Archive for March, 2017

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: March 31, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


We must remember that many find difficulty in accepting Jesus because they have not encountered Him in a deep personal way. Even among Catholic ‘believers’ there are skeptics but their skepticism go unspoken for fear of reprisal. So while lips may sing His praises, their hearts are from from Him.

Those of us who truly believe and are alive in Him, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ;recall then your humble beginnings. Was it not His continued patience and love that led you to your first encounter. He sent many your way as instruments of His grace to journey with you. When your heart was finally opened in sweet surrender so too was your mind and soul.

Let us come forward to become instruments of His grace for others. Let us be guided by the Holy Spirit as we serve as guides, beacons of His light, mercy and great love for all. Amen

First reading
Wisdom 2:1,12-22

The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning:

‘Our life is short and dreary,
nor is there any relief when man’s end comes, nor is anyone known who can give release from Hades. Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our breaches of the law and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
He claims to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a son of the Lord. Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down; his way of life is not like other men’s, the paths he treads are unfamiliar.
In his opinion we are counterfeit; he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth;
he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as happy and boasts of having God for his father.
Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have. If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his endurance to the proof. Let us condemn him to a shameful death since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

This is the way they reason, but they are misled, their malice makes them blind. They do not know the hidden things of God,
they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded, they can see no reward for blameless souls.

Gospel
John 7:1-2,10,25-30

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.
As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from. Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:

‘Yes, you know me and you know where I came from.
Yet I have not come of myself:
no, there is one who sent me
and I really come from him,
and you do not know him,
but I know him because I have come from him and it was he who sent me.’

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: March 30, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


Why is it so easy to fall back into bad habits? To look to the comforts of the world? To put ourselves, others, work, family, holiday travel plans, games before the Lord our God? Simply, we have not held on to the love of the Word of God in our hearts. We have made little or no effort to grow in our faith. Our prayer life is a reflection of our relationship with Jesus.

Let us not put our Lord God to the test by choosing to fall back into sinful habits and temptations. But instead let us look towards His mercy and redemptive love for us. So that we may never again forget the price Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour paid for us on the cross. And it is through Him and Him alone do we have life.

Our Lenten journey is drawing to a close, let us set our sights to the joy of the Resurrection of our Lord by deepening our faith in Him.

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

First reading
Exodus 32:7-14

The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’
But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’
So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Gospel
John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘Were I to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid; but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf, and I know that his testimony is valid.
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.
Besides, the Father who sent me
bears witness to me himself.
You have never heard his voice,
you have never seen his shape,
and his word finds no home in You because you do not believe in the one he has sent.

‘You study the scriptures,
believing that in them you have eternal life; now these same scriptures testify to me, and yet you refuse to come to me for life!
As for human approval, this means nothing to me. Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.
I have come in the name of my Father and you refuse to accept me; if someone else comes in his own name you will accept him.
How can you believe, since you look to one another for approval
and are not concerned with the approval that comes from the one God?
Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:
you place your hopes on Moses,
and Moses will be your accuser.
If you really believed him you would believe me too, since it was I that he was writing about;
but if you refuse to believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?’

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: March 29, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


There is no greater experience of love than that,which comes from our one triune God. Jesus is God’s love personified.

He has come to set prisoners and the downtrodden free. To bring comfort and healing to all who are in need. Most of all to bring those who desire and believe in Him into eternal life.

Let us stop thinking of ourselves as wiser, better informed or even deserving of more. Where has it gotten us? How much have we grown in our faith? Or love for one another?

Let us instead be obedient and submit wholly to the will of our Heavenly Father and we will be with Jesus in paradise. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 49:8-15

Thus says the Lord:

At the favourable time I will answer you, on the day of salvation I will help you. (I have formed you and have appointed you as covenant of the people.)
I will restore the land and assign you the estates that lie waste. I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’, to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

On every roadway they will graze, and each bare height shall be their pasture. They will never hunger or thirst,
scorching wind and sun shall never plague them; for he who pities them will lead them
and guide them to springs of water. I will make a highway of all the mountains, and the high roads shall be banked up.

Some are on their way from afar, others from the north and the west, others from the land of Sinim. Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth!
You mountains, break into happy cries! For the Lord consoles his people and takes pity on those who are afflicted.

For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me.’Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.

Gospel
John 5:17-30

Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.
To this accusation Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing:and whatever the Father does the Son does too.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything he does himself, and he will show him even greater things than these, works that will astonish you.
Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses;for the Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father.
Whoever refuses honour to the Son refuses honour to the Father who sent him. I tell you most solemnly, whoever listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life;without being brought to judgement he has passed from death to life.
I tell you most solemnly, the hour will come– in fact it is here already– when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live.
For the Father, who is the source of life, has made the Son the source of life;and, because he is the Son of Man,has appointed him supreme judge.
Do not be surprised at this, for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves
at the sound of his voice:
those who did good will rise again to life;and those who did evil, to condemnation.
I can do nothing by myself; I can only judge as I am told to judge, and my judging is just,
because my aim is to do not my own will,but the will of him who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: March 28, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


How glorious are the plans of the Lord our God, that human wisdom is found wanting in understanding let alone appreciating the wonders of His designs. He built His Church upon rock and from which living waters flow. All of us in communion with Him draw life from Him and are called to go forth and bear fruit.

How sad it is that many sit alone downcast waiting for someone to come along and help them. Others make no effort to cry out to the Lord, but wallow in their sins. Some who continue to lead sinful lives have their bodies infirmed because their souls cannot bear them any longer.

The Lord calls out to all who will listen to His voice, “Do you want to be healed?” and all it takes is a Yes Lord. A yes which conveys contrition and a desire to be transformed.

Such is the grace of the Lord our God that we draw closer to Him. And we can easily be found in church where we draw our strength to go out and help others find their way to Him. Amen

First reading
Ezekiel 47:1-9,12

The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. The man went to the east holding his measuring line and measured off a thousand cubits; he then made me wade across the stream; the water reached my ankles. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my knees. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across again; the water reached my waist. He measured off another thousand; it was now a river which I could not cross; the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross. He then said, ‘Do you see, son of man?’ He took me further, then brought me back to the bank of the river. When I got back, there were many trees on each bank of the river. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

Gospel
John 5:1-3,5-16

There was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now at the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem there is a building, called Bethzatha in Hebrew, consisting of five porticos; and under these were crowds of sick people – blind, lame, paralysed – waiting for the water to move; One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in this condition for a long time, he said, ‘Do you want to be well again?’ ‘Sir,’ replied the sick man ‘I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I am still on the way, someone else gets there before me.’ Jesus said, ‘Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.’ The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away.
Now that day happened to be the sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; you are not allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.’ He replied, ‘But the man who cured me told me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”’ They asked, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Pick up your mat and walk”?’ The man had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that filled the place. After a while Jesus met him in the Temple and said, ‘Now you are well again, be sure not to sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.’ The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had cured him. It was because he did things like this on the sabbath that the Jews began to persecute Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: March 27, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


The Holy Spirit had decended upon our Lord Jesus Christ at his baptism and after coming of the desert He went on to proclaim the Kingdom of God was at hand and perform many great signs and miracles.

By our own baptism we have been given the gifts to do likewise. How many have we healed in His name? How many have we touched with His love? How many have heard the good news of the Gospels through us? How have we restored the faith in others through our example?

Lord Jesus I believe and trust in You. Guide and help me face the many challenges that come in sharing my faith and love in You with others. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 65:17-21

Thus says the Lord: Now I create new heavens and a new earth, and the past will not be remembered, and will come no more to men’s minds. Be glad and rejoice for ever and ever for what I am creating, because I now create Jerusalem ‘Joy’ and her people ‘Gladness.’ I shall rejoice over Jerusalem and exult in my people. No more will the sound of weeping or the sound of cries be heard in her; in her, no more will be found the infant living a few days only, or the old man not living to the end of his days. To die at the age of a hundred will be dying young; not to live to be a hundred will be the sign of a curse. They will build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

Gospel
John 4:43-54

Jesus left Samaria for Galilee. He himself had declared that there is no respect for a prophet in his own country, but on his arrival the Galileans received him well, having seen all that he had done at Jerusalem during the festival which they too had attended.
He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a court official there whose son was ill at Capernaum and, hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judaea, he went and asked him to come and cure his son as he was at the point of death. Jesus said, ‘So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!’ ‘Sir,’ answered the official ‘come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go home,’ said Jesus ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way; and while he was still on the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive. He asked them when the boy had begun to recover. ‘The fever left him yesterday’ they said ‘at the seventh hour.’ The father realised that this was exactly the time when Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live’; and he and all his household believed.
This was the second sign given by Jesus, on his return from Judaea to Galilee.

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 25, 2017 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Eyesight to the Blind:
Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings:

1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Psalm 23:1-6
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

God’s ways of seeing are not our ways, we hear in today’s First Reading. Jesus illustrates this in the Gospel—as the blind man comes to see and the Pharisees are made blind.

The blind man stands for all humanity. “Born totally in sin” he is made a new creation by the saving power of Christ.

As God fashioned the first man from the clay of the earth (see Genesis 2:7), Jesus gives the blind man new life by anointing his eyes with clay (see John 9:11). As God breathed the spirit of life into the first man, the blind man is not healed until he washes in the waters of Siloam, a name that means “Sent.”

Jesus is the One “sent” by the Father to do the Father’s will (see John 9:4; 12:44). He is the new source of life-giving water—the Holy Spirit who rushes upon us in Baptism (see John 4:10; 7:38-39).

This is the Spirit that rushes upon God’s chosen king David in today’s First Reading. A shepherd like Moses before him (see Exodus 3:1; Psalm 78:70-71), David is also a sign pointing to the good shepherd and king to come—Jesus (see John 10:11).

The Lord is our shepherd, as we sing in today’s Psalm. By his death and Resurrection He has made a path for us through the dark valley of sin and death, leading us to the verdant pastures of the kingdom of life, the Church.

In the restful waters of Baptism He has refreshed our souls. He has anointed our heads with the oil of Confirmation and spread the Eucharistic table before us, filling our cups to overflowing.

With the once-blind man we enter His house to give God the praise, to renew our vow: “I do believe, Lord.”

“The Lord looks into the heart,” we hear today. Let Him find us, as Paul advises in today’s Epistle, living as “children of light”—trying always to learn what is pleasing to our Father

On Today’s Gospel 

Posted: March 25, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections


Today we remember how Jesus our saviour, the visible sign of God’s great love and salvation for us came to be.

It began with an obedient yes to God’s call to participate in the redemption of the World. Blessed is she indeed our dearest Mother Mary chosen first to be the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Likewise we too are called to be instruments of God’s grace, to lead souls into heaven. And we shall not be overwhelmed for the Lord is with us and the Holy Spirit will help and guide us.

Your Will be done Lord. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 7:10-14,8:10

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 he 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.’

Second reading
Hebrews 10:4-10

Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what Christ said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for me.
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;
then I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book, ‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

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.