Archive for April, 2013

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Oh what joy it is to rest in security, comfort and in the peace of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! Why do we search in vain for this peace elsewhere?

Such is His peace rooted in love that it alone can bring us true joy in our lives. Such is His love that He empowers us to share His peace with everyone. We are able to do when we live His Word. We are one with Him for He dwells in our hearts, our minds, our very being.  We do not have to concern ourselves with the Prince of the world, or be fearful of him and his wiles for he has no hold over us. For we live as children of God.

Jesus my Lord, my saviour let me always live in your peace, in Your love. Let me never lose my way, let me never lose You my Lord, my God. Amen

GOSPEL John 14:27–31a

Jesus said to his disciples:“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How do we show Jesus we love Him? By observing His commandments, the ten and more. That is the ten embodied in the two governing ones, to worship, honour and love God with our all and to love another as He has loved us.  Do we yet embrace the latter call to love one another with a divine love? 

For He loved us without reservation, without condition, a love so pure. A sacrificial love, a love which brings mercy, forgiveness and peace. We are called to do the same. Have we? Can we? How?

Jesus loved us to the end and still some more, for He left us not on our own, to fall and hurt ourselves or to stray and be lost. Great is the love of our God that even after He ascended He is with us still. In the Eucharist and His finger, His breath the Holy Spirit teaching, guiding showing us the way and more.

Oh Lord, our God, You dwell among us, You dwell within us, who are obedient to Your Word. We adore and worship You with all our hearts, all our minds and souls. By Your grace we love one another as You love us. Amen

GOSPEL John 14:21–26

Jesus said to his disciples:“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

April 28th 2013 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 27, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

New For All Ages

Readings:
Acts 14:21-27
Psalm 145:8-13
Revelation 21:1-5
John 13:31-35


 

By God’s goodness and compassion, the doors of His kingdom have been opened to all who have faith, Jew or Gentile.

That’s the good news Paul and Barnabas proclaim in today’s First Reading. With the coming of the Church – the new Jerusalem John sees in today’s Second Reading – God is “making all things new.”

In His Church, the “old order” of death is passing away and God for all time is making His dwelling with the human race, so that all peoples “will be His people and God Himself will always be with them.” In this the promises made through His prophets are accomplished (see Ezekiel 37:27; Isaiah 25:8; 35:10).

The Church is “the kingdom for all ages” that we sing of in today’s Psalm. That’s why we see the Apostles, under the guidance of the Spirit, ordaining “presbyters” or priests (see 1 Timothy 4:14; Titus 1:5).

Anointed priests and bishops will be the Apostles’ successors, ensuring that the Church’s “dominion endures through all generations” (see Philippians 1:1, note that the New American Bible translates episcopois, the Greek word for bishops, as “overseers”).

Until the end of time, the Church will declare to the world God’s mighty deeds, blessing His holy name and giving Him thanks, singing of the glories of His kingdom.

In His Church, we know ourselves as His “faithful ones,” as those Jesus calls “My little children” in today’s Gospel. We live by the new law, the “new commandment” that He gave in His final hours.

The love He commands of us is no human love but a supernatural love. We love each other as Jesus loved us in suffering and dying for us. We love in imitation of His love.

This kind of love is only made possible by the Spirit poured into our hearts at Baptism (see Romans 5:5), renewed in the sacrifice His priests offer in every Mass.

By our love we glorify the Father. And by our love all peoples will know that we are His people, that He is our God.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Are we afraid of the dark? Are we afraid of death? Are we afraid that we have lost Jesus by our sins?

Jesus assures us today that by our faith in Him, we have a place in the heavenly kingdom of God our Father. He offers us His peace and security. “Do not let your hearts be troubled, have faith”

So what do we do in the meantime? Prepare, our hearts, our minds, our very being so that He may receive us into our dwelling place with Him. Live out the remainder of our lives turning away from sin and living His Word.

We know the way to Him, because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Even if we sometimes lose our way, and so long as we turn towards Him, our loving shepherd is there to lead us home. Amen

GOSPEL John 14:1–6

Jesus said to his disciples:“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What is the Gospel we are called to proclaim? Is it simply about God made man, Jesus, who came to save us by teaching us to live according to God’s Will, dying and then rising for us to liberate us from sin and death?  Or is it all that and more?

God’s abundant love for us, God’s promise of salvation for us. His promise fulfilled through Jesus Christ and His promise that we will have life and have it to the full, eternal life.

Are we then tasked to proclaim this wonderful message of God’s love by our own thoughts, words, strength and actions? Or by our faith, we know that Jesus is with us every step of the way, through His love, His strength, His words, His thoughts, His powerful advocate that works through us in union, to bring the message of love to all?

Jesus our Lord, such is Your love for us that while You are now seated at the right hand of God our Father, You are with us today as You were with us yesterday and will be with us tomorrow. Have mercy on us for our human failings and continue to empower us with your love as we share Your Gospel and love with others. In your precious name.. Amen

GOSPEL Mark 16:15–20

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Is uttering the words “I believe” enough? Or is it more important to live out our faith in our daily lives? Hence the expression of our faith,  exposes the depths of our belief in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Let us turn to Him to dispel the darkness in our lives. To illumine our hearts and minds.
Christ be our light!  Amen

GOSPEL John 12:44–50

Jesus cried out and said,“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do we blame others for our lack of faith? Or unbelief? Do we blame Jesus? Do we blame our Church? Or our priests for not doing enough? Our parents?

Or do we instead take ownership and the steps necessary to hear the voice of Jesus? By turning away from sin, repenting, reconciling ourselves with God and being faithful to His Word.

Our one triune and loving God assures us today that we who are faithful to His Word will always hear His voice and that no evil, no one or anything can ever take us away from Him.

Let us rejoice as one and declare “We adore You O Lord our God, we will live according to Your Word.” Amen.

GOSPEL John 10:22–30

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do we think ourselves wiser than others? Holier? More prayerful? More reverent? Doing more good works? So that all these assures us a place in God’s Kingdom? Let us rethink that notion, for did our true shepherd not say that for many who now first, will be last? And he who does the least to/for my brothers, does unto me?

We are all called to be good Shepherds to lead His flock, Not Ours to pasture. Do we then listen to our own voice? Our own beliefs? Our own way? Do we listen to the voice of the world? Do we rob others by leading them and ourselves astray?

Our Lord’s loving voice is distinct, there is no way of mistaking Him for another if we have familiarised ourselves by listening to His Word, by living His Word. Only with, through and in Him can we hope to have life eternal.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the one Good Shepherd, He is the Truth, the Light and the Way. Through Him we have life and have it abundantly. Amen

John 10:1-10

Jesus the Good Shepherd

10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

April 21st 2013 – 4th Sunday in Easter

Posted: April 20, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Shepherd and the Lamb

Readings:
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalm 100:1-3, 5
Revelation 7:9,14-17
John 10:27-30


 

Israel’s mission – to be God’s instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 49:6) – is fulfilled in the Church.

By the “Word of God” that Paul and Barnabas preach in today’s First Reading, a new covenant people is being born, a people who glorify the God of Israel as the Father of them all.

The Church for all generations remains faithful to the grace of God given to the Apostles, continues their saving work.

Through the Church, the peoples of every land hear the Shepherd’s voice, and follow Him (see Luke 10:16).
The Good Shepherd of today’s Gospel is the enthroned Lamb of today’s Second Reading. 
In laying down His life for His flock, the Lamb brought to pass a new Passover (see 1 Corinthians 5:7), by His blood freeing “every nation, race, people and tongue” from bondage to sin and death.

The Church is the “great multitude” John sees in his vision today. God swore to Abraham his descendants would be too numerous to count. And in the Church, as John sees, this promise is fulfilled (compare Revelation 7:9; Genesis 15:5).

The Lamb rules from the throne of God, sheltering His flock, feeding their hunger with His own Body and Blood, leading them to “springs of life-giving waters” that well up to eternal life (see John 4:14).
The Lamb is the eternal Shepherd-King, the son of David foretold by the prophets. His Church is the Kingdom of all Israel that the prophets said would be restored in an everlasting covenant (see Ezekiel 34:23-31; 37:23-28).

It is not a kingdom any tribe or nation can jealously claim as theirs alone. The Shepherd’s Word to Israel is addressed now to all lands, calling all to worship and bless His name in the heavenly Temple.

This is the delight of the Gentiles – that we can sing the song that once only Israel could sing, today’s joyful Psalm: “He made us, His we are – His people, the flock He tends.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Are the teachings of Jesus hard to follow and understand? Or is it because we hear and see them through our worldly senses? Through our wants our desires? We refuse to listen to the Truth when it hampers our ‘needs’ our ‘happiness’.

If we were to listen to the flesh, will we able to accept that a loving God came down to lay down his life for us? To suffer at our hands? To save us? To heal us from blindness? Deafness? Brokenness? Paralysis? To wash our feet? To cook and have meals with us? To raise us up death? And now to feed us of Himself that we may have true life?

By our faith and through the Spirit of God we see that all things are possible with God.

So do we turn our backs on Him in our disbelief? Holding on only to what we can taste, see, touch and feel? Understand?

Or do we turn towards Him and declare as our beloved St Peter did “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Amen

GOSPEL
John 6:60–69

60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

For Reflection

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

When we partake of the flesh of Jesus and assimilate Him into our very being, are we transformed into His body? Are we merciful and forgiving? Are we loving and kind?

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Jesus a great teacher and leader often taught using parables and explained His teaching for the faithful when they could not understand or misunderstood , why do you think He does not do so here? Was this teaching even a parable? A simple truth which separates men, yet completes him if he so chooses to accept.

Ours is never a blind faith, when we walk in the light and live by the Word made flesh. Jesus gives of Himself wholly to us so that we may live and live life to the fullest. Amen

Glory, honour and praise to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! Amen

Gospel John 6:52–59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7

Do you hear our heavenly Father calling unto you? My sons, my daughters in your brokenness I love you still and more. My greatest gift of love has been given to you, that you shall learn my ways and through Him you will have life eternal. Listen to Him.

When we unite our wills with that of God our Father, only then can we listen to His call.

Jesus our Lord and saviour shares this great mystery of love with us, “I am the bread of life.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”  Let us reflect deeply on this…..

For all those willing to go deeper in understanding a little more on the Eucharist, I invite you to read the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI Sacramentum Caritatis and Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Letter Ecclesia De Eucharistia links are as follows :-http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html  And http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/special_features/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_20030417_ecclesia_eucharistia_en.html

Today’s Gospel John 6:44–51

Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Today we have a love message from our all powerful and loving Father. An invitation to eternal life with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour. Whoever sees Jesus and believes in Him will have it.

No prerequisites, no checklist, no judgement, no hidden agenda, no tedious application forms. Pure and simple.

Let us spend some time today and reflect on this…

Have I seen Jesus? With the eyes of my heart? How have I seen Him? When? Where? How is He physically present today?

Do I believe in Jesus? How deep is my faith? What does it mean to say I believe? It is just a thought? An act? It is just a matter of professing our faith? Am I living my faith?

Gospel John 6:35–40

Jesus said to the crowds,“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How is it that to this very day there are many Christians still waiting for signs and miracles before they truly embrace their faith? They do not care to listen to personal testimony, unless it is their very own? Is being skeptical about our faith bad altogether? Or is being skeptical but refusing to journey to find the truth the real issue? Refusing to contemplate, to reflect, to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as it is just too time consuming? Just too mind boggling? Miracles, signs and wonders from God still happen to this very day but are we too preoccupied with our own needs, wants and pleasures to witness them? The crowd in today’s Gospel had just witnessed a miracle the day before when Jesus fed five thousand men and yet they demanded another miracle to believe? Were they too preoccupied? Were they just indifferent?

Today we Catholics have a great miracle performed every day, and we are given it daily should we desire to receive?  Are we still clueless? are we still indifferent? Are we still too preoccupied with ourselves to know this? Jesus our risen Lord and loving saviour gives of himself, physically, spiritually in the Holy Eucharist. Do we prepare ourselves to receive the living God deep into our very beings? Do we go for the sacrament of reconciliation regularly? Do we prepare ourselves in thought, word, deed and dress for every Eucharistic Celebration? Do our hearts burn with desire to worship and receive Jesus at every Eucharistic Celebration?

A promise true for us who have faith, Jesus says “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Gospel John 6:30–35

The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” So Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

Do we only look to Jesus for our physical needs? Health? Wealth? Food? Drink? Home? Work?

Have we not yet learnt that we should rather be yearning for God’s presence in our lives? For Jesus to rule in our hearts? For with God’s presence in our lives we shall not want.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you Lord Jesus for the greatest gift of Yourself in the Eucharist. Heavenly manna that does not perish! Bread of life! Amen.

Let us pray…

Jesus my Lord, my God, I don’t want to live a life without You. Help me remain steadfast in Your love. In your precious name.. Amen.

Gospel John 6:22–29

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]

The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

April 14th 2013 – 3rd Sunday in Easter

Posted: April 13, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Fire of Love

Readings:
Acts 5:27-32,40-41
Psalm 30:2,4-6,11-13
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19


 

There are two places in Scripture where the curious detail of a “charcoal fire” is mentioned.
One is in today’s Gospel, where the Apostles return from fishing to find bread and fish warming on the fire.

The other is in the scene in the High Priest’s courtyard on Holy Thursday, where Peter and some guards and slaves warm themselves while Jesus is being interrogated inside (see John 18:18).

At the first fire, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, as Jesus had predicted (see John 13:38; 18:15-18, 25-27).

Today’s charcoal fire becomes the scene of Peter’s repentance, as three times Jesus asks him to make a profession of love. Jesus’  thrice repeated command “feed My sheep” shows that Peter is being appointed as the shepherd of the Lord’s entire flock, the head of His Church (see also Luke 22:32).

Jesus’ question: “Do you love me more than these?” is a pointed reminder of Peter’s pledge to lay down his life for Jesus, even if the other Apostles might weaken (see John 13:37; Matthew 26:33; Luke 22:33).

Jesus then explains just what Peter’s love and leadership will require, foretelling Peter’s death by crucifixion (“you will stretch out your hands”).

Before His own death, Jesus had warned the Apostles that they would be hated as He was hated, that they would suffer as He suffered (see Matthew 10:16-19,22; John 15:18-20; 16:2).
We see the beginnings of that persecution in today’s First Reading. Flogged as Jesus was, the Apostles nonetheless leave “rejoicing that they have been found worthy to suffer.”

Their joy is based on their faith that God will change their “mourning into dancing,” as we sing in today’s Psalm. By their sufferings, the know, they will be counted worthy to stand in heaven before “the Lamb that was slain,” a scene glimpsed in today’s Second Reading (see also Revelation 6:9-11).

On Today’s Gospel

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

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In the darkness of our lives when the sea of trouble and woes are overwhelming. And the cold wind of panic floods our hearts, where is Jesus? Are we too grief stricken to see Him? Are we so caught up that we do not recognise Him?

Behold our Lord and God was among us and is among us now! Our risen Lord who even before His death and resurrection could still the winds and water; walk on the latter and bring us to safe harbour in the blink of an eye. He reassures us today,”Do Not Be Afraid…..I AM with you always.” Have we yet accepted Jesus our Lord and God into our hearts? Our minds? The very depths of our souls?

Glory be to the Father, and 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 John 6:16–21

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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O sacrament most holy, O sacrament divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!

Sweet Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist, a tangible extension of His great love for us. A mystery and a revelation in itself. Do we take time to ponder on this great love of His? Do we spend time in adoration?

All of us Catholics around the world to this very day are given the Eucharist daily should we desire to receive. Do we take this for granted?

Do we offer all that we have to God and give Him thanks and praise? The boy in today’s Gospel offered up all he had to the hands of Jesus and our loving God blessed him and all around him abundantly! O how if all of us had such faith?

O sacrament most holy, O sacrament divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!

Gospel John 6:1–15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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John the Baptist prepared the way for and to Jesus, by calling all to repentance. To turn away from sin. Jesus prepares us by showing us the way to God our Father. Do we accept His way or the ways of the world?

Many in search of God, have found their own pathways to God. We are fortunate that by our obedience, we are given the path that God has provided for us in His love and mercy. That is through His Son Jesus Christ. By following Jesus on this path, we are given the fullness of faith and life. Such is His love that He sends us to lead others unto the very path we have been given.

Let us reflect on this and thereafter commit by saying “Here I am Lord, I’ve come to do Your Will!” Amen

GOSPEL John 3:31–36

The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Photographed By Maria Urso

Let us reflect on some simple truths today…

  • God loves us unconditionally
  • He desires a relationship with us.
  • Jesus is the way, the truth, the light, life.
  • He did not come to condemn but to save us.
  • We cannot enter into a relationship with Him if we do not give Him the truth of our heart.
  • Even though He already knows our deepest, darkest secrets, we must of our own free will, give it to Him. Until we do, we walk in darkness.
  • Only then can healing take place, in His mercy.
  • Only when we surrender to Him by emptying ourselves of worldliness, can the Holy Spirit through Christ fill us.
  • We walk in the light and give glory to God by our thoughts, words and action.

GOSPEL John 3:16–21

God so loved the world that he gave his only–begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only–begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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We were all born in the image and likeness of God and by our baptism enter into a deep lasting relationship with Him. Do we cherish our baptism? Do we reflect on this often?  In the beginning, through original sin we had moved from God centeredness to self centeredness. Without God’s loving presence in our lives we would certainly die, much like plants withering away without water. Our loving Father desired that we all be restored in Him, to love and be loved. Hence through Jesus our Saviour we were restored and by the Holy Spirit as our guide we can strive to remain in perfect communion with Him.  Do we spend time daily listening to Jesus and learning His ways?

We need to renew our baptismal vows daily in order to live in the Spirit, that is to reject sin in all it’s forms and to walk with Jesus. Are we doing this now?

Evangelicals, protestants in all the various denominations through valid baptism are all our sisters and brothers in Christ, do all of us understand and acknowledge this? Do we love them as we should and more, even though we are often criticised by them for their lack of understanding of the Catholic faith?

It is wise to reject what we do not understand? Or to choose to be ignorant of our faith? We must accept in faith first and in our journey, strive diligently to increase our knowledge of our faith.  To read and live the Word daily in our lives for as St Jerome says ,”Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

As we look upon the crucifix around our necks, in our homes, in Church or wherever we chance to gaze upon it. Let us always remember the Greatest Love that was born unto us, sacrificed and died so that we may rise in Him and live! Lifted on high our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen

GOSPEL John 3:7b – 15

Jesus said to Nicodemus:“‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Pray Sisters and Brothers that you are having a joyous and blessed Easter and that you are still rejoicing in the hope of our own rising from the tomb, with the Lord for He had conquered death! However have some of us got carried away and not tempered our merriment? Have we feasted too much? Have we drunk too much? Have we allowed ourselves to plunge into the darkness of sin?

Today we are reminded that the world lay in darkness, till Christ our light, our salvation was born through Mary’s fiat, the blessed fruit of her womb. We too are being called today, to respond to His call. What have we to fear? Are we ready to say YES? Do we trust in the Holy Spirit to lead us? To fill our lives? To overshadow us, so that we may be transformed? That we may be made new? That we may be reborn in our Lord Jesus Christ? To be a way for others through Him?

Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, may we all cry out in unison to the Lord our God ,“Here I am Lord, I’ve come to do Your Will!.”

Let us pray…

O God, in the incarnation of the Word, you wrought a marvellous exchange: as he humbled himself to share in our humanity, so did He enable us to have a share in His divinity. Transform us, O God, according to Your Word, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

GOSPEL Luke 1:26–38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

April 7th 2013 – Divine Mercy

Posted: April 6, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Breath of New Life

Readings:
Acts 5:12-16
Psalm 118:2-4,13-15, 22-24
Revelation 1:9-13,17-19
John 20:19-31


The prophet Daniel in a vision saw “One like the Son of Man” receive everlasting kingship (see Daniel 7:9-14). John is taken to heaven in today’s Second Reading where He sees Daniel’s prophecy fulfilled in Jesus, who appears as “One like a Son of Man.”

Jesus is clad in the robe of a High Priest (see Exodus 28:4; Wisdom 18:24) and wearing the gold sash of a King (see 1 Maccabees 10:89). He has been exalted by the right hand of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

His risen body, which the Apostles touch in today’s Gospel, has been made a life-giving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45).

As the Father anointed Him with the Spirit and power (see Acts 10:38), Jesus pours out that Spirit on the Apostles, sending them into the world “as the Father has sent Me.”

Jesus “breathes” the Spirit of His divine life into the Apostles – as God blew the “breath of life” into Adam (see Genesis 2:7), as Elijah’s prayer returned “the life breath” to the dead child (see 1 Kings 17:21-23), and as the Spirit breathed new life into the slain in the valley of bones (see Ezekiel 37:9-10).

His creative breath unites the Apostles – His Church – to His body, and empowers them to breathe His life into a dying world, to make it a new creation.

In today’s Gospel and First Reading, we see the Apostles fulfilling this mission, with powers only God possesses – the power to forgive sins and to work “signs and wonders,” a biblical expression only used to describe the mighty works of God (see Exodus 7:3; 11:10; Acts 7:36).

Thomas and the others saw “many other signs” after Jesus was raised from the dead. They saw and they believed.

They have been given His life, which continues in the Church’s Word and sacraments, so that we who have not seen might inherit His blessings, and “have life in His name.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Jesus loves us whether we believe in Him or not. He loves us inspite of our brokenness, inspite of our sinfulness. He desires to give us His peace, His joy, His love, His security. Do we choose to open our hearts and accept? Or do we in stubbornness reject Him? We have a choice to make, do we continue with our old way of lives? Or do we live new awesome lives in Him,with Him?

For those of us who believe in Him, who have a relationship with Him, who have experienced His love, peace, joy and security. He does not want us to be selfish, His love is not to be bottled up! His love is abundant, overflowing. It builds up, it is all embracing, it breathes new life. He wants us to share His love with others so that they too can experience life with Him, in Him.  Amen.

GOSPEL Mark 16:9–15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either. But later, as the Eleven were at table, Jesus appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do we sit idly by waiting for something good to come? Do we spend our days deep in reflection and yet not put the reflection to good use? Do we wait to be fed or do we work for own food to nourish our bodies and our souls?

We work so very hard and sometimes find it hard to make ends meet, yet how is it that we often find we still have food on the table? God knows how heart and our struggles and He provides. Do we recognise His hand in all that we have? Do we acknowledge Him, “It is The Lord! Praise Be to God!?” Do we run to be with Him? Do we dress ourselves both interiorly and exteriorly to reverence Him?

Have we grown in our faith?So much that we can see Him in all things? In people we meet? That we no longer have a need to ask,” are you speaking to me Lord Jesus?” Is it you, here with me? We hear His voice and we follow Him…

We truly have one awesome Living God! Who loved us so much that He came to bring us life when there was none. He taught and showed us how to live in the light. He established the Eucharist so that we can always remain in communion with Him, then He died willingly for us. He who conquered death, rose from the dead to show us that we too shall one day rise to be with Him. He then walked a while longer with us, reassuring us of His presence always.  He revealed the treasures of the scriptures for us so that we could finally see our loving Father’s plan for us unfold in Him. He provided for, cooked and dined with us some more. And finally before ascending into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to lead and be our guide for all time.

How Great Art Thou O Lord My God!

GOSPEL John 21:1–14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty–three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How deep is our faith? Are we superficial in our faith? Do we acknowledge that we still have lots to learn about our faith and willingly struggle each day to learn and reflect? Our Lord Jesus offers His divine peace and tranquility upon us, are we ready to accept? Are our hearts open?

Christ came to save us from eternal death, to grant us eternal life with Him. Are we still fearful of dying? Or are we instead waiting in joyful anticipation?

Every day we die to sin, we live out our new life with Him, liberated, joyous and in serenity. Have we encouraged others to do the same? To guide and show them that repentance leads to loving mercy and forgiveness. It’s fruits, peace, joy, hope, faith and love.

Are we witnesses to Christ our Lord? Are we truly His disciples?

GOSPEL Luke 24:35–48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Are we so engrossed in our daily lives, in current affairs? That even after hearing the Word of God we do not cherish it and apply what we have heard in our daily lives? We get so distracted that we do not recognise Jesus in our midst? We do not see Him in the least of our brethren? We do not see Him in the best of our brethren?

Often, when we hear the testimony of how Christ had touched someone in their lives, do we find it incredulous? Are we sceptical? Or do we acknowledge the glory of God and praise Him?

Are we aware that we have a powerful advocate? A great teacher and counsellor who will guide us in scripture and in all things if we seek Him out? (John 14:26)

Oh Holy Eucharist! Jesus my Lord! Every day you patiently await my return to you in the Eucharistic celebration.  Oh how my heart is inflamed when I receive you! How the Word comes alive in You and through You, my Lord, my God! Sweet Sacrament I adore You! Let me always see you unveiled! Amen. 

GOSPEL Luke 24:13–35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Are we so overcome with grief for our sins or the loss of Jesus in our lives that we fail to recognize His presence? That we do not allow Him to heal us, to touch us? Do we keep on telling Him all our sorrows and problems we face in our lives that we forget to listen to Him who gives us comfort and counsel?

Do we place physical attachments to Jesus? Have we forgotten in some instances that sacramentals are merely physical objects conveying His Grace, His divine mercy? Do we not instead grow in our faith and holiness so His Grace can work in us, through us?

Let us pray…..

O Lord our God, you walk in our midst as you walked in the garden of Eden in the cool of the evening. Have mercy on us who fail to see and know you now as Mary failed to know you in the garden beside the tomb. Awaken our faith to see you and our love to serve you with rejoicing, who live and reign with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

GOSPEL John 20:11–18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How many of us witness to the glory of God and filled with joy will move swiftly to share the Good news at the very first opportunity? Or do we keep it to ourselves? Do let doubt cripple us? Do we let the devil take His word away from us?

When we move to bring Jesus to others He meets us along the way and whether we realise it or not He is with us every step of the way. Do we welcome Him in our hearts? Do we honour and revere Him by our words, actions, dress, demeanor? Do we put aside personal comforts to be with Him and our brethren?

Do we always live in the truth? Or do we distort it to suit ourselves? Do we distort it for others? Do we lie out of fear? Do we lie out of greed?

Because He lives, we have tomorrow. A new life in Him, with Him. Let us strive onwards in truth…. Amen

GOSPEL Matthew 28:8–15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.