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The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away.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