Archive for February, 2016

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Who are the prophets sent to us in our own lives? Do we even recognise them as messengers of our Lord? What is their message? Do we think we know better? Do we ignore the message especially if it is hard to hear?

The Lord our God wants to heal us of our afflictions. To restore us. To take away the sins that will consume us. If we but listen to His call to have a change of heart. God our Father sent us the greatest prophet that ever lived, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Are we listening to Him yet? Are we listening to His call through His disciples, sent to lead us home to Him?

Are we ourselves living out our Baptismal call to be prophets for one another? So that many might be saved. Amen

First reading
2 Kings 5:1-15

Naaman, army commander to the king of Aram, was a man who enjoyed his master’s respect and favour, since through him the Lord had granted victory to the Aramaeans. But the man was a leper. Now on one of their raids, the Aramaeans had carried off from the land of Israel a little girl who had become a servant of Naaman’s wife. ‘She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would approach the prophet of Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.’ Naaman went and told his master. ‘This and this’ he reported ‘is what the girl from the land of Israel said.’ ‘Go by all means,’ said the king of Aram ‘I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten festal robes. He presented the letter to the king of Israel. It read: ‘With this letter, I am sending my servant Naaman to you for you to cure him of his leprosy.’ When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his garments. ‘Am I a god to give death and life,’ he said ‘that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy? Listen to this, and take note of it and see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.’

  When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king, ‘Why did you tear your garments? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more.’ But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part. Surely Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean?’ And he turned round and went off in a rage. But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean.”’ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.

  Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.’

Gospel
Luke 4:24-30

Jesus came to Nazara and spoke to the people in the synagogue: ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

  ‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’

  When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.

3rd Sunday of Lent

Posted: February 27, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Fruits of the Fig:Scott Hahn Reflects on the 3rd Sunday of Lent

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

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

Mindful of His covenant with Abraham (see Exodus 2:24), God came down to rescue His people from the slave-drivers of Egypt. Faithful to that same covenant (see Luke 1:54-55, 72-73), He sent Jesus to redeem all lives from destruction, as today’s Psalm tells us.

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

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

At any moment, Jesus warns in today’s Gospel, we could perish – not as God’s punishment for being “greater sinners” – but because, like the Israelites in the wilderness, we stumble into evil desires, fall into grumbling, forget all His benefits.

Jesus calls us today to “repentance” – not a one-time change of heart, but an ongoing, daily transformation of our lives. We’re called to live the life we sing about in today’s Psalm – blessing His holy name, giving thanks for His kindness and mercy.

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Anyone who has had the experience of losing a toddler son or daughter in a crowded place will know the trauma it wreaks upon the parent. Why did she/he let go of my hand? Why wander off far from me? Please let him/her be okay. Please let me find…
Please bring back my….
And when we see them from a distance will we not run to them? Will we not embrace them with hearts of joy?

This is one way I envision our Heavenly Father’s love for us. It breaks His heart when we sin and wander far from Him. He loves us so much individually as each one of us is unique. And yet He loves us collectively. We will never be able to fathom His immense love and mercy for us. All we can do is be grateful, honour Him by turning away from our sins and walk faithfully in His love.

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

First reading
Micah 7:14-15,18-20

With shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture,
the flock that is your heritage,
living confined in a forest with meadow land all around.

Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.

As in the days when you came out of Egypt grant us to see wonders.

What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever
but delighting in showing mercy?

Once more have pity on us,
tread down our faults, to the bottom of the sea throw all our sins.

Grant Jacob your faithfulness,
and Abraham your mercy,
as you swore to our fathers
from the days of long ago.

Gospel
Luke 15:1-3,11-32

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:

  ‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

  ‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.

  ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.

  ‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”

  ‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Let us not let selfishness, jealousy and greed consume our hearts. Let it not rob us of our heavenly inheritance. Otherwise we will end up like parched weary land.

The Lord our God loves each and everyone of His children. He has no favourites. He wants us all to sow His seeds of mercy, peace, love and His Word. For only then can we hope to lead fruitful lives. Lives that brings forth life in Him. Amen

First reading
Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28

Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.

  His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

  They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’

  But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.

  Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed.

  Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.

Gospel
Matthew 21:33-43,45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

  When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 25, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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I am where I am today because of my own hard work and did what is necessary. I know I’m not going to live forever so I’ll enjoy and live life to the fullest with the fruits of my labour. Let someone else worry about the bum on the street, he chose to be lazy and waste his life away. How many in our society think this way? How rich are their lives really when they live only for themselves? How different are we from the rich man? Where is God in our own lives?

God knows everything that goes on in our hearts and in our minds. There is nothing we can hide from Him. And yet He in His great love He does not impose His Will on us.  He wants for us true life with and in Him not just here on earth but in Heaven. We must make that choice on our own.

To live in the presence of our Lord is to be faithful to His Word. To desire always to deepen our relationship with Him by taking time to be in prayer and silence.  For our eyes to be opened to see that we are all His children one body in Christ; and so we live not for ourselves but for one another.

Open my heart to be generous as You O Lord, who are generous with Your mercy and love. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 17:5-10

The Lord says this:
‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord.

He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope.

He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm,  its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.

‘The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets?

I, the Lord, search to the heart,
I probe the loins, to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.’

Gospel
Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

  ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

  ‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them..” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 24, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Evil seeks to hide the truth and will do anything to prevent those under their wing from listening. It will devise, twist, cover and eventually create their version of the ‘truth’ a lie.

So what is the truth?

All Truth lies with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Who came to die for us so that we may live. To gather us together as One with and in Him. We are His people the sheep of His flock. 

And so when disciples of our Lord Jesus are called to lead His flock. They are called to do so as He did. With such love as to be prepared to lay their life down in doing so. That is the way of the cross.

That is the way, the truth and life in Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 18:18-20

‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’

Listen to me, O Lord, hear what my adversaries are saying.

Should evil be returned for good?

For they are digging a pit for me. Remember how I stood in your presence to plead on their behalf, to turn your wrath away from them.

Gospel
Matthew 20:17-28

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’

  Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

  When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 23, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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A humble contrite heart you will not spurn O Lord. Let my heart not be hardened with the cares of the world. I want not honour or recognition for what I do. I seek only that You look upon Your child with approval.

Guide me in my thoughts, words and actions so that I may only do what is pleasing to You. Help me not allow stubbornness or fear to creep up over me, instead let me always be open to Your Will for me.

Thank You Jesus for Your gentle whisper into my heart. Let Your servant now and forever be attentive to Your call. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 1:10,16-20

Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the command of our God, you people of Gomorrah.

‘Wash, make yourselves clean.
Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.

Cease to do evil.

Learn to do good,
search for justice,
help the oppressed,
be just to the orphan,
plead for the widow.

‘Come now, let us talk this over, says the Lord.

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

‘If you are willing to obey,
you shall eat the good things of the earth.

But if you persist in rebellion,
the sword shall eat you instead.’

Gospel
Matthew 23:1-12

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

  ‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 22, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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How blessed are we indeed that in this day and age we have Holy and faithful shepherds safeguarding the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ. That the Church built upon Him will endure forever.

How blessed are we to have the mercy of God conferred upon us and His voice of absolution spoken through His chosen, Holy, anointed priests.

If we are truly disciples of Christ Jesus then whether, priests, clergy or laity, we have a joyful duty to share the Good news of salvation. To call for repentance and to extend His mercy and peace to all. We must lead one another on our journey home to Him.  Amen

First reading
1 Peter 5:1-4

Now I have something to tell your elders: I am an elder myself, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and with you I have a share in the glory that is to be revealed. Be the shepherds of the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it; not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow. When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.

Gospel
Matthew 16:13-19

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

Humility & God’s Love

Posted: February 21, 2016 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

After four hours of deeply reflecting His Word in the Adoration room. It was only in the last half an hour that I received this two sentences from my Lord. To me they are profound in simplicity. Two different sentences yet one complete message that has a great impact on my journey towards a deeper relationship with Him. It will definitely help me become a better disciple then I could ever have hoped to be.

“You are no better than anyone else. You are just as good.”

Glory and Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Blessed Assurance

Posted: February 20, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Gen 15:1-6

You O Lord indeed are my shield and my reward. I thank You Lord for Your countless blessings. I thank You Lord for my family for whom I am able to share the blessings. I thank You Lord for the many opportunities to share my blessings with the community and everyone I encounter through Your Grace.

You took Father Abraham out into broad daylight and challenged him to look up to heaven and count the stars. Such would be his descendants. O dearest Father in heaven like Father Abraham I put my faith in You. I may not be able to see the stars in heaven in broad daylight let alone count them. But that doesn’t mean they are not there.

Such was the unwavering faith Father Abraham had in You. Let me share always in that faith and that it may count as making me justified.

All my faith I place in You my Lord Jesus Christ. Now and forever, Amen.

David My Hero

Posted: February 20, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

My reflection on….

1 Samuel 17:23, 26, 28-30, 32-51

How deep is my love for my God? Can I tolerate to hear his Holy name blasphemed? Will I stand up for God like David did?

He did not allow harsh words spoken against him to deter his zeal for the Lord. Instead he posed a question about not being allowed to speak up and moved on to speak up yet again.

How do we heed the Lord’s call to comfort His people if we are not convicted ourselves in our faith? The first thing David said to Saul when summoned was, “Let no one lose heart.” ‘I will go…. ”

“If God is with us, who can stand against us?” Are we truly convinced of this? Have there not been times in your life that challenges came which seemed impossible to overcome and yet the Lord made a way? Often like Saul you see the huge problem before you and cannot look past it to recognise that God had sent a simple solution even though it may appear small in stature.

The Lord our God will lead you to victory. All you need for the battle is your faith in Him. You move forward in the comfort of being yourself, a Child of God our Father.

David’s choice of weapons were five smooth stones and a sling. And yet he only needed one. Likewise I should never be complacent or take things for granted. How prepared am I? What are my five smooth stones?

Perhaps one is to receive daily Eucharist. Two going regularly for the Sacrament of reconciliation. Three, observe a regular fast so as to draw closer to the Lord. Four, quiet time with Lord, prayer and Adoration. Five, dwelling on the Word of God daily.

Finally in the battle against evil. It is not enough to overcome the threat and stand victorious. I must cut it off from my life completely. Only then can I claim victory.

Glory to God on High! Amen

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 20, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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In the battlefield, when a soldier or an Officer disobeys a direct order he places himself and his fellow troopers in possible grave danger.

Similarly in the battle against evil, we need to be obedient to  God our Father’s commands and His law written on our hearts.  He the Lord our God is perfect in every way and so must we strive for perfection.

He does not see imperfections in us and is always lovingly at hand to help us with the challenges we face. We have been consecrated unto Him by our Baptism and Confirmation. And so likewise we should not see imperfections in our brethren but be on hand to lovingly help them through the challenges they face.

Lord Jesus You are perfect in every way! Guide me on my journey to perfection in You. Amen

First reading
Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God today commands you to observe these laws and customs; you must keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

  ‘You have today made this declaration about the Lord: that he will be your God, but only if you follow his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and listen to his voice. And the Lord has today made this declaration about you: that you will be his very own people as he promised you, but only if you keep all his commandments; then for praise and renown and honour he will set you high above all the nations he has made, and you will be a people consecrated to the Lord, as he promised.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 20, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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In the battlefield, when a soldier or an Officer disobeys a direct order he places himself and his fellow troopers in possible grave danger.

Similarly in the battle against evil, we need to be obedient to  God our Father’s commands and His law written on our hearts.  He the Lord our God is perfect in every way and so must we strive for perfection.

He does not see imperfections in us and is always lovingly at hand to help us with the challenges we face. We have been consecrated unto Him by our Baptism and Confirmation. And so likewise we should not see imperfections in our brethren but be on hand to lovingly help them through the challenges they face.

Lord Jesus You are perfect in every way! Guide me on my journey to perfection in You. Amen

First reading
Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God today commands you to observe these laws and customs; you must keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

  ‘You have today made this declaration about the Lord: that he will be your God, but only if you follow his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and listen to his voice. And the Lord has today made this declaration about you: that you will be his very own people as he promised you, but only if you keep all his commandments; then for praise and renown and honour he will set you high above all the nations he has made, and you will be a people consecrated to the Lord, as he promised.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 20, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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In the battlefield, when a soldier or an Officer disobeys a direct order he places himself and his fellow troopers in possible grave danger.

Similarly in the battle against evil, we need to be obedient to  God our Father’s commands and His law written on our hearts.  He the Lord our God is perfect in every way and so must we strive for perfection.

He does not see imperfections in us and is always lovingly at hand to help us with the challenges we face. We have been consecrated unto Him by our Baptism and Confirmation. And so likewise we should not see imperfections in our brethren but be on hand to lovingly help them through the challenges they face.

Lord Jesus You are perfect in every way! Guide me on my journey to perfection in You. Amen

First reading
Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God today commands you to observe these laws and customs; you must keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

  ‘You have today made this declaration about the Lord: that he will be your God, but only if you follow his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and listen to his voice. And the Lord has today made this declaration about you: that you will be his very own people as he promised you, but only if you keep all his commandments; then for praise and renown and honour he will set you high above all the nations he has made, and you will be a people consecrated to the Lord, as he promised.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 19, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Choose life says the Lord….

He is waiting to receive you in His open arms. He wants to restore you, cleanse away the filth that you have collected over the years. To free you from the burdens of your sins. To fill your hearts with His joy and peace. All you need to do is turn away from sin and choose the path to Him.

For you who have chosen Him. To be His disciple, then you must hold fast to the faith in Your Lord Jesus Christ. For He stands with you in the daily struggle of battling evil and temptations. Continue to remain steadfast for you are a beacon for your brethren. Forgive always. Build upon the Word and strive to go deeper in faith and your relationship with the Lord Your God.

You who think yourself Holy and worthy, think again.  Do not let your hearts be hardened.  True knowledge of the Lord Your God comes first from Faith in Him, an ever growing relationship with Him and all His children. If you are not humble to see yourself as a child still young, still learning, still growing; and recognise the same in your brethren. Then you have lost your way. The mercy you hold back will be held back from you.

Jesus, my Lord I want to walk Your path.  Your truth and Your light. Lead me Lord, now and always. Amen

First reading
Ezekiel 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord:

  ‘If the wicked man renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and honest, he will certainly live; he will not die. All the sins he committed will be forgotten from then on; he shall live because of the integrity he has practised. What! Am I likely to take pleasure in the death of a wicked man – it is the Lord who speaks – and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live?

  ‘But if the upright man renounces his integrity, commits sin, copies the wicked man and practises every kind of filth, is he to live? All the integrity he has practised shall be forgotten from then on; but this is because he himself has broken faith and committed sin, and for this he shall die. But you object, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples, If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 18, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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There is no other God other than God our loving Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit who seeks an intimate relationship with us.  So great is His love for us that in order to save us, God became man to die for us so that we may live.  Jesus the living Word gives us of Himself in Holy Eucharist so that we may be in communion with Him.

Can we ever then say that we are alone?

When we are of one mind with the Lord our God. Our prayers unites us with His Will. He is with us as we are with Him.  We would never need to ask if our prayers are heard or answered.

Amen

First reading
Esther 4:17

Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words:

‘My Lord, our King, the only one, come to my help, for I am alone and have no helper but you and am about to take my life in my hands.

‘I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family, that you, Lord, chose Israel out of all the nations and our ancestors out of all the people of old times to be your heritage for ever;
and that you have treated them as you promised.

‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself in the time of our distress.

‘As for me, give me courage,
King of gods and master of all power.

Put persuasive words into my mouth when I face the lion;
change his feeling into hatred for our enemy, that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end.

‘As for ourselves, save us by your hand, and come to my help, for I am alone and have no one but you, Lord.’

Gospel
Matthew 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

  ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’

What Sign Do We Need..

Posted: February 17, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We don’t hear what other words if any that Jonah preached; other than the ultimatum that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days if they did not repent.

Did they question who this prophet was? Who was this Jew to come into their great pagan city and to shout out destruction if they did not repent? Yet they listened in faith not requiring further signs. Perhaps they knew in their hearts they were leading very sinful lives. And obeyed God our Father’s call at once to repent. No guarantees whether or not by doing so they would be saved.

Are we still a wicked generation that needs more signs?

We have the promise of God our Father fulfilled in Jesus. We have billions of testimonies of how Jesus touched each and everyone’s lives. We who have sought after Him have experienced our merciful God and His love for us. We have the Sacraments which are all signs of the presence of God.

Let us instead ask our Lord, to allow us to signs of His love and mercy. To be witnesses for Him. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 17, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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God our loving Father does not want us His children harmed nor does He wish us to die.  And so He constantly calls us through many ways and persons to turn away from our sinful choices that would lead us to our own destruction.

Are we obedient then to His Word? His life giving, transforming Word which leads us to life. Are we obedient to His loving call to do His Will? That is to call our sisters and brothers, His children whether near or far to repentance; and the hope of new life.

Jesus is the sign of the great love God our Father has for us. Let us be obedient unto Him as He leads us on to new life in Him. Amen

First reading
Jonah 3:1-10

The word of the Lord was addressed a second time to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’ God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.

Gospel
Luke 11:29-32

The crowds got even bigger and Jesus addressed them, ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 16, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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How comforting it is to know that the Word of God flows freely from His heart. Nourishes as it stimulates growth, heals and does the divine good before drawing us back closer to Him.

How sad it is that some still choose to reject, close up their ears or fail to embrace the Word in all its glory.

Prayer is a gift for which we unite ourselves with the heart and mind of our loving and merciful Father in Heaven. The beauty of it, is that there are many ways to pray but all must come from an deep inner desire to connect with our creator the source of life.

Jesus my Lord You teach us that our main focus in prayer should be our Heavenly Father and to do His Will. In loving humility to ask Him for what we need and never take for granted what He readily provides. To always seek first to be merciful with one another so as to be reconciled with Him in His mercy. To be aware that evil lurks and to be steadfast in prayer so as to receive the grace to be victorious over it. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 55:10-11

Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’

Gospel
Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.

‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 15, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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How easy it is for the poor to be far more generous than those of us who have never been in dire need of anything. Are we not ashamed for not doing more? Not giving more?

The call for Holiness is not a call for some sort of individual spirituality. But a call to union with the Holiness of God our Father. To unite ourselves to His heart and mind.  He loves us so much that He Wills that we love one another the way He loves us.

And so how do you think He feels when one of His children is suffering and another who has much does nothing to help? Or one is ill treating another? Or one choosing to remain silent while his brother or sister is living in sin and falling further away from the relationship our Heavenly Father wants for him/her ?

Help open our eyes Lord Jesus, especially during this season of Lent to the needs of others. So that we may bring comfort to them. And share Your peace and love. So that we may all draw closer to You in Holiness. Amen

First reading
Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18

The Lord spoke to Moses. He said: ‘Speak to the whole community of the sons of Israel and say to them:

  ‘“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.

  ‘“You must not steal nor deal deceitfully or fraudulently with your neighbour. You must not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God. I am the Lord. You must not exploit or rob your neighbour. You must not keep back the labourer’s wage until next morning. You must not curse the dumb, nor put an obstacle in the blind man’s way, but you must fear your God. I am the Lord.

  ‘“You must not be guilty of unjust verdicts. You must neither be partial to the little man nor overawed by the great; you must pass judgement on your neighbour according to justice. You must not slander your own people, and you must not jeopardise your neighbour’s life. I am the Lord. You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. You must openly tell him, your neighbour, of his offence; this way you will not take a sin upon yourself. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.”’

Gospel
Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

  ‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

  ‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”

  ‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

Praying For Fellow Sinners

Posted: February 15, 2016 by CatholicJules in Meditations

Luke 6:32
If you love those who love you, what credit can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them.

There have been a couple of occasions when some people had a prayer request either for themselves or for their loved ones and I hesitated in responding. I would eventually within the hour or at most within the same day. The reason for this is that this group of people rarely responded to prayer requests made from others. They also rarely if they do at all, participate in community fellowship activities or events. But in their hour of need they know how to turn to the community for prayers.

The crux of the matter is, I am sorely disappointed with myself for hesitating even my reluctance to immediately offer up prayers for them or their families. These and many like them are the very ones that I should be praying fervently for.

Someone maybe even more were praying for me, my family and my own personal conversion once upon a time. And through their prayers and the mercy of God, I had a transformation of heart.

Jesus You loved and forgave me from the cross. How can I withhold love and mercy from my brethren?

Families Of One

Posted: February 14, 2016 by CatholicJules in Meditations

Genesis 12:2, 13:16

I will make you a great nation ; I will bless you and make your name so famous that it will be used as a blessing. I will make your descendants like the the dust on the ground too many to count.

These were the words spoken to Father Abraham. And while I possess a tiny fraction of his faith. I marvel at what the Lord has done in my own life.

He has blessed me with a wonderful family. A blessed family of my very own. A church family and many small communities that have become family.

All this came to be when I said Yes to His call. His call to be with Him and His family. There are indeed difficulties and challenges but He has been with me every step of the way.

I thank You Lord for opening my eyes to see the marvels You have worked in my life. I thank You for the gift of my family and ever growing extended family. Help me to draw them ever closer to You. Amen

First Sunday in Lent

Posted: February 13, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Forty DaysScott Hahn Reflects on the First Sunday in Lent

Readings:
Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Psalm 91:1-2,10-15
Romans 10:8-13
Luke 4:1-13
 
In today’s epic Gospel scene, Jesus relives in His flesh the history of Israel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 13, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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O Lord my God You see the error of my ways.  You have seen my wicked streaks. You have heard the curses muttered under my breath. You know I have been selfish, self centred. And at times lazy. And yet I hear You calling me to follow You.

How can I continue to wallow in my sins? How can I ignore the sweet voice of my Lord and God? How can I not want new life and hope?

Yes Lord see me running towards You! Thank You sweet Jesus for seeking me out. For embracing me when no one would. Thank You Lord for Your great mercy and love. I strive to follow Your ways, to be loving and merciful to all I meet. 

Glory and Praise to my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 58:9-14

The Lord says this:

If you do away with the yoke,
the clenched fist, the wicked word, if you give your bread to the hungry, and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon.

The Lord will always guide you, giving you relief in desert places.

He will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never run dry.

You will rebuild the ancient ruins, build up on the old foundations.

You will be called ‘Breach-mender’, ‘Restorer of ruined houses.’

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, and doing business on the holy day, if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’, and the day sacred to the Lord ‘Honourable’, if you honour it by abstaining from travel, from doing business and from gossip, then shall you find your happiness in the Lord and I will lead you triumphant over the heights of the land.

I will feed you on the heritage of Jacob your father. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Gospel
Luke 5:27-32

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him.

  In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 12, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Many do not take fasting seriously. Even those who can fast will have some excuse not to. Why torture yourself? Does God really want that of us? There are many other far better ways and things to abstain from? While it is true for those few who cannot fast but in their heart they really want to, theirs is a righteous ‘fast’. For their choices are truly to draw closer to God.

The depths of observing a fast is far reaching. When we do so with the mind and heart for God. For the promptings of the Holy Spirit is amplified. When we deny the flesh, we deny evil an entry point however small. Our prayers, songs of praise and exaltations like incense billows up to God our Father.

Jesus my Lord I long for You. Let my Lenten observance be grace filled so as to draw ever closer to You. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 58:1-9

Thus says the Lord:
Shout for all you are worth, raise your voice like a trumpet.

Proclaim their faults to my people, their sins to the House of Jacob.

They seek me day after day,
they long to know my ways,
like a nation that wants to act with integrity and not ignore the law of its God.

They ask me for laws that are just, they long for God to draw near:

‘Why should we fast if you never see it, why do penance if you never notice?’

Look, you do business on your fast-days, you oppress all your workmen; look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast
and strike the poor man with your fist.

Fasting like yours today will never make your voice heard on high.

Is that the sort of fast that pleases me, a truly penitential day for men?

Hanging your head like a reed,
lying down on sackcloth and ashes?

Is that what you call fasting,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me – it is the Lord who speaks – to break unjust fetters and undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke, to share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, to clothe the man you see to be naked and not turn from your own kin?

Then will your light shine like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over.

Your integrity will go before you and the glory of the Lord behind you.

Cry, and the Lord will answer;
call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’

Gospel
Matthew 9:14-15

John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’

A Day Of Trials

Posted: February 11, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

In everything or every situation I will praise the Lord!

Just out of the Holy Trinity Church gate a loud impatient ring of the bicycle bell startles me and I mutter ‘your father’ under my breath. I apologise to my Heavenly Father for my utterance, followed by praise the Lord!

Walking towards the office I realised I forgot my staff access pass for the gantry and to the office. Had to register with security for temporary access through the gantry and wait for a colleague to open the door for me. Praise the Lord!

My colleague Nas came in, we exchanged greetings and he then alerted me to a small tear in my pants at the inner thigh area. As I could not find a sewing kit in my locker, I borrowed his pass to find one at Seven Eleven. They didn’t carry them so I decided to walk all the way to NTUC supermarket to find one. They only had one available, a small one which cost $6.90 I took it with me and decided to check out the clothing area. Saw a business pant on sale and a thought came into mind to get it even though I was planning to sew the old one up. Decided to get a new belt as well because my parish priest had seen my existing one and felt that it was too long. Headed towards the nearest toilet next to NTUC and found that it was closed for cleaning. Praise the Lord!

Hurried back to the office and along the way as I was fiddling to open the sewing kit; the packaging fell on the floor. Reached down to pick it up and the rip got worse! Praise the Lord!

Used the plastic bag I was carrying to hide the huge tear and made my way to the toilet to change. The new pant was a good fit but the new belt was too long. Had to cut it and quickly reattach the buckle as I had thrown away the old one into the dustbin. Spent fifteen minutes at least to get it right. Praise the Lord!

Since I was not eating today I decided to head to Changi City Point to have a haircut instead during lunch. When I reached the QB Barbers I found they were closed and will only open the next day. Praise the Lord!

Decided to go to the value store to look around and found a better sewing kit available for only $1.05
Praise the Lord!

Thank You Lord for an eventful day. Especially for prompting me to purchase the pant otherwise it would have been a whole lot more embarrassing. Praising You Lord had helped me remain calm and at peace.

Glory and Praise be to You O Lord!

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On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 11, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We have a choice to make between loving God our Father and doing His Will for us or choosing to live life devoid of Him. Those who think that sitting on the fence is an acceptable response are sorely mistaken. It is still a choice they have made and on the latter.

Our life here on earth is passing from dust we came, to the dust we shall return. We who choose the Lord our God have hope of new life and in resurrected bodies. For it is a truth, promise from our Lord Jesus Christ. That whosoever loses his life for His sake, will have eternal life. By our baptism we the branches have been attached to the true vine.  We are nourished by the source of all life itself. Needless to say what will happen to those who choose not to be attached or have chosen to detach themselves.

Lord Jesus You have the message of eternal life. I choose to take up my cross and follow You. Amen

First reading
Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Moses said to the people: ‘See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin on you today, if you love the Lord your God and follow his ways, if you keep his commandments, his laws, his customs, you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to make your own. But if your heart strays, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn into worshipping other gods and serving them, I tell you today, you will most certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of the Lord your God, obeying his voice, clinging to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends your long stay in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob he would give them.’

Gospel
Luke 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

  Then to all he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?’

My Ash Wed

Posted: February 10, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

When I applied leave for ash Wednesday a few weeks ago. I wondered if I had made a sound decision. Being the third day of the Lunar New Year, the children would be in school. My spouse would be at work starting her new job. And I would be missing out on serving at the lunchtime mass in the business district. Ash Wednesday is not a day of obligation and so I asked myself if I was wasting a precious day of leave?

But deep in my heart I knew I wanted to spend this day with the Lord. The Lunar New Year festivities over the last few days with lots of good food and wine, was a little over indulgent. And so it was important to me to spend some time with the Lord in the Adoration room. To realign my focus on Him and to place my many sins at His feet. To be in His presence so He could minister to me.

Undeserving as I am my Lord opens His heart to me. And I feel His love envelop me. Needless to say I am in tears. Then it hits me once again that this overwhelming sense of gratitude should be shared. Not simply by sharing this personal moment, but by extending the same mercy and love I received with others; especially those who have hurt me in one way or another.

Three hours have gone by as I now sit here writing this reflection while basking in His love. I cherish every single minute of this wonderful Ash Wednesday. What a great start to my Lenten journey.

Glory to You O Lord!

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 10, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Today we hear the call to start anew. Put the past behind us and start afresh. It does not matter if we had sinned terribly or what we had done or failed to do. The Lord is inviting us to turn back towards Him. For even as we have strayed and have wandered from Him. He is calling us back to His loving embrace.

And so we fast not in shame or gloom but in joyful expectation. For when we empty ourselves we are inviting our Lord to come fill up the empty spaces in our hearts, bodies and minds. And we invite all of whom we love and hate alike. To have a change of heart as we move together closer towards God our Father this Lenten journey.

We pray fervently, fast reverently, give alms generously always for the Glory of God alone!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God. Have mercy on me a sinner. Amen

First reading
Joel 2:12-18

‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning.’

Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn, turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, and ready to relent.

Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent, will not leave a blessing as he passes,
oblation and libation for the Lord your God?

Sound the trumpet in Zion!
Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, call the people together, summon the community, assemble the elders, gather the children,
even the infants at the breast.

Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom and the bride her alcove.

Between vestibule and altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, lament.

Let them say,‘Spare your people, Lord!   Do not make your heritage a thing of shame, a byword for the nations.

Why should it be said among the nations, “Where is their God?”’

Then the Lord, jealous on behalf of his land, took pity on his people.

Second reading
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God. As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help.Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.

Gospel
Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:

  ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

  ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

  ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 9, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We can pray the most beautiful prayers and sing the most beautiful songs of praise. But are our minds and hearts one with the Lord our God?

Do we try to outsmart the Lord with our justifications for doing something sinful?  Do we rationalise not helping someone in dire need? Do we act one way in church but behave differently outside?

Lord Jesus as You once walked amongst us, You showed Your unwavering faith and love for God our Father. Help us so that we too might have that unwavering faith, love and want to always do His Will.  Amen

First reading
1 Kings 8:22-23,27-30

In the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord and, stretching out his hands towards heaven, said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, not in heaven above nor on earth beneath is there such a God as you, true to your covenant and your kindness towards your servants when they walk wholeheartedly in your way. Yet will God really live with men on the earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built! Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, O Lord my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you today. Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said, “My name shall be there.” Listen to the prayer that your servant will offer in this place.

  ‘Hear the entreaty of your servant and of Israel your people as they pray in this place. From heaven where your dwelling is, hear; and, as you hear, forgive.’

Gospel
Mark 7:1-13

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me.

The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Corban (that is, dedicated to God), then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 8, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Our worship of the Lord our God, our glorifying Him, our praise and thanks adds nothing to His great glory. And yet rightful worship, thanksgiving, honour and praise of our Lord and God adds everything to our own lives.

Jesus our Lord and God seeks to dwell in our hearts.  And when we dwell in His, we find our lives complete. Healing grace abounds in us.

Thank You Lord Jesus for Your mercy and love. Let me extend Your mercy and love to all I meet today and every day. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 8:1-7,9-13

Solomon called the elders of Israel together in Jerusalem to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord up from the Citadel of David, which is Zion. All the men of Israel assembled round King Solomon in the month of Ethanim, at the time of the feast (that is, the seventh month), and the priests took up the ark and the Tent of Meeting with all the sacred vessels that were in it. In the presence of the ark, King Solomon and all Israel sacrificed sheep and oxen, countless, innumerable. The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the Debir of the Temple, that is, in the Holy of Holies, under the cherubs’ wings. For there where the ark was placed the cherubs spread out their wings and sheltered the ark and its shafts. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets Moses had placed in it at Horeb, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord had made with the Israelites when they came out of the land of Egypt; they are still there today.

  Now when the priests came out of the sanctuary, the cloud filled the Temple of the Lord, and because of the cloud the priests could no longer perform their duties: the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s Temple.

  Then Solomon said: ‘The Lord has chosen to dwell in the thick cloud.

Yes, I have built you a dwelling, a place for you to live in for ever.’

Gospel
Mark 6:53-56

Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.

I Hear You Calling Lord..

Posted: February 7, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

And I Must Go….

Isaiah 6:1-2,3-8
1Cor 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

How can we sing God’s praises our do anything worthy to glorify Him when our tongues are riddled with sin and the sinful choices we make that prevents is from moving into the light.

We are lost till we look to God. The loving flame of Jesus will purge us of our sins. Hence we must use the gift of reconciliation often so with our tongues loosened and in union with the choirs of Angels and Saints we can sing the Sanctus with all our hearts.

Lord hearts are then opened to respond to our Lord’s call. Were all the Apostles worthy at the time they were called? No! It was our Lord that made them worthy. They only needed to listen and follow Him. He gave them all the graces needed to do great things in His name. It is through their legacy we have the gift of Apostolic Succession. Through which Jesus’s eternal covenant with us is fulfilled at every Eucharistic Celebration.

Before the Angels I will bless You, O Lord.

And so my Lord Jesus, in answer to Your call, I say here I am Lord! I am ready to do Your Will. Amen

Sowing In The Field..

Posted: February 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Meditations

Galatians 6:2-3,8

You should carry each other’s troubles and fulfil the law of Christ. It is the people who are not important who often make the mistake of thinking that they are. If he sows in the field of self indulgence he will get a harvest of corruption out of it; if he sows in the field of the Spirit he will get from it a harvest of eternal life.

Once again I am reminded that our journey in faith is never meant to be an individual one. We should look to carry one another’s troubles, to help one another overcome them. And with this we fulfil the law of Christ. What is the law of Christ? That we love God our Father with all our heart, all our mind and soul. And to love one another as He loved us.

Yes in the past I had sown in the field of self indulgence and indeed had experienced the corruption of the soul that comes with it. It is something I definitely Would Not want to fall back into.

My soul is indeed thirsting for You O Lord my God! And so I want to only sow in the field of the Spirit.
Help me to remain steadfast in Your love. Amen

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Into the Deep: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving God

Posted: February 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Meditations

Sirach 47:8-10

In all his activities he gave thanks
to the Holy One, the Most High, in words of glory; he put all his heart into his songs out of love for his Maker. He placed harps before the altar to make the singing sweeter with their music; he gave the feasts their splendour, the festivals their solemn pomp, causing the Lord’s holy name to be praised and the sanctuary to resound from dawn.

There is little if not No question of God’s love for David. He was chosen by God our Father and anointed to be Shepherd and King of His people. And from his line would come our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Was David perfect? Was he will holy? No! But each time he sinned against God and was made aware of his sin. His heart was broken, remorseful and contrite. And our merciful Father forgave him.

But what truly mesmerised me about this passage taken from Ecclesiasticus was just how much love David had for God. The kind of love that can only come from a deep personal prayer life and relationship with the Lord our God.

One in which his whole being became a living prayer to God our Father. Seamless between ordinary and liturgical. Such that every word, song, movement or deed brought glory to God. And everyone around to witness would be touched by God’s presence.

This is what it truly means to be a man of God! Amen

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Into the Deep: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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The world teaches that in order to be happy in life you need to wealthy, powerful, honoured and have all the pleasures of the flesh it has to offer.  Jesus our Lord teaches us otherwise.

You child are a Saint in the making. As you grow deeper and deeper in your relationship; And love for God our Father, you will see that you want only one thing. That is to know and do His Will.  The tiniest offence you commit against Him weights heavily on your heart. You long for communion with Him, in prayer and the Eucharist. For Your desire to be with the Lord Your God in His Kingdom.

O merciful and loving Jesus. You who took pity on us your sheep when you saw we had no shepherd. Be now my shepherd and guide. Lead me home to You. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 3:4-13

King Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the greatest of the high places – Solomon offered a thousand holocausts on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared in a dream to Solomon during the night. God said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘You showed great kindness to your servant David, my father, when he lived his life before you in faithfulness and justice and integrity of heart; you have continued this great kindness to him by allowing a son of his to sit on his throne today. Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you. What you have not asked I shall give you too: such riches and glory as no other king ever had.’

Gospel
Mark 6:30-34

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 5, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Where are you now in your relationship with God our Father who loves you? Do you go for Mass because you like listening to the word and the homily? But go back to your sinful pleasures and life? Get easily angry with everyone and anyone? Make empty, vain promises and are later trapped by them?

Know that you are a child of God. You have been anointed and sealed with grace at your baptism.  You are destined to lead a great and Holy life pleasing to God.  You have power and grace to do great, wonderful things for God and your brethren. These however have to be unlocked through the depth of your faith and relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord.

O Lord my God, let my every word and action be a loving prayer to You. I want to dive into the unending depths of Your love. To be one with You, now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ecclesiasticus 47:2-13

As the fat is set apart from the communion sacrifice, so David was chosen out of all the sons of Israel.

He played with lions as though with kids, and with bears as though with lambs of the flock.

While still a boy, did he not slay the giant, and relieve the people of their shame, by putting out a hand to sling a stone which brought down the arrogance of Goliath?

For he called on the Lord Most High, who gave strength to his right arm to put a mighty warrior to death, and lift up the horn of his people.

Hence they gave him credit for ten thousand, and praised him while they blessed the Lord, by offering him a crown of glory; for he massacred enemies on every side, he annihilated his foes the Philistines, and crushed their horn to this very day.

In all his activities he gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High, in words of glory; he put all his heart into his songs out of love for his Maker.

He placed harps before the altar to make the singing sweeter with their music; he gave the feasts their splendour, the festivals their solemn pomp, causing the Lord’s holy name to be praised and the sanctuary to resound from dawn.

The Lord took away his sins,
and exalted his horn for ever;
he gave him a royal covenant, and a glorious throne in Israel.

Gospel
Mark 6:14-29

King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well-known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah’; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.’

  Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.

  An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half 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 straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 4, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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First we must ask ourselves do we need someone to take charge of our lives? Is the Lord our God in charge? Are we on our own living ordered lives? Are we loving towards our spouse, children, Father, Mother, friends and our community? Are we merciful and charitable?

For Jesus to rule in our hearts, minds and soul as He came to do. We must allow Him to by inviting Him into our lives. To be prepared to listen to His call to love our Heavenly Father with all our heart, our, mind and our soul. To Love one another as He loved us.

To enable us to love the way He does, He gives us of Himself. He gives us His power of healing, His peace, mercy and love. And so we must go in faith to share the message of God with all. To bring healing and liberation to those living in darkness. To stay close and journey with them so as to bring them into the community of our Lord Jesus Christ. So that one day we may all partake of the Heavenly Feast that awaits us. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 2:1-4,10-12

As David’s life drew to its close he laid this charge on his son Solomon, ‘I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of the Lord your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, as it stands written in the Law of Moses, that so you may be successful in all you do and undertake, so that the Lord may fulfil the promise he made me, “If your sons are careful how they behave, and walk loyally before me with all their heart and soul, you shall never lack for a man on the throne of Israel.”’

  So David slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David. David’s reign over Israel lasted forty years: he reigned in Hebron for seven years, and in Jerusalem for thirty-three.

  Solomon was seated upon the throne of David, and his sovereignty was securely established.

Gospel
Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 3, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Is it good enough to say sorry after breaking someone’s flowerpot? Is it not right to replace the pot and repot the flowers?  So it is like with sin, it is not good enough to say sorry but to work hard at not committing it again and doing penance.  Penance is the true act of contrition.

We may not always understand the ways of our Lord. But we can trust that whatever is done is for our greater good. It is the Lord God alone that decides when or where a miracle is worked. And while it depends not on our faith, it is the faithful that pleases Him to do so.

To be faithful is to turn away from sin. So that we recognise the good of our Lord and see His hand in all things that is good. Too see Him in the persons He sends to us.

O Lord let not my sins blind me to You.  Take them away, I detest them. For I long to be with You always. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 24:2,8-17

King David said to Joab and to the senior army officers who were with him, ‘Now go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and take a census of the people; I wish to know the size of the population.’ Having covered the whole country, they returned to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab gave the king the figures for the census of the people; Israel numbered eight hundred thousand armed men capable of drawing sword, and Judah five hundred thousand men.

  But afterwards David’s heart misgave him for having taken a census of the people. ‘I have committed a grave sin’ David said to the Lord. ‘But now, Lord, I beg you to forgive your servant for this fault. I have been very foolish.’ But when David got up next morning, the following message had come from the Lord to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, ‘Go and say to David, “the Lord says this: I offer you three things; choose one of them for me to do to you.”’

  So Gad went to David and told him. ‘Are three years of famine to come on you in your country’ he said ‘or will you flee for three months before your pursuing enemy, or would you rather have three days’ pestilence in your country? Now think, and decide how I am to answer him who sends me.’ David said to Gad, This is a hard choice. But let us rather fall into the power of the Lord, since his mercy is great, and not into the power of men.’ So David chose pestilence.

  It was the time of the wheat harvest. The Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning till the time appointed and plague ravaged the people, and from Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of them died. The angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, but the Lord thought better of this evil, and he said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough! Now withdraw your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was beside the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. “When David saw the angel who was ravaging the people, he spoke to the Lord. ‘It was I who sinned;’ he said ‘I who did this wicked thing. But these, this flock, what have they done? Let your hand lie heavy on me then, and on my family.’

Gospel
Mark 6:1-6

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 2, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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God’s loving plan of salvation was that His only Begotten Son would be sent to us. So that we might be saved from the terrible bondage of sin. So that our Lord and God may walk amongst us and unite us with Him. Glory to You O Lord our God!

Today let us recall that we too  were consecrated to our Heavenly Father even before our birth. (Jer 1:5) Are we ourselves ready to be presented to the Lord our God?  Have we led righteous, faithful lives so that like Simeon and Anna we too might gaze upon the face of our Lord?

Jesus You are the one true light of the World. May Your light shine deeply into our hearts and drive all darkness away. And like our Master may we become beacons for the rest of our brethren living in the world. Amen

First reading
Malachi 3:1-4

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

Second reading
Hebrews 2:14-18

Since all the children share the same blood and flesh, Christ too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could take away all the power of the devil, who had power over death, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself descent from Abraham. It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers so that he could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God’s religion, able to atone for human sins. That is, because he has himself been through temptation he is able 
help others who are tempted.

Gospel
Luke 2:22-40

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

  Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

  There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

  When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.

DISCIPL ESSENTIALS

Posted: February 1, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

It’s uncanny that while not directly linked in meaning the word disciple has the same seven letters as the word discipline. And we all know that a disciple needs to be disciplined.

To move FWD as a disciple we need to be in control of our bodies and mind. Hence we need to FAST, read the WORD and DWELL on the Word. Needless to say a disciple prays always and must do so often in the Quiet and ‘mouth to mouth’ with God….. ADORATIO

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 1, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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The Lord our God can turn all curses into blessings!

When we are cursed is it not because we had allowed sin into our lives? The nature of sin and evil is to scatter. Our oneness with God and with one another is splintered. There is discord, unfettered rage, disillusionment, depression and more. And when evil loses control and is split unto itself then it will come to an end.

Jesus who sees our misery has come to save us. When we turn to Him, He will heal us and make us whole again. Our union with God our Father and one another is restored.

Let us then share His great love and mercy with all. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 15:13-14,30,16:5-13

A messenger came to tell David, ‘The hearts of the men of Israel are now with Absalom.’ So David said to all his officers who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘Let us be off, let us fly, or we shall never escape from Absalom. Leave as quickly as you can in case he mounts a surprise attack and worsts us and puts the city to the sword.’

  David then made his way up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, his head covered and his feet bare. And all the people with him had their heads covered and made their way up, weeping as they went.

  As David was reaching Bahurim, out came a man of the same clan as Saul’s family. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and as he came he uttered curse after curse and threw stones at David and at all King David’s officers, though the whole army and all the champions flanked the king right and left. The words of his curse were these, ‘Be off, be off, man of blood, scoundrel! the Lord has brought on you all the blood of the House of Saul whose sovereignty you have usurped; and the Lord has transferred that same sovereignty to Absalom your son. Now your doom has overtaken you, man of blood that you are.’ Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Is this dead dog to curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off.’ But the king replied, ‘What business is it of mine and yours, sons of Zeruiah? Let him curse. If the Lord said to him, “Curse David,” what right has anyone to say, “Why have you done this?”’ David said to Abishai and all his officers, ‘Why, my own son, sprung from my body, is now seeking my life; so now how much the more this Benjaminite? Let him curse on if the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will look on my misery and repay me with good for his curse today.’ So David and his men went on their way.

Gospel
Mark 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples reached the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain; because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear by God you will not torture me!’ – For Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’ ‘What is your name?’ Jesus asked. ‘My name is legion,’ he answered ‘for there are many of us.’ And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.

  Now there was there on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.’ So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The swineherds ran off and told their story in the town and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his full senses – the very man who had had the legion in him before – and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave the neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ So the man went off and proceeded to spread throughout the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.