Archive for December, 2018

Merry Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2018 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Having embarked on the solemn journey of staying awake and preparing the way of our Lord Jesus Christ through Advent, we can now fully rejoice that Emmanuel, The Prince of Peace reigns most profoundly in our hearts. We stand ready to greet Him with shouts of joyful praise and Adoration when He comes again.

Merry Christmas everyone, may His light shine on you and your loved ones. Now and forever. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

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

Let us humble ourselves before the Lord our God always. And never assume or presume that all we say and do will be pleasing to Him. Instead let us be fervent in our prayers striving to discern always His will for us and being obedient in carrying out His will for us.

For we have a faithful God that has kept all His promises. In the canticle of Zechariah we hear of the faithfulness of the Lord our God which fills our hearts with hope and joy. It also encourages us to prepare the hearts of others so that they to too can receive our Lord Jesus Christ and be filled with the same love, hope, peace and joy we have received.

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

First reading

2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16
Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me

Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Gospel

Luke 1:67-79
‘You, little child, shall be the prophet of the Most High’

John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue and he has raised up for us a power for salvation in the House of his servant David, even as he proclaimed,
by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,
that he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us.
Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors, thus he remembers his holy covenant the oath he swore to our father Abraham
that he would grant us, free from fear, to be delivered from the hands of our enemies, to serve him in holiness and virtue in his presence, all our days. And you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins;
this by the tender mercy of our God
who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us,
to give light to those who live
in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet
into the way of peace.”

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 22, 2018 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

A Mother’s Greeting: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Readings:

Micah 5:1–4
Psalm 80:2–3, 15–16, 18–19
Hebrews 5:5–10
Luke 1:39–45

On this last Sunday before Christmas, the Church’s liturgy reveals the true identity of our Redeemer.
He is, as today’s First Reading says, the “ruler . . . whose origin is from . . . ancient times.” He will come from Bethlehem, where David was born of Jesse the Ephrathite and anointed king (see Ruth 4:11–17; 1 Samuel 16:1–13; 17:1; Matthew 2:6).

God promised that an heir of David would reign on his throne forever (see 2 Samuel 7:12–13; Psalm 89; Psalm 132:11–12).

Jesus is that heir, the One the prophets promised would restore the scattered tribes of Israel into a new kingdom (see Isaiah 9:5–6; Ezekiel 34:23–25, 30; 37:35). He is “the shepherd of Israel,” sung of in today’s Psalm. From His throne in heaven, He has “come to save us.”

Today’s Epistle tells us that He is both the Son of David and the only “begotten” Son of God, come “in the flesh” (see also Psalm 2:7). He is also our “high priest,” from the mold of the mysterious Melchisedek, “priest of God Most High,” who blessed Abraham at the dawn of salvation history (see Psalm 110:4; Genesis 14:18–20).

All this is recognized by John when he leaps for joy in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth, too, is filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. She recognizes that in Mary “the mother of my Lord” has come to her. We hear in her words another echo of the psalm quoted in today’s Epistle (see Psalm 2:7). Elizabeth blesses Mary for her faith that God’s Word would be fulfilled in her.
Mary marks the fulfillment not only of the angel’s promise to her, but of all God’s promises down through history. Mary is the one they await in today’s First Reading—“she who is to give birth.” She will give birth this week, at Christmas. And the fruit of her womb should bring us joy—she is the mother of our Lord.

On Today’s Gospel

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

For the greater glory of God! Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

This is what we do when we are born again into loving service of God and neighbour through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Everything we say and do has only one purpose. Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus. That in all things God may be glorified.

Let us then be sent to glorify the Lord our God by our lives. Amen

O Blessed Mother pray for us…

First reading

1 Samuel 1:24-28
This is the child I prayed for: he is made over to the Lord.

When Hannah had weaned the infant Samuel, she took him up with her together with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was with them. They slaughtered the bull and the child’s mother came to Eli. She said, ‘If you please, my lord. As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. This is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.’
There she left him, for the Lord.

Gospel

Luke 1:46-56
The Almighty has done great things for me

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.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Oh what joy it is to bring Christ our Lord to others. And we do so when we share His Word and rejoice in His presence.

Oh what joy it is when our hearts are ready to receive Him! For our hearts leapt with joy at His presence. We sing His praise and share most profoundly in His love. We embrace and cherish the loving exchange of dwelling in His love.

O blessed Mother you brought joy into the world when you said yes to the will of God our Father. Pray for us, that we too may be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so as to bring the joy of Christ Jesus our Lord into the world. Amen.

First reading

Song of Songs 2:8-14
See how my Beloved comes, leaping on the mountains

I hear my Beloved.
See how he comes leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills. My Beloved is like a gazelle, like a young stag.

See where he stands
behind our wall. He looks in at the window, he peers through the lattice.

My Beloved lifts up his voice,
he says to me, ‘Come then, my love, my lovely one, come. For see, winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth. The season of glad songs has come, the cooing of the turtledove is heard
in our land. The fig tree is forming its first figs and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.
Come then, my love, my lovely one, come. My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock, in the coverts of the cliff, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful.’

Gospel

Luke 1:39-45
Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

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.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

If we say we love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our mind, our soul and strength then obedience to His will for us is key. It unlocks for us the graces we need and the courage to be His instruments of His great love for us.

Emmanuel indeed! In all things at all times!

O blessed Mother you inspire us be faithful and obedient unto the Lord our God. Continue to pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ your Son. Amen.

First reading

Isaiah 7:10-14
The maiden is with child

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

Then Isaiah said:

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

Gospel

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

We are all precious children of God our Father. Each one of us are given unique gifts and talents. So that we may live life to the fullest through service of one another and for His greater glory.

It is through the grace of God alone that our barren lives are filled with His peace and joy. He graciously rewards His faithful who are obedient unto Him. And it is His will that we lead and bring back those who have lost their way back to Him. To unite His flock, so that we can become one with and in Him.

Lord let it be done according to Your will for me. Amen

First reading

Judges 13:2-7,24-25
‘You will conceive and bear a son’

There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren, she had borne no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to this woman and said to her, ‘You are barren and have had no child. But from now on take great care. Take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb. It is he who will begin to rescue Israel from the power of the Philistines.’ Then the woman went and told her husband, ‘A man of God has just come to me; his presence was like the presence of the angel of God, he was so majestic. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not reveal his name to me. But he said to me, “You will conceive and bear a son. From now on, take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb to his dying day.”’
The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and the Lord blessed him; and the spirit of the Lord began to move him.

Gospel

Luke 1:5-25
‘Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son’

In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron. Both were worthy in the sight of God, and scrupulously observed all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both getting on in years.
Now it was the turn of Zechariah’s section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the ritual custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense the whole congregation was outside, praying.
Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear. But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you must name him John. He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink. Even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the disobedient back to the wisdom that the virtuous have, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.’
Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel who stand in God’s presence, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. Listen! Since you have not believed my words, which will come true at their appointed time, you will be silenced and have no power of speech until this has happened.’ Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he stayed in the sanctuary so long. When he came out he could not speak to them, and they realised that he had received a vision in the sanctuary. But he could only make signs to them, and remained dumb.
When his time of service came to an end he returned home. Some time later his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept to herself. ‘The Lord has done this for me’ she said ‘now that it has pleased him to take away the humiliation I suffered among men.’