Archive for November, 2019

Xmas or Christmas

Posted: November 26, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

X is indeed the Greek letter and first letter for Christos.
And so in short Xmas is Christmas.

That being said ‘mas’ on its own has no meaning. Therefore without Christ, christmas means nothing.

Both may very well hold true that Xmas was used in the early centuries as a shorter form for Christmas and also that the secular world simply wanted to remove Christ from the celebration so that perhaps they could make more money by creating their own stories about the festive season or that it would be more inclusive for all those outside of the faith. Then again they had no clue that God our Father loves all His children.

Personally I will always say, wish and spell Christmas in its entire form. This is my own personal reverence and love for my Lord, who through His incarnation, death and Resurrection has given me life to the full. For me the more important thing is that we lead others to this reality. That the Lord our God came to save us and that we should be fully united with and in Him.


How many funerals have you attended in your lifetime? Well as you grow older you will find yourself attending more and more till you’re too old to attend or its your very own. That being said how many have you attended and heard family or friends speak about the person’s faith life? How she or he touched them by their faith and the way they lived their lives? How truly they must be in heaven and the prayers we pray at their funerals are more for ourselves as they are already in heaven praying for us. No it does not only and always happen at the funerals of priests and religious who have passed on but why should it be rare for the laity? When truly the opposite should be true! So alive was he living in he light of the Resurrection of our Lord! That is what I would like to hear at my funeral, but will the folks say that of me?

The kingdoms we build for ourselves will all come to pass and sooner than we think. Just look around us? In a just short span of say thirty years, many changes have taken place, buildings, sites, food places, favourite haunts, things we cherished no longer exist; perhaps only in our fading memories. The only reality whether we believe it or not is that the Word of God and His kingdom will live forever. From personal experience I am fully alive only when I am building my Lord’s Kingdom and living in His love and light. Even amidst trials and challenges!

So as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD! Amen

First reading
Daniel 2:31-45 ·
Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, ‘You have had a vision, O king; this is what you saw: a statue, a great statue of extreme brightness, stood before you, terrible to see. The head of this statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet part iron, part earthenware. While you were gazing, a stone broke away, untouched by any hand, and struck the statue, struck its feet of iron and earthenware and shattered them. And then, iron and earthenware, bronze, silver, gold all broke into small pieces as fine as chaff on the threshing-floor in summer. The wind blew them away, leaving not a trace behind. And the stone that had struck the statue grew into a great mountain, filling the whole earth. This was the dream; now we will explain to the king what it means.
‘You, O king, king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given sovereignty, power, strength and glory – the sons of men, the beasts of the field, the birds of heaven, wherever they live, he has entrusted to your rule, making you king of them all – you are the golden head. And after you another kingdom will rise, not so great as you, and then a third, of bronze, which will rule the whole world. There will be a fourth kingdom, hard as iron, as iron that shatters and crushes all. Like iron that breaks everything to pieces, it will crush and break all the earlier kingdoms. The feet you saw, part earthenware, part iron, are a kingdom which will be split in two, but which will retain something of the strength of iron, just as you saw the iron and the clay of the earthenware mixed together. The feet were part iron, part earthenware: the kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. And just as you saw the iron and the clay of the earthenware mixed together, so the two will be mixed together in the seed of man; but they will not hold together any more than iron will blend with earthenware. In the time of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not pass into the hands of another race: it will shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms, and itself last for ever – just as you saw the stone untouched by hand break from the mountain and shatter iron, bronze, earthenware, silver and gold. The great God has shown the king what is to take place. The dream is true, the interpretation exact.’

Gospel
Luke 21:5-11
The destruction of the Temple foretold

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’
‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.’


Are we prepared to offer our all to the Lord our God? To exercise obedience, fidelity and to trust Him wholeheartedly? In knowing that our living God of wisdom, power and might will provide for all that we need. How much then is our all? ‘Our two small coins’ representing our thinning means for our existence?

In choosing to forgo certain luxuries but more importantly in our desire to sacrifice for our Lord and for our brethren do we count the cost in doing so? Or do we have faith that our Heavenly Father who loves us ever so dearly will fill in all the gaps. He will give all that we need and more!

O Jesus living fountain of mercy and love, I trust in You. Amen

First reading

Daniel 1:1-6,8-20 ·

Daniel and his companions are trained to be the king’s servants in Babylon

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hands, with some of the furnishings of the Temple of God. He took them away to the land of Shinar, and stored the sacred vessels in the treasury of his own gods.

The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to select from the Israelites a certain number of boys of either royal or noble descent; they had to be without any physical defect, of good appearance, trained in every kind of wisdom, well-informed, quick at learning, suitable for service in the palace of the king. Ashpenaz himself was to teach them the language and literature of the Chaldaeans. The king assigned them a daily allowance of food and wine from his own royal table. They were to receive an education lasting for three years, after which they were expected to be fit for the king’s society. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who were Judaeans. Daniel, who was most anxious not to defile himself with the food and wine from the royal table, begged the chief eunuch to spare him this defilement; and by the grace of God Daniel met goodwill and sympathy on the part of the chief eunuch. But he warned Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king: he has assigned you food and drink, and if he sees you looking thinner in the face than the other boys of your age, my head will be in danger with the king because of you.’ At this Daniel turned to the guard whom the chief eunuch had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He said, ‘Please allow your servants a ten days’ trial, during which we are given only vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our looks with those of the boys who eat the king’s food; go by what you see, and treat your servants accordingly.’ The man agreed to do what they asked and put them on ten days’ trial. When the ten days were over they looked and were in better health than any of the boys who had eaten their allowance from the royal table; so the guard withdrew their allowance of food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. And God favoured these four boys with knowledge and intelligence in everything connected with literature, and in wisdom; while Daniel had the gift of interpreting every kind of vision and dream. When the period stipulated by the king for the boys’ training was over, the chief eunuch presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king conversed with them, and among all the boys found none to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So they became members of the king’s court, and on whatever point of wisdom or information he might question them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

Gospel

Luke 21:1-4

The widow’s mite

As Jesus looked up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; then he happened to notice a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, and he said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for these have all contributed money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in all she had to live on.’

Are we ready?

Posted: November 24, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

As we are closing in to the end of the liturgical year, I have been reflecting on whether I had been living in the light of Christ and have been asking those around me to do the same. Are we prepared for the 2nd coming of our Lord? Have we stayed awake? Advent is afterall a reminder and time of preparation. Have we led others closer to Jesus Christ our Lord? How do others see us?

I was hoping to have some honest opinions of what others thought about me without being so bold as to open my mouth to ask them. And I certainly didn’t want to rely on my opinion of myself. Well it was great to have unsolicited affirmation subtly as it may be….

On Friday even though my LISS group is only halfway through their LISS Journey, the group members shared some powerful testimonies on their much deeper encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. And they were thankful for the guidance received.

Last night at a friend’s birthday party and a high school reunion of sorts, a girl friend I have not seen in a few years said this of me and asked this rather humorous question. She said that she never forgot how mischievous I was in school and now through all my Facebook posts and from what she’s heard of me through others, she was wondering if I was a pastor of sorts or at least heading in that direction. I told that we Catholics have priests who are celibate but that didn’t mean we could not have lay persons who are engaged in some form of pastoral care. That being said I was happy to share briefly my own conversion story and that no I am not a pastor.

This morning at our Steward’s reflection session on the readings for Christ the King, a very dear sister in Christ mentioned in her sharing that she was very thankful to our Lord to belong in our group and that another sister in Christ and myself were instrumental in her deepening of faith. Praise the Lord!

Then I rushed off to one of my God daughters, daughter’s baptism. Yup I’m actually not young anymore *chuckles* anyhow it was nice to receive a compliment from a lady I didn’t know who was waiting outside the church on how nice my tie was. Told her that the image of Christ was that of Christ the King. She asked if I had bought it specially for the solemnity. I simply told her no I didn’t because Christ is King all the time! *winks*
As we were seated a guy came up beside me and said hi and that he was a parishioner from my church. He then enquired as to where my rosary was which puzzled me a little. He then explained that he usually sees me with a rosary in my hand. Later at the post baptism reception I was asked by an aunty if I could bless the food. Told her that I could only lead in grace before meals and would be happy to lead, but I saw there was an uncle in the family who should rightly have the honour to do so.

Looking back I have indeed come a long way, and still there is a long way more to go. I humbly ask for your prayers… 🙏 ❤️

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 23, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As we draw closer to the end of the liturgical calendar for the year and begin preparations for Advent, let us take a moment to reflect on how have we lived out the year? And what if tomorrow never came for us? Are we ready to meet our Lord this very day?

Some very clear signs of whether we are living in the light of our Risen Lord is that we have peace, love and joy in our hearts. We look forward to each day with all its trials and challenges knowing that our Lord is present with us through it all. If and when we fall we turn swiftly back to His loving embrace and are reconciled. For we cherish our union with Him above all. We live out our lives in the service of our Lord and of our brethren.

If the above is not our experience then what is? Are we living with regret? With guilt and shame? With anxiety? Dread and fear of facing tomorrow’s emptiness? Discontent with our lives, always searching and hoping for more. Unable to sit still always on the move. Inward looking only striving to be more, achieve more for yourself in the guise that you are doing so for your immediate family. Church and community is an afterthought if there is any at all.

Sisters and brothers, if we do not strive to love our Lord and our brethren in all our imperfections then how can we have hope to love Him and our brethren perfectly in Heaven? For if we are true believers of Christ Jesus our Lord, then our only goal is to be with Him in paradise. Holiness through Christ is what we must seek always.

Jesus, Son of the living God have mercy on me a sinner. Amen

First reading

1 Maccabees 6:1-13 ·
‘I remember the wrong I did in Jerusalem’

King Antiochus was making his way across the upper provinces; he had heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais, renowned for its riches, its silver and gold, and its very wealthy temple containing golden armour, breastplates and weapons, left there by Alexander son of Philip, the king of Macedon, the first to reign over the Greeks. He therefore went and attempted to take the city and pillage it, but without success, since the citizens learnt of his intention, and offered him a stiff resistance, whereupon he turned about and retreated, disconsolate, in the direction of Babylon. But while he was still in Persia news reached him that the armies that had invaded the land of Judah had been defeated, and that Lysias in particular had advanced in massive strength, only to be forced to turn and flee before the Jews; these had been strengthened by the acquisition of arms, supplies and abundant spoils from the armies they had cut to pieces; they had overthrown the abomination he had erected over the altar in Jerusalem, and had encircled the sanctuary with high walls as in the past, and had fortified Bethzur, one of his cities. When the king heard this news he was amazed and profoundly shaken; he threw himself on his bed and fell into a lethargy from acute disappointment, because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. And there he remained for many days, subject to deep and recurrent fits of melancholy, until he understood that he was dying. Then summoning all his Friends, he said to them, ‘Sleep evades my eyes, and my heart is cowed by anxiety. I have been asking myself how I could have come to such a pitch of distress, so great a flood as that which now engulfs me – I who was so generous and well-loved in my heyday. But now I remember the wrong I did in Jerusalem when I seized all the vessels of silver and gold there, and ordered the extermination of the inhabitants of Judah for no reason at all. This, I am convinced, is why these misfortunes have overtaken me, and why I am dying of melancholy in a foreign land.’

Gospel

Luke 20:27-40
In God all men are alive

Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached Jesus and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died. Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’
Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’
Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’ they said – because they would not dare to ask him any more questions.


Is your sanctuary purified and dedicated to the Lord our God? Do you seek our Lord regularly in the sacrament of reconciliation? Have you made worthy sacrifices to honour, worship and glorify the Lord Your God? Or is your life disordered, in disarray, constantly bartering for more, wheeling and dealing, hedonistic in nature.

Let us prepare our bodies, minds and spirit to receive Christ our King! So that we might hang on His every Word as He dwells within our Holy temples. And so we will rejoice with such resounding joy that all will be drawn to our risen Lord and saviour Jesus Christ by our celebration of life with and in Him. Amen

First reading

1 Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59 ·
Judas and his brothers purify the sanctuary and dedicate it

Judas and his brothers said, ‘Now that our enemies have been defeated, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and dedicate it.’ So they marshalled the whole army, and went up to Mount Zion.
On the twenty-fifth of the ninth month, Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight, they rose at dawn and offered a lawful sacrifice on the new altar of holocausts which they had made. The altar was dedicated, to the sound of zithers, harps and cymbals, at the same time of year and on the same day on which the pagans had originally profaned it. The whole message fell prostrate in adoration, praising to the skies him who had made them so successful. For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar, joyfully offering holocausts, communion sacrifices and thanksgivings. They ornamented the front of the Temple with crowns and bosses of gold, repaired the gates and the storerooms and fitted them with doors. There was no end to the rejoicing among the people, and the reproach of the pagans was lifted from them. Judas, with his brothers and the whole assembly of Israel, made it a law that the days of the dedication of the altar should be celebrated yearly at the proper season, for eight days beginning on the twenty-fifth of the month Chislev, with rejoicing and gladness.

Gospel

Luke 19:45-48
You have turned God’s house into a robbers’ den

Jesus went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling. ‘According to scripture,’ he said ‘my house will be a house of prayer. But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.’
He taught in the Temple every day. The chief priests and the scribes, with the support of the leading citizens, tried to do away with him, but they did not see how they could carry this out because the people as a whole hung on his words.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 21, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Has all the fighting, squabbling, arguing for what you or what they think is right in the ministry or community brought anyone closer to God? Do you achieve democracy by inciting violent protests thereby creating fear and paranoia? In your stand and fight for justice, are the fruits peace, love and joy? The fundamental question we must ask ourselves is the fight we choose, is it for God and His people or with God and His people? If we say it is for God, then does He reign in our hearts, minds and soul? What are the fruits we see?

The prince of peace, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had come to share the message of God our Father’s endearing love for us. He wills that all His children be with Him for all eternity, living the fullness of life in Him; with His peace, love and joy in our hearts. Are we still not listening? Let us be clear on what our mission is and that is to always do the will of our Heavenly Father, to grow in Holiness as we lead one another to become Holy as He our Heavenly Father is Holy, to love one another as Christ loved us and to lead everyone into His Kingdom. Amen

Pray for us O Holy mother Of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

1 Maccabees 2:15-29
‘Heaven preserve us from forsaking the Law and its ordinances’

The commissioners of King Antiochus who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them sacrifice. Many Israelites gathered round them, but Mattathias and his sons drew apart. The king’s commissioners then addressed Mattathias as follows, ‘You are a respected leader, a great man in this town; you have sons and brothers to support you. Be the first to step forward and conform to the king’s decree, as all the nations have done, and the leaders of Judah and the survivors in Jerusalem; you and your sons shall be reckoned among the Friends of the King, you and your sons shall be honoured with gold and silver and many presents.’ Raising his voice, Mattathias retorted, ‘Even if every nation living in the king’s dominions obeys him, each forsaking its ancestral religion to conform to his decrees, I, my sons and my brothers will still follow the covenant of our ancestors. Heaven preserve us from forsaking the Law and its observances. As for the king’s orders, we will not follow them: we will not swerve from our own religion either to right or to left.’ As he finished speaking, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein as the royal edict required. When Mattathias saw this, he was fired with zeal; stirred to the depth of his being, he gave vent to his legitimate anger, threw himself on the man and slaughtered him on the altar. At the same time he killed the king’s commissioner who was there to enforce the sacrifice, and tore down the altar. In his zeal for the Law he acted as Phinehas did against Zimri son of Salu. Then Mattathias went through the town, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘Let everyone who has a fervour for the Law and takes his stand on the covenant come out and follow me.’ Then he fled with his sons into the hills, leaving all their possessions behind in the town.
At this, many who were concerned for virtue and justice went down to the desert and stayed there.

Gospel

Luke 19:41-44
Jesus sheds tears over the coming fate of Jerusalem

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it and said, ‘If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace! But, alas, it is hidden from your eyes! Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all round you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you – and all because you did not recognise your opportunity when God offered it!’