Archive for May, 2018

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 31, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

O dearest blessed mother, come visit me. Come fill me with your grace, so that I may love as you do. And when you do come I know you will bring your Son my Lord with you. For He is never far from you.

You magnified the Lord Your God through your obedience, humility, in every word and deed. Help me so that I may do likewise.

Teach me dearest mother to be more loving, self giving. That I may bring the joy of Christ with me as I share His love with all I meet.

Thank you loving mother for your continued intercession for me and my loved ones. Praise and glory be to Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Feast

First reading

Zephaniah 3:14-18
The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud!
Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away.
The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst;
you have no more evil to fear.

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.

Gospel

Luke 1:39-56
The Almighty has done great things for me

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

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

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

Greet One another with a Holy kiss

Posted: May 30, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

2 Cor 13:12

We should never take for granted what we have built and should continue to greet one another with an offering of the peace of Christ and a warm hug. This comes from a relationship built upon our rock Christ Jesus. For it is only through His love that we are able to do so. Many who might have thought it awkward in the beginning have begun to realise and appreciate the depth of growing in His love through these small acts of love for one another. This is a truth that not everyone will grasp or embrace but it is a truth nonetheless. ❤️

On Today’s Gospel

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

Are you willing to lay down your life for another even if figuratively speaking? To humble yourself in the service of and for the good in another? And yet our Lord Jesus Christ laid down his life for us by being tortured, who died for our sins and later conquered death by rising so that we might rise in Him.

Christian leadership must therefore be modeled after Christ. To be great in the eyes of the Lord our God is to be a slave to all in His love. Can you drink this cup? Amen

First reading

1 Peter 1:18-25
You were ransomed by the precious blood of Christ, the spotless lamb

Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ; who, though known since before the world was made, has been revealed only in our time, the end of the ages, for your sake. Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.
You have been obedient to the truth and purified your souls until you can love like brothers, in sincerity; let your love for each other be real and from the heart – your new birth was not from any mortal seed but from the everlasting word of the living and eternal God. All flesh is grass and its glory like the wild flower’s. The grass withers, the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains for ever. What is this word? It is the Good News that has been brought to you.

Gospel

Mark 10:32-45
The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many

The disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; Jesus was walking on ahead of them; they were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive. Once more taking the Twelve aside he began to tell them what was going to happen to him: ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans, who will mock him and spit at him and scourge him and put him to death; and after three days he will rise again.’
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’
When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

How painful it must have been to long for and pine for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And yet it was revealed to the faithful prophets that He would indeed come but not in their lifetime. Still they preached it with zeal, hope and joy in their hearts. Extraordinary yes because the spirit of Christ was in them.

What about us? Many of us are still moping about, struggling and moving from one sin to another. Is this how a liberated child of God our Father should live? No! We live in joyful times where the Lord has brought to fulfillment all He had promised. We His faithful are thereby called to live out obedient holy lives. And we are able to do so through His grace, peace, love and joy which lives in us. For His spirit lives in us!

The choice to leave all attachments behind and follow Him is ours to make. While there will indeed be challenges, trials and tribulations ahead, we know that one day soon we will be reunited with in Him in paradise. Jesus I choose You. Amen

First reading

1 Peter 1:10-16
Put your trust in the grace that is coming to you

It was this salvation that the prophets were looking and searching so hard for; their prophecies were about the grace which was to come to you. The Spirit of Christ which was in them foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would come after them, and they tried to find out at what time and in what circumstances all this was to be expected. It was revealed to them that the news they brought of all the things which have now been announced to you, by those who preached to you the Good News through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, was for you and not for themselves. Even the angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.
Free your minds, then, of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth; make a habit of obedience: be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.

Gospel

Mark 10:28-31
Whoever has left everything for the sake of the gospel will be repaid

At that time Peter began to tell Jesus, ‘What about us? We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.
‘Many who are first will be last, and the last first.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Can we attain heaven on our own? Simply No. Yet heaven is opened for us who believe and follow our Lord Jesus Christ who had opened the gates for us by His death and resurrection.

Why then do many hold on to the security and comforts the world offers instead of turning to the Lord our God the source of all life? Do they not see that holding on to their wealth is at its core, idolatry? Through Jesus our Lord we are freed children of God our Father. Let nothing bind us then to this world, so that we return to Him, body, mind and spirit. All this is made possible for us by God our loving Father. Amen

First reading

1 Peter 1:3-9
You did not see Christ, yet you love him

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away, because it is being kept for you in the heavens. Through your faith, God’s power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold – only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire – and then you will have praise and glory and honour. You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel

Mark 10:17-27
Give everything you own to the poor, and follow me

Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them ‘how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’

I Am Community

Posted: May 27, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

I AM Community…

Some time back I gave a short talk about being a loving, growing community. I began with sharing that the first community is the Holy Trinity. Three persons One God in an all loving, giving relationship. One in which all communities should emulate while they dwell on and in the mystery. Therefore a simple statement as I Am Community has greater depth in meaning and application.

A Community therefore can only grow in love if it responds to the call to love by the Holy Trinity.

How is that love expressed?

1. By making a commitment to come together in the presence of the Lord to pray and testify to His love.

2. To share our vulnerabilities and our hopes in the Risen Lord knowing that we do so on sacred ground bound in love for one another.

3. Putting aside all judgements of one another looking to the strengths that each of one poseseses instead of the weaknesses. Affirming one another while encouraging, nurturing the growth of our God given talents and gifts.

4. To always be outward looking as we spread the love we receive through our sharing in His love and to invite others to do the same.

5. To remain steadfast in prayer for one another and to fast when there are occasions that calls for fasting for one another.

6. To encourage one another to grow in our love and relationship with our Lord through His living Word.

7. To help and encourage one another to live His word in our lives.

I AM Community and so am I in Him. Are you? ❤️

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

Posted: May 26, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Family of Love:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

Readings:

Dt 4:32–34, 39–40
Ps 33:4–6, 9, 18–20, 22
Rom 8:14–17
Mt 28:16–20

Last Sunday, we celebrated the sending of the Spirit, which sealed God’s new covenant and made a new creation.

In this new creation, we live in the family of God, who has revealed Himself as a Trinity of love. We share in His divine nature through His Body and Blood (2 Peter 1:4). This is the meaning of the three feasts that cap the Easter season—Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi.

These feasts should be intimate reminders of how deeply God loves us, how He chose us, from before the foundation of the world, to be His children (Ephesians 1:4–5).

Today’s readings illuminate how all God’s words and works were meant to prepare for the revelation of the Trinity and God’s blessing in Jesus Christ—the blessing we inherited in Baptism and renew in each Eucharist.

By God’s word the heavens and earth were filled with His kindness, we sing in today’s Psalm. Out of love, God called Abraham and chose his descendants to be His own people, Moses says in today’s First Reading (Deuteronomy 4:20,37). Through the Israelites, He revealed to the nations that He alone is Lord and there is no other.

In Jesus, God’s word took flesh as a son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1). And Jesus reveals in the Gospel today that the one God is Father, Son, and Spirit, and that He desires to make all people His own.
As He led Israel out of Egypt, God freed us from slavery, Paul says in today’s Epistle. As He adopted Israel (Romans 9:4), He gives us the Spirit by which we can know Him as “Our Father.”
As God’s heirs, we receive the commissions of Moses and Jesus today. We are to fix our hearts on Him and to observe all that He has commanded. The Eucharist is His pledge—that He will be with us until the end, that He will deliver us from death to live forever in the promised land of His kingdom.


We decided today to attend the novena devotion at 11am St Alphonsus Church affectionately known as Novena Church. I wanted to go much earlier as I desired to go for the Sacrament of reconciliation before we left for our short family holiday next week.

However we only managed to reach the church at about 1030hrs. My wife and daughter went to the statue of our Lady to say a short prayer, while I reserved some seats for us. I was a little disappointed as they did not have a reconciliation session after the 1100hrs service. Then I saw Fr Peter Wee walk by and quickly ran after him requesting for the Sacrament. He kindly obliged and gave me
some very encouraging advice in the process. I must say he gave me the most lengthy penance I had ever been given in my life, part of it was to offer it up as prayers for the sick which I gladly did.

After the service we went to the religious store and I purchased a book, candles, some items for Hannah my daughter and a small beautiful statue of St Michael the Archangel. However we could not find a priest anywhere to bless them. They were probably out of early lunch. Again I was a little disappointed as it would have been nice to have a redemptorist priest bless the items not that it really mattered.

We walked to Novena square for lunch and Hannah decided that we should eat at Han’s. Midway through our lunch who should walk in and sit behind us? Fr Simon Tan from Novena Church. I asked if he could kindly bless the items we bought from church, again he readily obliged in the middle of Han’s restaurant. He jokingly said he did not think anyone would recognise him out of collar and that he too needed to eat outside once in a while. What a blessed day indeed to have such graces and blessings bestowed upon us. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

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

I am a sinner and I need you my sister and brother to pray for me. To help me stay on track on my pilgrim journey back home.

No I am not shy to declare this fact and neither should you be. For though I strive each day for Holiness, the flesh is sometimes weak and like you I too need help to stay focused on our Lord. To be reminded that I am a child of God so loved by God my Father. And that I should not lose my childlike innocence by allowing sin to overcome me. Therefore as we are all children of God our loving Father, it is our duty to look out for one another and lead one another safely back home to Him.

So let us continue to pray for one another and continue to embrace one another in the love of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

First reading

James 5:13-20
A good man’s heartfelt prayer has great power

If any one of you is in trouble, he should pray; if anyone is feeling happy, he should sing a psalm. If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, and this will cure you; the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully. Elijah was a human being like ourselves – he prayed hard for it not to rain, and no rain fell for three-and-a-half years; then he prayed again and the sky gave rain and the earth gave crops.
My brothers, if one of you strays away from the truth, and another brings him back to it, he may be sure that anyone who can bring back a sinner from the wrong way that he has taken will be saving a soul from death and covering up a great number of sins.

Gospel

Mark 10:13-16
It is to such as these little children that the kingdom of God belongs

People were bringing little children to Jesus, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.

On Today’s Gospel

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

How can we live in a world that has no honesty, fidelity or integrity? That is why it has to begin with us! We who call ourselves Christians are called to a higher standard because we serve a loving God who is faithful.

No one should question our decision or commitment for whatever choices we make they know we will stand by them. For those who did not know prior then they will know by our actions and our love that it is Jesus Christ whom we adore and serve.

Yes we are all called to faithfulness to God our Father and it is through this faithfulness in Him that we commit to being faithful to one another as well. For all our relationships are sanctified by the Lord our God. This is what it means to be in Holy Communion. When we are one Body in Him. Amen

First reading

James 5:9-12
Do not ask for judgement, or you may receive it

Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord; remember it is those who had endurance that we say are the blessed ones. You have heard of the patience of Job, and understood the Lord’s purpose, realising that the Lord is kind and compassionate.
Above all, my brothers, do not swear by heaven or by the earth, or use any oaths at all. If you mean ‘yes’, you must say ‘yes’; if you mean ‘no’, say ‘no.’ Otherwise you make yourselves liable to judgement.

Gospel

Mark 10:1-12
What God has united, man must not divide

Jesus came to the district of Judaea and the far side of the Jordan. And again crowds gathered round him, and again he taught them, as his custom was. Some Pharisees approached him and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ ‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Why hoard up your wealth for two or three lifetimes when you cannot take it with you when you die? Why not be life giving while you live and live in the hope of an eternal life with a life giving God?

As you become more life giving in words, deeds and strive for Holiness; you begin to realise that the smallest of sin is uncomfortable even a heavy burden to carry and intolerable. For even tiniest speck of sin is an abomination in the eyes of an infinitely pure and loving God. Still He is patient and loving towards all sinners. How then can we continue to hurt Him whom we love and who loves us so.

Cleanse me Lord of all sin that I may live always in Your presence. Amen

First reading

James 5:1-6
The Lord hears the cries of those you have cheated

An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body. It was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury; in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them; they offered you no resistance.

Gospel

Mark 9:41-50
If your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.
‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out. For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is a good thing, but if salt has become insipid, how can you season it again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

There is no right time to do the right thing. We do the right thing always just as we live our Christian values all the time. We do so because we are loved by our Heavenly Father and because of our loving relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit we live out our calling through the gifts and charisms we have been given.

And so we are able to recognise the Lord our God in the love shown by our fellow Christian brothers and sisters around the world. We must continue to strive for unity as our Lord deems that we should be One. Even when faced with rejection or difficulty, let us choose to love and be the first to do so. Amen

First reading

James 4:13-17
You cannot know what will happen tomorrow

Here is the answer for those of you who talk like this: ‘Today or tomorrow, we are off to this or that town; we are going to spend a year there, trading, and make some money.’
You never know what will happen tomorrow: you are no more than a mist that is here for a little while and then disappears. The most you should ever say is: ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we shall still be alive to do this or that.’ But how proud and sure of yourselves you are now! Pride of this kind is always wicked. Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and doesn’t do it commits a sin.

Gospel

Mark 9:38-40
You must not stop anyone from working miracles in my name

John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 22, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

We look at Adam and Eve and think to ourselves, No we would never do what they did. And yet we do likewise nonetheless. When we choose our careers and ambitions above all else. When we decide on our own what is best for us. When we give in to temptation and sin to satisfy our desires. When we choose not to heed our Christian call to love and be holy. When there is little or no time for prayer or to be in His presence.

How then can we truly love our family let alone friend or neighbour? For to love them as we ought to, can only come from our love of the Lord our God. For God is love, life giving liberating love. A love that wills the good in another. For by His love we become little to ourselves and our love grows bigger for others. By His love we can love the stranger amongst us and welcome them as His children our brethren.

Lord teach me to love as You do. Amen

First reading

James 4:1-10
Resist the devil and he will run away

Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.
You are as unfaithful as adulterous wives; don’t you realise that making the world your friend is making God your enemy? Anyone who chooses the world for his friend turns himself into God’s enemy. Surely you don’t think scripture is wrong when it says: the spirit which he sent to live in us wants us for himself alone? But he has been even more generous to us, as scripture says: God opposes the proud but he gives generously to the humble. Give in to God, then; resist the devil, and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you. Clean your hands, you sinners, and clear your minds, you waverers. Look at your wretched condition, and weep for it in misery; be miserable instead of laughing, gloomy instead of happy. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.

Gospel

Mark 9:30-37
Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me

Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

What sort of faith do you have? Is it one centred on your personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ? Or something else altogether?

No one who claims to have faith in Jesus can go about doing as they please. For to have faith in our Lord is to love Him. And to love Him is to put that love into action for Him and for our brethren. We persevere through prayer, even times of fasting. Our little sacrifices for the love of brethren and of a Him will be lifted up and sanctified.

Let us strive to be faithful disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary Blessed Mother of our church, pray for us. Amen

First reading

James 3:13-18
Show wisdom and avoid ambition

If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions. But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or a self-seeking ambition, never make any claims for yourself or cover up the truth with lies – principles of this kind are not the wisdom that comes down from above: they are only earthly, animal and devilish. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

Gospel

Mark 9:14-29
Help the little faith I have!

When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’

Pentecost Sunday

Posted: May 19, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

A New Wind:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on Pentecost Sunday

Readings:

Acts 2:1–11
Ps 104:1, 24, 29–31, 34
1 Cor 12:3–7, 12–13
Jn 20:19–23

The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (Leviticus 23:15–21; Deuteronomy 16:9–11).
In today’s First Reading, the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (Acts 1:14).
The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (Jeremiah 31:31–34; 2 Corinthians 3:2–8; Romans 8:2).
The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things, as we sing in today’s Psalm.
In the beginning, the Spirit came as a “mighty wind” sweeping over the face of the earth (Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as “a strong, driving wind” to renew the face of the earth.
As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit (Genesis 2:7), in today’s Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).
Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today’s Epistle (John 7:37–39).
We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a “new creation” in Baptism (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity—fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.

On Today’s Gospel

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

We all have different roles to play in building our Lord’s kingdom. All we need to do is be faithful and obedient to His will for us. We should not concern ourselves what others are doing or not doing. If we just focus on what we are called to do then we will all work in harmony towards our shared objectives.

It is our Lord Jesus that unites us and sets us free to share in His love. We are never alone in our endeavours. And while some of us need to undergo suffering there is promise of new life with Him.

Lord be with me now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 28:16-20,30-31
In Rome, Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God without hindrance from anyone

On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in lodgings of his own with the soldier who guarded him.
After three days he called together the leading Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, ‘Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and would have set me free, since they found me guilty of nothing involving the death penalty; but the Jews lodged an objection, and I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation to make against my own nation. That is why I have asked to see you and talk to you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear this chain.’
Paul spent the whole of the two years in his own rented lodging. He welcomed all who came to visit him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete freedom and without hindrance from anyone.

Gospel

John 21:20-25
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and we know that his testimony is true

Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned on his breast at the supper and had said to him, ‘Lord, who is it that will betray you?’ Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’ The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, ‘He will not die’, but, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come.’
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true.
There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.

On Today’s Gospel

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

How much do we truly love the Lord our God? Do we place an enconomical value? Or some kind of measure? If we do then the widow’s mite, the finding of the lost coin, the prodigal son and many like these will make no sense whatsoever. We will sound more like Judas lamenting over the wastage of the jar of expensive ointment on the feet of Jesus. Jesus whom we claim to adore with all our heart, mind and soul!

Yet hear His call to discipleship. Are you willing to give me all your love? Total and selfless? To love the least of your brethren as I the Lord have loved you?
Then put to action your love for me and feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.

Lord I place myself at your feet, command me as You will. Amen

First reading

Acts 25:13-21
‘I ordered Paul to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar’

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

Gospel

John 21:15-19
Feed my lambs, feed my sheep

Jesus showed himself to his disciples, and after they had eaten he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’

Love

Posted: May 17, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections, Photos

On Today’s Gospel

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

A house divided upon itself cannot stand. For there is no peace or harmony. We have to ask ourselves where is the love? The love of God that unites us all? Where is the faith we profess every Sunday if we go on our separate ways of divisive thoughts and ideas?

Let us dear sisters and brothers as always stand united. Through a foundation built on praying as one and on the Lord’s living Word. Allow the Holy spirit to guide and show us the way. For our unity comes from the Holy Trinity. So that while ages run we will always profess with great faith, that we are One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

For we are One with Jesus our Lord and He is One with us. Amen

First reading

Acts 22:30,23:6-11
‘You have borne witness in Jerusalem: now you must do the same in Rome’

Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.
Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’

Gospel

John 17:20-26
Father, may they be completely one

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,
I pray not only for these,
but for those also who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.’

Divine….

Posted: May 16, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Yesterday morning and through out the whole day I was feeling out of whack. My body ached and I was running a fever. Still I pushed on at work as I wanted to finish some important stuff.

When I got home my wife was sweet enough to dish out food for me. I popped two annarex tablets and lay on the couch to relax for a bit. Was thinking to myself that if things didn’t improve I would have to see a doctor. My daughter then comes up to me and asks if we were going to have family prayers? She likes praying the rosary and loves to say at the end of each decade “St Joseph” and when the rest of us responds “pray for us” she will quickly lead with the ave Maria. Anyhow while I was not quite up to it, I told her to ask the rest of the family if they wanted to pray. She ran off enthusiastically and she managed to get them all to agree.

My wife suggested instead that we pray the divine mercy. While my daughter was not to happy about it in the beginning since she was not familiar with the prayer, she decided to join us in the middle. I decided that we should end with the divine praises and so led in it. Praise be to God that His mercy was indeed upon me as I started to feel better before going to bed. By morning today I was good to go to work!

Blessed indeed is a praying family.

On Today’s Gospel

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

It is our duty as Christians to help and guide one another through the Holy Spirit to live faithful, faith filled and holy lives. We can only do so if we consecrate ourselves you the sacred heart of Jesus.

Only then we will be able to tend to the many varied flocks of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through hard work, our dedication and humble servitude of our loving Saviour; the love we put into the service of the least of our brethren, we will surely see the fruits and our joy will be complete.

The inner peace, joy and sense of fulfillment is only to be found through the giving of oneself to the cross for which one gladly bears for our Lord. And so we serve because we love and we love because we serve our Lord and God who loves us deeply. Amen

First reading

Acts 20:28-38
I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, and its power

Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:
‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.
‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’
When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Gospel

John 17:11-19
Father, keep those you have given me true to your name

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.
While I was with them,
I kept those you had given me true to your name.
I have watched over them and not one is lost
except the one who chose to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures.
But now I am coming to you and while still in the world I say these things
to share my joy with them to the full.
I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.
I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 15, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

If we had lived in the joy of Easter the past few weeks then we truly know where that joy and peace comes from. It comes from the promise of our Risen Lord fulfilled and the hope we have in our own eternal life with Him.

Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters have gone home to Him and while the memory of them has been difficult sometimes, we have hope of one day being reunited with them. They too are praying for us, just as we pray for them.

So let us finish the race together amidst the difficulties and trials for our Lord is with us throughout. Let us share His love and the hope with have in Him, Jesus our Lord and saviour with all. Amen

First reading

Acts 20:17-27
I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose

From Miletus Paul sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them:
‘You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you, and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus.
‘And now you see me a prisoner already in spirit; I am on my way to Jerusalem, but have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear enough that imprisonment and persecution await me. But life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.
‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.’

Gospel

John 17:1-11
Father, it is time for you to glorify me

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son
so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.
And eternal life is this:
to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do.
Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me
with that glory I had with you before ever the world was.
I have made your name known to the men you took from the world to give me.
They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
Now at last they know
that all you have given me comes indeed from you;
for I have given them the teaching you gave to me,
and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.
I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine,
and in them I am glorified.
I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

We often forget that we are called to be saints ourselves. Some of us wonder if we can ever be like the Saints of old or even when we gaze upon the saints in the making amongst us. They seem to possess heroic virtues, such dedication and sacrifice.

The only difference between us and them is their Yes to the Lord when called to higher service. And their continued yes to the Lord’s difficult call to love amidst uncertainties, trials and tribulations. Sisters and brothers our Lord does not call us only once, in fact He calls upon us His saints in the making ever so often. It is our response to His call to love that makes the difference.

Here I am Lord! I’ve come to do Your will. Amen

First reading

Acts 1:15-17,20-26
‘Let someone else take his office’

One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:

Let his camp be reduced to ruin, Let there be no one to live in it.

And again:

Let someone else take his office.

‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’
Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.

Gospel

John 15:9-17
You are my friends if you do what I command you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me:
no, I chose you; and I commissioned you
to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last;
and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you
is to love one another.’

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 12, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

The Kingdom Remains:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on the Seventh Sunday
of Easter

Readings:

Acts 1:15–17, 20–26
Ps 103:1–2, 11–12, 19–20
1 Jn 4:11–16
Jn 17:11–19

Today’s First Reading begins by giving us a time frame—the events take place during the days between Christ’s Ascension and Pentecost. We’re at the same point in our liturgical year. On Thursday we celebrated His being taken up in glory, and next Sunday we will celebrate His sending of the Spirit upon the Church.
Jesus’ prayer in the Gospel today also captures the mood of departure and the anticipation. He is telling us today how it will be when He is no longer in the world. By His Ascension, the Lord has established His throne in heaven, as we sing in today’s Psalm. His kingdom is His Church, which continues His mission on earth.
Jesus fashioned His kingdom as a new Jerusalem, and a new house of David (Psalm 122:4–5; Revelation 21:9–14). He entrusted this kingdom to His Twelve Apostles, who were to preside at the Eucharistic table and to rule with Him over the restored twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:29–30).
The Twelve Apostles symbolize the twelve tribes and hence the fulfillment of God’s plan for Israel (Galatians 6:16). That’s why it is crucial to replace Judas—so that the Church in its fullness receives the Spirit at Pentecost.
Peter’s leadership of the Apostles is another key element of the Church as it is depicted today. Notice that Peter is unquestionably in control, interpreting the Scriptures, deciding a course of action, even defining the nature of the apostolic ministry.
No one has ever seen God, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Yet, through the Church founded on His Apostles, the witnesses to the resurrection, the world will come to know and believe in God’s love, that He sent His Son to be our savior.
Through the Church, Jesus’ pledge still comes to us—that if we love, God will remain with us in our trials and protects us from the evil one. By His word of truth He will help us grow in holiness, the perfection of love.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Do you know the Lord our God speaks to you all the time? And He does it because of His immense love for you. How would you know if you have let the world distract you with all its misgivings? If you will not spend time with Him in prayer and getting to know Him more deeply through His word.

Ask the Lord first to let your grow in your faith and Knowledge of Him. And He will fulfill your desire by enriching Your life through His grace. Then like Apollos you too can boldly proclaim your relationship with Him and the message of the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ in His love. We can share how blessed we are to have the abundant love of God our Father manifested through Christ our Lord who gathers us all His children unto Himself.

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

First reading

Acts 18:23-28
Apollos demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ

Paul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.
An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.
When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel

John 16:23-28
The Father loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly, anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.
Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.
I have been telling you all this in metaphors,
the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors; but tell you about the Father in plain words.
When that day comes you will ask in my name;
and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I leave the world to go to the Father.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

We are still in Easter and our hearts should still be rejoicing that our Lord had Risen. For the shackles of sin and death has been broken. In fact every Sunday we celebrate Christ’s life, death and resurrection. And so every Eucharist should transform us and lead us into being better and doing better for His glory.

Renewed at every Eucharist we carry Jesus with us deep in our very being and so we share Him unafraid with all who will listen so that they too can rejoice in the promise of salvation. We know that all the challenges, trials and tribulations we face are all in passing for soon we will return to our Lord in paradise.

Glory and Praise be to our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:9-18
‘I have many people on my side in this city’

At Corinth one night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’ So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months.
But, while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. ‘We accuse this man’ they said ‘of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.’ Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, I would not hesitate to attend to you; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves – I have no intention of making legal decisions about things like that.’ Then he sent them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the court house. Gallio refused to take any notice at all.
After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.

Gospel

John 16:20-23
Your hearts will be full of joy that no-one will take from you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.
A woman in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a man has been born into the world.
So it is with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.
When that day comes, you will not ask me any questions.’

Open My eyes to see You Lord

Posted: May 10, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Open my eyes to see You Lord…

So two weeks ago I went for my annual foot and eye check up as part of the diabetes follow up regime. The clinic tech took snapshots of my eyes and told me if they did not call or message me then everything was fine.

Last week however I got a message to see a specialist for a follow up assessment on the eyes. Well of course I was a little concerned but decided to leave it in the hands of the Lord. So this morning I showed at the specialist clinic which had a very peaceful ambience. There was even a station to make a cuppa nescafe ☕.

So I made myself one and took out my copy of the Catholic news to read. A lady patient who had just come out of the doctor’s office sat opposite me and told me that the doctor is Catholic too. So I asked if she might be a fellow sister in Christ and found out that she is a parishioner of Our Lady Star of the Sea. But because there are renovation works going on, she attends the Eucharist at Holy Spirit Church. We chatted for a while before it was my turn to see the doctor. I quickly introduced myself and she shared that her name is Nellie.

The doctor 😷 was a pleasant and rather friendly chap. After the initial check up he told me all looked good but that they would have to dilate my eyes to check deeper. After about half an hour I went back in for a further examination. He then asked if my previous doctor mentioned or checked for glaucoma? He told me it was probably nothing but I needed to get a photo scan to be sure. While waiting for it I prayed to the Lord to please let the results be clear. He had already showed Himself to me in Nellie and the doctor. And I wouldn’t want to have anything hamper me from serving Him fully. But then,His will be done.

While waiting for the doctor, Nellie who had already gone off, came back just to let me know that she was done at the clinic and was heading home. How sweet… I prayed for God’s blessings upon her as she left.

Saw the doctor and the results were negative, every thing was fine! Praise the Lord! ❤️ And so I fixed my appointment for next year.

How wonderful to be able to see God’s hand in everything. Alleluia!

On Today’s Gospel

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

How we are so loved by the Lord our God…

Before He ascended and returned to God our Father He made sure that we will always be cared for and that we will never be alone. For He is with us to the end of time.

He established His church built upon the rock. He instituted the Holy Eucharist the source and summit of our faith in Him. He established the priesthood so that through His grace we can be fully reconciled in holy communion with God our Father. He sent the Holy Spirit to us who bestows and unlocks for us the many gifts and talents needed for us to help one another on our pilgrim journey.

We the faithful have hope in the surety that one day we will ascend to Jesus our Lord who has prepared a room for us. For now with all our hearts, we will proclaim His love and salvation for everyone. So that anyone who hears His word with an attentive heart will be transformed in His love. And we will all be reunited in heaven. Amen

First reading

Acts 1:1-11
Jesus was lifted up while they looked on

In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’
As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’

Second reading

Ephesians 4:1-13
We are all to come to unity, fully mature in the knowledge of the Son of God

I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.
Each one of us, however, has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. It was said that he would:

When he ascended to the height, he captured prisoners,
he gave gifts to men.

When it says, ‘he ascended’, what can it mean if not that he descended right down to the lower regions of the earth? The one who rose higher than all the heavens to fill all things is none other than the one who descended. And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.

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: May 9, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Do not let doubts and fear cage you. Believe wholeheartedly in Jesus the Son of the living God who loves you dearly. Let His truth set you free!

With His truth in our hearts, we too can be bold like St Paul in proclaiming the kerygma. Facing ridicule, obstacles and shame with joy in our hearts;for we know we glorify our Lord by speaking the complete truth inspired by the Holy Spirit.

There is still much to learn and experience for such is the depth of God’s love and wisdom. Lord I open my heart, mind and soul to You. Fill me Lord… Amen

First reading

Acts 17:15,22-18:1
I proclaim the God you already worship without knowing it

Paul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could.
So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech:
‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it.
‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:

“We are all his children.”

‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man.
‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’
At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides.
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Gospel

John 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself
but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.
He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine.
Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said:
All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

We have been given many gifts and blessings from God our Father. The gift of life, faith and new life in Him through our baptism and the Holy Spirit. Therefore our life is precious to Him and no one has the right to take it, not even our very own. Hence the sanctity of all our lives must be preserved.

Such is the love of God our Saviour Jesus Christ that He did not leave us orphans when He returned to God our Father. He sent us the Holy Spirit to help us in our journey towards divine sonship and daughterhood. Jesus Himself is very much present today with us as He was when He first came; only we see, touch and feel Him differently.

Thank You Heavenly Father for the gift of Your love, for the gift of Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Glory and Praise be Your forever and ever. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:22-34
Become a believer and you will be saved, and your household too

The crowd joined in and showed their hostility to Paul and Silas, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Late that night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God’s praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’ The gaoler called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They told him, ‘Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.’ Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them home and gave them a meal, and the whole family celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

Gospel

John 16:5-11
Unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.
Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?”
Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.
Still, I must tell you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going
because unless I go,
the Advocate will not come to you; but if I do go,
I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, and about who was in the right, and about judgement: about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me; about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and your seeing me no more; about judgement: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Many are devoted in sharing scripture passages, words to inspire and encourage on social media through the various platforms. They fully believe that someone, sometimes a particular person needs it to grow in the faith or simply to help them get through the day or week. If you asked them they will say the message helped them and they are just sharing the joy they received. What they are not saying is that 10% is for them but 90% is for that someone else. In other words they are not living the joy of the Gospel themselves. Their words of love have not been put into action for themselves or for anyone else.

Change must begin with me first! I must allow the spirit of truth to set me free. To allow the hurts and pain in the past to be fully healed so that I know longer hold unforgiveness in my heart. To forgive and remember that I have forgiven. To let the love of Christ and His powerful grace work through me to inspire others by my love put into action for them and for all others. Only then can I say I know God, for I love as He does.

Jesus make me a channel of Your peace and love. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:11-15
The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to accept what Paul was saying

Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

Gospel

John 15:26-16:4
The Spirit of truth will be my witness

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,
he will be my witness.
And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset.

‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues, and indeed the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things
because they have never known either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you.’

ONE in Love

Posted: May 5, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Meditations

ONE in Love

Two weeks ago having attended a formation session on what the focolare movement was about, I was rather intrigued by the warmth and welcome we received by the members. I had also picked up practical ways to love.

I decided then that I would love to attend one of the Word of Life sessions to learn how they conducted their meetings and to experience it first hand. Moreover I wanted to see if what I learnt from the meeting could have bigger applications that is how to set the whole archdiocese on fire so that everyone will be more welcoming and loving.

However I wasn’t sure I could commit to attending. All that changed when I sent a casual message to the host enquiring if the meeting was still on? He welcomed me and sent me their latest Word of Life edition which was about the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Last month my spiritual director had guided me to reflect on the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit and how others saw those fruits in me. Surely it was a call to attend.

This morning after sending my daughter for Cathechism class I went to the Adoration room. The Lord spoke to me from John 10:16 I have many sheep not of this fold, I must also lead them and they will listen to my voice and they will be one flock under one shepherd. I saw in it how my own journey was unfolding. On the way to the focolare meeting, I was reading the Word of Life and this struck me deeply on how it all connects… “Whoever is with us will notice that we are not only children of our natural family, but also children of God.”

Loved the sharings in the meeting and can see why some members choose to make lifelong journeys together in this community.

Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 5, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Begotten by Love:

Scott Hahn Reflects
on the Sixth Sunday
of Easter

Readings:

Acts 10:25–26, 34–35, 44–48
Ps 98:1–4
1 Jn 4:7–10
Jn 15:9–17

God is love, and He revealed that love in sending His only Son to be a sacrificial offering for our sins.
In these words from today’s Epistle, we should hear an echo of the story of Abraham’s offering of Isaac at the dawn of salvation history. Because Abraham obeyed God’s command and did not withhold his only beloved son, God promised that Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel, would be the source of blessing for all nations (Genesis 22:16–18).
We see that promise coming to fulfillment in today’s First Reading. God pours out His Spirit upon the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, as they listen to the word of Peter’s preaching. Notice they receive the same gifts received by the devout Jews who heard Peter’s preaching at Pentecost—the Spirit comes to rest upon them and they speak in tongues, glorifying God (Acts 2:5–11).
In His love today, God reveals that His salvation embraces the house of Israel and peoples of all nations. Not by circumcision or blood relation to Abraham, but by faith in the Word of Christ, sealed in the Sacrament of Baptism, people are to be made children of Abraham, heirs to God’s covenants of promise (Galatians 3:7–9; Ephesians 2:12).
This is the wondrous work of God that we sing of in today’s Psalm. It is the work of the Church, the good fruit that Jesus chooses and appoints His Apostles for in today’s Gospel.
As Peter raises up Cornelius today, the Church continues to lift all eyes to Christ, the only one in whose name they can find salvation.
In the Church, each of us has been begotten by the love of God. But the Scriptures today reveal that this divine gift brings with it a command and a duty. We are to love one another as we have been loved. We are to lay down our lives in giving ourselves to others—that they too might find friendship with Christ, and new life through Him.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Living our Christian calling as children of God or Father is so very hard because it ostracises us from the those who live in the World and embraces worldly views. Views such as pro choice on abortion, same sex marriage, in vitro fertilisation and many more. Because we live our lives in the light of Christ we are very much hated by the world.

Living out our Christian values does not mean we do so in fear, on the contrary we do so boldly! For the Holy spirit is with us in our pilgrim journey. As we share the love of Christ Jesus our Lord with those who will listen. So that their hearts too can be touched by our Lord and share in His life.

O God our Father, You truly love us and Your love alone is all we need. Even though we live in the world we are not of it for we belong to You. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:1-10
‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.
As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.
So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.
They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.
One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.

Gospel

John 15:18-21
The world hated me before it hated you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you,
remember that it hated me before you.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.
If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.
But it will be on my account that they will do all this, because they do not know the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

What is it that drives us to follow the will of God our Father? Is it not because He has shown His great and immense love for us through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? Is it not because of our encounter with Him that we see the many blessings that had unfolded in our lives?

And if we rightly choose to reciprocate His love then we must do as He commands;that we should love one another as He had loved us. By His dying on the Cross, and rising to New life so that we can be with Him.

To live according to His word and will for us, is to be open to the docile promptings of the Holy Spirit. And we all can hear His voice, through the ever growing depths of our relationship with Him. Through prayer, reflection, frequent reception of the sacraments and living in His light. Amen

First reading

Acts 15:22-31
It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us not to burden you beyond these essentials

The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:
‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’
The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Gospel

John 15:12-17
What I command you is to love one another

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘This is my commandment:
love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me:
no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit,bfruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

The Lord does not appear only to Holy men and women. He does not love only faithful disciples who follow Him. He came for you and me, while we are still sinners. So that we too have hope of eternal life with Him. Let us open our hearts to His invitation and we will encounter the Risen Lord in our midst.

We are then called to discipleship. To be a disciple that grows in our faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who marvels and revels in the depth of His love and strives to follow Him in humble servitude. By His love we lead others to the same peace, hope and joy that we share. He is the way, the truth and Life!

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

First reading

1 Corinthians 15:1-8
The Lord appeared to James, and then to all the apostles

Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.
Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.

Gospel

John 14:6-14
To have seen me is to have seen the father

Jesus said to Thomas:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.
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: May 2, 2018 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

In our zeal to love and serve the Lord there will be times when we may end up in disagreement. Over process, formats, methods even what the Lord’s will is for us and our brethren. We must ask ourselves had we come together as one to pray and truly discern His will for us? If we still could not come up with a united answer then had we brought it up to the church? And in obedience accepted the direction of our church?

We are all One Body in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is what we profess every Sunday in the creed and we must live in that unity. If we continue to live out individual lives, decide to pick and choose what we want to believe; then by our very own choices and actions we have cut ourselves off from Jesus. Instead of growth we wither and die.
All of us must choose to be connected to the vine by whom we are nourished and draw our strength. By whom the graces flow to enable us to bear fruit.

Lord Jesus dwell in me as I dwell in You. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 15:1-6
They were to go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.
All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.
But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

Gospel

John 15:1-8
I am the vine, you are the branches

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit
he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine,. neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Our world is filled with loud noise and distractions. Challenging people to deal with. Our minds are filled with plans to be carried out and decisions to be made. Now we have phones and gadgets that add to the clutter. Where do we find peace of mind?

And yet Jesus our sweet saviour offers us His peace freely when we turn to Him. The peace that sets our hearts aglow. The peace that opens our hearts to His love and joy. And we are meant to share our encounter with Him with our loved ones and the rest of the world. This is what the early disciples did and so must we. For we are all one body in Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 14:19-28
They gave an account of how God had opened the door of faith to the pagans

Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and turned the people against the apostles. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went off to Derbe.
Having preached the Good News in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.
They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.
On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

Gospel

John 14:27-31
A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe.
I shall not talk with you any longer, because the prince of this world is on his way.
He has no power over me,
but the world must be brought to know that I love the Father and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’

Gaudete Et Exsultate

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

On Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete Et Exsultate

This is by no means a summary, for I do not want anyone to be deprived of this great treasure of treasures written by Pope Francis. To draw us closer to the heart of Jesus and to respond with zeal to our true calling; by virtue of our baptism…Holiness

Holiness which does not come from one’s own personal sanctification alone but through the sanctification of our hands, feet, heart and minds in loving service of God our Father’s children. Especially the poor and poor in spirit, through the same love and mercy He bestows upon us. Therefore the cross will always remain the source of our growth and sanctification.

Our Holy Father guides us through the practical application of the beatitudes imparted by our Lord Jesus and shares keen insights of leading humble lives pleasing to the Lord our God.

We must be wary that the devil is real and indeed seeks the ruin of our souls. He is the master of lies, deceptions and will do all he can to lead us astray. Hence we must be cautious and keep alert at all times.

That being said, we have much to rejoice and be glad! For through our Lord’s death and resurrection we have been set free to live fully in His love. We have the joy of the Gospel to nourish and enrich our lives, the Holy Sacraments in which Jesus draws us to Himself to live as one with Him. We are so very loved that He has great and wonderful plans for each and everyone of us. Even though we have many faults and failures, our Lord can use us to show His love, He can turn all our curses into blessings for us and for others.

Rejoice indeed and be glad. Amen