Archive for May, 2016

On Today’s Gospel

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

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O merciful Father, look with favour upon your servant and grant your pardon and peace. For instead of turning to You with my burdens, I turn my gaze elsewhere looking for comfort. I had forgotten to live and look outwards to the service of others instead of inwards.

How wonderful it is to bring Jesus to others. To see their faces light up slowly with joy. To witness the transformation in their lives when they hear His Word and hold it close to their hearts. To bring His peace, healing and love. So that they too in turn can bring Him with them to others.

Lord just as my Blessed Mother magnified the glory of the Holy Trinity to all. Let me do likewise by the way I lead my life in Your precious name Jesus. Amen

First reading
Zephaniah 3:14-18

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud!

Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away.

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear.

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.

He will exult with joy over you,
he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.

Gospel
Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

  And Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me.

Holy is his name, and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.

He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart.

He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.

He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy – according to the promise he made to our ancestors – of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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All we have comes from God our Father.  And He provides for us, so that we may lead fruitful lives for one another and for Him.

Yet do we behave like unlawful owners? Squandering what we have been given claiming what is ‘ours’? Refusing to produce good fruit, but instead maximising our returns for personal gain? Shutting our ears to the call for repentance of our Lord through our sisters and brothers He sends? Or are we instead faithful stewards?

Jesus our Lord and saviour is the keystone to our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom.  Through His great love for us, He did not leave us orphans. He gave us the Sacraments through which we can share in His divine nature. We can stand our ground against the powerful forces of evil and vice, for we are fortified by the living Word in us.

So let us pray fervently for one another and strive to help one another on our pilgrim journey back to Him. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading
2 Peter 1:2-7

May you have more and more grace and peace as you come to know our Lord more and more.

  By his divine power, he has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God himself, who has called us by his own glory and goodness. In making these gifts, he has given us the guarantee of something very great and wonderful to come: through them you will be able to share the divine nature and to escape corruption in a world that is sunk in vice. But to attain this, you will have to do your utmost yourselves, adding goodness to the faith that you have, understanding to your goodness, self-control to your understanding, patience to your self-control, true devotion to your patience, kindness towards your fellow men to your devotion, and, to this kindness, love.

Gospel
Mark 12:1-12

Jesus went on to speak to the chief priests, the scribes and the elders in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug out a trough for the winepress and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce from the vineyard. But they seized the man, thrashed him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another servant to them; him they beat about the head and treated shamefully. And he sent another and him they killed; then a number of others, and they thrashed some and killed the rest. He had still someone left: his beloved son. He sent him to them last of all. “They will respect my son” he said. But those tenants said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they seized him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and make an end of the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this text of scripture:

It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see?

And they would have liked to arrest him, because they realised that the parable was aimed at them, but they were afraid of the crowds. So they left him alone and went away.


Blessed and Given: 
Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

Readings:
Genesis 14:18-20
Psalm 110:1-4
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Luke 9:11-17

At the dawn of salvation history, God revealed our future in figures. That’s what’s going on in today’s First Reading: A king and high priest comes from Jerusalem (see Psalm 76:3), offering bread and wine to celebrate the victory of God’s beloved servant, Abram, over his foes.

By his offering, Melchizedek bestows God’s blessings on Abram. He is showing us, too, how one day we will receive God’s blessings and in turn “bless God”—how we will give thanks to Him for delivering us from our enemies, sin and death.

As Paul recalls in today’s Epistle, Jesus transformed the sign of bread and wine, making it a sign of His body and blood, through which God bestows upon us the blessings of His “new covenant.”

Jesus is “the priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,” that God, in today’s Psalm, swears will rule from Zion, the new Jerusalem (see Hebrews 6:20-7:3).

By the miracle of loaves and fishes, Jesus in today’s Gospel again prefigures the blessings of the Eucharist.

Notice that He takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to the Twelve. You find the precise order and words in the Last Supper (see Luke 22:19) and in His celebration of the Eucharist on the first Easter night (see Luke 24:30).

The Eucharist fulfills the offering of Melchizedek. It is the daily miracle of the heavenly high priesthood of Jesus

It is a priesthood He conferred upon the Apostles in ordering them to feed the crowd, in filling exactly twelve baskets with leftover bread—in commanding them on the night He was handed over: “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Through His priests He still feeds us in “the deserted place” of our earthly exile.

And by this sign He pledges to us a glory yet to come. For as often as we share in His body and blood. we proclaim His victory over death, until He comes again to make His victory our own.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How is it when we see someone who seems bored or listless we might offer to do something with them to cheer them up? Or if someone is walking towards the direction of danger we will shout out to them to go in another direction?

But when we see a brother and sister experiencing spiritual dryness, very few will reassure them of the love of Christ or offer to pray with them. Or if they are heading in the direction of sinfulness, many would choose to remain silent and mind their own business.  How are we then a community of the Risen Lord?

Ours is not a faith of timidity and so we must be able to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and through Him we have everlasting life.  There is no need to insist that the truth be heard by those who refuse to listen. Let us instead be beacons for those who want and desire the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Jude 1:17,20-25

Remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect. But you, my dear friends, must use your most holy faith as your foundation and build on that, praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves within the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life. When there are some who have doubts reassure them; when there are some to be saved from the fire, pull them out; but there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice.

  Glory be to him who can keep you from falling and bring you safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy. To God, the only God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord, be the glory, majesty, authority and power, which he had before time began, now and for ever. Amen

Gospel
Mark 11:27-33

Jesus and his disciples came to Jerusalem, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? Or who gave you authority to do these things?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you a question, only one; answer me and I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: did it come from heaven, or from man? Answer me that.’ And they argued it out this way among themselves: ‘If we say from heaven, he will say, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?” But dare we say from man?’ – they had the people to fear, for everyone held that John was a real prophet. So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Many valuable lessons to learn in today’s reading and Gospel but what struck me deeply was how I want my Heavenly Father to forgive my many failings and yet I am only prepared to forgive those who are contrite, even remorseful.  Surely my love for them will grow insincere, even for those they fraternise with.

I, a child of God are called to live a Holy and fruitful life. To save as many souls at I can through the grace of my Lord Jesus. My time is limited here and so I cannot afford to have the cares and desires of the world make its home in me. My body is sacred for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. And so I pray daily that I may be consecrated to Jesus.

Jesus make Your home in me. Amen

First reading
1 Peter 4:7-13

Everything will soon come to an end, so, to pray better, keep a calm and sober mind. Above all, never let your love for each other grow insincere, since love covers over many a sin. Welcome each other into your houses without grumbling. Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others. If you are a speaker, speak in words which seem to come from God; if you are a helper, help as though every action was done at God’s orders; so that in everything God may receive the glory, through Jesus Christ, since to him alone belong all glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

  My dear people, you must not think it unaccountable that you should be tested by fire. There is nothing extraordinary in what has happened to you. If you can have some share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, because you will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed.

Gospel
Mark 11:11-26

After he had been acclaimed by the crowds, Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. He looked all round him, but as it was now late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

  Next day as they were leaving Bethany, he felt hungry. Seeing a fig tree in leaf some distance away, he went to see if he could find any fruit on it, but when he came up to it he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. And he addressed the fig tree. ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again’ he said. And his disciples heard him say this.

  So they reached Jerusalem and he went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling pigeons. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. And he taught them and said, ‘Does not scripture say: My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples? But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.’ This came to the ears of the chief priests and the scribes, and they tried to find some way of doing away with him; they were afraid of him because the people were carried away by his teaching. And when evening came he went out of the city.

  Next morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered to the roots. Peter remembered. ‘Look, Rabbi,’ he said to Jesus, ‘the fig tree you cursed has withered away.’ Jesus answered, ‘Have faith in God. I tell you solemnly, if anyone says to this mountain, “Get up and throw yourself into the sea,” with no hesitation in his heart but believing that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. I tell you therefore: everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours. And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too.’ But if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your failings either.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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We see the light because He our Lord Jesus had opened our eyes to see and experience His healing Grace. So that we are liberated from all darkness, to love and live life to the full in Him. We do it by serving others and glorifying Him by the way we live out our Baptismal promises.

Sing Psalms, sing His praises and bless His name! Drown out the voices and shouts of the world. Call out with all your might, Jesus!  And He will come to your aid. Cast behind your comforts, cares, stay close and follow Him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
1 Peter 2:2-5,9-12

You are new born, and, like babies, you should be hungry for nothing but milk – the spiritual honesty which will help you to grow up to salvation – now that you have tasted the goodness of the Lord.

  He is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people at all and now you are the People of God; once you were outside the mercy and now you have been given mercy.

  I urge you, my dear people, while you are visitors and pilgrims to keep yourselves free from the selfish passions that attack the soul. Always behave honourably among pagans so that they can see your good works for themselves and, when the day of reckoning comes, give thanks to God for the things which now make them denounce you as criminals.

Gospel
Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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So great is the love of our Lord Jesus for us that He paid the heavy price of his battered body and life for us.

These are mere words which means nothing to us. Unless we truly ponder and reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation, his life, death and resurrection. Until we experience the grace He pours out on us.  Until we unite our own sufferings with His and are willing to lay down our lives for one another. Even if it simply means to die to ourselves and to the cares of the world so that we might live for others. Only then can we understand and live the full extent of His love.

It is only in the service of the Lord our God and others that we can taste greatness and be One with Him and our brethren through the glory of God. Amen

First reading
1 Peter 1:18-25

Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ; who, though known since before the world was made, has been revealed only in our time, the end of the ages, for your sake. Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.

  You have been obedient to the truth and purified your souls until you can love like brothers, in sincerity; let your love for each other be real and from the heart – your new birth was not from any mortal seed but from the everlasting word of the living and eternal God. All flesh is grass and its glory like the wild flower’s. The grass withers, the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains for ever. What is this word? It is the Good News that has been brought to you.

Gospel
Mark 10:32-45

The disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; Jesus was walking on ahead of them; they were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive. Once more taking the Twelve aside he began to tell them what was going to happen to him: ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans, who will mock him and spit at him and scourge him and put him to death; and after three days he will rise again.’

  James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

  When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What does it mean to carry the cross? Whose cross do we bear? It is our own burdens? Or do we bear the cross of Christ?

One that we shoulder with Him, for His namesake. One that serves the corporal and spiritual needs of His flock. One we raise as a banner, for we follow our Victorious King who conquered death so that we might live!

Let us then be obedient unto Him, so that we might lead one another to greater Holiness through Jesus our Lord. Amen

First reading
1 Peter 1:10-16

It was this salvation that the prophets were looking and searching so hard for; their prophecies were about the grace which was to come to you. The Spirit of Christ which was in them foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would come after them, and they tried to find out at what time and in what circumstances all this was to be expected. It was revealed to them that the news they brought of all the things which have now been announced to you, by those who preached to you the Good News through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, was for you and not for themselves. Even the angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.

  Free your minds, then, of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth; make a habit of obedience: be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.

Gospel
Mark 10:28-31

‘What about us?’ Peter asked Jesus. ‘We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.

  ‘Many who are first will be last, and the last first.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Did you come into the world with anything? You shall return the same way with which you came.

Learn to let go of everything, past, present and future into the hands of God. And your hands will be free to receive the graces He wants to give you.

For nothing is more precious then the love of God made visible through our Lord Jesus Christ! For through Him we have peace and joy to the full. Through Him we are sanctified, set apart, destined to be with Him eternally. Therefore with this knowledge of truth in our hearts, we live for our brethren and not for ourselves.

Lord let me be Your instrument to save souls. Amen

First reading
1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away, because it is being kept for you in the heavens. Through your faith, God’s power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold – only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire – and then you will have praise and glory and honour. You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel
Mark 10:17-27

Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

  Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them ‘how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’

The Most Holy Trinity

Posted: May 21, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Glorious Processions:
Scott Hahn Reflects on The Most Holy Trinity

Readings

Proverbs 8:22-31
Psalms 8:4-9
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

In today’s Liturgy we’re swept through time in glorious procession—from before earth and sky were set in place to the coming of the Spirit upon the new creation, the Church.

We begin in the heart of the Trinity, as we listen to the testimony of Wisdom in today’s First Reading. Eternally begotten, the first-born of God, He is poured forth from of old in the loving delight of the Father.

Through Him, the heavens were established, the foundations of the earth fixed. From before the beginning, He was with the Father as His “Craftsman,” the artisan by which all things were made. And He took special delight, He tells us, in the crowning glory of God’s handiwork—the human race, the “sons of men.”

In today’s Psalm, He comes down from heaven, is made a little lower than the angels, comes among us as “the Son of Man” (see Hebrews 2:6-10).

All things are put under His feet so that He can restore to humanity the glory for which we were made from the beginning, the glory lost by sin. He tasted death that we might be raised to life in the Trinity, that His name might be made glorious over all the earth.

Through the Son, we have gained grace and access in the Spirit to the Father, as Paul boasts in today’s Epistle (see Ephesians 2:18).

The Spirit, the Love of God, has been poured out into our hearts – a Spirit of adoption, making us children of the Father once more (see Romans 8:14-16).

This is the Spirit that Jesus promises in today’s Gospel.

His Spirit comes as divine gift and anointing (see 1 John 2:27), to guide us to all truth, to show us “the things that are coming,” the things that were meant to be from before all ages—that we will find peace and union in God, will share the life of the Trinity, dwell in God as He dwells in us (see John 14:23; 17:21).

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What is it to welcome the Kingdom of God? What is it to enter as His child?

Does it not first begin first with a deep longing to be with Him? A longing which can only come from an intimate relationship with the Lord our God. Through His Word and living it in our daily lives. To be Holy children of our Heavenly Father who is Holy.

Then through His love we adore and worship Him. With and through our adoration of Him, we love our neighbour.  And He will listen to our prayers for them and answer. For our prayers are powerful when we are one with Him.

Let us pray then for one another. Especially for our Shepherds of whom administer the Holy Sacraments for our salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
James 5:13-20

If any one of you is in trouble, he should pray; if anyone is feeling happy, he should sing a psalm. If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, and this will cure you; the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully. Elijah was a human being like ourselves – he prayed hard for it not to rain, and no rain fell for three-and-a-half years; then he prayed again and the sky gave rain and the earth gave crops.

  My brothers, if one of you strays away from the truth, and another brings him back to it, he may be sure that anyone who can bring back a sinner from the wrong way that he has taken will be saving a soul from death and covering up a great number of sins.

Gospel
Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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It is far more challenging and difficult to love in spite of.. Despite of… For we often look upon the imperfections of others be it family, friends or strangers. And yet we don’t want our Heavenly Father to look upon our very own imperfections.

Despite our imperfections our ever patient Heavenly Father loves us. And only through His Son are we perfected.  It is through Jesus His perfect love that we love outside of ourselves. That we can truly love our neighbour. And just as He our Lord God keeps His promises, so must we when we make them.

Marriage is too often seen as one between man and woman alone.  But it is actually God who unites the man and woman in Him.  And unless He is present first in their lives, they are going to face many challenges and in the end; find themselves living individually under the guise of a marriage.

O Lord You are an ever faithful spouse to Your Church. Keep us united in You. Amen

First reading
James 5:9-12

Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord; remember it is those who had endurance that we say are the blessed ones. You have heard of the patience of Job, and understood the Lord’s purpose, realising that the Lord is kind and compassionate.

  Above all, my brothers, do not swear by heaven or by the earth, or use any oaths at all. If you mean ‘yes’, you must say ‘yes’; if you mean ‘no’, say ‘no.’ Otherwise you make yourselves liable to judgement.

Gospel
Mark 10:1-12

Jesus came to the district of Judaea and the far side of the Jordan. And again crowds gathered round him, and again he taught them, as his custom was. Some Pharisees approached him and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ ‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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It is quite clear that those who choose to live self centred, selfish, indifferent, lavish lives end up in misery and alone. This is certain even though it may not be in this lifetime.

Because all of us are created in the image and likeness of God; our hearts and souls long to be with Him. To share in His love, truth and life. To then share it with others. When we deprive others of that love, truth and life we receive, it all withers and dies in us over time.

Let us remain the salt and the light of the earth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
James 5:1-6

An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body. It was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury; in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them; they offered you no resistance.

Gospel
Mark 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.

  ‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out. For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is a good thing, but if salt has become insipid, how can you season it again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How do we start our day? Do we begin the day with prayer? Do we then carry Jesus with us in our hearts throughout the day?  For unless we do so we have wasted a day. The day would be incomplete as it would only be self fulfilling.

A true Christian is one that carries Jesus with Him wherever he/she goes and in whatever he/she does. The mind, thoughts and actions are one with Him. And so  Christians are be able to do many things in Jesus’s name and all for their brethren and His glory.

Let us continue to pray for unity especially for our separated brothers and sisters in Christ. May we be One as the Holy Trinity is One. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
James 4:13-17

Here is the answer for those of you who talk like this: ‘Today or tomorrow, we are off to this or that town; we are going to spend a year there, trading, and make some money.’

  You never know what will happen tomorrow: you are no more than a mist that is here for a little while and then disappears. The most you should ever say is: ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we shall still be alive to do this or that.’ But how proud and sure of yourselves you are now! Pride of this kind is always wicked. Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and doesn’t do it commits a sin.

Gospel
Mark 9:38-40

John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.’

My Pentecost Experience

Posted: May 17, 2016 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

I had allowed the cares of the world to overpower me somehow. For I had forgotten what it was like to walk in the Spirit. However my Lord called me to attend the Spirit Fest aka tridium leading to up to Pentecost. I know He surely called me as I had no plans or intentions of attending.

Praise the Lord I managed to go for reconciliation on Thursday evening, because by Saturday I was very much alive in the spirit. When asked if anyone wanted to share about their encounter with the Holy Spirit, I was prompted to share. So I testified with a condensed version of my own conversion experience and a few encounters with the workings of the Holy Spirit. Then I waited patiently knowing it would touch someone out there even maybe someone who had heard it all before.

Later on that day I paired up with a lady who was formerly from another Parish ‘Christ the King’ . She thanked me for the sharing as she was inspired by it. I was then given the opportunity to pray for her to unlock some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which she needed. It was a memorable prayer indeed as I was fully guided by the Holy Spirit on how to pray for her.

Again fully inspired before dinner and the Eucharist, I shared with our small group of eight. Many are afraid to commit to the Lord and allow for the Holy Spirit to take over. Why? Are we afraid that by saying Yes He will make us do something we do not want to do? Why are we afraid? In Jer 29:11 He promises that He has a plan for us. Not to harm us but to prosper us. He is the one constant source of strength, peace and love in our lives. Heb 13:8 Jesus is the same today, tomorrow and forever. So like I learnt in having attended Marriage Encounter, why settle for a good enough marriage when you can have a great marriage? The Lord is telling us not to settle for a mediocre relationship with Him, but let us say Yes to Him like a faithful spouse and we will bear great fruits in our life with Him. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do we members of the Church community sometimes argue and bicker about who is the greatest? Surely we do! Though we do it subtly by insisting that our way is the correct and only way.  We are more organised then others, we have more experienced, more eloquent and so on.

What if God our Father placed an adult in front of us and said the very same and yet slightly different words, ”
‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one I sent, my beloved Son Jesus.’  will our eyes be opened to the depths of His Word? The depths of His love and how He wants us to love and treat one another.

Let us put the Lord our God first in our lives. And see our brethren through His eyes. Let us remain God our Father’s children, holy and humble of heart. Amen

First reading
James 4:1-10

Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.

  You are as unfaithful as adulterous wives; don’t you realise that making the world your friend is making God your enemy? Anyone who chooses the world for his friend turns himself into God’s enemy. Surely you don’t think scripture is wrong when it says: the spirit which he sent to live in us wants us for himself alone? But he has been even more generous to us, as scripture says: God opposes the proud but he gives generously to the humble. Give in to God, then; resist the devil, and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you. Clean your hands, you sinners, and clear your minds, you waverers. Look at your wretched condition, and weep for it in misery; be miserable instead of laughing, gloomy instead of happy. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.

Gospel
Mark 9:30-37

After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.

  They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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The Holy Spirit will reveal many truths through the Word and while some truths are meant for others there are truths which are certainly meant for us.

For no lies spoken in private will remain hidden. No self righteous comments about others will go unnoticed. Tainted testimonies will be revealed and frowned upon. For many of these and more comes from the one who wants to scatter us. 

Let us pray instead to the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds and hearts. To guide us always in ways which are pleasing to the Lord our God. And when required, to pray and fast for souls held captive.  We are shepherds called to gather His sheep unto Him. May we merciful and charitable, one with whom we serve. Amen

First reading
James 3:13-18

If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions. But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or a self-seeking ambition, never make any claims for yourself or cover up the truth with lies – principles of this kind are not the wisdom that comes down from above: they are only earthly, animal and devilish. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

Gospel
Mark 9:14-29

When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’

Pentecost Sunday

Posted: May 14, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

A Mighty Wind: Scott Hahn Reflects on Pentecost Sunday

Readings:

Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
John 20:19-23

The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.

The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people, in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15-21; Deuteronomy 16:9-11).

In today’s First Reading the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (see Acts 1:14).

The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (see 2 Corinthians 3:2-8; Romans 8:2).

The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things, as we sing in today’s Psalm. In the beginning, the Spirit came as a “mighty wind” sweeping over the face of the earth (see Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as “a strong, driving wind” to renew the face of the earth.

As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit (see Genesis 2:7), in today’s Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (see 1 Corinthians 15:45,47).

Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see also John 7:37-39).

We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a “new creation” in Baptism (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity – fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Remain in the love of and for Jesus.

Do not allow concupiscence nor the wants of the world to rule your hearts. Instead invite the Holy Spirit daily to dwell in our hearts so that we might remain steadfast.

We are His disciples and therefore we must stand ready to serve our brethren in whatever way we are called by Him to serve. Some as leaders and some as followers all according to our gifts, talents, strengths and sometimes even with our weaknesses. In whatever way we wait and listen for our counsellor, the Holy Spirit to guide us.

What a great and wonderful friend indeed with have in Jesus! Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 1:15-17,20-26

One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:

Let someone else take his office.

‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’

  Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.

Gospel
John 15:9-17

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.

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: May 13, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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What it will come down to is how much do we love the Lord our God? Who loved us first? Is our love for Him jaded? Is it one of lip service? Is it one born of necessity? Is our love for Him a theory?

Our love for our Lord adds nothing for Him.  Neither can we love Him with the love we are meant to, unless we ascend to the love He provides through the Holy Spirit. It is a love that Wills the good of another. And it is only through this love of His that we will have eternal life.

O Holy Spirit, the love of God nourish me; as I feed my Lord’s lambs and sheep. Amen

First reading
Acts 25:13-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

Gospel
John 21:15-19

After Jesus had shown himself to his disciples and eaten with them, he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Let nothing and no one come between You and Your love for God. Even your heinous sins cannot separate you from the love of God when you choose to repent and be faithful.

We must all strive for unity be it in our prayers, words and actions. For only then are we truly One with the Lord our God.  When we are one with our brethren, even if we stand alone in the face of adversity; we are not alone. For we are one in the Spirit.

The great love we possess in having known our Lord Jesus Christ, is not one we possess for ourselves. For it is an unbounded love we must share. So that all may come to the knowledge of the Holy Trinity and be loved just as we are loved by Him. Amen

First reading
Acts 22:30,23:6-11

Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.

  Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’

Gospel
John 17:20-26

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,

I pray not only for these, but for those also who through their words will believe in me.

May they all be one.

Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.

I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one.

With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Father, Righteous One, the world has not known you,
but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.

I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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If I am a disciple of Jesus then I must constantly seek the truth. And the truth is to be found in Him alone. I must feed His lambs and sheep. Care for them especially those who cannot care for themselves.

It would please my Lord that I strive hard to gather His flock unto Him. Nothing would displease Him more if I should scatter them with untruths, hearsay and perform deeds for self glorification. Or leave them scattered by being aloof and indifferent.

Jesus my Lord, mould me that I may be pleasing to You. Amen

First reading
Acts 20:28-38

Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:

  ‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.

  ‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’

  When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Gospel
John 17:11-19

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.

While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name.

I have watched over them
and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures.

But now I am coming to you
and while still in the world I say these things to share my joy with them to the full.

I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.

I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth;
your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world,
I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Many are hungry and thirsty to hear the Word of God and more often than not, they don’t even know it. For their hearts are longing for Him. How will they hear it? Or the sweet name of Jesus if by our insecurities we only offer prayers for them? It is the Word of God and the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that transforms, heals and raises up.

Let us be bold and courageous like St Paul in giving the gift of the knowledge of Christ to as many as we can. For the Holy Spirit is on our side. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even death. For Jesus is the way to eternal life. Amen

First reading
Acts 20:17-27

From Miletus Paul sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them:

  ‘You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you, and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus.

  ‘And now you see me a prisoner already in spirit; I am on my way to Jerusalem, but have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear enough that imprisonment and persecution await me. But life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.

  ‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.’

Gospel
John 17:1-11

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come:
glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.

And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do.

Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world was.

I have made your name known
to the men you took from the world to give me.

They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you; for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.

I pray for them;

I am not praying for the world
but for those you have given me, because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified.

I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world and I am coming to you.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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We have freedom to love, to be Holy, have peace, hope and joy to live life to the full; all because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ conquered the World. Through His life death and resurrection, we have been set free from sin and saved from eternal death.

And so renewed, invigorated and fortified through the Holy Spirit. We must live not as remorseful, mournful Christians but with the light of Christ shining through us. Only that can we truly share the joy of the Gospel with all we encounter. Amen

First reading
Acts 19:1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ they answered, ‘No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.’ ‘Then how were you baptised?’ he asked. ‘With John’s baptism’ they replied. ‘John’s baptism’ said Paul ‘was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him – in other words, Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of these men.

  He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months.

Gospel
John 16:29-33

His disciples said to Jesus, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using metaphors! Now we see that you know everything, and do not have to wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them:

‘Do you believe at last?

Listen; the time will come – in fact it has come already –when you will be scattered,
each going his own way and leaving me alone.

And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me.

In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world.’

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 7, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Perfection as One: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 7:55-60
Psalms 97:1-2, 6-7, 9
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
John 17:20-26

Jesus is praying for us in today’s Gospel. We are those who have come to believe in Him through the Word of the Apostles, handed on in His Church.

Jesus showed the Apostles His glory, made known the Father’s name, and the love He has had for us from “before the foundation of the world.”

He revealed that He and the Father are one (see John 14:9).

Jesus is the “first and the last” (see Isaiah 44:6), the root of David (see Isaiah 11:10; 2 Samuel 7:12), as today’s Second Reading declares.

Wrapped in clouds and darkness as God was at Sinai (see Exodus 19:16), He is “the king…the Most High over all the earth,” as we sing in today’s Psalm.

Exalted at God’s right hand, as Stephen sees in the First Reading, the Lord calls to us through the Church, His Bride.

He calls us to “the tree of life,” to communion with God. This is the goal of His love, His saving purpose from all eternity – that each of us enter into the life of Blessed Trinity, be “brought to perfection as one” with the Father and Son in the Spirit.

The story of Stephen, the first martyr, shows us how we are to answer His call.

Listen for the echoes of the crucifixion: Stephen, like Jesus, sees the Son of Man in glory and dies with words of forgiveness and self-offering on his lips (compare Acts 7:56-60; Matthew 26:64-65; Luke 23:24,46).

We, too, are to commend our spirits to the Father, to pray and offer our lives in love for our brethren, awaiting His coming in judgment. We renew our vows in every Mass, coming forward to receive the gift of His life.

We answer His call by crying out a call of our own: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

And in our communion we answer our Lord’s prayer: “That they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How wonderful to know that God our Father loves us all so very much.  That from the beginning of the scriptures to the end, it all points to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Through Him, with Him and in Him we are saved.

How can we not share this great news with others? Why are we still fearful to share? For if we truly believe then we know that the Holy Spirit will guide us throughout our endeavour to bring Christ into the hearts of His flock.

Anything we ask in Jesus name to build His Kingdom, our Heavenly Father will grant. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 18:23-28

Paul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.

  An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.

  When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel
John 16:23-28

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly, anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.

Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.

I have been telling you all this in metaphors, the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors; but tell you about the Father in plain words.

When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God.

I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I leave the world to go to the Father.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Our joy comes from the Lord, who gives us rest when we turn to Him. And there are no challenges that we cannot overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit. Obstacles are either cleared or we will find a way round them. Through the hardships and trials comes the depth of our love for the Lord our God.

Jesus my Lord, You are with me always till the end of time. Nothing will ever separate me from Your love. Amen

First reading
Acts 18:9-18

At Corinth one night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’ So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months.

  But, while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. ‘We accuse this man’ they said ‘of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.’ Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, I would not hesitate to attend to you; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves-I have no intention of making legal decisions about things like that.’ Then he sent them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the court house. Gallio refused to take any notice at all.

  After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.

Gospel
John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.

A woman in childbirth suffers,
because her time has come;
but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a man has been born into the world.

So it is with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.

When that day comes, you will not ask me any questions.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Today we recall through the eyes of the first witnesses how our Lord Jesus ascended into Heaven. Our hearts should be gladdened. For He has done everything He said He would. And He said He would prepare rooms for us. In His great love He did not abandon us, instead He gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us. He our Lord is still present with us in the Holy Eucharist! How great thou art O Lord my God!

And so let us ascend each day, a little more to our Lord. By our prayers, reading and living the Word in our lives. By our love for one another, through acts of kindness and mercy. So that one day soon we will be with Him in paradise. Amen

First reading
Acts 1:1-11

In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’

  Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’

  As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’

Second reading
Ephesians 1:17-23

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. This you can tell from the strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven, far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named not only in this age but also in the age to come. He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.

Gospel
Luke 24:46-53

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.

  ‘And now I am sending down to you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city then, until you are clothed with the power from on high.’

  Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy; and they were continually in the Temple praising God.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Are we all called to preach like the shepherds of our flock? In a sense No… But we are all called to share, to testify to the love of our Lord in our lives; to the liberation of our sins and our hope for eternal life through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is upon us to guide, counsel and strengthen us. So we have nothing to fear for we have given a powerful ally to give testimony to the Son of God, who lived among us, died for us and by rising conquered death and sin. So that we might have life to the full.  And all who come to believe through us will have the same wonderful relationship we have with Him.

O Holy Spirit dwell in my heart now and forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 17:15,22-18:1

Paul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could.

  So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech:

  ‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it.

  ‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:

“We are all his children.”

‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man.

  ‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’

  At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides.

  After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Gospel
John 16:12-15

Jesus said:

‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine.

Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said:

All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Is there life after death? Where do we go? How do we get there? What must we do? Questions many in the world struggle with and have no answers! Do we have the answers? Yes we certainly do…

Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  And He rose from the dead just as He said He would. The Lord our God is faithful forever! The Promise of our salvation from long ago was fulfilled through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And so we follow Him, His teachings, commandments, His Will for us. In doing so our lives are changed forever. We experience and have the fullness of life. We have the power and grace through our Lord Jesus to do great things by building His Kingdom.

Glory to our Risen Lord! Amen

St James, St Philip pray for us…

First reading
1 Corinthians 15:1-8

Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.

  Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.

Gospel
John 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

No one can come to the Father except through me. 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: May 2, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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For most of us believers these days, it is far easier close our eyes to pray to Jesus or even our Heavenly Father. For we have had images of them growing up which makes them very much more real to us. Whether it was in biblical story books, posters, pictures and movies. That is until we develop a deep personal relationship after encountering the Lord our God. The Holy Spirit however is far more difficult even to form a mental image of Him. For no one will even truly see Him through physical sight. And yet He is always present to guide and strengthen us in our hour of need.

It is through that great love between God our Heavenly Father and His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that the disciple encounters the Holy Spirit in a deep tangible way. And the fruits of that wonderful relationship is what forms us. We are loving, charitable, forgiving and hospitable to all we meet. We are given the grace and courage to the Will of God even against the odds or what looks to be insurmountable challenges. And though very few of us these days will be martyred for our faith through physical death, it does not mean the rest of us will face some form of death of our reputation or good name.

Regardless of how, what or when we know our final destination. That is to be in the loving embrace of our resurrected Lord. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Acts 16:11-15

Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

Gospel
John 15:26-16:4

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘When the Advocate comes,
whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.

And you too will be witnesses,
because you have been with me from the outset.

‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.

They will expel you from the synagogues, and indeed the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy duty for God.

They will do these things
because they have never known either the Father or myself.

But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you.’