Archive for April, 2018

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 30, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Can you fathom being able to see the faith in another and through that very faith bring about healing through our Lord Jesus Christ? How wonderful indeed it is to witness the glory of God!

And yet this is not something far fetched or out of our reach. For the same grace given to St Paul and the same workings of the Holy Spirit is offered to us. For it is through our faithful obedience to His Word and will for us that our love and light shines brightly. Our loving God is dwelling in our hearts and we are children of His grace.

Thank You Heavenly Father, thank You Lord Jesus, thank You Holy Spirit for making Your home in us. Amen

First reading

Acts 14:5-18
We have come with good news to turn you to the living God

Eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on the apostles and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.
A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, ‘Get to your feet – stand up’, and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, ‘These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.’ They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he gives you food and makes you happy.’ Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop the crowd offering them sacrifice.

Gospel

John 14:21-26
The Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.’

Judas – this was not Judas Iscariot – said to him, ‘Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied:

‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words. And my word is not my own: it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Facing rejection in whom we believe and proclaim to be our Lord and God is surety. For not everyone who listens can be moved and touched by the truth of the message. Their hearts and minds must be opened to receive Jesus. This does not mean we stop trying it, even if we face ridicule, for it is the sake of Christ that we do so. For He Wills that all be saved.

How wonderful and marvelous it is to be instruments of His grace! For He will provide all that we need and the Holy Spirit will guide us. It is such a blessing to witness the change in people’s lives when they become filled with the presence of the Lord. When they in turn give testimony of His peace, love and joy in their hearts.

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

First reading

Acts 13:44-52
Since you have rejected the word of God, we must turn to the pagans

The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:

I have made you a light for the nations,
so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’

It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.
But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Gospel

John 14:7-14
To have seen me is to have seen the father

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’
‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,
so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:
it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever believes in me
will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works,
because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask for anything in my name,
I will do it.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! For we have hope of eternal life through our Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Do not worry about your impending death on earth, instead make right your relationship with the Lord your God who wills that you be alive with Him in heaven. Be merciful to your neighbour and the stranger just as you have need of our Lord’s mercy. Trust the Lord your God with all your heart for His is faithful to all who are faithful. Surrender your will to Him and He will prosper you with His grace filled plans for you.

Lord Jesus I trust in You. Amen

First reading

Acts 13:26-33
God has fulfilled his promise by raising Jesus from the dead

Paul stood up in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you. What the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did, though they did not realise it, was in fact to fulfil the prophecies read on every sabbath. Though they found nothing to justify his death, they condemned him and asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree and buried him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem: and it is these same companions of his who are now his witnesses before our people.
‘We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead. As scripture says in the second psalm: You are my son: today I have become your father.’

Gospel

John 14:1-6
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God still, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me;so that where I am you may be too.
You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

God our Father indeed wills that we all be saved and so He sent His Son to save us. Divine mercy, grace and love is upon us through Him. Jesus had commissioned His disciples to share His love and mercy to the nations, so that through these instruments of His grace, others too can be made disciples to do likewise.

Filled with the Holy spirit many are eloquent sharers of His message of love. Inspiring, loving and attracting many to become true followers of Christ Jesus. We must never forget that no servant is greater than the master, no messenger greater than the one who sent Him. And so our devotion and dedication belong to the Lord our God alone.

Like all the disciples of Jesus before us, let us welcome Jesus deep into our hearts as we go forth boldly sharing the Kerygma. Amen

First reading

Acts 13:13-25
God has raised up one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour

Paul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, please do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:
‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’

Gospel

John 13:16-20
Whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me

After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.

‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.

‘I tell you this now, before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe that I am He.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,
and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 25, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The mark of a disciple of Jesus is the love of Christ he/she embodies, exudes in all words and actions. Their service of the Lord and those they serve comes from embracing tenderly the cross they carry to follow Him. It is the Lord’s humility in dying for us they strive to master.

And the power from on high is given to them to minister to the flock. To do God our Father’s will. Do you know then that you are chosen as well? To be a powerful instrument of His grace and to draw all men and women unto Him.

Let us then my fellow disciples of Jesus, greet one another with love built upon our rock. And encourage one another as we devote our ourselves to loving and serving the Lord by our lives. Amen

First reading

1 Peter 5:5-14
My son, Mark, sends you greetings

All wrap yourselves in humility to be servants of each other, because God refuses the proud and will always favour the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God now, and he will raise you up on the appointed day; unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.
I write these few words to you through Silvanus, who is a brother I know I can trust, to encourage you never to let go this true grace of God to which I bear witness.
Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark.
Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Gospel

Mark 16:15-20
Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:
‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

On Today’s Gospel

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

What does it mean to be a Christian? Each and everyone of us need to reflect deeply on what it means before we can truly live out our Christian calling.

Do I believe wholeheartedly in the creed I profess every Sunday? Is Jesus Christ my Lord and king in everything I say and do? Am I one with Him in communion? Do others see Christ in me? How many have come to faith in Him by my own faith and love through Him? Do I choose to love above all? Do I reject sin every time? Do I willingly carry my cross to follow Him? Am I devoted?

Lord Jesus let me be a Christian not only in name but through my life in You. Amen

First reading

Acts 11:19-26
They started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Lord Jesus

Those who had escaped during the persecution that happened because of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they usually proclaimed the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.
The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.
Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’

Gospel

John 10:22-30
The Father and I are one

It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus replied:

‘I have told you, but you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine.
The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;
I know them and they follow me.
I give them eternal life;
they will never be lost
and no one will ever steal them from me.
The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father.
The Father and I are one.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

We live in a world filled with trials and challenges. And therefore many are seeking peace and some form of joy. So they turn to books written by folks who seemed to have found them through their own methods and achievements. Or else they turn to people who offer them at a price. Yet all these are fleeting and will not last. For there is only one way in which to live the fullness of life in joy and peace. That is through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

The Holy spirit speaks to us and guides us to do the will of God. How can we hear Him if our hearts and minds are filled with the cares of the world? If we do not have a relationship with the Lord our God built on the foundation of His Word and through prayer?

God our Father wills that all His children whether they be from different folds to be saved, that is why He sent His only beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us listen to His voice, carry out cross and follow Him. Amen

First reading

Acts 11:1-18
God can grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life

The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that the pagans too had accepted the word of God, and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the Jews criticised him and said, ‘So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them, have you?’ Peter in reply gave them the details point by point: ‘One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,’ he began ‘I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet reached the ground quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw all sorts of animals and wild beasts – everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Now, Peter; kill and eat!” But I answered: Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips. And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.” This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.
‘Just at that moment, three men stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me, and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going back with them. The six brothers here came with me as well, and we entered the man’s house. He told us he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, “Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon known as Peter; he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household.”
‘I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning, and I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” I realised then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?’
This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God. ‘God’ they said ‘can evidently grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life.’

Gospel

John 10:1-10
I am the gate of the sheepfold

Jesus said:
‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’
Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.
So Jesus spoke to them again:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come are thieves and brigands; but the sheep took no notice of them.
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 21, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Shepherd’s Voice:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on the Fourth Sunday
of Easter

Readings:

Acts 4:8–12
Ps 118:1, 8–9, 21–23, 26, 29
1 Jn 3:1–2
Jn 10:11–18

Jesus, in today’s Gospel, says that He is the good shepherd the prophets had promised to Israel.
He is the shepherd-prince, the new David—who frees people from bondage to sin and gathers them into one flock, the Church, under a new covenant, made in His blood (see Ezekiel 34:10–13, 23–31).
His flock includes other sheep, He says, far more than the dispersed children of Israel (see Isaiah 56:8; John 11:52). And He gave His Church the mission of shepherding all peoples to the Father.
In today’s First Reading, we see the beginnings of that mission in the testimony of Peter, whom the Lord appointed shepherd of His Church (see John 21:15–17).
Peter tells Israel’s leaders that the Psalm we sing today is a prophecy of their rejection and crucifixion of Christ. He tells the “builders” of Israel’s temple that God has made the stone they rejected the cornerstone of a new spiritual temple, the Church (see Mark 12:10–13; 1 Peter 2:4–7).
Through the ministry of the Church, the shepherd still speaks (see Luke 10:16), and forgives sins (see John 20:23), and makes His Body and Blood present, that all may know Him in the breaking of the bread (see Luke 24:35). It is a mission that will continue until all the world is one flock under the one shepherd.
In laying down His life and taking it up again, Jesus made it possible for us to know God as He did—as sons and daughters of the Father who loves us. As we hear in today’s Epistle, He calls us His children, as He called Israel His son when He led them out of Egypt and made His covenant with them (see Exodus 4:22–23; Revelation 21:7).
Today, let us listen for His voice as He speaks to us in the Scriptures, and vow again to be more faithful followers. And let us give thanks for the blessings He bestows from His altar.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Most live in the flesh for to them that is all there is. So they seek to feed the hunger and thirst of the flesh. And they are never satisfied for the void in their hearts is like a bottomless pit.

We are children of God our Father and share His image and likeness. And He had opened the door to Him through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. So that we can share fully in His nature which gives life. With His spirit dwelling in us we are fulfilled, content, living fully in His peace and love. Our reward for seeking first His kingdom above all else.

Let us strive to live as saints and we will have the power from on high to perform miracles in His name, to build His Kingdom! Your kingdom come Lord, Your will be done. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 9:31-42
The churches grew and were filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit

The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord.
At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’
Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.

Gospel

John 6:60-69
Who shall we go to? You are the Holy One of God

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?

‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Too often do we take the high road thinking we are doing right by the Lord our God. Sometimes taking harsh measures or using words against those who have a different belief system then ours, even a different journey. What we do, does it lead them any closer to God?

Do not seek the repentance of others, seek first your own, so that through His grace you will be transformed into a powerful instrument of His grace for others. We must always stay connected to the vine, our Lord Jesus Christ so that we are nourished by Him. Receiving His divine life and love through the Holy Eucharist which draws us to communion with Him and one another.

Love is His way, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 9:1-20
This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the pagans

Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.
Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.
A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’
When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.
He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’

Gospel

John 6:52-59
My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Jesus our Lord who died for us, gave Himself completely to us. So that we may truly live a grace filled life in Him.

He had given to us a powerful sacrament of His real presence in the Holy Eucharist. So that we can have a foretaste of the divine life to be had with Him. He also gave us a powerful advocate that in union with our will to love and serve Him we will never be alone. He guides, teaches and shows us the way to our heavenly Father and we too are called to be beacons for others.

Thank You Jesus for the bread of life to be found in You! Amen alleluia!

First reading

Acts 8:26-40
Philip baptizes a eunuch

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’ So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia, and was in fact her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this:

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,
like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,
like these he never opens his mouth. He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.
Who will ever talk about his descendants,since his life on earth has been cut short!

The eunuch turned to Philip and said, ‘Tell me, is the prophet referring to himself or someone else?’ Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.
Further along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’ He ordered the chariot to stop, then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptised him. But after they had come up out of the water again Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.

Gospel

John 6:44-51
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me,
and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it, is to come to me.
Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father.
I tell you most solemnly,
everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,for the life of the world.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 18, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

How can we live without fear even in the face of persecution? The answer is simply our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and His promise of eternal life with Him.

For He is truly the bread of life! All who have received Him in faith at Holy Eucharist can testify to the fact that they were nourished, renewed and strengthened. Through Him, with Him and in Him we can go forward unafraid to proclaim His love for all.

For heaven awaits us at the end of our journey here on earth. As Jesus waits to embrace us with open arms. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:1-8
They went from place to place, preaching the Good News

That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.
There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.
Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.
Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

Gospel

John 6:35-40
It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son should have eternal life

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.
But, as I have told you,
you can see me and still you do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away;
because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will,
but to do the will of the one who sent me.
Now the will of him who sent me
is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me,
and that I should raise it up on the last day.
Yes, it is my Father’s will
that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life,
and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Generations and generations of men and women have been searching for peace, love, joy and contentment. Their hunger and thirst is never satisfied for as St Augustine said beautifully; our hearts are restless till they rest in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I would challenge anyone with a disbelieving heart to belive first in Jesus and see! What have you got to lose? You can always go back to your choice of unbelief. Yet by believing in the Risen Lord You have everything to gain and more. Nothing can separate us who belief in Him from the love of God, not even death.

Lord Jesus to believe in You is to be one with You. Help mould my heart to be merciful and loving as You are. You truly are the bread of life. Amen alleluia.

First reading

Acts 7:51-8:1
‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’

Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: ‘You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.’
They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.

Gospel

John 6:30-35
It is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven

The people said to Jesus, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.’

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:

‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Are you filled with the joy of the Risen Lord? Are you still celebrating Easter with your loved ones and others? Is Jesus present in your celebrations?

For many have gone back to the routine of their daily lives, some have even had challenges and trials overwhelm them. And if they do decide to attend an Easter party it is for the party sake not the reason behind the celebration.

If we truly one want to live the new life Christ offers to us then we must live in His light! To truly celebrate the peace and joy that we have found in Him is to rejoice with others and share our own faith stories of encountering the Risen Lord. To be filled with Holy spirit and to boldly proclaim His love for one and all. And by our faith all will see the light of Christ in us.

Jesus You are our bread of life. Amen

First reading

Acts 6:8-15
They could not get the better of Stephen because the Spirit prompted what he said

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.

Gospel

John 6:22-29
Do not work for food that cannot last, but for food that endures to eternal life

After Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.
Do not work for food that cannot last,but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

Third Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 14, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Understanding the Scripture:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on the Third Sunday
of Easter

Readings:

Acts 3:13–15, 17–19
Ps 4:2, 4, 7–9
1 Jn 2:1–5
Lk 24:35–48
Jesus in today’s Gospel teaches His Apostles how to interpret the Scriptures.
He tells them that all the Scriptures of what we now call the Old Testament refer to Him. He says that all the promises found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in His Passion, death, and Resurrection. And He tells them that these Scriptures foretell the mission of the Church—to preach forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
In today’s First Reading and Epistle, we see the beginnings of that mission. And we see the Apostles interpreting the Scriptures as Jesus taught them.
God has brought to fulfillment what He announced beforehand in all the prophets, Peter preaches. His sermon is shot through with Old Testament images. He evokes Moses and the Exodus, in which God revealed Himself as the ancestral God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Exodus 3:6,15). He identifies Jesus as Isaiah’s suffering servant who has been glorified (see Isaiah 52:13).
John, too, describes Jesus in Old Testament terms. Alluding to how Israel’s priests offered blood sacrifices to atone for the people’s sins (see Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9–10), he says that Jesus intercedes for us before God (see Romans 8:34), and that His blood is a sacrificial expiation for the sins of the world (see 1 John 1:7).
Notice that in all three readings, the Scriptures are interpreted to serve and advance the Church’s mission—to reveal the truth about Jesus, to bring people to repentance, the wiping away of sins, and the perfection of their love for God.
This is how we, too, should hear the Scriptures. Not to know more “about” Jesus, but to truly know Him personally, and to know His plan for our lives.
In the Scriptures, the light of His face shines upon us, as we sing in today’s Psalm. We know the wonders He has done throughout history. And we have the confidence to call to Him, and to know that He hears and answers.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 14, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

In the course of our pilgrim journey there will be moments of difficulty and challenges. That it is why it is important that we come together as one community of disciples. To help one another as we advance through prayer, fellowship and the pooling of our individual gifts and talents. To be used always for the glory of God.

Jesus is faithful to His promise for when two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in our midst. And we who have experienced His presence as we gathered in His name can attest to this. His presence alone brings peace and lifts us up when we are weary and anxious.

Let us then be faithful to His Word as we live out our lives in His light. For Him, our Risen Lord and God and for one another. Amen

First reading

Acts 6:1-7
They elected seven men full of the Holy Spirit

About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked. So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’ The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
The word of the Lord continued to spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increased, and a large group of priests made their submission to the faith.

Gospel

John 6:16-21
They saw Jesus walking on the lake

In the evening the disciples went down to the shore of the lake and got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the lake. It was getting dark by now and Jesus had still not rejoined them. The wind was strong, and the sea was getting rough. They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat. This frightened them, but he said, ‘It is I. Do not be afraid.’ They were for taking him into the boat, but in no time it reached the shore at the place they were making for.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 13, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

God with us who can be against us? If we know this to be true and it is in our hearts then why are we still not boldly proclaiming the joy of the Risen Lord to all we meet?

Perhaps our souls in a sense, we are undernourished and so we are weak in our conviction. For we have not been faithfully turning to the word of God. Neither have we been receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist regularly. For man does not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Let us strive then to be more faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ in body, and spirit. Through Him we are nourished and through Him we will build His kingdom for His glory. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:34-42
They were glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name

One member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a doctor of the Law and respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the apostles taken outside for a time. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, ‘Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people. There was Theudas who became notorious not so long ago. He claimed to be someone important, and he even collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he got killed too, and all his followers dispersed. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.’
His advice was accepted; and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
They preached every day both in the Temple and in private houses, and their proclamation of the Good News of Christ Jesus was never interrupted.

Gospel

John 6:1-15
The feeding of the five thousand

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.
Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 12, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Obedience to God indeed must be above all others. For obedience is a child of faithfulness which leads to further fruits of the Holy Spirit.

When others see the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives then they will listen to what we joyfully proclaim; that Jesus lives! And He is the Lord our God whom reigns in our lives. And we live in the joy of knowing we have eternal life with Him.

Glory and Praise be to our Risen Lord! Alleluia! Amen.

First reading

Acts 5:27-33
We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit

When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’
This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.

Gospel

John 3:31-36
The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him

John the Baptist said to his disciples:

‘He who comes from above is above all others; he who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way.
He who comes from heaven bears witness to the things he has seen and heard, even if his testimony is not accepted; though all who do accept his testimony are attesting the truthfulness of God, since he whom God has sent speaks God’s own words: God gives him the Spirit without reserve.
The Father loves the Son
and has entrusted everything to him.
Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 11, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Let us always choose to live in the light of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ!

For even now many have fallen back to habitual sin. Quickly choose to turn back to the light before the darkness of sin closes in and devours you. For He our Risen Lord had come to liberate you from your sins, turn back always to His empowering love. Our faith in Him is our salvation.

No obstacle or challenge is too great for nothing is impossible for God. He will make a way for us. So that we can go on glorifying His name as we live in His Peace and love. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:17-26
The men you imprisoned are in the Temple, preaching to the people

The high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.
But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.
When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Gospel

John 3:16-21
God sent his Son into the world so that through him the world might be saved

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.
On these grounds is sentence pronounced:
that though the light has come into the world
men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.
And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it,
for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Belonging to a Christian community is no different from belonging to a family. Both are one and the same. They require life giving sacrifices. Yet many treat them as separate because they are either not willing to make the same sacrifices, the commitment of love, time even money or; they do not see the value.

Yet when tragedy strikes or great challenges arise whom do they turn to? Their own individual families? What if prayers are needed for a beloved member who passed away? There is the expectation that the Christian community will come and some will certainly come but where is the Oneness? The communion with the community?

Blessed are we that we do not have to do it alone. We can turn to our Lord Jesus Christ who gathers all of us to Himself. He sacrificed Himself so that looking upon Him we are saved. Through the Holy Spirit He sent us, we can come together as one in Him. By our loving sacrifices to be there for one another we grow in our love and relationship with Him. For He willed that we be one as He our Heavenly Father are One. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:32-37
The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul

The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.
The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.
None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.
There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Gospel

John 3:7-15
No-one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man who has come down from heaven

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above.
The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.

‘I tell you most solemnly, we speak only about what we know and witness only to what we have seen
and yet you people reject our evidence.
If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world, how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven; and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

We remember today how an act of obedience to God our Father, brought about the salvation of the world. For the Lord our God had willed that we be saved through His only Begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nothing we do our own can merit our salvation for it is only through Christ’s love for us that we are redeemed. And all is asked of us is obedience to the Lord our God. That we strive for holiness. While we continue to celebrate the joy of living in the light of the our Risen Lord, we recall and celebrate the joy of our salvation brought about at the beginning by the Incarnation of the Word made flesh.

Blessed Mother pray for us and guide us as we strive to be obedient to Your son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 7:10-14,8:10
The maiden is with child

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

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

Second reading

Hebrews 10:4-10
God’s will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

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

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

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

Gospel

Luke 1:26-38
‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

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

Paul The Apostle movie

Posted: April 8, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Videos/Audio

Let me first begin by saying I absolutely loved the movie.

There were many powerful scenes in the movie and many powerful statements based on scripture, the word of God. But the biggest takeaway for me apart from love is the only way, is how we all need to belong to a community of Christ.

Even St Paul’s faith and conviction which was always centred on Christ; drew His strength from communion with Christ which extends to His one Body to be found in the community of disciples. The community drew strength and courage from one another’s faith in Jesus. They prayed together, encouraged and took care of one another. Because of this when some were facing death, they walked unafraid to meet their fate for they were strengthened in their belief and hope in the truth of our Lord’s resurrection.

Let us then finish the race together as one community in the Risen Lord as we look forward to eternal life with Him. Amen alleluia!

Divine Mercy Sunday

Posted: April 8, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Day the Lord Made:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on Divine
Mercy Sunday

Readings:

Acts 4:32–35
Ps 118:2–4, 13–15, 22–24
1 Jn 5:1–6
Jn 20:19–31

Three times in today’s Psalm we cry out a victory shout: “His mercy endures forever.”

Truly we’ve known the everlasting love of God, who has come to us as our Savior. By the blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ pierced side (see John 19:34), we’ve been made God’s children, as we hear in today’s Epistle.

Yet we never met Jesus, never heard Him teach, never saw Him raised from the dead. His saving Word came to us in the Church—through the ministry of the Apostles, who in today’s Gospel are sent as He was sent.

He was made a life-giving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45) and He filled His Apostles with that Spirit. As we hear in today’s First Reading, they bore witness to His Resurrection with great power. And through their witness, handed down in the Church through the centuries, their teaching and traditions have reached us (see Acts 2:42).

We encounter Him as the Apostles did—in the breaking of the bread on the Lord’s day (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10).

There is something liturgical about the way today’s Gospel scenes unfold. It’s as if John is trying to show us how the risen Lord comes to us in the liturgy and sacraments.

In both scenes it is Sunday night. The doors are bolted tight, yet Jesus mysteriously comes. He greets them with an expression, “Peace be with you,” used elsewhere by divine messengers (see Daniel 10:19; Judges 6:23). He shows them signs of His real bodily presence. And on both nights the disciples respond by joyfully receiving Jesus as their “Lord.”

Isn’t this what happens in the Mass—where our Lord speaks to us in His Word, and gives Himself to us in the sacrament of His Body and Blood?

Let us approach the altar with joy, knowing that every Eucharist is the day the Lord has made—when the victory of Easter is again made wonderful in our eyes.

Let us Adore The Risen Lord

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 7, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We can expect that most will reject our message of living in the joy of our Risen Lord. That does not mean we stop or proclaim the message with any less zeal. For we know it is the truth.

No one can say I’m not good enough, eloquent enough. For living in the truth and joy of our living God means the Holy spirit dwells within us and He will guide our speech and actions.

Jesus let me live in Your presence always. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:13-21
We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard

The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’
So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel

Mark 16:9-15
Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.
After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.
Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’


Today while we did the reflections for last Sunday’s readings we each brought something to share for a simple meal, while we shared our encounters with the Risen Lord. This reflection piece stuck with me as I recalled how Mary Mag went to share with Peter, then both He and John went to see for themselves…

Isn’t it beautiful to see that a Christian is, by definition, one that belongs to a community that experiences the resurrection together and not as individuals. As Paul proclaims (in the second reading), Christ is truly their life, their center, and it changes the way they relate to each other. They accept each other for who they are with all their strengths and weaknesses. This communion propels them to mission as we hear Peter proclaim boldly in today’s first reading. The resurrection generates a communion among them that transforms them from fearful followers to bold witnesses to the only truth that really matters – Christ is Risen!

Amen alleluia!

On Today’s Gospel

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

So how many have you ‘caught’ with the net of love in Jesus Christ? Fret not if it is not one or a few. Just be attentive and obedient to our Lord’s call to cast your net. It is through the power and grace of our Risen Lord that we will be successful in our endeavours. And our greatest reward will be to dine with Him at His table.

Be steadfast and bold in your proclamation of Christ Jesus, for the Holy spirit has been given to all who will do so. And we never stand alone when faced with adversity or challenges.

Our Lord is risen alleluia, alleluia. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:1-12
The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be saved

While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel

John 21:1-14
Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

On Today’s Gospel

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

We are in the Octave of Easter a time to rejoice with gladness in our hearts and yet many are still mournful. There is no celebration, no sharing of our own encounters with the Risen Lord. Why is that?

Jesus is not a book recorded in history, the person of Jesus is very much alive today! Anyone who has encountered Him today will tell You that, that very encounter had changed them. By opening their hearts to Him, their sins were forgiven and they were set free. To live in His peace and joy. We who have been touched by our Risen Lord must celebrate His life and invite others to our celebrations. Let them see the joy and hope with have in our hearts so that they might be drawn to Him who loves us all.

Praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:11-26
You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the dead

Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.
‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Gospel

Luke 24:35-48
It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 4, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Can you offer the gift of Jesus to others?

We can only give what we have received ourselves. And the greatest gift that was given us by our Heavenly Father is Jesus who lived, died and rose for us. And He is our Lord and saviour who continues to give us of Himself to us. His real presence in the Holy Eucharist.

Through Him and our growing relationship and holiness in Him, we are gifted to bring others to the knowledge and joy of the same relationship we have. For Jesus had promised that we would do greater things then He. Have we claimed that promise by the way we live our lives?

Jesus my Risen Lord, grant me the courage and what is needed to draw others closer to You. That we may all glorify you by our lives. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:1-10

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Gospel

Luke 24:13-35
They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

On Today’s Gospel

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

How many hearts have you changed towards our Lord Jesus Christ? How many have you brought to joy of having a deeper relationship with Him? How many have you led by example of your worship of Him and the way you lead your life? You cannot do so if you are not convinced yourself of the truth that He lives and loves you deeply. Be convinced and convicted! And You will bear much fruit for Him.

The journey begins by searching for Him. Upon finding Him, recognize; acknowledge Him as Your Lord and saviour. Your heart will be overcome with joy and you will be eager to share that joy of finding Him with others.

I have seen You Lord and You have spoken to me, be with me always. Amen

First reading

Acts 2:36-41
You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus

On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Gospel

John 20:11-18

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

How does one accept the truth of Christ our Lord’s resurrection? When many still deny it even today.

Well the truth remains whether or not one believes it. For us believers we must live the truth in our lives so that others can be led to it. For it is through our Lord Jesus’s resurrection that we have life to the full. And this joy we possess must be reflected in our daily lives. For while darkness still exists around us we choose to live in the light of Christ.

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

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always, for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad
and my tongue cried out with joy; my body, too, will rest in the hope
that you will not abandon my soul to Hades nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me,
you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Gospel

Matthew 28:8-15
Tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee: they will see me there

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.


The journey towards Easter this year was certainly not what I hoped for. By far in the last five years this has been the dryest one of all. Still I clung on as tightly as I could to His love for me.

In the last three weeks leading up to Easter my reflection was on the denial of St Peter. How easy it was to judge him for his lack of faith when it mattered most. And yet how many times had I denied Jesus in my own words and actions? Hence as far as possible I would call to mind this reflection.

The second reflection that hit me in an all new way and only recently was in Jesus’s washing of his disciples feet. St Peter’s response is another classic, in which he protested that his Lord should not wash his feet. Is my own respond to Jesus any different? When I allow empty pride get in the way of allowing my saviour to cleanse me that I be made worthy of Him? I have no part of Him otherwise! He did not cling to His divinity, instead He humbled himself to go on His knees to wash my feet. To cleanse me of my sins. That very act brought to mind the Sacrament of reconciliation. Why does it matter which priest it is? What did it matter how dirty and dark my sins were? How embarrassing it was for me to confess? How can I allow pride to prevent my saviour from cleansing me? Also in that very act of love for me, by washing my feet he shows me how I am called to lead others to His love. I am called to do so in the very same manner.

While I was mourning the loss of my Spirituality this Lent, my dear Lord was speaking His truth to my heart in a deep profound way. My eyes were opened to His great love for me and you during the Easter Vigil! His Peace perfumed the air. His abundant blessings came down upon us as Holy water was sprinkled and we were renewed in His holiness. His shepherd then let us in a joyful celebration in His love. I praised and thanked Jesus and offered to try my hardest to always stand ready to serve Him in humility. I honestly did not think He would call me so soon, but that very night I was called up to serve Him even though it looked there were more than enough hands and feet on duty. Needless to say I was in awe. Joy filled my heart and it has carried over today.

May the joy of the Risen Lord fill your heart not just for a day or two but for all eternity. Amen

Easter Sunday 

Posted: April 1, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

New Morning:

Scott Hahn Reflects on Easter Sunday

Readings:

Acts 10:34, 37–43
Ps 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23
Col 3:1–4
Jn 20:1–9

The tomb was empty. In the early morning darkness of that first Easter, there was only confusion for Mary Magdalene and the other disciples. But as the daylight spread, they saw the dawning of a new creation.

At first they didn’t understand the Scripture, today’s Gospel tells us. We don’t know which precise Scripture texts they were supposed to understand. Perhaps it was the sign of Jonah, who rose from the belly of the great fish after three days (see Jonah 1:17). Or maybe Hosea’s prophecy of Israel’s restoration from exile (see Hosea 6:2). Perhaps it was the psalmist who rejoiced that God had not abandoned him to the nether world (see Psalm 16:9–10).

Whichever Scripture it was, as the disciples bent down into the tomb, they saw and they believed. What did they see? Burial shrouds in an empty tomb. The stone removed from the tomb. Seven times in nine verses we hear that word—”tomb.”

What did they believe? That God had done what Jesus said He would do—raised Him up on the third day (see Mark 9:31; 10:34).

What they saw and believed, they bore witness to, as today’s First Reading tells us. Peter’s speech is a summary of the gospels—from Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan to His hanging on a tree (see Deuteronomy 21:22–23), to His rising from the dead.

We are children of the apostles, born into the new world of their witness. Our lives are now “hidden with Christ in God,” as today’s Epistle says. Like them, we gather in the morning on the first day of the week to celebrate the Eucharist, the feast of the empty tomb.

We rejoice that the stones have been rolled away from our tombs, too. Each of us can shout, as we do in today’s Psalm: “I shall not die, but live.” They saw and believed. And we await the day they promised would come—when we, too, “will appear with Him in glory.”


Let me first begin by testifying that the Lord our is God is all merciful, loving and abundantly generous with His gifts. Truly He remembers not our sins when we turn back to Him. This is how my journey towards a deeper relationship with my Lord began about seven plus years ago.

Like many I too struggled with my faith growing up, with little Cathechesis coupled with a desire to live life to the fullest to experience all there is to experience caring little for consequences or restrictions. Only thing that kept me from straying too far was a line from a prayer I somehow always kept in mind throughout the years. It is a petition to our Blessed Mother that said “Mary let me never lose my God.” I have shared my conversion story before, this testimony to God’s love in my life begins after that.

My faith and spirtual growth accelerated as with each passing year I ascended higher and higher up the Lord’s Holy ‘mountain. ‘ The climb up was from easy as it depended heavily on trusting the Lord every step of the way. And it was wrought with challenges, trials and required much personal sacrifice. While I never wanted a leadership position and was more than content to simply serve in any way the Lord wanted me to, I found that it was He that wanted me to take on leadership roles. In obedience I did so, even though I often felt inadequate or ill equipped. It was through Him alone that I became quite good at it, was given many gifts to do as needed and began to see the many fruits. How wonderful it was to witness the change in so many peoples lives simply by being an instrument of His grace.

Then the year of change came, and soon I found myself being shoved off the ‘mountain’ and spiraling down. Needless to say there was great disappointment and uncertainty. What is your plan for me Lord? Why would you allow almost everything we built up for your Kingdom be slowly destroyed? Were we not humble enough in our pursuit? I had so many questions but no answers!

A brother in Christ whom I love and respect did not have any answers for me except to say he was prompted to share that I should read 2 Sirach. I glanced through it and thanked Him. Then a few months later I went for spiritual counselling and my spiritual guide led me to the very same scripture text. This time I paid attention and started reflecting and meditating on the word for me.

The Lord truly was speaking to my heart. He called me his son and that I should cleave to Him. The same word cleave as it appears in Gen 2:24 to be united as One with Him. There will be temptations and trials as I strive to carry my cross to follow Him but He will always be with me. And so while He has spoken to me in so many ways and through so many passages from His living word. 2 Sirach will always hold a special place in my Heart for it has enkindled a fire within me to love and serve Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Amen

Happy Easter and may the Risen Lord reign in your lives always.