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.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Too often we are so caught up in our worldly affairs, our griefs and sorrows that we cannot see, hear His voice or even recognise our Risen Lord standing before us. Can our Guardian angel then help and point us in the right direction?

Those who live in the presence of the Risen Lord can attest to the peace and joy they carry in their hearts with them where ever they go. They know with a sense of certainty that life on earth is only a gateway to true eternal life with our Saviour Jesus Christ. And so they live out their baptismal vows to grow in Holiness.

Therefore sisters and brothers let us live loving, Christ centred lives. So they we will be able to lead others who do not yet know Jesus, into new life with Him through baptism. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading

Acts 2:36-41 †
You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus

On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Gospel

John 20:11-18
‘I have seen the Lord and he has spoken to me’

Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

On Today’s Gospel

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

See the transformative power of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord! A simple fisherman becomes a fisher of men for the Lord. He who denied ever knowing Him now and forevermore proclaims His life, death and Resurrection. His Kingship and rule over Heaven and earth.

What about us? When will we stop living in denial? Of ever knowing Him by our actions and inaction of drawing closer to Him through prayer and His Word for us. He makes His presence known to us, yet do we humbly come before Him, clasping at His feet. That He may touch our hearts and set us free to live in His love. Stop living in your tombs! Come out and meet Your Risen Lord!

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

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always,
for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad and my tongue cried out with joy; my body, too, will rest in the hope that you will not abandon my soul to Hades nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me,
you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Gospel

Matthew 28:8-15
Tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee: they will see me there

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Easter Sunday

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

How beautiful is our Easter Celebrations which began at the Vigil with a walk from darkness into light when from the paschal candle; all other candles were lit. We heard the triumph and glory of God through the readings, we welcomed our newly baptised sisters and brothers into one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We renewed our own baptismal vows and rejoiced in the joy of our Risen Lord!

This morning on the Holiest of Sundays the beginning in which all other Sundays follow, we celebrate the Day of the Risen Lord. We hear a new Gospel truth not proclaimed the evening before, then we await in eager anticipation to receive the Risen Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Sunday is truly a day set apart, Holy, Holy, Holy. Amen

Happy Easter

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

Today we remember and celebrate the second and final part, the completion of the passover of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which He passed over from death into new life! By His Resurrection we have victory over death! We rise to new life with Him just as the the neophytes do this very evening through their baptism.

Let us live then in the joy of the Risen Lord bringing the joy of the Gospel to all whom we meet! Happy Easter dearest sisters and brothers in Christ. To Him be the glory forever more. Amen

Easter Sunday

Posted: April 20, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Seeing and Believing: Scott Hahn Reflects on Easter Sunday

Readings:

Acts 10:34, 37–43
Psalm 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23
Colossians 3:1–4
John 20:1–9

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb”—seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned . . . to preach . . . and testify” to all that they had seen—from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.

More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan—to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:27, 44).

Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them—that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” that today’s Psalm prophesies His Resurrection and exaltation (see Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb, give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.” We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above.

We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come—the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”

Holy Saturday

Posted: April 20, 2019 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures

Lessons in Holy Week

Posted: April 19, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Some lessons I’ve learnt over these few days in Holy week..

1. When the Lord tells you He has plans for you, expect the challenges you’ll face almost instantaneously.

2. You can choose to react the same old way or you can accept the humility of it all and be the first to love and be merciful.

3. People especially fellow parishioners are watching your every move. Hence either you lead by good example or lead them astray by your poor choices.

4. You are not entitled or privelleged just because you’re serving in some ministry, but rather as Jesus said you must be a servant for others.

5. Speak up for the truth always even if it is unpopular. For a disciple has a higher calling to follow after His master; who has said the truth will set you free!

Unnailing Vespers

Posted: April 19, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Today in our Parish the Church of St Anthony, after the 3pm Good Friday service we returned at 6:30pm for the unnailing vespers.

After hearing the echo of our voices in the crowd shouting crucify him, crucify him at the 3pm service, it was refreshing to join the ranks of his disciples Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus as they brought our Lord down from the cross. It was very touching for many as we sang with one voice the vespers while witnessing the unnailing and at the very end the carrying off an almost life size Jesus. There was a certain feel of a more complete tridium this year.

Yes it will only end with Easter Sunday vespers which is something I look forward too, however we who attended this evening vespers are certainly thankful for the unique experience.

Praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Good Friday 2019

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

We recall the first part of our Lord’s passover today, in which he passed over from life into death. He suffered tremendously, physically, mentally, spiritually, and died a cruel death for love of you and me.

He was crushed, bore the sins of the world and carried it with him to his tomb. So that death will NOT be the final answer for us! God Himself came down to save us, He paid the debt in full without which we would surely die. The temple veil was torn, no longer are we separated from the love of God!

We adore you O Christ and we praise you. For by your Holy cross you have redeemed the world!

Thank you Jesus my Lord for loving and saving me. Amen

Personal Reflection Lent To Easter

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

I have often repeated at many prayer meetings over the last few years that there is no Christmas without Advent; just as there is no Easter without Lent. It is all about the journey up the mountain to reach the pinnacle. And because of the sacrifices and the commitment it takes to complete the journey, we find at the top of that very mountain Jesus our Lord waiting to embrace us. What joy! What cause for great celebration!

I began 2019 with a commitment to grow deeper in my faith and love for our Lord. And so I was resolute in overcoming habitual sins by praying more and reading scripture more. And to serve the community as best as I could. In fact it was because of the various communities that I’ve journeyed with this Lenten season that has enabled be to more faithful, faith-filled and steadfast! This year I also signed up for a series of Catholic talks on leadership, attended a Lenten retreat and most recently a two day Passover Seminar.

The latter was led by whom I’ve affectionately called my spiritual father, a lay person Brother Lalith Perera from Sri Lanka. He is truly an anointed speaker who had made many difficult theological concepts or truths easy for everyone to understand. It was during this retreat that I was charged up and eager to hold on to the promises of Christ as I know He has great plans for me. That also means more challenges and sacrifices are to be expected.

Post Seminar and on hindsight one of the reasons it was exceptionally fruitful for me is because I simply said yes when I was asked if I could help, tired as I was. Because the night before our community meeting ended late and by the time I got to bed it was close to midnight. Woke up at 5am to reflect on the word, rushed for morning EC then on to the seminar thinking I could rest. But when a dear sweet lady, family of brother Lalith asked if I could help I was silently praising the Lord for yet another opportunity to serve Him through His community. Didn’t matter what the task or tasks were. I was given a tag to put on. When some close friends saw me wearing it, one of them and me why so special? Why do you have it and we don’t? I jokingly answered, “Can you drink this cup?” They laughed and so did I. But again now looking back I can’t help but think there is more to that simple line. To follow Christ is to carry our cross and follow Him! Can we indeed drink His cup when it is presented to us?

The seminar and the follow up talk on Tuesday, “When Heaven goes silent” has given me great insights to the promises of our ever loving God. To have the unfailing, rock solid hope and faith our Blessed Mother had and to know without doubt that all God’s promises will be fulfilled. So while its still two more days to Easter, I already have the joy of the Risen Lord in my heart! Praise the Lord!

(I recorded part of the praise and worship to share… Come and see for yourselves…. Next time…)

On Today’s Gospel

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

Today at the start of the tridium towards Easter we recall the great love of God our Heavenly Father who gave us Jesus His high priest. Through Him specially chosen men are anointed to be shepherds after His own heart. To tenderly love and serve His flock by getting down on their hands and knees if they have to. For our Lord Jesus Christ Himself set the standard by His own example. So let us pray for all priests as they renew their vows of service to Him and to us.

To pass over from death to new life with Him, Jesus gave us of Himself through the Holy Eucharist. To nourish, strengthen and to be given the special grace to serve and love one another as He loved us. Through His precious blood we are washed clean and unless we allow Him to touch us, we will have no union with Him. For just as we receive the bread of life into our very being, He too receives us into His very bosom.

Lord Jesus while I am not one of your consecrated priest, I renew by commitment to love and serve Your flock. By my baptism I was made priest, prophet and king to love and serve them with all my heart. I will get down on my knees to wash their feet if I have to, just as You have done for me. Bless me Lord and keep me close to Your heart. Amen

First reading

Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 †
The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt, I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Second reading

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 †
Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Gospel
John 13:1-15
Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.
They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’
When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 17, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We know the Word of God is alive and active. It is powerful and gives life. In an instant our lives can be transformed when the Lord our God breathes His Word into our hearts. And so a disciple seeks His Master’s Word by coming into His presence day after day. Desiring the grace to remain steadfast and faithful. Through this experience the tongue is discipled. It speaks only to glorify the ever living God.

How then can a disciple betray the Master by his or her own very words? When we try to justify our ill intentions or try to rationalise them. When our words tear down and cause grievous hurt. When we are in denial of our sinful choices. When we allow pride to dictate what we say. When we offer lip service to our Lord and our brethren with no commitment or dedication to put our words into action. All these are a result of hearts empty of the Word of God.

Jesus my Lord, I seek You daily that I may serve You worthily according to Your will. Grant me your grace and mercy that I may love You and my brethren evermore dearly. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 50:4-9 †
Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue.
So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech.
Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me? Then let us go to court together. Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25
‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel

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

The light of all nations our Lord Jesus Christ has come to cast away darkness and sin, to gather us all unto the bosom of our Heavenly Father how are you prepared to receive Him?

Funny how most if not all can identify themselves with St Peter admitting that at one time or another they have denied knowing Him, even if just in a certain sense. And if they see it as a betrayal it comes across milder than what Judas Iscariot did. So almost no one will identify themselves as having been Judas!

How different then is it when we barter off Jesus for something or someone? What are the thirty silver pieces we had received? Relaxing pleasures with family and friends on Sunday instead of attending the Holy Eucharist together and keeping Sunday Holy? Not attending prayer or community meetings to share in the love of Christ, placing all else as priority? Receiving Holy Communion but treating family, friends, even strangers harshly when things don’t go our way. Many times we have sold Him off for the sake of our pride, pleasures, lusts, greed and self centredness. So just as we cannot say we have not committed murder, when we have murdered someone in our hearts, in our words actions, and killed their spirit; so too we cannot say we have never betrayed Jesus as Judas did!

The good news is that if we are contrite in heart and spirit, we will find that our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for us is waiting with open arms to embrace us in reconciliation. So let us run to Him now! Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 †
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth

Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples. The Lord called me before I was born,from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword,and hid me in the shadow of his hand.He made me into a sharpened arrow,and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)
in whom I shall be glorified’; while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,I have exhausted myself for nothing’; and all the while my cause was with the Lord,my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,to bring Jacob back to him,to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Gospel

John 13:21-33,36-38
‘What you are going to do, do quickly’

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.
When he had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified. If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children, I shall not be with you much longer. You will look for me, And, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

For all of us who had turned back to our Lord Jesus Christ and had come before Him in our sinfulness,found that He still loved us as on the day we were born. No severe punishment, no torturous penance. Our separation from His love, held captive by our sins was punishment enough. He simply embraced us, brought light into our darkness and restored us as heirs to the Heavenly Kingdom. This is the love of our God!

Yet do we perfume His feet in our love and thanksgiving? So that we bring anyone and everyone’s attention to Jesus our Lord. Ah so this their God? See how they bow down lovingly at His feet, how they move gracefully to anoint his feet with peace we lack, with joy we do not seem to possess. See how He looks upon them with great love and tenderness, I want that relationship too!

Or we can simply look inwards and think to ourselves that we are deserving of such love. Look only to what we lack and how we will fill that emptiness with our worldliness! Is this how we pay tribute to our Lord? With ingratitude and selfishness? Love is never to be kept within one’s own heart. It is always to be given away and then we will find it never runs dry. For those who keep it tightly hidden, will find they held on to nothing.

Lord Jesus thank You for your love and mercy in my life. Let me bring the light You have brought into my life and may it shine for all the world to see. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 42:1-7 †
Here is my chosen one in whom my soul delights

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit
that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud,
or make his voice heard in the streets.
He does not break the crushed reed,
nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice; he will neither waver, nor be crushed until true justice is established on earth, for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
he who created the heavens and spread them out, who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it, who gave breath to its people and life to the creatures that move in it:

‘I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right; I have taken you by the hand and formed you; I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations, ‘to open the eyes of the blind,
to free captives from prison,
and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.’

Gospel

John 12:1-11
‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’
Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

Passion Sunday

Posted: April 13, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Passion of the Christ: Scott Hahn Reflects on Passion Sunday

Readings:

Isaiah 50:4–7
Psalm 22:8–9, 17–20, 23–24
Philippians 2:6–11
Luke 22:14–23:56

“What is written about Me is coming to fulfillment,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Luke 22:37).
Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.
In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.

The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Luke 22:63–65; 23:10–11, 16), as His hands and feet are pierced (see Luke 23:33), as enemies gamble for His clothes (see Luke 23:34), and as three times they dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Luke 23:35, 37, 39).
He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help . . . I shall not be put to shame.”
Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12–14, 17–19; Ephesians 2:2; 5:6).

This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken, that one day we too will be with Him in Paradise (see Luke 23:42). Seeing and Believing.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Jesus came to gather us all unto Himself, so that we can be one united in Him, through the love God our Heavenly Father. So as we draw closer to Holy week let us examine ourselves to see how much have we grown in our love and faith? How much more united are we as Christian disciples bringing the joy of the Gospel into the World?

Have we allowed the seeds of the Word of God to be planted deep into our very own hearts and the seedlings are growing through our acts of love for others? Have we died to ourselves and are ready to rise more fully in Him at Easter? Are we more merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful?

Do not despair if you not quite there, turn to our Lord Jesus Christ this very day. Set your sights on Him and He will guide and lead you. He will wash you clean and restore you to live more fully in His love. For He will never abandon us. He is our Shepherd and we are the sheep of His flock. Amen

Jesus came to gather us all unto Himself, so that we can be one united in Him, through the love God our Heavenly Father. So as we draw closer to Holy week let us examine ourselves to see how much have we grown in our love and faith? How much more united are we as Christian disciples bringing the joy of the Gospel into the World?

Have we allowed the seeds of the Word of God to be planted deep into our very own hearts and the seedlings are growing through our acts of love for others? Have we died to ourselves and are ready to rise more fully in Him at Easter? Are we more merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful?

Do not despair if you not quite there, turn to our Lord Jesus Christ this very day. Set your sights on Him and He will guide and lead you. He will wash you clean and restore you to live more fully in His love. For He will never abandon us. He is our Shepherd and we are the sheep of His flock. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 37:21-28 †
I will bring them home and make them one nation

The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’

Gospel

John 11:45-56
Jesus was to die to gather together the scattered children of God

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’ reading
Ezekiel 37:21-28 †
I will bring them home and make them one nation

The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’

Gospel
John 11:45-56
Jesus was to die to gather together the scattered children of God

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 12, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

There will always be folks who will try to find fault in you. They will throw ‘stones’ at you and even incite others to do likewise. Especially when you are trying your best to grow in holiness and your relationship with the Lord. For this is the nature of sin and evil in the world. How you respond if you must, is what distinguishes you from those who are not disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Does your fortitude come from the faith in God our Heavenly Father whom you know will never abandon you? Hence when you do respond, you would have allowed the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you in all you say and do. You will NOT pick up ‘stones’ yourself to throw back. For like Jeremiah in today’s first reading, you have committed your cause to the Lord!

Jesus my Lord, You have gone through it all, betrayal, mental and physical anguish; even the temptation to give in and give up. Be with me in all my moments of difficulty. Thy will be done Lord, thy will be done. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13 †
He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me,
‘“Terror from every side!”Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
All those who used to be my friends
watched for my downfall,‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error. Then we will master him
and take our revenge!’
But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero;
my opponents will stumble, mastered,
confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.
But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart,
let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42
They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:
I said, you are gods?
So the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.
Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because he says, “I am the son of God.”
If I am not doing my Father’s work,
there is no need to believe me;
but if I am doing it,
then even if you refuse to believe in me,
at least believe in the work I do;
then you will know for sure
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.
He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Does our Lord Jesus Christ have to constantly convince us that He is the one true God sent by our Heavenly Father to save us all from death?

If not why then are we constantly unfaithful? Why do we choose sin over love for Him? Why do we hold on to unforgiveness of others when this distances ourselves from Him? Why do we not make every effort and time to hear His voice through prayer and the reading of His Word but are willing to be fully absorbed by our work, television, social media, games and other pleasures?

Lord Jesus I hear Your call to be faithful to Your Word and lift up to You my desire and intention to do this today and everyday. May the Holy Spirit be with me to show me the path to eternal life with You. Amen

First reading

Genesis 17:3-9 †
Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations

Abram bowed to the ground and God said this to him, ‘Here now is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations, and your issue shall be kings. I will establish my Covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in, the whole land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity, and I will be your God.’

Gospel

John 8:51-59
Your father Abraham saw my Day and was glad

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘I tell you most solemnly, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’

The Jews said, ‘Now we know for certain that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?’ Jesus answered:

‘If I were to seek my own glory that would be no glory at all; my glory is conferred by the Father, by the one of whom you say, “He is our God” although you do not know him.
But I know him, and if I were to say: I do not know him, I should be a liar, as you are liars yourselves.
But I do know him, and I faithfully keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad.’

The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I Am.’

At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 10, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

How deep is your faith in the Lord your God? Would you renounce your faith? Partake in idolatry for the sake of peace and quiet? No?

Can you then choose work or pleasure over attending the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration or any day of obligation? Can you then participate in the ritualistic rites, prayers to other gods to appease your family? Can you tell your children to skip mass or skip attending Cathechism classes as their studies are more important right now? Can you pick and choose the best doctrines and practises of the various Christian denominations to follow? Can you then turn to fortune tellers, card readers for guidance? We need to examine carefully all that we have done and all that we have failed to do; and turn back to the Lord our God.

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:5-6 is this not what we profess when we stand to recite the creed? Hold fast therefore to your faith in our one triune God. For He is indeed faithful to those who are faithful and obedient unto Him. His light will shine through any darkness we may encounter. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen

First reading

Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28
God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

Gospel

John 8:31-42
If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.’

They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave. Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured, but the son’s place is assured. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
I know that you are descended from Abraham;
but in spite of that you want to kill me
because nothing I say has penetrated into you. What I, for my part, speak of is what I have seen with my Father; but you, you put into action the lessons learnt from your father.’

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:

‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did. As it is, you want to kill me when I tell you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did. What you are doing is what your father does.’

‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:

‘If God were your father, you would love me,
since I have come here from God; yes, I have come from him; not that I came because I chose, no, I was sent, and by him.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

What is it about gazing upon a man crucified on the cross that will save us? To many it is simply morbid and distasteful. Rather they would prefer to look upon an empty cross. It serves its purpose as a reminder. Really? Why then was Moses instructed to put a fiery serpent on a standard? Why was the standard alone insufficient? Hence it not the wood of the cross that had brought salvation to the World! It was God made man, born into the world for us; who hung on the cross and died for our sins that saved us.

So when we gaze upon the crucifix we are reminded of the great love of God our Father who sent for us His only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The great love of Jesus our Lord who willingly laid down His life for us so that we might have new life in Him. The Holy Spirit that reveals this mystery and unites us all through the one for all act of love. We are one Body in Him through our ever increasing faith and love. And as we gaze long and lovingly enough upon the crucifix, we begin to see the Risen Lord with arms outstretched ready to embrace us.

O Cross reign Victorious! O Cross Thou wilt redeem us. Amen

First reading

Numbers 21:4-9 †
If anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked up at the bronze serpent and lived

The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’
At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

Gospel

John 8:21-30
When you have lifted up the Son of Man then you will know that I am He

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am going away; you will look for me
and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’

The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on:

‘You are from below; I am from above.
You are of this world; I am not of this world.
I have told you already: You will die in your sins. Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’

So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered:

‘What I have told you from the outset.
About you I have much to say
and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is truthful, and what I have learnt from him
I declare to the world.’

They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said:

‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
then you will know that I am He
and that I do nothing of myself:
what the Father has taught me is what I preach; he who sent me is with me,
and has not left me to myself,
for I always do what pleases him.’

As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 8, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Remain steadfast! Indeed there is great beauty in the world to be admired. Yet do not allow your mind engage in fantasy to pollute your heart. To desire then lust over till your sinfulness spins out of control. Instead master yourself! Look away and skyward towards heaven. Pray always to overcome all sin and temptations. For the evil one lurks and seeks to trip us up especially during this season where we are striving for greater holiness. Giving in, is to plunge ourselves into darkness. Unless we turn to the Lord our God we will be lost, stumbling into greater darkness.

Truly our hope lies in the light of the World, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! He alone can roll away the huge stone which keeps us buried in the tomb of our sins. He is the light that will set us free to live fully in His light and love. He alone will vindicate us from the darkness that seeks to surround us and keep us hidden from Him. Let us therefore strive to always walk in His light. Amen

First reading

Daniel 13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62
Susannah and the elders

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim. He had married Susanna daughter of Hilkiah, a woman of great beauty; and she was God-fearing, because her parents were worthy people and had instructed their daughter in the Law of Moses. Joakim was a very rich man, and had a garden attached to his house; the Jews would often visit him since he was held in greater respect than any other man. Two elderly men had been selected from the people that year to act as judges. Of such the Lord said, ‘Wickedness has come to Babylon through the elders and judges posing as guides to the people.’ These men were often at Joakim’s house, and all who were engaged in litigation used to come to them. At midday, when everyone had gone, Susanna used to take a walk in her husband’s garden. The two elders, who used to watch her every day as she came in to take her walk, gradually began to desire her. They threw reason aside, making no effort to turn their eyes to heaven, and forgetting its demands of virtue. So they waited for a favourable moment; and one day Susanna came as usual, accompanied only by two young maidservants. The day was hot and she wanted to bathe in the garden. There was no one about except the two elders, spying on her from their hiding place. She said to the servants, ‘Bring me some oil and balsam and shut the garden door while I bathe.’
Hardly were the servants gone than the two elders were there after her. ‘Look,’ they said ‘the garden door is shut, no one can see us. We want to have you, so give in and let us! Refuse, and we will both give evidence that a young man was with you and that was why you sent your maids away.’ Susanna sighed. ‘I am trapped,’ she said ‘whatever I do. If I agree, that means my death; if I resist, I cannot get away from you. But I prefer to fall innocent into your power than to sin in the eyes of the Lord.’ Then she cried out as loud as she could. The two elders began shouting too, putting the blame on her, and one of them ran to open the garden door. The household, hearing the shouting in the garden, rushed out by the side entrance to see what was happening; once the elders had told their story the servants were thoroughly taken aback, since nothing of this sort had ever been said of Susanna.
Next day a meeting was held at the house of her husband Joakim. The two elders arrived, in their vindictiveness determined to have her put to death. They addressed the company: ‘Summon Susanna daughter of Hilkiah and wife of Joakim.’ She was sent for, and came accompanied by her parents, her children and all her relations. All her own people were weeping, and so were all the others who saw her. The two elders stood up, with all the people round them, and laid their hands on the woman’s head. Tearfully she turned her eyes to heaven, her heart confident in God. The elders then spoke. ‘While we were walking by ourselves in the garden, this woman arrived with two servants. She shut the garden door and then dismissed the servants. A young man who had been hiding went over to her and they lay down together. From the end of the garden where we were, we saw this crime taking place and hurried towards them. Though we saw them together we were unable to catch the man: he was too strong for us; he opened the door and took to his heels. We did, however, catch this woman and ask her who the young man was. She refused to tell us. That is our evidence.’
Since they were elders of the people, and judges, the assembly took their word: Susanna was condemned to death. She cried out as loud as she could, ‘Eternal God, you know all secrets and everything before it happens; you know that they have given false evidence against me. And now have I to die, innocent as I am of everything their malice has invented against me?’
The Lord heard her cry and, as she was being led away to die, he roused the holy spirit residing in a young boy named Daniel who began to shout, ‘I am innocent of this woman’s death!’ At which all the people turned to him and asked, ‘What do you mean by these words?’ Standing in the middle of the crowd he replied, ‘Are you so stupid, sons of Israel, as to condemn a daughter of Israel unheard, and without troubling to find out the truth? Go back to the scene of the trial: these men have given false evidence against her.’
All the people hurried back, and the elders said to Daniel, ‘Come and sit with us and tell us what you mean, since God has given you the gifts that elders have.’ Daniel said, ‘Keep the men well apart from each other for I want to question them.’ When the men had been separated, Daniel had one of them brought to him. ‘You have grown old in wickedness,’ he said ‘and now the sins of your earlier days have overtaken you, you with your unjust judgements, your condemnation of the innocent, your acquittal of guilty men, when the Lord has said, “You must not put the innocent and the just to death.” Now then, since you saw her so clearly, tell me what tree you saw them lying under?’ He replied, ‘Under a mastic tree.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God has already received your sentence from him and will slash you in half.’ He dismissed the man, ordered the other to be brought and said to him, ‘Spawn of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you, lust has led your heart astray! This is how you have been behaving with the daughters of Israel and they were too frightened to resist; but here is a daughter of Judah who could not stomach your wickedness! Now then, tell me what tree you surprised them under?’ He replied, ‘Under a holm oak.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God is waiting, with a sword to drive home and split you, and destroy the pair of you.’
Then the whole assembly shouted, blessing God, the saviour of those who trust in him. And they turned on the two elders whom Daniel had convicted of false evidence out of their own mouths. As prescribed in the Law of Moses, they sentenced them to the same punishment as they had intended to inflict on their neighbour. They put them to death; the life of an innocent woman was spared that day.

Gospel

John 8:12-20
‘I am the light of the world’

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am the light of the world;anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark;
he will have the light of life.’

At this the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’

Jesus replied:

‘It is true that I am testifying on my own behalf,but my testimony is still valid,
because I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
You judge by human standards; I judge no one, but if I judge, my judgement will be sound,because I am not alone: the one who sent me is with me; and in your Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I may be testifying on my own behalf, but the Father who sent me is my witness too.’

They asked him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered:

‘You do not know me, nor do you know my Father; if you did know me, you would know my Father as well.’

He spoke these words in the Treasury, while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him, because his time had not yet come.

Mercy over Justice

Posted: April 7, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections, Photos

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted: April 6, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Something New: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings:

Isaiah 43:16–21
Psalm 126:1–6
Philippians 3:8–14
John 8:1–11

The liturgy this Lent has shown us the God of the Exodus. He is a mighty and gracious God, Who out of faithfulness to His covenant has done “great things” for His people, as today’s Psalm puts it.

But the “things of long ago,” Isaiah tells us in today’s First Reading, are nothing compared to the “something new” that He will do in the future.

Today’s First Reading and Psalm look back to the marvelous deeds of the Exodus. Both see in the Exodus a pattern and prophecy of the future, when God will restore the fortunes of His people fallen in sin. The readings today look forward to a still greater Exodus, when God will gather in the exiled tribes of Israel that had been scattered to the four winds, the ends of the earth.

The new Exodus that Israel waited and hoped for has come in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Like the adulterous woman in today’s Gospel, all have been spared by the Lord’s compassion. All have heard His words of forgiveness, His urging to repentance, to be sinners no more. Like Paul in today’s Epistle, Christ has taken possession of every one, claimed each as a child of our heavenly Father.

In the Church, God has formed a people for Himself to announce His praise, just as Isaiah said He would. And as Isaiah promised, He has given His “chosen people” living waters to drink in the desert wastelands of the world (see John 7:37–39).

But our God is ever a God of the future, not of the past. We are to live with hopeful hearts, “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead,” as Paul tells us. His salvation, Paul says, is power in the present, “the power of His resurrection.”

We are to live awaiting a still greater and final Exodus, pursuing “the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling,” striving in faith to attain the last new thing God promises—”the resurrection of the dead.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 6, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

It is time to make up our minds once and for all, if Jesus is the Lord of our lives. If He is then we must strive to take up our cross and follow Him. Union with Him is what leads us to everlasting life. Through Him we are set free from the snares of evil and sin. He will vindicate us from the lies told of us. Remain steadfast then in His love.

For the world refuses to accept the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ! It seeks to discredit the Son of God who came to save us all. And so whoever speaks up for the truth, the way and the life is seen as the enemy. Be on guard therefore for the ways of the world are deceptive.

We who are for our Lord Jesus Christ have nothing to fear. For nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not even death! For we know we will surely rise with Him. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 11:18-20 †
‘Let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten’

The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned. O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

Gospel

John 7:40-52
The Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without hearing him

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.
The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 5, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Virtuous men and women after the heart of the Lord our God are generally seen as odd balls. They are often seen as unwelcomed company perhaps because they remind others those around of their shortcomings even though they may have not spoken a word. They take the ‘fun’ out of gatherings when they refuse to participate in indulgent activities. Their idea of a ‘good’ time is to praise and worship God in all they say and do. Enough with their sanctimonious attitudes!

The fact is that they who think such thoughts or say these things have hearts distant from the Lord our God. They have not encountered the living God and therefore have no knowledge of Him let alone a relationship. We must pray all the more for them, slowly and gently if God willing we will be given an opportunity to lead them to Christ Jesus our Lord. For we who have experienced the fullness of life in Him, know that all the sacrifices and challenges we face by carrying our cross to follow after Him; is miniscule compared to the bountiful graces and lavish gifts He showers upon us in His great love for us. Without Jesus there is no life.

Lord Jesus remain by my side in moments of great difficulty, amidst ridicule and persecution for my undying faith in You. Amen

Let us pray for the missionaries in the world…

First reading

Wisdom 2:1,12-22

Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man and condemn him to a shameful death

The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning:

‘Our life is short and dreary, nor is there any relief when man’s end comes,nor is anyone known who can give release from Hades. Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our breaches of the law and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.

He claims to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a son of the Lord.
Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down; his way of life is not like other men’s, the paths he treads are unfamiliar.

In his opinion we are counterfeit; he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth; he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as happy
and boasts of having God for his father.

Let us see if what he says is true, let us observe what kind of end he himself will have. If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.

Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his endurance to the proof. Let us condemn him to a shameful death since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

This is the way they reason, but they are misled, their malice makes them blind. They do not know the hidden things of God, they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded,they can see no reward for blameless souls.

Gospel

John 7:1-2,10,25-30

They would have arrested him, but his time had not yet come

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.

As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.’

Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:‘Yes, you know me
and you know where I came from. Yet I have not come of myself:no, there is one who sent me and I really come from him, and you do not know him,
but I know him because I have come from him and it was he who sent me.’

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Stubbornness of heart, refusing to repent and come back to the Lord our God. Thinking your job is going to provide all you need for yourself and one or two loved ones who depend on you and of whom you care for. You choose what, when and why and no one not even God is going to tell you otherwise. You say I don’t care what others say, so what if they have good intentions? They should not invade into my private affairs!

Do you even listen to yourself speak? Do you not realise you have made yourself into the molten calf? You have made yourself the centre of the universe, there is no room for the Lord Your God. No faux piety or prayer will be heard for the Lord sees into your heart. Come now be sensible, without the love of God in your heart, you cannot love the ones you profess to love the way you ought to. The nature of the sinful God-free life you choose prevents you from truly loving and caring.

Jesus came so that you might have life to the full in Him. Turn your heart towards Him. He wants to take your hand and lead you into the promised land. It is time to let go of your past and look to the future with and in Him. Amen

Pray for me as I do for you…

First reading

Exodus 32:7-14 †
Moses pleads with the Lord his God to spare Israel

The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’
But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’
So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Gospel

John 5:31-47
You place your hopes on Moses but Moses will be your accuser

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘Were I to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid; but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf, and I know that his testimony is valid.
You sent messengers to John,
and he gave his testimony to the truth: not that I depend on human testimony; no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.
John was a lamp alight and shining and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.
But my testimony is greater than John’s: the works my Father has given me to carry out, these same works of mine testify that the Father has sent me.
Besides, the Father who sent me bears witness to me himself. You have never heard his voice, you have never seen his shape,
and his word finds no home in you because you do not believe in the one he has sent.

‘You study the scriptures,
believing that in them you have eternal life; now these same scriptures testify to me, and yet you refuse to come to me for life!
As for human approval, this means nothing to me. Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.
I have come in the name of my Father and you refuse to accept me; if someone else comes in his own name
you will accept him.
How can you believe, since you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that comes from the one God?
Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father: you place your hopes on Moses, and Moses will be your accuser.
If you really believed him
you would believe me too,
since it was I that he was writing about; but if you refuse to believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 3, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Jesus is the gateway to a far deeper and meaningful relationship with God our Heavenly Father. We can do far greater things in Him through the grace and love He lavishly bestows on precisely because of our relationship with Him. For on our own we can do nothing! So then now is the time for us to grow in love, faith and solidify the bonds of your union with Him.

Come now so not wait till its too late. Come now as you are, do not wait to change first, do not wait on anyone else, let our Lord Jesus Christ be the one to change you and make you whole. Don’t even wait for your Parish’s reconciliation service before Holy Week, go now and see the priest for the Sacrament. Understand that every second of every time we get to spend in direct union with Christ is precious and life giving. And so want to have sin keep us from that.

May God our Heavenly Father bless us this day and everyday. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:8-15
On the day of salvation I will help you

Thus says the Lord:

At the favourable time I will answer you, on the day of salvation I will help you.
(I have formed you and have appointed you as covenant of the people.)
I will restore the land
and assign you the estates that lie waste.
I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’, to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

On every roadway they will graze, and each bare height shall be their pasture.
They will never hunger or thirst, scorching wind and sun shall never plague them;
for he who pities them will lead them and guide them to springs of water.
I will make a highway of all the mountains, and the high roads shall be banked up.

Some are on their way from afar, others from the north and the west, others from the land of Sinim.
Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth! You mountains, break into happy cries!
For the Lord consoles his people and takes pity on those who are afflicted.

For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,
the Lord has forgotten me.’
Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb?
Yet even if these forget,
I will never forget you.

Gospel

John 5:17-30
The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live

Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.
To this accusation Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing:
and whatever the Father does the Son does too.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything he does himself, and he will show him even greater things than these, works that will astonish you.
Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,
so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses; for the Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father.
Whoever refuses honour to the Son refuses honour to the Father who sent him.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever listens to my words,
and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life;
without being brought to judgement he has passed from death to life.
I tell you most solemnly,
the hour will come – in fact it is here already – when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live.
For the Father, who is the source of life, has made the Son the source of life;
and, because he is the Son of Man, has appointed him supreme judge.
Do not be surprised at this,
for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his voice: those who did good will rise again to life;
and those who did evil, to condemnation.
I can do nothing by myself;
I can only judge as I am told to judge, and my judging is just, because my aim is to do not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 2, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

There are indeed illnesses and conditions that are caused as a result of sin though not all. That being said, it is not for us to start judging others as to whom committed what and as a result is paying the price for this and that sin. What we must all do individually, is to examine our very own conscience and to pray to the Holy Spirit to show us the truth of what we have done and what we have failed to do. Then we turn to Jesus with contrite hearts who is waiting to restore us. Who will ask us do we want to be well? To be free of the sin that plagues our wretched bodies? To be fully restored and guilt free? Our act of contrition is our Yes to Him.

Our merciful and loving Lord instituted His Holy Church by which His graces flow. He provided for us a means to be fully reconciled with the Lord our God through the Sacrament of reconciliation and to be nourished and strengthened through the Holy Eucharist so as to be fruitful. Let us then be grateful as we are joyful to receive the sacraments and glorify Him by the way we live out the Gospel in our lives. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 47:1-9,12 †
Wherever the water flows, it will bring life and health

The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. The man went to the east holding his measuring line and measured off a thousand cubits; he then made me wade across the stream; the water reached my ankles. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my knees. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across again; the water reached my waist. He measured off another thousand; it was now a river which I could not cross; the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross. He then said, ‘Do you see, son of man?’ He took me further, then brought me back to the bank of the river. When I got back, there were many trees on each bank of the river. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

Gospel

John 5:1-3,5-16
The healing at the pool of Bethesda

There was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now at the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem there is a building, called Bethzatha in Hebrew, consisting of five porticos; and under these were crowds of sick people – blind, lame, paralysed – waiting for the water to move. One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in this condition for a long time, he said, ‘Do you want to be well again?’ ‘Sir,’ replied the sick man ‘I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I am still on the way, someone else gets there before me.’ Jesus said, ‘Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.’ The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away.
Now that day happened to be the sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; you are not allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.’ He replied, ‘But the man who cured me told me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”’ They asked, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Pick up your mat and walk”?’ The man had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that filled the place. After a while Jesus met him in the Temple and said, ‘Now you are well again, be sure not to sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.’ The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had cured him. It was because he did things like this on the sabbath that the Jews began to persecute Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 1, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Can you trust and believe without the slightest hesitation that the Word of the Lord our God spoken to you will be as He said? For instance when He tells you all will be well, through scripture, through men and women of prayer and great faith, through His priests. Will you still struggle to believe that your ailing daughter, son, spouse will be well again? That you will give birth to a healthy baby even though the markers for down syndrome are high? That your aged parent will survive the operation? And many other scenarios..

The demands of such a faith is simple when you put our Lord Jesus Christ above all and everything. For He alone makes the impossible, possible! He is the great I AM possible. In His great mercy and love, He answers all our prayers. For with and through Him there is no loss. For even to die in Him is to rise to new life with Him. He creates all things new, therefore we have every reason to rejoice in Him come what may. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 65:17-21 †
Be glad and rejoice for ever at what I am creating

Thus says the Lord: Now I create new heavens and a new earth, and the past will not be remembered, and will come no more to men’s minds. Be glad and rejoice for ever and ever for what I am creating, because I now create Jerusalem ‘Joy’ and her people ‘Gladness.’ I shall rejoice over Jerusalem and exult in my people. No more will the sound of weeping or the sound of cries be heard in her; in her, no more will be found the infant living a few days only, or the old man not living to the end of his days. To die at the age of a hundred will be dying young; not to live to be a hundred will be the sign of a curse. They will build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

Gospel

John 4:43-54
Go home: your son will live

Jesus left Samaria for Galilee. He himself had declared that there is no respect for a prophet in his own country, but on his arrival the Galileans received him well, having seen all that he had done at Jerusalem during the festival which they too had attended.
He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a court official there whose son was ill at Capernaum and, hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judaea, he went and asked him to come and cure his son as he was at the point of death. Jesus said, ‘So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!’ ‘Sir,’ answered the official ‘come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go home,’ said Jesus ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way; and while he was still on the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive. He asked them when the boy had begun to recover. ‘The fever left him yesterday’ they said ‘at the seventh hour.’ The father realised that this was exactly the time when Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live’; and he and all his household believed.
This was the second sign given by Jesus, on his return from Judaea to Galilee.