Archive for June, 2016

On Today’s Gospel

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.’