Archive for June, 2016

On Today’s Gospel

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

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How fortunate we are to have a loving Heavenly Father send prophets even today to call us to reconciliation. To turn away from sins which would lead to our destruction. Do we then shut our ears? Say we are not interested to listen to their nonsense? Think they are simply being self righteous? Do we let our sin paralyse us in doing what is right?

We by virtue of our baptism are called to be prophets too.  So that all who hear the message of Christ and believe in Him will be saved. For the Lord our God has come to set us free. And will forgive us our sins when we turn to Him

Thank You Lord for Your great mercy and love. Amen

First reading
Amos 7:10-17

Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel as follows. ‘Amos is plotting against you in the heart of the House of Israel; the country can no longer tolerate what he keeps saying. For this is what he says, “Jeroboam is going to die by the sword, and Israel go into exile far from its country.”’ To Amos, Amaziah said, ‘Go away, seer;’ get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’ ‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was the Lord who took me from herding the flock, and the Lord who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” So listen to the word of the Lord.

‘You say: ‘“Do not prophesy against Israel, utter no oracles against the House of Isaac.”

‘Very well, this is what the Lord says, ‘“Your wife will be forced to go on the streets, your sons and daughters will fall by the sword, your land be parcelled out by measuring line, and you yourself die on unclean soil and Israel will go into exile far distant from its own land.”’

Gospel
Matthew 9:1-8

Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Today as we celebrate the Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul, we hear the resounding call to faithful discipleship.

Two of the most iconic figures in the history of our Church and yet whose very lives could easily be a representation of our very own.  St Peter a brash fisherman who clearly was not forward thinking at least in the beginning. Made many clumsy mistakes whether in word or deed. And of all people was unlikely to betray Jesus because of his love for Him. But he did! This is the man chosen to be the rock the foundation on which our Church is built. Why? Because like him, we too can be transformed by the grace, mercy and love of God. We too can acknowledge that we have sinned, pick ourselves up and return to the Lord. He was faithful to the very end and the wisdom he imparted invaluable.

St Paul, on the other hand was an intellect not found to be wanting. He possessed a zealous love for God’s law. Passionate enough to do anything to put an end to Christianity.  And yet he was chosen to bring Christianity to all! So that like him we too have hope and will experience the brilliant light of Christ. Be transformed to serve Him and our brethren in loving humility.  To boldly proclaim the Gospels and the message of God’s love to the very end.

St Peter and St Paul pray for us. Amen

First reading
Acts 12:1-11

King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.

  On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’

Second reading
2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

  The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel
Matthew 16:13-19

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Do you know the time and day of your passing? Do you think it is years from now? If we are blessed with a long life it is only so that we might save our souls by repenting for our sins and to save the souls of as many as we can.  Let us not be found wanting or unprepared when we meet the Lord our God.  It could be today, tomorrow or day after. Certainly sooner than we think.

Should we be fearful? Why would we be? Unless we have not grown in our faith and in our loving relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. For when we have, we know for certain that He is the resurrection and the life! And we will live faithfully in the joy and hope of our very own resurrection through Him. For He the Lord our God had promised eternal life with Him.

Lord Jesus, violent storms  can come in an instant without warning. But with You at my side I face unafraid, come what may. Jesus I place all my trust in You. Amen

First reading
Amos 3:1-8,4:11-12

Listen, sons of Israel, to this oracle the Lord speaks against you, against the whole family I brought out of the land of Egypt:

You alone, of all the families of earth, have I acknowledged,
therefore it is for all your sins that I mean to punish you.

Do two men take the road together if they have not planned to do so?

Does the lion roar in the jungle
if no prey has been found?

Does the young lion growl in his lair if he has captured nothing?

Does the bird fall to the ground if no trap has been set?

Does the snare spring up from the ground if nothing has been caught?

Does the trumpet sound in the city without the populace becoming alarmed?

Does misfortune come to a city if the Lord has not sent it?

No more does the Lord do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.

The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid?

The Lord speaks: who can refuse to prophesy?

I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a brand snatched from the blaze; and yet you never came back to me.

It is the Lord who speaks.

This therefore, Israel, is what I plan to do to you, and because I am going to do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God!

Gospel
Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?’ And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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What is our day to day life like? Do we seek only personal comforts and enjoyment? Do we spare a thought for the less fortunate? Do we do anything for them? What about the sick, lonely and poor in spirit? Or do we hide behind the excuse that the domestic Church must come first and do little or nothing for anyone else?

To follow Jesus in discipleship is to expect challenges and discomfort. It compels us to come out of our comfort zones to live our lives according to His Will in the service of others.  We must leave our spiritually dead lives and attachments behind us so as to embrace the new life in Him. 

Lord Jesus let me live my life for and in You. Amen

First reading
Amos 2:6-10,13-16

The Lord says this:

For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Israel I have made my decree and will not relent:
because they have sold the virtuous man for silver and the poor man for a pair of sandals, because they trample on the heads of ordinary people and push the poor out of their path, because father and son have both resorted to the same girl, profaning my holy name, because they stretch themselves out by the side of every altar on clothes acquired as pledges, and drink the wine of the people they have fined in the house of their god…

Yet it was I who overthrew the Amorites when they attacked,
men tall as cedars and strong as oaks, I who destroyed them, both fruit above ground
and root below.

It was I who brought you out of the land of Egypt and for forty years led you through the wilderness to take possession of the Amorite’s country.

See then how I am going to crush you into the ground as the threshing-sledge crushes when clogged by straw; flight will not save even the swift, the strong man will find his strength useless, the mighty man will be powerless to save himself.

The bowman will not stand his ground, the fast runner will not escape, the horseman will not save himself, the bravest warriors will run away naked that day.

It is the Lord who speaks.

Gospel
Matthew 8:18-22

When Jesus saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side. One of the scribes then came up and said to him, ‘Master, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’

  Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, ‘Sir, let me go and bury my father first.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead.’

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: June 25, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Taking the Call: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
 

Readings:

1 Kings 19:16-21
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
Galatians 5:1,13-18
Luke 9:51-62
 

In this week’s First Reading, Elijah’s disciple is allowed to kiss his parents goodbye before setting out to follow the prophet’s call.

But we are called to follow a greater prophet than Elijah, this week’s Liturgy wants us to know.

In Baptism, we have put on the cloak of Christ, are called to the house of a new Father, and have been given a new family in the kingdom of God. We have been called to leave behind our past lives and never look back—to follow wherever He leads.

Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind and his disciple was given a double portion of his spirit (see 2 Kings 2:9-15).

Jesus too, the Gospel reminds us, was “taken up” (see Acts 1:2,11,22), and He gave us His Spirit to live by, to guide us in our journey in His kingdom.

As this week’s Epistle tells us, the call of Jesus shatters the yoke of every servitude, sets us free from the rituals of the old Law, shows us the Law’s fulfillment in the following of Jesus, in serving one another through love.

His call sets our hands to a new plow, a new task—to be His messengers, sent ahead to prepare all peoples to meet Him and enter into His Kingdom.

Elijah called down fire to consume those who wouldn’t accept God (see 2 Kings 1:1-16). But we have a different Spirit with us.

To live by His Spirit is to face opposition and rejection, as the Apostles do in this week’s Gospel. It is to feel like an exile, with no lasting city (see Hebrews 13:14), no place in this world to lay our head or call home.

But we hear the voice of the One we follow in this week’s Psalm (see Acts 2:25-32;13:35-37). He calls us to make His faith our own—to abide in confidence that He will not abandon us, that He will show us “the path to life,” leading us to the fullness of joy in His presence forever.

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Wake up and see that sin is not another buzzword! It is a spawn of evil and draws you in. Do Not give in! Sin blinds you to the truth. It eats at your soul and destroys you. It leads you further and further away from the Lord Your God.

How wonderful if it is to have a loving and merciful Heavenly Father. Sent His only Begotten Son to redeem His children from death and sin. Anyone who cries out to Him even in the dark recesses of darkness, He will come to set them free. His healing graces He bestows on the faithful.

Lord Jesus I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I firmly believe that I can be perfected through You. For it is You alone who makes me worthy. Amen

First reading
Lamentations 2:2,10-14,18-19

Beth

The Lord has pitilessly destroyed all the homes of Jacob; in his displeasure he has shattered the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; he has thrown to the ground, he has left accursed the kingdom and its rulers.

Yod

Mutely they sit on the ground, the elders of the daughter of Zion; they have put dust on their heads, and wrapped themselves in sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem hang their heads
down to the ground.

Kaph

My eyes wasted away with weeping, my entrails shuddered, my liver spilled on the ground at the ruin of the daughters of my people, as children, mere infants, fainted
in the squares of the Citadel.

Lamed

They kept saying to their mothers,  ‘Where is the bread?’ as they fainted like wounded men in the squares of the City, as they poured out their souls on their mothers’ breasts.

Mem

How can I describe you, to what compare you, daughter of Jerusalem? Who can rescue and comfort you, virgin daughter of Zion? For huge as the sea is your affliction; who can possibly cure you?

Nun

The visions your prophets had on your behalf were delusive, tinsel things, they never pointed out your sin, to ward off your exile.

The visions they proffered you were false, fallacious, misleading.

Sade

Cry aloud, then, to the Lord,
groan, daughter of Zion; let your tears flow like a torrent,day and night; give yourself no relief, grant your eyes no rest.

Qoph

Up, cry out in the night-time in the early hours of darkness; pour your heart out like water
 before the Lord. Stretch out your hands to him for the lives of your children who faint with hunger at the entrance to every street.

Gospel
Matthew 8:5-17

When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.

  And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

  That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:

He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.

Outpouring – Youth Convention 2016

Posted: June 24, 2016 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

Just a brief reflection on a Christ filled session…

When the Lord calls I have learnt to always say yes unless I am prompted to say otherwise. And so it was a privilege to witness and be part of the pray over team.

It was amazing to feel the Lord’s strong presence even before He came into the Auditorium in the form of the Blessed Sacrament. Another wonderful thing was the very large number teens who were very opened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and an equal large number who possessed an intense desire to experience the Lord in a deep tangible way.

But what struck me the most was just how much brokenness there was in many of the teens. How some were holding on to unforgiveness because of deep hurts and pain. How others were struggling with habitual sins, addictions and anger issues. And many similar issues that we adults face such as rejections etc.

I began to see how grave it can be if and when their parents downplay the struggles they face or think little or nothing of them. What if they as parents were the cause of much of their hurts, pain and they did not even realise it. For example being critical about everything their child does or simply being indifferent towards them and their accomplishments.

How blessed we are as a Church to have a vibrant youth programme, good proper catechesis and Youth conferences such as this to bring about healing, reconciliation and a deepening of the Faith.

What a great Blessing it was for me personally that the Lord had given me a very unique opportunity to pray over both my sons. I am quite sure it was not planned out by the Youth Coordinators as they might have felt that the children might be uncomfortable if it was their own parents praying over them. Trying to be sensitive to my sons’ feelings if any, I prayed over them from behind while my partner took the front. Through the wonderful grace of our Lord Jesus Christ my younger son experienced what it is like to rest in the Spirit and to receive His graces. Today when asked if he was comfortable with me praying over him, he shared that he was in actual fact hoping it would be me.

We the prayer team witnessed the Lord’s healing power in many of the youths, liberation, and His abundant love and peace filling their hearts. I am certain many of them received new gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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