Archive for December, 2019


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.’