Archive for January, 2019

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 31, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Make no mistake the door to salvation was opened for all of God’s children. Through the blood of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we have been redeemed. We have been reconciled and have the hope of full union with Him. We are one with Him, one BODY in Christ.

Really? Why then are we not living as one body? Where is the sense of belonging to a community? The ownership and stewardship of the community I belong to? That the fraternal love and growth of our community depends on me being present in mind, body and spirit. That I may only be one, but I am the one that makes up the two or three gathered in His name; by His promise He is present to us. Do I know my brothers and sisters in Christ by name? Do I know their family? Can we truly say we are one then?

Holy trinity one God, inspire and grant us the grace to live as one united in Your love. Let us be one as You are one, so that Oneness may shine as a great light for the world to see. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 10:19-25 †
Let us keep firm in the hope we profess

Through the blood of Jesus we have the right to enter the sanctuary, by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his body. And we have the supreme high priest over all the house of God. So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our minds sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is faithful. Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. Do not stay away from the meetings of the community, as some do, but encourage each other to go; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.

Gospel

Mark 4:21-25
The seed is sprouting and growing as he sleeps

Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Would you bring in a lamp to put it under a tub or under the bed? Surely you will put it on the lamp-stand? For there is nothing hidden but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’
He also said to them, ‘Take notice of what you are hearing. The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given – and more besides; for the man who has will be given more; from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 30, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

When will you begin to grow deeper in love with the word of God? When will you stop putting off reading and reflecting on the scriptures given to you in love? Are the pleasures of the world, the distractions, the games, the work more important than the word. The Word made flesh, who dwelt among us so that we might enter into a personal relationship with Him. With whom had come to save us from our sins now and forever.

Too hard you say? Perhaps you had begun as though you were reading a magazine, comic, or book. No! the precious Word of God must begin with prayer. It is through a prayerful reading of the word that we enter into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. We enter into the realm of the heavenly Kingdom. How much fruit we bear is dependent on how much we have prepared our hearts to receive Him. Are we leading sacramental lives? Going for regularly the Sacrament of reconciliation, receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Are we striving for Holiness? Are we loving others as we should?

Lord open my heart to receive You according to Your will. Through the Holy Spirit grant be the joy of bearing much fruit for You. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 10:11-18 †
Jesus achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying

All the priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place forever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. The Holy Spirit assures us of this; for he says, first:

This is the covenant I will make with them
when those days arrive;

and the Lord then goes on to say:

I will put my laws into their hearts
and write them on their minds.
I will never call their sins to mind,
or their offences.

When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.

Gospel

Mark 4:1-20
The parable of the sower

Jesus began to teach by the lakeside, but such a huge crowd gathered round him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there. The people were all along the shore, at the water’s edge. He taught them many things in parables, and in the course of his teaching he said to them, ‘Listen! Imagine a sower going out to sow. Now it happened that, as he sowed, some of the seed fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground where it found little soil and sprang up straightaway, because there was no depth of earth; and when the sun came up it was scorched and, not having any roots, it withered away. Some seed fell into thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it produced no crop. And some seeds fell into rich soil and, growing tall and strong, produced crop; and yielded thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold.’ And he said, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’
When he was alone, the Twelve, together with the others who formed his company, asked what the parables meant. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God is given to you, but to those who are outside everything comes in parables, so that they may see and see again, but not perceive; may hear and hear again, but not understand; otherwise they might be converted and be forgiven.’
He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those on the edge of the path where the word is sown are people who have no sooner heard it than Satan comes and carries away the word that was sown in them. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock are people who, when first they hear the word, welcome it at once with joy. But they have no root in them, they do not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, they fall away at once. Then there are others who receive the seed in thorns. These have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches and all the other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And there are those who have received the seed in rich soil: they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 29, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Have you not met a sister or brother in Christ and just love being in their company. The exude peace and love and they are joyful to be with. The spirit of God is with them for they strive to do His will.

And that is why we must strive to do God our Father’s will for us. It is about saying Yes to the relationship He wants to have with us. Jesus then becomes for us the way, the truth and the life! Someone we can embrace in times of difficulty. We begin to see more clearly and profoundly that the will of God is love.

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

First reading

Hebrews 10:1-10 †
Christ’s self-offering sanctifies us

Since the Law has no more than a reflection of these realities, and no finished picture of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, with the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year. Otherwise, the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins. Instead of that, the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices. Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what he said, on coming into the world:

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

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

Gospel

Mark 3:31-35
Who are my mother and my brothers? Those that do the will of God

The mother and brothers of Jesus arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 28, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

God our Father who loved us dearly made a promise to save us and draw us all unto Him, we belong to Him the sheep of His flock. This promise was fulfilled through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

To say our sins are too great for Him to take away, or say anything against the Holy Spirit who is God Himself, His workings through His chosen ones is in itself a grave sin! How different is it from calling God a liar and His works deceitful?

Let us be mindful to walk always in the Spirit to praise and Glorify the one living God by our lives. To share in the joy of the Lord who freed our contrite hearts from all sin. So that we can live fully in His love. Glory and Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ now and forever. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 9:15,24-28 †
Christ offers himself only once to take on the faults of many

Christ brings a new covenant, as the mediator, only so that the people who were called to an eternal inheritance may actually receive what was promised: his death took place to cancel the sins that infringed the earlier covenant. It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was only modelled on the real one; but it was heaven itself, so that he could appear in the actual presence of God on our behalf. And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself. Since men only die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, too, offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.

Gospel

Mark 3:22-30
A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.
‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 26, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

New Day Dawning: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Nehemiah 8:2–6, 10
Psalms 19:8–10, 15
1 Corinthians 12:12–30
Luke 1:1–4, 4:14–21

The meaning of today’s liturgy is subtle and many-layered.
We need background to understand what’s happening in today’s First Reading.
Babylon having been defeated, King Cyrus of Persia decreed that the exiled Jews could return home to Jerusalem. They rebuilt their ruined temple (see Ezra 6:15–17) and under Nehemiah finished rebuilding the city walls (see Nehemiah 6:15).
The stage was set for the renewal of the covenant and the re-establishment of the Law of Moses as the people’s rule of life. That’s what’s going on in today’s First Reading, as Ezra reads and interprets (see Nehemiah 8:8) the Law and the people respond with a great “Amen!”

Israel, as we sing in today’s Psalm, is rededicating itself to God and His Law. The scene seems like the Isaiah prophecy that Jesus reads from in today’s Gospel.
Read all of Isaiah 61. The “glad tidings” Isaiah brings include these promises: the liberation of prisoners (61:1); the rebuilding of Jerusalem, or Zion (61:3–4; see also Isaiah 60:10); the restoration of Israel as a kingdom of priests (61:6; Exodus 19:6); and the forging of an everlasting covenant (61:8; Isaiah 55:3). It sounds a lot like the First Reading.

Jesus, in turn, declares that Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Him. The Gospel scene, too, recalls the First Reading. Like Ezra, Jesus stands before the people, is handed a scroll, unrolls it, then reads and interprets it (compare Luke 4:16–17, 21 and Nehemiah 8:2–6, 8–10).

We witness in today’s Liturgy the creation of a new people of God. Ezra started reading at dawn of the first day of the Jewish new year (see Leviticus 23:24). Jesus also proclaims a “sabbath,” a great year of Jubilee, a deliverance from slavery to sin, a release from the debts we owe to God (see Leviticus 25:10).

The people greeted Ezra “as one man.” And, as today’s Epistle teaches, in the Spirit the new people of God—the Church—is made “one body” with Him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 26, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Yes we are called to be bold proclaimers of our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who saves. But in order to be such bold proclaimers we must first live our faith. To be nourished by His Word, sound teaching and receive His graces through a sacramental life. Most importantly we need to affirm one another, to encourage one another to grow in Holiness, love and mercy.

Kingdom builders that we are should take care to stay focused on doing the will of God our Father. Let us not be distracted by the ways and wiles of the world. But be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. So as to exercise the power given to us with great love, self control, and we will bring glory to God by our service to Him and our brethren.

Saints Timothy and Titus pray for us…. Amen

First reading

2 Timothy 1:1-8 †
Fan into a flame the gift God gave you

From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus in his design to promise life in Christ Jesus; to Timothy, dear child of mine, wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.
Night and day I thank God, keeping my conscience clear and remembering my duty to him as my ancestors did, and always I remember you in my prayers; I remember your tears and long to see you again to complete my happiness. Then I am reminded of the sincere faith which you have; it came first to live in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I have no doubt that it is the same faith in you as well.
That is why I am reminding you now to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy.

Gospel

Mark 3:20-21
Jesus’ relatives were convinced he was out of his mind

Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Have you had a conversion of heart? Have you experienced the love of God in His presence? Have you submitted your notion of knowing all there is to know, lofty ideas of self righteousness? Of being a dove instead of a tiger in your dealings with others? Of being able to offer love above all else? If not then what are you waiting for? A bright light? A voice?

The light of the world beckons you to Him. Come to Him with contrite hearts and be changed. Come let us be the light for others through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who poured out His precious blood for us so that we might live! Let us use the many gifts we have been given to gather His flock together. To be the best we ought to be according to His will. Amen

St Paul the Apostle pray for us…

First reading

Acts 22:3-16 †
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’

Paul said to the people, ‘I am a Jew and was born at Tarsus in Cilicia. I was brought up here in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was taught the exact observance of the Law of our ancestors. In fact, I was as full of duty towards God as you are today. I even persecuted this Way to the death, and sent women as well as men to prison in chains as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify, since they even sent me with letters to their brothers in Damascus. When I set off it was with the intention of bringing prisoners back from there to Jerusalem for punishment.
‘I was on that journey and nearly at Damascus when about midday a bright light from heaven suddenly shone round me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” I answered: Who are you, Lord? and he said to me, “I am Jesus the Nazarene, and you are persecuting me.” The people with me saw the light but did not hear his voice as he spoke to me. I said: What am I to do, Lord? The Lord answered, “Stand up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told what you have been appointed to do.” The light had been so dazzling that I was blind and my companions had to take me by the hand; and so I came to Damascus.
‘Someone called Ananias, a devout follower of the Law and highly thought of by all the Jews living there, came to see me; he stood beside me and said, “Brother Saul, receive your sight.” Instantly my sight came back and I was able to see him. Then he said, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Just One and hear his own voice speaking, because you are to be his witness before all mankind, testifying to what you have seen and heard. And now why delay? It is time you were baptised and had your sins washed away while invoking his name.”’

Gospel

Mark 16:15-18
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.’