Archive for May, 2019

On Today’s Gospel

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

Enduring hardship, challengers and making sacrifices to share Jesus with as many as we can is rewarding. Especially when you are able to witness the inner transformation that takes place in the lives of others. Of them having peace and joy when there was none before. Of experiencing the love of our Lord Jesus Christ when love was otherwise absent. Even if and when, we have to move on without being able to witness the changes we are assured that the Lord our God will take over.

The lure of following the ways of the world is indeed strong. With its many promises and guarantees that accepting its way is better even inevitable with change. Do not buy into the empty promises and false hope! Never compromise on our virtues and values built upon Christ. For He alone is the truth, way and life. His promises are fulfilled and His love endures forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:1-10 †
‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.
As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.
So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.
They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.
One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.

Gospel

John 15:18-21
The world hated me before it hated you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you,
remember that it hated me before you.
If you belonged to the world,
the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world,
because my choice withdrew you from the world,
therefore the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.
If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;
if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.
But it will be on my account that they will do all this,
because they do not know the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Our Lord does not suggest or propose we love one another as He loved us. He commanded us in His love for us to do so even though we are given the absolute free will to choose to do so. The same applies to our fruit bearing and we must make a decision today whether or not we want to follow the Will of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, our friend.

Is there any other God that you know of who seeks to have an such an intimate and loving relationship with mortals that could otherwise be seen as mere subjects even animated objects? Our one and only true God our Father,created us out of love and for us to share in His abounding love. And so does it not perfect sense that He wants us to love just as He loves us? A man has no greater love than to lay down His life for his friends; and so He our Lord Jesus Christ did so for us. Can we not likewise lay down our lives for our fellowmen, our brethren?

Let us then by the power of the Holy Spirit lead all our sister and brothers who now live free and continue to do so from all bondages of sin by, the Grace of the Lord our God; into greater worship, praise and thanksgiving of Him our Risen Lord. Let us bear fruit that will last! Amen

First reading

Acts 15:22-31 †
It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us not to burden you beyond these essentials

The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:
‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’
The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Gospel

John 15:12-17
What I command you is to love one another

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘This is my commandment: love one another,
as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me: no, I chose you;
and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

The Commandments of the Lord our God were given to us in love so that we can live more fully in the love of our Lord virtuously and orderly. Christ reminded us of how to when He said ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And just as I have loved you, you must love one another. We must remain therefore in His love. So that the world may see that He reigns in our hearts and they might see Him as they look to us.

We will undoubtedly face many trials and challengers as disciples striving to remain in His love and following His Will for us. There will arise friction and disagreements amongst us. But if we remain prayerful, turn to Scripture and the Holy Spirit to guide us we will surely find a way. For the Word made flesh is the way, the Truth and the Life.

Lord come dwell in my heart today and everyday so that I may always remain in Your love. Amen

First reading

Acts 15:7-21 †
I rule that we do not make things more difficult for the pagans who turn to God

After the discussion had gone on a long time, Peter stood up and addressed the apostles and the elders.
‘My brothers,’ he said ‘you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the pagans were to learn the Good News from me and so become believers. In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith. It would only provoke God’s anger now, surely, if you imposed on the disciples the very burden that neither we nor our ancestors were strong enough to support? Remember, we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.’
This silenced the entire assembly, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the pagans.
When they had finished it was James who spoke. ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘listen to me. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:

After that I shall return
and rebuild the fallen House of David;
I shall rebuild it from its ruins
and restore it.
Then the rest of mankind,
all the pagans who are consecrated to my name,
will look for the Lord,
says the Lord who made this known so long ago.

‘I rule, then, that instead of making things more difficult for pagans who turn to God, we send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from fornication, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has always had his preachers in every town, and is read aloud in the synagogues every sabbath.’

Gospel

John 15:9-11
Remain in my love

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

Going for daily mass does not automatically connect with you Jesus! No I am by no means discouraging anyone from doing so, in fact it is highly commendable. What I am speaking about is ensuring the connection with Jesus through the Holy Eucharist is the right one. For we are connected both through His Word for us and the two way reception of Him. He receives us just as we receive Him in a most wonderful loving embrace. We are then ready to bear fruits because an inner transformation has taken place and we are driven to love. Our thoughts, words and deeds are One in communion with our Lord Jesus Christ! How can we not bear fruit? How can we not share His love with everyone we meet?

If we feel nothing and do nothing in love after each and every mass we attend then there is a disconnect somewhere. We need to reassess our situation, our state. When was last time we had done a proper examination of conscience? When was the last time we had gone for reconciliation fully prepared to bear our soul, so as to be cleansed and purified most fully to receive His graces. How much quiet time have we spent with our Lord in prayer, thanksgiving and adoration? Unless it is our heart’s desire to remain always in His presence, change cannot take place and we will bear no fruit. In fact we may find ourselves objecting and even rejecting spiritual matters and promptings of the Holy Spirit to build the Kingdom of the Lord our God.

Lord Jesus let me always be connected with You;that I may love as You love and bear fruit according to Your will. Amen

First reading

Acts 15:1-6
They were to go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.
All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.
But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

Gospel

John 15:1-8
I am the vine, you are the branches

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

One of the most precious gifts our Lord Jesus Christ grants us is His peace. Peace that we often long for, but search in the wrong places and are never able to find. If we do find some form of reprieve, it never lasts. Where are you peace of my heart? Where are you peace of mind? We hear ourselves calling out instead of simply turning to our Lord.

Our Lord Jesus gave us a truth as well as a promise when He said, ‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.’ Such is the Lord’s peace which St Paul carried in His heart for after being beaten and left for dead, he rose up to continue with His mission. He felt the loving embrace of God that filled his heart with His peace and joy. And this very Peace is offered to all of us, God our Father’s children.

Let nothing and no one rob us of this Peace. God our Father is greater than anyone! Therefore the prince of this world has no hold over us. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 14:19-28 †
They gave an account of how God had opened the door of faith to the pagans

Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and turned the people against the apostles. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went off to Derbe.
Having preached the Good News in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.
They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.
On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

Gospel

John 14:27-31
A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.
I shall not talk with you any longer,
because the prince of this world is on his way.
He has no power over me,
but the world must be brought to know
that I love the Father
and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

God alone deserves all our praise and worship. For love of us His abundant love and mercy is outpoured. Even today He has sent us many powerful instruments of His Grace and mercy. And many will travel the distance to congregate round them for an opportunity to be touched and healed. Yes indeed we thank God for sending them to us but we must never forget that all praise and Glory belongs to the Lord our God alone! For it is through love, faith and obedience to Him that these chosen ones were conferred the power and grace to minister to His flock.

Can we not be such powerful instruments of His Grace? Of course we can! If we are willing to be diciplined, committed and convicted in growing in our relationship, love and faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Willing to be the first to sacrifice for love of Him and neighbour. To be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit sent to guide us. By our love we will then be seen as true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. People around us will see Christ in us and they will hear His voice when we speak. Glory and praise to our Lord! Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 14:5-18
We have come with good news to turn you to the living God

Eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on the apostles and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.
A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, ‘Get to your feet – stand up’, and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, ‘These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.’ They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he gives you food and makes you happy.’ Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop the crowd offering them sacrifice.

Gospel

John 14:21-26
The Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.’

Judas – this was not Judas Iscariot – said to him, ‘Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied:

‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own: it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you;but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.’

On Servant Leadership

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