Archive for January, 2016

I Am Consecrated

Posted: January 31, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

## Jeremiah 1:5 Before you came to Birth I consecrated you.

## Psalm 70:6 From my mother’s womb you have been my help.

How wonderful it is to recognise God’s voice speaking to me during the Eucharistic Celebration. I wrote down the two beautiful lines that struck me to dwell upon them later.

One was from the First Reading today and the other was from the Responsorial Psalm. It did not dawn on me till I was in Adoration that the first line was a confirmation, a Blessed Assurance if you will of His great love for me as a unique child of His. I was consecrated to Him even before I was born! Made Holy set apart. Was I living my life then as my heavenly Father intended for me? How am I going to meet the demands of discipleship? Of sonship?

Then I saw immediately how the second line fit like a glove. It was an acknowledgement of God’s love and mercy. He was with me from my mother’s womb and He will be with me every step of the way.

Jesus my Lord, help me to remain Holy. Let me never forget that by choosing to sin is to deny my heavenly Father’s love for me. Be with me Lord, be my help and guide always. Amen

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 30, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Prophet to the Nations: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 30, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Time and time again I have heard it said that sin is between me and God alone! Many still think that there is such a thing as private sins and public ones. They do not yet understand the nature of sin neither will they understand what it means to be one body in Christ.

Sin has a whirlpool effect it can and often will affect all those around the sinner including family and friends. What may have started as a small sin can become very big and out of control. As in cases of adultery, theft turned murder to name a few.

Do not wait till sin overwhelms us. Do not wait till the weight of the world bears down on us. Turn straightaway to our Lord for mercy and He will save us from our sins. Better yet, work towards remaining faithful always. Reading, reflecting and living the word in our lives. And receiving the sacraments of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist regularly. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 12:1-7,10-17

The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David. He came to him and said:

‘In the same town were two men, one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had flocks and herds in great abundance; the poor man had nothing but a ewe lamb, one only, a small one he had bought.

This he fed, and it grew up with him and his children,
eating his bread, drinking from his cup,sleeping on his breast; it was like a daughter to him.

When there came a traveller to stay, the rich man refused to take one of his own flock or herd to provide for the wayfarer who had come to him.

Instead he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.’

David’s anger flared up against the man. ‘As the Lord lives,’ he said to Nathan ‘the man who did this deserves to die! He must make fourfold restitution for the lamb, for doing such a thing and showing no compassion.’

  Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man. So now the sword will never be far from your House, since you have shown contempt for me and taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”

  ‘Thus the Lord speaks, “I will stir up evil for you out of your own House. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. You worked in secret, I will work this in the face of all Israel and in the face of the sun.”’

  David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord, for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die. Yet because you have outraged the Lord by doing this, the child that is born to you is to die.’ Then Nathan went home.

  The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David and it fell gravely ill. David pleaded with the Lord for the child; he kept a strict fast and went home and spent the night on the bare ground, covered with sacking. The officials of his household came and stood round him to get him to rise from the ground, but he refused, nor would he take food with them.

Gospel
Mark 4:35-41

With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 29, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We live under God our Father’s providence. And yet many take this for granted; they do not offer thanks and praise. Some hold on to the idea that they alone provide solely for themselves and their family.  Yet cannot account for the weather, the air, temperature, water, nature, night and day.

What we have is free will to choose to be obedient and follow our Lord God’s Will for us.  And He Wills the good in us for one another. To live in His love.

To choose to sin is to deny Him and His love.  The evil of sin which may have started small soon grows and takes on a life of it’s own. Often more sins are committed to cover the older ones.

Let us turn to Jesus straightaway way when we have fallen into sin. For in His love, He came to liberate us from the bonds of death. So that we may be free to listen and live the Word of God in His love. The Kingdom of God is at hand for us and it is the source of life for all. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 11:1-4,5-10,13-17

At the turn of the year, the time when kings go campaigning, David sent Joab and with him his own guards and the whole of Israel. They massacred the Ammonites and laid siege to Rabbah. David, however, remained in Jerusalem.

  It happened towards evening when David had risen from his couch and was strolling on the palace roof, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David made inquiries about this woman and was told, ‘Why, that is Bathsheba, Eliam’s daughter, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ Then David sent messengers and had her brought. She came to him, and he slept with her. She then went home again. The woman conceived and sent word to David; ‘I am with child.’

  Then David sent Joab a message, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite’, whereupon Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came into his presence, David asked after Joab and the army and how the war was going. David then said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and enjoy yourself. Uriah left the palace, and was followed by a present from the king’s table. Uriah however slept by the palace door with his master’s bodyguard and did not go down to his house.

  This was reported to David; ‘Uriah’ they said ‘did not go down to his house.’ The next day David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk. In the evening Uriah went out and lay on his couch with his master’s bodyguard, but he did not go down to his house.

  Next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Uriah. In the letter he wrote, ‘Station Uriah in the thick of the fight and then fall back behind him so that he may be struck down and die.’ Joab, then besieging the town, posted Uriah in a place where he knew there were fierce fighters. The men of the town sallied out and engaged Joab; the army suffered casualties, including some of David’s bodyguard; and Uriah the Hittite was killed too.

Gospel
Mark 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

  He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

  Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 28, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We are all children of the light. And that it is the way it’s meant to be for our children and our children’s children. God our Father has no favourites as it was spoken by Jesus our Lord, “Whoever does the will of God is my mother, brother and sister.”

The Word of God is what enkindles the flame within us. Our meditation, recollection and reflection is what feeds the light of our candle. Without which it will be extinguished.

Such is our light that it must shine for all to see. To illumine the minds and hearts of those around us that lie in darkness. So that their hearts and minds too can be inflamed by the love of God.

Let not the many gifts and talents that our loving Lord has given us be put to waste or taken away. For it is meant to be used for our light to shine brightly for others. So that all may see that it is the light of God that shines through us.

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

First reading
2 Samuel 7:18-19,24-29

After Nathan had spoken to him, King David went in and, seated before the Lord, said: ‘Who am I, O Lord, and what is my House, that you have led me as far as this? Yet in your sight, O Lord, this is still not far enough, and you make your promises extend to the House of your servant for a far-distant future. You have constituted your people Israel to be your own people for ever; and you, Lord, have become their God.

  ‘Now, O Lord, always keep the promise you have made your servant and his House, and do as you have said. Your name will be exalted for ever and men will say, “The Lord of Hosts is God over Israel.” The House of your servant David will be made secure in your presence, since you yourself, Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, “I will build you a House”; hence your servant has ventured to offer this prayer to you. Yes, Lord, you are God indeed, your words are true and you have made this fair promise to your servant. Be pleased, then, to bless the House of your servant, that it may continue for ever in your presence; for you, Lord, have spoken; and with your blessing the House of your servant will be for ever blessed.’

Gospel
Mark 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Would you bring in a lamp to put it under a tub or under the bed? Surely you will put it on the lamp-stand? For there is nothing hidden but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’

  He also said to them, ‘Take notice of what you are hearing. The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given – and more besides; for the man who has will be given more; from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 27, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Do beautifully adorned altars in our homes represent the presence of God in it? Is it not true that the Lord our God would rather dwell in our hearts? Jesus would rather reside in us and we in Him rather than the tabernacles of any Church.

Jesus the living Word of God came so that we may receive the Word deep in our hearts. So that our lives may be enriched and be fruitful for one and all. And when the time came, the Word will lead us Home to Him.

Those attuned to listening to the heavenly word proclaimed, will receive it in all its fullness. Those attuned to hearing earthly things hears only the similarities in teaching. For even then mercy is granted to those who choose to live in sin. For if they listened and understood straightaway then chose instead to remain in sin; they have damned themselves.

To be able to listen and understand the Word of God, we need to turn away from sin and be loyal to the Gospels. We desire always to remain in a faithful ever loving, ever deepening relationship with the Lord our God. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 7:4-17

The word of the Lord came to Nathan:

  ‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I have never stayed in a house from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today, but have always led a wanderer’s life in a tent. In all my journeying with the whole people of Israel, did I say to any one of the judges of Israel, whom I had appointed as shepherds of Israel my people: Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” This is what you must say to my servant David, “the Lord of Hosts says this: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.) I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Yet I will not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

  Nathan related all these words to David and this whole revelation.

Gospel
Mark 4:1-20

Jesus began to teach by the lakeside, but such a huge crowd gathered round him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there. The people were all along the shore, at the water’s edge. He taught them many things in parables, and in the course of his teaching he said to them, ‘Listen!, Imagine a sower going out to sow. Now it happened that, as he sowed, some of the seed fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground where it found little soil and sprang up straightaway, because there was no depth of earth; and when the sun came up it was scorched and, not having any roots, it withered away. Some seed fell into thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it produced no crop. And some seeds fell into rich soil and, growing tall and strong, produced crop; and yielded thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold.’ And he said, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’

  When he was alone, the Twelve, together with the others who formed his company, asked what the parables meant. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God is given to you, but to those who are outside everything comes in parables, so that they may see and see again, but not perceive; may hear and hear again, but not understand; otherwise they might be converted and be forgiven.’

  He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those on the edge of the path where the word is sown are people who have no sooner heard it than Satan comes and carries away the word that was sown in them. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock are people who, when first they hear the word, welcome it at once with joy. But they have no root in them, they do not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, they fall away at once. Then there are others who receive the seed in thorns. These have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches and all the other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And there are those who have received the seed in rich soil: they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 26, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Do you have a relationship with God? Ask anyone who is a believer and they will readily say Yes!  But ask them how they nurture that relationship, how close are they or how are they deepening that relationship and you’ll often meet with silence.

What about those who say they have a Familial relationship with God? How are they exemplifying that relationship in their lives? With their families and friends? The people they meet?

Being in a loving, ever growing relationship with the Holy Trinity is beyond words. From the moment one wakes to the time one sleeps; thoughts, words and actions are a prayer to God.  We live in Him as He lives in us. His power, love and peace is upon us. And we can witness to Him with heads held high.

Do not despair if you have not yet encountered Him in a deep personal way. Surely you would have experienced moments of great peace and tranquility either in Adoration,  in a retreat or simply quiet time in prayer. The thing is to desire and want more. Turn away from the old way of life and seek Him our Lord earnestly. And you will surely find Him waiting to embrace you in His love. Amen

St Timothy, St Titus pray for us…

First reading
2 Timothy 1:1-8

From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus in his design to promise life in Christ Jesus; to Timothy, dear child of mine, wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

  Night and day I thank God, keeping my conscience clear and remembering my duty to him as my ancestors did, and always I remember you in my prayers; I remember your tears and long to see you again to complete my happiness. Then I am reminded of the sincere faith which you have; it came first to live in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I have no doubt that it is the same faith in you as well.

  That is why I am reminding you now to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy.

Gospel
Mark 3:31-35

The mother and brothers of Jesus arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’