Archive for February, 2019

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 28, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

You are not going to live forever in this world and you do not know if tomorrow will come for you. And No this is not a doomsday message but a simple fact. What are you doing today so that you might have hope of eternal life with the Lord your God?

For the world will always distract you and lead you into thinking you have lots of time to change and be changed. So many having gone for a retreat, pilgrimage, prayer meeting, healing service; had encountered our Lord Jesus but have now abandoned Him for the busyness of their lives. Others concentrate on building up their material wealth for themselves yet in the guise of doing so for their families. What good is that if you are absent from your family? From the Lord your God? If you do not turn back to the Lord now and be reconciled, sin will build upon sin and at the end of your time you’ll be lost for all eternity.

Too many still do not realise how great a sin it is to neglect the Lord our God. For a relationship with Him is most important for our own well being, not His. He simply loves us and wants us to live our lives to the fullest in His love.

Lord Jesus let me be your salt and light in the world, to share Your love with all. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 5:1-10 †
Do not delay your return to the Lord

Do not give your heart to your money, or say, ‘With this I am self-sufficient.’
Do not be led by your appetites and energy to follow the passions of your heart.
And do not say, ‘Who has authority over me?’ for the Lord will certainly be avenged on you.
Do not say, ‘I sinned, and what happened to me?’ for the Lord’s forbearance is long.
Do not be so sure of forgiveness that you add sin to sin.
And do not say, ‘His compassion is great, he will forgive me my many sins’;
for with him are both mercy and wrath, and his rage bears heavy on sinners.
Do not delay your return to the Lord, do not put it off day after day;
for suddenly the Lord’s wrath will blaze out, and at the time of vengeance you will be utterly destroyed.
Do not set your heart on ill-gotten gains, they will be of no use to you on the day of disaster.

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: February 27, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Lord Jesus grant me Your wisdom so that I may speak and act always according to Your Holy will. Amen

Do we pray as such each and everytime before any meeting, encounter, decision to be made, advice to give or not to give and so on. For if it is the wisdom of the Lord we seek just as King Solomon, the Lord our God will be delighted and grant our prayer.

With and in His wisdom we will not turn into our own Spirituality as if we were somewhat exclusive. We will not be suspicious of those who in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord has done well in bringing others back to Him. Working miracles and wonders with the gifts bestowed upon invoking the precious, Holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ! We will embrace one another’s gifts as given to build His Kingdom NOT our very own. The more we give away the more we shall receive.

Lord Jesus, thy Will be done now and forever. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 4:12-22
Whoever loves wisdom loves life

Wisdom brings up her own sons, and cares for those who seek her.
Whoever loves her loves life,
those who wait on her early will be filled happiness.
Whoever holds her close will inherit honour, and wherever he walks the Lord will bless him.
Those who serve her minister to the Holy One,and the Lord loves those who love her.
Whoever obeys her judges aright, and whoever pays attention to her dwells secure.
If he trusts himself to her he will inherit her, and his descendants will remain in possession of her; for though she takes him at first through winding ways, bringing fear and faintness on him, plaguing him with her discipline until she can trust him, and testing him with her ordeals, in the end she will lead him back to the straight road and reveal her secrets to him.
If he wanders away she will abandon him, and hand him over to his fate.

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: February 26, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Any true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ must heed the Word of God (first reading) taken from Sirach also known as Ecclesiasticus. For without a doubt having served long enough you will be tested in fire and some chosen like I have been, in the furnace of humiliation. Be steadfast and cling to our Lord Jesus Christ who will never leave you.

Indeed these words are true. While I held steadfast in my faith and love for Him, I did not stay put in where I was. I needed time to heal and recollect. The Lord taught me patience and humility. That God my Father loved me dearly with all my faults and shortcomings. That I should love God our Father’s other children, naughty, prideful and however stubborn they may be; just as He loved me! We can be assured that our Lord Jesus Christ, will make crooked paths straight and He will always be by our side.

His grace is sufficient for us, we can love just as He loves us. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 2:1-11 †
The chosen are tested like gold in the fire

My son, if you aspire to serve the Lord,prepare yourself for an ordeal.
Be sincere of heart, be steadfast,and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.
Cling to him and do not leave him,so that you may be honoured at the end of your days.
Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, since gold is tested in the fire, and chosen men in the furnace of humiliation.
Trust him and he will uphold you,follow a straight path and hope in him.
You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not turn aside in case you fall.
You who fear the Lord, trust him,and you will not be baulked of your reward.
You who fear the Lord hope for good things,for everlasting happiness and mercy.
Look at the generations of old and see:who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame?
Or who ever feared him steadfastly and was left forsaken?
Or who ever called out to him, and was ignored?
For the Lord is compassionate and merciful,he forgives sins, and saves in days of distress.

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: February 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Do you come before Jesus when you cannot see the light? When all hope is lost? When you feel helpless? When the well being of family, a member is at stake? Or do you fall into despair and become despondent? Lean not on your wisdom but the wisdom of the Lord Your God which had been poured out into the world from the very beginning.

Turn to Jesus in faith, even with what little faith you may have left and claim His promise that everything is possible for those who has faith. For nothing is impossible for God. He will provide a breakthrough. For the Son of God the most high has come to deliver the world from all evil and sin. He brings with Him liberation, peace and joy.

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

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 1:1-10 †
Before all other things, wisdom was created

All wisdom is from the Lord,
and it is his own for ever.
The sand of the sea and the raindrops,and the days of eternity, who can assess them?
The height of the sky and the breadth of the earth,and the depth of the abyss, who can probe them?
Before all other things wisdom was created,shrewd understanding is everlasting.
For whom has the root of wisdom ever been uncovered?
Her resourceful ways, who knows them?
One only is wise, terrible indeed,seated on his throne, the Lord.
He himself has created her, looked on her and assessed her,and poured her out on all his works to be with all mankind as his gift,and he conveyed her to those who love him.

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.’


A little testimony on the importance of being part of a Christian community….

CG = Catholic Group

Bro Julian, I was reflecting on Nick and my journey together. And I could not help but be amazed by God’s hand thru our LOL CG. Thru CG, we came to know one another and there was support plus comaradie as we encountered one another to attend spiritual formations together. I can’t believe how Nick has grown from totally out of church and out of Christian values to being open to attending spiritual formations with me. I acknowledge this would not have been possible without God’s intervention thru LOL CG and her members. The little invitations in the group chat helped us become aware of the spiritual formations going on. And we draw one another to attend. God amazes me!

What is the Purpose of my life?

Posted: February 24, 2019 by CatholicJules in Testimonies

Shared by my dear sister in Christ – Ma Cheriza Bondoc

*What is my purpose in life?*

This is the question that was on my mind when I was growing up and at the same time thinking on where will my path lead me so that my chosen career will be successful.

In the year 2011, I was given an opportunity to work in Singapore as a Preschool Teacher and being a migrant worker for almost 8 years now, it encompasses a lot of hard work and sacrifices being away from my family and at the same time it makes me endeavour my goal and to apply what I have learnt from my good school but most specially to teach and mould the future leaders of this beautiful world.

Each time I look back through all these years, I am in awe realizing how much God has blessed me throughout my 30 years of existence. Every blessing that we received from Him should always be shared to our needy brothers and sisters. He gave us in abundance of wonderful blessings so that we will be able to touch other peoples’ lives and by doing that, they can feel God’s love through us.

I have made my life-long pledge to share the love that He gave me with all the people around. Every year for my birthday, I will always plan to do something meaningful and make sure that I will be able to spend time to the children with cancer in the Philippines and the homeless people in the city area. I do organize a celebration with magic show for kids and feeding programme with them. I am helping the Singapore Catholic Foundation, Caritas Singapore and Singapore Cancer Society with my monthly donation to give back and reach out to the needy as well.

Happiness cannot be found in how much money you have in the bank or how many luxury things you have collected and we do not need to be in a position to be called successful neither there will be no signs of what you will become in this life that God has lend us; we just have to take a look deep within ourselves and we will discover how blessed we are and how great is our God for giving us always what we need.

In this life, what will matter the most is when we made a difference, when we are able touch the lives of the people around us and we have managed well the use of the blessings that we received for the benefit of others. And through all these ways, our life will be more meaningful and truly be successful and by the time when God called us, we can proudly say that we have done our part and the life that we live for others is always worth living.

May God bless us all and may His name be truly praised in everything that we do! ❤

Night of Blessings

Posted: February 24, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Yesterday I attended the Eucharistic Celebration at St Mike’s because I had an appointment with Fr T. As I was rather early for the EC, I decided to read the bible while I waited.

Then a growing desire welled up in me to go for the Sacrament of reconciliation. I looked to the direction of the confessional and saw one guy already seated and waiting. I made my way there quickly, sat down beside him and continued reading while I waited. Five minutes had passed when all of a sudden the guy next to me turns and says, “You don’t recognise me do you? I am one of twin brothers which attended the same kindergarten at Hoe Ping Centre and we lived in the same neighbourhood. He introduced himself as Joseph and shared that we even attended the same Church of the Risen Christ back in the day.” I vaguely remembered him because he mentioned he was a twin. The mind blowing thing about it is that I am quite sure we were not very close otherwise I would have a clearer memory of him but he knew my name and that I had a sister with light coloured hair. Later in the short conversation (which was a little uncomfortable for me only because we were waiting for the Sacrament and should have been praying instead of catching up) we had, I found out that he was actually one year my junior.

Still it was a blessing to be reunited with some one who shared moments in time, forty plus years in the neighbourhood I grew up in Toa Payoh! I quickly shared with him the picture I had taken with Sister Rosa only 11 days ago.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1001610776565042?view=permalink&id=2226886374037470

Then Father AJ showed up and Joseph went in first for the Sacrament. What a blessing to see the hand of God in that little meeting ‘again’ of brothers in Christ. During the Eucharistic Celebration I received consolations reminding me of His great love.

Later that evening, after my meeting with Fr T. I stayed on in St Mike’s as they were having a movie night and I had missed watching the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. It was more of a movie appreciation night because Fr T would stop the movie at certain sections, encouraged us to talk about it with one another; then he would share some spiritual and psychological inputs into the psyche of the characters in the movie.

Praise the Lord for a blessed night in the company of friends. 🙏🏼♥️

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted: February 23, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Davids and Sauls: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

Readings:

1 Samuel 26:2, 7–9, 12–13,
22–23
Psalm 103:1–13
1 Corinthians 15:45–49
Luke 6:27–38

The story of David and Saul in today’s First Reading functions almost like a parable. Showing mercy to his deadly foe, David gives a concrete example of what Jesus expects to become a way of life for His disciples.

The new law Jesus gives in today’s Gospel would have us all become “Davids”—loving our enemies, doing good to those who would harm us, extending a line of credit to those who won’t ever repay us.
The Old Law required only that the Israelites love their fellow countrymen (see Leviticus 19:18). The new law Jesus brings makes us kin to every man and woman (see also Luke 10:29–36). His kingdom isn’t one of tribe or nationality. It’s a family. As followers of Jesus, we’re to live as He lived among us—as “children of the Most High” (see Luke 6:35; 1:35).
As sons and daughters, we want to walk in the ways of our heavenly Father, to “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Grateful for His mercy, we’re called to forgive others their trespasses because God has forgiven ours.

In the context of today’s liturgy, we’re all “Sauls”—by our sinfulness and pride we make ourselves enemies of God. But we’ve been spared a death we surely deserved to die because God has loved and shown mercy to His enemies, “the ungrateful and the wicked,” as Jesus says.
Jesus showed us this love in His Passion, forgiving His enemies as they stripped Him of cloak and tunic, cursed Him and struck Him on the cheek, condemned Him to death on a cross (see Luke 22:63–65; 23:34). “He redeems your life from destruction,” David reminds us in today’s Psalm.

That’s the promise, too, of today’s Epistle: that we who believe in the “last Adam,” Jesus, will rise from the dead in His image, as today we bear the image of the “first Adam,” who by his sin made God an enemy and brought death into the world (see 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 23, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

There are often times that many question their faith. Questioning the faith in itself is not bad since it comes from a desire to know and experience the truth. However doubting our faith is another matter. For how can we doubt if we have experienced Christ in our lives and have entered into a relationship with Him? The Holy Spirit is alive and active in all who have faith. We experience yet unseen realities and have peace and joy in our hearts.

Sin in its many forms is often the cause of the faithful to doubt. For it causes a growing rift away from the Lord our God. Therefore it is very important for every Catholic to go for the sacrament of reconciliation regularly. Daily Eucharist is highly recommended for what better way to be nourished than through the reception of the bread of life, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith for us is the love of God put into action. For faith was given freely to us in love. Hence the more we love the greater our faith. And we rejoice as we hear clearly the voice of God our Father saying ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Amen

First reading

Hebrews 11:1-7 †
It is by faith that we understand that the world was created by one word from God

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.
It is by faith that we understand that the world was created by one word from God, so that no apparent cause can account for the things we can see.
It was because of his faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and for that he was declared to be righteous when God made acknowledgement of his offerings. Though he is dead, he still speaks by faith.
It was because of his faith that Enoch was taken up and did not have to experience death: he was not to be found because God had taken him. This was because before his assumption it is attested that he had pleased God. Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who try to find him.
It was through his faith that Noah, when he had been warned by God of something that had never been seen before, felt a holy fear and built an ark to save his family. By his faith the world was convicted, and he was able to claim the righteousness which is the reward of faith.

Gospel

Mark 9:2-13
Jesus was transfigured in their presence

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean. And they put this question to him, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True,’ he said ‘Elijah is to come first and to see that everything is as it should be; yet how is it that the scriptures say about the Son of Man that he is to suffer grievously and be treated with contempt? However, I tell you that Elijah has come and they have treated him as they pleased, just as the scriptures say about him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 22, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Over the years in our lifetime, we have been abundantly blessed by different Popes with varied gifts and talents yet single minded in leading and guarding the flock of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. They have been anointed and charged with caring and feeding His sheep, His lambs. Through them we see the face of Jesus in all they say and do. Hence we should always heed the word of God which says, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” Ps 105:15

Our Holy Father Pope Francis and all the popes before him carry a very heavy burden which is made light only through the grace of Jesus Christ. Therefore we should always or at least try as often as we can to lift our prayers for him. He is the vicar of Christ and it is our duty to love and support him. Just as Aaron and Hur lifted up the arms of Moses in the battle against the forces that seek to overcome us.

Lord Jesus we thank You for our one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We thank You for the gift of the successor of St Peter, our Holy Father Pope Francis. We pray You continue to guard and guide Him. Amen

We offer one Father, Hail Mary and glory be for our Holy Father Pope Francis’s intentions…..

First reading

1 Peter 5:1-4 †
Watch over the flock, not simply as a duty but gladly

Now I have something to tell you elders: I am an elder myself, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and with you I have a share in the glory that is to be revealed. Be the shepherds of the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it; not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow. When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 21, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Who is Jesus for you personally? How has your knowledge of Him grown? Do you have a relationship with Him? Is it cold? Lukewarm? Or are you on fire for Him? Is He an important part of your life? Or the most important? If you have a deep ever growing relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ;then you will begin to understand and appreciate the covenantal relationship that the Lord our God offers and keeps. Jesus is the new and everlasting sign of this covenant.

So that as we look upon the cross in which He hung, we can see, feel and experience the immense love of God, who sacrificed Himself to liberate the world from all sin. Today and everyday we are invited to carry our cross and follow Him. By shunning it and refusing to take it up is in essence shying away from the love of God. Whose yoke is easy and burden light and leads us to everlasting light. Amen alleluia!

First reading

Genesis 9:1-13 †
The sign of the Covenant

God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. Be the terror and the dread of all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven, of everything that crawls on the ground and all the fish of the sea; they are handed over to you. Every living and crawling thing shall provide food for you, no less than the foliage of plants. I give you everything, with this exception: you must not eat flesh with life, that is to say blood, in it. I will demand an account of your life-blood. I will demand an account from every beast and from man. I will demand an account of every man’s life from his fellow men.

‘He who sheds man’s blood
shall have his blood shed by man,
for in the image of God
man was made.

‘As for you, be fruitful, multiply, teem over the earth and be lord of it.’
God spoke to Noah and his sons, ‘See, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. I establish my Covenant with you: no thing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.’
God said, ‘Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth.’

Gospel

Mark 8:27-33
The way you think is not God’s way, but man’s

Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’

To Love Someone

Posted: February 20, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections, Photos

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 20, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The promise of new life is given to all who wait patiently on the Lord. The great and powerful sign of His love and new life can been seen as we gaze upon the wood of the cross in which our Lord Jesus Christ hung for us. He became for us the tree of life. The sign of our hope and redemption. When we see this through the eyes of faith, we can begin to live fully in rightful praise and worship of the Lord our God.

The Lord is touching you today, open your eyes, what do you see? Do you not see Him carrying the cross to calvary for you? He is touching you again, what do you see? Do you not see the glory of the Risen Lord present before you telling you not to return to your old ways, sin no more and share His love with all?

In my darkness you came O Lord and Your redeeming light shone upon me! I see you Lord, I see You. What joy it is to live in Your love. Amen

First reading

Genesis 8:6-13,20-22 †
The dove returns

At the end of forty days Noah opened the porthole he had made in the ark and he sent out the raven. This went off, and flew back and forth until the waters dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove, to see whether the waters were receding from the surface of the earth. The dove, finding nowhere to perch, returned to him in the ark, for there was water over the whole surface of the earth; putting out his hand he took hold of it and brought it back into the ark with him. After waiting seven more days, again he sent out the dove from the ark. In the evening, the dove came back to him and there it was with a new olive-branch in its beak. So Noah realised that the waters were receding from the earth. After waiting seven more days he sent out the dove, and now it returned to him no more.
It was in the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month and on the first of the month, that the water dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the hatch of the ark and looked out. The surface of the ground was dry!
Noah built an altar for the Lord, and choosing from all the clean animals and all the clean birds he offered burnt offerings on the altar. The Lord smelt the appeasing fragrance and said to himself, ‘Never again will I curse the earth because of man, because his heart contrives evil from his infancy. Never again will I strike down every living thing as I have done.

‘As long as earth lasts,
sowing and reaping,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
shall cease no more.’

Gospel

Mark 8:22-26
The blind man was cured and could see everything distinctly

Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida, and some people brought to him a blind man whom they begged him to touch. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Then putting spittle on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked, ‘Can you see anything?’ The man, who was beginning to see, replied, ‘I can see people; they look like trees to me, but they are walking about.’ Then he laid his hands on the man’s eyes again and he saw clearly; he was cured, and he could see everything plainly and distinctly. And Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 19, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Do not allow sin to fester nor allow it to remain in your heart. Or you will be swept away and drowned. Rather step unto the Ark and the covenantal love of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord will embrace you. He will save you from the destructive torrents of sin.

There are many who carry sin with them, their hearts are far from God. Yet they justify themselves and their actions through eloquent words. They seek your support and buy-in to their ‘world’ cloaked in darkness. Some are charming about their ways and highly infectious. Be on guard! As Christ warned against the yeast of these ‘Pharisees’.

Always remember the love of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom our church is built upon. The Bread of Life who gives abundantly of Himself. Filled with His grace let us embark on our voyage to eternity with Him. Amen

First reading

Genesis 6:5-8,7:1-5,10
Noah’s Ark

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that the thoughts in his heart fashioned nothing but wickedness all day long. The Lord regretted having made man on the earth, and his heart grieved. ‘I will rid the earth’s face of man, my own creation,’ the Lord said ‘and of animals also, reptiles too, and the birds of heaven; for I regret having made them.’ But Noah had found favour with the Lord.
The Lord said to Noah, ‘Go aboard the ark, you and all your household, for you alone among this generation do I see as a good man in my judgement. Of all the clean animals you must take seven of each kind, both male and female; of the unclean animals you must take two, a male and its female (and of the birds of heaven also, seven of each kind, both male and female), to propagate their kind over the whole earth. For in seven days’ time I mean to make it rain on the earth for forty days and nights, and I will rid the earth of every living thing that I made.’ Noah did all that the Lord ordered.
Seven days later the waters of the flood appeared on the earth.

Gospel

Mark 8:14-21
Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod

The disciples had forgotten to take any food and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Then he gave them this warning, ‘Keep your eyes open; be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ And they said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And Jesus knew it, and he said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you not yet understand? Have you no perception? Are your minds closed? Have you eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear? Or do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ They answered, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ And they answered, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Are you still without perception?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 18, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Without proper disposition, reverence and right worship of the Lord our God, then what we offer Him is superficial, out of duty then of love. Hence begs the question on what is our relationship with Him? If we truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul then would we not offer Him the best we have?

The Pharisees were given many signs pointing to the Messiah who would come to save them. And when He came to live among them they could not see Him for who He was. Their hearts, minds and souls were not ready to receive Him. They were full of themselves and thought they could earn their way to heaven by observances! Hence they looked but did not see!

By our baptism we are inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have an indelible mark conferred upon us as we enter into a covenantal relationship with the Lord our God. We are His children. Jesus who was, who is and who is to come will lead us to everlasting life with Him. Let us then be ourselves signs of His love today and every day. Amen

First reading

Genesis 4:1-15,25
The mark of Cain

The man had intercourse with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. ‘I have acquired a man with the help of the Lord’ she said. She gave birth to a second child, Abel, the brother of Cain. Now Abel became a shepherd and kept flocks, while Cain tilled the soil. Time passed and Cain brought some of the produce of the soil as an offering for the Lord, while Abel for his part brought the first-born of his flock and some of their fat as well. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering. But he did not look with favour on Cain and his offering, and Cain was very angry and downcast. The Lord asked Cain, ‘Why are you angry and downcast? If you are well disposed, ought you not to lift up your head? But if you are ill disposed, is not sin at the door like a crouching beast hungering for you, which you must master?’ Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out’; and while they were in the open country, Cain set on his brother Abel and killed him.
The Lord asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I do not know’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s guardian?’ ‘What have you done?’ the Lord asked. ‘Listen to the sound of your brother’s blood, crying out to me from the ground. Now be accursed and driven from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood at your hands. When you till the ground it shall no longer yield you any of its produce. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth.’ Then Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear. See! Today you drive me from this ground. I must hide from you, and be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth. Why, whoever comes across me will kill me!’ ‘Very well, then,’ the Lord replied ‘if anyone kills Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be taken for him.’ So the Lord put a mark on Cain, to prevent whoever might come across him from striking him down.
Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth, ‘because God has granted me other offspring’ she said ‘in place of Abel, since Cain has killed him.’

Gospel

Mark 8:11-13
No sign shall be given to this generation

The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with Jesus; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to test him. And with a sigh that came straight from the heart he said, ‘Why does this generation demand a sign? I tell you solemnly, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And leaving them again and re-embarking, he went away to the opposite shore.

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted: February 16, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Rich in Poverty: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Readings:

Jeremiah 17:5–8
Psalm 1:1–4, 6
1 Corinthians 15:12, 16–20
Luke 6:17, 20–26

The blessings and woes we hear in today’s Gospel mark the perfection of all the wisdom of the Old Testament.
That wisdom is summed up with marvelous symmetry in today’s First Reading and Psalm: Each declares that the righteous—those who hope in the Lord and delight in His Law—will prosper like a tree planted near living waters. The wicked, who put their “trust in human beings,” are cursed to wither and die.

Jesus is saying the same thing in the Gospel. The rich and poor are, for Him, more than members of literal economic classes. Their material state symbolizes their spiritual state.

The rich are “the insolent” of today’s Psalm, boasting of their self-sufficiency, the strength of their flesh, as Jeremiah says in the First Reading. The poor are the humble, who put all their hope and trust in the Lord.
We’ve already seen today’s dramatic imagery of reversal in Mary’s “Magnificat.” There, too, the rich are cast down while the hungry are filled and the lowly exalted (see Luke 1:45–55 also 16:19–31).

That’s the upside-down world of the Gospel: in poverty we gain spiritual treasure unimaginable; in suffering and even dying “on account of the Son of Man,” we find everlasting life.

The promises of the Old Testament were promises of power and prosperity—in the here and now. The promise of the New Covenant is joy and true freedom even amid the misery and toil of this life. But not only that. As Paul says in today’s Epistle, we’re to be pitied if our hope is “for this life only.”

The blessings of God mean that we’ll laugh with the thanksgiving of captives released from exile (see Psalm 126:1–2), feast at the heavenly table of the Lord (see Psalm 107:3–9), “leap for joy” as John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb (see Luke 6:23;1:41, 44), and rise with Christ, “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 16, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Our loving God will never abandon you because of His great love for you. So while there are consequences for your sins and penance to be done it is only so that you can grow in love, faith and Holiness. We must therefore own up to our sins and turn to Jesus with contrite hearts and He will free us from our sins to live in His love. He will embrace us and clothe us with ‘skins’, His grace so that we can live in the warmth of His love. He restores for us the way to eternal life with Him.

Our loving Lord and saviour Jesus Christ knew that on our pilgrim journey back that we run on empty. So again in His great love for us He nourished us of Himself, in the Holy Eucharist. Filling us with His grace and love. We partake of the bread of life, so that we can move onward to share in His love now and forever. Amen

First reading

Genesis 3:9-24 †
The expulsion from the Garden of Eden

The Lord God called to the man. ‘Where are you?’ he asked.
‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’
‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’
The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’
Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’
The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’
Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,
all wild beasts.
You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust
every day of your life.
I will make you enemies of each other:
you and the woman,
your offspring and her offspring.
It will crush your head
and you will strike its heel.’

To the woman he said:

‘I will multiply your pains in childbearing,
you shall give birth to your children in pain.
Your yearning shall be for your husband,
yet he will lord it over you.’

To the man he said, ‘Because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,

‘Accursed be the soil because of you.
With suffering shall you get your food from it
every day of your life.
It shall yield you brambles and thistles,
and you shall eat wild plants.
With sweat on your brow
shall you eat your bread,
until you return to the soil,
as you were taken from it.
For dust you are
and to dust you shall return.’

The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live. The Lord God made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on. Then the Lord God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch his hand out next and pick from the tree of life also, and eat some and live for ever.’ So the Lord God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he had been taken. He banished the man, and in front of the garden of Eden he posted the cherubs, and the flame of a flashing sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Gospel

Mark 8:1-10
The feeding of the four thousand

A great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said. Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them among the crowd. They had a few small fish as well, and over these he said a blessing and ordered them to be distributed also. They ate as much as they wanted, and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over. Now there had been about four thousand people. He sent them away and immediately, getting into the boat with his disciples, went to the region of Dalmanutha.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 15, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Evil lurks and seeks to trap those on the journey towards Holiness. Planting seeds of doubt, wanton suggestions, playing on our unfettered desires. Many desire power but not the responsibility to wield it with loving care. Yes the Lord our God desires that we be like Him but how can we be like Him, apart from Him? Those who live in sin cannot hear Him nor can they open their lips to praise His Holy name. Those who have fallen and returned to Him can attest that being apart from the Lord our God is more painful than anything!

Still our loving Saviour comes to us when we call out to Him with contrite hearts. “Be opened!” He commands… Be free from your sins, be opened to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, to receive my precious body and blood. Then go glorify the Lord your God by your lives!

Thank You Abba Father, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit. Glory and Praise to You now and forever. Amen

First reading

Genesis 3:1-8 †
The fall of man

The serpent was the most subtle of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made. It asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’ The woman answered the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, “You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘No! You will not die! God knows in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.’ The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised that they were naked. So they sewed fig-leaves together to make themselves loin-cloths.
The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Gospel

Mark 7:31-37
‘He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak’

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’

To Be Your Valentine

Posted: February 14, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 14, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We were fashioned different and yet are of the same flesh. Created in the image and likeness of God. To complement, enhance, accompany one another on our pilgrim journey to heaven. And we have been given the most precious gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. So that we can unite ourselves with Him, the Word made flesh. One Body, One Spirit, One Universal Church!

Do we instead look at our differences? Allowing it to divide and to scatter us. To find the tiniest fault, crack causing it to expand and shatter? Nay! sisters and brothers let us always turn to Christ our Lord who gathers us together. Who wills that we be one with and in Him. Let us build upon our gifts and collective strengths, allowing Him to perfect our many weaknesses. As we have prayed for Him to look not upon our sins but on the faith of our Church. And it is by this faith we have in Him that we are saved.

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the light of all nations. Let Your light shine through Your faithful. Now and forever. Amen

A reading from

the Book of Genesis 2:18-25

The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.” So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. So the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed: “This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh! This is to be called woman, for this was taken from man.” This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.
Now both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame in front of each other.

A reading from

the holy Gospel according to Mark7:24-30

Jesus left Gennesaret and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straightaway and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was a pagan, by birth a Syrophoenician, and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, “The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.” But she spoke up: “Ah yes, sir,” she replied, “but the house-dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps.” And he said to her, “For saying this, you may go home happy: the devil has gone out of your daughter.” So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.

On Today’s Gospel SG

Posted: February 14, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

How Blessed are we to have the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. When indeed our good shepherd reigns. Where the Lord our God dwells, so His flock gathers to honour, love and worship Him.

You have Blessed Your people Lord with a Shepherd after your own heart. Whose guidance and vision to build a vibrant, evangelistic and missionary Church has set the churches of Singapore on fire for love of You.

Bless and anoint Your Church Lord so that together we will lead one another into greater holiness and into our heavenly inheritance. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 8:22-23,27-30 †
‘Listen to the prayer your servant makes in this place’

In the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord and, stretching out his hands towards heaven, said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, not in heaven above nor on earth beneath is there such a God as you, true to your covenant and your kindness towards your servants when they walk wholeheartedly in your way. Yet will God really live with men on the earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built! Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, O Lord my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you today. Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said, “My name shall be there.” Listen to the prayer that your servant will offer in this place.
‘Hear the entreaty of your servant and of Israel your people as they pray in this place. From heaven where your dwelling is, hear; and, as you hear, forgive.’

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 13, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The Lord our God did not just Will us into being, He lovingly fashioned us. And knowing we will bring harm upon ourselves for lack of complete knowledge and wisdom, He willed that we rely on Him till perhaps we were ready. How much have changed from the very beginning? Aren’t we still disobedient? Impatient? Stubborn? Wilful?

Are our hearts and minds connected to the Lord our God? Do we constantly seek His wisdom, knowledge and guidance? For if we are not connected to the source of life then we are likely to go awry and lost to the darkness. For indeed all that is good comes from within us when our hearts are connected to all that is good, the Lord our God. It is when we are disconnected that evil lurks to pounce!

Lord Jesus Christ You are the vine and we are the branches. Let us never be apart from You. Amen

First reading

Genesis 2:4-9,15-17 †
The Lord God fashioned man out of dust

At the time when the Lord God made earth and heaven there was as yet no wild bush on the earth nor had any wild plant yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, nor was there any man to till the soil. However, a flood was rising from the earth and watering all the surface of the soil. The Lord God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being.
The Lord God planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. The Lord God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. The Lord God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. Then the Lord God gave the man this admonition, ‘You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.’

Gospel

Mark 7:14-23
It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean

Jesus called the people to him and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’
When he had gone back into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Do you not understand either? Can you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart but through his stomach and passes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.) And he went on, ‘It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 12, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Are our lives ordered to the Lord our God? Do people see the face of Christ when they look upon us? Are we good stewards of all that He has given us? Are we concerned for our environment and the animals that live in it? Are we then faithful children of God our Father who created us in His image and likeness?

The precious Living Word of God has been given to us so that we may know it, learn it, grow in it, live it and share it with others. Are we then living in the joy of the Risen Lord, bringing life wherever we go? Or have we instead made His Word null and void? By living a life of indifference to our families, communities and especially the least of our brethren. By being lukewarm in our faith growth colder. Leading ‘entitled’ lives instead of one of gratefulness and thanksgiving to the Lord our God.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Word made flesh, fill me with Your presence. Let the fire of Your love burn within me. So that I may always bring glory to You in all that I say and do. Amen

First reading

Genesis 1:20-2:4 †
‘Let us make man in our own image’

God said, ‘Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth within the vault of heaven.’ And so it was. God created great sea-serpents and every kind of living creature with which the waters teem, and every kind of winged creature. God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas; and let the birds multiply upon the earth.’ Evening came and morning came: the fifth day.
God said, ‘Let the earth produce every kind of living creature: cattle, reptiles, and every kind of wild beast.’ And so it was. God made every kind of wild beast, every kind of cattle, and every kind of land reptile. God saw that it was good.
God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.’

God created man in the image of himself,
in the image of God he created him,
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food. To all wild beasts, all birds of heaven and all living reptiles on the earth I give all the foliage of plants for food.’ And so it was. God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning came: the sixth day.
Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array. On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he had rested after all his work of creating.
Such were the origins of heaven and earth when they were created.

Gospel

Mark 7:1-13
You get round the commandment of God to preserve your own tradition

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me.
The worship they offer me is worthless,
the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Corban (that is, dedicated to God), then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 11, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Lord God Almighty Father, all glory and Praise be Yours now and forever. In Your loving hands creation was formed out of nothing and ordered according to Your will. Heaven and earth a thin divide for all created in Your love.

And the light of the World, Your Son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ was born to take away our darkness and sin. To free us from the clutches of death and to raise us to new life with You. To heal, restore and make us whole. Such is Your love for us that He came while we were still sinners to redeem us.

We love and adore You, glory and Praise be to our Heavenly Father, to Your Son our Lord and to the Holy Spirit. One God forever and ever. Amen

Blessed Mother Mary, pray for us….

First reading

Genesis 1:1-19 †
God saw that it was good

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water.
God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light ‘day’, and darkness he called ‘night.’ Evening came and morning came: the first day.
God said, ‘Let there be a vault in the waters to divide the waters in two.’ And so it was. God made the vault, and it divided the waters above the vault from the waters under the vault. God called the vault ‘heaven.’ Evening came and morning came: the second day.
God said, ‘Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear.’ And so it was. God called the dry land ‘earth’ and the mass of waters ‘seas’, and God saw that it was good.
God said, ‘Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees bearing fruit with their seed inside, on the earth.’ And so it was. The earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seed in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the third day.
God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of heaven to divide day from night, and let them indicate festivals, days and years. Let them be lights in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth.’ And so it was. God made the two great lights: the greater light to govern the day, the smaller light to govern the night, and the stars. God set them in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth, to govern the day and the night and to divide light from darkness. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the fourth day.

Gospel

Mark 6:53-56
All those who touched him were cured

Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted: February 9, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Into the Deep: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 6:1–8
Psalm 138:1–5, 7–8
1 Corinthians 15:1–11
Luke 5:1–11

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.
His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their own sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.
In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, to taste His Word on our tongue.
Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist—as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.
Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy . . .” (see also Revelation 4:8).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 9, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Often we overlook the fact that as leaders of our church communities are bound to look after the souls of our members. To nurture their growth towards Holiness and to lead them into a deeper relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord. We can only do so if we are ourselves are leading a grace filled sacramental life. Going often for the Sacrament of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Spending time with our Lord in prayer and Adoration. Through the Holy spirit we will be guided on how best to lead our flock.

Who better to lead us then our faithful and loving shepherd our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Through His example and by His Word we become better shepherds to lead His flock.

Lord Jesus Bless, anoint and guide your Shepherds so that we may serve You and Your flock faithfully. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 13:15-17,20-21 †
May God turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ

Through Christ, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, a verbal sacrifice that is offered every time we acknowledge his name. Keep doing good works and sharing your resources, for these are sacrifices that please God.
Obey your leaders and do as they tell you, because they must give an account of the way they look after your souls; make this a joy for them to do, and not a grief – you yourselves would be the losers. I pray that the God of peace, who brought our Lord Jesus back from the dead to become the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood that sealed an eternal covenant, may make you ready to do his will in any kind of good action; and turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.

Gospel

Mark 6:30-34
They were like sheep without a shepherd

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 8, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

It is very difficult for many to warm to, let alone welcome the stranger in our midst. The walls we place between us may protect us from getting hurt, cheated or made used of. But it also prevents us from loving and by that same token from being loved. What if Christ Himself took on the guise of a stranger and stood right there before us? We would have missed the opportunity to love and serve Him, and perhaps to be counselled by Him.

Love one another as I have loved you is not a suggestion but a command from our Lord. It is a call to heroic love! To lay down our life for a ‘friend’ who may be that very stranger among us. Who is a fellow sister or brother, one of God our Father’s children. There is indeed no greater love. Do not give in to worldly suggestions or advice! But remain rooted and steadfast on the Word of God. So that even if we should die, we know we will rise with Him; our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 13:1-8 †
Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and will be for ever

Continue to love each other like brothers, and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Keep in mind those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; and those who are being badly treated, since you too are in the one body. Marriage is to be honoured by all, and marriages are to be kept undefiled, because fornicators and adulterers will come under God’s judgement. Put greed out of your lives and be content with whatever you have; God himself has said: I will not fail you or desert you, and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord to help me, I fear nothing: what can man do to me?
Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.

Gospel

Mark 6:14-29
The beheading of John the Baptist

King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah’; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.’
Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.
An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 7, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Are we ready to be sent into the world to spread the message of God’s love for His children? To share in the joy that the gate to heaven has been opened for us and we can live this very day in the Lord our God’s presence. To heal and restore what was lost in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

How can we be ready if we choose sin over a life of prayer and abstinence? Over worldly pleasures in place of seeking to do the will of God? When our minds are consumed by social media, television, movies, games over the word of God? How then do we change?

While there is still breath in you there is little time left to make a difference. For our life here is fleeting just as the short term happiness some might receive from indulging in the pleasures the world offers. Turn to our Lord Jesus Christ and be set free from all vice and addictions. Make a commitment to live a grace filled life through prayer, constantly seeking to grow in Holiness. Then together with our sisters and brothers in Christ we will lead others to the joy and peace to be found in Him alone. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 12:18-19,21-24 †
You have come to Mount Zion and the city of the living God

What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing fire, or a gloom turning to total darkness, or a storm; or trumpeting thunder or the great voice speaking which made everyone that heard it beg that no more should be said to them. The whole scene was so terrible that Moses said: I am afraid, and was trembling with fright. But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant and a blood for purification which pleads more insistently than Abel’s.

Gospel

Mark 6:7-13
‘Take nothing with you’

Jesus made a tour round the villages, teaching. Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 6, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Yes we are all called to share the joy of the Gospel with others. But in order to do so there must be joy in our hearts that can only come from the in dwelling of God’s love from within. This only takes place when we have a desire to grow in our love and relationship with the Lord our God through His Word. Through the dedication of having a prayer and sacramental life. Then we are ready to be humbled and taught by our Lord Jesus Christ. He will hold us up when we fall or fail. Through His guidance the seeds we sow will sprout.

Many will see the changes in you and want to have what you have. The inner peace and joy that comes with the presence of the Lord. These will listen to you when you share. Likewise there will be many who are not convinced and will reject what you say or do. Love them nonetheless and over time their hearts may change but even if it does not, you would have done the Lord’s bidding and are at peace.

Teach me Lord to walk always Your way, truth and life. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 12:4-7,11-15
God is training you as his sons

In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.
Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.
Always be wanting peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord. Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a whole community.

Gospel

Mark 6:1-6
‘A prophet is only despised in his own country’

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 5, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Yes it is a struggle day by day to to resist sin, to resist the lures of temptation that leads to sin. To cope with the stress that comes with each passing day many turn to cigarettes, drink even drugs. And so the temple of the Holy Spirit which once resides is slowly destroyed from within! Why not turn to our Lord Jesus Christ instead? He had afterall invited us to come to Him when we were weary and over burdened;and He promised to give us rest.

Jesus can restore the life slowly being drained from us. Or restore life where there was none in us. For He is the fount of life itself. Let us turn to Him in faith and hear His gentle voice saying, “Your faith my son, my daughter has saved you. Arise to new life in me” Amen alleluia!

First reading
Hebrews 12:1-4 †
We should keep running steadily in the race we have started.

With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way he stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.

Gospel
Mark 5:21-43
Little girl, I tell you to get up

When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.
Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she spent all she had without being any the better for it, in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. ‘If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself ‘I shall be well again.’ And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. ‘My daughter,’ he said ‘your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.’
While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, ‘Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble?’ But Jesus had overheard this remark of theirs and he said to the official, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 4, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Many of the saints in the old testament faithfully bore witness to the Lord our God by laying down their lives for Him. They did not share in the same hope as we do in rising with our Lord Jesus Christ, yet they trusted in the promises of God our Father. For they had faith in the living God who will never abandon them. We are called to have such heroic faith.

For even if we walk in the valley of darkness, no evil shall we fear. For we have Jesus our Lord and saviour who has conquered death by our side with us. He who rules heaven and earth. Therefore so we can praise and Glorify Him by sharing His love with others who are still living in darkness and sin. So that He can free them to share in the same peace and love we have through Him.

Praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ now and forever. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 11:32-40

Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets – these were men who through faith conquered kingdoms, did what is right and earned the promises. They could keep a lion’s mouth shut, put out blazing fires and emerge unscathed from battle. They were weak people who were given strength, to be brave in war and drive back foreign invaders. Some came back to their wives from the dead, by resurrection; and others submitted to torture, refusing release so that they would rise again to a better life. Some had to bear being pilloried and flogged, or even chained up in prison. They were stoned, or sawn in half, or beheaded; they were homeless, and dressed in the skins of sheep and goats; they were penniless and were given nothing but ill-treatment. They were too good for the world and they went out to live in deserts and mountains and in caves and ravines. These are all heroes of faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had made provision for us to have something better, and they were not to reach perfection except with us.

Gospel

Mark 5:1-20
The Gadarene swine

Jesus and his disciples reached the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain; because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear by God you will not torture me!’ – for Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’ ‘What is your name?’ Jesus asked. ‘My name is legion,’ he answered ‘for there are many of us.’ And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.
Now there was there on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.’ So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The swineherds ran off and told their story in the town and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his full senses – the very man who had had the legion in him before – and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave the neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ So the man went off and proceeded to spread throughout the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 2, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Prophet to the Nations: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Jeremiah 1:4–5, 17–19
Psalm 71:1–6, 15–17
1 Corinthians 12:31–13:13
Luke 4:21–30

God’s words in today’s First Reading point us beyond Jeremiah to Jesus. Like Jeremiah, Jesus was consecrated in the womb and sent as a “prophet to the nations” (see Luke 1:31–33).
Like the prophets before Him, Jesus too faces hostility. In today’s Gospel, the crowd in His hometown synagogue quickly turns on Him, apparently demanding a sign, some proof of divine origins—that He’s more than just “the son of Joseph.”

The sign He gives them is that of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. From their colorful careers Jesus draws two stories. In each, the prophets bypass “many . . . in Israel” to bestow God’s blessings on non-Israelites who had faith that the prophets were men of God (see 1 Kings 17:1–16; 2 Kings 5:1–14). “None . . . not one” in Israel was found deserving, Jesus emphasizes.
His point isn’t lost on His audience. They know He’s likening them to the “many . . . in Israel” in the days of the prophets. That’s why they try to shove Him off the cliff. As He promised to protect Jeremiah, the Lord delivers Jesus from those who would crush Him.

And as were Elijah and Elisha, Jesus is sent to proclaim God’s gift of salvation—not exclusively to one nation or people, but to all who realize in faith that from the womb God alone is their hope, their rescuer, their “rock of refuge,” as we sing in today’s Psalm.
Prophecies, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle, are partial and pass away “when the perfect comes.” In Jesus, the word of the prophets has been brought to perfection, fulfilled in those who have ears to hear, as He declares in today’s Gospel.
Greater than the gifts of faith and hope, Jesus shows us how to love as He loved—to love God as our Father, as the one who formed us in the womb and destined us to hear His saving Word.

This is the salvation, the “mighty works of the Lord,” that we, like the psalmist, are thankful to proclaim daily in the Eucharist.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 2, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The light of the world had come to illumine our hearts and mind. To free us from all darkness of the soul. Are we then living in His light? Are we then being His light for others?

While we bring our candles the symbol of the light of Christ our Saviour to be Blessed today, do we come before Him with hearts ready to be consecrated to Him? To be beacons of His love, peace and joy.

O Holy Spirit Lord, we present ourselves to the Lord our God. Bless and anoint us that we might shine forth with the light of Christ on our face and in our hearts. To love and to serve. Amen

First reading

Malachi 3:1-4 †
The Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

Gospel

Luke 2:22-40
My eyes have seen your salvation

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,
just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
a light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 1, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

The fertile soil of our faith was so enriched, and the seeds of sacrifice planted by the precious blood of the Martyrs. They trusted in the Lord and knew that their suffering was only for a moment till they spent eternity in paradise with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. He who laid down His life for His friends, welcomed His friends into heaven. We can now rest in the enormous shade of the mustard tree. The mustard tree of our faith and in the arms of Him who shelters us.

Are we all called to die a heroic Martyrs death? No, there are many Saints who have gone before us whom sacrificed their lives for Christ and brethren in so many varied ways that did not involve a Martyrs death. Still in a deep sense they died for their faith.

Let us take courage, trust in our ever faithful lord, and sow the seeds of love through the joy of the Gospel. Amen

First reading

Hebrews 10:32-39 †
We are the sort who keep faithful

Remember all the sufferings that you had to meet after you received the light, in earlier days; sometimes by being yourselves publicly exposed to insults and violence, and sometimes as associates of others who were treated in the same way. For you not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but you happily accepted being stripped of your belongings, knowing that you owned something that was better and lasting. Be as confident now, then, since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.

Only a little while now, a very little while,
and the one that is coming will have come; he will not delay.
The righteous man will live by faith,
but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.

You and I are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it; we are the sort who keep faithful until our souls are saved.

Gospel

Mark 4:26-34
The kingdom of God is a mustard seed growing into the biggest shrub of all

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.