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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How do I comprehend the fact that my Lord and God chose to die for me? So that I may pass over from sin and death into life?

How do I comprehend the fact that He showed me by example? The loving humility of serving others with a joyful heart. Willing the good in and of another. He my Lord and Saviour who cleanses me from my sins.

How do I comprehend the fact that He feeds me of His body and blood in every Eucharist? That I may be nourished and strengthened on my pilgrim journey back to Him.

I can comprehend all these and more because I am united with Him through my baptism. Through the sacraments, through the grace of faith He bestowed upon me. Most of all by His great love for me and I for Him, in an ever deepening relationship.

So I proudly proclaim his death at every Eucharist Celebration, for it is through his death He rose to new life.  So that I can rise with Him. Amen

First reading
Exodus 12:1-8,11-14

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

  ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt, I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Second reading
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Gospel
John 13:1-15

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

  They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’

  When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What is the main motivator for betrayal? Money? Self preservation? Personal glory? Power? Control? Lust?

How many times have we thought to ourselves, “Surely not I Lord?” and had most certainly betrayed Jesus by our thoughts, words or actions. Let us always turn back to him with contrite hearts.

For He is and always will be with us His faithful. He will never abandon us even if everyone else does. Praise be our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 50:4-9

The Lord has given me
a disciple’s tongue.

So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech.

Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple.

The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away.

I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;

I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults.

So, too, I set my face like flint;
I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?

Then let us go to court together.

Who thinks he has a case against me?

Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel
Matthew 26:14-25

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

  Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

  When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Are we living our Baptismal vows? Are we rejecting Satan and His works? Which include telling us that we can do without God? That we will never be forgiven for our sins? That we are born alone and will die alone? That we are not good enough to serve?

Are we then not rejecting Christ instead? By not living as children of our Heavenly Father? By not accepting His love and mercy? By not doing what we are called to do? By living for ourselves instead of being beacons for our brethren?

Lord Jesus I am a child of God my Heavenly Father. No more lip service! Into Your hands Lord, I commit my life and service. Grant me the grace to do as You Will. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 49:1-6

Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples.

The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand.

He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified’; while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing’; and all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward with my God.

I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;

I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Gospel
John 13:21-33,36-38

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.

  When he had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified.

If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children, I shall not be with you much longer.

You will look for me, And, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 21, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Who knows our sins better than the Lord our God? Who abhors all sin for which most are punishable by eternal death! 

Yet our loving Heavenly Father seeks to embrace us stained as we are. He sent our gentle Saviour to help restore His children who are frail, vulnerable, susceptible to sin. To give light to those in darkness, to give sight to those blinded by sin and to set the prisoners of it free. To give us life to the full.

Do we honour Jesus with the perfume of our actions in love? Permeating the air with the presence of the Lord our God with us.

Or do we choose to be remain aloof and stand in the shadows of sin plotting to kill?

Christ be my light, now and forever. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights.

I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud, or make his voice heard in the streets.

He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice; he will neither waver, nor be crushed until true justice is established on earth,
for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord, he who created the heavens and spread them out, who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it, who gave breath to its people and life to the creatures that move in it:

‘I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;
I have taken you by the hand and formed you;

I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations, ‘to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.’

Gospel
John 12:1-11

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’

  Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

Passion Sunday

Posted: March 19, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Passion of the Christ: Scott Hahn Reflects on Passion Sunday

Readings:
Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Philippians 2:6-11
Luke 22:14-23:56
 
What is written about Me is coming to fulfillment,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Luke 22:37).

Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.

In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.

The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Luke 22:63-65; 23:10-11,16), as His hands and feet are pierced (see Luke 23:33), as enemies gamble for His clothes ( see Luke 23:34), and as three times they dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Luke 23:35,37,39)

He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help…I shall not be put to shame.”

Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12-14,17-19; Ephesians 2:2; 5:6).

This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken, that one day we too will be with Him in Paradise (see Luke 23:42). Seeing and Believing.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Heavenly Father You chose St Joseph to be the earthly father of Your Only Begotten Son.  A virtuous man born a sinner nonetheless.

Yet even amidst many uncertainties, trials and challenges he was ever faithful to You O Lord. He was dutiful husband and father. He led a humble life as a carpenter always putting you first in His life and so was a wonderful role model for his family.  A quiet man who sang Your praises and glorified You loudly through his actions.

I pray O Heavenly Father that You guide me and give me the grace to be more like him for my family; For I am indeed a sinner trying to live a virtuous, faithful life in Your love. Through Your Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Amen

St Joseph intercede for all Fathers in the World. Including the priests. Amen

Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary– Solemnity 

First reading
2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16

The word of the Lord came to Nathan:

  ‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: “When your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.) I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Yet I will not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Second reading
Romans 4:13,16-18,22

The promise of inheriting the world was not made to Abraham and his descendants on account of any law but on account of the righteousness which consists in faith. That is why what fulfils the promise depends on faith, so that it may be a free gift and be available to all of Abraham’s descendants, not only those who belong to the Law but also those who belong to the faith of Abraham who is the father of all of us. As scripture says: I have made you the ancestor of many nations – Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist.

  Though it seemed Abraham’s hope could not be fulfilled, he hoped and he believed, and through doing so he did become the father of many nations exactly as he had been promised: Your descendants will be as many as the stars. This is the faith that was ‘considered as justifying him.’

Gospel
Matthew 1:16,18-21,24

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

  This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What is the purpose of fetching stones if not to maim, destroy and kill? What will drive you to want to throw stones at another? Rage? Personal hurts? Because the person said something terrible? Have you never done something wrong before? Do you think you deserve to be stoned for it?

What are the stones we cast at Jesus today? You would never, really? What do you call it then when your tongue lashing at another breaks the person’s spirit? Causes depression? When you gossip about someone and their reputation or dignity is ruined? When you lie or perjure to save your own skin? When you shout and scream at a child for tiny mistakes?Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do unto me.

Then there are other stones of sin which we cast at Him when we say yes to them and give in; especially after declaring our love for Him.

Lord Jesus forgive me my many sins, shortcomings and weaknesses. Help me to remain faithful. Through Your power and grace I will overcome all evil and remain steadfast in Your love. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 20:10-13

Jeremiah said:
I hear so many disparaging me, ‘“Terror from every side!”
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’

All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.

Then we will master him and take our revenge!’

But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered,
confounded by their failure;
everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.

But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart,
let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

Sing to the Lord,
praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Gospel
John 10:31-42

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:
I said, you are gods?

So the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.

Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because he says, “I am the son of God.”

If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.

  He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.

Spiritual Mentoring

Posted: March 17, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

In hopes of going deeper in faith a group of us were encouraged to find spiritual mentors to guide us on our way. I approached a priest but was turned down due to his concern of a conflict of interests with his thoughts on the programme. Then I casually asked someone I looked up to and he agreed. The first time we arranged to meet up, he told me he would call me later that day and he would bring someone who had twenty five years of experience in spiritual counselling to pray together. But the call never came. I was not disappointed in the least.

However what was disappointing to me was that I had spoken with him four to five months earlier when we were at a retreat of sorts to do the Parish Planning; that I was very interested to go for spiritual counselling. He told me that it was not currently available here.

However when it became available in our Parish, I was later told that it was reserved first for those attending a Renewal, and that it may be opened up later for others who were interested. I was disheartened and lost interest especially since there was no news even after the Renewal ended. Also at the Parish Planning he and I suggested a five day retreat for those of us desiring to go deeper into faith. It was planned for and is going to take place later this year. Again I was excited and so marked out the dates in my calendar. The dates however was changed and the latest news is that it will be made available first to those who attended the Renewal before maybe opening it up to the rest.

I took my feelings of disappointment to the Lord in Adoration. Here is what I was led to….

I have more insight than all who teach me for I ponder your Will. I have more understanding than the old for I keep your precepts. Your Word is a lamp for my steps and light for my path. (ps118:99-100,105) Put no trust in Princes, in mortal men, in whom there is no help. It is the Lord who keeps faith forever. (Ps 145:3,7)

I realised that I had put too much hope in what I wanted, and faith in people instead of relying on the guidance of the Lord my God. If He wants me to go for this then He will surely lead me to it or He may be placing something better for me.

Lord Jesus I place my trust in You. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What is your end goal in life?
To lead a barren life? Living for yourself, enjoying everything the world has to offer for as long as you can then slowly whither and die?

  Or is it to live a life giving, fruitful life? One centred on the Word of Jesus which transforms the lives of others. For Jesus is with God our Father and the Holy Spirit, one God. From whom we have the promise of eternal life with Him.

Jesus I choose to live my life with and in You. Grant me the grace to carry my cross with the dignity of sharing in Your passion. So that I may one day live in the power of Your resurrection. Amen

First reading
Genesis 17:3-9

Abram bowed to the ground and God said this to him, ‘Here now is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations, and your issue shall be kings. I will establish my Covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in, the whole land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity, and I will be your God.’

Gospel
John 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
‘I tell you most solemnly, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’

The Jews said, ‘Now we know for certain that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?’ Jesus answered:

‘If I were to seek my own glory
that would be no glory at all; my glory is conferred by the Father, by the one of whom you say, “He is our God” although you do not know him.

But I know him, and if I were to say: I do not know him, I should be a liar, as you are liars yourselves.

But I do know him, and I faithfully keep his word.

Your father Abraham rejoiced
to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad.’

The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was,
I Am.’

At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Whom do you worship? Who has your mind and heart? It is easy to say God, but is He first and foremost in your life? Is it the Lord who guides you in your daily affairs?

Sin blinds and deafens us. We can no longer see or hear the truth. We begin to argue with the ways of the Lord. We hide behind lip service of our devotion to God. Some stop participating in the Eucharistic Celebration even though they are physically there. Some stop coming altogether. Why? For the love of Christ? Which or what ‘christ’?

Jesus reminds us today;

‘If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.’

Jesus my Lord be with me in whatever challenges I may face. Guide me always in Your truth. Amen

First reading
Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.

  Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’

  Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

Gospel
John 8:31-42

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.’

They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave.

Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured, but the son’s place is assured. So if the Son makes you free,
you will be free indeed.

I know that you are descended from Abraham; but in spite of that you want to kill me because nothing I say has penetrated into you.

What I, for my part, speak of
is what I have seen with my Father; but you, you put into action the lessons learnt from your father.’

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:

‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did.

As it is, you want to kill me when I tell you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did. What you are doing is what your father does.’

‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:

‘If God were your father, you would love me, since I have come here from God; yes, I have come from him; not that I came because I chose, no, I was sent, and by him.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who died on the cross for us is now and forever the sign of our redemption. By His death and resurrection we have new life in Him.

Sin and Death has no hold over those who believe in Him. And for those who truly believe in Jesus and live His Word have peace, joy and love in abundance.

Lord Jesus I proudly wear the crucifix around my neck as a reminder of Your great love for me. And the only true sign for the redemption of the world.  I pray for the conversion of sinners that they come to the believe and faith in You. Amen

First reading
Numbers 21:4-9

The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’

  At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

Gospel
John 8:21-30

Again Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am going away; you will look for me and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’

The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on:

‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

I have told you already: You will die in your sins.

Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’

So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered:

‘What I have told you from the outset. About you I have much to say and much to condemn;
but the one who sent me is truthful, and what I have learnt from him I declare to the world.’

They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said

‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of myself:

what the Father has taught me is what I preach; he who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him.’

As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 14, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Never allow sinful thoughts, words, deeds or sensual temptations invade your heart. For you allow the devil’s spawn to breed within you. Soon you’ll find yourself hidden in darkness and deceit. Lies are all you are able to utter for your role as a minion is to scatter.

Turn away from sin always and look towards heaven in prayer.  Carry the light of Christ in your hearts. For our Father in heaven sees and knows all, there is nothing hidden from Him. God our Father alone is the one true judge and His righteousness will prevail.

Sweet Jesus let your light fill my heart, mind and soul. Let me always speak Your truth. Guide me in Your ways of mercy and love. Amen

First reading
Daniel 13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim. He had married Susanna daughter of Hilkiah, a woman of great beauty; and she was God-fearing, because her parents were worthy people and had instructed their daughter in the Law of Moses. Joakim was a very rich man, and had a garden attached to his house; the Jews would often visit him since he was held in greater respect than any other man. Two elderly men had been selected from the people that year to act as judges. Of such the Lord said, ‘Wickedness has come to Babylon through the elders and judges posing as guides to the people.’ These men were often at Joakim’s house, and all who were engaged in litigation used to come to them. At midday, when everyone had gone, Susanna used to take a walk in her husband’s garden. The two elders, who used to watch her every day as she came in to take her walk, gradually began to desire her. They threw reason aside, making no effort to turn their eyes to heaven, and forgetting its demands of virtue. So they waited for a favourable moment; and one day Susanna came as usual, accompanied only by two young maidservants. The day was hot and she wanted to bathe in the garden. There was no one about except the two elders, spying on her from their hiding place. She said to the servants, ‘Bring me some oil and balsam and shut the garden door while I bathe.’

  Hardly were the servants gone than the two elders were there after her. ‘Look,’ they said ‘the garden door is shut, no one can see us. We want to have you, so give in and let us! Refuse, and we will both give evidence that a young man was with you and that was why you sent your maids away.’ Susanna sighed. ‘I am trapped,’ she said ‘whatever I do. If I agree, that means my death; if I resist, I cannot get away from you. But I prefer to fall innocent into your power than to sin in the eyes of the Lord.’ Then she cried out as loud as she could. The two elders began shouting too, putting the blame on her, and one of them ran to open the garden door. The household, hearing the shouting in the garden, rushed out by the side entrance to see what was happening; once the elders had told their story the servants were thoroughly taken aback, since nothing of this sort had ever been said of Susanna.

  Next day a meeting was held at the house of her husband Joakim. The two elders arrived, in their vindictiveness determined to have her put to death. They addressed the company: ‘Summon Susanna daughter of Hilkiah and wife of Joakim.’ She was sent for, and came accompanied by her parents, her children and all her relations. All her own people were weeping, and so were all the others who saw her. The two elders stood up, with all the people round them, and laid their hands on the woman’s head. Tearfully she turned her eyes to heaven, her heart confident in God. The elders then spoke. ‘While we were walking by ourselves in the garden, this woman arrived with two servants. She shut the garden door and then dismissed the servants. A young man who had been hiding went over to her and they lay down together. From the end of the garden where we were, we saw this crime taking place and hurried towards them. Though we saw them together we were unable to catch the man: he was too strong for us; he opened the door and took to his heels. We did, however, catch this woman and ask her who the young man was. She refused to tell us. That is our evidence.’

  Since they were elders of the people, and judges, the assembly took their word: Susanna was condemned to death. She cried out as loud as she could, ‘Eternal God, you know all secrets and everything before it happens; you know that they have given false evidence against me. And now have I to die, innocent as I am of everything their malice has invented against me?’

  The Lord heard her cry and, as she was being led away to die, he roused the holy spirit residing in a young boy named Daniel who began to shout, ‘I am innocent of this woman’s death!’ At which all the people turned to him and asked, ‘What do you mean by these words?’ Standing in the middle of the crowd he replied, ‘Are you so stupid, sons of Israel, as to condemn a daughter of Israel unheard, and without troubling to find out the truth? Go back to the scene of the trial: these men have given false evidence against her.’

  All the people hurried back, and the elders said to Daniel, ‘Come and sit with us and tell us what you mean, since God has given you the gifts that elders have.’ Daniel said, ‘Keep the men well apart from each other for I want to question them.’ When the men had been separated, Daniel had one of them brought to him. ‘You have grown old in wickedness,’ he said ‘and now the sins of your earlier days have overtaken you, you with your unjust judgements, your condemnation of the innocent, your acquittal of guilty men, when the Lord has said, “You must not put the innocent and the just to death.” Now then, since you saw her so clearly, tell me what tree you saw them lying under?’ He replied, ‘Under a mastic tree.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God has already received your sentence from him and will slash you in half.’ He dismissed the man, ordered the other to be brought and said to him, ‘Spawn of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you, lust has led your heart astray! This is how you have been behaving with the daughters of Israel and they were too frightened to resist; but here is a daughter of Judah who could not stomach your wickedness! Now then, tell me what tree you surprised them under?’ He replied, ‘Under a holm oak.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God is waiting, with a sword to drive home and split you, and destroy the pair of you.’

  Then the whole assembly shouted, blessing God, the saviour of those who trust in him. And they turned on the two elders whom Daniel had convicted of false evidence out of their own mouths. As prescribed in the Law of Moses, they sentenced them to the same punishment as they had intended to inflict on their neighbour. They put them to death; the life of an innocent woman was spared that day.

Gospel
John 8:12-20

Jesus said to the people:
‘I am the light of the world;
anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark; he will have the light of life.’

At this the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’
Jesus replied:

‘It is true that I am testifying on my own behalf, but my testimony is still valid, because I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

You judge by human standards; I judge no one,
but if I judge, my judgement will be sound, because I am not alone: the one who sent me is with me; and in your Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid.

I may be testifying on my own behalf, but the Father who sent me is my witness too.’

They asked him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered:

‘You do not know me, nor do you know my Father; if you did know me, you would know my Father as well.’

He spoke these words in the Treasury, while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him, because his time had not yet come.

Casting Stones

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

Casting Stones
++++++++++++

John 8:7 As they persisted with their question he looked up at them and said, “If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

How quick are we to cast stones of various shapes, colour and sizes at others. He/she said this about someone else when he /she should be looking at himself /herself! The Church is full of hypocrites that is why I either don’t go or I keep to myself! He thinks and acts so holy now but wait to I tell you about his past! She committed adultery and had an abortion, she still dares to show herself in church?! I have come a long way in my journey but he who has journeyed with me is still so far behind! Stones, stones and more stones!

Consider the sinner, for we are all the adulterous woman! When we allow the desires and temptations of the world to overcome us. And we become unfaithful to God. Place yourself in the story, what is going through your mind?

+ Your heinous sins are brought to light and you are shamed in front of everyone.

+ You are all alone and frightened, soon to face certain death. Where is the man who was just as culpable as you and deserved to be stoned alongside you? Why do you have to face the mob alone?

+ Even though you are contrite of heart and spirit you see no way out of this situation. This is truly condemnation…

+ Then you witness the wisdom of God who finds a way when there is no way for man

+ He alone who could cast the stone at you chooses instead to restore his adulteress bride to holiness. He chose to lay down his life for her so that she may live and be spotless.

Lord Jesus may the only stones I cast be Holy ones of faith against evil and sin. Amen

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 12, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Something New: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings:
Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalms 126:1-6
Philippians 3:8-14
John 8:1-11

The Liturgy this Lent has shown us the God of the Exodus. He is a mighty and gracious God, Who out of faithfulness to His covenant has done “great things” for His people, as today’s Psalm puts it.
But the “things of long ago,” Isaiah tells us in today’s First Reading, are nothing compared to the “something new” that He will do in the future.

Today’s First Reading and Psalm look back to the marvelous deeds of the Exodus. Both see in the Exodus a pattern and prophecy of the future, when God will restore the fortunes of His people fallen in sin. The readings today look forward to a still greater Exodus, when God will gather in the exiled tribes of Israel which had been scattered to the four winds, the ends of the earth.

The new Exodus that Israel waited and hoped for has come in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Like the adulterous woman in today’s Gospel, all have been spared by the Lord’s compassion. All have heard His words of forgiveness, His urging to repentance, to be sinners no more. Like Paul in today’s Epistle, Christ has taken possession of every one, claimed each as a child of our heavenly Father.

In the Church, God has formed a people for Himself to announce His praise, just as Isaiah said He would. And as Isaiah promised, He has given His “chosen people” living waters to drink in the desert wastelands of the world (see John 7:37-39).

But our God is ever a God of the future, not of the past. We are to live with hopeful hearts, “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead,” as Paul tells us. His salvation, Paul says, is power in the present, “the power of His resurrection.”

We are to live awaiting a still greater and final Exodus, pursuing “the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling,” striving in faith to attain the last new thing God promises – “the resurrection of the dead.”
 

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What crime did Jesus commit? Why was he condemned? For speaking the truth? For healing at the wrong time? Wrong place? For claiming to be the Son of God? He was innocent and yet brutally murdered for his ‘crimes’!

Are we any less vindictive when someone speaks the truth? To us or about us? How do we react when someone who cares speaks to us about Jesus? Or about the need for us to reconciled with God? Do we tell them to mind their own business?! Do we murder the spirit of those sent to us?

What do we do if we are at the receiving end?

Trust in God alone, trust in His wisdom and love for you. In the shadow of His wings He will keep you safe.

Jesus I trust in You! Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 11:18-20

The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned. O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

Gospel
John 7:40-52

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.

  The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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If we go about our daily lives without joy in our hearts, see only gloom and despair. We find our selves plotting against someone whom we either dislike or have hurt us in someway. Then these are sure signs we have either drifted from our Lord or have no real knowledge and relationship with Him.

For to know Jesus is to love Him.  Our relationship with Him is what brings us peace and joy.  For it is through Him we experience the great mercy and love of our Heavenly Father.

So let us turn to Him for forgiveness. Let us use the wonderful gifts of love, the Sacrament of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist to draw ever closer to Him.  And to hear His Word and Will for us through scripture and an open heart desiring to love and serve Him.

Jesus my Lord, draw me closer to You this day and everyday. Amen

First reading
Wisdom 2:1,12-22

The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning:

‘Our life is short and dreary,
nor is there any relief when man’s end comes, nor is anyone known who can give release from Hades.

Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our breaches of the law and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.

He claims to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a son of the Lord.

Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down; his way of life is not like other men’s, the paths he treads are unfamiliar.

In his opinion we are counterfeit; he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth; he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as happy and boasts of having God for his father.

Let us see if what he says is true, let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.

If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.

Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his endurance to the proof.

Let us condemn him to a shameful death since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

This is the way they reason, but they are misled, their malice makes them blind.

They do not know the hidden things of God, they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded, they can see no reward for blameless souls.

Gospel
John 7:1-2,10,25-30

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.

  As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.

  Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:

‘Yes, you know me and you know where I came from.

Yet I have not come of myself:
no, there is one who sent me
and I really come from him,
and you do not know him,
but I know him because I have come from him and it was he who sent me.’

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

A little about Our Christian Community

Posted: March 10, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Our History
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The group started somewhere in 2010 a year after Seth and Bryan’s first Holy Communion and it was then called CNC 500 (Christian neighbourhood community) not officially registered with our parish till much later.

About a year or two later the name was changed to CNC 500 LTW to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the CNC 500 groups.

The main focus of the group was to build up our faith as a small group and to support one another in our faith journey.

Three main families made up the group (Juan’s, Irene’s and ours) with one or two more joining us occasionally. (Grace’s and Johana’s)

When we first started it was definitely a struggle because none of us at that time was well versed in scripture nor did we know each other very well. Moreover we all had our own busy schedules to keep. But the Lord kept us together and we saw the spiritual growth and love for one another.

Soon it was time to invite a few more but only a handful responded.Two or three who did respond stuck with us as the months passed because they too started experiencing the joy of our Lord present with His community. John one of our avid members felt prompted to start his own group which he did successfully.Still he finds time to join his LTW family whenever he is able to.

As we all journeyed on together we felt the love between all of us grow as the group sharings too became very personal.The sharing of our joys, sorrows, difficulties and personal testimonies of how our Lord has touched us in our lives; help our faith grow exponentially.

It is with this faith and desire to grow deeper in every aspect that it was time as a group to be more inclusive and inviting. We could not remain or be seen as exclusive if we truly wanted to be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And that is how we have become what we are today. A SCC (small Christian community) striving to daily live the word of God.By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we will continue to grow and lead one another closer towards our heavenly inheritance.

Our Mission And Prayer
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We are many parts with many gifts and talents but One Body in Christ Jesus our Lord. We live not for ourselves but for one another with full knowledge that there is no communion without sacrifice. God our Father’s love for us is such that He Wills the good in us. So too do we live and love in that same manner, willing the good in others. We are a family striving each day to live the Word of God our Father in our daily lives. We encourage and support one another knowing that our Lord Jesus is with us every step of the way. His peace, love mercy and grace is upon us. Now and forever. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do not rationalise with sin or be tempted to use personal wisdom and logic to dissuade you from following the truth.

Neither should you be content to put your faith in men or trophies to bring you happiness. Do not break the heart of the Lord Your God, who wills not that you should perish into nothingness by your heinous choices to sin.

Put all your faith and trust in the Lord Your God whom has sent the greatest sign of His love for us; Jesus His only begotten Son our Lord and Saviour.  For to believe in Him and His Word is to have eternal life. 

Lord Jesus, You truly are the bread of life who nourishes me. I place all my faith and trust in You. Glory to You O Lord. Amen

First reading
Exodus 32:7-14

The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’

  But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’

  So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Gospel
John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘Were I to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid; but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf, and I know that his testimony is valid.

You sent messengers to John,
and he gave his testimony to the truth: not that I depend on human testimony; no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.

John was a lamp alight and shining and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.

But my testimony is greater than John’s: the works my Father has given me to carry out, these same works of mine testify that the Father has sent me.

Besides, the Father who sent me bears witness to me himself.

You have never heard his voice, you have never seen his shape, and his word finds no home in you because you do not believe in the one he has sent.

‘You study the scriptures,
believing that in them you have eternal life; now these same scriptures testify to me,
and yet you refuse to come to me for life!

As for human approval, this means nothing to me.

Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.

I have come in the name of my Father and you refuse to accept me; if someone else comes in his own name you will accept him.

How can you believe, since you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that comes from the one God?

Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father: you place your hopes on Moses, and Moses will be your accuser.

If you really believed him you would believe me too, since it was I that he was writing about; but if you refuse to believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What else can be said of the mercy and love of God our Father that will convince you? Who’s love goes beyond the sacred bond between a mother and a child. That even if in the rare event that she should forget you; her child, God our Father will never ever forget you!

What else can be said of God our Father’s ultimate gift of love, His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? That will move your heart? Who came not to judge us sinners lest we are damned, but to lead us home to His Father. Who would pay the price of his life to purchase our salvation. Jesus pleads with us to turn away from our sins, to be faithful to the Gospels. For He seeks to reconcile us with His loving and merciful Father. So that we might live life to the full and be fruitful.

Lord Jesus I honour, praise and worship You as my Lord and God! Have mercy on me a sinner. Lead me Lord, lead me.  Amen

First reading
Isaiah 49:8-15

Thus says the Lord:

At the favourable time I will answer you, on the day of salvation I will help you.
(I have formed you and have appointed you as covenant of the people.)

I will restore the land and assign you the estates that lie waste.I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’, to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

On every roadway they will graze, and each bare height shall be their pasture.

They will never hunger or thirst, scorching wind and sun shall never plague them; for he who pities them will lead them and guide them to springs of water.

I will make a highway of all the mountains, and the high roads shall be banked up.
Some are on their way from afar, others from the north and the west, others from the land of Sinim.

Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth! You mountains, break into happy cries!

For the Lord consoles his people and takes pity on those who are afflicted.

For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me.’

Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb?

Yet even if these forget,
I will never forget you.

Gospel
John 5:17-30

Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.

  To this accusation Jesus replied: ‘I tell you most solemnly, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too.

For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything he does himself, and he will show him even greater things than these, works that will astonish you.

Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses; for the Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father.

Whoever refuses honour to the Son refuses honour to the Father who sent him.

I tell you most solemnly,
whoever listens to my words,
and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life; without being brought to judgement he has passed from death to life.

I tell you most solemnly, the hour will come – in fact it is here already – when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live.

For the Father, who is the source of life, has made the Son the source of life; and, because he is the Son of Man,
has appointed him supreme judge.

Do not be surprised at this,
for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their grave at the sound of his voice: those who did good will rise again to life; and those who did evil, to condemnation.

I can do nothing by myself;
I can only judge as I am told to judge, and my judging is just, because my aim is to do not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do you want to be restored? Do you want to be made whole again? The Lord is asking? Surely Lord you may say, why the need to ask Lord?

For there are some who do not yet have knowledge of Him. And it is an invitation to faith and love which is never compelled. It requires an affirmation to continue to strive for holiness and free from sin.  There are those however who rather remain in their sin. For they have grown accustomed to it. There are also a sad lot who readily sees sin in others even finding fault when there is none but are blind to their own sins. The invitation of our Lord falls on their dear ears.

Jesus walks amongst us sinners holding out His hand wanting to heal and restore us. The blood and water outpoured from His side for the redemption of all who turn to and desire the mercy of the Lord our God. And whomever believes in Him will live their lives to the full with and in Him.

Thank You Jesus for being this day with us. Through Your Church we have teeming life and fruitful abundance. Thank You for Your Holy Sacraments which continually restore and nourish us. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ezekiel 47:1-9,12

The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. The man went to the east holding his measuring line and measured off a thousand cubits; he then made me wade across the stream; the water reached my ankles. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my knees. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across again; the water reached my waist. He measured off another thousand; it was now a river which I could not cross; the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross. He then said, ‘Do you see, son of man?’ He took me further, then brought me back to the bank of the river. When I got back, there were many trees on each bank of the river. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

Gospel
John 5:1-3,5-16

There was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now at the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem there is a building, called Bethzatha in Hebrew, consisting of five porticos; and under these were crowds of sick people – blind, lame, paralysed – waiting for the water to move; One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in this condition for a long time, he said, ‘Do you want to be well again?’ ‘Sir,’ replied the sick man ‘I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I am still on the way, someone else gets there before me.’ Jesus said, ‘Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.’ The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away.

  Now that day happened to be the sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; you are not allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.’ He replied, ‘But the man who cured me told me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”’ They asked, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Pick up your mat and walk”?’ The man had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that filled the place. After a while Jesus met him in the Temple and said, ‘Now you are well again, be sure not to sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.’ The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had cured him. It was because he did things like this on the sabbath that the Jews began to persecute Jesus.

Prouderstill Son

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

Everyone knows the story about the prodigal son. But what about his prouder still son? The elder one? What was wrong with him?

+ Based on Jewish law and traditions the eldest son would get 2/3 of everything upon his father’s passing while 1/3 would be shared among the rest of the family members. Which in this instance would be everything for this elder son.

+ He was disrespectful to his Father when he said “your son” instead of addressing his younger brother as such. And refusing to come in at the request of his father.

+ He accuses his brother of whom he obviously does not care for, of having fraternized with harlots though there was no mention of it. So perhaps he himself fantasized about doing so.

+ He whines about not been given anything by his father but who then fed, clothed and sheltered him? And provided for whatever else he needed?

+ he obviously does not see himself as part of the family, as his father’s son but as someone who deserves more for doing more.

This part of the lesson was targeted at the Pharisees and scribes who’s theology was that if all sinners would just be obedient and follow the laws for just half an hour. The Messiah would come or rather show himself as promised. And so they detested all sinners whom they saw as the ones preventing the coming of the Messiah.

In their hardness of hearts how could they see that the Messiah had come? It was Jesus who sat and dined with sinners.

In this story the merciful Father who represents our merciful Father in heaven is inviting the sinner to come and partake of the heavenly feast. To be reconciled with both his brother and Father. And what does the elder son do? He refuses to go in! Just like the Pharisees and scribes who rejected Jesus. Are we then any different? Are we merciful towards our brethren? Especially those who have sinned against us?

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do not let impatience, pride and unforgiveness rob you of the joy the Lord has given you.  Think of trials that may come as opportunities to draw closer to Him. 

Invite the Lord with gladness to come deeply into our hearts, into our lives. And He will restore all that is lost. Fill the void and bring healing to all who needs it.

Jesus heal my brokenness, restore what is lost in me. That I may ever sing Your praises with a gladden heart. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 65:17-21

Thus says the Lord: Now I create new heavens and a new earth, and the past will not be remembered, and will come no more to men’s minds. Be glad and rejoice for ever and ever for what I am creating, because I now create Jerusalem ‘Joy’ and her people ‘Gladness.’ I shall rejoice over Jerusalem and exult in my people. No more will the sound of weeping or the sound of cries be heard in her; in her, no more will be found the infant living a few days only, or the old man not living to the end of his days. To die at the age of a hundred will be dying young; not to live to be a hundred will be the sign of a curse. They will build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

Gospel
John 4:43-54

Jesus left Samaria for Galilee. He himself had declared that there is no respect for a prophet in his own country, but on his arrival the Galileans received him well, having seen all that he had done at Jerusalem during the festival which they too had attended.

  He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a court official there whose son was ill at Capernaum and, hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judaea, he went and asked him to come and cure his son as he was at the point of death. Jesus said, ‘So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!’ ‘Sir,’ answered the official ‘come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go home,’ said Jesus ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way; and while he was still on the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive. He asked them when the boy had begun to recover. ‘The fever left him yesterday’ they said ‘at the seventh hour.’ The father realised that this was exactly the time when Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live’; and he and all his household believed.

  This was the second sign given by Jesus, on his return from Judaea to Galilee.

As I kneel before you Lord

Posted: March 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Prayers

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I pray to remain steadfast in my faith and love for You.
I pray for strength and courage to do what You Will me to.
I pray for Your peace to reign in the world.
Bless my family, friends and enemies. Amen

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 5, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Found Alive Again:Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings:
Joshua 5:9-12
Psalms 34:2-7
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13).

Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.

In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the prodigal, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.

Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.

But only He can remove the reproach, restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us – like the prodigal –  to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.

God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”

The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.

Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.
 

On Today’s Gospel

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

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We all need the mercy of God in our lives. For without His mercy and grace we are lost. It is neither owed to us nor can it be purchased with lip service. Even the upright and righteous are doomed if they have not love in their hearts.

The face of God shines upon the man who humbles himself before the Lord. And with that same loving humility, serves the least of his brethren with a joyful heart.

O merciful and loving Lord, take away from me what is not worthy of You. Have mercy on me a sinner. And guide always my mouth my hands and feet, that I may serve You in humility and love. All the days of my life. Amen

First reading
Hosea 5:15-6:6

The Lord says this:

They will search for me in their misery.

‘Come, let us return to the Lord.

He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds; after a day or two he will bring us back to life,
on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence.

Let us set ourselves to know the Lord; that he will come is as certain as the dawn his judgement will rise like the light, he will come to us as showers come, like spring rains watering the earth.’

What am I to do with you, Ephraim?

What am I to do with you, Judah?

This love of yours is like a morning cloud, like the dew that quickly disappears.

This is why I have torn them to pieces by the prophets, why I slaughtered them with the words from my mouth, since what I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Gospel
Luke 18:9-14

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Nobody appreciates what I do for them. How much time and effort I’ve put into the work for the home,, office and Church. People are so free either with their criticism or excuses not to assist.

The question really is whom are you trying to please? Whom does the work belong? Why seek to please men instead of God alone? Let not sin blind you to His infinite love for you. Seek first His Kingdom and  righteousness. And all these things will be added unto you. Matt 6:33

To love God with your all is to love the source of life itself. The creator of all things visible and invisible. What greater love is there than between man and God?

Lord Jesus You are the vine that I attach myself to.  Keep me firmly rooted in Your love. Amen

First reading
Hosea 14:2-10

The Lord says this:
Israel, come back to the Lord your God; your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.

Provide yourself with words and come back to the Lord.

Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away so that we may have happiness again and offer you our words of praise.

Assyria cannot save us, we will not ride horses any more, or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made, for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned from them.

I will fall like dew on Israel.

He shall bloom like the lily,
and thrust out roots like the poplar, his shoots will spread far; he will have the beauty of the olive and the fragrance of Lebanon.

They will come back to live in my shade; they will grow corn that flourishes, they will cultivate vines as renowned as the wine of Helbon.

What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?

I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.

Let the wise man understand these words.

Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.

For the ways of the Lord are straight, and virtuous men walk in them, but sinners stumble.

Gospel
Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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As we pass halfway through our Lenten journey let us soldier onward. Let us march forward together my fellow Christian brothers and sisters helping one another. Picking one another up as we fall. For evil then will have no hold over us. It that seeks to scatter us will fail. For we have Christ with us.

No more shall we allow the devil to silence us. To be it’s puppet. No more shall we be divided, moving aimlessly in every direction. No more tyranny, hate and unforgiveness!

Jesus our Lord reigns in our hearts. And we are One in Him as we are One with one another. The love and Grace of God our Father is upon us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 7:23-28

These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets.

  But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.”

Gospel
Luke 11:14-23

Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – Since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

  ‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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The laws of our loving Father in Heaven are signposts that keeps us on the right path back to Him. They enable us to live as one united in and with Him.

Through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ the laws are in our minds and written on our hearts. So that we might know them through our conscience. Jesus has established the new and everlasting covenant so that we, who are God our Father’s children can live with Him eternally.

We are given a choice and it is ours alone to make. Let us choose to live faithfully, with and in Him; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Deuteronomy 4:1,5-9

Moses said to the people:

  ‘Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you.

  ‘See, as the Lord my God has commanded me, I teach you the laws and customs that you are to observe in the land you are to enter and make your own. Keep them, observe them, and they will demonstrate to the peoples your wisdom and understanding. When they come to know of all these laws they will exclaim, “No other people is as wise and prudent as this great nation.” And indeed, what great nation is there that has its gods so near as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to him? And what great nation is there that has laws and customs to match this whole Law that I put before you today?

  ‘But take care what you do and be on your guard. Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children’s children.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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The panic that grips you when you’ve lost something very important such as your wallet.  Or the fear of losing someone important in your life. Well that should be magnified when you lose your relationship with the Lord your God. For nothing or no one is more important.

In His great mercy and love, a humble contrite spirit He will not spurn. There is nothing so heinous He will not forgive; so long as we return to Him and walk in His ways. O how our heart sings with joy! when the heavy burdens of our sins are lifted.

How then can we withhold forgiveness when our Lord so readily forgives us? How can we not seek to mend broken relationships and let the burdens be lifted? To allow the love of Christ to reign in our hearts.

Lord Jesus just as You readily forgive me seventy seven times. Let me do likewise for my brethren. Amen

First reading
Daniel 3:25,34-43

Azariah stood in the heart of the fire, and he began to pray:

Oh! Do not abandon us for ever, for the sake of your name;

do not repudiate your covenant, do not withdraw your favour from us,

for the sake of Abraham, your friend, of Isaac your servant,
and of Israel your holy one,

to whom you promised descendants as countless as the stars of heaven and as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Lord, now we are the least of all the nations, now we are despised throughout the world, today, because of our sins.

We have at this time no leader, no prophet, no prince,
no holocaust, no sacrifice, no oblation, no incense, no place where we can offer you the firstfruits and win your favour.

But may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit be as acceptable to you as holocausts of rams and bullocks, as thousands of fattened lambs:

such let our sacrifice be to you today, and may it be your will that we follow you wholeheartedly, since those who put their trust in you will not be disappointed.

And now we put our whole heart into following you, into fearing you and seeking your face once more.

Do not disappoint us; treat us gently, as you yourself are gentleand very merciful.

Grant us deliverance worthy of your wonderful deeds,
let your name win glory, Lord

Gospel
Matthew 18:21-35

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.

  ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’