Archive for December, 2017

Christmas Reflection

Posted: December 25, 2017 by CatholicJules in Meditations

From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
Christian, remember your dignity

Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.

No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.

In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.

And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to his people on earth as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvelous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.

Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.

My Blessed 2017 Journey 

Posted: December 25, 2017 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

2017 has been a most memorable year for me. It is a year of great faith for me personally as well as the most trying and challenging in which my faith was tested on many levels. The best way to sum it up is replacing ‘love’ with ‘faith’ written in a poem.

“Faith can soar to the highest pinnacle of ecstasy, it can also crumble to the very depths of excruciating misery. Faith from deep within Christ, is inspiring, exhilarating even intoxicating. However succumbing to worldly thoughts and values, the body mind it will devour leaving a tragic ending”

The year began on a high note, as I was involved in a discipling program and a keystone in our Parish called Development. Was also blessed to be voted as an office bearer for my EMHC ministry to begin in 2018. I had planned and written out a two year program for the latter and was looking forward to see it come to fruition.

The Lord also blessed me with an opportunity to be a participant in the dawn Eucharist at Easter. We covered the full readings of Easter and the highlight for me was the experience of full submersion baptism. Which called to mind our first, once for all time baptism. Then the highpoint of the dawn Eucharist itself receiving our resurrected Lord deep into our being.

After Easter however, due to change of spiritual direction everything changed. I stepped down and left EMHC and later was compelled to leave the development keystone as well which was later dissolved completely. Troubling indeed when I had sacrificed the last seven years of my life to dedicated service even though there were numerous times, I felt that the burden was too heavy to bear.

Feeling lost, the Lord led me to the ‘Labourers in the vineyard retreat’ which not only restored my wounded soul but renewed and invigorated my zeal to serve the Lord. Only thing is I was to wait on Him.

I drew confidence from some loving members of our parish community who invited me to serve along side them in their respective ministries. I was also deeply touched to be called upon to help startup a new parish initiative called ‘Bible Apostolate.’ The Lord’s direction however was to continue to wait on Him as a new initiative on an archdiocese level was soon to take shape. I am still prayerfully waiting as it will begin proper in 2018.

Then in the later part of this year was another great blessing of being called to attend the’ Watchmen retreat’ The Lord woke me up by speaking directly to me through His shepherd and His prophets. He both humbled me and enkindled within me a fire to serve Him more profoundly.

To end the year He brought me back to the basics by leading me once again to the ‘Four steps retreat’ so that I might never lose my way again. It was also wonderful to embrace the family team conducting the retreat.

Thank You Lord Jesus for the familial ties built over the years through the various communitues in and through You. Lord be with me now and always.

Glory and Praise to the Holy Trinity forever and ever. Amen

Love Of God

Posted: December 25, 2017 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

An Advent reflection 

Posted: December 24, 2017 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Sharing from a Sister who attended the watchmen retreat”.

Peace be with you all.
I’ve not been very watchful during Advent. Yet our Lord in His loving mercy, doesn’t allow me to run away.
I am prompted to share the following with you all. It is rather long but I’m unable to shorten it though I tried. 👇🏻

If Jesus had really been born on 25 Dec, then today Mother Mary and Joseph would be travelling around in Bethlehem.
 Contemplating the situation, I imagined how tiring and uncomfortable it must have been for Mother Mary, a pregnant lady nearly due for delivery.  I also thought of St Joseph’s anxiety as he went from inn to inn to find a room;  how he would have felt as a young man who simply wanted his wife to have a comfortable bed to deliver her baby.  And Mary our Mother, she must have prayed to our Father to provide a solution.
Why did God our Father allow the Mother of His Son to experience such discomfort and anxiety? If His plan was for Jesus to be born in a manger, then just lead them there, or tell Joseph in a dream. It would be easier and less stressful. After all, when we do His Will, aren’t things supposed to fall into place smoothly?
As I wondered what thoughts Mary might have had at that point of time and how she might have felt, I was reminded of Ecclesiasticus 39: “All the works of the Lord are good, and he will supply every want in due time. You must not say “This is worse than that” for everything will prove its value in time ”
With that scripture,  I was awakened.

It is not for me to question; instead, I must dwell on the awesomeness of our Father who chose simple shepherds as the first witnesses of His Son’s birth and I must wonder at the faith of these shepherds who were blessed to hear the first Gloria sung by “a great throng of heavenly hosts” and who acted without hesitation to do as asked. When the shepherds told Mary what they had heard, she treasured what they said and “pondered them in her heart”.
As I sing the Gloria tonight it will be with greater conviction than ever before because I believe in my heart, that all the heavenly hosts and especially Mary our Mother will be there with us singing and praising our Lord and our God. And I praise Him for awakening me to watch and to grow.
Fellow watchmen, let’s all rejoice as the shepherds did, glorifying and praising God our Father for all we have heard and seen.

My reflections for 4th Sunday of Advent 

Posted: December 23, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

My reflections for the 4th Sunday of Advent

We often times have very good intentions and want to do things that seemingly would please the Lord. Instead of seeking His will for us and waiting on Him to guide our steps. Do this frequently enough, we may become compromised and become spiritually narcisstic. “I will not sit at the table with sinners because the Lord is telling me that I am set apart to do great things for Him.” Really? Is this truly what the Lord wants? Or does He intend that you lead them out of their sinful ways? Even the prophet Nathan thought David’s idea to build the Lord’s house was good one. But as the Lord says it clearly my ways are not your ways! Instead the Lord tells David His plans for Him and makes him a promise which the Jews held to and wrote down about five hundred years later to remind themselves even after the Davidic empire appeared to be totally wipe out. That the throne of David will be restored.

St Paul a scholar through the Holy Spirit recognised the fulfillment of the promises of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lord of all nations and so we should proclaim Him with great fervour to all non believers so that they too will have hope of eternal life.

Mary our Mother does not question the greeting nor the message from God, but accepted in obedience and full trust in the Lord our God even though she would not have understood the mystery yet to be revealed. In her purity she was chosen to be the living tabernacle of our Lord. Do we not see that we too are called to be likewise at every Eucharist? So that our Lord Jesus Christ can dwell in us. The Holy Spirit can live in us powerfully.

Another powerful message from the passage is that God can turn all curses into blessings. We who lead dry barren lives, who feel that we are at our wits end or that time for change is fleeting and hopeless, He the Lord can give us new life! For nothing is impossible for God. The new life we bring forth can become a powerful testimony of His great love and mercy.

Glory be to God in the highest. Amen
*Update 24 Dec *

In the homily today I heard another dimension of the first reading. David had it in his heart to do something good for the Lord His God, and God our Father knew the purity of his intentions, He however had other plans for David and will never be out done in goodness. His promises to David was beyond his imagination. God alone is wisdom so let us pray for His wisdom to rule our hearts. Amen

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 23, 2017 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Mystery Kept Secret: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Advent

2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

What is announced to Mary in today’s Gospel is the revelation of all that the prophets had spoken. It is, as Paul declares in today’s Epistle, the mystery kept secret since before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:9; 3:3-9).

Mary is the virgin prophesied to bear a son of the house of David (see Isaiah 7:13-14). And nearly every word the angel speaks to her today evokes and echoes the long history of salvation recorded in the Bible.

Mary is hailed as the daughter Jerusalem, called to rejoice that her king, the Lord God, has come into her midst as a mighty savior (see Zephaniah 3:14-17).

The One whom Mary is to bear will be Son of “the Most High”—an ancient divine title first used to describe the God of the priest-king Melchizedek, who brought out bread and wine to bless Abraham at the dawn of salvation history (see Genesis 14:18-19).

He will fulfill the covenant God makes with His chosen one, David, in today’s First Reading. As we sing in today’s Psalm, He will reign forever as highest of the kings of the earth, and He will call God “my Father.” As Daniel saw the Most High grant everlasting dominion to the Son of Man (see Daniel 4:14; 7:14), His kingdom will have no end.

He is to rule over the house of Jacob—the title God used in making His covenant with Israel at Sinai (see Exodus 19:3), and again used in promising that all nations would worship the God of Jacob (see Isaiah 2:1-5).

Jesus has been made known, Paul says today, to bring all nations to the obedience of faith. We are called with Mary today to marvel at all that the Lord has done throughout the ages for our salvation. And we, too, must respond to this Annunciation with humble obedience—that His will be done, that our lives be lived according to His word.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 23, 2017 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We are in a sense back to where we were at the beginning of Advent as we are just before the eve of Christmas. Stay awake and prepare the way for the Lord!

Let us then rise up to the call, to be new spiritual Elijahs, new spiritual John the baptists! To bring about reconciliation. To encourage one another to turn away from sins as we lead each other towards the promised land; our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom. United with Him forever.

Lord I know that your hand is upon me. And I will serve You faithfully. 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.

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.