Archive for March, 2019

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Posted: March 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

God our loving Father willed that His children be saved from the darkness of sin. And He chose a loving mother to bear His only Begotten Son, the Light of the world. So that through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus, the ransom of sin will be paid in full. So that we can live freely in His love. Mary who said Yes to our loving Father in Heaven also acceded to her Son’s request to be our mother. She is our loving mother, Queen of Heaven.

Every Hail Mary we invoke, causes the seed of faith and love within us to grow and eventuality bear fruit. Both for love of brethren and of the love of the Lord our God. Through our Blessed mother’s intercession we are guarded against evil, our hearts, thoughts and actions made pure. Let us turn to her for guidance so that all we say and do may be pleasing to her Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

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

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

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

Second reading

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

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

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

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

Gospel

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

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

Third Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 23, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Fruits of the Fig: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Lent

Readings:

Exodus 3:1–8, 13–15
Psalm 103:1–4, 6–8, 11
1 Corinthians 10:1–6, 10–12
Luke 13:1–9

In the Church, we are made children of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God who makes known His name and His ways to Moses in today’s First Reading.

Mindful of His covenant with Abraham (see Exodus 2:24), God came down to rescue His people from the slave drivers of Egypt. Faithful to that same covenant (see Luke 1:54–55, 72–73), He sent Jesus to redeem all lives from destruction, as today’s Psalm tells us.

Paul says in today’s Epistle that God’s saving deeds in the Exodus were written down for the Church, intended as a prelude and foreshadowing of our own Baptism by water, our liberation from sin, our feeding with spiritual food and drink.
Yet the events of the Exodus were also given as a “warning”—that being children of Abraham is no guarantee that we will reach the promised land of our salvation.

At any moment, Jesus warns in today’s Gospel, we could perish—not as God’s punishment for being “greater sinners”—but because, like the Israelites in the wilderness, we stumble into evil desires, fall into grumbling, forget all His benefits.

Jesus calls us today to “repentance”—not a one-time change of heart, but an ongoing, daily transformation of our lives. We’re called to live the life we sing about in today’s Psalm—blessing His holy name, giving thanks for His kindness and mercy.
The fig tree in His parable is a familiar Old Testament symbol for Israel (see Jeremiah 8:3; 24:1–10). As the fig tree is given one last season to produce fruit before it is cut down, so too Jesus is giving Israel one final opportunity to bear good fruits as evidence of its repentance (see Luke 3:8).
Lent should be for us like the season of reprieve given to the fig tree, a grace period in which we let “the gardener,” Christ, cultivate our hearts, uprooting what chokes the divine life in us, strengthening us to bear fruits that will last into eternity.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 23, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Let us not take the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father for granted! When will we come to our senses and see the goodness and abundance in which He provides for us. Not so in luxuries but the fullness and richness of life filled with peace, joy and love in our hearts.

Many still will take all they can get from Him, then stray to lead wanton, decadent lifestyles. Their search for happiness never ends and soon enough they find only misery. For some it will be too late before they wake up to the reality of it all. Yes indeed the Lord is slow to anger and merciful but do not wait to the very end to turn back to Him. Come now as you are, sinful wretched and sorrowful. He will embrace you with His loving arms, heal and restore you.

Finally for those who are already serving Him with love in your heart for Him and for neighbour, then you are truly living in His presence. For there will Never ever be resentment in your heart come what may. For you know that you are truly and greatly loved by your Heavenly Father. Amen

First reading

Micah 7:14-15,18-20 †
Have pity on us one more time

With shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage,living confined in a forest with meadow land all around.
Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of Egypt grant us to see wonders.

What god can compare with you: taking fault away,
pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever
but delighting in showing mercy?
Once more have pity on us,
tread down our faults, to the bottom of the sea throw all our sins. Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your mercy, as you swore to our fathers from the days of long ago.

Gospel

Luke 15:1-3,11-32
The prodigal son

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:
‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.
‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.
‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”
‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Those who are jealous of others for whatever reasons possess hearts which are empty, more importantly they are far from the Lord our God. If only they would come to the realisation that God our Father loves them so much and uniquely there will be no room whatsoever for jealousy. For it will be filled with God’s abundant love.

Instead they sometimes choose to allow their jealousy to consume them, that they fall into greater sin. How many then can only see the faults in others? How many get angry when their ‘enemies’ garner more attention and popularity? How many stoop to dishonour those they dislike when they are not present with their unfettered tongues? How many pieces of silver have they sold their own fellow brother and sister in Christ by writing them off in their hearts? Have they then not rejected Christ Himself?

Come now let us turn our hearts to Jesus and be healed of any jealousy, any sense of feeling unloved or feeing inadequate. Let the love of Christ Jesus our Lord embrace and consume us. So that we can be free to live fully in His love and light this very day. Amen

First reading

Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28 †
Let us kill him: then we shall see what becomes of his dreams

Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.
His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’
But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.
Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed.
Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.

Gospel

Matthew 21:33-43,45-46
This is the landlord’s heir: come, let us kill him

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’
When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 21, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Time passes very swiftly for everyone. You may not remember anything from when you were a babe, but certainly you will remember bits of your early childhood, the invincible teenage years and now look at you now! What have you done to please the Lord your God? How has your faith and relationship with Him grown? Have you helped those He had put unto your path? Or have you been oblivious? Caught up in living your life to the ‘fullest’. Never looking past your immediate family, concerned only with yours and their comfort and security. There is still time you say well here is the truth, there is NOT!

For time belongs to God alone and time for us only exists in His presence. The rich, wealthy and powerful have no names for the Lord only remembers the names of the poor and the poor in spirit, who hunger and thirst for Him. So while we are on this short pilgrim journey let us turn heavenward and look upon the stars as Abraham our Father did. To recognise God our Father’s children; our dear sisters and brothers in which we are called to look after and care for till one day soon, we are all reunited in His Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord God Almighty Father, thy will alone be done. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 17:5-10
A curse on the man who puts his trust in man and turns from the Lord

The Lord says this:

‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh,whose heart turns from the Lord.
He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness,
a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord,
with the Lord for his hope.
He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm,
its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.

‘The heart is more devious than any other thing,
perverse too: who can pierce its secrets?
I, the Lord, search to the heart, I probe the loins,
to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.’

Gospel

Luke 16:19-31
Dives and Lazarus

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”
‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 20, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

It is very good indeed to want to take up the leadership role. To be counted as one who led the flock of the Lord our God into His Heavenly fold. However how many truly have this goal in their hearts? How many are willing to suffer and die if need be for the sake of His sheep? To be fully obedient to the Lord our God and His Church and to accept the good counsel of the Holy Spirit which may lead us in an entirely different direction from what we planned?

The voices of the world grow louder each day and they demand to have leaders stand up for their causes. To legalise abortion, same sex marriages, to have female priests serve in the churches, to allow human cloning and so on. Even some ‘leaders’ in the church are enticed into gaining popularity by agreeing with them. When will they heed the word of God who says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Lord Jesus if Your call is for me to be a leader then mould me and make me one after Your own heart. To serve and not to be served. To lay down my life if need be for You and my brethren, all for Your Glory alone. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 18:18-20
My enemies are digging a pit for me

‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’

Listen to me, O Lord,
hear what my adversaries are saying.
Should evil be returned for good?
For they are digging a pit for me.
Remember how I stood in your presence to plead on their behalf, to turn your wrath away from them.

Gospel

Matthew 20:17-28
They will condemn the Son of Man to death

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’
When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’