Archive for April, 2016

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 30, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Counsel of Jerusalem: 
Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
John 14:23-29

The first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem we hear about in today’s First Reading, decided the shape of the Church as we know it.

Some Jewish Christians had wanted Gentile converts to be circumcised and obey all the complex ritual and purity laws of the Jews.

The council called this a heresy, again showing us that the Church in the divine plan is meant to be a worldwide family of God, no longer a covenant with just one nation.

Today’s Liturgy gives us a profound meditation on the nature and meaning of the Church.

The Church is One, as we see in the First Reading: “the Apostles [bishops] and presbyters [priests], in agreement with the whole Church [laity].”

The Church is Holy, taught and guided by the Spirit that Jesus promises the Apostles in the Gospel.

The Church is Catholic, or universal, making known God’s ways of salvation to all peoples, ruling all in equity, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

And the Church, as John sees in the Second Reading, is Apostolic – founded on the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

All these marks of the Church are underscored in the story of the council.

Notice that everybody, including Paul, looks to “Jerusalem [and] …the Apostles” to decide the Church’s true teaching. The Apostles, too, presume that Christian teachers need a “mandate from us.”

And we see the Spirit guiding the Apostles in all truth. Notice how they describe their ruling: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us.”

Knowing these truths about the Church, our hearts should never be troubled. The Liturgy’s message today is that the Church is the Lord’s, watched over and guarded by the Advocate, the Holy Spirit sent by the Father in the name of the Son.

This should fill us with confidence, free us to worship with exultation, inspire us to rededicate our lives to His Name – to love Jesus in our keeping of His Word, to rejoice that He and the Father in the Spirit have made their dwelling with us.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What do we stand to gain if we have the whole world but forfeit our souls?

The soul of a disciple of Jesus is one that bears the heart and mind of the Master he serves, his friend. Both are not of this World. And though a disciple lives in the world his sight is set on the Kingdom to come.

So on his pilgrim journey home he takes on the yoke of Christ his Master serving his brethren with joy. He does whatever is  necessary even if it means  personal sacrifice, to bring the message of God’s love made visible by Christ to all.

Jesus my Lord and Saviour, through You I can call out Abba to whom I love and worship. Help me be Holy and one with You. Amen

First reading
Acts 16:1-10

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.

  As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.

  So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.

  They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.

  One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.

Gospel
John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you.

If you belonged to the world,
the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world, therefore the world hates you.

Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

But it will be on my account that they will do all this, because they do not know the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Loving and forgiving is our Lord.  Whose love liberates and heals. A love of one that would lay down his own life for a friend. And He calls us friends because we have listened to His Word.

What kind of love then do we offer one another? Or our neighbour? Is our love modeled after our master of whom we love and serve? Or someone or something else?

In order for us to bear fruit through and for the love of Christ; we must come out of our comfort zones to go forth. To share His love amidst challenges even trials. Let us move onwards to bring His love to the least of our brethren.  Lord be with us always… Amen

First reading
Acts 15:22-31

The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:

  ‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’

  The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Gospel
John 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘This is my commandment:
love one another, as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends, if you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master’s business;

I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me: no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you is to love one another.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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The ability to discern the will of God comes from a deep knowledge of His Word through the Holy Scriptures and a relationship in His love. For which we are united in Him through faith, obedience and love for one another.

We are all called to shepherd His flock. Let us do so by always seeking to do His Will.  And with the joy of the resurrected Lord in our hearts. By our love, all will know that we are disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Acts 15:7-21

After the discussion had gone on a long time, Peter stood up and addressed the apostles and the elders.

  ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the pagans were to learn the Good News from me and so become believers. In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith. It would only provoke God’s anger now, surely, if you imposed on the disciples the very burden that neither we nor our ancestors were strong enough to support? Remember, we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.’

  This silenced the entire assembly, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the pagans.

  When they had finished it was James who spoke. ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘listen to me. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:

After that I shall return and rebuild the fallen House of David; I shall rebuild it from its ruins and restore it.

Then the rest of mankind, all the pagans who are consecrated to my name, will look for the Lord, says the Lord who made this known so long ago.

‘I rule, then, that instead of making things more difficult for pagans who turn to God, we send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from fornication, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has always had his preachers in every town, and is read aloud in the synagogues every sabbath.’

Gospel
John 15:9-11

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Have you ever thought about just how wonderful it is to belong to a Church that has stood the test of time? How did it accomplish this when we are of very diverse backgrounds, race, language, culture, thinking and so on?

It is Jesus Christ our Lord who unites us all. We are truly one body in Him. We have Shepherds who when face an uncertainty, new challenge or disagreement; will come together and invite the Holy Spirit so that in their dialogue they draw the wisdom, courage and strength from the Lord our God.

Jesus my Lord, grant that I may always remain rooted to and in You. Let Your Word continue to inspire me that I may in turn inspire many to rejoice in the knowledge of You. Amen

First reading
Acts 15:1-6

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.

  All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.

  But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

Gospel
John 15:1-8

Jesus said: ‘I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.

You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.

Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.

As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches.

Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.

Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.

It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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O Sweet Jesus my Lord and God! Indeed the precious gift of Your peace is far greater than all the riches in the world and worlds over. I long for Your peace to reign in my heart.

It is the grace of Your peace that enabled St Paul to get up and move onwards after being betrayed and stoned. To continue with his mission to create and empower new disciples for You. The same peace shared by all Your disciples. So that all may share in the good news of God’s love for His children that He wills they be with Him forevermore.

What then could trouble my heart? For in your peace, I am comforted in knowing that no trials, challenges, sufferings or even death can separate me from Your love. Amen

First reading
Acts 14:19-28

Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and turned the people against the apostles. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went off to Derbe.

  Having preached the Good News in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

  They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.

  On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

Gospel
John 14:27-31

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe.

I shall not talk with you any longer, because the prince of this world is on his way.

He has no power over me, but the world must be brought to know that I love the Father and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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We sometimes have grandeur notions that we have all the answers. That we know best our gifts, talents and the way to put them to proper use. Even ‘helping’ those who choose to be lost so that they might find their way.  How about those who cannot fend for themselves? Those who don’t know if they will have food the next day? Those in dire need of spiritual healing? Liberation? Then what happens when we are faced with these many challenges, trials and sufferings?

We need to acknowledge that all our wisdom, knowledge and strengths comes from the Lord our God. And so when we unite our wills with His Will, we are destined to do great things in His name.  So that the salvific name of Jesus who brings new life to all who believe in Him, will live long in the hearts of His people for all generations to come.

Glory be to our Risen Lord, our Father in Heaven and the Holy Spirit.  May His love reign in our hearts for one another. Amen

First reading
1 Peter 5:5-14

All wrap yourselves in humility to be servants of each other, because God refuses the proud and will always favour the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God now, and he will raise you up on the appointed day; unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.

  I write these few words to you through Silvanus, who is a brother I know I can trust, to encourage you never to let go this true grace of God to which I bear witness.

  Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark.

  Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Gospel
Mark 16:15-20

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’

  And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 23, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

New For All Ages: 
Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 14:21-27
Psalm 145:8-13
Revelation 21:1-5
John 13:31-35

By God’s goodness and compassion, the doors of His kingdom have been opened to all who have faith, Jew or Gentile.

That’s the good news Paul and Barnabas proclaim in today’s First Reading. With the coming of the Church – the new Jerusalem John sees in today’s Second Reading – God is “making all things new.”

In His Church, the “old order” of death is passing away and God for all time is making His dwelling with the human race, so that all peoples “will be His people and God Himself will always be with them.” In this the promises made through His prophets are accomplished (see Ezekiel 37:27; Isaiah 25:8; 35:10).

The Church is “the kingdom for all ages” that we sing of in today’s Psalm. That’s why we see the Apostles, under the guidance of the Spirit, ordaining “presbyters” or priests (see 1 Timothy 4:14; Titus 1:5).

Anointed priests and bishops will be the Apostles’ successors, ensuring that the Church’s “dominion endures through generations” (see Philippians 1:1, note that the New American Bible translates Episcopois, the Greek word for bishops, as “overseers”).

Until the end of time, the Church will declare to the world God’s mighty deeds, blessing His holy name and giving Him thanks, singing of the glories of His kingdom.

In His Church, we know ourselves as His “faithful ones,” as those Jesus calls “My little children” in today’s Gospel. We live by the new law, the “new commandment” that He gave in His final hours.

The love He commands of us is no human love but a supernatural love. We love each other as Jesus loved us in suffering and dying for us. We love in imitation of His love.

This kind of love is only made possible by the Spirit poured into our hearts at Baptism (see Romans 5:5), renewed in the sacrifice His priests offer in every Mass.

By our love we glorify the Father. And by our love all peoples will know that we are His people, that He is our God.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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We too are likewise called to be a light for all nations, so that our Lord’s salvation may reach the ends of the earth.

It begins with a humble disposition towards service. One that wills the good in another. To be the face and hands of Christ of whom we serve. For then to see us is to see Him and to see Him is to see our heavenly Father. And so we have a great responsibility on our shoulders. Even amidst rejection and challenges, we are set apart for success. For His grace is upon us; And He will provide all we need to build His Kingdom.

Lord Jesus I am your disciple, by my love for You and for my brethren. All will know this. Amen

First reading
Acts 13:44-52

The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled mainline few hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:

I have made you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’

It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.

  But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Gospel
John 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If you know me, you know my Father too.

From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’

  ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father, so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.

You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.

I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.

Whatever you ask for in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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In this complex world we live in, let us embrace and hold in our hearts the one simple truth.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

What blinds men and women of God to the truth? Ambition? Jealousy? Difference of opinion? Money? Number of followers? Recognition? 

How do you share or preach the Word of God if you do not live it out in love? Who would want to listen?

Love for the Word of God should drive us daily to share the one truth! Jesus Christ is Lord and by His life, death and resurrection had conquered death and sin. Through Him we are saved. Through Him we are renewed children of God our Father.

Lord Jesus though my heart is sometimes troubled by what goes on in the world. Let me turn to You always for I trust in You. My Lord and my God… Amen

First reading
Acts 13:26-33

Paul stood up in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

  ‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you. What the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did, though they did not realise it, was in fact to fulfil the prophecies read on every sabbath. Though they found nothing to justify his death, they condemned him and asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree and buried him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem: and it is these same companions of his who are now his witnesses before our people.

  ‘We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead. As scripture says in the second psalm: You are my son: today I have become your father.

Gospel
John 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me.

There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am
you may be too.

You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Oh what joy it is to learn today about what it means to be a servant leader with the heart of and for Jesus.

The care, love we must have for others and the humility of heart to put that love into action. And to share with conviction, the message of God our Father’s great love for us. Through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in whom we are saved; to live life with and in Him.

Lord Jesus grant me a hospitable and humble heart, to always welcome the stranger and friend alike in my midst. To speak to them of Your love. And to serve them according to Your Will.  Amen

First reading
Acts 13:13-25

Paul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, please do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

  ‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’

Gospel
John 13:16-20

After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:

‘I tell you most solemnly, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.

‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled:Someone who shares my table rebels against me.

‘I tell you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe that I am He.

I tell you most solemnly, whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Which would you prefer? Many telling you what to do, advising you on how to live. Yet most are different and conflicting? Or listening to one gentle voice, who will lead you to the fullness of life? The voice belonging to the Son of the living God; our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is only one God, one faith and one Baptism.

Through the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus; the Holy Spirit comes to guide, counsel and instruct us to the way of truth and life. And to bring it forth with joy to others. While it is true the Holy Spirit blows where it Wills, the breath of the Holy Spirit brings about order, structure and peace.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever
Amen

First reading
Acts 12:24-13:5

The word of God continued to spread and to gain followers. Barnabas and Saul completed their task and came back from Jerusalem, bringing John Mark with them.

  In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

  So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; John acted as their assistant.

Gospel
John 12:44-50

Jesus declared publicly:

‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me.

I, the light, have come into the world, so that whoever believes in me need not stay in the dark any more.

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,
it is not I who shall condemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world.

He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

For what I have spoken does not come from myself; no, what I was to say, what I had to speak, was commanded by the Father who sent me, and I know that his commands mean eternal life.

And therefore what the Father has told me is what I speak.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What does it mean to be Christian? Is it to belong to an exclusive membership? To be licenced to wear memorabilia around our necks? To network so as to have many friends and contacts around the world? To pay it safe in case it were true that Christians will go to heaven? Seriously?

Being Christian is about putting Christ first in our lives! In anything and everything we say and do. We are about saving souls; by sharing the good news of our salvation and for journeying with the least of our brethren. We bring light to darkness, hope, healing, peace and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If we wear the crucifix, it is a reminder and sign of God’s tremendous love for us. And we carry it our hearts and in whatever we do for Him and His flock.  We are one Body, one community with Jesus as our head. And we affirm one another through the testimonies we share with and in Him as we continue on each day on our pilgrim journey.

Jesus You are my shepherd, I hear Your voice and I follow You. Amen

First reading
Acts 11:19-26

Those who had escaped during the persecution that happened because of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they usually proclaimed the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

  The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.

  Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’

Gospel
John 10:22-30

It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus replied:

‘I have told you, but you do not believe.

The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine.

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.

The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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There is only one way to experience life to the full and then eternal life with our Lord and God. Through  our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And this Good News is not to be guarded like some deep secret but to shared with all believers and non believers alike. Nothing material should prevent us from fellowship with His children. And we who hear His voice are called to lead His flock.

Do not be fooled by the lures of the world; promising paradise. Many will try to rob you of the joy you already possess in knowing our resurrected Lord. While others are prevented from even knowing about Him.  Take courage, have faith and be strong. For His Holy Spirit is upon us to lead and guide us home to Him.

Jesus, You are way, the Truth and Life. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 11:1-18

The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that the pagans too had accepted the word of God, and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the Jews criticised him and said, ‘So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them, have you?’ Peter in reply gave them the details point by point: ‘One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,’ he began ‘I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet reached the ground quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw all sorts of animals and wild beasts – everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Now, Peter; kill and eat!” But I answered: Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips. And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.” This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.

  ‘Just at that moment, three men stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me, and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going back with them. The six brothers here came with me as well, and we entered the man’s house. He told us he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, “Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon known as Peter; he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household.”

  ‘I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning, and I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” I realised then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?’

  This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God. ‘God’ they said ‘can evidently grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life.’

Gospel
John 10:1-10

Jesus said: ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’

  Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.

  So Jesus spoke to them again:

‘I tell you most solemnly, I am the gate of the sheepfold.

All others who have come are thieves and brigands; but the sheep took no notice of them.

I am the gate.

Anyone who enters through me will be safe: he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

Fourth Sunday in Easter

Posted: April 16, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Shepherd and the Lamb:Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Easter

Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalm 100:1-3, 5
Revelation 7:9,14-17
John 10:27-30
 

Israel’s mission – to be God’s instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 49:6) – is fulfilled in the Church.

By the “Word of God” that Paul and Barnabas preach in today’s First Reading, a new covenant people is being born, a people who glorify the God of Israel as the Father of them all.

The Church for all generations remains faithful to the grace of God given to the Apostles, continues their saving work.

Through the Church, the peoples of every land hear the Shepherd’s voice, and follow Him (see Luke 10:16).

The Good Shepherd of today’s Gospel is the enthroned Lamb of today’s Second Reading. 
In laying down His life for His flock, the Lamb brought to pass a new Passover (see 1 Corinthians 5:7), by His blood freeing “every nation, race, people and tongue” from bondage to sin and death.

The Church is the “great multitude” John sees in his vision today. God swore to Abraham his descendants would be too numerous to count. And in the Church, as John sees, this promise is fulfilled (compare Revelation 7:9; Genesis 15:5).

The Lamb rules from the throne of God, sheltering His flock, feeding their hunger with His own Body and Blood, leading them to “springs of life-giving waters” that well up to eternal life (see John 4:14).

The Lamb is the eternal Shepherd-King, the son of David foretold by the prophets. His Church is the Kingdom of all Israel that the prophets said would be restored in an everlasting covenant (see Ezekiel 34:23-31; 37:23-28).

It is not a kingdom any tribe or nation can jealously claim as theirs alone. The Shepherd’s Word to Israel is addressed now to all lands, calling all to worship and bless His name in the heavenly Temple.

This is the delight of the Gentiles – that we can sing the song that once only Israel could sing, today’s joyful Psalm: “He made us, His we are – His people, the flock He tends.” 

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How deep is your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ? Has your love for Him grown? To the extent of longing to be in His presence? Are Your prayers one of praise and thanksgiving? Have you abandoned all things of yourself to fully and truly follow Him?

If the answer is Yes, then You  understand and have experienced the joy of the resurrected Jesus!  The Holy Spirit is upon You and you will be able to do great things in Jesus’s name.  For our faithful Lord and God has kept all of His promises.

Do not be dismayed if you are not quite there in your journey. And only experience glimmers of joy in the Lord. Then fall back into sin, but are always willing to try again.  For the Lord is merciful and patient.

Trust in Him and let go…. For He will catch you in the palms of His hands and raise you up! New life in Him awaits you….

Glory be our Risen Lord! Alleluia, alleluia!

First reading
Acts 9:31-42

The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

  Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord.

  At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’

  Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.

Gospel
John 6:60-69

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?

‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.

The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.

  Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Whatsoever you do unto the least of your brethren, you do unto me says the Lord.

And yet how is it we do recognise Him in our loved ones when we scream, shout and berate them for their errors. Or see Him in the maid, helper, coworker? How is it that we are very critical when it comes to fellow parishioners, ministry members, even the priests?

Are we blinded by our own self righteousness? Pride? Overzealousness? That we fail to see the light and love of Jesus.

We are reminded today of an important truth. It is Jesus our Lord who gives us new life. Through the waters of our baptism we are to live out our new lives in Him. Through the reality of the Holy Eucharist we are nourished, strengthened and are sent to share the life giving love we receive. Amen

First reading
Acts 9:1-20

Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.

  Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.

  A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’

  When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.

  He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’

Gospel
John 6:52-59

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.

As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven; not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live forever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Oh what joy it is to know our Heavenly Father loves us all so much He constantly draws us all unto Himself. Believers and non believers alike through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. And He Wills that we who have experienced His love share it with those who have not.

Why are we afraid to share the Good News of our Lord Jesus who lived, died, rose and conquered death so that we may have eternal life with Him? Why are we afraid that they whom we speak to will not understand? So long as we are willing to journey with them and guide them, they will not only understand but experience His love. For it is the Lord Himself who teaches and guides them through us.

Lord Jesus You are the bread of life which nourishes and strengthens me! My bread is to do Your Will. Amen

First reading
Acts 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’ So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia, and was in fact her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this:

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house, like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers, like these he never opens his mouth.

He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.
Who will ever talk about his descendants, since his life on earth has been cut short!

The eunuch turned to Philip and said, ‘Tell me, is the prophet referring to himself or someone else?’ Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.

  Further along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’ He ordered the chariot to stop, then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptised him. But after they had come up out of the water again Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.

Gospel
John 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is written in the prophets:

They will all be taught by God,
and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it, is to come to me.

Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father.

I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.

Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.

Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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It is only with Jesus in our lives that we are complete.

Many who go forth without Him, with the zeal that the works they do works for the glory of God; end up doing more harm than good if any.

Those who go forth in the name of the Risen Christ bring instead life!  They bring with them hope, peace, healing and joy.  For they carry with them our Lord and saviour. Hence even in the face of persecution they carry out the will of the Lord our God  unafraid.  The scatterer is shamed as the faithful remain unmoved and united.

Jesus dwell in me as I in You. Amen

First reading
Acts 8:1-8

That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.

  There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.

  Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.

  Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

Gospel
John 6:35-40

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.

But, as I have told you, you can see me and still you do not believe.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away; because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me.

Now the will of him who sent me is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me, and that I should raise it up on the last day.

Yes, it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Truly it is evil men who think they can run from the truth. But they cannot hide from the Lord our God. Watch your tongue that it does not betray you or murder the innocence.

Men and women of God face adversity and trials unafraid. For our Lord stands with them. So deep is their love and faith in Him that they live out their lives; in His mercy, love and peace. Knowing that the road leading to salvation is one of forgiveness and love.

Lord Jesus I hold on to nothing except Your love for me. Amen

First reading
Acts 7:51-8:1

Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: ‘You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.’

  They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.

  But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.

Gospel
John 6:30-35

They people said to Jesus, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:

‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’


I had been struggling with the fact that a brother in Christ had abandoned our community.  I kept asking myself was I right to distance myself from him a bit so as to observe and perhaps encourage growth? Could I have done more or even now do more to bring him back? I had accompanied and journeyed with him the past months and it is a little sad to see him go.   I have found my answer in EG 170

170. Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. Some people think they are free if they can avoid God; they fail to see that they remain existentially orphaned, helpless, homeless. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters, flitting around themselves and never getting anywhere. To accompany them would be counterproductive if it became a sort of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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When you have been nourished and filled by the Lord Your God, then nothing else matters.  For you have the grace to remain steadfast in His love. If you should enter into a debate it will not be to win the argument but to speak the truth.  Those who seek to ‘win’ are left with only to create an alternate ‘truth’. Which  serves only to darken their very own souls. Those who choose to speak the truth, remain in the light.

To live in the light of Christ is to embrace the truth of his life, death and resurrection. It is to be constantly be renewed by the light of His Resurrection and to live in that very joy, singing His praises for all to hear. It is not to remain in a shallow existence of looking for external feel good moments; but to dive deeply into the relationship the Lord our God wants us to have with Him. Trials, challenges and all.

Jesus You are the bread of eternal life. I want and desire no other. Amen

First reading
Acts 6:8-15

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.

Gospel
John 6:22-29

After Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’

  Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.

Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

Third Sunday in Easter

Posted: April 9, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Fire of Love: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday in Easter

Readings:
Acts 5:27-32,40-41
Psalm 30:2,4-6,11-13
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

There are two places in Scripture where the curious detail of a “charcoal fire” is mentioned.

One is in today’s Gospel, where the Apostles return from fishing to find bread and fish warming on the fire.

The other is in the scene in the High Priest’s courtyard on Holy Thursday, where Peter and some guards and slaves warm themselves while Jesus is being interrogated inside (see John 18:18).

At the first fire, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, as Jesus had predicted (see John 13:38; 18:15-18, 25-27).

Today’s charcoal fire becomes the scene of Peter’s repentance, as three times Jesus asks him to make a profession of love. Jesus’  thrice repeated command “feed My sheep” shows that Peter is being appointed as the shepherd of the Lord’s entire flock, the head of His Church (see also Luke 22:32).

Jesus’ question: “Do you love me more than these?” is a pointed reminder of Peter’s pledge to lay down his life for Jesus, even if the other Apostles might weaken (see John 13:37; Matthew 26:33; Luke 22:33).

Jesus then explains just what Peter’s love and leadership will require, foretelling Peter’s death by crucifixion (“you will stretch out your hands”).

Before His own death, Jesus had warned the Apostles that they would be hated as He was hated, that they would suffer as He suffered (see Matthew 10:16-19,22; John 15:18-20; 16:2).

We see the beginnings of that persecution in today’s First Reading. Flogged as Jesus was, the Apostles nonetheless leave “rejoicing that they have been found worthy to suffer.”

Their joy is based on their faith that God will change their “mourning into dancing,” as we sing in today’s Psalm. By their sufferings, the know, they will be counted worthy to stand in heaven before “the Lamb that was slain,” a scene glimpsed in today’s Second Reading (see also Revelation 6:9-11).

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Many a time we are so focused on the work at hand that we often sight what is important. This is equally so when we try to take everything unto ourselves while serving the Lord through his people.

While we may still have Jesus in our hearts we tend to question when will we feel his presence? When will he arrive? We think it best to continue working to stay on track and soon things begin to overwhelm us.

Jesus comes to us when our hearts call out to him, His peace is upon us. In our desire to be with Him where He wants us to be, we find ourselves already there with Him.

So as we go about out daily work and chores, and let us take short breaks in between for prayer. To reflect and ponder on His Word. He will give us rest and remain with us throughout the day. For His love endures forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 6:1-7

About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked. So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’ The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

  The word of the Lord continued to spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increased, and a large group of priests made their submission to the faith.

Gospel
John 6:16-21

In the evening the disciples went down to the shore of the lake and got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the lake. It was getting dark by now and Jesus had still not rejoined them. The wind was strong, and the sea was getting rough. They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat. This frightened them, but he said, ‘It is I. Do not be afraid.’ They were for taking him into the boat, but in no time it reached the shore at the place they were making for.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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When we take up a fight either with others or for a cause, do we do so for God and His children? There are only two kinds of fight necessary for a Christian, the fight against evil and the fight for God and His glory. The latter requires much prayer, discernment and spiritual direction.

We will rarely ever have the need to take up the sword so to speak. Our arsenal comes from the Lord our God, His wisdom, power and Holy Spirit. Jesus nourishes us through the Holy Eucharist as we are sent to do the Will of our Heavenly Father.

Jesus my Lord let me remain steadfast in Your love through the power of Your resurrection. Amen

First reading
Acts 5:34-42

One member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a doctor of the Law and respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the apostles taken outside for a time. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, ‘Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people. There was Theudas who became notorious not so long ago. He claimed to be someone important, and he even collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he got killed too, and all his followers dispersed. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.’

  His advice was accepted; and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.

  They preached every day both in the Temple and in private houses, and their proclamation of the Good News of Christ Jesus was never interrupted.

Gospel
John 6:1-15

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.

  Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Our Lord Jesus Christ came and shared our humanity. By His life he led by example how to live fully the life God our Father intended for each and everyone of us. In obedience and love for Him who loved us first.  And to lay down our life if need be, for another. For life eternal begins with faith in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.  It is through Him we are fully human as He was fully human. Are we then human enough?

Jesus it is You that I love, guide me on my pilgrim journey back to You. Amen

First reading
Acts 5:27-33

When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’

  This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.

Gospel
John 3:31-36

John the Baptist said to his disciples:

‘He who comes from above is above all others; he who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way.

He who comes from heaven
bears witness to the things he has seen and heard, even if his testimony is not accepted;
though all who do accept his testimony are attesting the truthfulness of God, since he whom God has sent speaks God’s own words:

God gives him the Spirit without reserve. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him.

Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Let not the message of new life in our Lord be imprisoned in our minds and hearts. Let us share it freely and with great joy!

For it is far easier to retreat into darkness when trials, hurts and disappointments come our way. To find fault and failures of others when they try to help us through correction. To lose sight of the power of the resurrection that liberates us from death.

Let us choose instead to love and live in the light of Christ! To stay focused on Jesus so that whatever we do or say, is for His glory. Amen

First reading
Acts 5:17-26

The high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.

  But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.

  When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Gospel
John 3:16-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world
men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed;
but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,
so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Let not the message of new life in our Lord be imprisoned in our minds and hearts. Let us share it freely and with great joy!

For it is far easier to retreat into darkness when trials, hurts and disappointments come our way. To find fault and failures of others when they try to help us through correction. To lose sight of the power of the resurrection that liberates us from death.

Let us choose instead to love and live in the light of Christ! To stay focused on Jesus so that whatever we do or say, is for His glory. Amen

First reading
Acts 5:17-26

The high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.

  But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.

  When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Gospel
John 3:16-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world
men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed;
but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,
so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Jesus on the cross is an everlasting symbol of God’s love for His people. So that all who believe will be saved and have life eternal.

He promised that He would be with us through the end of time. And He is very much alive today and present.  The very breath of God is upon us. And it is that very Spirit of God that gives us life and unites us together One in Him.

Hence when we abandon the community, we abandon Him. For what He gathers together, evil seeks to scatter.  We must choose to remain steadfast in His love. Praying always for one another. Living not for our individual selves but for one another. Jesus is and must always remain the head of our community. Amen

First reading
Acts 4:32-37

The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.

  The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.

  None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.

  There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Gospel
John 3:7-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above.

The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.

‘I tell you most solemnly, we speak only about what we know and witness only to what we have seen and yet you people reject our evidence.

If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world, how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven; and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 4, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

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Today let us ponder over God’s immense love for us as shown through His dearly beloved Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

When did our salvation begin? At Easter? Or would it rightly be when God chose to be with us, as one with the human race? A light unto the world of darkness. He dwelled among us to show us the way home. He came to open our hearts and minds to see the wonders of His love. To set us free from the bondages of sin.

Hence there is no Easter without Christmas, while Easter then is the true sign of God’s love fulfilled.

Dearest Mary our mother, help us draw ever closer to the Easter Joy of Your Son’s love for us. Let it reign in our hearts so as we share it with others. Amen

The Annunciation of the Lord

First reading
Isaiah 7:10-14,8:10

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’

  Then he said:
Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?

The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.

It is this: the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel, a name which means ‘God is with us.’

Gospel
Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

Second Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 2, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Breath of New Life: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Easter

Readings:
Acts 5:12-16
Psalm 118:2-4,13-15, 22-24
Revelation 1:9-13,17-19 
John 20:19-31

The prophet Daniel in a vision saw “One like the Son of Man” receive everlasting kingship (see Daniel 7:9-14). John is taken to heaven in today’s Second Reading where He sees Daniel’s prophecy fulfilled in Jesus, who appears as “One like a Son of Man.”

Jesus is clad in the robe of a High Priest (see Exodus 28:4; Wisdom 18:24) and wearing the gold sash of a King (see 1 Maccabees 10:89). He has been exalted by the right hand of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

His risen body, which the Apostles touch in today’s Gospel, has been made a life-giving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45).

As the Father anointed Him with the Spirit and power (see Acts 10:38), Jesus pours out that Spirit on the Apostles, sending them into the world “as the Father has sent Me.”

Jesus “breathes” the Spirit of His divine life into the Apostles – as God blew the “breath of life” into Adam (see Genesis 2:7), as Elijah’s prayer returned “the life breath” to the dead child (see 1 Kings 17:21-23), and as the Spirit breathed new life into the slain in the valley of bones (see Ezekiel 37:9-10).

His creative breath unites the Apostles – His Church – to His body, and empowers them to breathe His life into a dying world, to make it a new creation.

In today’s Gospel and First Reading, we see the Apostles fulfilling this mission, with powers only God possesses – the power to forgive sins and to work “signs and wonders,” a biblical expression only used to describe the mighty works of God (see Exodus 7:3; 11:10; Acts 7:36).

Thomas and the others saw “many other signs” after Jesus was raised from the dead. They saw and they believed.

They have been given His life, which continues in the Church’s Word and sacraments, so that we who have not seen might inherit His blessings, and “have life in His name.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Go proclaim the Risen Lord to all!  For if we possess the peace, love and joy of our Lord within us we will do as He willed us to do.

No one will be able to dampen our spirits nor hamper us with threats of violence. For we know with all our hearts that He has risen and so shall we, with and in Him.

Our Lord and God had come to make all things new! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 4:13-21

The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’

  So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel
Mark 16:9-15

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.

  After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.

  Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’

Holding On To The Promise

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

Where would we be without the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ? What hope will we have? Praise be to You O Lord my God for through You we have eternal life! This is the promise I hold on to.

My faith this Easter is greatly strengthened and renewed. When I saw the faith of a dear sister who desired greatly to receive Jesus in the Eucharist before returning to Him. The great and powerful consolations I received at her wake knowing that she is indeed with Him.

So as I witnessed the indignity and suffering of my aged Father today. Who once stood tall, is now bent over. Who is half blind and whose muscles have begun to atrophy greatly. While I weep for him in my humanity and for his. He is still my hero, my inspiration. For he possesses a fighting spirit, a Christian one!

And so I hold on dearly to the promise, as I recall and sing the beginning of the Benediction. The song of Adoration I so loved in my childhood and youth; whose lyric had only crystallised in my adulthood “Down in adoration falling, This great Sacrament we hail; Ancient types have long departed. Newer rites of grace prevail; Faith for all defects supplying, Where the feeble senses fail.”

Praise be to You my Lord Jesus Christ! My Redeemer lives and so do I! Amen

On Today’s Gospel

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

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“For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’”  Jesus!

What a bold proclamation by St Peter indeed!  How was he filled with such conviction, such courage? Yes the Holy Spirit was key but most importantly it came from the deep relationship he had with the Lord our God.

Is it not true that we who have encountered the Lord have experienced the very salvation St Peter spoke about. Yet  timid are we at sharing that very same truth with others who needs salvation.

Let us sinners that we are, jump into the salvific waters of our baptism and rise anew with our Lord Jesus Christ. And through the graces we receive by the sacraments He bestowed upon us. We will without breaking, gently, lovingly lead the large haul of believers home to Him.

Jesus just as You nourish us daily, let us too feed your lambs and sheep. Amen

First reading
Acts 4:1-12

While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.

  The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel
John 21:1-14

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

  It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

  As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.