Archive for June, 2019

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: June 29, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Taking the Call: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

1 Kings 19:16–21
Psalm 16:1–2, 5, 7–11
Galatians 5:1, 13–18
Luke 9:51–62

In this week’s First Reading, Elijah’s disciple is allowed to kiss his parents goodbye before setting out to follow the prophet’s call.
But we are called to follow a greater than Elijah, this week’s Liturgy wants us to know.

In Baptism, we have put on the cloak of Christ, been called to the house of a new Father, been given a new family in the kingdom of God. We have been called to leave behind our past lives and never look back—to follow wherever He leads.
Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind and his disciple was given a double portion of his spirit (see 2 Kings 2:9–15).

Jesus too, the Gospel reminds us, was “taken up” (see Acts 1:2, 11, 22), and He gave us His Spirit to live by, to guide us in our journey in His kingdom.

As this week’s Epistle tells us, the call of Jesus shatters the yoke of every servitude, sets us free from the rituals of the old Law, shows us the Law’s fulfillment in the following of Jesus, in serving one another through love.
His call sets our hands to a new plow, a new task—to be His messengers, sent ahead to prepare all peoples to meet Him and enter into His Kingdom.

Elijah called down fire to consume those who wouldn’t accept God (see 2 Kings 1:1–16). But we have a different Spirit with us.
To live by His Spirit is to face opposition and rejection, as the Apostles do in this week’s Gospel. It is to feel like an exile, with no lasting city (see Hebrews 13:14), no place in this world to lay our head or call home.

But we hear the voice of the One we follow in this week’s Psalm (see Acts 2:25–32; 13:35–37). He calls us to make His faith our own—to abide in confidence that He will not abandon us, that He will show us “the path to life,” leading us to the fullness of joy in His presence forever.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Today on the solemnity of St Peter and St Paul we call to mind, two powerful evangelisers who helped shape and build our Church on the foundation of Rock, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. All simply through their great insatiable love of and for Him.

Both were flawed and very much less than perfect men yet it is the Lord our God that chose and qualified them. As we peer into their conversion stories we see our very own, of how Jesus set all our hearts aflame with the fire of His love. We see the parallels hardships and challenges both Apostles faced, both were jailed and set free by the angel of the Lord for it was not yet time to receive their crowns of righteousness, to live in His presence for all eternity. And so they persevered in their journey to the very end, proclaiming and sharing the love of their Lord with all.

We are called to do likewise, that is to be powerful witnesses of His love. And we can do so because it is our Lord Jesus Christ who will qualify and sanctify us; if we simply open our hearts to Him. His grace is sufficient for us. Amen

First reading

Acts 12:1-11 ·
‘Now I know the Lord really did save me from Herod’

King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.
On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’

Second reading

2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18 ·
All there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.
The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

O Sacred of Jesus mould my heart after Yours. Your great love for me has set me free to live in Your peace, love and joy. Let me never wander from You and if I do so a little too far, bring me back safely into Your loving arms. You are my Lord and my Shepherd what else will I ever want or need?

O Sacred of Jesus mould my heart after Yours. That I may love my brethren as You do. Even if they mock me, question my integrity or question my faith and love for You my Lord, I will stand firmly grounded in Your love for me. For I know without any doubt that You are with me through it all. Help me to love and care for them as You have loved and cared for me. Let my eyes always be opened to search out and tend to the poor, sick and the downtrodden.

O Sacred of Jesus mould my heart after Yours. May those who look to see into my heart find Yours beating next to mine. Sacred heart of Jesus pray for me. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 34:11-16 ·
I will look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view

The Lord God says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I shall bring them out of the countries where they are; I shall gather them together from foreign countries and bring them back to their own land. I shall pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in every inhabited place in the land. I shall feed them in good pasturage; the high mountains of Israel will be their grazing ground. There they will rest in good grazing ground; they will browse in rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

Second reading

Romans 5:5-11 ·
Now we have been reconciled by the death of his Son, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son

The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

Gospel

Luke 15:3-7
There will be rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner

Jesus spoke this parable to the scribes and Pharisees:
‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

The Lord sees into our hearts and He knows what we have done and what we have failed to do. Still His mercy and love abounds and He will judge us fairly, often giving us opportunities to live and grow otherwise forfeited by our own actions for having sinned against Him. And we must resist the anxious voices of even those closest to us to take immediate action on matters which goes against trust and obedience to the Lord our God.

For unless we have complete faith and trust in our Lord and choose the narrow road which He sets before us; we might find ourselves still able to perform many wonderful things in His name simply because we are doing them for His children’s sake but we ourselves might not enter His Kingdom. Our hearts must be changed inwardly that we desire always to hear His Word and Will for us. For there will always be the temptation to conform to the standards of the World, which demands we do NOT waste precious time on things which we cannot see or touch! Like time for prayer, quiet time to contemplate scripture, adoration, sharing of the Word and so on. Whose Will be done then?

Lord I hear You call my name, I have come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Genesis 16:1-12,15-16 ·
Hagar bears Abram a son

Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no child, but she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, ‘Listen, now! Since the Lord has kept me from having children, go to my slave-girl. Perhaps I shall get children through her.’ Abram agreed to what Sarai had said.
Thus after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years Sarai took Hagar her Egyptian slave-girl and gave her to Abram as his wife. He went to Hagar and she conceived. And once she knew she had conceived, her mistress counted for nothing in her eyes. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘May this insult to me come home to you! It was I who put my slave-girl into your arms but now she knows that she has conceived, I count for nothing in her eyes. Let the Lord judge between me and you.’ ‘Very well,’ Abram said to Sarai ‘your slave-girl is at your disposal. Treat her as you think fit.’ Sarai accordingly treated her so badly that she ran away from her.
The angel of the Lord met her near a spring in the wilderness, the spring that is on the road to Shur. He said, ‘Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ ‘I am running away from my mistress Sarai’ she replied. The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.’ The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘I will make your descendants too numerous to be counted.’ Then the angel of the Lord said to her:

‘Now you have conceived, and you will bear a son and you shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard your cries of distress.
A wild-ass of a man he will be,
against every man, and every man against him, setting himself to defy all his brothers.’

Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave to the son that Hagar bore the name Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Gospel

Matthew 7:21-29
The wise man built his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!
‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.

On Today’s Gospel

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

Whether we like it or not many are watching our every move, how we dress, how we speak and what we do. Why do you think Social media is so popular? Because the world can glimpse into our own personal lives and either ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ what they see. Yes unless of course we have certain privacy settings on. Regardless whether on or offline the fact remains that people are watching and it is simply a fact not some conspiracy theory. More so if you are a leader of sorts, because they hang on your every word. So then what fruits will they see? Yes they and not what we see in ourselves. For many boasts about their accomplishments though very little is actually done for the Lord and there are those who do not boast at all yet have done much in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ. We might think of ourselves as fruitful, though that counts for nothing unless everyone else are witnesses to the fruits we bear for our Lord.

Will they see in us our faithfulness and constant drive to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy;such that it inspires them to do likewise? Or when they see the joy and peace on our faces because the joy of the Gospel is at the very centre of our lives; will they not be moved to do the same? By our loving care for the those in need spiritually or physically challenged we bring the hope and peace of Christ into their lives; are these not the fruits we bear for the Lord profess we love?

Merciful Lord and saviour You have been faithful in fulfilling all Your Promises. Let my love for You shown in the fruits I bear speak of my own faithfulness to You. Amen

First reading

Genesis 15:1-12,17-18 ·
Count the stars: such shall be your descendants

It happened that the word of the Lord was spoken to Abram in a vision, ‘Have no fear, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great.’
‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘what do you intend to give me? I go childless…’ Then Abram said, ‘See, you have given me no descendants; some man of my household will be my heir.’ And then this word of the Lord was spoken to him, ‘He shall not be your heir; your heir shall be of your own flesh and blood.’ Then taking him outside he said, ‘Look up to heaven and count the stars if you can. Such will be your descendants’ he told him. Abram put his faith in the Lord, who counted this as making him justified.
‘I am the Lord’ he said to him ‘who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to make you heir to this land.’ ‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘how am I to know that I shall inherit it?’ He said to him, ‘Get me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.’ He brought him all these, cut them in half and put half on one side and half facing it on the other; but the birds he did not cut in half. Birds of prey came down on the carcases but Abram drove them off.
Now as the sun was setting Abram fell into a deep sleep, and terror seized him. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, there appeared a smoking furnace and a firebrand that went between the halves. That day the Lord made a Covenant with Abram in these terms:

‘To your descendants I give this land, from the wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the river Euphrates.’

Gospel

Matthew 7:15-20
You will be able to tell them by their fruits

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.’

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

God is faithful to those who are faithful and obedient unto Him. He provides for and in abundance according to the choices we make to follow His will for us. But the greatest reward of all, is simply to have a deep and meaningful relationship with Him. For in that deep and loving relationship our life is complete and lived to the full. We shall not need neither shall we want.

To enter into that relationship however takes sacrifice, discipline and committment. It requires that we sometimes have to make difficult choices not to follow the status quo in order to follow Him and His way. For instance it may seem like a good idea to have a couple of drinks to loosen inhibitions so as to have a more open discussion at our church meetings, really? Can the Holy Spirit not illumine minds to have such open discussions if you call upon Him? (Eph 5:8) All we need is the Lord our God! There are many other paths we might choose, to cut corners, to shorten prayer time, shorten or even take away time for reflection, Adoration and so on. All in the ‘spirit’ of efficiency and moving things along. Is the Lord in charge then of our lives or have we decided that we know better? The road to perdition is indeed wide and many take it! Let us instead choose the narrow the gate in which the Holy Spirit directs us to take, even if it is hard rocky road ahead. For the end destination is what matters. How wonderful that we will find the Lord at the very end of it.

Lord Jesus guide my steps always. Amen

First reading

Genesis 13:2,5-18 ·
Abram settles in the land of Canaan and builds an altar to the Lord

Abram was a very rich man, with livestock, silver and gold. Lot, who was travelling with Abram, had flocks and cattle of his own, and tents too. The land was not sufficient to accommodate them both at once, for they had too many possessions to be able to live together. Dispute broke out between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and those of Lot’s. (The Canaanites and the Perizzites were then living in the land.) Accordingly Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no dispute between me and you, nor between my herdsmen and yours, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land open before you? Part company with me: if you take the left, I will go right; if you take the right, I will go left.’
Looking round, Lot saw all the Jordan plain, irrigated everywhere – this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – like the garden of the Lord or the land of Egypt, as far as Zoar. So Lot chose all the Jordan plain for himself and moved off eastwards. Thus they parted company: Abram settled in the land of Canaan; Lot settled among the towns of the plain, pitching his tents on the outskirts of Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were vicious men, great sinners against the Lord.
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted company with him, ‘Look all round from where you are towards the north and the south, towards the east and the west. All the land within sight I will give to you and your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants like the dust on the ground: when men succeed in counting the specks of dust on the ground, then they will be able to count your descendants! Come, travel through the length and breadth of the land, for I mean to give it to you.’
So Abram went with his tents to settle at the Oak of Mamre, at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 7:6,12-14
Treat others as you would like them to treat you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.
‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.
‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’