Archive for December, 2016

For 2017

Posted: December 31, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

​ In 2015 Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren spoke at Catholic World Meeting of Families… He said this… 
“In today’s society, materialism is idolized, immorality is glamorized, truth is minimized, sin is normalized, divorce is rationalized, and abortion is legalized,” bestselling author Warren said. “In TV and movies, crime is legitimized, drug use is minimized, comedy is vulgarized, and sex is trivialized. In movies, the Bible is fictionalized, churches are satirized, God is marginalized, and Christians are demonized. The elderly are dehumanized, the sick are euthanized, the poor are victimized, the mentally ill are ostracized, immigrants are stigmatized, and children are tranquilized. In families around the world, our manners are uncivilized, speech is vulgarized, faith is secularized, and everything is commercialized.”
Christians are often disorganized and demoralized, and their faith is compartmentalized, and witness compromised. “So what do we need? We need to revitalize our worship, minimize our differences, mobilize our members, and evangelize the lost, and we need to re-energize our families.”
So let us come together as One this 2017 to set the World ablaze with the fire of Christ love. Amen 

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: December 31, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

What are the traits of true believers of and in Christ? Who calls themselves Christian not just in name but are Christians by their actions? Are they quick to gossip and find fault in others? Are they life giving in their words and their deeds or do they make others feel empty after encountering them.

No one in a state of grace, who has received Jesus in the Eucharist and dwelled on His living Word can ever say they have not been transformed, living and loving in His light. For having received His peace, love and joy we are compelled to share the joy of the Gospel with others.

Jesus my Lord and my God, let me carry Your light into the new year. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
1 John 2:18-21

Children, these are the last days; you were told that an Antichrist must come, and now several antichrists have already appeared; we know from this that these are the last days. Those rivals of Christ came out of our own number, but they had never really belonged; if they had belonged, they would have stayed with us; but they left us, to prove that not one of them ever belonged to us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and have all received the knowledge. It is not because you do not know the truth that I am writing to you but rather because you know it already and know that no lie can come from the truth.

Gospel
John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word:and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him. All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.

A man came, sent by God.
His name was John. He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light, so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.

The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men; and he was coming into the world. He was in the world that had its being through him, and the world did not know him. He came to his own domain and his own people did not accept him. But to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to all who believe in the name of him who was born not out of human stock or urge of the flesh or will of man but of God himself.

The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,full of grace and truth.

John appears as his witness. He proclaims: ‘This is the one of whom I said: He who comes after me ranks before me because he existed before me.’

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received – yes, grace in return for grace, since, though the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


We are all one family under God. Yet each one of us are born into a family to love, cherish and lead one another into holiness and in union with the Lord our God.

Where is the family unity when we are preoccupied with our own individual busyness of life? Putting the World first! Seeking pleasures and happiness through our worldly goals, ambitions. Continuing to do puts a rift within the family, soon you will find the gap so wide that bridging it would impossible for you.

Put the Lord God first in your life and your family will be blessed because you will be blessed, and they are blessed through your obedience and love for God our Father.

May the Holy Family continue to inspire and lead us all closer and deeper in love. Jesus, Mary and Joseph pray for us. Amen

First reading
Ecclesiasticus 3:3-7,14-17

The Lord honours the father in his children, and upholds the rights of a mother over her sons. Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins,
he who honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune. Whoever respects his father will be happy with children of his own, he shall be heard on the day when he prays. Long life comes to him who honours his father, he who sets his mother at ease is showing obedience to the Lord.
My son, support your father in his old age, do not grieve him during his life. Even if his mind should fail, show him sympathy, do not despise him in your health and strength;
for kindness to a father shall not be forgotten but will serve as reparation for your sins.

Gospel
Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:

‘He will be called a Nazarene.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Even in our endeavour to remain steadfast in the light of Christ we will often fall into moments of darkness. Hold on firmly to His cloak and He will lead us out.

For Jesus is truly the light of our World! In our struggle to serve Him faithfully, He continually prompts us and leads us closer to Him. Till one day soon we will meet Him face to face.

O Blessed Mother who knows the depths of our hearts. Purify our minds and hearts so that we can serve Jesus your son and our Lord faithfully.

Blessed be the Lord our God, now and forever. Amen

First reading
1 John 2:3-11

We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments.
Anyone who says, ‘I know him’, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar,
refusing to admit the truth.
But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him.
We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.
My dear people, this is not a new commandment that I am writing to tell you, but an old commandment that you were given from the beginning,
the original commandment which was the message brought to you. Yet in another way, what I am writing to you,
and what is being carried out in your lives as it was in his, is a new commandment; because the night is over and the real light is already shining.
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother
is still in the dark. But anyone who loves his brother is living in the light and need not be afraid of stumbling; unlike the man who hates his brother and is in the darkness, not knowing where he is going, because it is too dark to see.

Gospel
Luke 2:22-35

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Light from Light, true God from true God.

Jesus light of the world came to lead us out of the darkness of sin. And to share in the Holy Communion of His light. Are we now beacons of that light? Are we leading others out of darkness to share in the joy of our Risen Lord who has come to reconcile us to Him? Or do we ourselves choose instead to sin over His love, retreating back into darkness?

Let us choose to remain steadfast and carry the light of Jesus within us so as to lead others home to Him. Amen

O Holy Innocents, little matyrs and lights for Jesus, pray for us..

First reading
1 John 1:5-2:2

This is what we have heard from Jesus Christ, and the message that we are announcing to you: God is light; there is no darkness in him at all. If we say that we are in union with God while we are living in darkness, we are lying because we are not living the truth. But if we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth; but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong. To say that we have never sinned is to call God a liar and to show that his word is not in us.

I am writing this, my children, to stop you sinning; but if anyone should sin, we have our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who is just; he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s.

Gospel
Matthew 2:13-18

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

Herod was furious when he realised that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loudly lamenting:
it was Rachel weeping for her children,
refusing to be comforted because they were no more.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


The one whom Jesus loved. A special title for someone whom had loved our dear Lord dearly, with all his heart and with the heart of an innocent child. Who saw through to the heart of Jesus and understood what it meant to love and be loved. For it is only in that love of Christ that more will be revealed of the heart of the Lord our God.

Can we be the one that Jesus loves? Can we in loving humility be a bridge for others to walk on to cross over to Christ? Can we allow others to be first in line to witness to His glory? Can we see with the eyes of faith and believe? Are we ready to share the love of Christ with others?

If the answer is Yes! Then we already know that Jesus loves us dearly and that our love for one another comes from and through Him. And through Him we are One. Amen

St John the Evangelist pray for us…

First reading
1 John 1:1-4

Something which has existed since the beginning,that we have heard,and we have seen with our own eyes; that we have watched and touched with our hands:the Word, who is life – this is our subject.
That life was made visible:
we saw it and we are giving our testimony, telling you of the eternal life which was with the Father and has been made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we are telling you so that you too may be in union with us, as we are in union with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.

Gospel
John 20:2-8

On the first day of the week Mary of Magdala 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.’
So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


When we ponder over the joy of our salvation come down from heaven, so too must we ponder over the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Wood of the cradle, wood of the cross!

This then is the complete picture of our salvation. The great love of God for us His people. Filled with the joy of knowing this and experiencing His love for us, we too must share in His love by proclaiming Him to others.

St Stephen intercede for us, that we may testify courageously as you have, the glory of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’

Gospel
Matthew 10:17-22

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘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.’

Merry Christmas 

Posted: December 24, 2016 by CatholicJules in Photos

Nativity of the Lord

Posted: December 24, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

New Song:Scott Hahn Reflects on the Nativity of the Lord

Readings:
 
Isaiah 52:7–10
Psalms 98:1–6
Hebrews 1:1–6
John 1:1–18
 

The Church’s liturgy rings in Christmas with a joyful noise. We hear today of uplifted voices, trumpets and horns, and melodies of praise. 

In the First Reading, Isaiah fortells Israel’s liberation from captivity and exile in Babylon. He envisions a triumphant homecoming to Zion marked by joyful singing.

The new song in today’s Psalm is a victory hymn to the marvelous deeds done by our God and King.

Both the prophet and psalmist sing of God’s power and salvation. God has shown the might of His holy arm, they say. This language recalls the Exodus, where the people first sang of God’s powerful arm that shattered Israel’s enemy Egypt (see Exod. 15:1, 6, 16).

The coming of the Christ child into the world fulfills all that the Exodus and the return from exile prefigured.

In Jesus, all nations to the ends of the earth will see the victory of God over the forces of sin and death.

Jesus is the new King. He is the royal firstborn son and Son of God promised to David, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see Ps. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14).

And as our Gospel reveals, He is the Word of God, the one through whom the universe was created, the one through whom the universe is sustained.

In speaking to us through His Son, God has unveiled a new age, the last days.

The new age is a new creation. In the beginning, God spoke His Word and light shone in the darkness. Now, in this new age, He sends us the true light to scatter the darkness of a world that has exiled itself from God.

He is the one Isaiah foretold – who brings good tidings of peace and salvation, who announces to the world that God has come to dwell and to reign (see Rev. 21:3–4).

So we sing a new song on Christmas. It is the song of those who have believed in the Christ child and been born again – by grace given the power to become children of God.
 

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

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Blessed be the Lord our God. For through His great mercy and love we have been saved.

He has given us hope, the hope we now share in our Lord Jesus Christ who will lead us home to Him.

Blessed be our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, His peace and joy is upon us.

Let us now prepare the hearts of many to receive Him, as we unite ourselves with St Joseph and Mary our mother in joyful anticipation of the birthday celebration of their Son… God-With-Us. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16

Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Gospel
Luke 1:67-79

John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue and he has raised up for us a power for salvation
in the House of his servant David, even as he proclaimed,
by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,
that he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us.
Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors, thus he remembers his holy covenant the oath he swore to our father Abraham
that he would grant us, free from fear, to be delivered from the hands of our enemies,
to serve him in holiness and virtue in his presence, all our days.
And you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins; this by the tender mercy of our God who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

Be life giving… 

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

​Peace with you my dearest sisters and brothers in Christ.

Let this reflection be my Christmas gift to you….

Our Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven so that we might have life. He was born in Bethlehem which literally means House of bread. In a humble trough which was used to feed the animals.

He is the one and only Bread of life! He came to give us life, His life and we have it to the fullest through the Holy Eucharist. So like Him we too can be life giving.
So start your day if possible with the Holy Eucharist. If not then through prayer and desire of remaining in communion with Jesus. Instead of waking up and starting it with cynicism, skepticism, criticism, fault finding and passing ‘life taking’ comments.

Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen 

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Do you still not see? Just how much the Lord our God loves you? Turn away from sin and be reconciled with your loving and merciful Heavenly Father who waits to embrace you.

As we stand ready to receive Jesus, let us continue to remain steadfast in prayer and prepare the way for Him so that He can enter the hearts of those who do not yet know Him.

O come, O come Emmanuel! Amen

First reading
Malachi 3:1-4,23-24

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.
Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

Gospel
Luke 1:57-66

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.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


How have we proclaimed the greatness of the Lord our God who has done great things in our lives? How have we given Him glory thanks and praise? Has our lips opened to speak of the actions of our hands in which we declared His love for humanity?

Would you offer up your greatest love and treasure to the Lord Your God to do as He Wills? Blessed are they who empty their hands by offering all to Him. Blessed are they who sing His praises when they part their lips. Blessed are they who stand ready to receive Him, then lead others to Him.

O Blessed Mother of Christ Jesus our Lord and saviour. Pray for us.

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

First reading
1 Samuel 1:24-28

When Hannah had weaned the infant Samuel, she took him up with her together with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was with them. They slaughtered the bull and the child’s mother came to Eli. She said, ‘If you please, my lord. As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. This is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.’
There she left him, for the Lord.

Gospel
Luke 1:46-56

Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name, and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him. He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy – according to the promise he made to our ancestors– of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Blessed are we who set out to bring comfort and joy to those in need.

Blessed are we indeed who bring Jesus to others, so that their hearts may be filled with joy at receiving Him in their midst.

Blessed are we who are moved in faith, and by our faith give faith to others.

Blessed are you dear Mother Mary amongst all Women. Who led and continue to lead all of us to your Son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Song of Songs 2:8-14

I hear my Beloved.
See how he comes leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills. My Beloved is like a gazelle, like a young stag.

See where he stands behind our wall. He looks in at the window, he peers through the lattice.

My Beloved lifts up his voice,
he says to me, ‘Come then, my love, my lovely one, come.
For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come, the cooing of the turtledove is heard
in our land. The fig tree is forming its first figs and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance. Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come. My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,
in the coverts of the cliff, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet
and your face is beautiful.’

Gospel
Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


We often pray sometimes without the actual words but in our minds, asking or rather wanting signs that the Lord God is listening to our prayers. That He is really present, especially in our lives. Where is our faith? Why do we doubt? Have we done our part in the relationship the Lord desires to have with us?

Jesus is Emmanuel! God with us. Just as it had been foretold so had it been fulfilled. He is with us for all eternity. Have we prepared room in our hearts for Him? Have we heard His Word speaking deep into our being? Have we had daily conversations with Him through our prayers?

Let our contrite hearts cry out to Him and He will surely come. He will take away all the obstacles that prevent us from having that deep, loving relationship with Him. Nothing is impossible for the Lord our God. Through the example of our dearest blessed Mother, let us always say,”Let it be done according to Your Will. O Lord.” Amen

First reading
Isaiah 7:10-14

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’
Then Isaiah said:

‘Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign. It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel, a name which means “God-is-with-us.”’

Gospel
Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

 On Today’s Gospel 

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


Mighty and merciful is the Lord our God. That He should take away our barren lives; bless us with His grace so that we are fruitful. Fruitful not for our families alone but for all humanity.

Hence every child of God through our baptism have been reborn into Holiness. We have a shared mission to build the kingdom of God through the salvation of souls by preparing their hearts to receive Jesus.

Let us never doubt the love of the Lord our God. For He is the source of all love and life. And He loves us all deeply
Amen

First reading
Judges 13:2-7,24-25

There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren, she had borne no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to this woman and said to her, ‘You are barren and have had no child. But from now on take great care. Take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb. It is he who will begin to rescue Israel from the power of the Philistines.’ Then the woman went and told her husband, ‘A man of God has just come to me; his presence was like the presence of the angel of God, he was so majestic. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not reveal his name to me. But he said to me, “You will conceive and bear a son. From now on, take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb to his dying day.”’
The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and the Lord blessed him; and the spirit of the Lord began to move him.

Gospel
Luke 1:5-25

In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron. Both were worthy in the sight of God, and scrupulously observed all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both getting on in years.
Now it was the turn of Zechariah’s section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the ritual custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense the whole congregation was outside, praying.
Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear. But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you must name him John. He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink. Even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the disobedient back to the wisdom that the virtuous have, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.’
Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel who stand in God’s presence, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. Listen! Since you have not believed my words, which will come true at their appointed time, you will be silenced and have no power of speech until this has happened.’ Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he stayed in the sanctuary so long. When he came out he could not speak to them, and they realised that he had received a vision in the sanctuary. But he could only make signs to them, and remained dumb.
When his time of service came to an end he returned home. Some time later his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept to herself. ‘The Lord has done this for me’ she said ‘now that it has pleased him to take away the humiliation I suffered among men.’

As we journey on during Advent.. 

Posted: December 18, 2016 by CatholicJules in Meditations

Peace sisters and brothers in Christ. The only reason I am encouraging you to remain steadfast during this time of Advent is for your own spiritual growth. By celebrating ahead while still in Advent, folks are essentially saying the traditions in our church are all outdated and nonsense. We then are no different from the Pharisees, sadducees and the people who turned a deaf ear to the call for repentance by John the Baptist. He was essentially preparing them for the coming of the Lord our God. So remain steadfast even as the world is saying it’s ok! So that come Christmas Jesus can be reborn in you. This Christmas mood in which the world talks so fondly about with its prematurely carolling is short-lived. Let Jesus alone be the King of your lives. Let the Holy Spirit renewed in You teach and guide you. Amen

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 17, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

God Is With Us: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Readings:
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24:1-6
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-24

The mystery kept secret for long ages, promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, is today revealed (see Romans 16:25-26).

This is the “Gospel of God” that Paul celebrates in today’s Epistle—the good news that “God is with us” in Jesus Christ. The sign promised to the House of David in today’s First Reading is given in today’s Gospel. In the virgin found with child, God himself has brought to Israel a savior from David’s royal line (see Acts 13:22-23).

Son of David according to the flesh, Jesus is the Son of God, born of the Spirit. He will be anointed with the Spirit (see Acts 10:38), and by the power of Spirit will be raised from the dead and established at God’s right hand in the heavens (see Acts 2:33-34; Ephesians 1:20-21).

He is the “King of Glory” we sing of in today’s Psalm. The earth in its fullness has been given to Him. And as God swore long ago to David, His Kingdom will have no end (see Psalm 89:4-5).

In Jesus Christ we have a new creation. Like the creation of the world, it is a work of the Spirit, a blessing from the Lord (see Genesis 1:2). In Him, we are saved from our sins, are called now “the beloved of God.”

All nations now are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to enter into the House of David and Kingdom of God, the Church. Together, through the obedience of faith, we have been made a new race—a royal people that seeks for the face of the God of Jacob.

He has made our hearts clean, made us worthy to enter His holy place, to stand in His presence and serve Him.

In the Eucharist, the everlasting covenant is renewed, the Advent promise of virgin with child—God with us—continues until the end of the age (see Matthew 28:20; Ezekiel 37:24-28).

On Christmas 

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

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Was the lineage of Jesus perfect, pure and Holy? No! Apart from our Blessed mother Mary and our Lord Jesus everyone was a sinner. There are Kings as there are great leaders but there are also cheats, murderers and prostitutes amongst them. So what does this mean for us?

Jesus came not for the perfect or pure but for us sinners. He was one of us in every aspect except when it came to sin. He sat and lived among us, to teach, preach guide and show us the way back to our Heavenly Father Whom Kingdom is at hand.

And so the Lord of Lords,King of kings must reign in our hearts. For our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the rightful King of all heaven and earth. Amen

First reading
Genesis 49:2,8-10

Jacob called his sons and said:

‘Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen; listen to Israel your father. Judah, your brothers shall praise you: you grip your enemies by the neck,
your father’s sons shall do you homage, Judah is a lion cub,
you climb back, my son, from your kill; like a lion he crouches and lies down, or a lioness: who dare rouse him?
The sceptre shall not pass from Judah, nor the mace from between his feet, until he come to whom it belongs, to whom the peoples shall render obedience.’

Gospel
Matthew 1:1-17

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,
Perez was the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother, Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother, Obed was the father of Jesse; and Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Azariah, Azariah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah; and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers. Then the deportation to Babylon took place. After the deportation to Babylon:
Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob; and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

Son of God, Son of Man 

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

​Son of God, Son of Man 
This topic reminds me of the great love of our Lord and God. He is not one who is obscure and unreachable, who sits only a pedestal to be worshipped and obeyed. But one that seeks to unite Himself with His creation. 
He loves us so much He came not only to liberate us of a debt we could not pay but to offer us an everlasting relationship. He suffered greatly for us, in part so that He could identify with every and all aspects of human suffering so that we may know we are never alone in it.  He is there with us every step of the way.  He died and rose again to claim victory over death for us. So that we too might rise in Him. 
Such is His love then I can dwell in Him and He in me! Amen

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Do we Christians see ourselves belonging to an exclusive club? Are we the only ones who will be saved? Is saying I believe in Jesus alone sufficient?

A true disciple of Jesus is one that leads others to the knowledge of Christ, into His loving embrace through the sacraments and then into discipleship. We are beacons for the Lord our God, drawing all who have lost their way back to Him.

It is by a lived faith, in other words by our actions that testify to God’s presence and love in our lives and in the lives of others. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 56:1-3,6-8

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.
Blessed is the man who does this and the son of man who clings to it: observing the sabbath, not profaning it, and keeping his hand from every evil deed.
Let no foreigner who has attached himself to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.’ Let no eunuch say, ‘And I, I am a dried-up tree.’
Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants– all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant– these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.
It is the Lord who speaks, who gathers the outcasts of Israel: there are others will gather besides those already gathered.

Gospel
John 5:33-36

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘You sent messengers to John,
and he gave his testimony to the truth: not that I depend on human testimony; no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.
John was a lamp alight and shining and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.
But my testimony is greater than John’s: the works my Father has given me to carry out, these same works of mine testify that the Father has sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


What did you go out into the wilderness to see?

What was it that attracted you to leave your Heavenly inheritance behind? Was it wealth? Power? Sexual desire? Honour? Fame? Are your eyes now opened to see the dry, barren land all around you?

Turn back to the Lord your God with contrite hearts. For He has great plans for you. Not to harm you, but to prosper you. His mercy is upon those who turn to Him and His love outpoured.

For the Lord our God is Faithful and Holy; we are called to live in the same faithfulness and holiness.
Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 54:1-10

Shout for joy, you barren women who bore no children!
Break into cries of joy and gladness, you who were never in labour! For the sons of the forsaken one are more in number than the sons of the wedded wife, says the Lord.

Widen the space of your tent,
stretch out your hangings freely, lengthen your ropes, make your pegs firm; for you will burst out to right and to left. Your race will take possession of the nations,
and people the abandoned cities.

Do not be afraid, you will not be put to shame, do not be dismayed, you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth and no longer remember the curse of your widowhood. For now your creator will be your husband, his name, the Lord of Hosts; your redeemer will be the Holy One of Israel, he is called the God of the whole earth.

Yes, like a forsaken wife, distressed in spirit, the Lord calls you back. Does a man cast off the wife of his youth? says your God.

I did forsake you for a brief moment, but with great love will I take you back. In excess of anger, for a moment I hid my face from you. But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says the Lord, your redeemer.

I am now as I was in the days of Noah when I swore that Noah’s waters should never flood the world again. So now I swear concerning my anger with you
and the threats I made against you for the mountains may depart the hills be shaken,but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken,says the Lord who takes pity on you.

Gospel
Luke 7:24-30

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to talk to the people about John, ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Oh no, those who go in for fine clothes and live luxuriously are to be found at court! Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:

See, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare the way before you.

‘I tell you, of all the children born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he is. All the people who heard him, and the tax collectors too, acknowledged God’s plan by accepting baptism from John; but by refusing baptism from him the Pharisees and the lawyers had thwarted what God had in mind for them.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Is Jesus the Lord of Lords, King of kings in your life? If so, how so?

Do you seek Him and His Will for you the moment you wake to the time you lay your head down to sleep? Do You wait patiently for Your master to speak to you in prayer? In very trying moments of your life which shakes your faith even a little, do you not hold on tightly and in humility seek His confirmation, affirmation, knowing that the Lord your God will provide an answer. Often in the gentle and subtle ways of the Holy Spirit which bear fruit. And in other times accompanied with great signs and wonder.

O reign in me Jesus, my Lord, my God. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 45:6-8,18,21-25

Apart from me, all is nothing.
I am the Lord, unrivalled,
I form the light and create the dark. I make good fortune and create calamity, it is I, the Lord, who do all this.

Send victory like a dew, you heavens, and let the clouds rain it down. Let the earth open for salvation to spring up.
Let deliverance, too, bud forth
which I, the Lord, shall create.

Yes, thus says the Lord,
creator of the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who set it firm, created it no chaos, but a place to be lived in:

‘I am the Lord, unrivalled:
there is no other god besides me. A God of integrity and a saviour: there is none apart from me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth,
for I am God unrivalled.

‘By my own self I swear it;
what comes from my mouth is truth, a word irrevocable: before me every knee shall bend, by me every tongue shall swear, saying, “From the Lord alone come victory and strength.” To him shall come, ashamed, all who raged against him. Victorious and glorious through the Lord shall be
all the descendants of Israel.’

Gospel
Luke 7:19-23

John, summoning two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for someone else?’ When the men reached Jesus they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you, to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or have we to wait for someone else?”’ It was just then that he cured many people of diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and gave the gift of sight to many who were blind. Then he gave the messengers their answer, ‘Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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

“I will go when I am good and ready.” What are you saying to the Lord really? The person He sends to you is not worthy of you? The Lord Himself who wants to heal you and transform you by His graces must wait on you? Where is the humility of heart?

What about you whom He sends out to tend to His kingdom and to bear fruit?
Will you not go? No time, no knowledge, don’t know enough, too many other commitments? Ask yourself this, who is it that reigns in Your heart? If it is the Lord Your God then take courage for He will never send you out empty handed. He will be with you.

Let my Yes be a yes for You O Lord my God. Fill me with Your graces and love as I go out each day into Your vineyard. Amen

First reading
Zephaniah 3:1-2,9-13

Trouble is coming to the rebellious, the defiled,
the tyrannical city!
She would never listen to the call, would never learn the lesson; she has never trusted in the Lord, never drawn near to her God.

Yes, I will then give the peoples lips that are clean,
so that all may invoke the name of the Lord and serve him under the same yoke.
From beyond the banks of the rivers of Ethiopia my supplant will bring me offerings.

When that day comes you need feel no shame for all the misdeeds you have committed against me, for I will remove your proud boosters from your midst; and you will cease to strut on my holy mountain.
In your midst I will leave a humble and lowly people, and those who are left in Israel will seek refuge in the name of the Lord. They will do no wrong,
will tell no lies; and the perjured tongue will no longer
be found in their mouths. But they will be able to graze and rest with no one to disturb them.

Gospel
Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: December 12, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


We want answers to our prayers but will not accept a negative response or to hear the truth. We want to know and hear God speak to us but are not prepared to do what is necessary to listen. So then, why question if you feel you are not making any progress, experience no growth in your faith or your relationship with the Lord your God?

Only through prayer and a deep dwelling in the living Word of God will we be able to gaze a little into the depths of the heart of the Lord our God. Mysteries will be unraveled little by little according to His Will. Nor all messages we receive are meant for us or us alone but to be passed on. This is what it means to share a little in the wisdom of the all powerful and almighty God.

The Lord desires to speak to the heart of all of us. If only we would listen, harden not our hearts. Amen

First reading
Numbers 24:2-7,15-17

Raising his eyes Balaam saw Israel, encamped by tribes; the spirit of God came on him and he declaimed his poem. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes, the oracle of one who hears the word of God.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see, receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
How fair are your tents, O Jacob! How fair your dwellings, Israel! Like valleys that stretch afar, like gardens by the banks of a river, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters! A hero arises from their stock, he reigns over countless peoples. His king is greater than Agag, his majesty is exalted.’

Then Balaam declaimed his poem again. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes, the oracle of one who hears the word of God, of one who knows the knowledge of the Most High.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see, receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened. I see him– but not in the present, I behold him– but not close at hand: a star from Jacob takes the leadership, a sceptre arises from Israel.’

Gospel
Matthew 21:23-27

Jesus had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’ ‘And I’ replied Jesus ‘will ask you a question, only one; if you tell me the answer to it, I will then tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: where did it come from: heaven or man?’ And they argued it out this way among themselves, ‘If we say from heaven, he will retort, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”; but if we say from man, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’ So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And he retorted, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

Third Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 10, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

​Here is Your God: 

Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Advent

Readings:

Isaiah 35:1-6,10
Psalm 146:6-10
James 5:7-10

Matthew 11:2-11
John questions Jesus from prison in today’s Gospel—for his disciples’ sake and for ours.
He knows that Jesus is doing “the works of the Messiah,” foretold in today’s First Reading and Psalm. But John wants his disciples—and us—to know that the Judge is at the gate, that in Jesus our God has come to save us.
The Liturgy of Advent takes us out into the desert to see and hear the marvelous works and words of God—the lame leaping like a stag, the dead raised, the good news preached to the poor (see Isaiah 29:18-20; 61:1-2).
The Liturgy does this to give us courage, to strengthen our feeble hands and make firm our weak knees. Our hearts can easily become frightened and weighed down by the hardships we face. We can lose patience in our sufferings as we await the coming of the Lord.
As James advises in today’s Epistle, we should take as our example the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Jesus also points us to a prophet—holding up John as a model. John knew that life was more than food, the body more than clothing. He sought the kingdom of God first, confident that God would provide (see Matthew 6:25-34). John did not complain. He did not lose faith. Even in chains in his prison cell, he was still sending his disciples—and us—to our Savior.
We come to Him again now in the Eucharist. Already He has caused the desert to bloom, the burning sands to become springs of living water. He has opened our ears to hear the words of the sacred book, freed our tongues to fill the air with songs of thanksgiving (see Isaiah 30:18).
Once bowed down, captives to sin and death, we have been ransomed and returned to His Kingdom, crowned with everlasting joy. Raised up we now stand before His altar to meet the One who is to come: “Here is your God.”

On Today’s Gospel 

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


How have we received the prophets amongst us today? Do we receive them with skepticism? Disdain? Do we reject their call for reconciliation? Or do we think ourselves better than them? We know better, are better or we can do much better; but do nothing! Heed the call for repentance and be prepared to receive the Lord our God.

Are we ourselves prophets for others? Are we already going out to prepare the way for our Lord Jesus Christ, so that He might enter the hearts of those who await Him. For we are called to do great things in His name, if only we have faith!

Send me Lord, I stand ready. Amen

First reading
Ecclesiasticus 48:1-4,9-12

The prophet Elijah arose like a fire, his word flaring like a torch. It was he who brought famine on the people,
and who decimated them in his zeal.
By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens, he also, three times, brought down fire.
How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah! Has anyone reason to boast as you have?
Taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children,
and to restore the tribes of Jacob, Happy shall they be who see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love.

Gospel
Matthew 17:10-13

As they came down from the mountain the disciples put this question to Jesus, ‘Why do the scribes say then that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True;’ he replied ‘Elijah is to come to see that everything is once more as it should be; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’ The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: December 9, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys


The call to follow in the ways of the Lord, His commandments and statutes; is a call to Love. To experience His abundant love for us then to share and witness to His love.

Give no more excuses, let your yes be yes or no be no. No more sitting on the fence remaining lukewarm. No more criticising the Church made of sinners. Step up to the call of discipleship to lead others in His ways.

Let my actions speak of Your love, Lord. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 48:17-19

Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is good for you, I lead you in the way that you must go.
If only you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river, your integrity like the waves of the sea. Your children would have been numbered like the sand, your descendants as many as its grains. Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.

Gospel
Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:

“We played the pipes for you,
and you wouldn’t dance;
we sang dirges,
and you wouldn’t be mourners.”

‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Today we remember our dearest blessed Mother Mary who was born without the stain of original sin. How she is the new Eve where God walks with side by side. Truly a model for us, of obedience to God our Father and the bringing forth of His love into the world.

Many still do not realize this but the closest thing we have to the Immaculate conception is our very own Baptism. For we are given new birth in Christ Jesus our Lord and saviour. And so we become God our Father’s children, whom He loves deeply.

Let us honour and serve Him according to His will, just like Mary our Mother. Now and forever. Amen

Dearest Mother, pray for us.

First reading
Genesis 3:9-15,20

After Adam had eaten of the tree the Lord God called to him. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,
all wild beasts. You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust
every day of your life.
I will make you enemies of each other: you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel.’

The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.

Second reading
Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ,
to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence, determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes,
to make us praise the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved, And it is in him that we were claimed as God’s own, chosen from the beginning, under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things as he decides by his own will;
chosen to be, for his greater glory, the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.

Gospel
Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

On Today’s Gospel

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

O loving and ever living Lord, my God. I thank and praise You for the gift of my life living in You.
I thank You for the gift of my baptism, for I too can drink of the living water and not thirst. When my spirit droops a little, I have You to lift me up.

I worship, praise, thank and love You with all my heart, all my strength and all my soul. You are my rock, my comfort and it is You alone who give me rest and strengthen me.

I stand ready Lord, to serve You and my brethren, guide me according to Your Will. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 40:25-31

‘To whom could you liken me and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look.
Who made these stars
if not he who drills them like an army, calling each one by name?
So mighty is his power, so great his strength, that not one fails to answer.

How can you say, Jacob, how can you insist, Israel, ‘My destiny is hidden from the Lord, my rights are ignored by my God’? Did you not know? Had you not heard?

The Lord is an everlasting God, he created the boundaries of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming.
He gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless. Young men may grow tired and weary, youths may stumble,but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength, they put out wings like eagles. They run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire.

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: December 6, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


Never allow sin to rob you of the oasis to be found in the Lord our God. For the weight of sin weigh heavy for each and every one has a price and consequence. It will blind, deafen and maime so that reconciliation seems impossible.

Never be discouraged nor should you fear. For such is the tender, merciful love of our Lord that He seeks you out. Cry out to Him and He will come. He will liberate you from all snares, embrace and carry you home with Him.  And all of heaven will rejoice.

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

First reading
Isaiah 40:1-11

‘Console my people, console them’ says your God. ‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for, that she has received from the hand of the Lord double punishment for all her crimes.’

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low. Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice commands, ‘Cry!’
and I answered, ‘What shall I cry?’”
– ‘All flesh is grass
and its beauty like the wild flower’s. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on them. (The grass is without doubt the people.) The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever.’

Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice, joyful messenger to Jerusalem. Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’

Here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him. The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him. He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Gospel
Matthew 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Through Jesus we truly have life. For I can remember the dry weary desert of a live lived without Him. Through the powerful sacrament of reconciliation all my burdens were lifted. Jesus freed me, and then I could hear, see, touch and feel Him. Praise You Jesus, thank You Jesus.

But even today many still will not go for the Sacrament of reconciliation. They say the same thing uttered by the scribes and Pharisees long ago, “who can forgive sins but God?” Yet is it not God who said to His Apostles, His Priests, whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven?” Is it then not the power of God through His Priests that reconciles us to Himself?

Let us the laity too, perform our priestly duty. Like the men who carried the paralyzed man on the bed. Let us too in faith bring those who are paralyzed, frozen spiritually to Jesus. So that He will heal them and set them free to praise God. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 35:1-10

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom, let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.

‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming, the retribution of God; he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongues of the dumb sing for for water gushes in the streams in the wasteland the scorched earth becomes a lake the parched land springs of water.

The lairs where the jackals used to live become thickets of reed and papyrus…

And through it will run a highway undefiled which shall be called the Sacred Way; the unclean may not travel by it,
nor fools stray along it.

No lion will be there nor any fierce beast roam about it, but the redeemed will walk there,
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy, everlasting joy on their faces; joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.

Gospel
Luke 5:17-26

Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’;– he said to the paralysed man– ‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

Second Sunday in Advent

Posted: December 3, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Kingdom ComeScott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday in Advent

Readings:
Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Romans 15:4-9
Matthew 3:1-12

“The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” John proclaims. And the Liturgy today paints us a vivid portrait of our new king and the shape of the kingdom He has come to bring.

The Lord whom John prepares the way for in today’s Gospel is the righteous king prophesied in today’s First Reading and Psalm. He is the king’s son, the son of David—a shoot from the root of Jesse, David’s father (see Ruth 4:17).

He will be the Messiah, anointed with the Holy Spirit (see 2 Samuel 23:1; 1 Kings 1:39; Psalm 2:2), endowed with the seven gifts of the Spirit—wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

He will rule with justice, saving the poor from the ruthless and wicked. His rule will be not only over Israel—but will extend from sea to sea, to the ends of the earth. He will be a light, a signal to all nations. And they will seek Him and pay Him homage.

In Him, all the tribes of the earth will find blessing. The covenant promise to Abraham (see Genesis 12:3), renewed in God’s oath to David (see Psalm 89:4,28), will be fulfilled in His dynasty. And His name will be blessed forever.

In Christ, God confirms His oath to Israel’s patriarchs, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle. But no longer are God’s promises reserved solely for the children of Abraham. The Gentiles, too, will glorify God for His mercy. Once strangers, in Christ they will be included in “the covenants of promise” (see Ephesians 2:12).

John delivers this same message in the Gospel. Once God’s chosen people were hewn from the rock of Abraham (see Isaiah 51:1-2). Now, God will raise up living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5)—children of Abraham born not of flesh and blood but of the Spirit.

This is the meaning of the fiery baptism He brings—making us royal heirs of the kingdom of heaven, the Church.

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Too many in the world are without hope, comfort and healing. They live out their lives in darkness slowly withering away. Why?

Perhaps some of us still think that in today’s Gospel it was only the Apostles who were sent to proclaim the Good news of God’s Kingdom and bring healing. But in actual fact by our confirmation and after every Eucharistic Celebration we are continually sent into the world to do likewise. And if each and everyone of us went out in faith, nourished and equipped through the graces received in the Sacraments; then the light of Christ would shine through the hearts of His people. The World as we know it will be a much brighter one where peace and love reigns.

We can only offer what we receive. We can only receive when our hands and hearts are open to receive. They are only opened when we decide, desire that His Word and Will come first in our lives. We seek to deepen our relationship with Him through prayer and His living Word in scripture.

First reading
Isaiah 30:19-21,23-26

Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
People of Zion, you will live in Jerusalem and weep no more. He will be gracious to you when he hears your cry; when he hears he will answer. When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes. Whether you turn to right or left, your ears will hear these words behind you, ‘This is the way, follow it.’ He will send rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the bread that the ground provides will be rich and nourishing. Your cattle will graze, that day, in wide pastures. Oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat a salted fodder, winnowed with shovel and fork. On every lofty mountain, on every high hill there will be streams and watercourses, on the day of the great slaughter when the strongholds fall. Then moonlight will be bright as sunlight and sunlight itself be seven times brighter– like the light of seven days in one– on the day the Lord dresses the wound of his people and heals the bruises his blows have left.

Lord Jesus, here I am. Use me. Amen

Gospel
Matthew 9:35-10:1,5,6-8

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.’
He 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 twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘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. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’

On Today’s Gospel 

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


Why do we lose sight of the glory of the Lord in our lives? Why do we allow temptations to distract us? Giving in to sin blinds us and robs us of eternal light. So each time we find ourselves in that situation we should ask ourselves, do we love sin more or Jesus?

Jesus our healer and deliverer has come to restore our sight. To restore our broken relationship which was a consequence of sin. So let us cry out on faith to Him to have mercy on us. For He will heal our contrite hearts so that we can live in His light now and forever.

O Holy Spirit protect and guide us, so that we may always walk the path of righteousness. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 29:17-24

The Lord says this:

In a short time, a very short time, shall not Lebanon become fertile land and fertile land turn into forest?
The deaf, that day, will hear the words of a book and, after shadow and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.

But the lowly will rejoice in the Lord even more and the poorest exult in the Holy One of Israel; for tyrants shall be no more, and scoffers vanish, and all be destroyed who are disposed to do evil: those who gossip to incriminate others,
those who try at the gate to trip the arbitrator and get the upright man’s case dismissed for groundless reasons.

Therefore the Lord speaks,
the God of the House of Jacob,
Abraham’s redeemer: No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale, for he shall see what my hands have done in his midst,
he shall hold my name holy.
They will hallow the Holy One of Jacob, stand in awe of the God of Israel. Erring spirits will learn wisdom and murmurers accept instruction.

Gospel
Matthew 9:27-31

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: December 1, 2016 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys


How do I do the will of my Heavenly Father when I don’t know it? Well why don’t you know it?

He speaks to us everyday and most powerfully when we listen to Him in prayer. And through His living Word. His will is written on our open hearts to receive Him. For this is what it means to build upon the rock.

Many are serving in the name of Jesus but are not serving with His mind and heart. And unless we serve others with His mind and heart, calling out the name of Jesus will not save us.

Lord Jesus be by guide always, so that all I say and do may be pleasing to God our Heavenly Father. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 26:1-6

That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
to guard us he has set wall and rampart about us. Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in, she, the faithful one
whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace, because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord is the everlasting Rock; he has brought low those who lived high up in the steep citadel; he brings it down, brings it down to the ground,
flings it down in the dust: the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor trample on it.

Gospel
Matthew 7:21,24-27

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. ‘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!’