Archive for March, 2016

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.