Archive for April, 2019

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 30, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Mi casa es su casa meaning my home is your home. What a warm and loving invitation, an epitome of what it means to be in communion. Yet these days very few will open their homes with such welcome and hospitality. Not for family, friends let alone the stranger. For this simply takes too much time, effort and zero return on cost! How then were the believers, the early Christians as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles able to live in such harmony and communion with one another?

It is through the power of the Resurrection of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! Our little hearts become bigger and bigger as it is filled with His peace, love and joy. As we live in the Spirit, we find we don’t have want or need for anything of the world. All we will ever need is provided for by our loving Father in Heaven. We give gladly of our hearts not to receive anything in return, yet we are blessed abundantly. The more we give, the more receive. Today there are still such loving communities of disciples living in the Spirit! Do you belong to one of these?

Thank You Lord Jesus, for by Your death and Resurrection You have opened the gates of Heaven for us. Through You we become one with You and with one another. Glory and Praise to You our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:32-37 †
The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul

The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.
The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.
None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.
There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Gospel

John 3:7-15
No-one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man who has come down from heaven

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Do not be surprised when I say:
You must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.

‘I tell you most solemnly, we speak only about what we know and witness only to what we have seen and yet you people reject our evidence.
If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world, how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven; and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 29, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Through our baptism we have been given seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, are we using them to grow in Holiness? Do we even know what they are to begin with? And if we say that we do, then how many of them are we using, if any at all? For in using the gifts we have been given and living in the light of Christ Jesus our Lord we walk in the light;and His light shines through us for others. We can boldly proclaim His love for all by our lives lived in the Spirit.

We will not be comfortable in coming to Jesus only in the night, but throughout the day and night;for we carry His light with us in our hearts, thoughts and all that we do. In moments of difficult we turn to Him and He will empower us to overcome all fear and the challenges we face.

O Holy Spirit come! Be my guide this and everyday. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:23-31 †
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly

As soon as Peter and John were released they went to the community and told them everything the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they lifted up their voice to God all together. ‘Master,’ they prayed ‘it is you who made heaven and earth and sea, and everything in them; you it is who said through the Holy Spirit and speaking through our ancestor David, your servant:

Why this arrogance among the nations,
these futile plots among the peoples?
Kings on earth setting out to war,
princes making an alliance, against the Lord and against his Anointed.

‘This is what has come true: in this very city Herod and Pontius Pilate made an alliance with the pagan nations and the peoples of Israel, against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, but only to bring about the very thing that you in your strength and your wisdom had predetermined should happen. And now, Lord, take note of their threats and help your servants to proclaim your message with all boldness, by stretching out your hand to heal and to work miracles and marvels through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ As they prayed, the house where they were assembled rocked; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly.

Gospel

John 3:1-8
Unless a man is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God

There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.’ Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly, unless a man is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’

Nicodemus said, ‘How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God: what is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

Second Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 27, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Breath of New Life: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 5:12–16
Psalm 118:2–4, 13–15, 22–24
Revelation 1:9–13, 17–19
John 20:19–31

The prophet Daniel in a vision saw “One like the Son of Man” receive everlasting kingship (see Daniel 7:9–14). John is taken to heaven in today’s Second Reading where he sees Daniel’s prophecy fulfilled in Jesus, who appears as “One like a Son of Man.”

Jesus is clad in the robe of a High Priest (see Exodus 28:4; Wisdom 18:24) and wearing the gold sash of a king (see 1 Maccabees 10:89). He has been exalted by the right hand of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

His risen body, which the Apostles touch in today’s Gospel, has been made a lifegiving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45).

As the Father anointed Him with the Spirit and power (see Acts 10:38), Jesus pours out that Spirit on the Apostles, sending them into the world “as the Father has sent Me.”

Jesus “breathes” the Spirit of His divine life into the Apostles—as God blew the “breath of life” into Adam (see Genesis 2:7), as Elijah’s prayer returned “the life breath” to the dead child (see 1 Kings 17:21–23), and as the Spirit breathed new life into the slain in the valley of bones (see Ezekiel 37:9–10).

His creative breath unites the Apostles—His Church—to His body, and empowers them to breathe His life into a dying world, to make it a new creation.

In today’s Gospel and First Reading, we see the Apostles fulfilling this mission with powers only God possesses—the power to forgive sins and to work “signs and wonders,” a biblical expression only used to describe the mighty works of God (see Exodus 7:3; 11:10; Acts 7:36).

Thomas and the others saw “many other signs” after Jesus was raised from the dead. They saw and they believed. They have been given His life, which continues in the Church’s Word and sacraments, so that we who have not seen might inherit His blessings and “have life in His name.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 27, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Unless we see, hear, feel for ourselves we will not believe! The disbelieve of the disciples that the Lord had Risen initially is something for us to ponder about. We see how patiently loving our Lord Jesus is by revealing Himself to them at different intervals. Allowing for them to grow fully into men and women of great faith! How has our own faith in the Risen Lord grown? Are we fully convicted to proclaim the good news to others?

If we have truly experienced the love and presence of the Risen Lord ourselves can we remain silent? For it is an overwhelming joy that fills our hearts that we seek to share with all who will listen. So then while we have been instructed by our Lord Jesus Christ to ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’ We do so for love of Him, obedience naturally follows.

Let us be convicted as we boldly proclaim that Christ has died, Christ has Risen and Christ will come again. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:13-21 †
We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard

The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’
So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel

Mark 16:9-15
Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.
After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.
Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Now that Lent is over and we are in the Easter Octave, are you living a life renewed in Christ Jesus our Risen Lord? Are you sharing the joy of Easter with your family, friends, community? Or have you returned to your old comfortable way of life? Seeking familiar pleasures, heading no where, bearing no fruit. In other words gone ‘fishing’ catching nothing!

Jesus our master is inviting you to be obedient and cast your net where He tells you. To change the direction of your life so that you can live more fully in His love bearing much fruit. Then come and be with Him as He awaits to embrace and nourish you at every Holy Eucharist, then you will see with eyes fully opened that it is the Lord! Then He can send you out to share with great joy and fervour that He, Jesus is our Risen Lord; and it is He alone who saves! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:1-12
The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be saved

While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel

John 21:1-14
Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Our salvation lies in our Lord Jesus Christ who came to save us from eternal death! Through His life given up for love of us, by His death and Resurrection we are set free from the clutches of sin. To live fully in His love.

Such is His love for us that to this very day, in our moments of great distress, anxieties, despair He comes to offer the peace that He alone can give. ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? He will say to us, reminding us that His promise of true life had already been fulfilled. We should therefore cling to that promise and live in the joy of our Risen Lord. Then like St Peter and St John we too can share the good news of Christ our Lord’s mercy and love. So that all who repent of their sins will be forgiven and will live free in His love, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:11-26 †
You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the dead

Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.
‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Gospel

Luke 24:35-48
It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 24, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We all at one time or another will face issues of insecurity, difficulty in trusting and believing in our faith. Sometimes we look for comfort or distraction in the world and thereafter fall into sin. Then guilt and regret sets in and at times we despair and become despondent. This whole situation happens more often than not, when we are inward looking. We find ourselves going backwards instead of moving forward to life in Christ.

We must always look to Jesus Christ our Risen Lord who has already conquered death and sin. We must hold on to the promises fulfilled in Him! In our moments of difficulty if we turn to look for Him, we will find that He had never left. Through His Word our hearts are renewed, set aflame. We are sent to offer our hope and faith in Him to others in need. When we live in the promises of our Risen Lord, we are empowered by Him. We can expect amazing things to happen, all for the glory of God. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:1-10 †
I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus, walk!

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Gospel

Luke 24:13-35
They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.