Archive for December, 2012

Today’s Gospel..And A Prayer for the Year end

Posted: December 31, 2012 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Let us Pray….

Abba Father we thank you for another wonderful year in which your love and grace was poured out upon us abundantly. We pray that as we welcome the new year, Your face will shine upon us so we might live in the light and be witnesses to the light for all whom we meet and that it will be a most blessed, holy,joyous, faith filled year for us and for our loved ones. We ask this through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and The Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever Amen.

In-the-beginning...-John-1.1
Today’s Gospel
John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word:
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.

A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.

The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.

The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.

John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
‘This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me ranks before me
because he existed before me.’

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received –
yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,
who has made him known.

December 30th 2012 – Feast of the Holy Family

Posted: December 29, 2012 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn 

Our True Home

Readings:
Sirach 3:2-6,12-14
Psalm 128:1-5
Colossians 3:12-21
Luke 2:41-52
________________________________________

Why did Jesus choose to become a baby born of a mother and father and to spend all but His last years living in an ordinary human family? In part, to reveal God’s plan to make all people live as one “holy family” in His Church (see 2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, God reveals our true home. We’re to live as His children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” as the First Reading puts it.
The family advice we hear in today’s readings – for mothers, fathers and children – is all solid and practical. Happy homes are the fruit of our faithfulness to the Lord, we sing in today’s Psalm. But the Liturgy is inviting us to see more, to see how, through our family obligations and relationships, our families become heralds of the family of God that He wants to create on earth.

Jesus shows us this in today’s Gospel. His obedience to His earthly parents flows directly from His obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. Joseph and Mary aren’t identified by name, but three times are called “his parents” and are referred to separately as his “mother” and “father.” The emphasis is all on their “familial” ties to Jesus. But these ties are emphasized only so that Jesus, in the first words He speaks in Luke’s Gospel, can point us beyond that earthly relationship to the Fatherhood of God.

In what Jesus calls “My Father’s house,” every family finds its true meaning and purpose (see Ephesians 3:15). The Temple we read about in the Gospel today is God’s house, His dwelling (see Luke 19:46). But it’s also an image of the family of God, the Church (see Ephesians 2:19-22; Hebrews 3:3-6; 10:21).

In our families we’re to build up this household, this family, this living temple of God. Until He reveals His new dwelling among us, and says of every person: “I shall be his God and he will be My son” (see Revelation 21:3,7).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 28, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

holyinno

 

Let us pray….

O God, whom the Holy innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant we pray, that the faith in you which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God for ever and ever. Amen

If we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

Today’s Gospel
Matthew 2:13-18

13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph[a] got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

The Massacre of the Infants

16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,[b] he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.[c] 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 27, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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From the cradle to the cross,
Bearing our sins, to redeem the sheep lost,
From blessed womb to the tomb,
Our redeemer lives to save us from doom

How great is our God!

GOSPEL
John 20:1a and 2–8

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: December 26, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Let us pray…

St Stephen you were filled with Grace and The Holy Spirit that no one could withstand the wisdom and spirit with which you spoke, pray for us that we may do likewise to Herald the Good News of salvation to all God’s people. Through Chris our Lord. Amen.

Why do we worry about what we are to say to others or to whom we speak in sharing our faith?  Our Lord assures us that the Holy Spirit will guide us and give us the courage and strength so fear not! Have faith! Remain focussed on Him at all times and we will not falter. See how focussed St Stephen was….Let us all cry out to our Father, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!”

First Reading Acts 6:8–10; 7:54–59

Today’s Gospel

Matthew 10:17–22

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

December 23rd 2012 – 4th Sunday in Advent

Posted: December 22, 2012 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

 A Mother’s Greeting

Readings:
Micah 5:1-4
Psalm 80:2-3,15-16,18-19
Hebrews 5:5-10
Luke 1:39-45
________________________________________

On this last Sunday before Christmas, the Church’s Liturgy reveals the true identity of our Redeemer:
He is, as today’s First Reading says, the “ruler…whose origin is from…ancient times.” He will come from Bethlehem, where David was born of Jesse the Ephrathite and anointed king (see Ruth 4:11-17; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 17:1; Matthew 2:6).
God promised that an heir of David would reign on his throne forever (see 2 Samuel 7:12-13; Psalm 89; Psalm 132:11-12).

Jesus is that heir, the One the prophets promised would restore the scattered tribes of Israel into a new kingdom (see Isaiah 9:5-6; Ezekiel 34:23-25,30; 37:35). He is “the shepherd of Israel,” sung of in today’s Psalm. From His throne in heaven, He has “come to save us.”

Today’s Epistle tells us that He is both the Son of David and the only “begotten” Son of God, come “in the flesh” (see also Psalm 2:7). He is also our “high priest,” from the mold of the mysterious Melchisedek, “priest of God Most High,” who blessed Abraham at the dawn of salvation history (see Psalm 110:4; Genesis 14:18-20).

All this is recognized by John when he leaps for joy in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth, too, is filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. She recognizes that in Mary “the mother of my Lord” has come to her. We hear in her words another echo of the Psalm quoted in today’s Epistle (see Psalm 2:7). Elizabeth blesses Mary for her faith that God’s Word would be fulfilled in her.

Mary marks the fulfillment not only of the angel’s promise to her, but of all God’s promises down through history. Mary is the one they await in today’s First Reading – “she who is to give birth.” She will give birth this week, at Christmas. And the fruit of her womb should bring us joy – she is the mother of our Lord.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 22, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

magnificat

 

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour!

The magnificat… an awesome prayer which we treasure and hold dear. But how many of us simply marvel that our Blessed Mother uttered it and recognising that she must have been learned, filled with the Holy Spirit even both! But how many of us are following Mary our Mother’s example of living out our lives so that we too can one day say “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour!”

Today’s Gospel
Luke 1:46-56

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.

The Joy Of The Visitation

Posted: December 21, 2012 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

Visitation of Mary

 

Because of you, Mary the light of the only begotten Son of God has shone upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; prophets pronounced the Word of God;the Apostles preached salvation to the Gentiles;the dead are raised to life, and kings rule by power of the holy Trinity.

Who can put Mary’s high honour into words? She is both Mother and Virgin.  I am overwhelmed  the wonder of this miracle.  Of course no one could be prevented from living in the house he had built for himself, yet who would invite mockery by asking his own servant to become his mother?

Behold then the joy of the whole universe.  let the union of God and man in the Son of the Virgin Mary fill us with awe and adoration.  Let us fear and worship the undivided Trinity as we sing the praise of the ever-Virgin Mary, the holy temple of God, and of God himself, her Son and spotless Bridegroom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria +444

On Today’s Gospel

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

annun

 

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Let us pray…

Mary our Mother sets the perfect example of how we should live our lives according to your Will. She was not spared the fatigue of life nor the anguish of the cross but rejoices now with You in Your Glory. Through her loving intercession and the perfect gift of Your Son, may we, through our suffering and sacrifices of love be led into your heavenly fold. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today’s Gospel
Luke 1:26–38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

While In Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 18 Dec

Posted: December 20, 2012 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

Seeking hard to hear our Lord speak, a peaceful calm rested upon me and I heard His voice speaking to me as He spoke to Mother Mary and St John… “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” Jn 19:26-27

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 19, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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When God speaks to me in so many ways, spoken and unspoken; telling me that He loves me, He heals me, His mercy is upon me? He will grant my prayer…..

How can I be sure? or How can I know it is so?

Even when we struggle to lead good, honest even holy lives and live according to the commandments of God our Father, why do we still have these doubts from time to time? Are we too busy in the struggle to see, touch and experience the fruits of our labour? To know that God’s love, peace,joy,healing and the numerous gifts He bestows are upon us?

Let us pray….Lord, as I contemplate the example of Mary’s simplicity and generosity, my heart burns within me. If only I could be as docile as she was. In my desire to improve, I trust in your help and mercy. As I begin this prayer, I humbly place myself in your presence. I come, Lord, to do your will. Let it be done to me according to Your Word. Amen

Today’s Gospel – Luke 1:5-25

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22 When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25 “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

Today’s Gospel : – Luke 1:5-25

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22 When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25 “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

God speaks to us all the time, often times subtly. Through dreams, His Word, through prophets even through our family and friends. His ways in reaching out to us is not limited. How many of us are in tune to hear Him? How many of us have prepared ourselves to receive the many gifts and blessings He wants to bestow upon us?

Today’s Gospel
Matthew 1:18–25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

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Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn 

What Do We Do?
Readings:
Zephaniah 3:14-18
Isaiah 12:2-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:10-18
________________________________________

The people in today’s Gospel are “filled with expectation.” They believe John the Baptist might be the Messiah they’ve been waiting for. Three times we hear their question: “What then should we do?”
The Messiah’s coming requires every man and woman to choose – to “repent” or not. That’s John’s message and it will be Jesus’ too (see Luke 3:3; 5:32; 24:47).
“Repentance” translates a Greek word, metanoia (literally, “change of mind”). In the Scriptures, repentance is presented as a two-fold “turning” – away from sin (see Ezekiel 3:19; 18:30) and toward God (see Sirach 17:20-21; Hosea 6:1).
This “turning” is more than attitude adjustment. It means a radical life-change. It requires “good fruits as evidence of your repentance” (see Luke 3:8). That’s why John tells the crowds, soldiers and tax collectors they must prove their faith through works of charity, honesty and social justice.
In today’s Liturgy, each of us is being called to stand in that crowd and hear the “good news” of John’s call to repentance. We should examine our lives, ask from our hearts as they did: “What should we do?” Our repentance should spring, not from our fear of coming wrath (see Luke 3:7-9), but from a joyful sense of the nearness of our saving God.
This theme resounds through today’s readings: “Rejoice!…The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all,” we hear in today’s Epistle. In today’s Responsorial, we hear again the call to be joyful, unafraid at the Lord’s coming among us.
In today’s First Reading, we hear echoes of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary. The prophet’s words are very close to the angel’s greeting (compare Luke 1:28-31). Mary is the Daughter Zion – the favored one of God, told not to fear but to rejoice that the Lord is with her, “a mighty Savior.”
She is the cause of our joy. For in her draws near the Messiah, as John had promised: “One mightier than I is coming.”

I Am A Child Of God

Posted: December 13, 2012 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

 

gods-hand

I, the Lord, your God,
I am holding you by the right hand;
I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid,
I will help you.’ IS 41:13

The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none,
their tongue is parched with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer them,
I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. IS 41:17

On Today’s Gospel….

Posted: December 12, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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He gives strength to the wearied, He strengthens the powerless. Young men may grow tired and weary, youths may stumble, but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength, they put out wings like eagles. They run and do not grow weary,walk and never tire. Isaiah 40:29-31

Why do we go through life feeling all alone amidst a crowd? Why do we struggle everyday feeling overloaded and exhausted? Why are we angry or moody all the time? Why do feel like no one understands us? Why do we allow the world to weigh us down? How can we overcome all this?

The truth and answer is simple…..when we are able to cry out, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want!”

Today Gospel
Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus exclaimed, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

Personal Reflection On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 11, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Parable of the lost sheep

 

There is nothing that we can do, that our Father will not forgive us for, do we realise just how much He loves us?
Do we want to be found?

Let us pray….

Heavenly Father we pray for mercy and forgiveness for ourselves and our loved ones. We pray also for the conversion of sinners, especially for the lost sheep among our friends and family. Soften all our hearts to Your great and wonderful love and by your Grace, our advent journey will be a fruitful and joyous one at the end, through Christ our Lord. Amen
Today’s Gospel – Matthew 18:12-14

12 Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? 13 And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 14 In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

Posted: December 10, 2012 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

jesus roof power of jesus to forgive sin

Do we have such faith like that of the friends of the paralysed man to do what it takes to bring others to Jesus? Be it praying for them? Petitioning on their behalf? Or simply bringing joy in their lives by sharing with them the Good News? Knowing that Jesus upon seeing our faith will respond accordingly….

Let us cry out together, LORD I BELIEVE…DO THOU INCREASE MY FAITH! Amen.
Today’s Gospel – Luke 5:17-26

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

December 9th 2012 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 9, 2012 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

The Road Home
Readings:
Baruch 5:1-9
Psalm 126:1-6
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11
Luke 3:1-6

Today’s Psalm paints a dream-like scene – a road filled with liberated captives heading home to Zion (Jerusalem), mouths filled with laughter, tongues rejoicing.

It’s a glorious picture from Israel’s past, a “new exodus,” the deliverance from exile in Babylon. It’s being recalled in a moment of obvious uncertainty and anxiety. But the psalmist isn’t waxing nostalgic.
Remembering “the Lord has done great things” in the past, he is making an act of faith and hope – that God will come to Israel in its present need, that He’ll do even greater things in the future..

This is what the Advent readings are all about: We recall God’s saving deeds – in the history of Israel and in the coming of Jesus. Our remembrance is meant to stir our faith, to fill us with confidence that, as today’s Epistle puts it, “the One who began a good work in [us] will continue to complete it” until He comes again in glory.

Each of us, the Liturgy teaches, is like Israel in her exile – led into captivity by our sinfulness, in need of restoration, conversion by the Word of the Holy One (see Baruch 5:5). The lessons of salvation history should teach us that, as God again and again delivered Israel, in His mercy He will free us from our attachments to sin, if we turn to Him in repentance.

That’s the message of John, introduced in today’s Gospel as the last of the great prophets (compare Jeremiah 1:1-4,11). But John is greater than the prophets (see Luke 7:27). He’s preparing the way, not only for a new redemption of Israel, but for the salvation of “all flesh” (see also Acts 28:28).
John quotes Isaiah (40:3) to tell us he’s come to build a road home for us, a way out of the wilderness of sin and alienation from God. It’s a road we’ll follow Jesus down, a journey we’ll make, as today’s First Reading puts it, “rejoicing that [we’re] remembered by God.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 5, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Temple-veil-torn

On this mountain he will remove
the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy Death for ever. Isaiah 25:7-8

  • How many of us can see Jesus in the Eucharist through the eyes of our hearts?
  • How many attend the Eucharistic celebration not uttering a word of praise or thanksgiving, ‘dumb’ ?
  • How many drag their way to the celebration, mentally preoccupied , ‘crippled’?

Still He loves us and wants to feed us with His bread of Life, His very self!

Lord Jesus tear down the veil of sin and death in our lives, so that we may see what You want us to see, and live how You want us to live; in righteousness, liberated and in Our Father’s love. AMEN!

Today’s Gospel
Matthew 15:29-37

Jesus reached the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he went up into the hills. He sat there, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel.
But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this deserted place to feed such a crowd?’ Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’ Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: December 4, 2012 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. ”

Are we thankful for our Catholic faith?
Do we cherish the Word spoken to us through scriptures?
Do we have a yearning to learn and grow in our faith? Or do we take for granted that we know all we need to know?

Today’s Gospel – Luke 10:21–24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

December 2nd 2012 – 1st Sunday in Advent

Posted: December 2, 2012 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

Heads Up

Readings:
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Every Advent, the Liturgy of the Word gives our sense of time a reorientation. There’s a deliberate tension in the next four weeks’ readings – between promise and fulfillment, expectation and deliverance, between looking forward and looking back.

In today’s First Reading, the prophet Jeremiah focuses our gaze on the promise God made to David, some 1,000 years before Christ. God says through the prophet that He will fulfill this promise by raising up a “just shoot,” a righteous offspring of David, who will rule Israel in justice (see 2 Samuel 7:16; Jeremiah 33:17; Psalm 89:4-5; 27-38).

Today’s Psalm, too, sounds the theme of Israel’s ancient expectation: “Guide me in Your truth and teach Me. For You are God my Savior and for You I will wait all day.”

We look back on Israel’s desire and anticipation knowing that God has already made good on those promises by sending His only Son into the world. Jesus is the “just shoot,” the God and Savior for Whom Israel was waiting.

Knowing that He is a God who keeps His promises lends grave urgency to the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel.

Urging us to keep watch for His return in glory, He draws on Old Testament images of chaos and instability – turmoil in the heavens (see Isaiah 13:11,13; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:10); roaring seas (see Isaiah 5:30; 17:12); distress among the nations (see Isaiah 8:22/14:25) and terrified people (see Isaiah 13:6-11).

He evokes the prophet Daniel’s image of the Son of Man coming on a cloud of glory to describe His return as a “theophany,” a manifestation of God (see Daniel 7:13-14).

Many will cower and be literally scared to death. But Jesus says we should greet the end-times with heads raised high, confident that God keeps His promises, that our “redemption is at hand,” that ‘the kingdom of God is near” (see Luke 21:31)

While in adoration….

Posted: December 1, 2012 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

From the rising of the sun, you will bathe in my Glory,for as you hold me close to your heart. So will I embrace you in mine.