Archive for January, 2013

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 30, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are we to be counted among the many eager to hear the word of God? Do we have that longing to receive the word, live the word and share the word?

God gives sight and understanding to those who seek for them, do we read the Gospels or hear it as it is read with an open mind and heart ordered towards God? Do we spend time reflecting on His word and His will for us spoken through it?  If we cannot hear or understand the word, do we examine our conscience? Our life choices? Do we realise that our sins hamper our  ability to listen and to live the word?

The fruits we bear are a result of our daily struggles to love, to sacrifice for, to listen and to live the Word. This can be seen in the numbers sown in others both directly and indirectly.  We are NOT called to convert others but only to sow the seed, so that God our Father can do the rest….Are we sowing as we should?

GOSPEL

Mark 4:1–20

1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; 6 and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; 12 so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” 13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. 16 And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 30, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Is the Good News, the Word of God meant to be a secret? Are the parables meant to remain just parables? A mystery? Do we not listen with hearts made pure? To discern the message for us? Are we selfishly keeping the Good news to ourselves? Or are we sharing it? Are we the light for others? Do we let the light of Christ shine bright through us?

Do we let the Holy Spirit guide us in our interpretation of the Gospel? Or do we fit our own ideas and interpretation to admonish or teach others?

The more faithful we are to hear the truth and share the truth, we increase in our virtues and are abundantly fruitful and blessed. Praise the Lord our God!

Gospel Mark 4:21-25

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

A Lamp under a Bushel Basket

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. 23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. 25 For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 29, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Do we spend time in prayer listening for what our Father wants for us? Do we shut our ears when the task seems daunting, exhausting or even appears impossible?

Do we truly understand what it means to be part of God’s family? Do we love and respect our fathers, mothers and siblings in Christ? Do we genuinely care for them?   Do we realise to be in God’s family means love and sacrifice on our part?

God’s family is where I and want to belong!

Let us pray…

Lord Jesus, in our weakness we often fall prey to our own wants and desires. Help us with your strength, teach us authentic love for our brothers and sisters. We ask this in Your precious name. Amen

GOSPEL Mark 3:31–35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 28, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are we not able to see the good in others? Do we need to find fault just to prove something?

Do we try everyday to be more loving at home? Showing respect for one another? Respecting one another? Respecting the privacy and little treasures of our family members? Always willing to serve before being served? Trying at all costs to maintain the peace at home?

Do we understand what it entails to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? To blaspheme against the Holy Trinity? To remain unrepentant?  Impenitent? To say why bother when God cannot forgive me?

Let us cry out to the Lord our God, “Teach me your paths, my God, make me walk in your truth.” Amen

GOSPEL
Mark 3:22–30

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-elzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

January 27th 2013 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 26, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

New Day Dawns

Readings:
Nehemiah 8:2-6,10
Psalms 19:8-10,15
1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21


 

The meaning of today’s Liturgy is subtle and many-layered.

We need background to understand what’s happening in today’s First Reading.

Babylon having been defeated, King Cyrus of Persia decreed that the exiled Jews could return home to Jerusalem. They rebuilt their ruined temple (see Ezra 6:15-17) and under Nehemiah finished rebuilding the city walls (see Nehemiah 6:15).

The stage was set for the renewal of the covenant and the re-establishment of the Law of Moses as the people’s rule of life. That’s what’s going on in today’s First Reading, as Ezra reads and interprets (see Nehemiah 8:8) the Law and the people respond with a great “Amen!”

Israel, as we sing in today’s Psalm, is rededicating itself to God and His Law. The scene seems like the Isaiah prophecy that Jesus reads from in today’s Gospel.

Read all of Isaiah 61. The “glad tidings” Isaiah brings include these promises: the liberation of prisoners (61:1); the rebuilding of Jerusalem, or Zion (61:3-4; see also Isaiah 60:10); the restoration of Israel as a kingdom of priests (61:6; Exodus 19:6) and the forging of an everlasting covenant (61:8; Isaiah 55:3). It sounds a lot like the First Reading.

Jesus, in turn, declares that Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Him. The Gospel scene, too, recalls the First Reading. Like Ezra, Jesus stands before the people, is handed a scroll, unrolls it, then reads and interprets it (compare Luke 4:16-17,21 and Nehemiah 8:2-6,8-10).

We witness in today’s Liturgy the creation of a new people of God. Ezra started reading at dawn of the first day of the Jewish new year (see Leviticus 23:24). Jesus too proclaims a “sabbath,” a great year of Jubilee, a deliverance from slavery to sin, a release from the debts we owe to God (see Leviticus 25:10).

The people greeted Ezra “as one man.” And, as today’s Epistle teaches, in the Spirit the new people of God – the Church – is made “one body” with Him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 25, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We are called to share the most wonderful news in our lifetime, the message of God’s love for us and our salvation! Why would such a fantastic message be so hard too share?  Ite ad evangelium domini nuntiandum ‘Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord’..

Know that when we go in Faith to do so, we too even to this day can bear witness to the power of the Lord that works through us. We see, signs, wonders and miracles from our Lord our God!

GOSPEL Mark 16:15–18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

On Today’s Gospel..

Posted: January 24, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Jesus is Lord of all nations! He draws everyone to Him, the sick, the lonely, the oppressed, people with addictions, people hungry for the word….If non believers upon hearing the Good news can leave everything behind in search of Him, to be witness to Him, to be healed by Him. What does it say of us Christians who would not take the time to spend an hour with Him?

If unclean spirits who do not want to have anything to do with Jesus Christ our Lord acknowledges His sovereignty, His divinity by throwing themselves before Him and crying out His title. What does it say about us who would not bend a knee to Him? Who would not be reverent in body, mind, spirit and demeanour in His presence? Will not praise Him for all He has done for us? or even Call out His name?

Jesus strictly orders the unclean spirits not to make Him known! Can we preach the Good news of salvation or share our faith with others if we ourselves are not cleansed or made pure? Or strive daily to lead a Holy and righteous life?  How would you react if someone bears testimony to Christ our Lord then a while later you witness the same person in a fit of anger, screaming and shouting or curses under His/Her breath? Or instead openly flirts with another? Would you say they bear witness to the truth?

(Ps. 50:16) For God said to the sinner, Why do you preach my laws? A sinner is forbidden to preach the Lord, lest any one listening to his preaching should follow him in his error, for the devil is an evil master, who always mingles false things with true, that the semblance of truth may cover the witness of fraud…

Let us pray…..

Lord Jesus Christ, You who are the truth, the light and the way, have  mercy on us, cleanse us of our sins,  make us white as snow so that we may bear witness to You and Your truth. That we may be the light for others who live in darkness and teach transgressors your ways. We ask this in Your Holy name. Amen

GOSPEL
Mark 3:7–12

7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

 

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 23, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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How difficult it must have been to stretch out a withered hand in response to our Lord’s call to do so, that he may be healed. Can we do the same?  Can we stretch out our hands to the Lord, raising all that which makes us incomplete? Our sins, our addictions, our hard heartedness?  So that we too may be healed?

Following God’s law without love in our hearts is an incomplete act of discipleship. May the Lord our God guard our souls so that our hearts may not be hardened. Amen

GOSPEL Mark 3:1–6

Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 22, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Have we realised by now that God’s law and commandments are born out of love for us?

Are we so rigid and quick to ostracise others whom does not meet our standards or are known sinners? Do we try first no matter how difficult or impossible it may seem to reach out to them with love and prayers?

God’s love and promise of salvation was fulfilled in His Son our Lord and Saviour  Jesus Christ, let us share this love and promise of our living God with others. Amen

GOSPEL Mark 2:23–28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 21, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are we mournful Catholics, sinful and sorrowful forgetting that we have been saved and should be giving thanksgiving, praise and Glory to God by our participation in the Eucharistic Celebration?

Do we not rejoice when the Holy Spirit moves us to?

Then again do we remember that when we sin, we should be making reparation for them by going for reconciliation, act/s of contrition by way of penance and at times even fasting?

Do we take on too much, trying too hard for our faith that we burst at the seams, experiencing burnout? Even losing our Faith a result? Do we listen to the Holy Spirit who guides us or are we moving by our own wisdom and strength?

Can we grow in our Faith or experience new heights if we hold on to old habits refusing to challenge ourselves to learn more and do more?

GOSPEL Mark 2:18–22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

January 20th 2013 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 19, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

In the Wedding

Readings:
Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 96:1-3, 7-10
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
John 2:1-12


 

Think of these first weeks after Christmas as a season of “epiphanies.” The Liturgy is showing us Who Jesus is and what He has revealed about our relationship with God.

Last week and the week before, the imagery was royal and filial – Jesus is the newborn king of the Jews who makes us co-heirs of Israel’s promise, beloved children of God. Last week in the Liturgy we went to a Baptism.

This week we’re at a wedding.

We’re being shown another dimension of our relationship with God. If we’re sons and daughters of God, it’s because we’ve married into the family.

Have you ever wondered why the Bible begins and ends with a wedding – Adam and Eve’s in the garden and the marriage supper of the Lamb (compare Genesis 2:23-24 and Revelation 19:9; 21:9; 22:17)?

Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the covenant relationship God desires with His chosen people. He is the Groom, humanity His beloved and sought-after bride. We see this reflected beautifully in today’s First Reading.

When Israel breaks the covenant she is compared to an unfaithful spouse (see Jeremiah 2:20-36; 3:1-13). But God promises to take her back, to “espouse” her to Him forever in an everlasting covenant (see Hosea 2:18-22).

That’s why in today’s Gospel, Jesus performs His first public “sign” at a wedding feast.

Jesus is the divine Bridegroom (see John 3:29), calling us to His royal wedding feast (see Matthew 22:1-14). By His New Covenant, He will become “one flesh” with all humanity in the Church (see Ephesians 5:21-33). By our Baptism, each of us has been betrothed to Christ as a bride to a Husband (see 2 Corinthians 11:2).

The new wine that Jesus pours out at today’s feast is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to His bride and body, as today’s Epistle says. This is the “salvation” announced to the “families of nations” in today’s Psalm.

Brief Reflection On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 19, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Jesus is calling all of us to be with Him, there is no sin too great that He will not forgive…..All we need to do is to respond to His call…Why do we still fear?

He is telling us to come as we are, in our brokenness, our sinfulness, He will embrace us as we are, in and with His love and transform us…What are we waiting for?

Do we look upon others, smokers? drug addicts? ruffians? uncouth teens? anyone else who does not fit into our view of righteous living or holiness….do we look upon them with contempt? Do we shy away from them? Do we keep our distance? Why are we not trying to reach out to them in love? The same love Jesus offers us?

GOSPEL
Mark 2:13–17

13 He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed on, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 18, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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“So that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments” Psalm 78:7b

Do you look forward to listening to His word? Do you go early to Church to prepare yourselves to hear Him? Do you brave all inconveniences and obstacles just to be in His presence? Can we open the roof of our hearts to Him, lower ourselves to Him so that He can fill us with His love?

Christian community prayer is so powerful because when we pray as one, we are in union with our brothers and sisters in heaven praying to God our Father.  Hence our faith can lead to the healing of another and we all have in some one way or another been witness to this and yet have we forgotten?

Our deceitfulnes and lies can often wear us down, for we live in constant fear that others are doing likewise against us which then leads to stress and illnesses. Have we not learnt?  Sin paralyses us, forces us to remain in deluge and hopelessness, in time we drown in sorrow and anguish.   God alone can forgive sins, Jesus is God! He wants to free us from the bondage, our illnesses, why do we not *run* to Him?  Do we not know by now that all it takes is for our hearts to cry out to Him?

GOSPEL Mark 2:1–12

1 And when he returned to Caperna-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” 12 And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

On Today’s Gospel..

Posted: January 17, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Do we seek Jesus for our needs by putting ourselves before others?

In our sinfulness and disregard for others do we consider turning to Jesus for help to cleanse us?  Do we realise how much He loves us and is waiting for us to turn to Him?

Jesus tells us He did not come to replace the law but to fulfill it, do we follow the teachings of the Church He established? Do we go for the sacrament of reconciliation as often as we ought to?

Do we with grateful hearts, give Glory to God for all He has done as we rightfully should? Do we neglect the Holy Spirit’s commands to reverently do so and now let our hearts be carried away saying more than we should?

Do we limit our testimonies of God’s grace to His miracles and wonders forgetting the important joyful message of salvation?

“O that you would listen to my voice, harden not your hearts! “

GOSPEL Mark 1:40–45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

While In Adoration..

Posted: January 17, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

All you who thirst for love,
All you who thirst to fill an empty void,
All you who thirst for peace of mind,
All you who thirst for more than what the world can offer,
Come to me for I am the living water, I alone can grant you eternal life.

On Today’s Gospel….

Posted: January 16, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Through our prayers and intercessions for others, Jesus heals… Do we keep others in our prayers? Do have enough faith to pray over others?

Are we grateful when our Lord answers our prayers? Enough to serve our Him and others?
So often in the Gospels our Lord shows us He makes time no matter how gruelling His day to be in spiritual communion with His Father through prayer from whom He draws strength. Do we do likewise?

Do we remain in our comfort zone and only share our faith with those close to us? Or do we reach out to all?  Especially those in need and whom we do not yet know?

Let us pray….

Lord Jesus, you are the truth, the light and the way. Heal our wounded souls and bodies, especially those whom we pray for. We also  pray for wisdom and courage to share our faith with all who would listen and with whom we have yet to know, we ask this in Your Holy name. Amen

GOSPEL Mark 1:29–39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother–in–law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 14, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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‘He taught them as one having authority’

Do we acknowledge Jesus as our saviour and King? Do we revere Him by our thoughts, words and deeds?

We are commissioned to be priest, prophet and king for others by sharing the good news and living the word. Are we doing so in humility, love and holiness?

Evil is all around us, can exist even in places of worship. So long as we remain in Christ, no evil can overpower us. Are we striving at all costs to remain in Him? Do we know that we are not alone in our struggles and that He is with us always?

Let us cry out to Him, “Lord do thou strengthen and increase my faith. In thy divinity, may I adore, love and confess it even at the peril of my own life !” Amen

GOSPEL Mark 1:21–28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 13, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Come follow me…

Do we remind ourselves of the pledge we take every Ash Wednesday, which should also be a daily reminder and that is to “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospels.” ?

Are we ready to be transformed? Jesus is calling us to something new, to discipleship….Are we ready? What is our response?

“Come follow me….. ” is an invitation of love and to love. His voice is a soothing gentle one which embraces with peace and tranquillity.

If we have a sense of foreboding, whose voice are we listening to? If we say He has not called us or we listened but have not heard, have we prepared our hearts to listen? Have we willed ourselves to want to change? To go for reconciliation?

Let us respond this day to His call, let us cry out ” Here I am Lord, I have heard you calling me , lead me Lord to do Your will for I love you with all my heart. ” Amen

GOSPEL Mark 1:14–20

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.


Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn 

The Anointing
Readings:
Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7
Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10
Acts 10:34-38
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
________________________________________

The Liturgy last week revealed the mystery of God’s plan – that in Jesus all peoples, symbolized by the Magi, have been made “co-heirs” to the blessings promised Israel.

This week, we’re shown how we claim our inheritance.
Jesus doesn’t submit to John’s baptism as a sinner in need of purification. He humbles Himself to pass through Jordan’s waters in order to lead a new “exodus” – opening up the promised land of heaven so that all peoples can hear the words pronounced over Jesus today, words once reserved only for Israel and its king: that each of us is a beloved son or daughter of God (see Genesis 22:2; Exodus 4:22; Psalm 2:7).

Jesus is the chosen servant Isaiah prophesies in today’s First Reading, anointed with the Spirit to make things right and just on earth. God puts His Spirit upon Jesus to make Him “a covenant of the people,” the liberator of the captives, the light to the nations. Jesus, today’s Second Reading tells us, is the One long expected in Israel, “anointed…with the Holy Spirit and power.”

The word Messiah means “one anointed” with God’s Spirit. King David was “the anointed of the God of Jacob” (see 2 Samuel 23:1-17; Psalm 18:51; 132:10,17). The prophets taught Israel to await a royal offshoot of David, upon whom the Spirit would rest (see Isaiah 11:1-2; Daniel 9:25).

That’s why the crowds are so anxious at the start of today’s Gospel. But it isn’t John they’re looking for. God confirms with His own voice what the Angel earlier told Mary – Jesus is the Son of the Most High, come to claim the throne of David forever (see Luke 1:32-33).

In the Baptism that He brings, the voice of God will hover over the waters as fiery flame, as we sing in today’s Psalm. He has sanctified the waters, made them a passage-way to healing and freedom – a fountain of new birth and everlasting life.

 

On Today’s Gospel….

Posted: January 12, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are we envious of the gifts and talents of others? Do we realise our own potential? Are we using the gifts and talents given from God our Father?

All of us are given roles to play, some seemingly unimportant but do we always fully understand our Father’s plans? Do we not trust that He knows what is best of us and our brethren?

Do we rejoice that Jesus our bridegroom is with us, speaking to us everyday? Do we not listen to His voice?

How can we welcome Jesus into our hearts if are hearts are full of worldly desires? How can we be filled with the Graces God our Father wants us to have if we are full of ourselves?  Let us cry out together as St John The Baptist did in Holy humility, “He must increase; I must decrease!”

Today’s GOSPEL
Jn 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”

On Today’s Gospel….

Posted: January 11, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Jesus wants to heal us to pour out His love upon us…

Do we seek our Christ with an expectant faith?

Do we give Him thanks, Glory and praise for all He does for us?

Do we spend some quiet time with God our Father, allowing Him to speak to our hearts, refresh us and administer to us?

Today’s GOSPEL Luke 5:12–16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

On Today’s Gospel….

Posted: January 10, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Do we allow the Word of God to transform us? To open our hearts and minds? To be filled with the grace of God poured out unto us?

Do we see Jesus at the pulpit during the Eucharistic Celebration? And listen intently at His Word?

Today we have shepherds amongst us sent to share and increase our faith, do we look upon them with envy or suspicion? Do we refuse to listen even though we know they speak the truth?

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us and we have been anointed to preach the Good News, have we begun our ministry?

Let us pray….

My Lord, My God, sometimes it is just so very hard to love my brother  and sister but I know that if I truly love You then I must love them  without reservation. Teach and show me the way in times of difficulty, I am Your child and through Your only begotten Son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, I have victory over the world. Help me stay on the righteous path so that I may lead others and together we will rejoice in Your kingdom…. Amen  

Today’s Gospel

Luke 4:14-22
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day.[a] And he stood up to read; 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 9, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are our hearts hardened that we do not see, touch, feel God’s presence or grace upon us?

Jesus walks past us to let us know He is near and waits for us to cry out to Him in our hour of need should we choose to…. Do we acknowledge His presence?

Jesus speaks to all of us, “Take courage, do not be afraid, I am with you”  If we fear, we need to ask ourselves, have we experienced perfect love in Christ? Are we experiencing it now? 

If we are not and have fear then it is a surety that our fear is a result of sin. For as St John reminds us in the first reading… There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

Today’s Gospel

Mark 6:45–52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 8, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are we genuinely concerned about the welfare of others?
Do we love unconditionally as we are loved by our Father?
Are willing to give without reservation, trusting in our Father’s Providence?
Do we love and serve inspite of our weariness?
Do we recognise this miracle of the feeding of five thousand in the Eucharist of today?

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father, we know and experience true love only because You love us first. There is no greater sign of Your love than Your love made flesh, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, help us learn to always love others the way you love us. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.


Today’s Gospel
Mark 6:34–44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

On Today’s Gospel….

Posted: January 7, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

I Must proclaim

We have been given the Good News, Jesus has come in the flesh to redeem us but do we truly know what it means?

What is the Good News of the Kingdom?

Jesus repeats and it fact proclaims what John the Baptist preached “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!” Do we acknowledge that we need to repent of our sinful ways before can truly experience the kingdom of God?

If we truly understand the Good News then why has the overwhelming joy of knowing and experiencing it not moved us to share it with others?

The Good News is here to heal us! Give glory to God by sharing the message with His children, knowing that His children will listen for the spirit of Truth is within us.

First Reading 1 John 3:22-4:6 ( Read )

Gospel
Matthew 4:12-17,23-25

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania.

Today Before The Blessed Sacrament

Posted: January 5, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

Why do you come busy about your affairs? Come sit with me and experience my love for you, worship and adoration will come naturally for you in time…

 

Thank you Jesus, Praise You Jesus!


Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn 

A King to Behold
Readings:
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,10-13
Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6
Matthew 2:1-12
________________________________________

An “epiphany” is an appearance. In today’s readings, with their rising stars, splendorous lights and mysteries revealed, the face of the child born on Christmas day appears.

Herod, in today’s Gospel, asks the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah is to be born. The answer Matthew puts on their lips says much more, combining two strands of Old Testament promise – one revealing the Messiah to be from the line of David (see 2 Samuel 2:5), the other predicting “a ruler of Israel” who will “shepherd his flock” and whose “greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth” (see Micah 5:1-3).

Those promises of Israel’s king ruling the nations resound also in today’s Psalm. The psalm celebrates David’s son, Solomon. His kingdom, we sing, will stretch “to the ends of the earth,” and the world’s kings will pay Him homage. That’s the scene too in today’s First Reading, as nations stream from the East, bearing “gold and frankincense” for Israel’s king.

The Magi’s pilgrimage in today’s Gospel marks the fulfillment of God’s promises. The Magi, probably Persian astrologers, are following the star that Balaam predicted would rise along with the ruler’s staff over the house of Jacob (see Numbers 24:17).

Laden with gold and spices, their journey evokes those made to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba and the “kings of the earth” (see 1 Kings 10:2,25; 2 Chronicles 9:24). Interestingly, the only other places where frankincense and myrrh are mentioned together are in songs about Solomon (see Song of Songs 3:6, 4:6,14).

One greater than Solomon is here (see Luke 11:31). He has come to reveal that all peoples are “co-heirs” of the royal family of Israel, as today’s Epistle teaches.

His manifestation forces us to choose: Will we follow the signs that lead to Him as the wise Magi did? Or will we be like those priests and the scribes who let God’s words of promise become dead letters on an ancient page?

On Today’s Readings…

Posted: January 4, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

HolinessFromWorldiness

Everyday we struggle with choices and have to battle temptations to remain as children of God.  What we have as a result is peace of mind, love and life with God. But why do we choose the easy path the wider gate to our own destruction? Why do we not persevere when we do not even have to rely on our own strength? Jesus is our strength, our light and way….

He is telling us to “Come and See…” to walk with Him as His disciples.

Here is something I wrote recently, because like you I struggle everyday too….

Why do I struggle everyday to remain in the light? Do I have an affinity with darkness? In my conviction I am strong, I am tall then once again I fall!

Still I must battle for what is right and remain fearless! Pick myself up, I choose life! Else submit to the theft and face death..

Let us pray….

O Lord my God, give me the courage, strength and wisdom to always choose the narrow path which leads to you. And in my weakness hear my prayer as I cry out with all my heart to you “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” Through Christ our Lord.  Amen

First reading
1 John 3:7-10

My children, do not let anyone lead you astray: to live a holy life is to be holy just as he is holy; to lead a sinful life is to belong to the devil, since the devil was a sinner from the beginning. It was to undo all that  the devil has done that the Son of God appeared. No one who has been begotten by God sins; because God’s seed remains inside him, he cannot sin when he has been begotten by God.

In this way we distinguish the children of God from the children of the devil: anybody not living a holy life and not loving his brother is no child of God’s.

Gospel
John 1:35-42

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher –’where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: January 2, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are we prepared to bear witness to the truth? Are we determined to share the Good News of true love and salvation, Jesus!? Have we deceased so that He can increase in our lives and in the lives of others?

Let us pray….

Father, we thank you for setting your love upon us, we want to be clear witnesses to You. Give us what we need to carry this out, we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Today’s Gospel
John 1:19–28

This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Solemnity Of Mary, the Holy Mother Of God

Posted: January 1, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

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Let us pray….

O God of all the living, you brought to birth the day of salvation wrought through the One who is our ever lasting life and peace. Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God and the world’s Mother, bring to perfection that which you have begun in Him who lives and reigns with You and The Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever Amen.

~~~

The Blessed Virgin Mary is born to be Mother. The supreme consolation that Our Lady receives at the cross of her Son is the assurance that her vocation as Mother does not end with Christ’s death. The Lord commands the world, “Behold your Mother.” The Church begins for Mary – and for us – with these words. The Blessed Virgin’s womb remains for ever fruitful. Mary leads us to Christ, but Christ leads us back to his Mother, for without Mary’s maternity, Jesus would become a mere abstraction to us. The Lord wills to let His face shine upon us through the face of the Mother of God. We “serve a Mother who seems to grow more beautiful as new generations rise up and call her blessed” ( G.K. Chesterton ).