Archive for June, 2016

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

By our baptism we are called to be priests.  St John the Baptist is a wonderful example of how we should go about fulfilling his priestly duty. He was not your conventional priest of the time but a priest nonetheless. 

In order to follow the Will of God the Father and to reconcile His people unto Him, St John the Baptist had to make many sacrifices. He offered them up wholeheartedly like incense holy and acceptable to God. For in a disordered World, there is no communion without sacrifice. He bravely proclaimed repentance and baptised them, to prepare their hearts to receive our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God who was to take away the sins of the world. The new and everlasting temple in which living waters flowed.

Are we baptised ‘Priests’ doing likewise? Have we boldly proclaimed Christ who was, who is and who is to come? Have we sacrificed as to reconcile our brethren to our living, loving and merciful Lord our God?

Jesus let me live out my baptismal vows and to serve my family, friends and brethren; as priest, prophet and king. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 49:1-6

Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples.

The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand.

He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified’; while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing’; and all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward with my God.

I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;

I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Second reading
Acts 13:22-26

Paul said: ‘God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

  ‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’

Gospel
Luke 1:57-66,80

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

  Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

  Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

Where is your heart at? Do you pray, if your pray at all to praise and glorify the Lord by your lives? Or is it always more personal petitions?

Where is your heart at? Is it on the Lord Your God, His Word and His Will? Or is it on your personal goals, objectives and achievements?

Where is your heart at? Is it in the service of Jesus and your brethren? Or is it only your family, your travels, your enjoyment, your leisure?

Seek first the Kingdom of God building it up on the foundation of His Word given to you, His love and mercy poured out for you; to be shared and passed on to your brothers and sisters in the world. Then only then is your heart where it should be.

Lord Jesus reign in my heart, now and forever. Amen

First reading
2 Kings 24:8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to the Lord, just as his father had done.

  At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.

  The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.

  The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Gospel
Matthew 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!

  ‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

  Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

A true leader is first a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. A man or woman after the heart of God our Father. One who knows to humbly look inwardly to correct shortcomings and to turn away from sins. Thereby leading those he or she is called to do likewise.  The Word of God is central in the lives of His people and must be proclaimed so that all will know of the love and mercy of the Lord our God.

Truly you will be able to distinguish them by their fruits. For their toil and sacrifice is for others. They are humble and outward looking always willing to befriend the sinner and outcast. They are to be found in the thick of the community and at opportune times in deep prayer. They lead others close to the heart of God, and those they lead are transformed. They in turn cannot wait to witness to the glory of the Lord.

Lord Jesus guide and least me so that I may always be a leader after Your own sacred heart.  An instrument to bring Your peace and love. Amen

First reading
2 Kings 22:8-13,23:1-3

The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Temple of the Lord.’’’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, who read it. Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him as follows, ‘Your servants’ he said ‘have melted down the silver which was in the Temple and have handed it over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of the Lord.’ Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book’; and Shaphan read it aloud in the king’s presence.

  On hearing the contents of the Book of the Law, the king tore his garments, and gave the following order to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s minister: ‘Go and consult the Lord, on behalf of me and the people, about the contents of this book that has been found. Great indeed must be the anger of the Lord blazing out against us because our ancestors did not obey what this book says by practising everything written in it.’

  The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned to him, and the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, priests, prophets and all the people, of high or low degree. In their hearing he read out everything that was said in the book of the covenant found in the Temple of the Lord. The king stood beside the pillar, and in the presence of the Lord he made a covenant to follow the Lord and keep his commandments and decrees and laws with all his heart and soul, in order to enforce the terms of the covenant as written in that book. All the people gave their allegiance to the covenant.

Gospel
Matthew 7:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

Have you been mocked for your faith? Have you been taunted especially in times of trials? Remain steadfast and in the peace of our Lord for He is with you. 

Only those who have not been opened to His promptings, experienced His love, mercy and grace will fall.

And so let us be bold and proclaim the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father as shown through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, to all who will listen.  And those who will not listen, leave them to their own devices.

Let us help one another enter through the narrow gate.  And we will face all the challenges that await us, for we know we stand not alone. But shoulder to shoulder with one another. With the living God at our side. Glory to the Holy Trinity now and forever. Amen

First reading
2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36

Sennacherib, King of the Assyrians, sent messengers to Hezekiah saying, ‘Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, “Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you, when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria. You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?’

  Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messenger and read it; he then went up to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of the Lord, ‘O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth.

‘Give ear, Lord, and listen.
Open your eyes, Lord, and see.
Hear the words of Sennacherib who has sent to insult the living God.

‘It is true, O Lord, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them. But now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, I pray you, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, the Lord.’

  Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ‘The Lord, the God of Israel,’ he said, ‘says this, “I have heard the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.” Here is the oracle that the Lord has pronounced against him:

‘“She despises you, she scorns you, the virgin, daughter of Zion; she tosses her head behind you, the daughter of Jerusalem.”

‘This, then, is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:

‘“He will not enter this city, he will let fly no arrow against it,
confront it with no shield, throw up no earthwork against it.

By the road that he came on he will return; he shall not enter this city. It is the Lord who speaks.

I will protect this city and save it for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”’

That same night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.

Gospel
Matthew 7:6,12-14

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.

  ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.

  ‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

Our hearts are restless till we rest in God our Father. And so when we lose sight of what is truly important in our lives, look for material comforts, power and personal glory; we become empty constantly trying to fill the void which cannot be filled on our own.

In His mercy and love He beckons us to be reconciled with Him. Instead of looking at the faults, weaknesses in others let us look within ourselves first. And after being fully reconciled ourselves with our Lord. Let us gently encourage the others to do likewise. For His mercy and peace is for all. Amen

First reading
2 Kings 17:5-8,13-15,18

The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

  This happened because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, they followed the practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed for them.

  And yet through all the prophets and all the seers, the Lord had given Israel and Judah this warning, ‘Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law I laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets.’ But they would not listen, they were more stubborn than their ancestors had been who had no faith in the Lord their God. They despised his laws and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the warnings he had given them. They pursued emptiness, and themselves became empty through copying the nations round them although the Lord had ordered them not to act as they did. For this, the Lord was enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

Gospel
Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.’

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: June 18, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Children of the Promise: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Zech 12:10-11; 13:1
Ps 62:2-6. 8-9 r. 2
Gal 3:26-29
Luke 9:18-24
 
In this Sunday’s readings we hear the voice of the Prophet Zechariah as he delivers difficult oracles from God. The people have returned from exile. Now back in Jerusalem, they face the arduous work of rebuilding the Temple. Zechariah acknowledges their hardships and foresees more obstacles.

But their grief has a purpose. It is a remedy, a penance to heal them—”a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness.”

Thus purified, the people will be ready to receive the Messiah and usher in a new creation. God promises to “pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition.” So that no one should mistake the identity of the Messiah when He comes, God says through Zechariah: “they shall look on him whom they have thrust through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son … a first-born.” That prophecy could be fulfilled in no other than Jesus, the Word made Flesh, the Only-Begotten Son of God, the Crucified.

The day of the Messiah indeed came, with an outpouring of the Spirit. Yet it was a saving event not only for Jerusalem, but for all people. Both Jews and Gentiles could become “children of God,” in St. Paul’s stunning phrase. Now, “There is neither Jew nor Greek … slave nor free … male and female …  if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.”

In light of these readings, Sunday’s Gospel is poignant. Jesus asks his closest friends, ” who do you say that I am?” Peter replies, “The Messiah of God.” Jesus then reveals to them, as Zechariah had foretold, that the Messiah must be “thrust through” and killed and mourned before the Spirit would come forth on Pentecost.

The day has indeed come. Yet still we long for its fullness, and so we pray to God in the Psalm: “for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, Like a land parched, lifeless, and without water.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

Praise the Lord our Heavenly Father who so loves us all. And He provides for all that we need as we seek to live in His Kingdom and to do His Will. We have no need or want for anything.

The world would have us believe otherwise. That is OK to want more, to have more and need more. The love of money, power and honour drives us further and further away from the Lord our God. For these have taken His place in our hearts. Soon we find that peace has left us and instead we have restlessness to contend with.

Lord Jesus I long only to be with You. Grant me the grace to overcome all temptations. So that I may dwell in Your love now and forever. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading
2 Chronicles 24:17-25

After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came to pay court to the king, and the king now turned to them for advice. The Judaeans abandoned the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, for the worship of sacred poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. He sent them prophets to bring them back to the Lord, but when these gave their message, they would not listen. The spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said, ‘God says this, “Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord to no good purpose? You have deserted the Lord, now he deserts you.”’ They then plotted against him and by order of the king stoned him in the court of the Temple of the Lord. King Joash, forgetful of the kindness that Jehoiada, the father of Zechariah, had shown him, killed Jehoiada’s son who cried out as he died, ‘The Lord sees and he will avenge!’

  When a year had gone by, the Aramaean army made war on Joash. They reached Judah and Jerusalem, and executed all the officials among the people, sending back to the king at Damascus all that they had plundered from them. Though the Aramaean army had by no means come in force, the Lord delivered into its power an army of great size for having deserted him, the God of their ancestors.

  The Aramaeans treated Joash as he had deserved, and when they retired they left him a very sick man; and his officers, plotting against him to avenge the death of the son of Jehoiada the priest, murdered him in his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the Citadel of David, though not in the tombs of the kings.

Gospel
Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

  ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

He who raises himself up will be struck down and humbled. For He the Lord our God scatters the proud hearted and raises the lowly.

Our Heavenly Father wants us His children, to come into our Heavenly inheritance. The journey begins with us renouncing the riches cares of the world. For we carry nothing of worth or value of the world into the next. It is His Word, His Church, the Sacraments, His grace and the love we possess for one another, His children that are the treasures He gives us.

Let us choose to remain faithful, steadfast in faith, love and charity for one another through our Lord Jesus Christ. Guarding ourselves against sin which seeks to rob us of the light we possess so as to plunge us into darkness. Let us see with the eyes of Jesus and gaze upon one another with His mercy and love. Amen

First reading
2 Kings 11:1-4,9-18,20

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah learned that her son was dead, she promptly did away with all those of royal stock. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, secretly took away Jehoash, her brother’s son, from among the sons of the king who were being murdered, and put him with his nurse in the sleeping quarters; in this way she hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death. He stayed with her for six years, hidden in the Temple of the Lord, while Athaliah governed the country.

  In the seventh year, Jehoiada sent for the commanders of hundreds of the Carians and of the guards, and had them brought to him in the Temple of the Lord. He made a pact with them and, putting them under oath, showed them the king’s son.

  The commanders of hundreds did everything as Jehoiada the priest had ordered. They brought their men, those coming off duty on the sabbath together with those mounting guard on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. The priest equipped the commanders of hundreds with King David’s spears and shields which were in the Temple of the Lord. The guards formed up, each man with his weapon in his hand, from the south corner to the north corner of the Temple, surrounding the altar and the Temple.’ Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son, put the crown and armlets on him, and he anointed him king. They clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’

  Athaliah, on hearing the shouts of the people made for the Temple of the Lord where the people were. When she saw the king standing there beside the pillar, as the custom was, with the captains and trumpeters at the king’s side, and all the country people rejoicing and sounding trumpets, Athaliah tore her garments and shouted, ‘Treason, treason!’ Then Jehoiada the priest gave the order to the army officers: ‘Take her outside the precincts and put to death anyone who follows her.’ ‘For’ the priest had reasoned, ‘she must not be put to death in the Temple of the Lord.’ They seized her, and when she had reached the palace through the Entry of the Horses, she was put to death there.

  Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and king and people, by which the latter undertook to be the people of the Lord; and also between king and people. All the country people then went to the temple of Baal and demolished it; they smashed his altars and his images and killed Mattan, priest of Baal, in front of the altars.

  The priest posted sentries to guard the Temple of the Lord. All the country people were delighted, and the city made no move. And they put Athaliah to death in the royal palace.

Gospel
Matthew 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

  ‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

We children of God our Father and disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ are called to love and lead one another into the Heavenly Kingdom that awaits us. And if we have faith we can do mighty great deeds in Jesus’s name.

And the greatest deed of them all is reconciliation.  To reconcile and to be reconciled with God our Heavenly Father. To call for repentance and invite sinners to experience the love and mercy of God our Father through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Prayer is what deepens our faith, love and relationship with God. It unites us with Him and thereby unites us with one another.  Let us strive to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful. Amen

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name…..

First reading
Ecclesiasticus 48:1-15

The prophet Elijah arose like a fire, his word flaring like a torch.

It was he who brought famine on the people, and who decimated them in his zeal.

By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens he also, three times, brought down fire.

How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah!

  Has anyone reason to boast as you have? – rousing a corpse from death,
from Sheol by the word of the Most High; dragging kings down to destruction, and high dignitaries from their beds; hearing reproof on Sinai, and decrees of punishment on Horeb; anointing kings as avengers, and prophets to succeed you; taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob,

Happy shall they be who see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love; for we too will have life.

Elijah was shrouded in the whirlwind, and Elisha was filled with his spirit; throughout his life no ruler could shake him, and no one could subdue him.

No task was too hard for him,
and even in death his body prophesied.

In his lifetime he performed wonders, and in death his works were marvellous.

Gospel
Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us. And do not put us to the test, but save us from the evil one.

‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

I must never forget that there are always greater, Holier, wiser men and women than I.  While I may perform mighty deeds in His name it is the Lord that I am paving the way for. So that He and He alone can dwell in the hearts of them, whom I serve at His pleasure.

My food and drink is the Word, the living water. I have no want or need for glory, for all Glory and Praise belongs to the Lord my God alone.  I hunger and thirst only to do His Will.  For He is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want.

My Lord, my God, my all! Amen

First reading
2 Kings 2:1,6-14

This is what happened when the Lord took Elijah up to heaven in the whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, the Lord is only sending me to the Jordan.’ But he replied, ‘As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ And they went on together.

  Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance away as the two of them stood beside the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right, and the two of them crossed over dry-shod. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Make your request. What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha answered, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ ‘Your request is a difficult one’ Elijah said. ‘If you see me while I am being taken from you, it shall be as you ask; if not, it will not be so.’ Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’ Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half. He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

  He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he cried. He struck the water, and it divided to right and left, and Elisha crossed over.

Gospel
Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:

  ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

  ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

  ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

Three Circles

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

So many flawed people in our Churches that it is a wonder how we get anything done? In the last few months I’ve witnessed so many true colours revealed that I was wondering how to continue looking past everything? What a burden it is in knowing the truth sometimes.

Here are some unveiled…

One who knows how to ask so sweetly when they want something done but are very harsh when it doesn’t go according to what they had planned.

People who offer to contribute something then later tell others they were asked to contribute.

People always seeking attention and want of the limelight that they make sure everyone is watching when they do something.

People who say they want to serve, but choose only to serve at their convenience and only the way they want to.  Giving constant excuses for why they cannot serve in any other capacity.

People who promise to deliver but fail to and pocket the money that had been given for a project entrusted to their care.

People who pocket other people’s red envelopes leading them to think that the host did not appreciate the hard work they put in for the host.

People who subtly flatter themselves while putting others down.

People who tell others that someone mentioned their food is tasteless so that the business will go to them instead.

People who share other’s stories or testimonies said in confidence so as to get into the good books of another.

People who think themselves more learned and better than everyone else.

People who think themselves more spiritual than everyone else.

People who are quick to teach others but whose own family is in disarray.

People who choose to keep silent when they are in the position to help or engage their team members to help.

People who are only concerned about their ministry or community but do not care for the church or community at large.

People who voice concern for the well being of others but do nothing on their own for them.

People who berate others who are gentle to exercise control over them.

People who make use of the kindheartedness of others to do the things they are reluctant to do themselves.

People who want others to listen to their testimonies and their stories but are impatient when others share and then try to interject with their very own.

People who constantly find fault with the Church and with others. And pit one person against another.

People who think themselves more loving and generous than others but hide their own sinful thoughts and actions.

People who appear so nice on the surface but are quick to bad mouth others on the quiet.

Upon deeper reflection I was made to gaze upon three circles, the outer bigger one was a big round circle which was perfectly round. This was made up of people who joined the community to form this circle but not all possess the heart of a disciple. And in time this would break away.

The middle circle was jagged in some parts, these comprised of wannabe disciples who face some challenges but then fall away to sin and other worldly distractions.  They either break away or stay in this circle with no further growth.

The inner circle is much smaller and utterly deformed. These however comprises of disciples who live their lives with the knowledge that their imperfect circle is perfected in Christ. It is in their struggle to serve others that causes their circle to appear deformed.  For they are constantly mocked for Christ’s sake.  They are often frowned upon and looked on with disdain. They rely not on their own strengths but that of the Lord’s.

We all have to choose which circle we want to belong to …

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

How can I love my enemy? He who hurt me? He who continues to lie and cheat? To speak foul of others? To gossip and destroy relationships? He who is abusive and cruel? Who struts around like a peacock?

It is only through Your love and strength that I can truly love my enemy Lord. For if I am united with You then I too are looking to save souls. All of us are created in the image and likeness of You. It is sin that distorts and separates.  Hence I am called to be an instrument of reconciliation. To echo the call for repentance. I am Not called however to be a doormat to be trampled upon. The Lord will be my shield, my rampart. He is my rock and my strength.

Praise and glory to my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 21:17-29

After the death of Naboth, the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Up! Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, in Samaria. You will find him in Naboth’s vineyard; he has gone down to take possession of it. You are to say this to him, “the Lord says this: You have committed murder; now you usurp as well. For this – and the Lord says this – in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick your blood too.”’ Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me out, O my enemy!’ Elijah answered, ‘I have found you out. For your double dealing, and since you have done what is displeasing to the Lord, I will now bring disaster down on you; I will sweep away your descendants, and wipe out every male belonging to the family of Ahab, fettered or free in Israel. I will treat your House as I treated the House of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah, for provoking my anger and leading Israel into sin. (Against Jezebel the Lord spoke these words: The dogs will eat Jezebel in the Field of Jezreel.) Those of Ahab’s family who die in the city, the dogs will eat; and those who die in the open country, the birds of the air will eat.’

  And indeed there never was anyone like Ahab for double dealing and for doing what is displeasing to the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the most abominable way, adhering to idols, just as the Amorites used to do whom the Lord had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

  When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put sackcloth next his skin and fasted; he slept in the sackcloth; he walked with slow steps. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; I will bring the disaster down on his House in the days of his son.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

We live in an imperfect world, one that can be very cruel and vicious. And the choices we make determines who we are. We can let our rage consume us and destroy everything in its path. Or we can exact vengeance to the measure of what was taken from us. The hurts that we received. Thinking we will be satisfied and appeased.

Our Lord Jesus gives us an opportunity to rise up above the situation.  To live in His mercy and love; for through Him an imperfect world can be perfected. Through Him we have peace and joy in our hearts.

Let the lives of the Saints that have gone before us guide us. Saint Anthony, you who carried Jesus tenderly with a loving heart for all, pray for us. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 21:1-16

Naboth of Jezreel had a vineyard close by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria, and Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it adjoins my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will give you its worth in money.’ But Naboth answered Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!’

  Ahab went home gloomy and out of temper at the words of Naboth of Jezreel, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ He lay down on his bed and turned his face away and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came to him. ‘Why are you so dispirited’ she said ‘that you will not eat?’ He said, ‘I have been speaking to Naboth of Jezreel; I said: Give me your vineyard either for money or, if you prefer, for another vineyard in exchange. But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’ Then his wife Jezebel said, ‘You make a fine king of Israel, and no mistake! Get up and eat; cheer up, and you will feel better; I will get you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel myself.’

  So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, sending them to the elders and nobles who lived where Naboth lived. In the letters she wrote, ‘Proclaim a fast, and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Confront him with a couple of scoundrels who will accuse him like this, “You have cursed God and the king” Then take him outside and stone him to death.’

  The men of Naboth’s town, the elders and nobles who lived in his town, did what Jezebel ordered, what was written in the letters she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Then the two scoundrels came and stood in front of him and made their accusation, ‘Naboth has cursed God and the king.’ They led him outside the town and stoned him to death. They then sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’ When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up! Take possession of the vineyard which Naboth of Jezreel would not give you for money, for Naboth is no longer alive, he is dead.’ When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel and take possession of it.

Gospel
Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus said, ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: June 11, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Many Sins, Great Love: 
Scott Hahn Reflects on the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
 
Readings:
2 Samuel 12: 7–10, 13
Psalm 32: 1–2, 5,7,11
Galatians 2:16, 19–21
Luke 7:36–50
 
In this Sunday’s readings we are like the fallen king, David, and the woman who weeps at Jesus’ feet.

Like David, the Lord has rescued us from sin and death, anointed us with His Spirit in baptism and in confirmation. He has made us heirs of His promise to the children of Israel.

And like David, and like the woman in the Gospel, we fall into sin. Our crimes may not be as grave as David’s (see 2 Samuel 11:1–26) or as “many” as that woman’s (see Luke 7:47).

But we often squander the great gift of salvation we’ve been given. Often we fail to live up to the great calling of being sons and daughters of God.

The good news of today’s readings, the good news of Jesus Christ, is that we can return to God in the sacrament of confession. Each of us can repeat Paul’s wondrous words in this week’s Epistle: “The Son of God has loved me and given himself up for me.”

Our faith will save us, as Jesus tells the woman today. Our faith that no matter how many our sins, or how serious, if we come to him in true sorrow and repentance we will hear his words of forgiveness. Like David. Like the woman in the Gospel this Sunday.

We hear David’s heartfelt confession in the First Reading. The Psalmist, too, confesses his sins to God. And we hear our Lord’s tender words of mercy and pardon in the Gospel.

By His word of healing and his promise of peace, He makes it possible for us to join Him at the banquet table of the Eucharist.

We can’t be like the Pharisee in the Gospel. We should never disdain the sinner or doubt the Lord’s power to convert even the worst of sinners.

Instead, we should pledge today to better imitate that sinful woman. In gratitude for the debt we’ve been forgiven, let us promise to live by faith and for God alone. Like her, let us devote our lives to serving Him with great love.

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

It is not enough to sow the seeds of faith. For once hearts are converted by and to the Lord, we need to be on hand to guard and encourage further growth. So that all will be fully rooted in the solid foundation of Christ Jesus our Lord.  Only then can we serve Him and one another with joy in our hearts.

No more shallowness of faith or service! No hint of hypocrisy! Guarding against a loose tongue which could destroy a community. Faith, encouragement backed with action.  Let us glorify the Lord our God by the depth of our love for Him and His Word. Amen

St Barnabas pray for us.

First reading
Acts 11:21-26,13:1-3

A great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

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

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

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

Gospel
Matthew 5:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne; or by the earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great king. Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

We must stand firm amidst all adversity and temptations. For through our love for God and His commandments, He is close to us and speaks to us like a gentle whisper. 

One of our greatest struggles to remain steadfast is concupiscence. However through prayer, the sacraments and again our deep love for Jesus, we are given the grace to remain Holy. 

We are called to love one another by service, great charity and sacrifice. The love that we ourselves had received without merit. For He the Lord our God loved us first.

Glory to You O Lord. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 19:9,11-16

When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for the Lord of Hosts, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, broken down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and they want to kill me.’

  ‘Go,’ the Lord said, ‘go back by the same way to the wilderness of Damascus. You are to go and anoint Hazael as king of Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:27-32

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.

  ‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

Let us not remain comfortable with what we know, how we live our faith, how we generally love everyone, how we behave around others and how we often adopt a I ‘forgive’ but will not forget attitude towards those who hurt us or made us angry.

For to call ourselves Christian, is to carry our cross and follow Jesus. To constantly come out of our comfort zones, seek opportunities to grow deeper in our faith and in our relationship with the Lord our God. To face the challenges that will present itself and most of all love with great charity.

Just as we desire our heavenly Father to blot out all our offences and to purify our hearts and minds. So too must we forgive our brethren perfectly with a desire that their souls too may be saved and purified.

Dear sweet Jesus my Saviour, grant me the grace to love everyone with Your divine love. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 18:41-46

Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go back, eat and drink; for I hear the sound of rain.’ While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the earth, putting his face between his knees. ‘Now go up,’ he told his servant ‘and look out to the sea.’ He went up and looked. ‘There is nothing at all’ he said. ‘Go back seven times’ Elijah said. The seventh time, the servant said, ‘Now there is a cloud, small as a man’s hand, rising from the sea.’ Elijah said, ‘Go and say to Ahab, “Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you.”’ And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel. The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and tucking up his cloak he ran in front of Ahab as far as the outskirts of Jezreel.

Gospel
Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples, If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

No! I don’t pray to idols! I don’t have any, I only worship the Lord my God.

Do you not seek to be recognised for all that you do? To be praised a little? So that all will know that you are good at many things? Is not honour and fame your idol?

Do you not want lots of money for yourself and family? Do you not work long hours, days, weeks, months on end to do so? Do you find that there is always more to make? More to achieve? Is this not your idol?

Must you be in control all the time? The top dog where everyone looks up to? What you say must be followed as you know it better than anyone else.  You want to be on top of everything and everyone and so you keep at it day in and day out. Is the need for power not your idol?

What about your addictions? Sex, alcohol, gambling, gaming etc. Are these not your idols?

What is it in your own lives that takes you away from prayer, from your relationship with God our Father who loves you? From following Jesus’s commands to love? For the purpose of the laws He gave us is to love.

Lord Jesus I long only to be with You. And to do my Heavenly Father’s will for me. Come Holy Spirit, come dwell in me. Guide me always. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 18:20-39

Ahab called all Israel together and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah stepped out in front of all the people. ‘How long’ he said ‘do you mean to hobble first on one leg then on the other? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.’ But the people never said a word. Elijah then said to them, ‘I, I alone, am left as a prophet of the Lord, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty. Let two bulls be given us; let them choose one for themselves, dismember it and lay it on the wood, but not set fire to it. I in my turn will prepare the other bull, but not set fire to it. You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of mine; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.’ The people all answered, ‘Agreed!’ Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull and begin, for there are more of you. Call on the name of your god but light no fire.’ They took the bull and prepared it, and from morning to midday they called on the name of Baal. ‘O Baal, answer us!’ they cried, but there was no voice, no answer, as they performed their hobbling dance round the altar they had made. Midday came, and Elijah mocked them. ‘Call louder,’ he said ‘for he is a god: he is preoccupied or he is busy, or he has gone on a journey; perhaps he is asleep and will wake up.’ So they shouted louder and gashed themselves, as their custom was, with swords and spears until the blood flowed down them. Midday passed, and they ranted on until the time the offering is presented; but there was no voice, no answer, no attention given to them.

  Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come closer to me’, and all the people came closer to him. He repaired the altar of the Lord which had been broken down. Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, ‘Israel shall be your name’, and built an altar in the name of the Lord. Round the altar he dug a trench of a size to hold two measures of seed. He then arranged the wood, dismembered the bull, and laid it on the wood. Then he said, ‘Fill four jars with water and pour it on the holocaust and on the wood’; this they did. He said, ‘Do it a second time’; they did it a second time. He said, ‘Do it a third time’; they did it a third time. The water flowed round the altar and the trench itself was full of water. At the time when the offering is presented, Elijah the prophet stepped forward. ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,’ he said ‘let them know today that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, that I have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, the Lord, are God and are winning back their hearts.’

  Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the holocaust and wood and licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. ‘The Lord is God,’ they cried, ‘the Lord is God.’

Gospel
Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

We hold on so tightly to what we have and are afraid to let go.  Thinking many thoughts about what if we did? It will surely run out, all will be lost, never give everything always keep something hidden, to each his own.

What do we truly own? What did we create on our own? Everything we have comes from the Lord our God.  Before we were formed in our mother’s womb He knew us, fashioned us in His likeness and we were born into a family. His family! How then can we start thinking we are alone? We are individuals fending for ourselves and it is a matter of survival, survival of the fittest.

We are made to be a light for one another. To love and care for one another. The more we surrender into the hands of our Lord, He gives us back and in abundance so that we can use it to better the lives of our brethren. In doing so our very own lives are enriched and filled with His grace. This is truly how we give Him praise, how we glorify Him and how we give Him thanks.

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

First reading
1 Kings 17:7-16

The stream in the place where Elijah lay hidden dried up, for the country had no rain. And then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, ‘Up and go to Zarephath, a Sidonian town, and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to give you food.’ So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a vessel for me to drink.’ She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please’ he said ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’ ‘As the Lord your God lives,’ she replied ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’ But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel:

“Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.”’

The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.

Gospel
Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

  ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

If there is a drought in our lives it is because we have wandered far from the Lord our God. We have put our idols before us, seeking to quench our desires for recognition, power, glory even wanton lusts. We thirst for water that does not last.

Drink instead of the living water of our Lord Jesus Christ. He not only taught us but shows us the way to eternal life springs. Which flows from the heart of Love your God with all your heart, all your mind, so your strength, all your soul and to love your brethren as He the Lord God loves us.

Thank You Lord for the beatitudes. May it be for me a way of life. Amen

First reading
1 Kings 17:1-6

Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord lives, the God of Israel whom I serve, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except at my order.’

  The word of the Lord came to him, ‘Go away from here, go eastwards, and hide yourself in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.’ He did as the Lord had said; he went and stayed in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.

Gospel
Matthew 5:1-12

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy the gentle: they shall have the earth for their heritage.

Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.

Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.

Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.

Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.

Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.

Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven: this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Restored to Life: 
Scott Hahn Reflects on the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
 
Readings:
1 Kings 17-17-24
Psalms 30: 2,4-6,11-13
Gal 1:11-19
Luke 7:11-17
 

Jesus in today’s Gospel meets a funeral procession coming out of the gates of the town of Nain.  Unlike when he raised Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5) or Lazarus (John 11), no one requests his assistance.  Moved by compassion for the widow who had lost her only son, Jesus steps forward and, laying his hand on the bier, commands him to arise.

The onlookers were reminded of the story of Elijah in the first reading who raised the dead child of the widow of Zarephath and “gave him [back] to his mother.”  They proclaimed that “a great prophet has arisen in our midst.”

Jesus of course is more than a prophet; he is the ruler over life and death.  In the Mosaic law, contact with a dead body renders an Israelite unclean for a week (Numbers 19:11-19).  Jesus’ touch and word reverses that; instead of being defiled by contact with death, he gave life.

Like the physical healings that he performed, Jesus’ raising people from the dead is a sign of the Messiah’s arrival (Luke 7:22).  But it is more than that; these healings are visible signs of the awakening and liberating of men from the spiritual death caused by sin (see Mark 2:1-12).

The Church Fathers return to this theme again and again.  St. Ambrose writes, “the widow signifies Mother Church, weeping for those who are dead in sin and carried beyond the safety of her gates.  The multitudes looking on will praise the Lord when sinners rise again from death and are restored to their mother.”

When we are dead in sin, it is the outstretched hand and the words of Christ spoken by his priest that raise us from spiritual death and restore us to the arms of our mother, the Church.  With the Psalmist, then, we can sing “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.  You brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from those going down into the pit.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

How else better can we ponder over the love of God through His Son our Lord Jesus then through the Immaculate Heart of Mary His mother? She who stored up all things of Him in her heart and pondered deeply over them. With a heart so pure, so gentle and so loving. Without reserve pours out her love and spirit from within her to all her children throughout the world.

All she asks of us is that like her, we give glory to her Son our Lord, Jesus Christ by the way we lead our lives. That we share His love, truth and good news of new life in Him; now and in His Kingdom to come with others. So like St Paul we can fight the good fight and complete the race towards our heavenly inheritance.

Lord Jesus grant me a child like innocence and humility to seek only Your truth. To know that my learning and pondering of the mysteries of You never ends. There are always more questions to be asked; so that I may learn and understand ever more deeply. May my love for You and my brethren grow deeper now and forever. Amen

Immaculate Heart, Mary my mother, pray for me. That through the Holy Spirit, my thoughts, words and actions are purified so that I may live a life which is pleasing to Your Son Jesus. Amen

First reading
2 Timothy 4:1-8

Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching. The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave under trials; make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work, in thoroughgoing service.

  As for me, 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.

Gospel
Luke 2:41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

  Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’

  ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.

  He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart.

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

Let us spend some time today in pondering over the great, profound love of the Sacred heart of Jesus poured out for us.

The promise communicated through Ezekiel and fulfilled in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. O what joy it is to have someone who cares and loves you so much that when you stray and are lost; He will come looking for you and bring you home. And if you cannot walk on your own, He will carry you upon His shoulders.

O sweet heart of Jesus, why do you love me so? Undeserving, wretched sinner that I am!
Yet You died for me so that I may live through and with You.
Let me die now today so that You may live in me. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ezekiel 34:11-16

The Lord God says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I shall bring them out of the countries where they are; I shall gather them together from foreign countries and bring them back to their own land. I shall pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in every inhabited place in the land. I shall feed them in good pasturage; the high mountains of Israel will be their grazing ground. There they will rest in good grazing ground; they will browse in rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest–it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

Second reading
Romans 5:5-11

The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

Gospel
Luke 15:3-7

Jesus spoke this parable to the scribes and Pharisees:

  ‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

In the fast paced world that we live in, it is hard to fathom someone loving us without condition.  Simply loving us deeply for who we are in spite of our shortcomings, despite our failures. Someone who is ever constant in our lives, bringing peace  love and joy. And yet there He is, Jesus! Our Lord and ever faithful God.

How deep is our own love for Him? How hard are we really trying to remain faithful to Him and His commandments to love? How generous have we been in sharing the Good News of His great love with others? How careful and loving have we been in communicating His truths, through our words to our brethren?

O Heavenly Father, forgive me for my many shortcomings. I do truly love You and want to remain faithful and fruitful. Bless me Father, that I may glorify You in word and deed. Amen

First reading
2 Timothy 2:8-15

Remember the Good News that I carry, ‘Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David’; it is on account of this that I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal – but they cannot chain up God’s news. So I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen, so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it.

  Here is a saying that you can rely on:

If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.

If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him.

If we disown him, then he will disown us.

We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self.

Remind them of this; and tell them in the name of God that there is to be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening. Do all you can to present yourself in front of God as a man who has come through his trials, and a man who has no cause to be ashamed of his life’s work and has kept a straight course with the message of the truth.

Gospel
Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

On Today’s Gospel

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

image

Death has no hold over us for we belong to the living God. Hence we should stop dwelling in sin, the shame and death it brings us. But live in the power of the resurrection for which Christ our Lord won for us.

Let us be heralds of the new life in Him. Bravely proclaiming the good news of the living Word. So that all who come to the knowledge of Jesus will experience life to the full. Amen

First reading
2 Timothy 1:1-3,6-12

From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus in his design to promise life in Christ Jesus; to Timothy, dear child of mine, wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

  Night and day I thank God, keeping my conscience clear and remembering my duty to him as my ancestors did, and always I remember you in my prayers. That is why I am reminding you now to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy – not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace. This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time, but it has only been revealed by the Appearing of our saviour Christ Jesus. He abolished death, and he has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News; and I have been named its herald, its apostle and its teacher.

  It is only on account of this that I am experiencing fresh hardships here now; but I have not lost confidence, because I know who it is that I have put my trust in, and I have no doubt at all that he is able to take care of all that I have entrusted to him until that Day.

Gospel
Mark 12:18-27

Some Sadducees – who deny that there is a resurrection – came to him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a wife and then died leaving no children. The second married the widow, and he too died leaving no children; with the third it was the same, and none of the seven left any children. Last of all the woman herself died. Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?’

  Jesus said to them, ‘Is not the reason why you go wrong, that you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.’