge of the holy things of the kingdom of God (see Wisdom 10:10).

In the gracious will of the Father, Jesus reveals these things only to the “childlike”—those who humble themselves before Him as little children (see Sirach 2:17). These alone can recognize and receive Jesus as the just savior and meek king promised to daughter Zion, Israel, in today’s First Reading.

We too are called to childlike faith in the Father’s goodness, as sons and daughters of the new kingdom, the Church.

We are to live by the Spirit we received in baptism (see Galatians 5:16), putting to death our old ways of thinking and acting, as Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle. Our “yoke” is to be His new law of love (see John 13:34), by which we enter into the “rest” of His kingdom.
As we sing in today’s Psalm, we joyously await the day when we will praise His name forever in the kingdom that lasts for all ages. This is the sabbath rest promised by Jesus—first anticipated by Moses (see Exodus 20:8-11), but which still awaits the people of God (see Hebrews 4:9).

The Martyrs Realized What They Taught – Peter & Paul

Posted: June 29, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
The martyrs realized what they taught

This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. We are, therefore, not talking about some obscure martyrs. For their voice has gone forth to all the world, and to the ends of the earth their message. These martyrs realized what they taught: they pursued justice, they confessed the truth, they died for it.

Saint Peter, the first of the apostles and a fervent lover of Christ, merited to hear these words: I say to you that you are Peter, for he had said: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then Christ said: And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. On this rock I will build the faith that you now confess, and on your words: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church. For you are Peter, and the name Peter comes from petra, the word for “rock,” and not vice versa. “Peter” comes, therefore, from petra, just as “Christian” comes from Christ.

As you are aware, Jesus chose his disciples before his passion and called them apostles; and among these almost everywhere Peter alone deserved to represent the entire Church. And because of that role which he alone had, he merited to hear the words: To you I shall give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For it was not one man who received the keys, but the entire Church considered as one. Now insofar as he represented the unity and universality of the Church, Peter’s preeminence is clear from the words: To you I give, for what was given was given to all. For the fact that it was the Church that received the keys of the kingdom of God is clear from what the Lord says elsewhere to all the apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit, adding immediately, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you retain, they are retained.

Rightly then did the Lord after his resurrection entrust Peter with the feeding of his sheep. Yet he was not the only disciple to merit the feeding of the Lord’s sheep; but Christ in speaking only to one suggests the unity of all; and so he speaks to Peter, because Peter is first among the apostles. Therefore do not be disheartened, Peter; reply once, reply twice, reply a third time. The triple confession of your love is to regain what was lost three times by your fear. You must loose three times what you bound three times; untie by love that which your fear bound. Once, and again, and a third time did the Lord entrust his sheep to Peter.

Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith.

“Yet He, Being Compassionate”

Posted: June 26, 2011 by CatholicJules in Prayers

“Yet He, Being Compassionate” READ Psalm 78:32–55

Yet he, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them; often he restrained his anger, and did not stir up all his wrath.

Psalm 78:38

While some tally the sins of men and women and conclude that there is no hope for humanity, others notice that the grace of Christ is even more evident—establishing salvation, developing reconciliation, and building the Kingdom of God.

PRAYER: I will not be disheartened, O God, by those who tell me stories of human decadence and society’s disintegration; I have heard those stories before. Instead I will see every sin as a place where your forgiveness can operate and every rebellion as a focus for your redemption. You are more than a match for sin—mine and everyone’s. Amen.

 

Peterson, Eugene H. (2010). Praying with the Psalms

June 26th, 2011 – Corpus Christi

Posted: June 24, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Word of the ‘Living Father’

Readings:
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
John 6:51-58


 

The Eucharist is given to us as a challenge and a promise. That’s how Jesus presents it in today’s Gospel.

He doesn’t make it easy for those who hear Him. They are repulsed and offended at His words. Even when they begin to quarrel, He insists on describing the eating and drinking of His flesh and blood in starkly literal terms.

Four times in today’s reading, Jesus uses a Greek word – trogein – that refers to a crude kind of eating, almost a gnawing or chewing (see John 6:54,56,57,58).

He is testing their faith in His Word, as today’s First Reading describes God testing Israel in the desert.

The heavenly manna was not given to satisfy the Israelites’ hunger, as Moses explains. It was given to show them that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

In today’s Psalm, too, we see a connection between God’s Word and the bread of life. We sing of God filling us with “finest wheat” and proclaiming his Word to the world.

In Jesus, “the living Father” has given us His Word come down from heaven, made flesh for the life of the world.

Yet as the Israelites grumbled in the desert, many in today’s Gospel cannot accept that Word. Even many of Jesus’ own followers abandon Him after this discourse (see John 6:66). But His words are Spirit and life, the words of eternal life (see John 6:63,67).

In the Eucharist we are made one flesh with Christ. We have His life in us and have our life because of Him. This is what Paul means in today’s Epistle when He calls the Eucharist a “participation” in Christ’s body and blood. We become in this sacrament partakers of the divine nature (see 1 Peter 2:4).

This is the mystery of the faith that Jesus asks us believe. And He gives us His promise: that sharing in His flesh and blood that was raised from the dead, we too will be raised up on the last day.

The Psalms Teach Us To Pray

Posted: June 23, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

The Psalms teach us to pray, Pope says

June 22, 2011 1:38 PM

Vatican City, Jun 22, 2011 / 12:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Book of Psalms can teach people how to pray and is the “prayer book ‘par excellence,’” Pope Benedict XVI said in his June 22 audience with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

“These inspired songs teach us how to speak to God, expressing ourselves and the whole range of our human experience with words that God himself has given us.”

The book of psalms consists of 150 prayers traditionally ascribed to the authorship of King David.

The Pope explained that a whole range of human emotions are found in the Pslams, ranging from “joy and suffering” to the “fullness of life to fear of dying.”

“In these prayers, the Psalms are manifestations of the soul and faith, in which everyone can recognize and communicate the experience of a special closeness to God to which every man is called,” observed the Pope.

The Pope said it was significant that Jewish tradition refers to the Psalter as “Tehillim,” which means “praise” in Hebrew. This makes the Psalms “ultimately a book of praise.”

“Despite the diversity of their literary forms, the Psalms are generally marked by the two interconnected dimensions of humble petition and of praise addressed to a loving God who understands our human frailty,” he said.

But the Psalms are also quite different from the other books of the Old Testament, Pope Benedict noted. Instead of being narratives with a specific meaning or purpose, he explained, they “are given to the believer just as text for prayer.”

In fact, the Pope urged pilgrims to pray using the Psalms, suggesting that in “praying the Psalms we learn to pray. They are a school of prayer.” He explained himself by drawing an analogy with how children learn to express themselves.

A child initially “learns to express their feelings, emotions and needs with words that do not belong to him,” but instead “he learns innately from his parents and those who live around him.” Very quickly “the words become his words” and those feelings, emotions and needs of his are then duly expressed, said the Pope.

He concluded by suggesting that the Psalms ultimately point people towards Jesus.

“Many of the Psalms are attributed to David, the great King of Israel who, as the Lord’s Anointed, prefigured the Messiah. In Jesus Christ and in his paschal mystery the Psalms find their deepest meaning and prophetic fulfillment.”

“Christ himself prayed in their words. As we take up these inspired songs of praise, let us ask the Lord to teach us to pray, with him and in him, to our heavenly Father.”

This was the seventh Wednesday audience delivered by Pope Benedict on the topic of prayer. His previous theme – the lives of the saints – took two years to complete.

June 19th, 2011 – Trinity Sunday

Posted: June 17, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

How God Loves

Readings:
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9
Daniel 3:52-56
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
John 3:16-18

We often begin Mass with the prayer from today’s Epistle: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” We praise the God who has revealed himself as a Trinity, a communion of persons.

Communion with the Trinity is the goal of our worship – and the purpose of the salvation history that begins in the Bible and continues in the Eucharist and sacraments of the Church.

We see the beginnings of God’s self-revelation in today’s First Reading, as He passes before Moses and cries out His holy name.

Israel had sinned in worshipping the golden calf (see Exodus 32). But God does not condemn them to perish. Instead He proclaims His mercy and faithfulness to His covenant.

God loved Israel as His firstborn son among the nations (see Exodus 4:22). Through Israel – heirs of His covenant with Abraham – God planned to reveal himself as the Father of all nations (see Genesis 22:18).

The memory of God’s covenant testing of Abraham – and Abraham’s faithful obedience – lies behind today’s Gospel.

In commanding Abraham to offer his only beloved son (see Genesis 22:2,12,16), God was preparing us for the fullest possible revelation of His love for the world.

As Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, God did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all (see Romans 8:32).

In this, He revealed what was only disclosed partially to Moses – that His kindness continues for a thousand generations, that He forgives our sin, and takes us back as His very own people (see Deuteronomy 4:20; 9:29).

Jesus humbled himself to die in obedience to God’s will. And for this, the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead (see Romans 8:11), and gave Him a name above every name (see Philippians 2:8-10).

This is the name we glorify in today’s Responsorial – the name of our Lord, the God who is Love (see 1 John 4;8,16).

Early Christians

Posted: June 14, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Memory Book

A second-century view of Christians as they saw themselves.  

This is an eloquently written letter  about the first Christians by an unknown second-century Christian writer to Diognetus :

Christians are indistinguishable from other men, either by nationality, language or customs.  They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life.  Their teaching is not based on reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.  Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine.  With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it be Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives.  They live in their own countries as though the are only passing through.  They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens.  Any country can be homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country.  Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them.  They share their meals, but not their wives.  They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh.  They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven.  Obedient to the laws, they live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them.  Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again.  They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything.  They suffer dishonour, but that is their glory.  They are defamed, but vindicated.  A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference is their answer to insult.  For the good they do, they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice as though receiving the gift of life.  They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet non one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christians is to the world what the soul is to the body.  As the soul is present in every part of the body while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world.  As a visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen.

 

Who Are You?

Posted: June 11, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Questions & Answers

When someone asks,”Who are you?” the response of a Christian should first be, “I am a child of God, the Father who created me, the Son who redeemed me, and the Holy Spirit who empowered me, Blessed Mary is our mother as is the Church, the people of God.  The saints are our brothers and sisters.”  Then we add our unique details: “In addition, I am the son/daughter of Anthony and Patricia Tan.  I have a sister and a vast number of uncles, aunts and cousins.”

Rev.Val J.Peter

Only the names have been changed by the blog Author to reflect a local flavour

June 12, 2011 – Pentecost Sunday

Posted: June 10, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

A Mighty Wind

Readings:
Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
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 23:15-21; Deuteronomy 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 3:2-8; Romans 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 15:45,47).

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 5:17; Galatians 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.

The Work Of The Holy Spirit

Posted: June 7, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

From the treatise On the Holy Spirit by Saint Basil the Great, bishop

The titles given to the Holy Spirit must surely stir the soul of anyone who hears them, and make him realize that they speak of nothing less than the supreme Being. Is he not called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, the steadfast Spirit, the guiding Spirit? But his principal and most personal title is the Holy Spirit.

To the Spirit all creatures turn in their need for sanctification; all living things seek him according to their ability. His breath empowers each to achieve its own natural end.

The Spirit is the source of holiness, a spiritual light, and he offers his own light to every mind to help it in its search for truth. By nature the Spirit is beyond the reach of our mind, but we can know him by his goodness. The power of the Spirit fills the whole universe, but he gives himself only to those who are worthy, acting in each according to the measure of his faith.

Simple in himself, the Spirit is manifold in his mighty works. The whole of his being is present to each individual; the whole of his being is present everywhere. Though shared in by many, he remains unchanged; his self giving is no loss to himself. Like the sunshine, which permeates all the atmosphere, spreading over land and sea, and yet is enjoyed by each person as though it were for him alone, so the Spirit pours forth his grace in full measure, sufficient for all, and yet is present as though exclusively to everyone who can receive him. To all creatures that share in him he gives a delight limited only by their own nature, not by his ability to give.

The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings to perfection those who are making progress. He enlightens those who have been cleansed from every stain of sin and makes them spiritual by communion with himself.

As clear, transparent substances become very bright when sunlight falls on them and shine with a new radiance, so also souls in whom the Spirit dwells, and who are enlightened by the Spirit, become spiritual themselves and a source of grace for others.

From the Spirit comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of the mysteries of faith, insight into the hidden meaning of Scripture, and other special gifts. Through the Spirit we become citizens of heaven, we enter into eternal happiness, and abide in God. Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations—we become God.

Prayer

Posted: June 6, 2011 by CatholicJules in Prayers

“A Cup with Foaming Wine” READ Psalm 75 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed; he will pour a draught from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.

Psalm 75:8 The cup of foaming wine, destined for the wicked and predicted for centuries by prophet and psalmist, is finally grasped firmly by Jesus and drained to the dregs. When the deserved wrath of God is drunk by the undeserving Son of God, the cup of wrath becomes a cup of salvation.

PRAYER: I will seek justice, O God, not in the acts of others and not in my own attempts at goodness, but in the deep exchanges of forgiveness and redemption that take place in Jesus Christ. Free me from self-promotion and self-justification to sing the praise of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Peterson, Eugene H. (2010).

June 5th, 2011 – 7th Sunday in Easter

Posted: June 4, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

Knowing God

Readings:
Acts 1:12-14
Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8
1 Peter 4:13-16
John 17:1-11

Jesus has been taken up into heaven as we begin today’s First Reading. His disciples – including the Apostles and Mary – return to the upper room where He celebrated the Last Supper (see Luke 22:12).

There, they devote themselves with one accord to prayer, awaiting the Spirit that He promised would come upon them (see Acts 1:8).

The unity of the early Church at Jerusalem is a sign of the oneness that Christ prays for in today’s Gospel. The Church is to be a communion on earth that mirrors the glorious union of Father, Son and Spirit in the Trinity.

Jesus has proclaimed God’s name to His brethren (see Hebrews 2:12; Psalm 22:23). The prophets had foretold this revelation – a new covenant by which all flesh would have knowledge of the Lord (see Jeremiah 31:33-34; Habakkuk 2:14).

By the new covenant made in His blood and remembered in every Eucharist, we know God as our Father. This is the eternal life Jesus promises. And this is the light and salvation we sing of in today’s Psalm.

As God made light to shine out of darkness when the world began, He has enlightened us in Baptism, making us new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), giving us knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (see Hebrews 10:32; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Our new life is a gift of “the Spirit of glory,” we hear in today’s Epistle (see John 7:38-39). Made one in His name, we are given a new name – “Christians” – a name used only here and in two other places in the Bible (see Acts 11:16; 26:28). We are to glorify God, though we will be insulted and suffer because of this name.

But as we share in His sufferings, we know we will overcome (see Revelation 3:12) and rejoice when His glory is once more revealed. And we will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives.

Collection of Summer Prayers

Posted: June 3, 2011 by CatholicJules in Prayers

Free Download Here or at my Catholic Flash Widget bottom left of this blog.

 

The Lord’s peace be with you all….

 

 


From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement:No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says:Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.