Archive for March, 2013

March 31st 2013 – Easter Sunday

Posted: March 30, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

They Saw and Believed

Readings:
Acts 10:34, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Colossians 3:1-4
John 20:1-9


 

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb” – seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned…to preach…and testify” to all that they had seen – from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.

More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan – to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:27,44).

Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them – that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” that today’s Psalm prophesies His Resurrection and exaltation (see Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb, give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.” We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above.

We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come – the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

womenatthetomb

How many devout women of today will rise early to seek out the Lord. To offer Him at the start of the day their gifts and talents to be used for their families and for others?

How many who find emptiness, who had forgotten the Lord Jesus in their lives have sought Him through prayer and in the Word? Having found Him rejoiced? Having experienced the Living God in their lives have found peace and lasting joy? Having experienced this in wonderment shared it with others? Prayed for others so that they too will share in the joy and peace?

How many still refuse to hear the Good News? Refuse to acknowledge the testimony of God’s glory witnessed by others?

How many like Peter in today’s Gospel, will run seeking the Lord out to witness to the Glory of God?

GOSPEL Luke 24:1–12

At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.” And they remembered his words. Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.

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Those of us who had done the Vigil, fasted yesterday during Good Friday and attended the service. Did you not experience profound sadness? A sense of loss? Especially when you saw Jesus physically absent in the tabernacle and the sacramentals removed? Yes some of us felt His presence still as spiritual consolation but wasn’t the overall experience surreal?

Now while we continue to fast and remain in prayer, do you now begin to feel a different experience? A sense of joyful anticipation? Perhaps in a sense like a pregnant woman about to give birth? A new beginning?

Amen! I am thankful to be Catholic! Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit! Amen.


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Whom do we identify ourselves with in the passion of Christ?

Do we identify ourselves with the disciples? Who follow Christ faithfully? Who could not stay awake for Christ? Who abandoned their faith when the situation got uncomfortable? Who let fear overcome them?

Do we identify ourselves with Judas? Betrayed Him for money? Greed? Way of living? With the idea of being superior in intellect? Unrepentant?

Do we identify ourselves with Peter? Bold in the faith yet brash? With a leader’s mentality that I know it all? Loyal in the heart but not yet fully grounded in the faith and so was fearful and fell from faith? Repentant in the end, courageous to accept the faults and rebuild, and fortify his faith through the help of the Holy Spirit?

Do we identify ourselves with Pilate? A leader of men yet not in Christ? To go against what is true and right in order to keep the peace? Who will not stand up for the innocent or for  those who are bullied and those who cannot fend for themselves?

Do we identify ourselves with the high priests? Self righteous? Seeking personal glorification? Having a faith like horses wearing blinds? Quick to judge and condemn others? Using all means to justify their actions? Seeking not God’s counsel?  Doing not His Will?

Do we identify ourselves with the crowd? Do we have a mob mentality? Taking not the time or making not the effort to learn and grow in faith? To allow our emotions to rule us? To live our lives with God absent?

Do we identify ourselves with John? Who truly loved Jesus and knew what it was to be loved by Him? Initially seeking status and fame? Allowed fear to overcome His love? But gathered courage through his love for Christ and stood by His mother and His side in the end?

Do we identify ourselves with the repentant thief? Who abandoned all pride and carried the shame of the sinful life he led and turned to Christ in the end? Fully willing to accept condemnation for his sins? Entrusting himself to the Lord his God?

Do we hope to identify ourselves with Jesus? To drink the cup he drank? To carry His cross? To serve, not to served? To be the light for others living in darkness?


Reflection on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ +

The agony in the garden was really the agony in His mind. He suffered the passion in His mind before He suffered it in His body—to the point of actually affecting the latter by sweating blood. But from then on, it was His bodily suffering that affected His mental suffering.

At the base of all His suffering was the one thing that human beings dread the most: rejection. He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and abandoned by all the rest of His Apostles; those He had hand picked as His closest intimates. He was most rejected by those who put Him to death. They not only wanted Him dead, they wanted Him to suffer. They not only considered Him to be worth nothing, they considered Him to be worth minus nothing! This significance was not lost on Him. He felt fully the rejection as each physical agony reminded Him.

So we thank Him for I us on our human journey and actually choosing to experience what we fear the most.

We thank Him for enduring the arrest and the cruelty of the guards and the Sanhedrin. We thank Him for enduring the cruelty of Pilate who allowed Him to be executed rather than risk his own political ruin—and for the cruelty of Herod who wanted to be entertained by having Him work a miracle. We thank Him for all the time He spent satisfying their preoccupation with themselves, just delaying His ultimate death. We thank Him for the anxiety of that night in a cell.

The next morning He was brutally scourged with such intensity and violence that He became as an aged man in a matter of minutes. His multiple wounds bloodied His entire body. The loss of so much blood not only severely weakened Him; it also caused a severe, throbbing headache that remained with Him for the duration.

We thank Him for this and for the mockery He received when they put a purple cloth on His shoulders and pushed a crown of thorns down into His head which intensified His headache. They blindfolded Him and slapped Him, insisting that He ‘prophesy’ who had hit Him. They spat on Him and beat Him. But it was they who were blind. He knew who they were. This is what we do when we sin. We blot him out of our consciousness as if He can’t see us. But it is we who choose to not see.

He stood at the praetorium in utter disgrace according to the attitude of the crowd—while in reality, He stood in utter glory: almighty God, being present to every person who has ever suffered rejection, joining them in their
moment of pain. It was there that He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. As a further humiliation, He was forced to carry His instrument of execution. He revealed to St. Bernard that carrying the cross was His most painful agony. He was so weak, He could hardly walk. So the weight of the cross on His shoulder was unbearable. It most likely dislocated His shoulder. It is not surprising that He fell down on the stone streets that were filthy with animal dung—with the cross on top of Him. And He got up each time.

It was only with the help of Simon of Cyrene that He made it to the top of Calvary. There they drove the nails into the carpal tunnels of His hands, causing pain throughout His upper body. The nail in His feet registered great pain through all the sensitive nerves there. When the cross was righted, His up-stretched arms squeezed His lungs and He began to pant for lack of oxygen. So He had to push down on His crucified feet to push His body up in order to fill His lungs with air. This took great effort because He was so weak. Yet He managed to maintain such effort for three hours of agony which increased gradually as He became weaker moment by moment.

By the end of the third hour, His agony was at its peak and His self-gift was exquisite. He had come to the point where His strength simply gave out and He suffocated. In this eternal moment as He died, He gave us His life. Transcending time, this moment of divine love is present to us in the tabernacles of the world.

Thank you, Lord. We adore you O Christ and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world!

If this still matters to you, then it must matter more than anyone and anything. One day you will see Him face to face. If you go through with this marriage, what will you tell Him? If you read this reflection every day, He will give you the strength to be faithful to Him. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Can we ever fully comprehend the love God has for us? What it truly means to love us to the end?

Can we strip ourselves bare of all that is worldly? Can we remove our cloak of pride? And with our robe of holiness serve others? Even getting down to our knees if the need arises? Working with our Lord to wash away the veil of darkness from their eyes and hearts? Can we help our Lord Jesus wash their feet from all sinfulness gathered while walking in the wrong direction and helping them move forward in the right one through His Word?

Let us pray…..

Sweet Jesus, thank you for loving me and teaching me how to love. Guide me always in your ways so that I may continue to serve you by serving my brethren. Calling to mind Your act of love in washing the feet of your disciples let me do likewise in all I say and do. Amen  

GOSPEL John 13:1–15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

Jesus Last Supper Passover

Do we hold on to Jesus at all cost? Or do we ‘sell’ Him off from our lives, when we choose greed over Him? The lavish lifestyle we created for ourselves? Our wants and desires which must come first? Simply because He has no place in our lives? No value?

Jesus desires to be with us, to bless us in our homes, in our hearts, are we ready and willing to let Him in? To welcome Him with open arms?

When relationships fail for whatever reasons, do we look to point fingers? Or do we reflect on how we may have contributed? For what we have done or failed to do?

It is never too late to follow Jesus, no matter what we may have said or no matter what we have done. Let us turn to Him and say “Jesus I choose You!, I love You.” Amen

GOSPEL Matthew 26:14–25

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘“ The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 26, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Is it not painful when someone we love turns against us? How the hurt and the sense of loss lingers? Yet do we not do the same to others we love?

While we should not be naive to think that we will be in the company of loyal and trustworthy people. Should we live in fear of betrayal? Suspicious of everyone? Or do we go about our duties, always in love and charity, praying and discerning good from evil?

We are who we are by the fruits we bear. What fruits do I want to offer to my Lord? Our bitter actions often speak louder than any sweet words we can utter and yet do we think they are well hidden?  Do we yet receive and bring judgement upon ourselves?

When we allow anger and hurts to fester does it not lead to plans of retaliation? Destruction? Are we then not allowing the devil full control? Have we not learnt that we can always turn back to Jesus? To love and be loved? Even to the very last second? If not then He will not hinder our choice of the former, our spiritual demise will be swift!

The path of the cross is a straight and narrow and seemingly long and impossible however when we abandon all self righteousness, all wordly desires and begin to walk in love and humility, we walk able and tall for He walks with us. Let us walk in the footsteps of our Lord who leads us to our Heavenly Father. Amen

GOSPEL John 13:21–33, 36–38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

Mary-precious-perfume

How many of us are ready to receive Jesus today? Ready to be of service to Him? To be of service for Him? In our homes? In our Office? In our School? In our Church? In our hearts?

How many of us, offer physical and spiritual gifts freely to God? How many of us would not think of the cost? Would give all we had? Would give from our dearest treasures and possessions? To give from our heart? How many anoint Him our King! Our Priest? Our Lord and God? By our reverence? By our demeanour? By our dress? By our thoughts? By our words? By our actions?

Today Lord, I offer freely of myself. I offer you my Love and my heart, my all! I offer them to you Lord, through my thoughts, my words and in my service to others this day. Let me anoint your feet this day Lord as did Mary. Amen

GOSPEL John 12:1–11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.

Catholicjules’ Prayer/Mantra

Posted: March 23, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Meditations, Prayers

As I continue to journey in faith, one of my greatest challenges is remaining humble and holy when faced with confrontation.  The temptation to be snide, defensive and in certain situations even a little aggressive is overwhelming.  I have given in to the weakness from time to time though not as often as I used to in the past. As I was reflecting on this weakness today, this came to mind….

If I see every situation or encounter as an opportunity to bear witness to Christ then I remain walking in the Light.

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Later this morning, I brought my kids for their swimming lesson and decided to go for a swim as well. And again I believe inspired by the Holy Spirit I came up with this mantra/prayer which I intend to recite every day first thing I wake up and need be throughout the day until it I am one with it. It incorporates the Jesus prayer as well as a desire to live in discipleship.

“Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God have mercy on me a sinner, with, through and in your Love let me always bear witness to you in thought, word and deed.” Amen

March 24th 2013 – Passion of the Christ

Posted: March 23, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Passion Sunday

Readings:
Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Philippians 2:6-11
Luke 22:14-23:56


 

What is written about Me is coming to fulfillment,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Luke 22:37).

Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.

In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.

The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Luke 22:63-65; 23:10-11,16), as His hands and feet are pierced (see Luke 23:33), as enemies gamble for His clothes ( see Luke 23:34), and as three times they dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Luke 23:35,37,39)

He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help…I shall not be put to shame.”

Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12-14,17-19; Ephesians 2:2; 5:6).

This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken, that one day we too will be with Him in Paradise (see Luke 23:42). Seeing and Believing

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe!

Why are testimonies of miracles, signs and wonders from God received with skepticism even disdain by some? Why do some of us who claim to have a love for God not recognize His good works? Direct from Him or through others?

All that is good in the World comes from Him, why do we not treasure them? The earth that we live on? Our children? The air that we breathe? Animals, trees, plants etc? Why do we overuse even abuse the gifts? Why are we sometimes so selfish and self centred? Yet we often choose instead to blame Him for our misgivings?

Even then our loving Lord chose to die for us so that we may not perish. He waits patiently for us in the background for us to turn to Him. Let us declare our love for Him by dying to outselves so that we may live in Him and with Him. Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

GOSPEL John 11:45–56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Jesus is Lord! Jesus is our God! Jesus is Son of the Living God! Can we shout this out with conviction knowing they are different yet the same? Much testimony has been shared about Jesus over the years, many lives changed, transformed, many miracles witnessed and attributed to Him. Peace, Love and Joy surrounds those who have faith in Him, even on their deathbed there is a glowing serenity about them. Many have died martyrs for Him, with Him, In Him.

Yet today many of us still stone Him with our unbelief do we not? With our irreverence during the Eucharistic celebration or before the Blessed Sacrament?  When we ignore the poor and their cries for help? When we listen to the World on how we are to live our lives and how we are to treat one another instead of listening to His Word, His Way, His Truth? When we support abortion and same sex marriage? When we choose our addictions and desires over living according to His Will for us? When we persecute the Church He established? When we refuse to forgive? When we refuse to love? Just how many more stones can we cast at Him?

Still our Lord is waiting patiently for us to come back to Him, to embrace us with His Love. To send us forth saying “Be faithful, be fruitful, go and sin no more.”

GOSPEL
John 10:31–42

31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him; and they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Jesus my Lord, my God you love us so much that you came to save us from eternal death, to lift the fear, threat and even the terror of death. So that we may look beyond death and see the promise of eternal life with You.  All you ask is that we be faithful to Your Word.

Yet some of us still mock you through our blind obstinacy, when we fail to see that you were true man and are true God. Fail to see that all the great prophets, saints, men and women of virtue who were faithful to your Word and who are now our brothers and sisters in heaven were all created in your image, Your creation. You who are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end are above all.

We fail you, when we refuse to open our hearts and minds to Your Truth.  Why do you still love us so? In your loving mercy you were patient and are patient still.  Instead of punishing us for our outright rejection of the truth, you gently  explain and remind us of  Your loving unity with Our heavenly Father, you reveal to us how you came to save us through the humility of your incarnation by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Continue Lord to guide us all through your bountiful love for us, into the realization that when we accept wholeheartedly the truth of Your Word in humility we will soon begin to see Your face unveiled…..

Hear us Lord we humbly pray…..

O God of all faithfulness, have mercy on us who have strayed from the covenant we embraced in baptism and bring us into deeper communion with You through our Lenten observance. 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 John 8:51–59

Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Jesus is asking us today, are we truly His disciples? Do we strive each and every day to remain in His Word? Being faithful to the Gospels and turning away from sin? He knows our struggles and therefore urges us to remain in Him so that we may remain liberated from the snares of sin. Are we holding on to His cloak? Lifting up all temptations and placing them at His feet so that He can cast it off to whence it came? Or have we given in? Are our eyes, ears and hearts shut? Has worldly desires taken hold of our lives?

Cradle catholics, second and third generation Christians, are you truly grounded in your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ? Do you have a relationship with the Holy Trinity? Are you actively seeking to do God our Father’s Will? Are you growing in your faith seeking to be fruitful? Or is Christianity simply a form of membership for you? A hobby? A pastime? Do you actually believe that simply being a member alone entitles you to all heavenly privileges?

Let us pray…. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God have mercy on me a sinner. Help me to grow deeper in my faith and love for you and for others. Guide me and keep me on the narrow path,that I may always seek to do God’s Will, so that I may one day hear You call out to me, “Come beloved one, join me in paradise.” Amen

GOSPEL John 8:31–42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father!” So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. We have one Father, God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

On Today’s Gospel….

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

The_Dream_of_Saint_Joseph9

How many of us can follow in the footsteps of our dearest St Joseph? To be merciful and compassionate without judgment, with a righteousness not of man but of God?

A man among men, a true man of God! With not a single spoken word, recorded in scripture, yet he spoke volumes by his fidelity and faithfulness in the Word of God by his deeds. Can we help not say a word but act in love? Or do we love to hear the sound of own voice speaking of God? That is if we speak of Him at all, but then not living according to His Will?

Do we live our lives so that we can clearly hear our heavenly Father’s voice speaking His love and Will for us? And Yes He speaks to us everyday, if we would only listen…

Such is the faithfulness of our dearest St Joseph, that upon hearing the word of God, he sprang into action in faith and trust in the love of God. Can we do the same? Or do we over think things through ? Over analyze? Live and do things only if it fits within our comfort zones?

GOSPEL Matthew 1:16, 18–21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

lightoftheworld

Do we walk in the light of Christ? Or we still walking in darkness? Groping to find our way out? Hopeless, aimless? Depressed, uncertain? If we walk in the light of Christ, do we avoid the darkness? Avoid people living in darkness? Or do we bring His light to others? Being a beacon for them to follow? Out of darkness into the light?

Many claim to have a relationship with Jesus and God our Father, do they really? When they find fault in others regularly? Constantly looking for faults in the Church, Church-goers? Judging others often with sarcasm? With cloaked intentions? Not having mercy or compassion for their brethren? Do they not judge according to the flesh?

To walk in the light of our Lord Jesus Christ is to walk in love. A love that builds up, not tears down. A love which questions not but always acts first to be of service to others. It is a love for Christ and a love from Christ then we bear His cross for others. A love in which the Holy spirit runs high, but runs very low in emotion if it runs at all. A love which ponders and reflects in all that is Holy and lives according to the Word.

Do we truly walk in the light?

John 8:12–20

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 The Pharisees then said to him, “You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or whither I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me. 17 In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; 18 I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

March 17th 2013 – 5th Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 16, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Something New

Readings:
Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalms 126:1-6
Philippians 3:8-14
John 8:1-11


 

The Liturgy this Lent has shown us the God of the Exodus. He is a mighty and gracious God, Who out of faithfulness to His covenant has done “great things” for His people, as today’s Psalm puts it.
But the “things of long ago,” Isaiah tells us in today’s First Reading, are nothing compared to the “something new” that He will do in the future.

Today’s First Reading and Psalm look back to the marvelous deeds of the Exodus. Both see in the Exodus a pattern and prophecy of the future, when God will restore the fortunes of His people fallen in sin. The readings today look forward to a still greater Exodus, when God will gather in the exiled tribes of Israel which had been scattered to the four winds, the ends of the earth.

The new Exodus that Israel waited and hoped for has come in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Like the adulterous woman in today’s Gospel, all have been spared by the Lord’s compassion. All have heard His words of forgiveness, His urging to repentance, to be sinners no more. Like Paul in today’s Epistle, Christ has taken possession of every one, claimed each as a child of our heavenly Father.

In the Church, God has formed a people for Himself to announce His praise, just as Isaiah said He would. And as Isaiah promised, He has given His “chosen people” living waters to drink in the desert wastelands of the world (see John 7:37-39).

But our God is ever a God of the future, not of the past. We are to live with hopeful hearts, “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead,” as Paul tells us. His salvation, Paul says, is power in the present, “the power of His resurrection.”

We are to live awaiting a still greater and final Exodus, pursuing “the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling,” striving in faith to attain the last new thing God promises – “the resurrection of the dead.”

A ‘New’ Exodus

Israel’s Exodus from Egypt is in the background of every reading in this month’s Liturgy of the Word.

The Exodus convinced the Israelites that they were God’s chosen people. What other people could boast that God had personally delivered them in their time of trial (see Exodus 15:11-16)?

Later in its history, when Israel through sin had fallen into captivity and exile, the prophets predicted a “new Exodus,” led by a Messiah, a new Moses who would restore them once more as a holy kingdom (see Isaiah 10:25-27; 11:15-16; 51:9-11). This new Exodus, Jeremiah predicted, would mark the start of a “New Covenant” (see Jeremiah 23:7-8; 31:31-33).

In the readings for the Second Sunday in Lent (Cycle C), we see Jesus as the hoped-for new Moses, liberating God’s people from the last enemy – sin and death – and bringing them into the promised land of heaven. And as Paul says in the Epistle for the Third Sunday, the events of Exodus – the Red Sea crossing, the manna from heaven, the water from the rock – were signs of the Church’s sacraments.

On Today’s Gospel

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

jesus-vs-phar

Jesus our Lord and Saviour can be right in front of us yet why do we often not see Him? Why do we not recognise Him? Why do we not see Jesus in others? Do we choose to make blind?

My Sheep hear listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.” Are we His Sheep? Do we listen to Him to be merciful and compassionate? To love our neighbour? Or do we listen to the inner voice of our beloved world telling us to ignore Him? To do as we please? Do judge others according to our standards our sense of righteousness?

Do we seek to be transformed? To be a new creation in Him? To love and be loved? To live a life in God, in holiness? Or do we choose to go back to our house? Our own way of living?

May the love and light of our Lord Jesus Christ illumine our minds and hearts. Amen

GOSPEL
John 7:40–53

40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This is really the prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45 The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Are you led astray, you also? 48 Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee.”
53 They went each to his own house,

On Today’s Gospel

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

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In the Lord’s time, His Will be done.

Should we cower in fear when we preach the Truth in charity and love? Fear of reprisals? Fear of vile insults, name calling and even in today’s context fear of being cyber bullied? And in rare instances (depending on your geographic location) threats of physical harm and death? 

When we share Jesus with others in love, in a faith that is strong and led by the Holy Spirit , we are assured peace, even joy amidst oppression. Can our oppressors who proclaim to do God’s will give the same testimony? No! For hatred begets hatred; it sees not the face of God or His works whether it be through His disciples. It is all consuming, for it plots against love, to hurt, maim and destroy.

So let us take up our cross and walk with our Lord who is with us every step of the way. For the Lord is our shepherd, no evil shall we fear!

GOSPEL John 7:1–2, 10, 25–30

Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.

On Today’s Gospel

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

jesus-open-arms

What is the reason for your faith? Who is Jesus to you? Who is Jesus for you? Who do you say He is? How has He touched you?

Jesus was indeed a historical figure, found not just in the history of the Jews, but in the Romans and in the nations which had traded in the region. But what makes Jesus so special? Why would millions of people go through torture and death for Him? Why did the majority not fight but lay down their lives like lambs? Instead of crying death to others who do not believe in the one true God, Christians cry out love your neighbour!

How has He been able to change so many lives? To transform many which were once in the dark and in despair to those that brings light and joy for others? To liberate men and women from their addictions? How has He managed to bring joy when there was none? Hope when there was none? Love where there was none? How has He cured so many of their afflictions? Freed so many from oppression? Often times just in His name?

Jesus is my Lord my God, His promise fulfilled. He is the Son of the living God which gives me true life. I love Him with all my heart and aim to share His great love for me with others. For He is all encompassing love!  Though I may falter and fall, I know by His mercy He will pick me up and lead me on. So I will strive and move onwards towards the heavenly goal shouting with all my might,”Glory to you O Lord my God, for thy will be done now and forever!” Amen – Julian aka Catholicjules

Who is Jesus for you?

GOSPEL
John 5:31–47

31 If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; 32 there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. 39 You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know that you have not the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

On Today’s Gospel

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

fathersonholyspirit
 

When we recite the creed, are we doing in so communion with our brethren in heaven and here on earth? Do we honour Jesus and our heavenly Father in all we say or do?

Do we honour Jesus when we say we do not believe in His real presence in the Eucharist? Did He not tell us this is so in John 6?
Do we honour Jesus when we say we don’t believe in the sacrament of reconciliation He established through His Church?
Do we honour Him when we agree it is ok to kill unborn children through abortion?
Do we honour Jesus when we go against the sanctity of marriage and family life by allowing same sex marriages?
Do we truly honour Him, when we pick, choose and follow only the statutes and laws we agree on from which God our Father gave us through His Word?

Jesus has come through, with and in the love of God to lead us from damnation to true life. Whoever hears His word and believes in Him who sent Jesus, has eternal life; the faithful does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Let us listen for and to the voice of our Eternal Shepherd who speaks to us daily….

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. Says the Lord our God. Amen

GOSPEL
John 5:17–30

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working still, and I am working.” 18 This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.
19 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, 27 and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
30 “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

On Today’s Gospel

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

healing at the pool

Why do some of us wait half a lifetime or more to come into faith? To repent and truly be a child of God? To be healed? To be made pure? To share life with God? To walk in the light?

Throughout history our loving Father has communicated His grace, His love for us through sacraments, sacramentals even Holy places blessed with miracles. Leading His people to greater faith and more often showering them with His mercy and love.

But how many seek Him out simply out of love for Him? To be in His presence? To be embraced by Him? Many journey thousands of miles and flock to wherever miracles have taken place, to be witness? To be cured? To experience whatever the place has to offer? Some are moved by great faith and experience Him, while others are there simply to see if the magic is real? Some are waiting for help without actively seeking Him out. What is in their hearts? Why are they there?

All it ever takes is the Word of God to make us whole. To make us pure, to restore us, so that we may partake in our heavenly inheritance. To Father us, to love us. To live our lives with Him in love, peace and joy. Do we have such faith?

Many who have been transformed, and have experienced His great love for us by liberating us from all sins and addictions. Have we given Him thanks and praise? Have we shared our personal testimonies with others so that they too can come into greater faith? Have we acknowledged Jesus in our lives? Or have we shunned Him? Have we forgotten Him? Do we keep silent about Him, afraid what others might think of us if we talk about Him?

Are we continuing to walk in the light? To avoid all forms of temptations, through prayer and being faithful to the Gospels? Or have we fallen back our old ways?

If you have fallen turn back to Him now, it is not too late……He loves you and is waiting for you.

May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon us all. Amen

Gospel Reading

John 5:1–16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty–eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’“ They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.


 

Here is the link to a 3mb PDF File

https://www.box.net/shared/49b6eo54gzfm32uo4tyx

On Today’s Gospel…

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

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Has our faith in Christ matured? Are we bearing fruit? Or are we still waiting for signs and wonders? Are we still waiting for our first God experience?

He is present with us, in the Word, in the Eucharist, when we are gathered together in His name and yet why do some of us still not see? Not feel His presence? Do not yet hear His voice?

The journey begins with an inner desire to know Him, and to know Him is to love Him. A personal desire for conversion, to be changed, to be transformed by Him. To die to ourselves, to our worldly desires and to live a new life with Him.  He will come to us if we call out to Him, to embrace us and lead us gently unto the path to His heavenly kingdom.  Why are some of us still holding on to our old way of lives?

For those who say I believe in Christ! He is the truth, the way, the life! Are you prepared to give reasons for your belief? For your hope? For your joy in the faith you profess? Do you dwell on His Word? Do you listen to His voice? His Will for you? Are you putting your gifts and talents into good use? Into building His kingdom? To feed His sheep?

See the contrast in faith of this royal official (nobleman) to that of the centurion who’s servant was sick. (Luke 7:2)  Still our Lord is merciful and His love nurtures; our faith in Him.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit Amen.

GOSPEL John 4:43–54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast. Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.

March 10th 2013 – 4th Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 9, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Found Alive Again

Readings:
Joshua 5:9-12
Psalms 34:2-7
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32


 

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13).

Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.

In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the prodigal, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.

Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.

But only He can remove the reproach, restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us – like the prodigal –  to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.

God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”

The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.

Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.

On Today’s Gospel

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

phariseentaxcollector

Do we come before God full of ourselves? First glorifying ourselves for our many achievements so that God our ageing Father may see more clearly and recognise them? Then do we offer Him praise and Glory from our surplus? And in righteousness do we remember to point out our neighbours sins in case God might have missed out on them? Do we think ourselves rich though we have nothing? (Pr 13:7)

Or do we humble ourselves before the Lord our God, approaching the fountain of life thirsty with cup empty? Sorrowful for offending our loving Father by our sins? (A humble contrite spirit, a humble contrite heart you will not spurn. Ps 51:17) Praise and Glorifying Him alone for His infinite goodness? Patiently awaiting to eat His bread and drink His cup so that we may have the true life in us?  

How has prayer life progressed in our lives? Has it progressed at all? Have we moved from simply praying for ourselves, to praying for our family? Have we progressed from praying for our families to praying for our friends? Have we progressed from praying for our friends to praying for our community? Have we progressed from praying for our community to praying for strangers in the world? Have we listened more than we speak in prayer? Have we prayed less for ourselves trusting fully in God’s providence? Do we pray daily to do His will for us?

Gospel

Luke 18:9-14

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What is our understanding of love? Do we love ourselves as we should? Question following then is do we love ourselves above all? Is that truly love? Is love purely an emotion for us?

As Christians we are willing to openly declare our love for God our Father, but how do we show Him our love for Him? What have we done in our lives that does that? Do we love and fear Him for what He might do to us if we don’t? Or Do we love Him and fear that we might offend and hurt Him by our words and deeds or lack thereof?

Do we still not see that His laws were given to us of and in love? Do we realise that Jesus sums up the commandments given to Moses and perfected through Him by the two great commandments He gives us? If we love our God we will have no other Gods before Him, if we love our brother and sister, we will not steal from him/her, kill etc.

Authentic Christian love is a love in action is it not? It speaks volumes but not through words. It serves without reservation not for want of reward. It restores what might be lost or dying not destroy and discard. It cries out mercy not justice alone. It builds upon rock and it’s very foundation the corner stone, not worldly sand or mud. It builds up not tears down. It nourishes and encourages growth not starve and stunt. How many more ways can we exercise such love?

Can we hear Jesus calling us? Instructing us to feed His lambs, take care of and feed His sheep….”

GOSPEL Mark 12:28–34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

On Today’s Gospel

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

THE DUMBMAN

Our sins prevents us from praising God with our mouths, hearing His Word even seeing His goodness in all things. But through His mercy when Jesus frees us from our bondage, do we glorify Him with our whole body and mind?

Do we strive to reconcile ourselves with one another, learning to appreciate our differences? Our different strengths? Our different gifts? Our different insights? Different parts yet one body in Christ, at home, in our church, in our community?

The finger of God points us in the direction of love, towards our heavenly inheritance. Evil has no power over us, if we choose to walk in the Light. Jesus conquered death so that we may have new life in Him, He will Not allow the devil to have even a foothold on us. Do we have such faith in Him? Are we with Him?

GOSPEL
Luke 11:14–23

14 Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Be-elzebul, the prince of demons”; 16 while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Be-elzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Be-elzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; 22 but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. 23 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

I am a good faithful Catholic, I never miss Sunday Mass. I don’t steal, commit adultery, I honour my father and mother in fact I do not break any of the commandments! Am I truly a good Catholic?  If I have not love and forgiveness for the least of my brethren? If I keep the Word of God and the promise of salvation all to myself? If I avoid sinners like the plague? If I have no reverence for God or the sacraments?

How we often forget that our one true God gave us the law out of and in Love that we may have order, peace, respect and love for Him and for each other among the many other wonderful gifts and blessings that comes therein.

The law before Jesus came; can be liken to a pitcher of water, which He did not come to pour out but to fill it up to the brim. The law written unto our hearts are perfected in Him.

So do we change the laws by our own interpretation? Do we update them to move with the times? Do we pick and choose what part of the law is applicable in this day and age? Do we allow the world to tell us that the laws of God are outdated? Or do we live the law in the light? Do we cherish and treasure the laws of God by our love? Our deeds? All that we say and do? Do we follow the guidance of the Church Jesus established?

Gospel

Matthew 5:17–19

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

forgiveness

How can I forgive when it hurts so much? Every time I try to forgive and I want to forgive but when I think about the hurt, I’m enraged! So how can I forgive? I have given him/her more than enough chances! Am I to be a doormat for them to walk all over me? Forgiveness is for the weak is it not?

Jesus tells us to forgive seventy seven times in other words without reservation, without limit. Just as our heavenly Father is merciful to us for the countless times and ways we have sinned against Him.  But how can we expect to be forgiven even if we fall on our knees and plead for God’s mercy for our sin; which is huge even enormous when it is measured as a sin against infinite holiness and goodness, when we ourselves will not forgive the tiny fault of our brother or sister in comparison? Where is the justice in that?

Forgiveness is an act of love in itself is it not? It requires effort, strength of character and often times the healing grace from God which He readily grants us, do we pray to Him?  Isn’t it far easier to be angry and exercise righteous indignation? But are we called to take the easy and wider road? Can we form a forgiving behavior instead, rooted in the love of Christ as we are called to do?

Let us pray…

You know, O Lord, how hard we find it to forgive those who have offended us. Yet you ask us to forgive without restrictions. Make us capable, Lord of the love you ask of us, for alone we may not succeed at what you have asked. Help us through Christ our Lord. Amen.

GOSPEL Matthew 18:21–35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy–seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

On Today’s Gospel…

Posted: March 3, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

jesusreadsthescroll

 
How many of us have encountered negativity, sometimes even scepticism following our repentance and conversion to Christ? More so when we try to reach our to our family, friends and sisters and brothers in our catholic community? When we try to give reasons for our new found joy and belief in Christ our saviour? Did we not find it easier to touch the hearts of strangers? Why?

It may be some hurts we had caused in the past? It could be our radical change? It could be simple jealousy? It could be insecurity or inferiority complex issues? It could be an absence of a relationship with God in their own lives? An absence of love?

Do we give up and move on? Or with patience, prayer and love, do we plant seeds and trust that God will do the rest?

The love of heavenly Father is universal just as His Church is universal. Let us love as He does.

GOSPEL Luke 4:24–30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

March 3rd 2013 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 3, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

Fruits of the Fig

Readings:
Exodus 3:1-8,13-15
Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Luke 13:1-9

In the Church, we are made children of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the God who makes known His name and His ways to Moses in today’s First Reading.

Mindful of His covenant with Abraham (see Exodus 2:24), God came down to rescue His people from the slave-drivers of Egypt.

Faithful to that same covenant (see Luke 1:54-55, 72-73), He sent Jesus to redeem all lives from destruction, as today’s Psalm tells us.

Paul says in today’s Epistle that God’s saving deeds in the Exodus were written down for the Church, intended as a prelude and foreshadowing of our own Baptism by water, our liberation from sin, our feeding with spiritual food and drink.

Yet the events of the Exodus were also given as a “warning” – that being children of Abraham is no guarantee that we will reach the promised land of our salvation.

At any moment, Jesus warns in today’s Gospel, we could perish – not as God’s punishment for being “greater sinners” – but because, like the Israelites in the wilderness, we stumble into evil desires, fall into grumbling, forget all His benefits. Jesus calls us today to “repentance” – not a one-time change of heart, but an ongoing, daily transformation of our lives.

We’re called to live the life we sing about in today’s Psalm – blessing His holy name, giving thanks for His kindness and mercy.

The fig tree in His parable is a familiar Old Testament symbol for Israel (see Jeremiah 8:3; 24:1-10). As the fig tree is given one last season to produce fruit before it is cut down, so too Jesus is giving Israel one final opportunity to bear good fruits as evidence of its repentance (see Luke 3:8).

Lent should be for us like the season of reprieve given to the fig tree, a grace period in which we let “the gardener,” Christ, cultivate our hearts, uprooting what chokes the divine life in us, strengthening us to bear fruits that will last into eternity.

Spirit Filled Swim

Posted: March 2, 2013 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Had a unique and wonderful experience today at the swimming pool.  You see I haven’t been swimming in quite a while, so while my kids had their swimming lessons I decided to swim a few laps.

Then I decided that since it was lent, I would say the Our Father swimming a lap and on the return lap I would say a Hail Mary. After the eighth lap I decided to say the creed.  That’s when the surreal experience began, inspired by the Holy Spirit I sort of chanted this in mind while I swam the last few laps

“Through the deep Red Sea,
from the clutches of slavery,
to liberty of life, praise be to God! ”

“Through the waters of my baptism,
from the bondage of sin,
to liberty in life with Christ, praise be to God!”

Swimming will today and always be extra special for me!  Praise be to God!


How many of us have been judgemental, even bitter in a similar situation? Haven’t we wondered why sometimes we do so much more work serving the Lord but it seems others get equal or more recognition?

Are we then truly serving the Lord? Can we see the bigger picture?  Do we truly love? Are we truly one body in Christ? When we cut off ties with a brother or sister who has sinned? Do we not love them in spite of and try our utmost to lead them to our heavenly Father? Rejoicing when they do? Do we not hope they will do the same for us?

On Today’s Gospel

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

The-Prodigal-Son-a

How many of us have gone through life in search of happiness, comforts and enjoyment? Looking for love in all the wrong places and was not the love we thought we found fleeting? We partied too hard and played too much while squandering what little we had, did the fun we have last?  Many of us lived in guilt but washed it away with alcohol or laughter, did we really? Did not one small thing lead to another and did we not find the holes we dug for ourselves getting bigger? Some of us fall into addictions such as wine, women, men, drugs? Some of us fall into despair in our hopelessness, our loneliness but were we ever alone?

Jesus tells us today, our heavenly Father is patiently waiting for us to come back to Him. He loves us so much that there is nothing we can do that He will not forgive; if only our hearts desired it, to be changed, to be transformed from crimson red to white as snow.  Will we not walk with Him?

Jesus is waiting to embrace us, to sit with us to love us. He is not asking for us to change first before coming to Him, He will change us if do. He will fill us with His peace and His love which lasts.

But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Let us sing this song in faith and in the surety of our heavenly’s Father’s love for us…..

1. Father I have sinned, help me find my way,
Remember not my sins, just let me hear You say

Chorus

I forgive you, I love you. You are mine, take my hand
Go in peace, sin no more, beloved one.

2. Father I have turned, my back and walked away
Depended on my strength, and loved life my own way

3. Father I have closed, my heart to those in need
Thought only of myself, a victim of my greed

4. Father I’ve returned, I’m home with You to stay
Standing by your door, knowing that You’ll say

[Audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6547844/FatherIhavesinned.mp3
(The beautiful tune can also be found HERE in midi format. )

GOSPEL Luke 15:1–3, 11–32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable. “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’“

On Today’s Gospel

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

tenantsvine

Our Heavenly Father loves us, has provided for us, protects us and established our Church of which we comprise of.  All He asks of us is that we are fruitful.  That we lead just, holy lives, glorifying Him by our actions and deeds for one another and leading others into faith through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Are we fruitful? Have we worked at being so? Where are we at building God’s kingdom? How many have we brought into faith? Have we given testimony to the many wonders in which Jesus touched us in our lives? Our reason for our hope, our belief? Have we help changed someone’s life? By our love and charity? Our act of service?

Or have we rejected the His love, His teaching? The teaching of the Church His son Jesus established? Have we decided to lead our own lives without Him in it? Have we allowed the world to tell us how we should live? That we are should move on with the times? Disregarding morality and human dignity? Do we simply think we have time to repent or to lead the lives we called to, so for now we want to taste all life has to offer and it’s forbidden fruits? Or that we can lead lives without bearing good fruit?

Let us pray….

Father, you are all merciful. Look not upon our sinfulness but on our desire to serve you in love. Teach us to be good stewards of your gifts and compassionate to others.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

GOSPEL
Matthew 21:33–43, 45–46

33 “Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; 35 and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. 37 Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The very stone which the builders rejected
has become the head of the corner;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet.