Archive for August, 2014

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 31, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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There were many times I was moved to speak up on the message from our Lord. The message of His love and salvation. The call for repentance and holiness. To bring hope and comfort to those before me who was clearly in need. But I chose to be silent, thinking I was not good enough, not eloquent enough. Who was I that they will listen? What qualifications did I possess? There were far better people suited for the task.

But as I grew in faith I realised they were all missed opportunities. He had chosen me in my weakness, with my shortcomings and all, so that His glory could shine through me. He would fill me up and make me whole. I, like many others are far better suited for the task He provides then we can ever imagine. Even our past can be used as testimony for the future.

Lord Jesus let Your spirit be upon be me, that I may serve Your flock not with my own wisdom. Let me instead be a beacon of Your love. So that their faith rest on the power of Your glory. Amen

FIRST READING
1 Corinthians 2:1–5

GOSPEL
Luke 4:16–30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’” And he said, “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.


Sunday Reflections With Dr Scott Hahn

For Your Life

Readings:
Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9
Romans 12:1-2
Matthew 16:21-27

Today’s First Reading catches the prophet Jeremiah in a moment of weakness. His intimate lamentation contains some of the strongest language of doubt found in the Bible. Following God’s call, he feels abandoned. Preaching His Word has brought him only derision and reproach.

But God does not deceive – and Jeremiah knows this. He tests the just (see Jeremiah 20:11-12), and disciplines His children through their sufferings and trials (see Hebrews 12:5-7).

What Jeremiah learns, Jesus states explicitly in today’s Gospel. To follow Him is to take up a cross, to deny yourself – your priorities, preferences, and comforts. It is to be willing to give it all up, even life itself, for the sake of His gospel. As Paul says in today’s Epistle, we have to join ourselves to the passion of Christ, to offer our bodies – our whole beings – as living sacrifices to God.

By His cross, Jesus has shown us what Israel’s sacrifices of animals were meant to teach – that we owe to God all that we have.

God’s kindness is a greater good than life itself, as we sing in today’s Psalm. The only thanks we can offer is our spiritual worship – to give our lives to the service of His will (see Hebrews 10:3-11; Psalm 50:14,23). 


Peter doesn’t yet get this in today’s Gospel. As it was for Jeremiah, the cross is a stumbling block for Peter (see 1 Corinthians 1:23). This too is our natural temptation – to refuse to believe that our sufferings play a necessary part in God’s plan.

That’s how people think, Jesus tells us today. But we are called to the renewal of our minds – to think as God thinks, to will what He wills.

In the Mass, we once again offer ourselves as perfect and pleasing sacrifices of praise (see Hebrews 13:15). We bless Him as we live, confident that we will find our lives in losing them, that with the riches of His banquet, our souls will be satisfied.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 29, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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It is true that while we chose to live in sin we were worthless and weak. But in His mercy our Lord heard our cries for help. He picked us up, cleaned us off and filled us with his grace and love. Praise be to God!

What then does He ask of us? Simply to share His love and mercy for which we have received abundantly. He provides for all that we need. He equips us with what we can manage and sends us on our way. What do we do with the task given to us?

Lord Jesus let me never cower in fear of responsibility, for You are my tower of strength! Let me serve You and my brethren faithfully. Amen

FIRST READING
1 Corinthians 1:26–31

GOSPEL
Matthew 25:14–30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. “

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 29, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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What is truth? That man is willing to die for? It is far easier to give in to deception. To allow our loins to rule our heads or give in to the many temptations that rob us of our honesty. Do we judge the foolishness of others and yet not see in them the very same foolish choices we have made from time to time?

To live in truth is to hear the voice of God. We are called to a life of holiness.

Lord Jesus I give You the truth of my heart. By Your precious blood liberate me to love and serve You. Amen

St John the Baptist pray for us.

The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist

FIRST READING
Jeremiah 1:17–19

GOSPEL
Mark 6:17–29

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 27, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Oh how easy it is for us to be distracted by the world. So many advertisements and in so many forms showing us what we are missing, what we need, why we need it even how we are to dress, what we need to eat and what holiday we must have! It is far easier to fall asleep and give in to our many fantasies even sexual ones.

But You O Lord have shown me the error of my ways. You have liberated me and given me new life in You. I am truly more alive now then I have ever been. All I will ever need or want, I have in You. I have great joy in serving You and my brethen, one that cannot be bought or found other than in You. Has it always been easy and smooth sailing? No.Was there suffering and hardship? Yes. And I gladly carry the cross that I have to bear; for You have been faithfully by my side and Your peace is always upon me.

Lord let me always be awake in and for You. Amen

FIRST READING
1 Corinthians 1:1–9

GOSPEL
Matthew 24:42–51

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 26, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Is it possible to hear the word of God and not be changed? transformed? To preach or share the good news and yet not do or act in accordance with the Scriptures? To receive communion and yet not be in communion with the Church and the body of Christ? What good can come from an appearance of holiness? Unearned respect or recognition? Repent and let hearts of stone be turned into flesh!

The true Holy people of God live not in the foreground, they are too busy with works of mercy and service to God our Father. And so the light of Christ shines through them for nothing is hidden or lying in darkness.

Lord Jesus help me remain steadfast in Your love, let me honour and serve You and my brethren in humility and love all the days of my life. Amen

FIRST READING
2 Thessalonians 3:6–10, 16–18

GOSPEL
Matthew 23:27–32

Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 26, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Inspired by the Holy Spirit the sacred traditions of our Church have been preserved throughout the centuries. Most will never change especially the ones instituted by our Lord, others with new inspirations from our living God are changed to draw us closer to Him in the present changing time. Knowing that it all comes from our Lord, can we pick and choose what we want to follow and what we don’t? Can we use the excuse of a lack of understanding or ignorance? And then make no effort to learn? Or do we follow them blindly with our hearts and minds disengaged?

Every time we read and reflect on the Word of God and every Eucharistic celebration we attend will and must transform us. For we are drawn into His love and His grace; And that very love and grace will fill our hearts so that we in turn can love everyone especially the least of our brethren. If reading the Word and attending the Eucharistic celebration does nothing for us, if it does not change us in any way or change our attitude towards others then we can be sure our hearts and minds are fully occupied with everything else not from or of God. It could also be a sign of us still holding on to our unrepentant sinful lives. We need to be reconciled with God our heavenly Father.

Lord Jesus let might sights be set only on heavenly things and my heart fully engaged in loving and serving You. Amen

FIRST READING
2 Thessalonians 2:1–3a, 14–17

GOSPEL
Matthew 23:23–26

Jesus said:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self–indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 24, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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What good is our faith if it has no roots and thus bears no fruit? Whom do we worship? If we only pay lip service? How does our prayer transform lives if our hearts are not engaged? How does our love for God and our neighbour grow If we are not willing to sacrifice our time? Nor willing to endure a little hardship or suffering?

I am an important part of the body of Christ just as all parts are equally important. If I think that worship is a private thing, I live for myself and my family alone then I am not part of the body of Christ. To be the body of Christ is to be in, to live in and to live for the community. In prefect union with Him our Godhead, we lift Him up; our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ for all the world to see. So that they too may witness His glory, come into faith and be saved.

Lord grant us open hearts that You may fill with Your love always. Amen

FIRST READING
2 Thessalonians 1:1–5, 11–12

GOSPEL
Matthew 23:13–22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”


Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

‘Oh, the Depths!’

Readings:
Isaiah 22:15, 19-23
Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8
Romans 11:33-36
Matthew 16:13-20

 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” Paul exclaims in today’s Epistle. Today’s Psalm, too, takes up the triumphant note of joy and thanksgiving. Why? Because in the Gospel, the heavenly Father reveals the mystery of His kingdom to Peter.

With Peter, we rejoice that Jesus is the anointed son promised to David, the one prophesied to build God’s temple and reign over an everlasting kingdom (see 2 Samuel 7).

What Jesus calls “my Church” is the kingdom promised to David’s son(see Isaiah 9:1-7). As we hear in today’s First Reading, Isaiah foretold that the keys to David’s kingdom would be given to a new master, who would rule as father to God’s people.

Jesus, the root and offspring of David, alone holds the kingdom’s keys (see Revelation 1:18; 3:7; 22:16). In giving those keys to Peter, Jesus fulfills that prophecy, establishing Peter – and all who succeed him – as holy father of His Church.

His Church, too, is the new house of God – the spiritual temple founded on the “rock” of Peter, and built up out of the living stones of individual believers (see 1 Peter 2:5).

Abraham was called “the rock” from which the children of Israel were hewn (see Isaiah 51:1-2). And Peter becomes the rock from which God raises up new children of God (see Matthew 3:9).

The word Jesus uses – “church” (ekklesia in Greek) – was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament for the “assembly” of God’s children after the exodus (see Deuteronomy 18:16; 31:30).

His Church is the “assembly of the firstborn” (see Hebrews 12:23; Exodus 4:23-24), established by Jesus’ exodus (see Luke 9:31). Like the Israelites, we are baptized in water, led by the Rock, and fed with spiritual food (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-5).

Gathered at His altar, in the presence of angels, we sing His praise and give thanks to His holy name.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 22, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Woe to me if I exalt myself! And behave as as if I were a God! The ways of the world shout out to me,” You shall bow before no one nor have you a need to bow at all!” Empty pride and sin had blinded me from acknowledging my creator, from encountering my Lord and my God. For when I humbled and prostrated myself before Him, He lifted me above three times high saying,”I am Your Father and You are my child.”

I have often reflected on the life of my Saviour Jesus Christ, on His wisdom, His teaching and His ways. And I have often pondered on my own relationship with my Lord, and my relationship with others. The one thing that really hit home and straight into my heart for which I always remain in awe and speechless is this….. If my Lord is willing with all His heart to get down on His knees to lovingly wash my feet, how can I do any less? For Him or for my brethren? How can I not serve Him and my brethren with that same love and humility?

Forgive me Lord for the times I have been proud, selfish and self centred. I humbly implore that You continue to love and guide me in Your ways, so that I may always be blessing to You and for others. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 43:1–7ab

GOSPEL
Matthew 23:1–12

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 21, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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I need only choose to sin and once again I taste the bitter dryness of not having You my Lord in my life. Guilt and sorrow fill my days for a while, thereafter I seek thrills and excitement often sinful ones to fill up the void in my life. I walk among the living yet I have no life in me. Breathe on me breath of my Lord and God that I may live! That I may love and be loved!

Truly You are love O God! For my cup is overflowing as I bask in Your love. I did nothing to deserve Your love and yet You gave it to me all the same. I truly love You with all my heart and my soul.

Before I could not love my neighbour as I love myself. Because I had a selfish narcissistic kind of love. How could I love the least of my brethren? The kind of neighbour I am called to love. I realise now that I could not because I knew not what true love was? Love that only comes from You.

Fill me Lord with Your love O Lord that I may share it with all. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 37:1–14

GOSPEL
Matthew 22:34–40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 20, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Whether we accept it or not, children are often seen as a reflection of their parents. It does not really matter that the parents are holy, virtuous and righteous. Evil unbridled mouths will link the two and soon the family’s good name is lost. Will our heavenly Father fair any differently? When we His children profane His name with our vile words and deeds.

In His great love and mercy, He wants to wash us clean from the filth and muck of sin that has stuck. He invites us all, saints and sinners alike to the wedding supper of the lamb. He wants to feed and nourish us, wash and clothe us with His holiness. Will we refuse? Will we turn our backs on Him? Will we remain silent in our indifference?

Jesus our Lord, our bridegroom, make us ready now to share this meal. Sign of our life in You. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 36:23–28

GOSPEL
Matthew 22:1–14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 20, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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O Lord You are my Shepherd and there is nothing I shall ever want! Time and again I have wandered into darkness and could not find my way home to You; But You O Lord came seeking me out, set me on the narrow path and led me into the light of my Home. When I was weary and could not go on, You carried me over Your shoulders till I was able to walk on my own again.  I am am very familiar with Your gentle voice and when You call out to me I listen, and follow You. What have I ever done to deserve such love?

In Your great mercy Lord You call out to everyone, sinners and saints alike; so that all can make their way back to You.  Such is Your love O Lord that even if were slow to heed Your call, we are welcomed all the same in Your warm embrace.  Let me now take up my cross and be the Shepherd that you have called me to be. Teach me Your ways Lord and let me lead by Your example, so that I may be the Shepherd for others as You have been for me.

Lord You are my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 34:1–11

GOSPEL
Matthew 20:1–16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 19, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Abba forgive me, I may not be wealthy and haughty but I have certainly acted as such. I have indeed been proud and selfish. Time and money was only well spent if it was on me first, family and on rare occasion friends. I never set my sights on You unless it was out of desperation, for I relied on my own strength. I gloried in my personal accomplishments. I was a fool!
I am glad that I did not wait until I was at my lowest point to turn back to You. I did so with a desire to know You, to know Your ways. For my way was leading me in circles. And I realise now that I could not come back on my own. It was Your saving Grace Lord Jesus that has helped me find my way back to my heavenly Father.

Jesus my Lord, my God, I now gladly give up my life for Your sake. For I know my life is safe in Your hands, for even if my mortal life is taken; I will have true life in You. Let me sing the praises of my great and mighty God to all who will lisen so that they too will learn and sing with me. Glory! Glory! Glory to You O Lord! Amen.

First Reading
Ez 28:1-10

Gospel
Mt 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 17, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Yes Lord I now mourn for my terrible sins! I gave in to lust, my base desires and seeking only to advance in my career so that I may lead a comfortable life. I wanted this not just for myself but for my family too, even though I had to forsake them to do so. And what do I now have to show for it? An empty life without You! The scales of sin have indeed fallen from my eyes, take pity on me Lord and be merciful.

Lord Jesus I do love You with all my heart and endeavour to always follow all the commandments and statutes of my heavenly Father. Give me the courage to surrender all and follow You. For what good is it that I gain the whole world but forfeit my life! I truly want to live only for and with You. Lord be my guide. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 24:15–23

GOSPEL
Matthew 19:16–22

A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.


Sunday Reflections With Dr Scott Hahn

A Foreigner’s Faith

Readings:
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

Most of us are the foreigners, the non-Israelites, about whom today’s First Reading prophesies.

Coming to worship the God of Israel, we stand in the line of faith epitomized by the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel. Calling to Jesus as Lord and Son of David, this foreigner shows her great faith in God’s covenant with Israel.

Jesus tests her faith three times. He refuses to answer her cry. Then, He tells her His mission is only to Israelites. Finally, he uses “dog,” an epithet used to disparage non-Israelites (see Matthew 7:6). Yet she persists, believing that He alone offers salvation.

In this family drama, we see fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy and the promise we sing of in today’s Psalm. In Jesus, God makes known among all the nations His way and His salvation (see John 14:6).

At the start of salvation history, God called Abraham (see Genesis 12:2). He chose his offspring, Israel, from all the nations on the face of the earth, to build His covenant kingdom (see Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Isaiah 41:8).

In God’s plan, Abraham was to be the father of many nations (see Romans 4:16-17). Israel was to be the firstborn of a worldwide family of God, made up of all who believe what the Canaanite professes – that Jesus is Lord (see Exodus 4:22-23; Romans 5:13-24).

Jesus came first to restore the kingdom to Israel (see Acts 1:6; 13:46). But His ultimate mission was the reconciliation of the world, as Paul declares in today’s Epistle.

In the Mass we join all peoples in doing Him homage. As Isaiah foretold, we come to His holy mountain, the heavenly Jerusalem, to offer sacrifice at His altar (see Hebrews 12:22-24,28). With the Canaanite, we take our place at the Master’s table, to be fed as His children.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 15, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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How wonderful it is to be Your child O God my heavenly Father! To have the choice to embrace the love You offer and to live in that love. And all that You ask of us is that we keep Your statutes and commandments. Purity of heart and mind is what You desire, and You will help cleanse and purify us when we turn to You.

When we grow up and have children of our own, let us be mindful that we exact the greatest influence over our children. And while You our merciful Father, will not punish the children for the sins of the parents; You will judge them according to their own sins which may have been a result of the influential sins of the parents.

Lord Jesus which ever stage we are in our lives, help us to lead our lives as Children of God our almighty and loving Father. Guide us so that we may always be beacons of Your eternal light. In Your most precious name we pray, Amen.

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 18:1–10, 13b, 30–32

GOSPEL
Matthew 19:13–15

Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 14, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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O Lord my God, I praise and thank You for giving me Your mother. She is so precious to me and I love her with all my heart. All my life she has been very patient and kind with me. And everytime I lost my way, she would lead me back to you. She has been and will always be for me a model of perfect love and obedience to God our heavenly Father. Everything she has done and continues to do truly magnifies the glory of God.

Dearest blessed mother Mary, teach me your gentle ways. Let me understand with your understanding, let me be prudent with your prudence. Show me how to love my Lord and saviour your Son Jesus Christ as you have loved Him. Guide me sweet mother, that I may always have purity of heart, mind and soul. Pray for me dear mother that I may be courageous and bold in proclaiming the Word and bringing the knowledge of Your Son Jesus to all. So that they too well have a deep and fruitful relationship with Him.

Loving mother be by my side always. Glory be to God forever. Amen

Solemnity of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

FIRST READING
Revelation 11:19a; 12:1–6a, 10ab

SECOND READING
1 Corinthians 15:20–27

GOSPEL
Luke 1:39–56

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 13, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Forgive me O God my heavenly Father for the many times I shut my ears and refused to listen. Closed my eyes refusing to see. Instead of casting me aside and abandoning me, You spoke to me in many varied ways, through friends and strangers alike. Through signs and wonder, even in the quiet. And when I returned to You, embraced me as though I had never left. How great is Your love and mercy.

How then can I not extend that same love and mercy to my brethren? How can I remain haughty and demand repayment? Why do I concern myself with justice when I have a most just God? Why do I want to cage myself in with unforgiveness and self pity? When I can turn to my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ for in His great love died for me that I may live and be set free. By and through His love I can forgive, love and set free. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 12:1–12

GOSPEL
Matthew 18:21–19:1

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 the fellow servant 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 his brother from his heart.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 12, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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O heavenly Father great is Your mercy and love for us that instead of destroying us all, unworthy creatures that we are. You seek among us all the righteous and the kind;those saddened by the wickedness and cruelty which surrounds them. Marked with the powerful sign of the Cross, we are saved.

In Your great wisdom O Lord, You established Your Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. A great and powerful sacrament, for by Your Grace we are saved. We are united in and by our baptism and so any quarrel that divides us of which we cannot resolve by ourselves; may be resolved by Your Church. Guided by the Holy Spirit the Church exercises through her priests Your power to forgive through the Sacrament of reconciliation. That we may receive the body of Your Son for nourishment so that we may journey to bring the lost and separated Home. For we carry the love and sign off the cross in our hearts. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 9:1–7; 10:18–22

GOSPEL
Matthew 18:15–20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 11, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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God our Father so loves us that He wants for us to remain close to Him. In essence to choose good over evil by listening to His Word. When we receive His Word into our very being it not only nourishes us but is life giving. The most precious gift to us; Jesus in the Eucharist.

We who are obedient unto God our Father, who lead simple loving and holy lives; knowing and trusting that our loving Father will provide for all that we need; We are His most precious children and nothing can tear us away from His loving arms. And when we love, honour and care for one another His children, we love and honour Him. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 2:8—3:4

GOSPEL
Matthew 18:1–5, 10, 12–14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father. What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety–nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety–nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

An Encounter With The Body And The Word Of Christ

Posted: August 11, 2014 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Yesterday during the 11:15am Eucharistic Celebration, as I was distributing the Host during communion. I saw the image of Jesus in the tiny host! It was an exhilarating moment and I thought to myself how did they do it? How did they manage to capture such a crisp image of my Lord and have it shown only when lifted up to eye level? And so I looked intensely at every host thereafter as I lifted them up one by one from the ciborium hoping to see once again my Lord and my God. It was only then that it dawned on me that I had been granted the grace to see Him. Perhaps a once in a lifetime, but all the same praise be to God!

I was struggling with this morning’s reflection even though I have done one in the past. And my struggle with it began the night before. I could not see clearly the link between the first reading from Ezekiel nor could I clearly relate how the Gospel could be applied today. I only had a nagging feeling that there was so much more depth to it. Once again praise the Lord! for when I stopped wrestling with it and just started writing that the puzzle all begin to fit nicely.

Glory be to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 10, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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How we often overlook the majestic splendour of God our Father. In His creation, in nature, in the very crisp morning air that we breathe perfumed by flowers or even the rain. The variety of colours that fill our day or the glitter of the stars at night. Do we take all these for granted? Do we not remember His great love for us in which He sent His only begotten Son to us?

O sweet Jesus You Who are King of kings subjected Yourself to men, to be killed so that we might live. You showed us great love by paying a debt You did not owe. For us who owed a debt we could not pay. O Lord our God! Let us unite all our sacrifices of love for You and for one another together with Your ultimate sacrifice once for all; forever and ever. Amen

FIRST READING
Ezekiel 1:2–5, 24–28c

GOSPEL
Matthew 17:22–27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes,” he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”


Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Sinking Fear

Readings:

1 Kings 19:9, 11-13
Psalm 85:9-14
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:22-33

 

How do we find God in the storms and struggles of our lives, in the trials we encounter in trying to do His will?

God commands Elijah in today’s First Reading to stand on the mountain and await His passing by. And in the Gospel, Jesus makes the disciples set out across the waters to meet Him.

In each case, the Lord makes himself present amid frightening tumult – heavy winds and high waves, fire and earthquakes.

Elijah hides his face. Perhaps he remembers Moses, who met God on the same mountain, also amid fire, thunder, and smoke (see Deuteronomy 4:10-15; Exodus 19:17-19). God told Moses no one could see His face and live, and He sheltered Moses in the hollow of a rock, as He shelters Elijah in a cave (see Exodus 33:18-23).

The disciples, likewise, are too terrified to look on the face of God. Today’s Gospel is a revelation of Jesus’ divine identity. Only God treads across the crest of the sea (see Job 9:8) and rules the raging waters (see Psalm 89:9-10). And the words of assurance that Jesus speaks – “It is I” – are those God used to identify himself to Moses (see Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 43:10).

Even Peter is too overcome by fear to imitate his Lord. His fears, Jesus tells him, are a sign of his lack of faith. And so it often is with us. Our fears make us doubt, make it hard to see His glory dwelling in our midst.

Yet, we should know, as we sing in today’s Psalm, that His salvation is near to those who hope in Him. By faith we should know, as Paul asserts in today’s Epistle, that we are heirs to the promises made to His children, Israel.

We must trust that He whispers to us in the trials of our lives – that He who has called us to walk along the way of His steps, will save us whenever we begin to sink

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 9, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

O heavenly Father You only want what is best for Your Children. How it must hurt You to see how we lead our lives. The atrocities we commit, the pain we inflict and misery we bring to others and ourselves. Have mercy and let Your Word transform us. Let us lead just and faithful lives.

Jesus give me the courage to exercise my faith, for through Your grace I can do great things in Your name. Let me serve You and my brethren so that I may bring healing, love, peace, sight and whatever else is need according to Your Will. Amen

FIRST READING
Habakkuk 1:12—2:4

GOSPEL
Matthew 17:14–20

A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 7, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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The harsh reality of an absence of God in our lives is one of great misery. Evil takes over and does not relent often beginning in very subtle ways. Sexual temptations, pride, greed, want of power, fame, riches to name a few. There is no lasting peace or happiness and soon we find ourselves in despair over broken relationships, fearfulness, health issues even depression. And if we do nothing to change we can be sure it will lead to our destruction.

Why are many apprehensive about taking up the cross? Do they envision only pain and suffering? It is for the love of Jesus first and foremost that we take up the cross, but how can we if we do not know Him? How can we understand or know what it is we take up? How can we experience the peace, love and joy of doing so?

Lord Jesus. I adore You and I take up and embrace my cross. Let my labour of love bear fruits for You and my brethren. In Your most precious name. Amen

St Dominic pray for us.

FIRST READING
Nahum 2:1, 3; 3:1–3, 6–7

GOSPEL
Matthew 16:24–28

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay each according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 6, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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There is an order in the universe where everything runs more or less like clockwork. Night passes into day and day into night. The creatures of the sky, land and sea need no alarm clock to start their day. How can we not know God? His loving hand in everything?

We know instinctively that it is wrong to kill another or that only through the marriage of Man and Woman can new life be born. How is that? Is it not God’s law written in our hearts? Whom had our Lord sent to make the new and everlasting covenant with us?

And what did our loving Saviour do before He knew He was returning to His Father? He founded His many Churches? And set up a committee? No! Only one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, a sign of His great love for and through us, His Body; of which has prevailed over the netherworld.

Lord Jesus let me always seek Your Wisdom and love and not that of the world’s. Amen

FIRST READING
Jeremiah 31:31–34

GOSPEL
Matthew 16:13–23

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 5, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Thank You Heavenly Father for loving and caring for us. Your promise of salvation fulfilled through Your Son Jesus Christ who came to give us life, guide and lead us home to You.

We remain in awe of the wonder of our Lord’s Transfiguration, of which much was revealed to us. Your love, word and laws written unto our hearts. A glimpse of the divine glory of the life in which we are destined for. And Your loving invitation spoken that we may hear.

Let us not pitch tents but make haste leaving behind all that is useless, our inertia and our sinful ways. Let the light of our Saviour Jesus Christ transform us and dispel the darkness of our souls. Let us go down from the Holy mountain, bringing the light of Christ to all so that they too can experience a transformed and wonderful life in Christ. Amen

The Transfiguration of the Lord – Feast

FIRST READING
Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14

SECOND READING
2 Peter 1:16–19

GOSPEL
Matthew 17:1–9

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 4, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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There will be times where we need to face the consequences of our actions. It may be distressing and what lies ahead may look bleak. No matter how truly sorry we are, we may feel our words of remorse fall on deaf ears. There is hope, for we can turn to our loving Father in heaven Who can and will turn all our curses into blessings.

And Blessed are we are indeed, if we but open our eyes to see. Where does a Holier than thou attitude come from? Surely we know it comes not from our loving Lord. For if He dwelled in our hearts, His love will shine forth from within. Holiness will no longer be something we aspire for, because we simply live it out. We have no need to proclaim it because everyone can see, hear and be touched. Then all that we are and do bring glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

FIRST READING
Jeremiah 30:1–2, 12–15, 18–22

GOSPEL
Matthew 15:1–2, 10–14

Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.” He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” Then his disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 3, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Are our hearts disconnected from our faith and love of the Lord? Do we prophesy His mercy and love without repentance? Do we seek to bring Him glory or our own? How can we hear and share His Word if our own lives are not transformed by it? Do we live in truth?

Some of us have a genuine love for our Lord and yet struggle with our faith. We have good, bright sunny days where we walk with our Lord and He walks with us. But when the storms of life start brewing and the skies begin to darken. Fear grips our hearts and we start to question, “where is my Lord, my God?”

Jesus my Lord, let me build my relationship and my life on the foundation of Your Word and Your Love. So that rain or shine, in good times or in bad. I will sail through with You deep in my heart. Amen

First Reading
Jer 28:1-17

GOSPEL
Matthew 14:22–36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.


Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Food in Due Season

Readings:
Isaiah 55:1-3
Psalm 145:8-9, 15-18
Romans 8:35,37-39
Matthew 14:13-21

In Jesus and the Church, Isaiah’s promises in today’s First Reading are fulfilled. All who are thirsty come to the living waters of baptism (see John 4:14). The hungry delight in rich fare – given bread to eat and wine to drink at the Eucharistic table.

This is the point, too, of today’s Gospel. The story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 brims with allusions to the Old Testament. Jesus is portrayed as a David-like shepherd who leads His flock to lie down on green grass as He spreads the table of the Messiah’s banquet before them (see Psalm 23).

Jesus is shown as a new Moses, who likewise feeds vast crowds in a deserted place. Finally, Jesus is shown doing what the prophet Elisha did – satisfying the hunger of the crowd with a few loaves and having some left over (see 2 Kings 4:42-44).

Matthew also wants us to see the feeding of the 5,000 as a sign of the Eucharist. Notice that Jesus performs the same actions in the same sequence as at the Last Supper – He takes bread, says a blessing, breaks it, and gives it (see Matthew 26:26).

Jesus instructed His apostles to celebrate the Eucharist in memory of Him. And the ministry of the Twelve is subtly stressed in today’s account. Before He performs the miracle, Jesus instructs the Twelve to give the crowd “some food yourselves.” Indeed, the apostles themselves distribute the bread blessed by Jesus (see Matthew 15:36).

And the leftovers are enough to fill precisely 12 baskets – corresponding to each of the apostles, the pillars of the Church (see Galatians 2:9; Revelation 21:14).

In the Church, as we sing in today’s Psalm, God gives us food in due season, opens His hands and satisfies the desires of every living thing. Now, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

 

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 2, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We are drawn to the truth for it is life giving and freeing. The same way we are drawn to people who tell the truth so long as the truth is not about us or our way of lives. Why is that? Why do we shy away? Why is the truth about us so difficult to accept? Is it possible that it is sin that blinds us? That our relationship with the Holy Trinity is left wanting? We are lukewarm?

We build altars and sanctuaries and make plans for worship but do we actually go? Do we have God our Father in our minds when we pray, or are our prayers only about us, our family and our friends? Do we truly want our heavenly Father in our lives or just the idea of Him? Do we kill the spirit of those sent by Him to speak to our hearts?

Jesus my Lord help me to always embrace truth in my life; for it is a truth of Your love for me. A truth which will lead me home to You. Amen

FIRST READING
Jeremiah 26:11–16, 24

GOSPEL
Matthew 14:1–12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, for John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him as a prophet. But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.