Archive for July, 2016

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 30, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Fool’s Vanity:

Scott Hahn Reflects on the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12:13-21

Trust in God—as the Rock of our salvation, as the Lord who made us His chosen people, as our shepherd and guide. This should be the mark of our following of Jesus.

Like the Israelites we recall in this week’s Psalm, we have made an exodus, passing through the waters of Baptism, freeing us from our bondage to sin. We too are on a pilgrimage to a promised homeland, the Lord in our midst, feeding us heavenly bread, giving us living waters to drink (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

We must take care to guard against the folly that befell the Israelites, that led them to quarrel and test God’s goodness at Meribah and Massah.

We can harden our hearts in ways more subtle but no less ruinous. We can put our trust in possessions, squabble over earthly inheritances, kid ourselves that what we have we deserve, store up treasures and think they’ll afford us security, rest.

All this is “vanity of vanities,” a false and deadly way of living, as this week’s First Reading tells us.

This is the greed that Jesus warns against in this week’s Gospel. The rich man’s anxiety and toil expose his lack of faith in God’s care and provision. That’s why Paul calls greed “idolatry” in the Epistle this week. Mistaking having for being, possession for existence, we forget that God is the giver of all that we have, we exalt the things we can make or buy over our Maker (see Romans 1:25).

Jesus calls the rich man a “fool”—a word used in the Old Testament for someone who rebels against God or has forgotten Him (see Psalm 14:1).

We should treasure most the new life we have been given in Christ and seek what is above, the promised inheritance of heaven. We have to see all things in the light of eternity, mindful that He who gives us the breath of life could at any moment—this night even—demand it back from us.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Let us face the truth in our lives. We have been giving excuses for our sinful choices. And sin encompasses not just what we have done but what we have failed to do. Let us not add to our sin by condemning those who speak the truth to us. For it takes great courage to speak up for the truth, and all these can only come from the Lord.

Lord harden not my heart to the truth. Be patient and merciful Lord as I do choose to live in Your light and love. Give me the courage and strength to always speak up for the Truth. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 26:11-16,24

The priests and prophets addressed the officials and all the people, ‘This man deserves to die, since he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.’ Jeremiah, however, replied to the people as follows:

‘The Lord himself sent me to say all the things you have heard against this Temple and this city. So now amend your behaviour and actions, listen to the voice of the Lord your God: if you do, he will relent and not bring down on you the disaster he has pronounced against you. For myself, I am as you see in your hands. Do whatever you please or think right with me. But be sure of this, that if you put me to death, you will be bringing innocent blood on yourselves, on this city and on its citizens, since the Lord has truly sent me to you to say all these words in your hearing.’

The officials and all the people then said to the priests and prophets, ‘This man does not deserve to die: he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.’

Jeremiah had a protector in Ahikam son of Shaphan, so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

Gospel
Matthew 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus, and said to his court, ‘This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’

Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had told him, ‘It is against the Law for you to have her.’ He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet. Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and so delighted Herod that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked. Prompted by her mother she said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish.’ The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl who took it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel

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


The nature of sin is such that it seeks to blind and deafen us so that we do not see the wonders of our Lord and hear His Word. The life we choose through the tempter would in all appearance seem good. Even our senses of sight, taste, smell etc. might savour the ‘good’ in them. And yet its path surely leads us to death.

Only the living Word of God, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ gives life! Let us receive Him in steadfast faith as St Martha did. For through Him alone can we experience the joy of His Resurrection and live life to the full. Together with St Martha let us proclaim Christ, the Son of God who was, who is and who will come again. Amen

St Martha pray for us….

First reading
Jeremiah 26:1-9

At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘The Lord says this: Stand in the court of the Temple of the Lord. To all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the Temple of the Lord you must speak all the words I have commanded you to tell them; do not omit one syllable. Perhaps they will listen and each turn from his evil way: if so, I shall relent and not bring the disaster on them which I intended for their misdeeds. Say to them, “The Lord says this: If you will not listen to me by following my Law which I put before you, by paying attention to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send so persistently to you, without your ever listening to them, I will treat this Temple as I treated Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.”’

The priests and prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah say these words in the Temple of the Lord. When Jeremiah had finished saying everything that the Lord had ordered him to say to all the people, the priests and prophets seized hold of him and said, ‘You shall die! Why have you made this prophecy in the name of the Lord, “This Temple will be like Shiloh, and this city will be desolate, and uninhabited”?’ And the people were all crowding round Jeremiah in the Temple of the Lord.

Gospel
John 11:19-27

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:

‘I am the resurrection and the life.

If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Mould me Lord, mould me into Your masterpiece. Be patient with me Lord and know that I am slowly but surely trusting and letting go of myself into Your loving hands. Have mercy on me for the times I am stubborn and go my own way. You are my Potter Lord and I am Your clay.

And now Lord as You say that I am ready. I will go Lord and share Your love with others. The promise and fulfillment of our Salvation through Your only Begotten Son Jesus. The intricately woven tapestry of the old and the new which brings new life. I will proclaim the glory of the living God among us. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 18:1-6

The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘Get up and make your way down to the potter’s house; there I shall let you hear what I have to say.’ So I went down to the potter’s house; and there he was, working at the wheel. And whenever the vessel he was making came out wrong, as happens with the clay handled by potters, he would start afresh and work it into another vessel, as potters do. Then this word of the Lord was addressed to me, ‘House of Israel, can not I do to you what this potter does?– it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel.’

Gospel
Matthew 13:47-53

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


There is no greater treasure than the living Word of God revealed through our encounter with the living Lord our God. And we should do well to hold on to it and hide it; not from others but from the evil one that seeks to rob it from us.

The small price to pay for this wonderful treasure is to give everything, our all to the author of life, our Heavenly Father. Who wants not to do us harm but to prosper us. We are given life to the full and as we journey on and remain steadfast; we become Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. We are given the opportunity to share His Word with everyone.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 15:10,16-21

‘Woe is me, my mother, for you have borne me to be a man of strife and of dissension for all the land.

I neither lend nor borrow, yet all of them curse me.

‘When your words came, I devoured them: your word was my delight and the joy of my heart; for I was called by your name, the Lord, God of Hosts.

I never took pleasure in sitting in scoffers’ company; with your hand on me I held myself aloof, since you had filled me with indignation.

Why is my suffering continual, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?

Do you mean to be for me a deceptive stream with inconstant waters?’

To which the Lord replied, ‘If you come back, I will take you back into my service; and if you utter noble, not despicable, thoughts, you shall be as my own mouth.

They will come back to you, but you must not go back to them.

I will make you a bronze wall fortified against this people. They will fight against you but they will not overcome you, because I am with you to save you and to deliver you – it is the Lord who speaks.

I mean to deliver you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the clutches of the violent.’

Gospel
Matthew 13:44-46

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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

Mercy is for those who desire it, who live it and are merciful themselves.

Do not allow sin to enter into your hearts. Do not allow your ‘friends’ sway you into committing sinful acts or to be a conspirator by saying and doing nothing. Neither be led astray by family who have no relationship with the Lord your God. And most of all, do not allow unforgiveness to rob you of your Heavenly inheritance.

St Joachim, St Anne dutiful loving parents of our dearest Blessed Mother. Pray for us. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 14:17-22

The Lord said to me:

Say this word to the people:

‘Tears flood my eyes night and day, unceasingly, since a crushing blow falls on the daughter of my people,
a most grievous injury.

If I go into the countryside, there lie men killed by the sword; if I go into the city, I see people sick with hunger; even prophets and priests
plough the land: they are at their wit’s end.’

‘Have you rejected Judah altogether? Does your very soul revolt at Zion? Why have you struck us down without hope of cure?

We were hoping for peace– no good came of it!

For the moment of cure– nothing but terror! the Lord, we do confess our wickedness and our fathers’ guilt: we have indeed sinned against you.

For your name’s sake do not reject us, do not dishonour the throne of your glory. Remember us; do not break your covenant with us.

Can any of the pagan Nothings make it rain? Can the heavens produce showers?

No, it is you, the Lord. O our God, you are our hope, since it is you who do all this.’

Gospel
Matthew 13:36-43

Leaving the crowds, Jesus went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

On Today’s Gospel 

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

The highest form of service is to serve without want or need of reward. To serve simply out of love for whom we serve and the desire to do God our Father’s will. This can only come about when we too are dead and buried with Jesus. Only then can we be raised and experience the life that comes from our Lord.

Till then we might serve only with our lips. With partiality or at other times with half hearted vigour. We want to be seen and heard. Mercy and compassion are available only for those who accepts or embraces our way, our thoughts. When the focus should be on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus my Lord, raise me up as I die in You so that I may serve You and my brethren in Your love. Amen

St James pray for us. Amen

First reading
2 Corinthians 4:7-15

We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

But as we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture–I believed, and therefore I spoke– we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

Gospel
Matthew 20:20-28

The mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 23, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Asked and Answered: 
Scott Hahn Reflects on the
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Genesis 18:20-32 
Psalm 138:1-3, 6-8
Colossians 2:12-14
Luke 11:1-13

Though we be “but dust and ashes,” we can presume to draw near and speak boldly to our Lord, as Abraham dares in this week’s First Reading.

But even Abraham—the friend of God (see Isaiah 41:8), our father in the faith (see Romans 4:12)—did not know the intimacy that we know as children of Abraham, heirs of the blessings promised to his descendants (see Galatians 3:7,29).

The mystery of prayer, as Jesus reveals to His disciples in this week’s Gospel, is the living relationship of beloved sons and daughters with their heavenly Father.  Our prayer is pure gift, made possible by the “good gift” of the Father—the Holy Spirit of His Son. It is the fruit of the New Covenant by which we are made children of God in Christ Jesus (see Galatians 4:6-7; Romans 8:15-16).

Through the Spirit given to us in Baptism, we can cry to Him as our Father—knowing that when we call He will answer.

Jesus teaches His disciples to persist in their prayer, as Abraham persisted in begging God’s mercy for the innocent of Sodom and Gomorrah.

For the sake of the one just Man, Jesus, God spared the city of man from destruction (see Jeremiah 5:1; Isaiah 53), “obliterating the bond against us,” as Paul says in this week’s Epistle.

On the Cross, Jesus bore the guilt of us all, canceled the debt we owed to God, the death we deserved to die for our transgressions. We pray as ones who have been spared, visited in our affliction, saved from our enemies.

We pray always a prayer of thanksgiving, which is the literal meaning of Eucharist. We have realized the promise of this week’s Psalm: We worship in His holy temple, in the presence of angels, hallowing His name.

In confidence we ask, knowing that we will receive, that He will bring to completion what He has done for us—raising us from the dead, bringing us to everlasting life along with Him. 
 

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Attending daily mass and, or the Sunday Eucharist Celebration does not make us Christian. It does nothing for us if we do not open our hearts to receive Him. To be transformed by Him so as to love the least of our brethren.

While we congregate as sinners before the Lord, not all of us do so with a heart of thanksgiving, praise and worship. Not all come with reverance or repentant hearts. Instead they come to fulfil their ‘obligation’ then go on to lead empty lives. Some even leading others away by gossip and unforgiveness.

Jesus open our hearts and minds to You. Lead us to right worship of our Heavenly Father. So that we might lead one another, our families, brethren through and by Your grace closer to the Heavenly Kingdom. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 7:1-11

The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘Go and stand at the gate of the Temple of the Lord and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship the Lord. The Lord Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will stay with you here in this place. Put no trust in delusive words like these:This is the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord!But if you do amend your behaviour and your actions, if you treat each other fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow (if you do not shed innocent blood in this place), and if you do not follow alien gods, to your own ruin, then here in this place I will stay with you, in the land that long ago I gave to your fathers for ever. Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know?– and then come presenting yourselves in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe – safe to go on committing all these abominations! Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind– it is the Lord who speaks.”’

Gospel
Matthew 13:24-30

Jesus put another parable before the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


It does not matter what we have done for we are precious in His eyes. And so He the Lord our God seeks us sinners out so that we might be liberated. So do not fear, come as you are, come in your weakness, come in your pain and do not despair for Jesus is waiting to embrace you. He will fill you with His grace and His peace.

Those who now live in the light will always seek the light. In the day or in the dark of night. Made holy we are called to be beacons for others. Made worthy we too are entrusted to proclaim the resurrection to the eldest and to the youngest, to all.

We no longer have to seek Jesus out, for He walks with us. Glory hallelujah! Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 3:14-17

Come back, disloyal children– it is the Lord who speaks – for I alone am your Master. I will take one from a town, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and these shall feed you on knowledge and discretion. And when you have increased and become many in the land, then– it is the Lord who speaks– no one will ever say again: Where is the ark of the covenant of the Lord? There will be no thought of it, no memory of it, no regret for it, no making of another. When that time comes, Jerusalem shall be called: The Throne of the Lord; all the nations will gather there in the name of the Lord and will no longer follow the dictates of their own stubborn hearts.

Gospel
John 20:1-2,11-18

It was very early on the first day of O the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

Meanwhile Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’– which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

On Today’s Gospel 

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

What is a relationship when there is no communication? No intimacy? No pouring out of the heart, to give or to receive? If one only wants to be listened to and ‘has’ all the answers. Who sees not others lest there is something to be gained? Whose idols are lust, power, honour, money and any forms of addiction? Is that the kind of relationship you want with anyone? Would God?

There is no relationship with the Lord our God if there is no prayer life. And there can be no growth in depth without listening to His Word. The more we submit in sweet intimate surrender to the Lord, the more we receive. Our minds are illumined, our hearts set on fire. We see the wonders of His hand, hear the beauty of His words and we understand.

So come now, let us no longer live in the pettiness the world has to offer. But in the fullness of life through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us worship our Lord through praise and thanksgiving. And give Him glory by all we say and do in His name. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 2:1-3,7-8,12-13

The word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying, ‘Go and shout this in the hearing of Jerusalem:

‘“The Lord says this: I remember the affection of your youth, the love of your bridal days: you followed me through the wilderness, through a land unsown.

Israel was sacred to the Lord, the first-fruits of his harvest; anyone who ate of this had to pay for it,
misfortune came to them– it is the Lord who speaks.”

‘I brought you to a fertile country to enjoy its produce and good things;
but no sooner had you entered than you defiled my land, and made my heritage detestable.

The priests have never asked, “Where is the Lord?”

Those who administer the Law have no knowledge of me.

The shepherds have rebelled against me; the prophets have prophesied in the name of Baal,
following things with no power in them.

‘You heavens, stand aghast at this,
stand stupefied, stand utterly appalled – it is the Lord who speaks.

Since my people have committed a double crime: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, only to dig cisterns for themselves, leaky cisterns that hold no water.’

Gospel
Matthew 13:10-17

The disciples went up to Jesus and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied, ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:

You will listen and listen again, but not understand, see and see again, but not perceive.

For the heart of this nation has grown coarse, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by me.

‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


At the end of every Eucharistic Celebration we are sent on mission to announce the Gospel to all nations. At least two thirds are saying to themselves surely not I? What do I know? I am not gifted for this? Besides I have no time. Out of the remaining one third only a handful will carry out the mission while the rest will do nothing.

By virtue of our baptism we are all anointed to be priest, prophet and King. The Holy Spirit is upon us and have gifted us with the graces needed to share the good news of the Gospels.

The Lord is with us what do we have to fear? We are not called to convert anyone, only to plant the seed. The Lord will take care of the rest. If they will not listen, it is the Lord they reject. Our job is to share the good news of our salvation so that the many who will listen have the truth and hope of eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

Lord Jesus grant us the courage and steadfastness of faith to carry out Your Will. Amen

First reading
Jeremiah 1:1,4-10

The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of a priestly family living at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.

The word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying,

‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you; I have appointed you as prophet to the nations.’

I said, ‘Ah, Lord; look, I do not know how to speak: I am a child!’

But the Lord replied,

‘Do not say, “I am a child.” Go now to those to whom I send you and, say whatever I command you.

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to protect you – it is the Lord who speaks!’

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me:

‘There! I am putting my words into your mouth.

Look, today I am setting you over nations and over kingdoms, to tear up and to knock down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.’

Gospel
Matthew 13:1-9

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

On Today’s Gospel

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


Ever faithful is the Lord our God, merciful and kind. He looks upon us His children with tender loving care. To remain steadfast in His love is to do His will. And His will is to prosper us not to do us harm. Why then should we be afraid to do His will?

It is in our relationship with Jesus Christ His Son that we bear fruit for our wills are in communion with Him. This is what it means to be one body in Him. Our love is never a selfish one but one that wills the good in another.

Sweet heart of Jesus embrace me, let me always be one with You. Amen

First reading
Micah 7:14-15,18-20

With shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest with meadow land all around.

Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.

As in the days when you came out of Egypt grant us to see wonders.

What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime,
not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy?

Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults, to the bottom of the sea throw all our sins.

Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your mercy, as you swore to our Father’s from the days of long ago.

Gospel
Matthew 12:46-50

Jesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers appeared; they were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Do not wait for the earth to shake, a thunderous roar, a loud unseen voice or fiery skies! Do not say I will return to the Lord when I stop sinning first.

Our Lord Jesus Christ had spoken, “Come to me all you who are burdened and weary and I will give you rest.” Do not wait to change, come to Him and He will transform you. His grace and peace will be upon you.

And then, you will see the signs! Peace, love and joy in your hearts. An illumination from within which will show on your faces. And everyone will know that you walk humbly with God.

Grant me Your pardon and mercy Lord. Purify me that I may be white as snow. This day and every day, so that I may sing your praise and bring You glory through my living of Your Word. Amen

First reading
Micah 6:1-4,6-8

Listen to what the Lord is saying:

Stand up and let the case begin in the hearing of the mountains and let the hills hear what you say.

Listen, you mountains, to the Lord’s accusation, give ear, you foundations of the earth, for the Lord is accusing his people, pleading against Israel:

My people, what have I done to you, how have I been a burden to you? Answer me.

I brought you out of the land of Egypt, I rescued you from the house of slavery; I sent Moses to lead you, with Aaron and Miriam.

– ‘With what gift shall I come into the Lord’s presence and bow down before God on high?

Shall I come with holocausts, with calves one year old? Will he be pleased with rams by the thousand, with libations of oil in torrents?

Must I give my first-born for what I have done wrong, the fruit of my body for my own sin?’

– What is good has been explained to you, man; this is what the Lord asks of you only this, to act justly, to love and to walk humbly with your God.

Gospel
Matthew 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. ‘Master,’ they said ‘we should like to see a sign from you.’ He replied, ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.’

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 16, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Waiting on the Lord: 
Scott Hahn Reflects on the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
 
Readings:

Genesis 18:1-10
Psalm 15:2-5
Colossians 1:24-28
Luke 10:38-42

God wants to dwell with each of us personally, intimately—as the mysterious guests once visited Abraham’s tent, as Jesus once entered the home of Mary and Martha.

By his hospitality in this week’s First Reading, Abraham shows us how we are to welcome the Lord into our lives. His selfless service of his divine guests (see Hebrews 13:1) stands in contrast to the portrait of Martha drawn in this week’s Gospel.

Where Abraham is concerned only for the well-being of his guests, Martha speaks only of herself— “Do you not care that my sister has left me by myself…Tell her to help me.” Jesus’ gentle rebuke reminds us that we risk missing the divine in the mundane, that we can fall into the trap of believing that God somehow needs to be served by human hands (see Acts 17:25).

Our Lord comes to us, not to be served but to serve (see Matthew 20:28). He gave His life that we might know the one thing we need, the “better part” which is life in the fellowship of God.

Jesus is the true Son promised today by Abraham’s visitors (see Matthew 1:1). In Him, God has made an everlasting covenant for all time, made us blessed descendants of Abraham (see Genesis 17:19,21; Romans 4:16-17, 19-21).

The Church now offers us this covenant, bringing to completion the word of God, the promise of His plan of salvation, what Paul calls “the mystery hidden for ages.”

As once He came to Abraham, Mary and Martha, Christ now comes to each of us in Word and Sacrament. As we sing in this week’s Psalm: He will make His dwelling with those who keep His Word and practice justice (see also John 14:23).

If we do these things we will not be anxious or disturbed, will not have our Lord taken from us. We will wait on the Lord, who told Abraham and tells each of us: “I will surely return to you.”

On Today’s Gospel 

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

No humbler servant of God our Heavenly Father is there, other than Jesus Christ our Lord. By His example we are all called to proclaim the truth of our faith for which we were gifted. By His Spirit we too are to bring about healing and mercy to whom we meet. We thus build the Kingdom of God by the communities we form centred on Him.

Gossip, a loose tongue, ill will towards others have no place in a community of the Lord. Those who engage in it are fools for their folly will weigh heavily upon them. They strip themselves of the peace and joy only to be found in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, let Your peace and mercy reign in our hearts. Amen

First reading
Micah 2:1-5

Woe to those who plot evil, who lie in bed planning mischief!

No sooner is it dawn than they do it
– their hands have the strength for it.

Seizing the fields that they covet, they take over houses as well,
owner and house they confiscate together, taking both man and inheritance.

So the Lord says this:

Now it is I who plot such mischief against this breed as your necks will not escape; nor will you be able to walk proudly, so evil will the time be.

On that day they will make a satire on you, sing a dirge and say,

‘We are stripped of everything; my people’s portion is measured out and shared, no one will give it back to them, our fields are awarded to our despoiler.’

Therefore you will have no one to measure out a share in the community of the Lord.

Gospel
Matthew 12:14-21

The Pharisees went out and began to plot against him, discussing how to destroy him.

Jesus knew this and withdrew from the district. Many followed him and he cured them all, but warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:

Here is my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved, the favourite of my soul.

I will endow him with my spirit, and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations.

He will not brawl or shout, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.

He will not break the crushed reed,
nor put out the smouldering wick
till he has led the truth to victory: in his name the nations will put their hope.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Nothing we do on our own in this world will add to number of years to our life. Our very bodies are gifts from God our heavenly Father and should be regarded as holy temples. We should care for them and keep them sanctified. So that our living God can dwell in them. Now then what greater communion is there? Then the Lord our God dwelling within us. He alone will decide the time we return to Him.

Jesus is the way of our salvation and He bids us to be merciful. To share the mercy we receive from Him with our brethren and all who will listen. To feed the hungry and care for the sick. And to reconcile all to God our Heavenly Father who loves us all so dearly.

Jesus let me dwell in Your temple as You dwell in mine. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8

Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, ‘The Lord says this, “Put your affairs in order, for you are going to die, you will not live.”’ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and addressed this prayer to the Lord, ‘Ah, Lord, remember, I beg you, how I have behaved faithfully and with sincerity of heart in your presence and done what is right in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah shed many tears.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, ‘Go and say to Hezekiah, “The Lord, the God of David your ancestor, says this: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will cure you: in three days’ time you shall go up to the Temple of the Lord.” I will add fifteen years to your life. I will save you from the hands of the king of Assyria, I will protect this city.”’

‘Bring a fig poultice,’ Isaiah said, ‘apply it to the ulcer and he will recover.’ Hezekiah said, ‘What is the sign to tell me that I shall be going up to the Temple of the Lord?’ ‘Here’ Isaiah replied’’ ‘is the sign from the Lord that he will do what he has said. Look, I shall make the shadow cast by the declining sun go back ten steps on the steps of Ahaz.’ And the sun went back the ten steps by which it had declined.

Gospel
Matthew 12:1-8

Jesus took a walk one sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath.’ But he said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath day the Temple priests break the sabbath without being blamed for it? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Those who have turned their backs on sin need mourn no longer. Those who carry the heavy burden of the world may take comfort. Those who feel the weight of the cross of Christ bearing down on them, be at ease.

For Jesus our Saviour gives us new life in Him. By His Resurrection we live in freedom and in His love. He invites us to always go to Him in our moments of distress. He alone can give us the rest we need in His Spirit, the peace and joy. He will heal, rejuvenate the drooping spirit and give us the strength we need to carry on with our mission. He is with us every step of the way. Carrying the yoke along side us.

Glory to You O Lord Jesus Christ! Amen

First reading
Isaiah 26:7-9,12,16-19

The path of the upright man is straight, you smooth the way of the upright.

Following the path of your judgements, we hoped in you, O Lord, your name, your memory are all my soul desires.

At night my soul longs for you and my spirit in me seeks for you; when your judgements appear on earth the inhabitants of the world learn the meaning of integrity.

O Lord, you are giving us peace, since you treat us as our deeds deserve.

Distressed, we search for you, O Lord; the misery of oppression was your punishment for us.

As a woman with child near her time writhes and cries out in her pangs, so are we, O Lord, in your presence: we have conceived, we writhe as if we were giving birth; we have not given the spirit of salvation to the earth, no more inhabitants of the world are born.

Your dead will come to life, their corpses will rise; awake, exult, all you who lie in the dust, for your dew is a radiant dew and the land of ghosts will give birth.

Gospel
Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus exclaimed, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

On Today’s Gospel

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


Do you possess wisdom far greater than all your peers? Do you have superior strength to them? Are you more courageous, effluent and intelligent? Are you all these and more? Are you then greater than God Your Heavenly Father?

If indeed your answer is no then why do you think yourself far better than your brethren? For is it not our Heavenly Father who blessed us with our gifts so that it be used to help others and to build His Kingdom? Why then must we have the last word or think we know it best? Whom are we glorifying by our words and deeds?

To know and love our Heavenly Father is to know and love Him through the relationship we have with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. It is in loving humility when we first embrace Him as Master before all else that more is revealed to us.

My Lord, my God I submit myself wholly to You. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 10:5-7,13-16

The Lord of hosts says this:

Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger, the club brandished by me in my fury!

I sent him against a godless nation;
I gave him commission against a people that provokes me, to pillage and to plunder freely and to stamp down like the mud in the streets.

But he did not intend this, his heart did not plan it so.

No, in his heart was to destroy, to go on cutting nations to pieces without limit.

For he has said:

‘By the strength of my own arm I have done this and by my own intelligence, for understanding is mine; I have pushed back the frontiers of peoples and plundered their treasures.

I have brought their inhabitants down to the dust.

As if they were a bird’s nest, my hand has seized the riches of the peoples.

As people pick up deserted eggs I have picked up the whole earth, with not a wing fluttering, not a beak opening, not a chirp.’

Does the axe claim more credit than the man who wields it, or the saw more strength than the man who handles it?

It would be like the cudgel controlling the man who raises it, or the club moving what is not made of wood!

And so the Lord of Hosts is going to send a wasting sickness on his stout warriors; beneath his plenty, a burning will burn like a consuming fire.

Gospel
Matthew 11:25-27

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: July 12, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys


Here is the truth, hell is real. Punishment for hard heartedness and wickedness will be carried out. Tormented souls will cry out to the Lord but it will be too late. So don’t let others or your very selves fool you that there is always tomorrow to repent. Some hold out till their deathbed and never got the chance to do a proper reconciliation.

Loving and forgiving is our Lord Jesus Christ. But all He can do is weep for the unrepentant sinner. For they like everyone else are given free will. And they have to live or die with the consequence of the choices they make.

If we stand, let us stand with the Lord. Let pray, fast and do whatever it takes to lead one another closer to the Kingdom of God. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 7:1-9

In the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Razon the king of Aram went up against Jerusalem with Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, to lay siege to it; but he was unable to capture it.

The news was brought to the House of David. ‘Aram’ they said ‘has reached Ephraim.’ Then the heart of the king and the hearts of the people shuddered as the trees of the forest shudder in front of the wind. The Lord said to Isaiah, ‘Go with your son Shear-jashub, and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the Fuller’s Field road, and say to him:

‘“Pay attention, keep calm, have no fear, do not let your heart sink because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands, or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah have plotted to ruin you, and have said:

Let us invade Judah and terrorise it
and seize it for ourselves, and set up a king there, the son of Tabeel.

The Lord says this:

It shall not come true; it shall not be. The capital of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus, Razon; the capital of Ephraim, Samaria, the head of Samaria, the son of Remaliah.

Six or five years more and a shattered Ephraim shall no longer be a people.

But if you do not stand by me,
you will not stand at all.”’

Gospel
Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.
‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Why do many always attend the Eucharist Celebration late? Why do many not participate in the prayers or singing? Why do some attend daily Eucharist but adjourn at the coffee shops to gossip about others? Why do many still think that their faith in the Lord our God is a private one and so has no regard for anyone other themselves or their family? Church bells have rung to gather the faithful? How many have come who are truly faithful? How many have come to truly worship?

Every Eucharistic Celebration should change our hearts, transform us so that we can grow in Holiness. It does for those who heed the call of our Saviour; whose hearts, minds and souls are opened to receive. They shall be nourished. They are in communion with Him. The fire of the Holy Spirit burns bright within them as they leave to seek out the lost, the oppressed, the poor, the lonely so as to administer to them. To always speak up for the truth even if the cost is great. This is what it means to take up the cross to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. To live not for ourselves but for Him and our brethren.

Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ your Son. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 1:10-17

Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the command of our God, you people of Gomorrah.

‘What are your endless sacrifices to me? says the Lord.

I am sick of holocausts of rams
and the fat of calves.

The blood of bulls and of goats revolts me.

When you come to present yourselves before me, who asked you to trample over my courts?

Bring me your worthless offerings no more, the smoke of them fills me with disgust.

New Moons, sabbaths, assemblies;– I cannot endure festival and solemnity.

Your New Moons and your pilgrimages I hate with all my soul.

They lie heavy on me, I am tired of bearing them.

When you stretch out your hands I turn my eyes away.

You may multiply your prayers, I shall not listen.

Your hands are covered with blood, wash, make yourselves clean.

‘Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.

Cease to do evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.’

Gospel
Matthew 10:34-11:1

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.

‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’

When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Who is the Lord of Lords the king of Kings in our lives? Only when we embrace the fact that it is Jesus in the one Holy Trinity, will we be opened to receive His healing Grace. In which we are cleansed of our sins. Then we can rightly give glory, thanks and praise to our living God.

No gossip, ill mannered criticisms against us will deter us from proclaiming the truth. The evil that seeks to scatter will be scattered into nothingness. For the Lord our God who gathers, will gather us unto Himself and vindicate us.

Let us proclaim with great fervor our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who has redeemed the world. And when called to do so in the peripheries and beyond, let us rejoice and say, “Here I am Lord, send me.” Amen

First reading
Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord of Hosts seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings: two to cover its face, two to cover its feet, and two for flying.

And they cried out to one another in this way,

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts.

His glory fills the whole earth.’

The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out, and the Temple was filled with smoke. I said:

‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.’

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this he touched my mouth and said: ‘See now, this has touched your lips, your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.’

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:

‘Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?’

I answered, ‘Here I am, send me.’

Gospel
Matthew 10:24-33

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘The disciple is not superior to his teacher, nor the slave to his master. It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household?

‘Do not be afraid of them therefore. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.

‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.

‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Let us live in holiness, in the steadfast love and grace of God our Heavenly. For through Him and with Him we flourish and bear much fruit. We indeed have life to the full. For we once great sinners, fell often till we learnt to walk upright in His ways.

Now we are called to help others walk the same humble righteous path. For through Christ our Lord they too shall be redeemed and sanctified. We have been chosen to bring His light and love to all we encounter. Nothing shall we fear for He is with us every step of the way. For when we speak it will be Him speaking through us. He has given us a spirit of courage to bring hope where there is none. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. For ours is the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen

First reading
Hosea 14:2-10

The Lord says this:
Israel, come back to the Lord your God; your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.

Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord.

Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away so that we may have happiness again and offer you our words of praise.

Assyria cannot save us, we will not ride horses any more,
or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made, for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.

– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned from them.

I will fall like dew on Israel.
He shall bloom like the lily, and thrust out roots like the poplar, his shoots will spread far; he will have the beauty of the olive and the fragrance of Lebanon.

They will come back to live in my shade; they will grow corn that flourishes, they will cultivate vines as renowned as the wine of Helbon.

What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?

I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.

Let the wise man understand these words.

Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.

For the ways of the Lord are straight, and virtuous men walk in them, but sinners stumble.

Gospel
Matthew 10:16-23

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.

‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


God our Heavenly Father is gentle, patient, merciful and kind. He loves us and does not want us to stray far away from Him. For without Him we are sure to destroy ourselves by our choices.

Which loving parent would want to see their child die? And so through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ we have hope of eternal life with Him. We need only heed His gentle call to return to Him.

We disciples of Jesus are called to be His lips, hands and feet. To extend His mercy and love to all we meet. Healing and restoring them as He once did. Coaxing them gently like any good brother or sister would, to return home to the Father.

In union with Him, we are provided for all we need and so no true disciple can say I don’t know how or do not have what it takes. All it will ever take is a desire to serve Him by our love.

Lord You are my rock and my strength. Amen

First reading
Hosea 11:1-4,8-9

Thus says the Lord:

When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.

But the more I called to them, the further they went from me; they have offered sacrifice to the baals and set their offerings smoking before the idols.

I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms;
yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them.

I led them with reins of kindness, with leading-strings of love.

I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek; stooping down to him I gave him his food.

Ephraim, how could I part with you?

Israel, how could I give you up?

How could I treat you like Admah, or deal with you like Zeboiim?

My heart recoils from it, my whole being trembles at the thought.

I will not give rein to my fierce anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again, for I am God, not man: I am the Holy One in your midst and have no wish to destroy.

Gospel
Matthew 10:7-15

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.

  ‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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

As we grow in Holiness it is equally important we grow in Humility. One that comes from uniting ourselves with the cross on which our Lord Jesus hung. Only then can we sow integrity for ourselves and reap a harvest of kindness.

The call of discipleship is to bring Christ our Lord to everyone. To share in the love and mercy of God our Father. So that they will have hope in the promise of eternal life with Him. The promise fulfilled in the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And we start first with our family and friends. Then the whole world. Amen

First reading
Hosea 10:1-3,7-8,12

Israel was a luxuriant vine
yielding plenty of fruit.

The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; the richer his land became, the richer he made the sacred stones.

Their heart is a divided heart;
very well, they must pay for it:
the Lord is going to break their altars down and destroy their sacred stones.

Then they will say, ‘We have no King because we have not feared the Lord.’

But what can a king do for us?
Samaria has had her day. Her king is like a straw drifting on the water.

The idolatrous high places shall be destroyed– that sin of Israel; thorn and thistle will grow on their altars.

Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Cover us!’ and to the hills, ‘Fall on us!’

Sow integrity for yourselves,
reap a harvest of kindness, break up your fallow ground: it is time to go seeking the Lord until he comes to rain salvation on you.

Gospel
Matthew 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:

‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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

Humble yourself before the Lord Your God and listen to His Word.  Turn away from greed, want of power, want of honour, want of more money, protection from idols. For these will only bring you woe and strive. 

Empty pride and stubbornness of heart will only blind You to His works of mercy through the disciples He sends. 

Many are in need of His mercy and love. Too many have not been reached or touched simply because many have not responded to the call of discipleship. While others have turned it down for wanting to pursue their own personal wants and goals. Wait no longer and heed His call. He will provide for all You need to help in the harvest. 

Lord Jesus I’ve come to do Your Will. Amen 

First reading
Hosea 8:4-7,11-13

Thus says the Lord:

They have set up kings, but not with my consent, and appointed princes, but without my knowledge. Out of their own silver and gold they have made idols, which are doomed to destruction. I spurn your calf, Samaria, my anger blazes against it.

(How long will it be before they purge themselves of this, the sons of Israel?)

A workman made the thing, this cannot be God! Yes, the calf of Samaria shall go up in flames.

They sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind; their wheat will yield no ear, the ear will yield no flour, or, if it does, foreigners will swallow it.

Ephraim has built altar after altar, they have only served him as occasion for sin.

Were I to write out the thousand precepts of my Law for him, they would be paid no more attention than those of a stranger.

They love sacrificing; right, let them sacrifice!

They love meat; right, let them eat it!

The Lord takes no pleasure in these.

He is now going to remember their iniquity and punish their sins; they will have to go back to Egypt

Gospel
Matthew 9:32-37

A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’

Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.

And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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

To unite ourselves with the Lord in mind, body and heart. Is to unite ourselves with our most faithful spouse forever. For He cherishes His bride and will keep her in His loving gentle embrace. He will nurture and nourish her. She will live her life to the full. Such is the love of our Lord. This is what it means to be in communion with Him. 

So turn to Him in faith all you who have the cares and temptations of the world draining life out of you.  He will restore you. Turn to Him all who are bound in guilt for having sinned, He will free you. Come to Him all you who are spiritually dead and He will give you new and everlasting life in Him. Praise and glory be to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! Amen 

First reading
Hosea 2:16,17-18,21-22

It is the Lord who speaks: I am going to lure her and lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart.

I am going to give her back her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a gateway of hope.

There she will respond to me as she did when she was young, as she did when she came out of the land of Egypt.

When that day comes – it is the Lord who speaks – she will call me, ‘My husband’, no longer will she call me, ‘My Baal.’

I will betroth you to myself for ever, betroth you with integrity and justice, with tenderness and love; I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness, and you will come to know the Lord.

Gospel
Matthew 9:18-26

While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.

  When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 2, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Harvest Time: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Isaiah 66:10-14 
Psalm 66:1-7,16,20
Galatians 6:14-18
Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
 
Jesus has a vision in this week’s Gospel—Satan falling like lightning from the sky, the enemy vanquished by the missionary preaching of His Church. 

Sent out by Jesus to begin gathering the nations into the harvest of divine judgment (see Isaiah 27:12-13; Joel 4:13), the 70 are a sign of the continuing mission of the Church. 

Carrying out the work of the 70, the Church proclaims the coming of God’s kingdom, offers His blessings of peace and mercy to every household on earth— “every town and place He intended to visit.” 

Our Lord’s tone is solemn today. For in the preaching of the Church “the kingdom of God is at hand,” the time of decision has come for every person. Those who do not receive His messengers will be doomed like Sodom. 

But those who believe will find peace and mercy, protection and nourishment in the bosom of the Church, the Mother Zion we celebrate in this week’s beautiful First Reading, the “Israel of God” Paul blesses in this week’s Epistle.

The Church is a new family of faith (see Galatians 6:10) in which we receive a new name that will endure forever (see Isaiah 66:22), a name written in heaven.

In this week’s Psalm we sing of God’s “tremendous deeds among men” throughout salvation history. But of all the works of God, none has been greater than what He has wrought by the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Changing the sea into dry land was but an anticipation and preparation for our passing over, for what Paul calls the “new creation.” 

And as the exodus generation was protected in a wilderness of serpents and scorpions (see Deuteronomy 8:15), He has given His Church power now over “the full force of the Enemy.” Nothing will harm us as we make our way through the wilderness of this world, awaiting the Master of the harvest, awaiting the day when all on earth will shout joyfully to the Lord, sing praise to the glory of His name.
 

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Today we are reminded that we have hope and the promise of new life. Our Saviour has come to redeem us. And so we must seek to renew ourselves through the wonderful sacraments He had instituted so that we are strengthened through His graces. To live in the joy and promise of His Resurrection.

We cast away our sinful past behind us and leave all that seeks to draw us back. So as to live anew in the Wellsprings of the living water which He alone provides for us. 

Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Amos 9:11-15

It is the Lord who speaks:

‘That day I will re-erect the tottering hut of David, make good the gaps in it, restore its ruins and rebuild it as it was in the days of old, so that they can conquer the remnant of Edom and all the nations that belonged to me.’

It is the Lord who speaks, and he will carry this out.

‘The days are coming now – it is the Lord who speaks when harvest will follow directly after ploughing, the treading of grapes soon after sowing,
when the mountains will run with new wine and the hills all flow with it.

I mean to restore the fortunes of my people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, plant vineyards and drink their wine, dig gardens and eat their produce.

I will plant them in their own country, never to be rooted up again out of the land I have given them, says the Lord, your God.’

Gospel
Matthew 9:14-17

John’s disciples came to him and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunken cloth on to an old cloak, because the patch pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; if they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost. No; they put new wine into fresh skins and both are preserved.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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Wicked, selfish hearts while they appear to flourish at the expense of the poor and perhaps the uninitiated to the ways of the world; are doomed. For evil begets evil and without the Word of God in their lives they will whither and die.

How wonderful it is to have a merciful Lord who looks to the good in us and seeks to free us from our sins so that whatever good resides in us will multiply and bear fruit.

We must do likewise and see others through the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise all we will see is their faults, shortcomings and be critical of them. Some may even choose to shun and ostracise them.  Who then has hope of His mercy and love? Do we think we ourselves will have His mercy when we are not merciful?

Like St Matthew when he was a tax collector, we too have responded to the call of our Lord Jesus to follow Him. We too had experienced the presence and mercy of Jesus even though we did nothing to deserve it.  So let us never forget our humble beginnings and extend our hand of mercy; our friendship and love to all. Amen

First reading
Amos 8:4-6,9-12

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country, you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over
so that we can sell our corn,
and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?

Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel, by swindling and tampering with the scales, we can buy up the poor for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’

That day – it is the Lord who speaks –

I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. I am going to turn your feasts into funerals,
all your singing into lamentation;

I will have your loins all in sackcloth, your heads all shaved.

I will make it a mourning like the mourning for an only son,
as long as it lasts it will be like a day of bitterness.

See what days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – days when I will bring famine on the country, a famine not of bread, a drought not of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord.

They will stagger from sea to sea, wander from north to east, seeking the word of the
of the Lord and failing to find it.

Gospel
Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking on he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

  While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’