Archive for February, 2013

Let us pray…

Posted: February 28, 2013 by CatholicJules in Prayers

Let us pray….

Thank You Father, for blessing my life! I am so grateful for Your constant love and support. Although I may not always remember to thank You, I am so grateful that You have filled my life with so much love. In times when things don’t go as planned, help me to remember Your plan – and to trust in Your goodness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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“But not all poverty is holy, or all riches criminal, but as luxury disgraces riches, so does holiness commend poverty. “ St Ambrose

Jesus invites us time and time again to live out just and holy lives, are we listening? When a parent chides a child for playing with fire is is not out of love? Today we see a harsh reality if we continue Not to listen…

Do we make blind to our brothers and sisters in need? Do we bask in luxury while the poor at our doorstep suffer? Do we let animals tend to the wounds of the sick and impoverished? Do we do what we can to preserve human dignity? Or do we mock the needy? Laugh at the destitute? Do we talk the talk but refuse to walk the walk? Are we merciful and compassionate as we ought to be?

When heaviness of sickness befalls us or hunger for that matter, do we joyfully accept them like Lazarus? Resting in the knowledge and our hope In Christ who will not abandon us.

The gospel of Christ is both to reconcile us to poverty and affliction and to arm us against temptations to worldliness and sensuality. It is the living Word of God that speaks to us today and everyday, let us open our hearts to listen. Let us not therefore desire visions and apparitions, nor seek to the dead, but to the law and to the testimony (Isa. 8:19, 20), for that is the sure word of prophecy, upon which we may depend.

May the love and peace of our Lord be with you all. Amen

GOSPEL Luke 16:19–31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’“

On Today’s Gospel..

Posted: February 27, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Jesus shares the mystery of our salvation with us His disciples, can we see the treasure within? Are we truly willing to participate? To partake thereof? Can we comprehend the love through the suffering and sacrifice?

Mothers and fathers play very important roles in their children’s lives and praying for them is highly important. Are we saying the right prayers? Are we praying for their souls? Are we praying for their spiritual well being?

We have seen and have been led by some great leaders in our lifetime, what was it that made them great in our eyes and in our hearts? Was it their commanding appearance? Was it simply the position they held? By far who was the greatest leader of them all? How did they lead by example?

Jesus was and is truly the greatest leader we will ever encounter is He not? He came to minister to us, heal us, love us and save us.  He taught us and showed us the way by His actions. He died for us so that we may live, are we prepared to die for Him? At least by dying to our sins? By our worldly attachments? To live out our baptism in Him? To serve the least of our brothers and sisters in love, charity and humility?

Let us pray….

O God, your love for the world transforms darkness into light, hatred into love, persecution into peace through the gift of your only Son. Make us true disciples in every circumstance of daily life, through Christ our Lord, our Truth, Our Light And Our Way. Amen

GOSPEL Matthew 20:17–28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Does the seat of Authority make the man? woman? Are the learned automatically great leaders? Are the physically strong for that matter?

If we preach humility are we humble ourselves? If we preach love, are we loving? If we preach compassion, are we compassionate? If we preach repentance, are we repentant? Do we practise what we preach?

Does an impatient priest lose his consecrated hands? No… Is he not part of the Church he serves? A congregation of sinners striving to lead a righteous life? Are we quick to judge our priests? Clergy? Lay apostolate?

Do we who are called to serve, seek vainglory? Are we true disciples of Christ? How has our Master led the way? Did He not wash the feet of His disciples? Did He come to be served? Or to serve?

Let us pray….

O Christ, you washed the feet of your disciples, though You are both Lord and Master. Strip us of the garments of pride and free us to do for one another the tasks of love, as You have done them for us. In Your name we pray, Lord Jesus Christ, who live and reign, one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen

GOSPEL Matthew 23:1–12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do we start our day cursing under our breath? Do we scream at our children to pick up after themselves? or to behave? Do we raise our voices at our spouses for things they have done or did not do? Are we impatient with our aged parents or grand parents? Do we see only the faults in our bosses, colleagues, teachers, lecturers, priests? Do we spend the day with a grimace on our faces?

How many of us have been so blessed in our lives that we found ourselves saying,” Our cup runneth over!” Have we forgotten those times, God our Father had provided for and provided for us in abundance? Perhaps some of those times was because of our faithfulness and our obedience to His will for us; But what about the repercussions for our judgemental ways and actions towards others? Do we think that there will not be any? When we sometimes play judge, jury and executioner? Do we judge others because we think ourselves wiser, more righteous than God our Father?

Let us repeat this prayerful mantra till we embrace it into our very being….

“I will be loving, merciful, and compassionate as my heavenly Father is loving, merciful and compassionate!” Through Christ our Lord, Amen. 

GOSPEL Luke 6:36–38

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”


You planned a thanksgiving party in honour of your father. Invited all your family members and friends to come on a Sunday morning. Prepared a feast, songs to be sung in honour of your father and messages of love to be shared with all.

Sunday came and not everyone showed up or bothered to call to inform you that they couldn’t come. Some came in singlet, skimpy shorts and slippers. Some refused to participate in the celebration, others refused to sing with crossed arms. While the messages of love was shared, some started talking amongst themselves, while others decided it was time to catch a snooze.

After the feast, before the last song could be sung or messages of thanks could be said, some started leaving. Few hurried on as they probably felt they had better and far more important things to do.

Jesus my Lord and Saviour have mercy on all of us who behave this way during the Eucharistic Celebration. Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit may we lead one another into greater faith and greater reverence for the Sacraments. Amen

February 24th 2013 – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Posted: February 23, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Readings:
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Psalm 27:1,7-9, 13-14
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 9:28-36


 

In today’s Gospel, we go up to the mountain with Peter, John and James. There we see Jesus “transfigured,” speaking with Moses and Elijah about His “exodus.”

The Greek word “exodus” means “departure.” But the word is chosen deliberately here to stir our remembrance of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt.

By His death and resurrection, Jesus will lead a new Exodus – liberating not only Israel but every race and people; not from bondage to Pharaoh, but from slavery to sin and death. He will lead all mankind, not to the territory promised to Abraham in today’s First Reading, but to the heavenly commonwealth that Paul describes in today’s Epistle.

Moses, the giver of God’s law, and the great prophet Elijah, were the only Old Testament figures to hear the voice and see the glory of God atop a mountain (see Exodus 24:15-18; 1 Kings 19:8-18).

Today’s scene closely resembles God’s revelation to Moses, who also brought along three companions and whose face also shone brilliantly (see Exodus 24:1; 34:29). But when the divine cloud departs in today’s Gospel, Moses and Elijah are gone. Only Jesus remains. He has revealed the glory of the Trinity – the voice of the Father, the glorified Son, and the Spirit in the shining cloud.

Jesus fulfills all that Moses and the prophets had come to teach and show us about God (see Luke 24:27). He is the “chosen One” promised by Isaiah (see Isaiah 42:1; Luke 23:35), the “prophet like me” that Moses had promised (see Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22-23; 7:37). Far and above that, He is the Son of God (see Psalm 2:7; Luke 3:21-23).

“Listen to Him,“the Voice tells us from the cloud. If, like Abraham, we put our faith in His words, one day we too will be delivered into “the land of the living” that we sing of in today’s Psalm. We will share in His resurrection, as Paul promises, our lowly bodies glorified like His.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do we only love those who are from the same country, nation or religion? Do we love exclusively? We are called to love in spite of, despite of… yet isn’t it too hard? Isn’t it too difficult to love those who have wronged us? To love those who have hurt us terribly? To love those who persecute us?

Yet is it not true that we hope and pray, even expect God to love us in spite of….despite of…to love us regardless?

Who is our greatest role model on love? Is it not our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? He who was tortured, spat upon, taunted, nailed, hung on a cross and yet forgave us from that very cross we hung Him?

We do Not pray for evildoers who commit atrocities for fun or evil’s sake but why do we pray for those who persecute us? Why did Saint Stephen pray for those who stoned him? Isn’t it because his persecutors have yet to have known Christ? Isn’t it true that we sometimes persecute others because we have not yet come to faith or were rash in doing so?

We through our sufferings and struggles can be perfected in Christ so that we too can love as God loves us and be merciful as God our Father is merciful towards us. Only then can we be assured; when we cry out to our Heavenly Father, “Forgive us our trespassers as we forgive those who have trespass against us.” Amen

GOSPEL
Matthew 5:43–48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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caesarea philippi

Who is Jesus for you? Is He just an extraordinary man that existed in history for you? Was He simply a prophet? Was He just a charismatic leader? Was He just a crazy fanatic able to convince so many? Have you truly encountered Him? Do you have a relationship with Him? If you do not, why?

Can you, like Peter cry out “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” ? If we truly have a relationship with Him, we can readily and easily cry out, “My Lord, My God, you are my all in all!”

Jesus founded His one true Church upon His rock, Peter and He said that His Church will stand forever. Do we say this in the creed with conviction? Do we acknowledge our one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Do we hold and treasure the sacred traditions and sacraments?

Let us sing to the Lord with all our hearts and soul!

Hail Redeemer, King divine!
Priest and Lamb, the throne is thine;
King, whose reign shall never cease,
Prince of everlasting peace.

Angels, saints and nations sing :
“Praise be Jesus Christ our King;
Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of love on Calvary!”

King most holy, King of truth,
guard the lowly, guide the youth;
Christ the King of glory bright,
be to us eternal light.

Shepherd-king, o’er mountains steep
homeward bring the wandering sheep;
shelter in one royal fold
states and kingdoms, new and old.

Crimson streams, O King of grace,
drenched thy thorn-crowned head and face;
floods of love’s redeeming tide
tore thy hands, thy feet, and side.

Eucharistic King, what love
draws thee daily from above,
clad in signs of bread and wine :
feed us, lead us, keep us thine!

King, whose name creation thrills,
rule our hearts, our minds, our wills;
till in peace, each nation rings
with thy praises, King of kings.

Sing with joy in ev’ry home :
“Christ our King, thy kingdom come!
To the King of ages, then,
honour, glory, love : Amen!”

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19

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

churchnotchurches

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Is there anything greater than prayer where there is a meeting of hearts between men, women and their one eternal God?

What is our prayer? Do our prayers flow from our lips to God’s ear? Does God speak to us when we pray? Do we even listen? Are our prayers ordered to the will of God our Father?

When we pray for things that will nourish us and give us life or give life to others? Will He not answer? When we pray for things that are bad or harmful to us or in our limited vision may destroy the fabric of love in our lives, do we expect Him to fulfill them?

If  we are not fair in our dealings and that which is honest, lovely and of good report among men, can we expect to receive good things from God?

Our asking, our prayers should be rooted in love, to be followed by action hence the knocking on the door which we have put up by our sins.  Our desire for God, our seeking Him out, to be transformed, to be changed, to live and to love; We will surely find Him there waiting to embrace us!

GOSPEL Matthew 7:7–12

7 “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 20, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are we still waiting to see a miracle or to hear a loud booming voice in the sky before we have faith? Do we not see God’s hand in our lives? Do we not hear Him speaking to us daily? Do we set aside some quiet time to be with Him? Why?

Are our hearts calling out to the Lord our God? Do we truly seek Him in humility? If we have, we would surely have heard Him call us to repentance whether through His priest, prophets or kings here on earth or even directly to us, be it through our conscience, our physical senses.  He so very much desires to embrace us in His love, to heal us, to fill the void in us.  How can He? If we refuse to let go of our sinful pleasures, sinful desires, greed, empty pride, selfishness, unforgiveness, arrogance, idol worship etc? How can He speak to us if we refuse to listen?

If atheist, even non-Christians have searched and found our true God, why can’t we? We have the fullness of faith and yet do we blind ourselves? Do we intentionally shut our ears?

Jesus! the greatest gift from God! A gift of Himself, a love offering for all. There is no greater gift, there is no greater love! Please! Let us not go on rejecting Him by our sinfulness! Let us embrace Him as He reaches out to us….

Let us sing this prayer….

Sweet heart of Jesus! Fount of Love and Mercy,
Today we come Thy blessings to implore;
O touch our hearts so cold and so ungrateful,
And make them Lord, Thine own for evermore.

Chorus:
Sweet heart of Jesus! We implore;
Oh! Make us love Thee more and more.

Sweet heart of Jesus! Make us know and love Thee,
Unfold to us the treasures of Thy Grace,
That so our hearts, from things of earth uplifted,
May long alone to gaze upon Thy Face.

GOSPEL Luke 11:29–32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

On Today’s Gospel…

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

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Do we pray in humility, with intense and fervent application of mind, with pure love and suppliant spirit? When our prayers are ordered to the Will of God, will there be a need for an answer? Do we allow Him to speak to our hearts?

Do we truly acknowledge the Lord our God as Father of us all? Do we honour Him first in our hearts and our will, only then by our lips?

Do we truly treasure the rich and glorious Lord’s prayer with depths which speaks volumes by reciting it slowly, reflecting on every word? The first three petitions give glory and praise to God our Father, do we do so in prayer and deed?

How can the love and mercy of God free us from our sins if we have placed the shackles of unforgiveness of others around our very own necks, hands and feet and by our refusal and obstinacy of our hearts to allow Him to remove them and heal us?

Gospel – Matthew 6:7-15

7 “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread; 12 And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors; 13 And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

For Reflection

Posted: February 18, 2013 by CatholicJules in Meditations, Memory Book

“How fortunate we are…to have a God as a model. Are we poor? We have a God who is born in a stable, who lies in a manger. Are we despised? We have a God who led the way, who was crowned with thorns, dressed in a filthy red cloak and treated as a madman. Are we tormented by pain and suffering? Before our eyes we have a God covered with wounds, dying in unimaginable pain. Are we being persecuted? How can we dare complain when have a God who is being put to death by executioners? Finally, we are being tempted by the demon? We have our lovable redeemer:He was also tempted by the demon and was twice taken up by that hellish spirit :therefore, no matter what sufferings, pains, or temptations we are experiencing, we always have, everywhere, our God leading the way for us and assuring us of victory as long as we genuinely desire it.”   – St John Vianney

On Today’s Gospel

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

ByStefan Locner Picture By Stefan Locner
 

The Lord speaks to us of the day of final judgement, we do not and will not know when, are we prepared? Some of us may have tomorrow and more tomorrows, while some of us may not have a tomorrow…. have we made used of the gifts and talents bestowed upon us for the Glory of God our Father?

Have we been loving, lukewarm or distant and even suspicious of others? When we chance upon a needy, helpless person, do we offer our assistance and do all we can to help or do we tell ourselves someone else more qualified, more able will be available? Do we shrug and say I don’t know what to do or what can I do instead of trying? Do we offer prayers instead of a loaf to the hungry?

For unborn children, do we reject the gift from God? For the very young, do we clothe, feed and care for them when they are sick? Do we teach, counsel and guide them? Do we help bring joy to them when there is sadness and despair? Or do we abuse them, curse and are impatient with them?

Are we truly disciples of Jesus? When He walked the earth, He was loving, merciful and kind to all, Jews and Gentiles alike. Are we the same way? Are we holy as our Heavenly Father is holy?

Let us pray…

O God of love and mercy, You sent Your own Son to live among us and die for us, when we were trapped in the ways of sin and death. Through this season of Lent, set your people free from our selfish ways to live Your law of love as disciples of Jesus our Lord. Amen

GOSPEL Matthew 25:31–46

Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

February 17th 2013 – 1st Sunday in Lent

Posted: February 16, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Forty Days

Readings:
Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Psalm 91:1-2,10-15
Romans 10:8-13
Luke 4:1-13


 

In today’s epic Gospel scene, Jesus relives in His flesh the history of Israel.

We’ve already seen that like Israel, Jesus has passed through water, been called God’s beloved Son (see Luke 3:22; Exodus 4:22). Now, as Israel was tested for forty years in the wilderness, Jesus is led into the desert to be tested for forty days and nights (see Exodus 15:25).

He faces the temptations put to Israel: Hungry, He’s tempted to grumble against God for food (see Exodus 16:1-13). As Israel quarreled at Massah, He’s tempted to doubt God’s care (see Exodus 17:1-6). When the Devil asks His homage, He’s tempted to do what Israel did in creating the golden calf (see Exodus 32).

Jesus fights the Devil with the Word of God, three times quoting from Moses’ lecture about the lessons Israel was supposed to learn from its wilderness wanderings (see Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:16; 6:12-15).

Why do we read this story on the first Sunday of Lent? Because like the biblical sign of forty (see Genesis 7:12; Exodus 24:18; 34:28; 1 Kings 19:8; Jonah 3:4), the forty days of Lent are a time of trial and purification.

Lent is to teach us what we hear over and over in today’s readings. “Call upon me, and I will answer,” the Lord promises in today’s Psalm. Paul promises the same thing in today’s Epistle (quoting Deuteronomy 30:14; Isaiah 28:16; Joel 2:32).

This was Israel’s experience, as Moses reminds his people in today’s First Reading: “We cried to the Lord…and He heard.” But each of us is tempted, as Israel was, to forget the great deeds He works in
our lives, to neglect our birthright as His beloved sons and daughters.

Like the litany of remembrance Moses prescribes for Israel, we should see in the Mass a memorial of our salvation, and “bow down in His presence,” offering ourselves in thanksgiving for all He has given us.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Jes_Calls_Levi

 
Jesus is inviting all of us to follow Him, what is your response?  He does not demand that we repent first, He does not place conditions, instead He simply asks that we walk with Him. He seeks our companionship, He seeks to heal us, to fill us with His love. He has come to honour us with His presence, do we honour Him by our Yes? On our journey with Him, we are forgiven, we are made whole for we have heeded His call to repentance. Let us reach out to Him and cry out, “Here I am Lord, I want to follow you. * Amen

Gospel
Luke 5:27-32

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him.
In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 15, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Do week seek Jesus to counsel us for our lack of understanding? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us? Or do we sow discord by own interpretation or understanding of scripture and the teachings of our Holy Church?

Why do we fast? If we fast at all? To observe the lenten discipline? Or do we fast out of love for that which is divine? To empty ourselves of our worldliness. As a penance for our sins, for what we have done and what we have failed to do. To truly taste humility of body and mind. To hunger for the Word which truly satisfies. To share a taste of what our poor sisters and brothers experience on a daily basis. To strengthen ourselves against all temptations. To allow our Heavenly Father to fill us with His grace and blessings. So that at the end of our lenten journey we can truly experience the joy of our risen bridegroom, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

GOSPEL Matthew 9:14–15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How strange indeed that the battle cry of our Lord is a gentle promise of suffering and human rejection. Yet His cross reigns victorious!  His cross has redeemed us! Have we taken the time to reflect on what this means for us? How great His love for us?

What is our daily cross? The true cross that will lead us to the heavenly Kingdom? Is it our physical aches and pains? Is it our mental fatigue or stress? Or is it rather our daily struggle to turn sin and temptation away. To be faithful to the Gospels. To love someone hard to love. To forgive in spite of our reluctance. To serve the Lord by serving His people. To care for those who cannot care for themselves. To be ridiculed and laughed at while trying to share the Good News and Jesus with others. To give up the cares of the world and stay focused on the narrow path to the kingdom of God our Father…. Are these not what makes up the cross we are to carry?

Let us pray….

Jesus, my Lord my God, thank you for coming to ransom me with your own life. I love you, I worship you, I trust you. I give myself over to you, to be one with you in all things. I now take my place in your cross and death, through which I have died with you to sin, to my flesh, to the world, and to the evil one. I take up the cross and crucify my flesh with all its pride, arrogance, unbelief, and idolatry and all temptations that keep me from you. I ask you to apply to me the fullness of your cross, death, blood and sacrifice. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my spirit, soul and body, my heart, mind and will. Amen

GOSPEL Luke 9:22–25

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”

Reflection

Posted: February 13, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Many are called few are chosen, His wisdom seeks out those willing,  though not without sacrifice. In humility often times we get to witness His overall plan for us, even the roadblocks or disasters we avoided by responding to His call. And even if we do not see, we experience the love, peace and joy that follows.

Catholicjules

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do we need the recognition, praise or blessings of our fellow brothers and sisters for doing good works and for our giving to charity? Do we not need the recognition, praise and blessings of God instead? Have we not realised that our vainglory results in a big zero in the heavenly scheme of things?

What is our intention when we pray or fast? Should not our piety to God be for God alone? Why would we want to rob ourselves of the graces and blessings from God when we pray and fast to parade before others, just how holy and pious we are?

Let us pray…..

Dearest sweet Jesus, I begin this Lenten journey by emptying myself of all that is worldly. By my fast let me hunger for your Word and thirst for your Living Water for I know you will fill me up with these. By my good works and charity, teach me humility and let me share in the poverty of others for I know you will provide all that is needed. By my prayers, let me hear your will for me so that I may serve you with all my heart and soul for I know you will always answer. Amen

GOSPEL Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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When we are gathered together in the presence of Jesus, in the Eucharistic celebration or in a prayer meeting, do we remain prayerful and steadfast in His love or do we start squabbling and finding fault with one another or with others?

Do we scrutinise, judge and admonish others according to our own understanding or interpretation of Church laws?Do we carry ourselves in an authoritative manner or are domineering by acting aggressively?

Do we flaunt knowledge, or tell others what to do? Do we choose big, high sounding words and terms when sharing with others? Do we give leghthy and verbose sharing, robbing others opportunities to offer their thoughts and sharing? Do we instead exercise, love, compassion and charity when guiding others to the Truth?

God’s law and commandments are founded on and in love, so too are those handed down by the Catholic Church He founded. Our call to holiness is to live out the laws and commandments of our Heavenly Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our love for Him and in our love and charity for one another. May His love burn brightly in our hearts as we reach out to others with that same love. Amen

GOSPEL Mark 7:1–13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.) So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 11, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Do we seek Jesus only for physical healing and neglect the healing for our souls? Do we seek Him only for our physical well being and needs and not for His word?

Do we care enough to do whatever it takes to tend to our sick, even carrying them at times to seek medical attention?

Jesus shows us today just how much He loves us.  He shows that we too should be touched by mercy and moved by love. Let us seek Him first in whatever we say and do so that, so that we too can be touched by mercy and moved by love for others. Amen

GOSPEL Mark 6:53–56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

On Thankfulness…

Posted: February 10, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Thankfulness is an act of love, it requires effort some times even a little sacrifice. Being thankful to God is a participation in His love for us.

Catholicjules

Feb 10, 2013 5th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: February 10, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Into the Deep

Readings:
Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 138:1-5, 7-8
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.

In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, taste His Word on our tongue.

Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist— as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.

Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy….” (see also Revelation 4:8).

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How many of us serving our Lord, will return to the fountainhead? The streams that flow out and from within? To share with Him the very adventure in His love? To seek counsel? To share our joys, even our sorrows? To be refreshed? To give Him honour, thanks and praise?

Come to me, I will give you rest, says the Lord. Do we take our rest in Him from our labours of love? We serve Him best when we are rejuvenated in Him, do we ensure we set some quiet and away time to do this?

Do we set aside time to grow in the knowledge of our faith? To learn from Him? To hear His word? To enrich ourselves in His love? So that we too can be true Shepherds for others, to care for those hungry for His word, abandoned, lost. To love as He loves…

GOSPEL 6:30–34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and 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.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How many of us serving our Lord, will return to the fountainhead? The streams that flow out and from within? To share with Him the very adventure in His love? To seek counsel? To share our joys, even our sorrows? To be refreshed? To give Him honour, thanks and praise?

Come to me, I will give you rest, says the Lord. Do we take our rest in Him from our labours of love? We serve Him best when we are rejuvenated in Him, do we ensure we set some quiet and away time to do this?

Do we set aside time to grow in the knowledge of our faith? To learn from Him? To hear His word? To enrich ourselves in His love? So that we too can be true Shepherds for others, to care for those hungry for His word, abandoned, lost. To love as He loves…

GOSPEL 6:30–34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and 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.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Who is Jesus to and for me? Do I revere and honour Him as I should? Or is He like an abstract piece of art to be admired from afar? Do I hold Him close to me? Do I carry Him in my heart in everything I say and do? Have I died to myself and been risen in Christ?

Do I avoid the truth to maintain ‘peace’ and comfort? Do I live a lie in sin? Do I rationalise my actions? Am I not concerned that living a life by, in truth and in the Truth, proclaiming the truth, saves my soul and the souls of others?

Do I speak and act rashly as I live according to my desires, wants and deeds?

Do I live my life governed by the love of Christ? Do I love myself and others with that same love? Are my words and deeds a reflection of my love in Christ?

GOSPEL Mark 6:14–29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; That is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.” But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.” Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. His own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How wonderful is the Word of God indeed!  Our Lord has called each and everyone of us to share His Word with all the nations, have we responded to that call today?

His Word, brings light upon darkness, makes pure that which is unclean, are we not eager to participate in the conversion of sinners by and through His Word? To give true hope where there is none? To bring joy where sadness prevails? To bring peace where there is turmoil?

Trust in the Lord our God! When we respond to His call, will He not provide what we need? Why do we worry about this and that? Has He ever failed us while we were on His mission? Never I tell you! Have faith! …

When we evangelise, we do so with love and charity, do not be upset if you face rejection or ridicule, do not carry the hurt with you.  Instead lift it up to the Lord and trust that He can turn any curse into blessing. All we are asked to do is plant His seed, He will do the rest.

GOSPEL Mark 6:7–13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick –no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in
testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 6, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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For those who have little or no faith, little or nothing can be done! Why do some not see Jesus for who He was, who He is and is to come?

How can we bring Jesus to others? Be Jesus for others? when we cannot see Jesus in others or in our very own selves?

Why do we continue to find fault in others even if there weren’t any to find to begin with? Do we question the Holy Spirit’s choice in men and women sent to us, for us, to speak, to act? Are we to judge them according to their past?

Let us pray….

God our Father, you conquer the darkness of ignorance by the light of your Word. Strengthen within our hearts the faith you have given us; let not temptation ever quench the fire that your love has kindled within us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

GOSPEL Mark 6:1–6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 5, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Are we too proud to turn to Jesus for help? Or are we afraid, either because we have never sought Him in the past or too ashamed because of the lives we lead? Know that He loves us and is waiting for us to call on Him.

Our Lord who knows our every sin no matter how well hid, also knows our every need. Do we have faith that He will heal us? Do we have faith that He knows what is best for us?

Do we give Glory to God when we are healed? Do we offer praise and thanks? Do we know that the power of healing comes from Christ alone, whether through prayers, sacramentals, intercessions, relics, touch etc?

Do we overcome skepticism by our faith in Christ or do we allow it to lead us on an empty path? Do we try to pass on our skepticism to others? Jesus is real, touch Him by faith and you will see….

Death and sickness came into the world by our sins. But our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ has come to save and heal us, He has risen from the dead to show us that He too has power over death!

Let us pray…sweet Jesus my Lord, I hear you calling out to me; I want to rise from the death of my sins. I reach out my hand to you O Lord, heal me and wash me clean that I may unite my will to Yours and one day live in the room You have prepared for me. AMEN.

GOSPEL Mark 5:21–43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, Who touched me?” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.

On Today’s Gospel..

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

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If a demoniac with a multitude of unclean spirits can prostrate before the son of God most high, how can we do any less? Why do some of us continue to dress inappropriately at the Eucharistic celebration? Do we hide our irreverence behind words like God knows my heart? Do we gossip, talk and distract our brethren from prayer and participation, before, during and after the Eucharistic celebration while we are still in Church?

Physical restraints are useless when we are bound mentally and spiritually by our sins, why do we allow ourselves to be subject to them? Our many vices, lust, greed, rage, gluttony even unforgiveness keeps us enslaved, why not cry out to our Lord for help to break free? Evil cannot touch us if we are one in Christ, why do we choose to cross over? Why do we give in to our temptations for fleeting happiness or gratification? Do we not realise by now that the devil and his minions takes delight in our captivity? Terror to them is no longer being able to toy with us and take control of every aspect of our lives! Will we not fight against such evil?

There are times we witness good which can come out from evil only through the grace of God, do we ponder His mighty deed? Do we learn from it? Do we give praise and thanks? Or are we seized in fear instead?

We have all been given different gifts, talents and means to serve the Lord, but together as one we can give powerful testimony of God’s wonders, mercies and love in our very own lives. Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. AMEN

GOSPEL Mark 5:1–20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” (He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.” And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside. And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.” And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned. The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. And people came out to see what had happened. As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear. Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine. Then they began to beg him to leave their district. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

February 3rd 2013 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 2, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Prophet to the Nations

Readings:
Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19
Psalm 71: 1-6,15-17
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Luke 4:21-30


 

God’s words in today’s First Reading point us beyond Jeremiah to Jesus. Like Jeremiah, Jesus was consecrated in the womb and sent as a “prophet to the nations” (see Luke 1:31-33).

Like the prophets before Him, Jesus too faces hostility. In today’s Gospel, the crowd in His hometown synagogue quickly turns on Him, apparently demanding a sign, some proof of divine origins – that He’s more than just “the son of Joseph.”

The sign He gives them is that of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. From their colorful careers Jesus draws two stories. In each, the prophets bypass “many…in Israel” to bestow God’s blessings on non-Israelites who had faith that the prophets were men of God (see 1 Kings 17:1-16; 2 Kings 5:1-14). “None…not one” in Israel was found deserving, Jesus emphasizes.

His point isn’t lost on His audience. They know He’s likening them to the “many…in Israel” in the days of the prophets. That’s why they try to shove Him off the cliff. As He promised to protect Jeremiah, the Lord delivers Jesus from those who would crush Him.

And as were Elijah and Elisha, Jesus is sent to proclaim God’s gift of salvation – not exclusively to one nation or people, but to all who realize in faith that from the womb God alone is their hope, their rescuer, their “rock of refuge,” as we sing in today’s Psalm.

Prophecies, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle, are partial and pass away “when the perfect comes.” In Jesus, the word of the prophets has been brought to perfection, fulfilled in those who have ears to hear, as He declares in today’s Gospel.

Greater than the gifts of faith and hope, Jesus shows us how to love as He loved, to love God as our Father, as One Who formed us in the womb and destined us to hear His saving Word.

This is the salvation, the “mighty works of the Lord,” that we, as the Psalmist, are thankful to proclaim daily in the Eucharist.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What can learn from today’s gospel?  Let us open our hearts and minds to see….

  • The Holy Family was obedient on to God, they followed God’s call to consecrate Jesus who is the first born.  Mary underwent the prescribed purification ritual and then together with Joseph offered up the sacrifice.  We too can consecrate ourselves to Jesus and bring our daily/weekly sacrifice i.e. deeds of love, service etc. up to Him during the Eucharistic celebration. 
  • If we lead Holy and righteous lives, like Simeon and Anna, we too may look upon the face of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • We too can learn from Simeon and Anna, blessing, praising and worshipping God with all our heart and might.
  • Mary our Mother knows our every need, our every desire, our every deed, how easily we tire.  Through her powerful intercession, the Holy Spirit will strengthen, guide and show us the way to the Truth, the Light and the Way, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Blessed is our Mother indeed!

Let us pray….

On this day, Lord, Your mother, Mary and foster father, Joseph, presented You at the temple.  We celebrate Your presentation by lighting candles – reminding us that You are the light of the world.  I pray today that I never live a day without feeling the fire of Your love burning within my heart. Amen.

GOSPEL Luke 2:22–40

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce— so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty–four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

On Today’s Gospel..

Posted: February 1, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

mustard-tree_mist

You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised Heb 10:36

We are promised entry into the Kingdom of God, and all is needed is for us is to love! Love our God with all our heart, love one another and live our lives according to our Father’s plan for us which is always the best plan.  Is it that simple? Yes…..is it going to be hard work? Yes……will we need to suffer? Very likely as life is full of hardships and suffering…..will we go through it alone? No….Jesus is with us every step of the way…  Do we have such faith?

By the blood of Christ we are redeemed, the Word has planted His seed, His blood and water has made the soil fertile, how can we not bear fruit?

With, love, faith,  humility, patience, labour and striving to live a life of holiness, we will not only bear abundant fruit, we spread the joy, comfort and love to all around us. And more often than not, we bear witness to the fruits of others by the very seeds we helped to sow. How can we not use the gifts we have been given? How can we choose not to participate in our Father’s loving plan?

Let us cry out with one voice, “Here I am to serve Lord! Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” Amen

Gospel
Mk 4:26-34  

Jesus said to the crowds:

“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.