Archive for March, 2018

My Easter Candle

Posted: March 31, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

My Easter candle came with a message….. I need to bleed a little more for Him.

Easter 2018

Posted: March 31, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

Truly Blessed Easter celebration. To have celebrated with joy and thankful hearts with the whole Parish! Lifting hands in praise and worship. To have received both the body and blood of Christ and to be given the opportunity to serve Him. Thank You Jesus…

Holy Saturday

Posted: March 31, 2018 by CatholicJules in Meditations, Photos

Good Friday

Posted: March 30, 2018 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures, Meditations

How much do you love me?

Posted: March 30, 2018 by CatholicJules in Meditations, Photos

Maundy Thursday Reflection

Posted: March 29, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Holy Thursday also known as Maundy Thursday, is where the Easter tridium begins and it starts with the Chrism Mass.

While the Holy oils are consecrated and the priests renew their vows it is an opportunity for us laity to reflect on our own calling to be priests, prophets and Kings for others. We have hope, peace and joy because our Lord Jesus Christ had come to fulfil the promise of our salvation. Have we and are we still sharing the hope that we have with others? Have we brought the joy, healing and comfort of our Lord Jesus Christ to those in need and are suffering? Let us strive to be better and do better as we recall the anointing we had received at our baptism and confirmation.

Tonight we call to mind two wonderful acts of love by Jesus; the institution of the priesthood and Holy Eucharist. No greater love have we then that of the Lord our God.

In preparation of His departure, He gave us at New way that we could see, touch and be one with Him in His presence. His real presence, a mystery yet a reality! One that nourishes, strengthens and fills us completely with His grace. May we never take this great act of love for granted.

Let us also reflect more deeply on our response to the call to discipleship. Have we responded in humble servitude the way the Lord had shown us. To gently ‘wash the feet’ of another? How willingly will we do so going forward. This is a Holy night indeed to dwell on the love of the Lord our God. Amen

Chrism Mass Readings

First reading
Isaiah 61:1-3,6,8-9

Second reading
Apocalypse 1:5-8

Gospel
Luke 4:16-21

Evening Mass Readings

First reading
Exodus 12:1-8,11-14

Second reading
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Gospel
John 13:1-15

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 28, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Whom are you a disciple of?

If you say Jesus, what are the external signs, the fruits of your faith in Him? Are you obedient unto Him? Always attentive and eager to hear His word? Are you open to weary and downtrodden? Willing and able by your discipleship to bring comfort, peace and joy?

Or are You a disciple only in name? Quick to let go and sell away Jesus Christ of whom you call Lord? For thirty pieces of what the world offers? Fame, fortune, pornography, unlimited entertainment, honour amongst men and women, pleasures of the flesh and so on…

O Jesus my Lord, let the declaration of my love for You be surely “I am Your disciple.” By my words, deeds and the way I live my life according to Your will. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 50:4-9
Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me
a disciple’s tongue.
So that I may know how to reply to the wearied
he provides me with speech.
Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint;I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?
Then let us go to court together.
Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25
‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 27, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

It is strange indeed that some of us are drawn to darkness. We do and say things thinking that the veil of darkness will hide our deeds and thoughts. The Lord sees everything even before they come to light. And unless we turn back to Him, we will shrink back into greater darkness.

It is easy to declare our love for the Lord, even claiming that we will lay down our lives for Him. Yet how many times have we disowned Him when we chose entertainment over prayer? Magazines over scripture? pornography over fixing our gaze on Him? Gossip over breaking and sharing the word? Our very own wants over the needs of others.

The light of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ has come to lead us out of darkness. Let us lead steadfast lives as children of the light. Striving to be true disciples of Jesus, to be the light for others. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth

Islands, listen to me,
pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified’; while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing’; and all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Gospel

John 13:21-33,36-38
‘What you are going to do, do quickly’

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.
When he had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me,
And, as I told the Jews,
where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 26, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Our gentle Lord came to liberate us from sin. To lead us out of darkness into the light. To restore our bruised souls and to heal our wounds. Woe to those who seek to snuff out the light of His faithful. To those who try to steal what rightfully belongs to the Lord our God.

We say we love Jesus and want to follow Him. Have we anointed His feet by our good works? Have we brought His peace and brought comfort to those in need? By our acts of mercy have we perfumed the air which leads to our Lord Jesus Christ?

Let us remain steadfast especially during this Holy week. To be faithful in heart and mind. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 42:1-7
Here is my chosen one in whom my soul delights

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud, or make his voice heard in the streets.
He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice;he will neither waver, nor be crushed
until true justice is established on earth,
for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
he who created the heavens and spread them out, who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it,
who gave breath to its people and life to the creatures that move in it:

‘I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right; I have taken you by the hand and formed you;
I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations, ‘to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.’

Gospel

John 12:1-11
‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’
Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

Passion Sunday 

Posted: March 24, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Darkness at Noon: Scott Hahn Reflects on Passion Sunday

Readings:

Is 50:4–7
Ps 22:8–9, 17–20, 23–24
Phil 2:6–11
Mk 14:1–15:47

Crowned with thorns, our Lord is lifted up on the Cross, where He dies as “King of the Jews.” Notice how many times He is called “king” in today’s Gospel—mostly in scorn and mockery.

As we hear the long accounts of His Passion, at every turn we must remind ourselves—He suffered this cruel and unusual violence for us.

He is the Suffering Servant foretold by Isaiah in today’s First Reading. He reenacts the agony described in today’s Psalm, and even dies with the first words of that Psalm on His lips (see Psalm 22:1).

Listen carefully for the echoes of this Psalm throughout today’s Gospel—as Jesus is beaten, His hands and feet are pierced; as His enemies gamble for His clothes, wagging their heads, mocking His faith in God’s love, His faith that God will deliver Him.

Are we that much different from our Lord’s tormenters? Often, don’t we deny that He is King, refusing to obey His only commands that we love Him and one another? Don’t we render Him mock tribute, pay Him lip service with our half-hearted devotions?

In the dark noon of Calvary, the veil in Jerusalem’s temple was torn. It was a sign that by His death Jesus destroyed forever the barrier separating us from the presence of God.

He was God and yet humbled Himself to come among us, we’re reminded in today’s Epistle. And despite our repeated failures, our frailty, Jesus still humbles Himself to come to us, offering us His body and blood in the Eucharist.

His enemies never understood: His kingship isn’t of this world (see John 18:36). He wants to write His law, His rule of life on our hearts and minds.

As we enter Holy Week, let us once more resolve to give Him dominion in our lives. Let us take up the cross He gives to us—and confess with all our hearts, minds, and strength, that truly this is the Son of God.

A Prayer written before the Blessed Sacrament

Posted: March 24, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Prayers

After dropping my daughter off for Cathechism class, I went to the Adoration room and started writing this prayer….

O sweet Jesus I come before You in humble Adoration of You. I kneel in awe of Your presence in the Blessed Sacrament. That You O Lord my God have chosen this form to be present to me so that I can see You as You minister to me. Mere words cannot express my heartfelt gratitude for the love and Graces You bestow on me while in Your loving presence. In the silence of my heart I hear Your gentle voice speak to me and I hear You clearly though not in audible terms. I hear the voice of my shepherd, I know You and I follow You. In this great loving exchange I am disappointed with myself for not having spent an hour with You regularly. Perhaps I have not loved You enough as I should. Still I feel Your loving embrace envelop me and I find myself resting in Your peace. You are the way, the truth and the life. Jesus my Lord. You are the way, the truth and the life. Jesus my Lord. Love You with all my heart, mind and soul. Jesus my Lord. Love You with all my heart, mind and soul. Jesus my Lord. Amen

When I picked my daughter up she showed me what she had done in class…

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 24, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ.

For through evil and sin there is disunity, disorder, chaos and mayhem. People living for themselves.

In His great mercy and love for us, God our Father sent His Son. Our Saviour Jesus Christ came to heal and liberate us from our sins. By His death and resurrection He gathers the faithful unto Himself. We are one in Union with Him. He dwells in us as we dwell in Him.

Let us always bear in mind His great act of love for us, that we can live in His peace forever. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 37:21-28
I will bring them home and make them one nation

The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’

Gospel

John 11:45-56
Jesus was to die to gather together the scattered children of God

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 23, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

When we sin, continue to live in sin we become blind, deaf and dumb to the word and works of the Lord our God. For we have chosen not to see, hear or act on the will of God our Father.

Words alone unaccompanied by the heart, hands and feet in service of the Gospels does nothing for the Lord and whom we serve. But through sacrifice, when all are put into service of the Lord and our brethren, much fruit will we bear. For unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone ; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Lord Jesus, You on our side, no one can defeat us. Be with us always as we strive to be in humble servitude of You and our fellow man. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13
He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me,‘“Terror from every side!” Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.
Then we will master him
and take our revenge!’
But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure;everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.
But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart,
let me see the vengeance you will take on them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42
They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:
I said, you are gods?
So the Law uses the word gods
of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.
Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world,
“You are blaspheming,”
because he says, “I am the son of God.”
If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.
He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 22, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Children learn from their parents, in their early years they pick up on words, actions, behaviors even mannerisms. What then have we passed on to them? Have we been growing in our faith and relationship with the Lord our God. Have been responsible in teaching our children about the love of God: How we should love and honour Him by our lives? Or are we instead passing on sinful behaviors and selfish attitudes?

If we call ourselves children of God our Father then we must strive to be faithful as Father Abraham was. We must learn the ways of God our Father through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. For only through Him can we live in His love and experience His peace; most of all the joy of humble servitude.

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

First reading

Genesis 17:3-9
Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations

Abram bowed to the ground and God said this to him, ‘Here now is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations, and your issue shall be kings. I will establish my Covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in, the whole land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity, and I will be your God.’

Gospel

John 8:51-59
Your father Abraham saw my Day and was glad

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘I tell you most solemnly, whoever keeps my word
will never see death.’

The Jews said, ‘Now we know for certain that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?’ Jesus answered:

‘If I were to seek my own glory that would be no glory at all; my glory is conferred by the Father, by the one of whom you say, “He is our God” although you do not know him.
But I know him, and if I were to say: I do not know him, I should be a liar, as you are liars yourselves.
But I do know him, and I faithfully keep his word.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad.’

The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
before Abraham ever was, I Am.’

At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 21, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

You have a choice!

Choose then not to listen to the wiles and music of the devil. Choose then to deepen your relationship with the Lord God knowing that knowledge of Him is not enough. Choose then to be faithful and obedient to our Lord who loves us unconditionally.

Jesus came to liberate us from all sin so that we can live free in His love. And nothing and no one on earth can separate us from the love of God.

Jesus I choose You above all. Amen

First reading

Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28
God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

Gospel

John 8:31-42
If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.’

They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave.
Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured,
but the son’s place is assured.
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
I know that you are descended from Abraham;
but in spite of that you want to kill me because nothing I say has penetrated into you.
What I, for my part, speak of is what I have seen with my Father; but you, you put into action the lessons learnt from your father.’

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:

‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did. As it is, you want to kill me when I tell you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did. What you are doing is what your father does.’

‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:

‘If God were your father, you would love me, since I have come here from God; yes, I have come from him; not that I came because I chose, no, I was sent, and by him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 20, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Love lifted on the cross for me: my Lord, my God, my salvation. Love lifted high to set me free: my Lord, my God, my salvation.

The chorus for this beautiful song of the cross says it all. For whosoever gazes up upon our Lord and believes shall be drawn unto Him and be saved. Wilful sinners however will not be able to look upon the cross for they will find it detestable. For the pure and sacramental act of love can only be seen through the eyes of love.

Open my eyes to Your love Lord, let me be one with You and my brethren. Amen

First reading

Numbers 21:4-9
If anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked up at the bronze serpent and lived

The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’
At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

John 8:21-30
When you have lifted up the Son of Man then you will know that I am He

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am going away; you will look for me and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’

The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on:

‘You are from below; I am from above.
You are of this world; I am not of this world.
I have told you already:
You will die in your sins.
Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’

So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered:

‘What I have told you from the outset.
About you I have much to say and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is truthful, and what I have learnt from him I declare to the world.’

They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said:

‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of myself: what the Father has taught me is what I preach; he who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him.’

As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

https://youtu.be/jwVdWjbnSFQ

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 19, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

How have we all become God our Father’s children regardless of race or language? What is the will of God our Father for us His children?
It is through our baptism in faith that we have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for God our Father wills that we all be saved. And so we have hope for eternal life with Him.

And so let us hold firm to our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, through Him we are justified, made whole. Through Him alone we have life to the full. Amen

St Joseph pray for us that we might share in your unwavering faith….Amen

First reading

2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16
The Lord will give him the throne of his ancestor David

The word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: “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. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.) 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. Yet I will not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Second reading

Romans 4:13,16-18,22
Abraham hoped, and he believed

The promise of inheriting the world was not made to Abraham and his descendants on account of any law but on account of the righteousness which consists in faith. That is why what fulfils the promise depends on faith, so that it may be a free gift and be available to all of Abraham’s descendants, not only those who belong to the Law but also those who belong to the faith of Abraham who is the father of all of us. As scripture says: I have made you the ancestor of many nations – Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist.
Though it seemed Abraham’s hope could not be fulfilled, he hoped and he believed, and through doing so he did become the father of many nations exactly as he had been promised: Your descendants will be as many as the stars. This is the faith that was ‘considered as justifying him.’

Gospel

Matthew 1:16,18-21,24
How Jesus Christ came to be born

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do.

Be A Burning Bush for Others

Posted: March 17, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Meditations

While in Adoration of our Lord today I received this very strong and powerful message which I am happy to share with you.

1. Be the flame that does not burnout. – STEADFAST
2. Be the flame that spreads the warmth of God’s love – LOVING
3. Be the flame that does not consume others. – HUMBLE
4. Be the flame that leads others out of darkness into light. – MERCIFUL
5. Be the flame connected to the source of life. – CHRIST CENTRED

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 17, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The “Hour” Comes: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings:

Jer 31:31–34
Ps 51:3–4, 12–13, 14–15
Heb 5:7–9
Jn 12:20–33

Our readings today are filled with anticipation. The days are coming, Jeremiah prophesies in today’s First Reading. The hour has come, Jesus says in the Gospel. The new covenant that God promised to Jeremiah is made in the “hour” of Jesus—in His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension to the Father’s right hand.

The prophets said this new covenant would return Israel’s exiled tribes from the ends of the world (see Jeremiah 31:1, 3–4, 7–8). Jesus, too, predicted His passion would gather the dispersed children of God (see John 11:52). But today He promises to draw to himself not only Israelites, but all men and women.

The New Covenant is more than a political or national restoration. As we sing in today’s Psalm, it is a universal spiritual restoration. In the “hour” of Jesus, sinners in every nation can return to the Father—to be washed of their guilt and given new hearts to love and serve Him.

In predicting He will be “lifted up,” Jesus isn’t describing only His coming Crucifixion (see John 3:14–15). Isaiah used the same word to tell how the Messiah, after suffering for Israel’s sins, would be raised high and greatly exalted (see Isaiah 52:3). Elsewhere the term describes how kings are elevated above their subjects (see 1 Maccabees 8:13).

Troubled in His agony, Jesus didn’t pray to be saved. Instead, as we hear in today’s Epistle, He offered himself to the Father on the Cross—as a living prayer and supplication. For this, God gave Him dominion over heaven and earth (see Acts 2:33; Philippians 2:9).

Where He has gone we can follow—if we let Him lead us. To follow Jesus means hating our lives of sin and selfishness. It means trusting in the Father’s will, the law He has written in our hearts.

Jesus’ “hour” continues in the Eucharist, where we join our sacrifices to His, giving God our lives in reverence and obedience—confident He will raise us up to bear fruits of holiness.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 17, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

How can we see the beauty and truth of a stranger or an acquaintance when we allow our eyes and hearts to prejudge them? How sad if we had missed the opportunity of seeing Jesus in them or for being Jesus to them.

Blinded by self righteousness, pride and head knowledge of the laws from God they did not recognise the Messiah that had come to be with them. Are we not doing the same today? Or are we instead turning to our Lord Jesus Christ with open hearts and minds. Striving to growth in our knowledge, faith and love of Him so that we can serve one another in His love. To recognise Him in the stranger we meet?

Open my heart and mind to You always Lord I pray. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 11:18-20
‘Let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten’

The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned. O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them,
for I have committed my cause to you.

Gospel

John 7:40-52
The Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without hearing him

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.
The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 16, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The fact is no one likes to be told they are wrong and how they should or should not be living. Especially those drawn to a sinful life. And so many will turn to like minded folks and wanton behaviours. They embellish their grandiose words with sayings such as life is too short! Live life with a passion! Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow is another day.

The Lord indeed wants us to live life to the fullest but the truth of it all, is that it can only be led in an ordered life towards Him. For He is the source of life. And He gives it freely to us. The voice that calls us to Holiness whether directly His or through His chosen ones is a call to His love and mercy. To turn away from what is seemingly good, to what actually is and to be found in Him alone. Jesus Christ our Lord is calling you unto Himself. What is your response?

Merciful Lord, I want to live in Your love. Be with me always. Amen

First reading
Wisdom 2:1,12-22
Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man and condemn him to a shameful death

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
They would have arrested him, but his time had not yet come

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, 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 15, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

How wonderful it is that we should have people praying for us interceding on our behalf that we might be purified and lead Holy lives according to God’s will. Are we ourselves praying for others? Even then our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ intercedes for us. Will we not accept the graces He offers us?

How can we if we have no true love for Him or God or Father? If we continue to lead selfish, self centred lives? If we refuse to believe in Jesus and that He has come to save us from our sins. If we instead hold on to our sins and sinful desires. If we remain lukewarm in our faith? If we decide to pick and choose which parts of our faith we can and will believe and not the rest. Have we not condemned ourselves?

Lord Jesus, You are the Son of the living God sent to redeem us. Have mercy on me a sinner. Amen

First reading

Exodus 32:7-14
Moses pleads with the Lord his God to spare Israel

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
You place your hopes on Moses but Moses will be your accuser

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 nameyou 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 14, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

No one will ever love us more than God our Father. He alone remembers how special and unique we are individually even when everyone else has forgotten over time. He only wants the best for us and for us to be the best versions of ourselves. For this He sent His Son to teach, guide and help us through His mercy, love and grace outpoured.

So let us call upon the Holy name of Jesus our Lord and saviour. For through Him and Him alone we have salvation and thereby eternal life. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:8-15
On the day of salvation I will help you

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
The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live

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,nworks 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 13, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Our Lord Jesus Christ established our Church so that we can be restored, renewed, healed, and nourished by the Holy Sacraments. It is sacred ground where His living waters flow to us and through us into the world. Even then in His mercy and love, it is He who comes to us where we are.

Do we then stand as One united in Him and with one another? Are we loving, merciful and compassionate to one another as we are called to be and to all we meet? Are we only focused on the administrative and not the pastoral? The laws and not the love behind the laws? Are we life giving?

Lord Jesus open our eyes and hearts to be loving and merciful as You are. Let your living waters flow through us into the whole world. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 47:1-9,12
Wherever the water flows, it will bring life and health

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
The healing at the pool of Bethesda

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 12, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The promise of new life in the Lord our God awaits us all. Not in years to come or at the end of our lives but here and now.

This whole season of Lent is a time of renewal. Of drawing closer to the Lord our God by examining the areas of our lives that need weeding while tilling our soil to receive new seed. And so we rejoice a little as we begin to see the changes and growth taking place. We say to the Lord in faith and love, “O Lord I surrender my all, bring to fruition in me all that is Yours.” For by our faith in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we are healed, restored, reinvigorated and renewed. Through Him we have life to the full. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 65:17-21
Be glad and rejoice for ever at what I am creating

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
Go home: your son will live

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.


This Lenten journey for me has been by far the most difficult in the last five years. Up to last year it was wonderful and always brought me closer to the Lord come Easter. This year’s journey was a real struggle with the increase workload in the office and spiritual dryness.

The only thing that really kept me going was the two Catholic communities I belong too and have the honour and privilege of serving. And of course realising I sorely needed constant spiritual nourishment, I would go to great lengths and distances to attend the Eucharistic Celebration as often and regularly as I can.

Then I was given the opportunity to write intercessory prayers based on our Holy father’s 2018 Lenten Message for a short one hour segment in our Archdiocese 24hr Adoration of our Lord. Busy as I was, I struggled and wrote out 13 prayers. But it turned out that there were themes and 12 scripture passages that the prayers should naturally come out from deep reflection. And I had basically two and a half days balance to do them as required. It was a challenge and sacrifices had to be made, in so doing I managed to complete them. Then I was asked if I was available to recite them after the scripture passage was proclaimed. I was more than happy to serve in any capacity. Praise the Lord all went well. Apparently there were about three power trips before I came, one after our session and two more in between. Then I was asked if I could chant and would be willing to lead the divine mercy prayer session. I shuddered at the thought because I do not pray it regularly and have only done so twice before at funerals. Somehow one of the dear ladies got a printout of the prayers and handed it to me. So I decided to just trust in the Lord and go with it! Praise the Lord for the many seasoned prayer warriors of the divine mercy in the congregation for our voices filled the cathedral with such ardour.

As I prayed quietly alone after, I received overwhelming consolations. Thank You Jesus! Lent towards Easter is looking up already…

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 10, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Living in the Light: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings:

2 Chr 36:14–16, 19–23
Ps 137:1–6
Eph 2:4–10
Jn 3:14–21

The Sunday readings in Lent have been showing us the high points of salvation history—God’s covenant with creation in the time of Noah; His promises to Abraham; the law He gave to Israel at Sinai.

In today’s First Reading, we hear of the destruction of the kingdom established by God’s final Old Testament covenant—the covenant with David (see 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89:3).

His chosen people abandoned the law He gave them. For their sins, the temple was destroyed, and they were exiled in Babylon. We hear their sorrow and repentance in the exile lament we sing as today’s Psalm.

But we also hear how God, in His mercy, gathered them back, even anointing a pagan king to shepherd them and rebuild the temple (see Isaiah 44:28–45:1, 4).

God is rich in mercy, as today’s Epistle teaches. He promised that David’s kingdom would last forever, and that David’s son would be His Son and rule all nations (see 2 Samuel 7:14–15; Psalm 2:7–9). In Jesus, God keeps that promise (see Revelation 22:16).

Moses lifted up the serpent as a sign of salvation (see Wisdom 16:6–7; Numbers 21:9). Now Jesus is lifted up on the Cross to draw all people to himself (see John 12:32).

Those who refuse to believe in this sign of the Father’s love condemn themselves—as the Israelites in their infidelity brought judgment upon themselves.

But God did not leave Israel in exile, and He does not want to leave any of us dead in our transgressions. We are God’s handiwork, saved to live as His people in the light of His truth.

Midway through this season of repentance, let us again behold the Pierced One (see John 19:37) and rededicate ourselves to living the “good works” that God has prepared us for.


Intercessory Prayers
Based on 12 themes (from Pope Francis’s 2018 Lenten message) & their respective Scripture verse are:

1. “Love growing cold”
Matthew 24:12

Father of Mercy, forgive us our sins. Sin prevents us from loving You and one another as we should. It hardens our hearts and we become cynical and cold. Be with us when we struggle to make the right decisions. Help us to put You first in our lives and turn away from temptations that can lead down the wrong path. Amen

2. “The snake charmers in our lives”
2 Tim 4:3-4

Lord we are often drawn to quick fixes and solutions to our problems.
Many have been led astray to false teachings and become convinced by others that doctrines of our faith are man made. Some are led to believe in superstitious practices. While others are convinced by others to see that all they have in life they obtain through their own personal accomplishments. Fortify our hearts Lord as we pray; Make us to know your ways, O Lord; teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth, and teach us, for you are the God of our salvation; for you we wait all day long. (ps 24:4) Amen

3. “False prophets”
Matthew 7:15-20

Guard our hearts Lord against the deceptions of those who seek to lead us astray. Help us to see them as they are really are. We lift up to You those who are innocent of heart and more susceptible to manipulation. Help us all to stay awake and to be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. So that we may properly discern Your will for us. Now and forever Amen

4. “Charlatan relationships”
2 Peter 3:17-18

Heavenly Father we are Your children whom You created with great love. Each of us are unique and special in Your eyes. Prevent us from deceiving ourselves and others in pretending we are someone else and living out a lie. Let us all live authentic lives according to Your will for us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

5. “Vanity, the trust in appearance”
Ecclesiasticus 11:2, 5-6

So many people tend to stifle their God-given talents.  Others scorn their appearance, unable to look past their outer shell to see their inner beauty.  Help us not only to recognize our self-worth, Lord but to see the value and beauty in others. Help us all to be happy with ourselves – because everything we are is a reflection of You. Grant us the loving humility to serve one another as You would have us. For all we are and all that we have is from You. Amen.

6. “Evil presented as good”
Wisdom 2:5-9

Jesus You are the Lord of Lords, king of Kings. Rule then in our hearts. Prevent us from being distracted by the wiles of the world seeking to ruin our souls. Too often we want only to increase our wealth and material comforts. To have impersonal relationships even so much as objectifying one another. Help us to stay awake and remain steadfast to the truth to be found in You, to remember that that all things will eventually pass away. But Your word and love will remain now and forever. Amen

7. “Hearts gone cold”
Ezekiel 36:27

In this Holy hour dear Jesus we praise, Bless and thank God our Father for the gift of You. You poured out Your great love for us from the cross of which You hung. So that that we might live our life to the fullest without sin. Take away then from our hearts all that is not of You. Remove the stains of sin from our souls. Open our eyes to see more clearly the deceptions of the world that takes us away from You. Let Your light shine brightly in and through us that we may live our lives according to Your will and inspire others to do likewise. All Glory be Yours now and forever. Amen

8. “Charity destroyed by the greed of money”
Mark 4:19

Heavenly Father, give us the strength to overcome temptations of leading sinful lives of earthly desires and material gains, which only leads us away from You. Do not allow our eyes to be closed to the poor and needy. Send Your Holy Spirit to fill us with your everlasting love and grant us the courage to build Your Kingdom here on earth with abundant love and compassion for others. So that all can see Your face in us. Amen

9. “Violence from uncertainties”
2 Tim 3:1-5

Prince of peace our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, we pray earnestly for You to rule in our hearts and the hearts of all in this world. We live in troubled times where there is much violence and hatred in many parts of the world. Because there is sin there is much lawlessness. You alone can turn all curses into blessings. Have mercy Lord and touch the hearts of those tainted by sin, so that there may have a conversion. Let Your peace reign once more. Amen

10. “Love gone cold in a community”
Romans 16:17

How can we heed Your commandment to love one another when we do not see Your face in our brother or sister let alone in the stranger we meet? For to truly be in communion with You is to be in communion with one another. Grant us the courage and humility needed to put aside our differences. To strive for unity, to be one as You and our Heavenly are one. Amen

11. “Creation, witness to destruction”
Genesis 4:9-11

Lord God of all creation, You are source of all life. To love as You do is to will the good in another. Help us to remain steadfast in Your love. In anger and frustration we tend to lose ourselves and while we may not take away physical life we may still kill the spirit of another by our harsh words and actions. Sin such as these can spiral out of control which ultimately leads to our destruction. Lord Jesus we choose love for You over any and all sin. Amen

12. “New fire at Easter”
Isaiah 61:1-2

Praise be to You our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You came so that we could have life to the full in You. You bring hope when there is none. You set us free from sin so that we can live in peace, joy and holiness. Thank You dear Lord for this grace filled Lenten season, for us to reorder our lives towards You. So that come Easter the flame within us will burn with renewed zeal for the love of You as we share in the fire of Your love with all that we meet. Amen

Catholicjules.net

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 10, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

What does a humble contrite heart look like?

Is it one that prides itself for living an upright life. Goes for the sacraments regularly and yet judges others on their sins.

Or is a humble contrite heart one which is broken from offending the Lord our God whom He or she loves and who knows is greatly loved by Him. For not just having done sinful things but for failing to live His command to love. Not just failing to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength but for failing to love one another by our thoughts words and actions.

Lord Jesus I stand before You with a heart which is broken. Broken for continuing to sin against You. And for not loving my neighbour as I should have. For not being in humble in my service of You and my brethren. Lord forgive me a sinner, help me to be better and do better. Amen

First reading

Hosea 5:15-6:6
What I want is love, not sacrifice and holocausts

The Lord says this:

They will search for me in their misery.
‘Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds; after a day or two he will bring us back to life, on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence.
Let us set ourselves to know the Lord; that he will come is as certain as the dawn his judgement will rise like the light, he will come to us as showers come,
like spring rains watering the earth.’

What am I to do with you, Ephraim?
What am I to do with you, Judah?
This love of yours is like a morning cloud, like the dew that quickly disappears.
This is why I have torn them to pieces by the prophets, why I slaughtered them with the words from my mouth, since what I want is love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Gospel

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 9, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

There is no other God then the Lord our God, who is such a loving Father. Who urges us, His children to turn away from sin and come back to Him. To live in His love for then there is nothing we shall want.

Jesus gave us two commandments which are essentially One United in Him. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is to be rooted and nourished in His love. He is the vine we are the branches. To love our neighbour as yourself is to recognize, accept and embrace your sister, brother, your fellow family member who is likewise a child of God. We are therefore One united in Christ our Lord and saviour. Both commandments are in one sense outwards looking, though it requires our inward participation. Our will united with the Lord our God. One Holy Communion. Amen

First reading

Hosea 14:2-10
A call to conversion and promise of safety

The Lord says this:

Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord.
Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away
so that we may have happiness again
and offer you our words of praise.
Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more,
or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,
for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will fall like dew on Israel.
He shall bloom like the lily,
and thrust out roots like the poplar,
his shoots will spread far;
he will have the beauty of the olive
and the fragrance of Lebanon.
They will come back to live in my shade;
they will grow corn that flourishes,
they will cultivate vines
as renowned as the wine of Helbon.
What has Ephraim to do with idols any more
when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?
I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.

Let the wise man understand these words.
Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
For the ways of the Lord are straight,
and virtuous men walk in them,
but sinners stumble.

Gospel

Mark 12:28-34
‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 8, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The nature of God our Father is love. And He Wills that we His children be gathered unto Him to live in His love. That is why He sent His only Begotten Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Despite the stubbornness and disobedience of many, many still will be saved through Him who died for our sins.

Evil which goes by many names, seeks to scatter through deceit even malice. Subtly creating a mob mentality against all that is good and ordered. Though they appear to be united, soon after their accomplishments they find themselves divided, alone and evil takes over.

Come then, let us hold fast to our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Be in communion with Him and one another. Turning away always from sin and being faithful to His Word. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 7:23-28
Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God

These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets.
But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.”

Gospel

Luke 11:14-23
Know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you

Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.
‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 7, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

God our Father in His infinite wisdom and love gave us His commandments and laws so that we can live ordered lives in His love. Jesus by His life, death and resurrection completes this act of love.

Turning our backs on them simply brings about disorder and chaos into our lives through our sin and disobedience. We know this to be true having experienced it in our own lives. Only when we turned to Jesus with contrite hearts did we begin to experience peace and joy once again.

It is not enough that we abide by them on our own, we must teach our family and others too. So that we all can lead fruitful lives in God’s love. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 4:1,5-9
Keep these laws and observe them

Moses said to the people:
‘Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you.
‘See, as the Lord my God has commanded me, I teach you the laws and customs that you are to observe in the land you are to enter and make your own. Keep them, observe them, and they will demonstrate to the peoples your wisdom and understanding. When they come to know of all these laws they will exclaim, “No other people is as wise and prudent as this great nation.” And indeed, what great nation is there that has its gods so near as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to him? And what great nation is there that has laws and customs to match this whole Law that I put before you today?
‘But take care what you do and be on your guard. Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children’s children.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:17-19
I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to complete them

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 6, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Are we truly sorry for our many sins against our loving Lord our God? Are we heartbroken for offending Him? Are we willing to do all we can to stop repeating the sins? If not how can we say we are contrite?

Only a humbled spirit can know who God our Father truly is through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. All powerful, merciful and loving. Only a humbled spirit can know we are significant in His eyes by His great love for us. And only a humbled spirit in communion with Him can forgive everyone all wrongs and hurt committed against us for Jesus has forgiven us from the cross. And He Wills that we forgive as He does. Love as He loves.

Lord grant me a humbled spirit and contrite heart. That I may always be close to You. Amen

First reading

Daniel 3:25,34-43
Let our sacrifice to you today be a contrite soul and humbled spirit

Azariah stood in the heart of the fire, and he began to pray:

Oh! Do not abandon us for ever, for the sake of your name; do not repudiate your covenant, do not withdraw your favour from us, for the sake of Abraham, your friend, of Isaac your servant, and of Israel your holy one, to whom you promised descendants as countless as the stars of heaven
and as the grains of sand on the seashore.
Lord, now we are the least of all the nations,
now we are despised throughout the world, today, because of our sins.
We have at this time no leader, no prophet, no prince, no holocaust, no sacrifice, no oblation, no incense, no place where we can offer you the first-fruits and win your favour.
But may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit be as acceptable to you
as holocausts of rams and bullocks, as thousands of fattened lambs: such let our sacrifice be to you today, and may it be your will that we follow you wholeheartedly, since those who put their trust in you will not be disappointed.
And now we put our whole heart into following you,
into fearing you and seeking your face once more.
Do not disappoint us;
treat us gently, as you yourself are gentle
and very merciful.
Grant us deliverance worthy of your wonderful deeds, let your name win glory, Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 18:21-35
To be forgiven, you must forgive

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.
‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 5, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Are you humble to hear God’s message spoken through those He sends? A message which may be hard to hear but is for your ultimate good. One which often requires action or change on your part which you are likely reluctant. If you will not receive His prophet then How will You receive Him?

Even today He sends good and true prophets to reach out to us, let not our hearts be hardened but willing to discern the message for us. For the Lord seeks to restore what is lost or broken in us. To fill us with His love and grace. The Lord had told us, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matt 10:42

Thank You Jesus for the prophets You send to guide and teach me. For Your Holy Spirit that inspires them. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 5:1-15
There were many lepers in Israel, but only Naaman, the Syrian, was cured

Naaman, army commander to the king of Aram, was a man who enjoyed his master’s respect and favour, since through him the Lord had granted victory to the Aramaeans. But the man was a leper. Now on one of their raids, the Aramaeans had carried off from the land of Israel a little girl who had become a servant of Naaman’s wife. ‘She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would approach the prophet of Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.’ Naaman went and told his master. ‘This and this’ he reported ‘is what the girl from the land of Israel said.’ ‘Go by all means,’ said the king of Aram ‘I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten festal robes. He presented the letter to the king of Israel. It read: ‘With this letter, I am sending my servant Naaman to you for you to cure him of his leprosy.’ When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his garments. ‘Am I a god to give death and life,’ he said ‘that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy? Listen to this, and take note of it and see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.’
When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king, ‘Why did you tear your garments? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more.’ But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part. Surely Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean?’ And he turned round and went off in a rage. But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean.”’ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.
Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.’

Gospel

Luke 4:24-30
No prophet is ever accepted in his own country

Jesus came to Nazara and spoke to the people in the synagogue: ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’
When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.

Third Sunday of Lent 

Posted: March 3, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Spiritual Sacrifice: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Lent

Readings:

Ex 20:1–17
Ps 19:8–11
1 Cor 1:22–25
Jn 2:13–25

Jesus does not come to destroy the Temple, but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17)—to reveal its true purpose in God’s saving plan.

He is the Lord the prophets said would come—to purify the Temple, banish the merchants, and make it a house of prayer for all peoples (see Zechariah 14:21; Malachi 3:1–5; Isaiah 56:7).

The God who made the heavens and the earth, who brought Israel out of slavery, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands (see Acts 7:48; 2 Samuel 7:5).

Nor does He need offerings of oxen, sheep, or doves (see Psalm 50:7–13).

Notice in today’s First Reading that God did not originally command animal sacrifices—only that Israel heed His commandments (see Jeremiah 7:21–23; Amos 5:25).

His law was a gift of divine wisdom, as we sing in today’s Psalm. It was a law of love (see Matthew 22:36–40), perfectly expressed in Christ’s self-offering on the cross (see John 15:13)

This is the “sign” Jesus offers in the Gospel today—the sign that caused Jewish leaders to stumble, as Paul tells us in the Epistle.

Jesus’ body—destroyed on the Cross and raised up three days later—is the new and true sanctuary. From the temple of His body, rivers of living water flow, the Spirit of grace that makes each of us a temple (see 1 Corinthians 3:16), and together builds us into a dwelling place of God (see Ephesians 2:22).

In the Eucharist we participate in His offering of His body and blood. This is the worship in Spirit and in truth that the Father desires (see John 4:23–24).

We are to offer praise as our sacrifice (see Psalm 50:14,23). This means imitating Christ—offering our bodies —all our intentions and actions in every circumstance, for the love of God and the love of others (see Hebrews 10:5–7; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5)

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 3, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Nothing can separate us from the love of God our Father. And no one on earth can ever love us more than He does. He does not compel us, but urges us to livej Holy lives to the full.

Turn back now with a contrite heart for we have all sinned. Let the Lord our God and Saviour Jesus Christ restore us, purify and sanctify us. Let us lead renewed lives glorifying God by our words and deeds. And so we have hope that one day soon we will partake of our heavenly inheritance. Amen

First reading

Micah 7:14-15,18-20
Have pity on us one more time

With shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest
with meadow land all around.
Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead
as in the days of old.
As in the days when you came out of Egypt
grant us to see wonders.

What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime,
not cherishing anger forever but delighting in showing mercy?
Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults,
to the bottom of the sea
throw all our sins.
Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your mercy,
as you swore to our fathers from the days of long ago.

Gospel

Luke 15:1-3,11-32
The prodigal son

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:
‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.
‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.
‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”
‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 2, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Ask any good Catholic who created us and the whole world and the answer you ought to hear is God our Heavenly Father. We are created in His image and likeness. We therefore are good.

When does evil start taking root in our hearts? There are many ways but the often subtle and surest way is when we start thinking, acting and believing we are owners of the world. That those below us are our subjects even often times objects to be treated poorly and easily disposed of. Driven by greed and jealousy murder of others comes easily, whether physically or spiritually. Like minded individuals adopt a mob mentality. What ought God our Father the rightful owner do?

Listen! Let us all turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospels as we pledged on Ash Wednesday. Let us be faithful servants of God’s kingdom and use the gifts and talents we have been given to bear fruit for Him. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading

Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28
Let us kill him: then we shall see what becomes of his dreams

Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.
His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’
But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.
Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed.
Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.

Gospel

Matthew 21:33-43,45-46
This is the landlord’s heir: come, let us kill him

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders
that became the keystone.
This was the Lord’s doing
and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’
When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 1, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We have all remarked one time or another how swiftly time flies! The older we get the greater the realisation that we might not have long to go before our lives come to an end. Still we make excuses we have time to change, time to make amends, time to draw closer to God. And we cling to our lives in the world. How do you know if tomorrow will come for you?

The time to change and draw closer to the Lord our God is now! Do not wait to be changed come now as you are before Jesus and He will change you. Place all your faith and trust in Him who is the author of life itself.
Then you can start opening your eyes and heart to the needy and the poor. To reach out to your family and friends who have strayed away from their faith in the Lord our God. So that you can be a powerful instrument of our Lord’s Jesus’s saving grace for all. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 17:5-10
A curse on the man who puts his trust in man and turns from the Lord

The Lord says this:

‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man,
who relies on things of flesh,
whose heart turns from the Lord.
He is like dry scrub in the wastelands:
if good comes, he has no eyes for it,
he settles in the parched places of the wilderness,
a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord,
with the Lord for his hope.
He is like a tree by the waterside
that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought,
and never ceases to bear fruit.

‘The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets?
I, the Lord, search to the heart, I probe the loins,
to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.’

Gospel

Luke 16:19-31
Dives and Lazarus

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”
‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’