Archive for April, 2016

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.’