Archive for March, 2016

On Today’s Gospel

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

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A true believer in Christ Jesus is one who knows how to give thanks and praise to Him for all He has done for us. And not just Jesus but His one body His disciples, our brethren.  We should never take one another for granted, for each is to pay their own way through their own works for Christ.

Never be afraid to bear witness and to testify to the good our Lord and God has done in your lives. For every testimony no matter how small or insignificant we think it is, is in fact an act of worship; praise and thanksgiving!  It will bring about conversion of hearts when we least expect it.

Sweet Jesus, You are present today as You have been from the beginning of time. Dwell always in my heart and let me rejoice in my love for You and my brethren. Amen

First reading
Acts 3:11-26

Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.

  ‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.

  ‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Gospel
Luke 24:35-48

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.

  They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

  Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How sad it is when we allow dark clouds of disappointments and lost expectations cover our eyes. Then we start walking away from the community and from the one we long to see, hear; Jesus!

How wonderful it is to discover that Jesus is always present and would never leave us, just as He promised. How His Word still burns in our hearts as we experience His love and joy. How we can hold Him lovingly in our hands at every Holy Eucharist.

Let us then put our love for Him into action. By using the gifts He has bestowed upon us. To share the good news with all who will listen, to heal the sick, tend to the poor,  serve others as we are called to. And by our love they will know that Christ is alive!  Amen

First reading
Acts 3:1-10

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Gospel
Luke 24:13-35

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

  Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

  Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

  When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

  They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do not cling to the past neither relive the sins. For it is the faithless that weep for them.

Rejoice that the Lord has made all things new! Come to Him with all Your heart. And He will cleanse us of all that does not belong to Him.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is upon us, to live in the victory of the resurrection. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 2:36-41

On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’

  Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Gospel
John 20:11-18

Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How can we deny the joy of Easter felt in our hearts? When Jesus our Lord has freed us from sin. Not abstractly but literally.

For even today when we turn to Him with contrite hearts, He makes His presence known. And gladness continues to fill our hearts as we receive His Sacraments.

And His presence within us grows as we deepen our relationship with Him through His Word. We are more fully alive than we have ever been. For this is the way, the truth and life.  Jesus Christ had conquered death! Alleluia!

Amen

First reading
Acts 2:14,22-33

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always, for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.

So my heart was glad and my tongue cried out with joy; my body, too, will rest in the hope that you will not abandon my soul to Hades nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.

You have made known the way of life to me you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Gospel
Matthew 28:8-15

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

  And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

  While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Alive In Christ

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

How do I live more fully alive in Christ? How do I bring across the joy of the resurrected Jesus to others? These were the questions I was pondering over at the start of Holy Saturday.

Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me, that I should not dwell in my sins but live and love more fully in Christ’s resurrection; by deeply reflecting on how His love had transformed me. The graces I had received both at my baptism and confirmation. And by the fact that His Resurrection proves that I have hope of life in Him. And that I should share this knowledge with all!

The affirmation of this message was received at the Easter Vigil when I heard these words from Psalm 41.

“These things will I remember
  as I pour out my soul:
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd into the house of God, amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving, the throng wild with joy.”

Easter Sunday’s Eucharistic Celebration filled my heart with joy. The Word that was spoken to me was “He saw and believed.”

I thought to myself how many of us see the many miracles in our lives, and in the lives of others and yet still do not truly believe.

With that still in the back of my mind, my family and I attended the Easter Octave celebration hosted by the youths. Not too long into the celebration, an altar server came up to me informing me that one of the parishioners whose mother is gravely ill at the hospital had requested for Holy Communion. I clarified if she was actually requesting for anointing of the sick but turns out that she had already received that and was indeed requesting for Holy Communion. I said ok but I didn’t have my communion kit with me and all the kits kept by the Church were out. The server went to inform the family of the situation. Five minutes later the family came to me requesting for help, I told them that I would get my kit and go over to the hospital at 5pm however I wanted to know if the mum was lucid afraid that she might choke if she was too weak. They assured me that while she had taken a turn for the worse, she still willed that she should receive communion. I was amazed with the faith of the old lady.

The Octave celebration continued with the youths and the adults present. We formed an equal mix of four groups, quickly preparing and then dancing out the lyrics of our respective praise and worship song. It was indeed a treat to just let loose and praise Him with actions. Another sign of the Holy Spirit showing me that faith must be accompanied by action.

After the Octave celebration, I rushed home to get my kit before rushing back to Church to get the consecrated host. Then took a cab to the hospital.

When I got there the family members were gathered round her. She needed an oxygen mask and so I was wondering if she could indeed consume the host. It was a tremendous struggle but she eventually manage to. Praise the Lord. The family was thankful but I told them I was grateful for the opportunity to bring Jesus to her. Especially today of all days! Easter Sunday…. What a Blessing… I will continue to pray for her.

Rejoice indeed rejoice, for our Saviour lives! And so let us choose to be alive in Christ!

Easter Sunday

Posted: March 27, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

See and Believe: Scott Hahn Reflects on Easter Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Good Friday

Posted: March 25, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

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Today Lord I remember….

Your great love for me!
How You suffered greatly at the hands of men, so that I may be healed; restored and set free! To love and live with You.

Today Lord as I recall how You suffered….

I know I can unite my sufferings with Yours.  My physical pains, the hurt of being betrayed, abandoned. Of unforgiveness, of feeling inadequate, incomplete. Of being taunted and mocked. Of mental anguish and depression. There is No human hurts and pains that You did not go through or understand. Through Your sufferings I can make sense of mine. And I lift them up to You. I offer them for all who suffer injustice and pain. I offer them for the conversion of sinners. I offer them for peace in the world.

Today Lord I mourn….

For my heinous sins committed against You. For my habitual sins and my weakness of falling back into them; the lack of conviction in Your love to overcome them. For all the times I have failed to do and act for You and my brethren.

Today Lord I ponder and reflect… 

On Your love and will for me. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Second reading
Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9

Gospel
John 18:1-19:42