Archive for July, 2012

Same Love – Paul Baloche

Posted: July 31, 2012 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

Sunday Catholics A-Ten-Hut!

Posted: July 30, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Saturday’s first reading is still fresh in my mind, simply because I had been pondering on how well the passage hits home for many Catholics who routinely go to Church more out of obligation then of love.  How many of us have forgotten that we are going into the sanctuary before God to worship him and yet were reverent neither in disposition or outward appearance.  How we have simply continued to live our lives according to our own whim and fancies. How some of us have chosen what we want to believe in the Word given to us and how we have omitted the other parts which were a hindrance or deemed to ‘Old School’ or ‘Old fashionly’ rigid.  Why then do some wonder how others seem to leave Church, rejuvenated, joyful with a serenity that you do not seem to possess?  Let this Old testament passage speak to your hearts…..take note of the end where a similar utterance can be found by Jesus in the New Testament…

Jeremiah 7:1-11

The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘Go and stand at the gate of the Temple of the Lord and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship the Lord. The Lord Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will stay with you here in this place. Put no trust in delusive words like these: This is the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord! But if you do amend your behaviour and your actions, if you treat each other fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow (if you do not shed innocent blood in this place), and if you do not follow alien gods, to your own ruin, then here in this place I will stay with you, in the land that long ago I gave to your fathers forever. Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know? – and then come presenting yourselves in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe – safe to go on committing all these abominations! Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind – it is the Lord who speaks.”’

 


Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn 

Bread Left Over

Readings:
2 Kings 4:42-44
Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18
Ephesians 4:1-6
John 6:1-15
________________________________________

Today’s liturgy brings together several strands of Old Testament expectation to reveal Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah and king, the Lord who comes to feed His people.

Notice the parallels between today’s Gospel and First Reading. Both Elisha and Jesus face a crowd of hungry people with only a few “barley” loaves. We hear similar words about how impossible it will be to feed the crowd with so little. And in both the miraculous multiplication of bread satisfies the hungry and leaves food left over.

The Elisha story looks back to Moses, the prophet who fed God’s people in the wilderness (see Exodus 16). Moses prophesied that God would send a prophet like him (see Deuteronomy 18:15-19). The crowd in today’s Gospel, witnessing His miracle, identifies Jesus as that prophet.

The Gospel today again shows Jesus to be the Lord, the good shepherd, who makes His people lie down on green grass and spreads a table before them (see Psalm 23:1,5).

The miraculous feeding is a sign that God has begun to fulfill His promise, which we sing of in today’s Psalm – to give His people food in due season and satisfy their desire (see Psalm 81:17).

But Jesus points to the final fulfillment of that promise in the Eucharist. He does the same things He does at the Last Supper – He takes the loaves, pronounces a blessing of thanksgiving (literally, “eucharist”), and gives the bread to the people (see Matthew 26:26). Notice, too, that 12 baskets of bread are left over, one for each of the apostles.

These are signs that should point us to the Eucharist – in which the Church founded on the apostles continues to feed us with the living bread of His body.

In this Eucharist, we are made one body with the Lord, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Let us resolve again, then, to live lives worthy of such a great calling.


First reading
Jeremiah 2:1-3,7-8,12-13

Gospel
Matthew 13:10-17

Personal Reflection

In today’s Gospel we learn how we are to receive the Word of God. When we are prepared to listen with our hearts more will be poured out unto us.  Prior to this passage was the parable of the sower, showing us what happens to the Word of God in four types of people.  But even to this day many today are still clueless, they struggle with understanding or even if they do claim to understand at some level the Word does not fill them with joy or move them as they ought to be moved. Why? Today, if we were to put the bible in the hands of every man, woman or child, would the world be automatically converted? The command given to the apostles and all their successors in the ministry was to “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, &c. teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.”

If our hearts and minds are not prepared to listen, we will see but do not perceive, hear but do not understand. Jesus is calling all of us today, Come to me and be healed, be made worthy to receive. It is not by our own wills or intellect that we can understand or perceive but through the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Are you not willing to do what it takes? Do you not want to experience true love, peace and joy in your lives? Why not be made worthy to drink from the living fountain by way of repentance rather than hold on to leaking cisterns that hold no water?

Let us be numbered among the blessed as Jesus speaks to our hearts,”But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.  Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

 


Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn 

One Flock

Readings:
Jeremiah 23:1-16
Psalms 23:1-6
Ephesians 2:13-18
Mark 6:30-34
________________________________________

As the Twelve return from their first missionary journey in today’s Gospel, our readings continue to reflect on the authority and mission of the Church.

Jeremiah says in the First Reading that Israel’s leaders, through godlessness and fanciful teachings, had mislead and scattered God’s people. He promises God will send a shepherd, a king and son of David, to gather the lost sheep and appoint for them new shepherds (see Ezekiel 34:23).

The crowd gathering on the green grass (see Mark 6:39) in today’s Gospel is the start of the remnant that Jeremiah promised would be brought back to the meadow of Israel. The people seem to sense that Jesus is the Lord, the good shepherd (see John 10:11), the king they’ve been waiting for (see Hosea 3:1-5).

Jesus is moved to pity, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd. This phrase was used by Moses to describe Israel’s need for a shepherd to succeed him (see Numbers 27:17). And as Moses appointed Joshua, Jesus appointed the Twelve to continue shepherding His people on earth.
Jesus had said there were other sheep who did not belong to Israel’s fold, but would hear His voice and be joined to the one flock of the one shepherd (see John 10:16). In God’s plan, the Church is to seek out first the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and then to bring all nations into the fold (see Acts 13:36; Romans 1:16).

Paul, too, in today’s Epistle, sees the Church as a new creation, in which those nations who were once far off from God are joined as “one new person” with the children of Israel.
As we sing in today’s Psalm, through the Church, the Lord, our good shepherd, still leads people to the verdant pastures of the kingdom, to the restful waters of baptism; He still anoints with the oil of confirmation, and spreads the Eucharistic table before all people, filling their cups to overflowing.

A Note On Faith….

Posted: July 21, 2012 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This “standing with him” points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes.

Pope Benedict XVI

Personal Reflection

Posted: July 20, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

On Today’s Readings……

First Reading Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8
Gospel Matthew 12:1-8

Personal Reflection

In the first reading, we are reminded of our Fathers faithfulness as He fulfills the covenant made with David.  We learn that sin drains the life out of us, but when we reach out in repentance to God our Father, He forgives and gives us new us life.  Are we sorrowful for our sins? Do we examine our conscience daily?

In today’s Gospel we are reminded that a steadfast love is what is required of us not sacrifice. Jesus our Lord of the Sabbath and the Lord of All has come to write the laws on our hearts, so that we may live them to the fullest in His love. Are we imposing judgement or our laws on others? Or Are we loving and guiding others to faith by our deeds?


First reading
Isaiah 26:7-9,12,16-19
Gospel
Matthew 11:28-30

Personal Reflection

In the first reading we hear how we are to walk upright and straight in righteousness and God helps us through our suffering which produces character and teaches us His ways.  Do we let our sufferings in life, like the pains of a pregnant woman go to waste? Or do we let it bear fruit instead?  Does our hope, prayer and actions in life lead us to our hope in the resurrection of Christ where we can claim our rightful inheritance?

In today’s Gospel Jesus invites us to come to Him when we are overburdened and remain in Him. For when we remain in Him our allegiance results in rest. Do we seek Him only when we are overburdened by our sins or our daily way of lives? Are we afraid to surrender to our Lord and receive His Yoke because of our lack of faith and understanding?  Are we working hard through our sufferings to bear fruit for His Kingdom?

Let us cry out……Ah my Lord my God, your Grace is sufficient! Your tender mercies flow abundantly over me that I no longer am burdened. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to The Holy Spirit…Amen

Personal Reflection On

Posted: July 18, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Today’s Reading And Gospel

First reading
Isaiah 10:5-7,13-16
Gospel
Matthew 11:25-27

Personal Reflection

“Does the axe claim more credit than the man who wields it,
or the saw more strength than the man who handles it?
It would be like the cudgel controlling the man who raises it,
or the club moving what is not made of wood!”

Do we acknowledge God’s hand presence in our lives? Do we give Him glory for His marvellous deeds? Or are we too arrogant to think our wisdom, our strength and our ‘fearlessness’ is what it takes to succeed in every aspect of our life? We can choose to participate in His plan for us and witness true greatness…..

In today’s Gospel we are reminded of how much Jesus loves us, and that He opened His heart to us revealing His Father’s united love. He calls us children because He has faith in our purity of heart and our openness to learn and grow in faith. On the contrary the ‘great’ and the ‘wise’ are too full of themselves to learn anything.

Which one are we here? Mere Children? or are we the learned and the clever?

Catholicjules.net

Origins Of St Peter As Pope

Posted: July 18, 2012 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Memory Book

 The New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5–6, Rev. 21:14). One metaphor that has been disputed is Jesus Christ’s calling the apostle Peter “rock”: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). 

Some have tried to argue that Jesus did not mean that his Church would be built on Peter but on something else. 

Some argue that in this passage there is a minor difference between the Greek term for Peter (Petros) and the term for rock (petra), yet they ignore the obvious explanation: petra, a feminine noun, has simply been modifed to have a masculine ending, since one would not refer to a man (Peter) as feminine. The change in the gender is purely for stylistic reasons. 

These critics also neglect the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic, and, as John 1:42 tells us, in everyday life he actually referred to Peter as Kepha or Cephas (depending on how it is transliterated). It is that term which is then translated into Greek as petros. Thus, what Jesus actually said to Peter in Aramaic was: “You are Kepha and on this very kepha I will build my Church.” 

The Church Fathers, those Christians closest to the apostles in time, culture, and theological background, clearly understood that Jesus promised to build the Church on Peter, as the following passages show. 

 Tatian the Syrian

 “Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it” (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]). 

 Tertullian

 “Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]). 

“[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys” (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]). 

 The Letter of Clement to James

“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter” (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]). 

The Clementine Homilies

“[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]” (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]). 

Origen

“Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]” (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]). 

Cyprian of Carthage

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]). 

“There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering” (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]). 

“There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are 
secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another” (ibid., 66[69]:8). 

Firmilian

“But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]” (collected in Cyprian’s Letters74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]). 

“[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter” (ibid., 74[75]:17). 

Ephraim the Syrian

“[Jesus said:] ‘Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples’” (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]). 

Optatus

“You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all” (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]). 

Ambrose of Milan

“[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?” (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]). 

“It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal” (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]). 

Pope Damasus I

“Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it” (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]). 

Jerome

“‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division” (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]). 

“I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails” (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]). 

Augustine

“If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. … In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found” (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]). 

Council of Ephesus

“Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome], said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’” (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]). 

Sechnall of Ireland

“Steadfast in the fear of God, and in faith immovable, upon [Patrick] as upon Peter the [Irish] church is built; and he has been allotted his apostleship by God; against him the gates of hell prevail not” (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 3 [A.D. 444]). 

Pope Leo I

“Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles. . . . He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it” (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445]). 

Council of Chalcedon

“Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate” (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]). 

 

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials 
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors. 
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004 

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted. 
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

Trust And Surrender To The Lord…

Posted: July 17, 2012 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

     This month had been particularly hetic for me…. apart from my normal office hour job; the First Holy Communion program of which I had been faciliatating for my neighbourhood group finally drew to a close and we have set a date in Sept for our children to received their First Holy Communion.

Then there is my forthnightly neighbourhood LTW meeting ( Living The Word ) which I have to be prepared for.  Also it was my first time joint-leading with my EMC group to lead Primary 3 students in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and I was quite excited about getting it done smoothly, praise the Lord that it went quite well though it took about almost 1 hour 45 mins to finish which is a tad too long, especially for the children their age.

Then I was invited to lead a communion service on one of the week days as our priests were on a retreat.  I was rather nervous at first but all when smoothly, through prayers and much preparation, praise the Lord!

Then finally I thought that I had till next week to prepare for my spiritual presentation to my EMC group, thinking that the 3rd Monday of the month for July was on the 22nd.  It did not occur to me that there are five mondays instead of four this month! So when I received the text message asking me if I was ready, I jumped a little but did not panick as I might normally have done.  Why? Well before I get to the why…I must mention that I had been very nervous about doing the presentation partly because the topic I chose was quite a difficult one and secondly it required lots of preparation time.  I had been going at it for nearly a month in head, but never actually got down to preparing the slides or the write up.  And the reason I was calm even though I had less than two hours to prepare for the presentation, was because I had just gotten back from the four steps retreat.  Being spirit filled, trusting and surrendering to the Lord made quite a difference.  

Truly with the help of the Holy Spirit I managed to finish my presentation to the sound of applause, all glory be to God!  My little cell group requested I continue to do the rest of presentations till year end, but I declined only because everyone in the group should be given an oppturnity to grow.

Praise the Lord!

The Start of Repentance

Posted: July 17, 2012 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Memory Book

But some one may say,”It is so very difficult to serve God, it is so much against my own mind, such an effort, such a strain upon my , strength to bear Christ’s yoke, I must give it over, or I must delay it at least. Can nothing be taken instead? I acknowledge his law to be most holy and true and the accounts I read about good men are most delightful.  I wish I were like them with all my heart; and for a little while I feel in a mind to set about imitating them.  I must have begun several times, I have had seasons of repentance, and set rules to myself; but for some reason or other, I fell back after a while, and was even worse than before. I know, but I cannot do. “O wretched man that I am!”

Now to such a one I say, You are in a much more promising state than if you were contented with yourself, and thought that knowledge was every thing, which is the grievous blindness which I have hitherto been speaking of; you are in a better state, if you do not feel too much comfort or confidence in your confession.  For this is the fault of many men; they make such an acknowledgement as I have described a substitute for real repentance; or allow themselves, after making it, to put off repentance, as if they could be suffered to give a word of promise which did not become due (so to say) for many days.  You are, I admit, in a better state than if you were satisfied with yourself.

Blessed John Henry Newman

+1890


Gospel Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.
‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’

Personal Reflection

It appears that Jesus is venting his anger on the three cities, however because we know our loving saviour we know that he is in actual fact lamenting over them. Even with powerful miracles that had been worked before them; still they would not repent their wicked ways.
Do we want Jesus to mourn for us? Have we ourselves truly repented? Have we put it off saying tomorrow I will do so? When I am ready I will? When I have overcome my addiction or my evil ways I will? Jesus is saying come as you are, I love you! Come and be made white as snow through my love for you……


Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

The Church’s Mission

Readings:
Amos 7:12-15
Psalms 85:9-14
Ephesians 1:3-14
Mark 6:7-13

In commissioning the apostles in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church’s mission after the resurrection.

His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (see Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2-4). Like the Israelites, the apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the apostles’ mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus – delivering peoples from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.

Like Amos in today’s First Reading, the apostles are not “professionals,” who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (see Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.

Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called, not necessarily to be successful, but only to be faithful to God’s command. 

With authority and power given to it by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

This word of truth, this gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world – to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church’s mission – to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.


First Reading Hosea 11:1-4.8e-9

Gospel Matthew 10:7-15

Reflection

In the first reading we hear of God’s immense love for His children, of how He patiently loves and feeds them and yet they constantly turn away from Him.  When a child of ours ignores our advice or rules, we are often tempted to react in anger and punish him/her for defying us. However we know in moments of composure, that the best response is find a suitable consequence that will allow for them to make better choices. This is how God treats His people. Ever faithful he promises to restore them as soon as they come to their senses.

In today’s Gospel we hear again of God’s love through Jesus His Son who his Apostles to the lost sheep of Israel, he empowers them to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast our devils.  How many of us are using the gifts by virtue of our baptism to reach out to our sisters and brothers in Christ? To bring them back to faith? Comfort and console them with the news of God’s love and mercy?  To share the good news with someone who otherwise would never have heard it?

You received  without charge, give without charge. How many of us performs acts of service or kindness, without want of recognition or appreciation?  Jesus warns his Apostles not to give in to temptation of expecting monetary gifts or compensation for the gifts bestowed upon them.  Neither should they worry of what they are to eat or wear but to have faith in God’s Providence. Have we that kind of trust in God?  That He will provide for all of our needs?


Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

Son of Mary

Readings:
Ezekiel 2:2-5
Psalm 123:1-4
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Mark 6:1-6

As we’ve walked with the apostles in the Gospels in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed Jesus command the wind and sea, and order a little girl to arise from the dead.

But He seems to meet His match in His hometown of Nazareth. Today’s Gospel is blunt: “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there.”

Why not? Because of the people’s lack of faith. They acknowledged the wisdom of His words, the power of His works. But they refused to recognize Him as a prophet come among them, a messenger sent by God.

All they could see was how much “this man” was like them – a carpenter, the son of their neighbor, Mary, with brothers and sisters.

Of course, Mary was ever-virgin, and had no other children. The Gospel refers to Jesus’ brothers as Paul refers to all Israelites as his brothers, the children of Abraham (see Romans 9:3,7).

That’s the point in today’s Gospel, too. Like the prophet Ezekiel in today’s First Reading, Jesus was sent by God to the rebellious house of Israel, where He found His own brothers and sisters obstinate of heart and in revolt against God. 

The servant is not above the Master (see Matthew 10:24). As His disciples, we too face the mockery and contempt we hear of in today’s Psalm. And isn’t it often hardest to live our faith among those in our own families, those who think they really know us, who define us by the people we used to be – before we chose to walk with Jesus?

As Paul confides in today’s Epistle, insults and hardships are God’s way of teaching us to rely solely on His grace.

Jesus will work no mighty deeds in our lives unless we abandon ourselves to Him in faith. Blessed then are those who take no offense in Him (see Luke 7:23). Instead, we must look upon Him with the eyes of servants – knowing that the son of Mary is also the Lord enthroned in the heavens.