Archive for December, 2019

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 31, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As we close off the year 2019 and cross over into 2020; let us give thanks to the Lord our God for the continued Blessings and graces He had showered upon us. We look ahead to the new year in which we will strive to deepen our relationship with Him.

Before we do so let us look back to 2019 to see if we have lived out our fully redeemed lives in the Lord our God? Have we been living in the light of Christ Jesus? Have we resisted all sin as best we could and have frequently received the sacraments of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist? Have we been beacons of His light for others? Have we shared the joy of the Gospel with others? Have we grown in Holiness as children of God our Father?

As we move ahead let us encourage one another to do more, to be more. To live more fully in the light of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and to be witnesses of His love for all. Amen

First reading

1 John 2:18-21 ·
You have been anointed by the Holy One

Children, these are the last days; you were told that an Antichrist must come, and now several antichrists have already appeared; we know from this that these are the last days.
Those rivals of Christ came out of our own number, but they had never really belonged; if they had belonged, they would have stayed with us; but they left us, to prove that not one of them ever belonged to us.
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and have all received the knowledge.
It is not because you do not know the truth that I am writing to you but rather because you know it already
and know that no lie can come from the truth.

Gospel

John 1:1-18
The Word was made flesh, and lived among us

In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.

A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light, so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.

The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men; and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world that had its being through him, and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God, to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock or urge of the flesh or will of man
but of God himself.

The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.

John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
‘This is the one of whom I said: He who comes after me ranks before me because he existed before me.’

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received – yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,
who has made him known.

On Today’s Gospel

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

How will we know the will of God for us let alone do it when most of us are so distracted by the cares and lures of the world? One of the biggest distractions since it is now so easily available on mobile phones as well is television and movies. Games too! There never seems a good time to pray or read and dwell on the Word but there is always time for the above distractions. Afterall we need to de-stress! Some how the most effective way to do so is not as appealing. Until such time we wake up to realise that we are not of this world and that we are all on a pilgrim journey back to home to the Lord our God, we will lead discontented, unfulfilled lives!

For Jesus alone offers the fullness of life! And there are many men and women who have dedicated and devoted their lives to the service of God and their brethren who can attesr to this. They indeed live life to the full! And just like Anna in today’s Gospel, they praise God and speak the wonders of His love through both their lips and their hands.

Let us offer a prayer for all the Annas in our churches who have dutifully served often quietly in the background day in and day out. Amen

First reading

1 John 2:12-17
Observance of the will of God

I am writing to you, my own children, whose sins have already been forgiven through his name;
I am writing to you, fathers,
who have come to know the one who has existed since the beginning;
I am writing to you, young men, who have already overcome the Evil One;
I have written to you, children, because you already know the Father;
I have written to you, fathers,
because you have come to know the one who has existed since the beginning;
I have written to you, young men, because you are strong and God’s word has made its home in you, and you have overcome the Evil One.
You must not love this passing world or anything that is in the world.
The love of the Father cannot be in any man who loves the world, because nothing the world has to offer – the sensual body, the lustful eye,
pride in possessions – could ever come from the Father
but only from the world;
and the world, with all it craves for, is coming to an end; but anyone who does the will of God remains for ever.

Gospel

Luke 2:36-40
Anna speaks of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem

There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.


Leading others to what is sacred…

This is indeed one of the toughest things to do. How do you do so when eyes have not seen, ears have not heard? How might one put it as charitably across so as not to offend but rather to help open the eyes of another to see what is sacred before them?

That we enter on to sacred ground when we enter the church. And so other than to read the readings and Gospel our mobile phones should be switched off. Silence should be observed to pray and prepare our hearts and minds to receive Jesus in the Word and Holy Eucharist. If one arrives late then one should stand or sit behind till an appropriate time to make way to seats available, rather than barge one’s way in and disrupting the Gospel proclamation or homily for others. That we should be united in the way we follow the postures as laid out for us during the liturgy.

All of us should be appropriately dressed in reverence for our Lord and God especially those serving the liturgy whether on a weekday or a weekend. Those who proclaim from the pulpit do you NOT realise you are standing in the sanctuary on hallowed ground? Should you then continue to dress as you please? If the celebrant puts on his vestments each time he celebrates mass whether it is on a weekend or a weekday because he celebrates at the Holy Altar, the Holy sacrifice of Christ why can’t we dress likewise in reverence. Since when is it ok to dress down or to wear what we would wear to sleep? Yes you’d be surprised how irreverent some are for they have fallen asleep!

What is the purpose of trying to lead others to the awareness of what is sacred? Well the reason is simply so that they too can experience the Lord our God in a deeper and more profound way. So that they can deepen their relationship with Him. The more effort they put into revering Him, the greater the graces they will receive for themselves as well as their families. For our Lord Jesus can turn what appears superficial into that which is supersubstantial! We see this most evidently in the transformation of ordinary bread and wine.

So sisters and brothers let us lead one another into greater Holiness and into the sacred by both our words and actions. Amen

Posted: December 28, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Feast of the Holy Family

Posted: December 28, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Saving Family: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Holy Family

Readings:
Sirach 3:2–6, 12–14
Psalm 128:1–5
Colossians 3:12–21
Matthew 2:13–15, 19–23

Underlying the wisdom offered in today’s liturgy is the mystery of the family in God’s divine plan.
The Lord has set father in honor over his children and mother in authority over her sons, we hear in today’s First Reading. As we sing in today’s Psalm, the blessings of the family flow from Zion, the heavenly mother of the royal people of God (see Isaiah 66:7, 10–13; Galatians 4:26).
And in the drama of today’s Gospel, we see the nucleus of the new people of God—the Holy Family—facing persecution from those who would seek to destroy the child and His Kingdom.
Moses, called to save God’s first born son, the people of Israel (see Exodus 4:22; Sirach 36:11), was also threatened at birth by a mad and jealous tyrant (see Exodus 1:15–16). And as Moses was saved by his mother and sister (see Exodus 2:1–10; 4:19), in God’s plan Jesus too is rescued by His family.

As once God took the family of Jacob down to Egypt to make them the great nation Israel (see Genesis 46:2–4), God leads the Holy Family to Egypt to prepare the coming of the new Israel of God—the Church (see Galatians 6:16).

At the beginning of the world, God established the family in the “marriage” of Adam and Eve, the two becoming one body (see Genesis 2:22–24). Now in the new creation, Christ is made “one body” with His bride, the Church, as today’s Epistle indicates (see Ephesians 5:21–32).
By this union we are made God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. And our families are to radiate the perfect love that binds us to Christ in the Church.

As we approach the altar on this feast, let us renew our commitment to our God-given duties as spouses, children and parents. Mindful of the promises of today’s First Reading, let us offer our quiet performance of these duties for the atonement of our sins.

As we gather in Jesus’s name….

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


Today as we remember the tiny Martyrs who died in place of our Lord Jesus Christ, we reflect on our own call to live out of lives as children of God our Father.

We are all called to holiness, to live in the light of Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore we must make every effort to avoid sin and all temptations that leads to it. If we should fall then we should quickly turn to Jesus whose mercy ave have will heal and restore to its. For to live in sin is to die is to die in sin.

To truly live is to die and rise in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

First reading

1 John 1:5-2:2 ·

The blood of Jesus Christ purifies us all from sin

This is what we have heard from Jesus Christ, and the message that we are announcing to you:

God is light; there is no darkness in him at all.

If we say that we are in union with God while we are living in darkness, we are lying because we are not living the truth. But if we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves

and refusing to admit the truth; but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and purify us

from everything that is wrong. To say that we have never sinned is to call God a liar and to show that his word is not in us.

I am writing this, my children, to stop you sinning; but if anyone should sin, we have our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who is just; he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours but the whole world’s.

Gospel

Matthew 2:13-18

The massacre of the innocents

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

Herod was furious when he realised that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled:

A voice was heard in Ramah,

sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more.


God our Father’s loving plan for our salvation began with the Incarnation of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, the light born into the world and was completed by His resurrection. And many whom our Lord walked with bore witness to this reality especially St John. This is the truth, this is our faith! Happy indeed are we who have not seen and yet believe.Yes, for even though we might not have seen Jesus our Lord with our very own eyes we can still testify to His great presence in our lives through the deep, precious, meaningful relationship we have with Him. We unite ourselves with Him most tangibly during Holy Eucharist and it is through Him alone that we are all united as one Body In Him.For this we rejoice and are glad! Amen Alleluia.At St John pray for us…

First reading

1 John 1:1-4 ·The Word, who is life – this is our subjectSomething which has existed since the beginning, that we have heard, and we have seen with our own eyes; that we have watched and touched with our hands:the Word, who is life – this is our subject.That life was made visible:we saw it and we are giving our testimony, telling you of the eternal life which was with the Father and has been made visible to us.What we have seen and heard we are telling you so that you too may be in union with us, as we are in union with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.

Gospel

John 20:2-8The other disciple saw, and he believedOn the first day of the week Mary of Magdala came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’ So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 26, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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A day after we celebrated the birth of the light of the world, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, we celebrate the feast day of St Stephen our first Martyr. For truly he was filled with the light of Christ.

Through the Holy Spirit he stood fast attempting to illuminate the minds of those who rejected Jesus, to see that the saviour, the Messiah had indeed come. And when their darkness surrounded him, St Stephen saw the light and glory of our Lord which he articulated with such zeal. For he knew that our Lord will never abandon His faithful and so with his dying breath he prayed for his persecutors as he cried out to Jesus to receive his spirit. Do we have such faith? For we are all called to bear witness to Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

St Stephen pray for us….

First reading

Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59 ·

The martyrdom of Stephen

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.

But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:17-22

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.

‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.’

Christmas joy

Posted: December 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The joy of Christ was bursting within me this Morning after Holy Eucharist and so I sat quietly one corner in my mum’s home to pen this…

Christmas joy!

All the toys of man or boy,
All the toasting and the cheer,
None but Jesus brings me joy,
For Emmanuel God is here!

Carrols, incense, prayerful bliss,
The Word made flesh salvation framed,
Elated I received Jesus in Eucharist,
His grace abounds His love be proclaimed!

O Sweet anointing from above,
Shine Your light upon us,
My Lord, my God, my Love,
Happy blessed birthday Jesus!

CHRISTMAS

Posted: December 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Unfathomable that in His great love for us, God Himself would come down to save us from our sins so that we might have hope of eternal life with Him!

Yet this great mystery of the Incarnation foretold so long ago came to be on Christmas morn. The light of the world came to be born in a manger through His faithful Virgin mother with his faithful foster father at her side. The living word which had breathed life into a formless void, the source of all life brought us hope of new life with Him through His birth, life, death and His Resurrection. With our Blessed Mother Mary, we treasure all the wonderful mysteries revealed to us and ponder them in our hearts.

Today we rejoice with great fervour the birthday of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! Our Salvation had come, God is with us! We rejoice and are glad for His love, peace and joy reign in our hearts. Happy birthday dear Jesus! Amen

First reading

Isaiah 52:7-10 ·

Rejoice, for the Lord is consoling his people

How beautiful on the mountains, are the feet of one who brings good news, who heralds peace, brings happiness, proclaims salvation, and tells Zion,

‘Your God is king!’

Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices, they shout for joy together, for they see the Lord face to face, as he returns to Zion.

Break into shouts of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord is consoling his people,

redeeming Jerusalem.

The Lord bares his holy arm

in the sight of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Second reading

Hebrews 1:1-6 ·

God has spoken to us through his Son

At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.

God has never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-Born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.

Gospel

John 1:1-18

The Word was made flesh, and lived among us

In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him.

All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.

A man came, sent by God.

His name was John. He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light, so that everyone might believe through him.

He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.

The Word was the true light

that enlightens all men;

and he was coming into the world.

He was in the world that had its being through him, and the world did not know him.

He came to his own domain

and his own people did not accept him.

But to all who did accept him

he gave power to become children of God, to all who believe in the name of him who was born not out of human stock or urge of the flesh or will of man but of God himself.

The Word was made flesh,

he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,

full of grace and truth.

John appears as his witness. He proclaims: ‘This is the one of whom I said: He who comes after me ranks before me because he existed before me.’

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received –

yes, grace in return for grace,

since, though the Law was given through Moses,

grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God;

it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,

who has made him known.

From my family to yours…

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 24, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In today’s Gospel we hear the Canticle of Zechariah aka the Benedictus prayed towards the end of the Lauds. A beautiful prayer and reminder of how close God our Father is with His children and how through His powerful hand, we have salvation through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ which He planned so long ago. We also hear of John the Baptist’s role but if we listen carefully it is our role as well to prepare the way of our Lord and to proclaim the good news of our salvation. The light of the world has come!

Soon we are about to celebrate Christmas, God who came to be with us. Are we ready to receive Him who is coming to dwell in our hearts?

Come Lord Jesus come….Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16 ·
Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me

Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Gospel
Luke 1:67-79
‘You, little child, shall be the prophet of the Most High’

John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel
for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue and he has raised up for us a power for salvation in the House of his servant David, even as he proclaimed,
by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times, that he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us.
Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors,
thus he remembers his holy covenant
the oath he swore to our father Abraham
that he would grant us, free from fear,
to be delivered from the hands of our enemies, to serve him in holiness and virtue
in his presence, all our days.
And you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins;
this by the tender mercy of our God
who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live
in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.’


How does one get into the mood then slowly advance into the nostalgia then into the frenzy of Christmas?

Well the formula is pretty straight forward. It always starts with decorations! The basic colours are red, green, white, gold, blue and silver. The rest are optional or as one sees fit. Then the tree and legendary carols. Lights and more lights of all colours! Food, drinks and parties. Nativity sets are welcomed in most places but not all. Wah lah! Magical! Never mind that it is all a production of sort. Then even with everything up, some would still say I’m not really in the Christmassy mood.

Well if I personally have no Christmas mood it’s because of two main reasons. One, I have not prepared my heart for Christmas through Advent! And two I am inward looking! Instead of looking outwards on how I can bring the joy of Christmas to some one who is perhaps lonely, widowed, poor, alone, downtrodden, orphaned, jobless, sick. Even if I cannot afford to give money as much as I would like to, I can still offer my time and the gifts I am bestowed with by my Lord. Then you can strip away all the lights, music, decorations and I will still have the peace, love and joy of Christmas in my heart. For truly the reason for the season is Jesus and the face of Jesus is in those whom we serve.

Soon when all is laid bare, I will still have Jesus! Amen

On Today’s Gospel

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

Come Lord Jesus come….

We have prepared room in our hearts for you. We have shared the importance and encouraged the need for reconciliation with one another. We have stayed awake and stang ready for your return.

Come Lord Jesus come….

Through Your mighty grace upon us, we are your Elijah, we are your John the Baptist! As we have prepared the way for your coming…

Come Lord Jesus come…

O Lord purify and sanctify me that I may do all that is pleasing for your glory. Amen

First reading

Malachi 3:1-4,23-24 ·
Before my day comes, I will send you Elijah my prophet

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.
Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

Gospel

Luke 1:57-66
‘His name is John’

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.


God Is with Us: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Readings:

Isaiah 7:10–14
Psalm 24:1–6
Romans 1:1–7
Matthew 1:18–24

The mystery kept secret for long ages, promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, is today revealed (see Romans 16:25–26).
This is the “Gospel of God” that Paul celebrates in today’s Epistle—the good news that “God is with us” in Jesus Christ. The sign promised to the House of David in today’s First Reading is given in today’s Gospel. In the virgin found with child, God Himself has brought to Israel a savior from David’s royal line (see Acts 13:22–23).

Son of David according to the flesh, Jesus is the Son of God, born of the Spirit. He will be anointed with the Spirit (see Acts 10:38), and by the power of Spirit will be raised from the dead and established at God’s right hand in the heavens (see Acts 2:33–34; Ephesians 1:20–21).

He is the “King of Glory” we sing of in today’s Psalm. The earth in its fullness has been given to Him. And as God swore long ago to David, His Kingdom will have no end (see Psalm 89:4–5).

In Jesus Christ we have a new creation. Like the creation of the world, it is a work of the Spirit, a blessing from the Lord (see Genesis 1:2). In Him, we are saved from our sins, are called now “the beloved of God.”
All nations now are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to enter into the House of David and Kingdom of God, the Church. Together, through the obedience of faith, we have been made a new race—a royal people that seeks for the face of the God of Jacob.
He has made our hearts clean, made us worthy to enter His holy place, to stand in His presence and serve Him.

In the Eucharist, the everlasting covenant is renewed, the Advent promise of virgin with child—God with us—continues until the end of the age (see Matthew 28:20; Ezekiel 37:24–28).


Ah dearest Blessed mother! At many prayer meetings I have prayed these words, “O dearest mother, where Jesus is you are never far and yet you are closest with us in our hour of need. Purify our hearts, minds and thoughts that we might always be pleasing to your Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. And continue to intercede for us as we pray Hail Mary…”

You mother bring with you the full measure of your Grace each and every time we pray to you. No creature has ever be elevated to the highest state of grace as you have. Yet in your humble gentle heart, you only seek to bring Jesus into our very own hearts. Whether in the form of a wee babe or the full stature of our bridegroom, the joy within us cannot be contained! And so mother just as your cousin Elisabeth uttered these words so long ago Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? We too are so very honoured each and everytime you stand at our side when we call out to you. You are truly a devoted mother who tenderly loves us. And you bring with you the presence of your Son Jesus our Lord and God. Amen

First reading

Song of Songs 2:8-14 ·
See how my Beloved comes, leaping on the mountains

I hear my Beloved.
See how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My Beloved is like a gazelle,
like a young stag.

See where he stands
behind our wall.
He looks in at the window,
he peers through the lattice.

My Beloved lifts up his voice,
he says to me,
‘Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.
For see, winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come,
the cooing of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree is forming its first figs
and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.
Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.
My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,
in the coverts of the cliff,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet
and your face is beautiful.’

Gospel

Luke 1:39-45
Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’


O Blessed Mother thank you for your Yes, thank you for bringing forth Emmanuel.

As we prepare ourselves to celebrate the reason for the season this Wednesday the birthday of your beloved son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, we seek your intercession for a new infilling of the Holy Spirit so that our hearts will be filled with a renewed zeal for proclaiming the great love of God our Father for us by sending His only Begotten son to be the Light of the World. Our hearts are glowing dear mother in anticipation of His return…..

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 7:10-14 ·
The maiden is with child

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’
Then Isaiah said:

‘Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore, will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel, a name which means “God-is-with-us.”’

Gospel

Luke 1:26-38
‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

Reflection

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

The countdown has begun where we will celebrate the Incarnation of the Word made flesh. The birthday of the Savior of the World our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

As we draw close to the 4th and final week of Advent, I am elated and my heart is filled with joy as I look back from the start of Advent 2018. I’ve aged indeed and my body never fails to remind me but I still possess a youthful heart and outlook. Though at times I feel I’m rather immature rather then childlike. Still my Lord has allowed me to grow through my mistakes. My prayer life is good, though I know it can be better and I am very much comfortable in sharing my faith and the reason behind it. In any case there is always more to learn and grow.

So while the year was not always easy, with great challenges both physically and spiritually I am very thankful and most grateful to the Lord for the following…

A very loving and generous family who has always been very supportive.

For the various communities I am a part of who inspire to be better, more importantly Holier by their very own desire and drive to grow in Holiness. Ephraim SCC and CG lol in particular have both taken their growth as a community to the next level. St Louise group is shaping up nicely. The fraternal bonds have grown so much that anyone joining in for the first time can feel the love between the members and want to be part of the loving community; but most importantly they feel most profoundly our Lord’s presence and know in their hearts that God is truly with us.

I am also very thankful to the Lord that Focolare and Servants of the Lord have some how or rather for lack of a better word ‘adopted’ our family, they not open their doors to us but their hearts as well. A sure sign of God’s love that prevails in their communities.

All Glory and Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen


Yesterday we reflected a little on how the faithfulness and obedience of both our Blessed Mother and St Joseph to God our Father, brought forth Emmanuel, ‘God-is-with-us’.

Today we learn that in spite of nature, through our faithfulness and obedience to His Will; God our Father’s can bring forth fruit. Fruit which we bring forth and consecrate to the Lord our God. And we know that both Samson and St John the Baptist were chosen to liberate the Israelites, the first from the philistines and the latter from their sins by pointing the way back to God and preparing the way of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ through whom all are saved.

Lord Jesus I come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Judges 13:2-7,24-25 ·
‘You will conceive and bear a son’

There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren, she had borne no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to this woman and said to her, ‘You are barren and have had no child. But from now on take great care. Take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb. It is he who will begin to rescue Israel from the power of the Philistines.’ Then the woman went and told her husband, ‘A man of God has just come to me; his presence was like the presence of the angel of God, he was so majestic. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not reveal his name to me. But he said to me, “You will conceive and bear a son. From now on, take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb to his dying day.”’
The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and the Lord blessed him; and the spirit of the Lord began to move him.

Gospel

Luke 1:5-25
‘Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son’

In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron. Both were worthy in the sight of God, and scrupulously observed all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both getting on in years.
Now it was the turn of Zechariah’s section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the ritual custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense the whole congregation was outside, praying.
Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear. But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you must name him John. He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink. Even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the disobedient back to the wisdom that the virtuous have, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.’
Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel who stand in God’s presence, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. Listen! Since you have not believed my words, which will come true at their appointed time, you will be silenced and have no power of speech until this has happened.’ Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he stayed in the sanctuary so long. When he came out he could not speak to them, and they realised that he had received a vision in the sanctuary. But he could only make signs to them, and remained dumb.
When his time of service came to an end he returned home. Some time later his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept to herself. ‘The Lord has done this for me’ she said ‘now that it has pleased him to take away the humiliation I suffered among men.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 18, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Through the obedience and faithfulness of both our Blessed Mother and St Joseph, God came and dwelled among us.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came that we might fully be united with Him, to gather everyone on to Himself. And so great is His love for us He designed a way to be with us through all the centuries to come till His return. His real presence, body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Eucharist. And so each and every time we receive Him at Holy Eucharist we can cry out, Emmanuel! Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 23:5-8 ·
I will raise a virtuous Branch for David

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David, who will reign as true king and be wise, practising honesty and integrity in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel dwell in confidence. And this is the name he will be called: The-Lord-our-integrity.

So, then, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when people will no longer say, “As the Lord lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt!” but, “As the Lord lives who led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the land of the North and from all the countries to which he had dispersed them, to live on their own soil.”

Gospel

Matthew 1:18-24
How Jesus Christ came to be born

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.

..

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


How wonderful it is to know that God our Father can make crooked lines straight, He can fill in the gaps and everything is seamless, made flawless by His hand.

Many of us can testify to this fact in many aspects of our lives be it at home, church, work or elsewhere. We see this more evidently in our salvation history and it is breath taking if we open the eyes of our heart to see. Instead of looking through the genealogy of Jesus simply as a list of hard to pronounce names, see how we are in a sense intertwined with His history. The lines were not always straight in that many were sinners and not in a mild sense. Then we see how through God our Father’s hand Jesus becomes the son of Joseph by adoption through His mother Mary. Then perhaps we can finally see that blood is not necessarily thicker than water! For through the water of our baptism we had become sons and daughters of God our Father through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

First reading

Genesis 49:2,8-10 ·
Until he comes, the sceptre will not pass from Judah

Jacob called his sons and said:

‘Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen;
listen to Israel your father.
Judah, your brothers shall praise you:
you grip your enemies by the neck,
your father’s sons shall do you homage,
Judah is a lion cub,
you climb back, my son, from your kill;
like a lion he crouches and lies down,
or a lioness: who dare rouse him?
The sceptre shall not pass from Judah,
nor the mace from between his feet,
until he come to whom it belongs,
to whom the peoples shall render obedience.’

Gospel

Matthew 1:1-17
The ancestry of Jesus Christ, the son of David

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,
Perez was the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram was the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,
Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,
Obed was the father of Jesse;
and Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Azariah,
Azariah was the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah;
and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.
Then the deportation to Babylon took place.
After the deportation to Babylon:
Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor was the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud was the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob;
and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;
of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

Gaudete in Domino Semper

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

Gaudete in domino semper!

I was sharing yesterday how difficult it was for me to rejoice in the Lord in the morning at 5am. I hadn’t been sleeping well because the c5 and c6 section of my neck was pinching on my nerves. There was also a tightness on the left hand side of my chest with slight pain and I was feverish. It didn’t help that it was raining, a wet and cold Sunday morning.

Still I had to press on as I was leading the 3rd Advent Reflection session for my fellow stewards and had committed to presenting the LISS participants of 2019 for their commissioning to be light of the world during the 1115am Eucharistic Celebration. Then later in the afternoon I was going to lead the advent reflection again for our LTW {living the word} community at 2pm.

Each time I was engaged in sharing the word and love of Jesus I felt joy in my heart and the pains I was having dissipated. I truly rejoiced in the Lord! I also shared with the folks that it is only when I’m engaged in some form of service of my Lord that I am truly alive.

I finally got home at about 4pm drained but joyful, and fell asleep till about 8pm. Had something light and went back to sleep.

This morning I woke up resigned to the fact that I would not be able to attend morning Eucharist. The bicycle I kept in Tampines had a flat tire and so there was no way to make it on foot in three minutes to Holy Trinity Church. Moreover the lady bus driver today had a record of delaying the journey and so I would end up the bus stop between 6:26 or 6:27am. I told myself that if somehow the bus would make it at 6:25 am I would jog even with my pains. Praise the Lord! It was exactly 6:25am when I reached Tampines and I made it on time for the Opening Prayer.

And so I remain in awe of my Lord, and will rejoice in Him always. Amen

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 16, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Does the Lord our God need to justify His action or inaction? We are so caught up in the dealings in the secular world that the Lord our God too must be subjected to an audit! Provide justification, timeliness and corrective actions. Really who is subject to the authority of whom?

Our Lord of Lords, King of Kings has indeed come but not to make His dominion felt. In fact He is closest to those who are powerless and not those in power! Those of us who feel powerless in this world know that we have a powerful ally whose power trancends all. We only need to subject ourselves to His authority. Having done so there will be no room for complaints lest we have not fully surrendered to Him. Peace reigns in our hearts as we wait patiently for our Lord to make all things new.

Lord Jesus come reign my heart, now and always. Amen

First Reading

Numbers 24:2-7,15-17 ·
The oracles of Balaam

Raising his eyes Balaam saw Israel, encamped by tribes; the spirit of God came on him and he declaimed his poem. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes, the oracle of one who hears the word of God.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see, receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
How fair are your tents, O Jacob!
How fair your dwellings, Israel!
Like valleys that stretch afar,
like gardens by the banks of a river,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
like cedars beside the waters!
A hero arises from their stock,
he reigns over countless peoples.
His king is greater than Agag,
his majesty is exalted.’

Then Balaam declaimed his poem again. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes, the oracle of one who hears the word of God, of one who knows the knowledge of the Most High.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see, receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
I see him – but not in the present,
I behold him – but not close at hand:
a star from Jacob takes the leadership,
a sceptre arises from Israel.’

Gospel

Matthew 21:23-27
‘I will not tell you my authority for acting like this’

Jesus had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’ ‘And I’ replied Jesus ‘will ask you a question, only one; if you tell me the answer to it, I will then tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: where did it come from: heaven or man?’ And they argued it out this way among themselves, ‘If we say from heaven, he will retort, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”; but if we say from man, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’ So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And he retorted, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’


In last night’s LISS Session which happened to be the very last. Fr spoke on the topic ‘Be my witnesses’ which was a very impactful talk with many takeaways. Three and not in the order it was presented, neither is it verbatim but coupled with my own personal reflection and take are…

We cannot keep coming, coming, coming, coming, for formation talks, retreats, LISS, CER, and so on. We must also GO! Go make disciples of all nations, Go share the love of God, Go glorifying God by our lives. Go share that the kingdom of God is at hand! After all at the end of every mass we are sent but we do not GO! We just keep coming back.

We need to pray for boldness and zeal for God our Father’s house! So that we can stop living on the surface of our safe, comfortable faith lves. We need to grow deeper in our faith, by falling more deeply in love our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Our love for Him must be seen and heard by putting into action the love and conviction in caring for His sheep, all His sheep even those from different folds. We must boldly proclaim Christ had come, Christ had died for our sins, He rose from the dead so that we might have life to the full in Him and that He will come again! We must be seen living in the light of our Lord’s resurrection.

We need to have faith in others, affirm and pray for them. Provide opportunities for them to spread their wings and fly! And if they fall be there to help them up and encourage them to fly again so that they might soar higher then before through the grace of God. I share this from personal experience!

A good and loving Shepherd after Jesus’s heart saw in me what I and no others saw at that time he saw a man of God, a disciple. Just as our Lord did, he beckoned me to come and see. Over the years he encouraged and provided many opportunities for me to learn and grow. Many a time he threw me into the deep end, having faith that if I did not swim, I would somehow float. Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself giving formation talks, sharing and giving testimony before the whole Church. Even being part of a team to form future leaders in our Parish. Truly it has been surreal indeed! And it all started with a spark of hope, trust and faith by our Lord’s shepherd. It enkindled in me a fire to love and serve my Lord and my brethren. The loving shepherd has moved on to shepherd his other flock still I will always remain grateful and thankful to him for leading me into the loving embrace of my Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus. Amen

Third Sunday in Advent

Posted: December 14, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Here is Your God: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday in Advent

Readings:

Isaiah 35:1–6, 10
Psalm 146:6–10
James 5:7–10
Matthew 11:2–11

John questions Jesus from prison in today’s Gospel—for his disciples’ sake and for ours.
He knows that Jesus is doing “the works of the Messiah,” foretold in today’s First Reading and Psalm. But John wants his disciples—and us—to know that the Judge is at the gate, that in Jesus our God has come to save us.

The liturgy of Advent takes us out into the desert to see and hear the marvelous works and words of God—the lame leaping like a stag, the dead raised, the good news preached to the poor (see Isaiah 29:18–20; 61:1–2).

The liturgy does this to give us courage, to strengthen our feeble hands and make firm our weak knees. Our hearts can easily become frightened and weighed down by the hardships we face. We can lose patience in our sufferings as we await the coming of the Lord.

As James advises in today’s Epistle, we should take as our example the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Jesus also points us to a prophet—holding up John as a model. John knew that life was more than food, the body more than clothing. He sought the kingdom of God first, confident that God would provide (see Matthew 6:25–34). John did not complain. He did not lose faith. Even in chains in his prison cell, he was still sending his disciples—and us—to our Savior.
We come to Him again now in the Eucharist. Already He has caused the desert to bloom, the burning sands to become springs of living water. He has opened our ears to hear the words of the sacred book, freed our tongue to fill the air with songs of thanksgiving (see Isaiah 30:18).

Once bowed down, captives to sin and death, we have been ransomed and returned to His Kingdom, crowned with everlasting joy. Raised up we now stand before His altar to meet the One who is to come: “Here is your God.”


Who will prepare my people for when I come again?

Here I am Lord send me!

Who will point the way to my kingdom through the repentance of sin and conversion of hearts?

Here I am Lord, send me!

Who will comfort, care and love them till I return?

Here I am Lord, send me!

Lord I stand ready to greet You when You come again and to herald Your arrival. Amen

St John of the cross pray for us….

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 48:1-4,9-12
The prophet Elijah will come again

The prophet Elijah arose like a fire, his word flaring like a torch.
It was he who brought famine on the people, and who decimated them in his zeal.
By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens, he also, three times, brought down fire.
How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah!
Has anyone reason to boast as you have?
Taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses;
designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob,
Happy shall they be who see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love.

Gospel

Matthew 17:10-13
Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him

As they came down from the mountain the disciples put this question to Jesus, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True;’ he replied ‘Elijah is to come to see that everything is once more as it should be; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’ The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 13, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In a blink of an eye we are fast approaching the third Sunday of Advent. It is time to pause and reflect on how well we have been responding to God’s call to deepen our relationship with Him during this season of Advent. Have we been steadfast in our observances? Are we more prayerful? Have we been more charitable with our time? More merciful and forgiving of others? Have we grown in holiness? Have we touched anyone with a simple act of kindness? Have we spoken to anyone of God’s love for us and for them? If we have Not done any of the above then is it not time to reconsider? To turn our hearts to our Lord Jesus Christ so that He transform us from within so as to live in the Holy Spirit in His love.

Sisters and brothers let us look ahead as we live in the light of our Risen Lord. Let the excitement build as we prepare our hearts in anticipation of His second coming, for soon Gaudete Sunday will be upon us and we rejoice a little as One family in Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 48:17-19 ·
If you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river

Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is good for you, I lead you in the way that you must go.
If only you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river, your integrity like the waves of the sea.
Your children would have been numbered like the sand, your descendants as many as its grains.
Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.

Gospel

Matthew 11:16-19
The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:

“We played the pipes for you,
and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges,
and you wouldn’t be mourners.”

‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’


Our only aim must be to enter the kingdom of Heaven. To be with our Heavenly Father. Just as Elijah proclaimed this, and we know it to be true in our hearts; there is but one God alone whom we must all worship and adore. For the Lord our God had loved us first from the very beginning and will love us to the end.

Let us then heed the call of St John the baptist to repent of our sins and to turn back to God. He had pointed the way to our Redeemer, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Through Him alone, we shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven where He reigns forever. Therefore how ever many times we might have been distracted, and fallen back into sin let us turn our gaze back to the loving face of our Lord and see that He still loves us. He is the lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world and He will have mercy on us when we turn to Him with our contrite hearts. Amen

Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for us…

First reading

Isaiah 41:13-20 ·
I, the Holy One of Israel, am your redeemer

I, the Lord, your God,
I am holding you by the right hand;
I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid,
I will help you.’need

Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm,
Israel, puny mite.
I will help you – it is the Lord who speaks –
the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.

See, I turn you into a threshing-sled,
new, with doubled teeth;
you shall thresh and crush the mountains,
and turn the hills to chaff.

You shall winnow them and the wind will blow them away,
the gale will scatter them.
But you yourself will rejoice in the Lord,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none,
their tongue is parched with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer them,
I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.

I will make rivers well up on barren heights,
and fountains in the midst of valleys;
turn the wilderness into a lake,
and dry ground into waterspring.

In the wilderness I will put cedar trees,
acacias, myrtles, olives.
In the desert I will plant juniper,
plane tree and cypress side by side;

so that men may see and know,
may all observe and understand
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Gospel

Matthew 11:11-15

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm. Because it was towards John that all the prophecies of the prophets and of the Law were leading; and he, if you will believe me, is the Elijah who was to return. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 11, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Oh how easily tired I got and frustrated with life in general, church ministry, community and so on. Till I came to the realisation that I was running on my own steam, my own strength, my own wisdom; when I absolutely did not have to! I have Jesus! All I have to do is deepen my relationship with Him through prayer and His Word. Keep my focus on Him as I do His Will for me and all else is taken care of. Literally the Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want.

Makes no difference to me anymore if things don’t change or move as swiftly as I would like. If mindsets stay the same through stubbornness. I am not in charge, my Lord is. All in His time, through His grace. I simply do as I am called to do. I stay yoked to my Lord, His wisdom, most importantly His love.

Jesus my Lord, I rest in Your love. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 40:25-31 ·
The Lord strengthens the powerless

‘To whom could you liken me
and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look. Who made these stars if not he who drills them like an army, calling each one by name? So mighty is his power, so great his strength, that not one fails to answer.

How can you say, Jacob, how can you regularised, Israel, ‘My destiny is hidden from the Lord, my rights are ignored by my God’?
Did you not know?
Had you not heard?

The Lord is an everlasting God,
he created the boundaries of the earth.
He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming.
He gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless.
Young men may grow tired and weary,
youths may stumble, but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength, they put out wings like eagles.
They run and do not grow weary,
walk and never tire.

Gospel

Matthew 11:28-30
My yoke is easy and my burden light

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

There is a time for mourning, that is a time to rend our hearts in contrition for our many sins and shortcomings. And there is a time to rejoice and revel in the joy of our salvation.

Holy Mother Church in her wisdom guided by the Holy Spirit teaches us that we are in Advent, a time for soul searching, a time for metanoia….a radical change as we prepare room for our Lord in our hearts. Will He find room when He comes?

As it is many have chosen to ignore or have decided they know better and have already started their merry making, singing, feasting and wishing one another a merry Christmas! Really? Will there be a true Christmas for them? Perhaps these are the same folks who did not believe when Jesus pointed out that there is a place where there will be gnashing and grinding of teeth. And so make merry as they see fit. How will our Lord find His lost sheep when they choose not to be found?

The same voice is calling out to us… As it cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Do we heed this call?

Come Lord Jesus, come, your servant awaits You. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 40:1-11
Consolations from the heart of Jerusalem

‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for, that she has received from the hand of the Lord double punishment for all her crimes.’

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice commands, ‘Cry!’
and I answered, ‘What shall I cry?’”
– ‘All flesh is grass and its beauty like the wild flower’s.
The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on them.
(The grass is without doubt the people.)
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever.’

Go up on a high mountain, joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice, joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’

Here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Gospel

Matthew 18:12-14
The one lost sheep gives him more joy than the ninety-nine that did not stray

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’


How wonderful it must have been to be born without sin. To walk with the Lord our God in Holiness, joy and peace in our hearts. Instead of aspiring to achieve greater holiness through fidelity, we turned our eyes instead to that we were explicitly told to avoid. In choosing so we severed our connection to the vine, the source of life.

In His great mercy and love for us, God our Father through His infinite grace; chose a young girl to be born without sin so that she might bear His only begotten Son, the light and hope of all into the world. The same free Will was accorded to our Blessed Mother and she chose fidelity to God over all else. By her faithfulness, she brought forth the Saviour of the world, who will reconcile all God our Father’s children to Himself. The vine and the branches become One as it should be.

All of us have a choice to make this Second holy week of Advent, do we go about our merry way as we have always done so? Or do we seek to be fully reconciled so as to grow in Holiness, to have a complete change of heart through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. To prepare room in our hearts for the indwelling of our Lord and Saviour. Amen

Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us….

First reading

Genesis 3:9-15,20 ·
‘The offspring of the woman will crush your head’

After Adam had eaten of the tree the Lord God called to him. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’
Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,
all wild beasts.
You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust
every day of your life.
I will make you enemies of each other:
you and the woman,
your offspring and her offspring.
It will crush your head
and you will strike its heel.’

The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.

Second reading

Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12 ·
Before the world was made, God chose us in Christ

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,
determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes, to make us praise the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved, And it is in him that we were claimed as God’s own, chosen from the beginning, under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things as he decides by his own will; chosen to be, for his greater glory, the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.

Gospel

Luke 1:26-38
‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

Discipleship

Posted: December 8, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Here are my thoughts on what discipleship is about and how I struggle to live it out…. The first letter of each line spells out the word discipleship.

Second Sunday in Advent

Posted: December 7, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys
Tags: ,

Kingdom Come: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday in Advent

Readings:

Isaiah 11:1–10
Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 12–13, 17
Romans 15:4–9
Matthew 3:1–12

“The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” John proclaims. And the liturgy today paints us a vivid portrait of our new king and the shape of the kingdom He has come to bring.
The Lord whom John prepares the way for in today’s Gospel is the righteous king prophesied in today’s First Reading and Psalm. He is the king’s son, the son of David—a shoot from the root of Jesse, David’s father (see Ruth 4:17).

He will be the Messiah, anointed with the Holy Spirit (see 2 Samuel 23:1; 1 Kings 1:39; Psalm 2:2), endowed with the seven gifts of the Spirit—wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

He will rule with justice, saving the poor from the ruthless and wicked. His rule will be not only over Israel—but will extend from sea to sea, to the ends of the earth. He will be a light, a signal to all nations. And they will seek Him and pay Him homage.
In Him, all the tribes of the earth will find blessing. The covenant promise to Abraham (see Genesis 12:3), renewed in God’s oath to David (see Psalm 89:4,28), will be fulfilled in His dynasty. And His name will be blessed forever.

In Christ, God confirms His oath to Israel’s patriarchs, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle. But no longer are God’s promises reserved solely for the children of Abraham. The Gentiles, too, will glorify God for His mercy. Once strangers, in Christ they will be included in “the covenants of promise” (see Ephesians 2:12).

John delivers this same message in the Gospel. Once God’s chosen people were hewn from the rock of Abraham (see Isaiah 51:1–2). Now, God will raise up living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5)—children of Abraham born not of flesh and blood but of the Spirit.
This is the meaning of the fiery baptism He brings—making us royal heirs of the kingdom of heaven, the Church.


This year’s LISS (life in the spirit seminar) journey has given me a new perspective on Today’s first reading and Gospel.

In order for conversion of hearts there must be repentance first before God’s grace can flow. And so the bread of suffering and water of distress teaches us the effects of sin in our lives. How lost we were without our Lord in our lives. Then when we cry out to the Lord for mercy, He comes swiftly to heal, restore and nourish us. In the early weeks of the LISS, participants learn of just how much God our Father loves each and everyone of them. They begin to see how disordered their lives had become by not placing our Lord above all. Slowly but surely His grace begins to flow into their lives as they move towards full reconciliation with the Lord their God. They are then ready for the full outpouring of His love and grace through the Holy Spirit.

The LISS team and facilitators are the labourers! And the labourers are indeed few! Who wants to be a labourer? One who has to be invested and committed every week for nine weeks. To journey with, hand hold, pray fervently for and with the flock entrusted to their care. So that they can have a deep conversion experience, encounter the Lord in all His glory and become disciples (labourers) themselves. It is truly a labour of love! So then can such a labourer check their schedules to pick and choose when she or he is available to the flock? Yes Lord send me… But in my own time please? What I will and will not do? You receive without charge, give without charge! In other words no pre-conditions! Love freely and unconditionally. Only then we will see the fruits of our labour through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here I am Lord send me! Amen

First reading

Isaiah 30:19-21,23-26 ·
The Lord God will be gracious to you and hear your cry

Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
People of Zion, you will live in Jerusalem and weep no more. He will be gracious to you when he hears your cry; when he hears he will answer. When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes. Whether you turn to right or left, your ears will hear these words behind you, ‘This is the way, follow it.’ He will send rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the bread that the ground provides will be rich and nourishing. Your cattle will graze, that day, in wide pastures. Oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat a salted fodder, winnowed with shovel and fork. On every lofty mountain, on every high hill there will be streams and watercourses, on the day of the great slaughter when the strongholds fall. Then moonlight will be bright as sunlight and sunlight itself be seven times brighter – like the light of seven days in one – on the day the Lord dresses the wound of his people and heals the bruises his blows have left.

Gospel

Matthew 9:35-10:1,5,6-8
The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 6, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus loves you and me personally. As we journey on towards the second week of Advent let our hearts be filled with hope. For our Lord wants to restore what is lost, to heal us and fill the void in our lives. Jesus is never deaf nor blind to our pleas and He will surely answer us when we call out to Him in faith.

Let us no longer grope and stumble in darkness nor cling to our sordid past. Hear His call to holiness as He commands us to open our eyes to see the light of our faith. Let us gaze upon His glory as we bear His light to all we meet, illuminating the way to Him.

Open my eyes to see You Lord, open my ears to hear You, open my heart to feel You, open my lips to praise You. Let me glorify You by my hands and feet. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 29:17-24 ·
In a very short time, the deaf will hear and the eyes of the blind will see

The Lord says this:

In a short time, a very short time,
shall not Lebanon become fertile land and fertile land turn into forest?
The deaf, that day, will hear the words of a book and, after shadow and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.

But the lowly will rejoice in the Lord even more and the poorest exult in the Holy One of Israel; for tyrants shall be no more, and scoffers vanish, and all be destroyed who are disposed to do evil: those who gossip to incriminate others, those who try at the gate to trip the arbitrator and get the upright man’s case dismissed for groundless reasons.

Therefore the Lord speaks,
the God of the House of Jacob,
Abraham’s redeemer:
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale, for he shall see what my hands have done in his midst,
he shall hold my name holy.
They will hallow the Holy One of Jacob, stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Erring spirits will learn wisdom
and murmurers accept instruction.

Gospel

Matthew 9:27-31
‘Take care that no-one learns about this’

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 5, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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I have often pondered why certain ministries, communities even families do not grow in love, unity and simply go about serving with little happiness rather than joy in their hearts. The reason as I see it, is that there is too much individualism going on and everyone builds their own sandcastles. Some bigger and more intricate than others depending on their own strengths and talents. Prayer if any are devotionals so that little thought or effort goes into conversing with God. They will definitely pray a little more when they or someone dear to them is in dire need. Collective prayer is not their cup of tea and Adoration of our Lord is a private affair. They do not see the need to attend prayer meetings and reflections choosing to remain with what is comfortable for them. All it takes is a gale of wind in the form of change, challenges, disagreement and so on; and everything crumbles to dust!

Disciples come together first and foremost to praise and worship the Lord their God. Their prayers are primarily of thanksgiving and heartfelt gratitude. They pray and often together to discern His Will for them. If they build, they build upon their Rock, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And it is His Kingdom alone they seek to build. If they build ‘Castles’ at all, it is only to protect the weak, those who cannot fend for themselves against evil. They serve one and all with much, joy, peace and love. Most of all with great charity and mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ You are my Rock, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 26:1-6 ·

Open the gates; let the upright nation come in

That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city; to guard us he has set
wall and rampart about us.
Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in, she, the faithful one whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace, because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord is the everlasting Rock; he has brought low those who lived high up in the steep citadel; he brings it down, brings it down to the ground, flings it down in the dust: the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor trample on it.

Gospel

Matthew 7:21,24-27
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. 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!’

Christ Bearer

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


O Loving Father in Heaven, great is Your love for us that You Will that we be with You forever. We give You our heartfelt thanks for Jesus Your Son whom You sent to atone for and liberate us from our sins though He was sinless. A victim of our sins sacrificed that we might be fully reconciled to have new life with You. Divinity came down to touch humanity, to carry it lovingly up to Heaven. Where we will rejoice forever at the Heavenly Banquet that awaits us. How great are You O Lord my God!

Our life began at birth and You O Lord watched us grow to maturity, providing us with all that we needed for nourishment, sustenance that we might grow strong to live in Your love, to love and serve our brethren. Likewise in our Spiritual life! Spiritual birth is given by our Baptism, growth to spiritual maturity is given by Confirmation, and spiritual nourishment is given by the Holy Eucharist. For our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ did not leave us orphans, He devised a way for us to share in His humanity as well as His divinity till one day soon we are fully united with Him in Heaven. Till then we have a foretaste of the eternal banquet. How great are You O Lord my God!

O Sacrament most Holy, O Sacrament Divine! All praise and all Thanksgiving be every moment Thine! Amen alleluia

First reading

Isaiah 25:6-10 ·
The Lord will prepare a banquet for every nation

On this mountain,
the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.
On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.

Gospel

Matthew 15:29-37
The crowds praised the God of Israel

Jesus reached the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he went up into the hills. He sat there, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel.
But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this deserted place to feed such a crowd?’ Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’ Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.


Oh how I’d imagine the lush beauty of the garden of Eden! Vibrant colours all around me, flowers, plants, trees of every magnificent stature reaching to the sky. Waterfalls and wellsprings positioned by the master architect intricately beautified by greenery, rock formations, even rainbows. Abundant fruits, vegetation and meat. Peace, love, joy in my heart with perfect union with my other half and the Lord my God. Why would it not be enough? Why was it not enough father Adam? mother Eve?

Lord let me hear you say to me, sinner that I am turning to you with all my heart, “Son this very day you will be with me in paradise.” For I want nothing more than to be with You my Lord and my God. To have Your peace and love reign in my heart. True joy abounds when You Lord dwell within me. If only all should desire You the way I do this very day, then surely we will all already be in paradise. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done. Now and forever. Amen

St Francis Xavier pray for us….

First reading

Isaiah 11:1-10 ·
A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse

A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse,
a scion thrusts from his roots:
on him the spirit of the Lord rests,
a spirit of wisdom and insight,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
(The fear of the Lord is his breath.)
He does not judge by appearances, he gives no verdict on hearsay, but judges the wretched with integrity, and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land.
His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless,
his sentences bring death to the wicked.

Integrity is the loincloth round his waist,
faithfulness the belt about his hips.

The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion feed together, with a little boy to lead them.
The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together.
The lion eats straw like the ox.
The infant plays over the cobra’s hole;
into the viper’s lair the young child puts his hand.
They do no hurt, no harm, on all my holy mountain, for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters swell the sea.

That day, the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples.
It will be sought out by the nations
and its home will be glorious.

Gospel

Luke 10:21-24
No-one knows who the Son is except the Father

Filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said:
‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’


O hide me in the shadow of your wings O Lord my loving God!

Look not upon my sins Lord but on my faith, as I in revere You as truly Lord of lords, King of kings. Reign in my heart always.

O hide me in the shadow of your wings O Lord my loving God!

Yes indeed Lord I am not worthy that You should come dwell within me, yet it is only You who could make me worthy.

O hide me in the shadow of your wings O Lord my loving God!

Hear my prayers Lord for my loved ones for Your Word alone gives new life. Grant that I may intercede successfully for those who are in need of your mercy and grace yet are not able to pray for themselves.

O hide me in the shadow of your wings O Lord my loving God!

Lord Jesus help my faith grow stronger and deeper this Advent that You might find your servant eager, fully awake and alive in You love upon Your return. Amen

O hide me in the shadow of your wings O Lord my loving God!

First reading

Isaiah 4:2-6 ·
The fruit of the earth shall be the pride and adornment of Israel’s survivors

That day, the branch of the Lord
shall be beauty and glory, and the fruit of the earth shall be the pride and adornment of Israel’s survivors.
Those who are left of Zion
and remain of Jerusalem shall be called holy and those left in Jerusalem, noted down for survival.

When the Lord has washed away
the filth of the daughter of Zion
and cleansed Jerusalem of the blood shed in her with the blast of judgement and the blast of destruction, the Lord will come and rest on the whole stretch of Mount Zion and on those who are gathered there, a cloud by day, and smoke, and by night the brightness of a flaring fire.
For, over all, the glory of the Lord
will be a canopy and a tent
to give shade by day from the heat, refuge and shelter from the storm and the rain.

Gospel

Matthew 8:5-11
‘I am not worthy to have you under my roof: give the word, and my servant will be healed’

When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven.’