Archive for February, 2020

First Sunday of Lent

Posted: February 29, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Tale of Two Adams: Scott Hahn Reflects on the First Sunday of Lent

Readings:
Genesis 2:7–93:1–7
Psalm 51:3–612–1417
Romans 5:12–19
Matthew 4:1–11
 
In today’s Liturgy, the destiny of the human race is told as the tale of two “types” of men—the first man, Adam, and the new Adam, Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 15:21–2245–59).
Paul’s argument in the Epistle is built on a series of contrasts between “one” or “one person” and “the many” or “all.” By one person’s disobedience, sin and condemnation entered the world, and death came to reign over all. By the obedience of another one, grace abounded, all were justified, and life came to reign for all.

This is the drama that unfolds in today’s First Reading and Gospel.

Formed from the clay of the ground and filled with the breath of God’s own Spirit, Adam was a son of God (see Luke 3:38), created in His image (see Genesis 5:1–3). Crowned with glory, he was given dominion over the world and the protection of His angels (see Psalms 8:6–891:11–13). He was made to worship God—to live not by bread alone but in obedience to every word that comes from the mouth of the Father.
Adam, however, put the Lord his God to the test. He gave in to the serpent’s temptation, trying to seize for himself all that God had already promised him. But in His hour of temptation, Jesus prevailed where Adam failed—and drove the devil away.

Still, we sin after the pattern of Adam’s transgression. Like Adam, we let sin in the door (see Genesis 4:7) when we entertain doubts about God’s promises, when we forget to call on Him in our hours of temptation.
But the grace won for us by Christ’s obedience means that sin is no longer our master.

As we begin this season of repentance, we can be confident in His compassion, that He will create in us a new heart (see Romans 5:5Hebrews 8:10). As we do in today’s Psalm, we can sing joyfully of our salvation, renewed in His presence


My Lord You came for me!

Instead of pushing me far away because of the filth of my sins, You O Lord drew me close. You sat and ate with me, my friends were your friends. Mi casa es su casa.

My Lord You came for me!

Who am I that You should love me so? Guilt and shame filled my heart, for deeply offending You by the wrong choices I’ve made. How could You love me still? Then I saw myself through Your eyes.

My Lord You came for me!

Follow me, I heard You call. And I felt Your grace gently flowing and enveloping my very being. I am restored, I was am made whole. I gladly follow You Lord, wherever You lead me so.

My Lord You came for me! Amen

First reading

Isaiah 58:9-14
You will be like a spring whose waters never run dry

The Lord says this:

If you do away with the yoke,
the clenched fist, the wicked word,
if you give your bread to the hungry,
and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon. The Lord will always guide you, giving you relief in desert places.

He will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never run dry.

You will rebuild the ancient ruins, build up on the old foundations. You will be called ‘Breach-mender’, ‘Restorer of ruined houses.’

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
and doing business on the holy day, if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’, and the day sacred to the Lord ‘Honourable’, if you honour it by abstaining from travel, from doing business and from gossip, then shall you find your happiness in the Lord and I will lead you triumphant over the heights of the land.
I will feed you on the heritage of Jacob your father. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Gospel

Luke 5:27-32
Jesus comes not to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him.
In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What is the purpose of fasting and following the Lenten observances if we do not will our hearts to change, to pray to our Lord fervently to help change them so as to unite ourselves more fully to Him? Can we then continue with unbridled tongues? With allowing our tempers to flare? With a lukewarm faith? With indifference? With feigned ignorance of the poor and the poor in spirit? Can we continue to give in to temptation and sin?

Emptying and surrendering ourselves to Him so that He can fill the voids in our lives with His graces and His very self through the act of fasting is only the first step. There is still prayer and almsgiving which of course includes performing corporal and spiritual acts of mercy. Yes mighty challenging indeed! But think of the prize, the bridegroom Himself! The best part is that He is with us every step of the way in our journey guiding and enriching us with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Oh Lord allow me to always listen to Your voice and my heart will never be hardened. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 58:1-9 ·

The sort of fast that pleases me

Thus says the Lord:

Shout for all you are worth,raise your voice like a trumpet. Proclaim their faults to my people, their sins to the House of Jacob.

They seek me day after day, they long to know my ways, like a nation that wants to act with integrity and not ignore the law of its God.

They ask me for laws that are just, they long for God to draw near: ‘Why should we fast if you never see it, why do penance if you never notice?’

Look, you do business on your fast-days, you oppress all your workmen; look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast and strike the poor man with your fist.

Fasting like yours today will never make your voice heard on high. Is that the sort of fast that pleases me, a truly penitential day for men?

Hanging your head like a reed, lying down on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call fasting, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me

– it is the Lord who speaks – to break unjust fetters and undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke, to share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, to clothe the man you see to be naked and not turn from your own kin? Then will your light shine like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over.

Your integrity will go before you and the glory of the Lord behind you.

Cry, and the Lord will answer; call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:14-15

When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast

John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 27, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Who in their right mind, able bodied and all would choose death over life? Yet this unconscionable act is chosen over and over again each time we choose sin over life. Yes indeed sin equals death.

Jesus our Lord is the source of all life and so by choosing to sin we distant ourselves further and further from Him by our disobedience. And while it may seem that we are living our lives to the full, passionately fulfilling our base desires; we are in actual fact withering, falling and sooner than later we will die.

To live in the love of Jesus is truly choosing life to the full. By embracing the challenges, hardships and sacrifices we opt to carry the gift of the cross. For by dying in Him, we rise to new life with and in Him.

Lord Jesus Bless and anoint me, that I may faithfully choose to serve You above all else. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ·
I set before you today life or death, blessing or curse

Moses said to the people: ‘See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin on you today, if you love the Lord your God and follow his ways, if you keep his commandments, his laws, his customs, you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to make your own. But if your heart strays, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn into worshipping other gods and serving them, I tell you today, you will most certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of the Lord your God, obeying his voice, clinging to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends your long stay in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob he would give them.’

Gospel

Luke 9:22-25
Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’
Then to all he said:
‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Traditionally today is the day we receive the mark of ashes on our foreheads by the priest or communion ministers as an outward sign that we have chosen to begin our Lenten observances. It has never been a day of obligation, but for many of us it is in the sense that we choose our love for God over everything else and want to be fully united with Him. Some of us this year will not have this opportunity due to the church closure, and so some have opted for a DIY solution by burning their old palms and marking themselves with the ashes.

What is of most importance is our inner disposition. Is today simply a reminder of our Mortality? From Ashes we came from ashes we shall return? Or is it a stark reminder that we are already dead if we do not have a relationship with the Lord our God? For we have not truly lived as we ought to in His love. Is today simply about returning to our God’s good graces? Or is it about truly being sorry and contrite for sins, for having wandered far from Him; and wanting badly to be in His loving embrace.

So sisters and brothers in Christ, if today and through the forty days of Lent, we rend our hearts for our many heinous sins, for what we have done and what we have failed to do. If we are truly penitent and want to start anew. Then we can rest assured that our Lord Jesus Christ will heal and make us whole. And we will live fully in His love and light at Easter!

Let us turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospels. Amen

First reading

Joel 2:12-18 ·
Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn

‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning.’
Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn, turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion,
slow to anger, rich in graciousness, and ready to relent.
Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent, will not leave a blessing as he passes, oblation and libation for the Lord your God?

Sound the trumpet in Zion!
Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, call the people together,
summon the community,
assemble the elders, gather the children, even the infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom and the bride her alcove.
Between vestibule and altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, lament.
Let them say,
‘Spare your people, Lord!
Do not make your heritage a thing of shame, a byword for the nations. Why should it be said among the nations, “Where is their God?”’

Then the Lord, jealous on behalf of his land, took pity on his people.

Second reading

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Be reconciled to God

We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God. As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.

Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18
Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 25, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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All leadership perhaps starts out innocently enough with the sole desire of serving the Lord our God and brethren. But after a while if we do not ground ourselves by focusing both on our crucified Christ and His resurrection thereby carrying our own to cross to follow Him; we will be tainted by the world! It may start subtly with seeking affirmation, approval, then recognition and honour. Truth is withheld to keep the ‘peace’ the unified consensus, never mind that the way of Christ is through the narrow gate. Prayers are written and everyone is encouraged to pray, so that our Lord might listen to the construct of the beautiful words and overlook the agenda we want passed. Are we then serving the Lord? Or is He meant to serve us?

Why does Jesus put His arm around the child and set the child before His disciples? His action spoke volumes even before His words reached their ears! You and I should see ourselves as that child. I am that child so loved by God my Father. My Lord and God’s protective arm is around me. I am under His providence and so desire only that which I can use to build His Kingdom. I bask in His great and complete love for me and therefore seek no other kind of love of which only brings discontent. The more I want to hold on to His love for me, the more I must give it away to my brethren especially the least; that is to the stranger, the widow, the defenseless child, the poor. It is only through the Cross that I carry for love of my God, that I am truly alive in His presence.

Abba I am Your child. I’ve come to do Your will. Amen

First reading

James 4:1-10 ·
Resist the devil and he will run away

Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.
You are as unfaithful as adulterous wives; don’t you realise that making the world your friend is making God your enemy? Anyone who chooses the world for his friend turns himself into God’s enemy. Surely you don’t think scripture is wrong when it says: the spirit which he sent to live in us wants us for himself alone? But he has been even more generous to us, as scripture says: God opposes the proud but he gives generously to the humble. Give in to God, then; resist the devil, and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you. Clean your hands, you sinners, and clear your minds, you waverers. Look at your wretched condition, and weep for it in misery; be miserable instead of laughing, gloomy instead of happy. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.

Gospel

Mark 9:30-37
Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me

Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Lord together with my brethren we have prayed fervently, give us today our daily bread but those perhaps those far wiser than us have decided to deny us direct access to You for a time.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

We are weak Lord and evil surrounds us ready to pounce for we have little left to defend ourselves.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

We want to gather together in the sanctity of our homes to praise, worship and listen to Your Word for us, but fear now rules and keeps us away.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

We humbly submit ourselves to You Holy Will for us, as we embrace this cross we have been given.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

Lift this curse Lord we pray, for everything is possible with You. All our faith and trust we give You Lord.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have! Amen

First reading

James 3:13-18
Show wisdom and avoid ambition

If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions. But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or a self-seeking ambition, never make any claims for yourself or cover up the truth with lies – principles of this kind are not the wisdom that comes down from above: they are only earthly, animal and devilish. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

Gospel

Mark 9:14-29
Help the little faith I have!

When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Lord together with my brethren we have prayed fervently, give us today our daily bread but those perhaps those far wiser than us have decided to deny us direct access to You for a time.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

We are weak Lord and evil surrounds us ready to pounce for we have little left to defend ourselves.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

We want to gather together in the sanctity of our homes to praise, worship and listen to Your Word for us, but fear now rules and keeps us away.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

We humbly submit ourselves to You Holy Will for us, as we embrace this cross we have been given.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have!

Lift this curse Lord we pray, for everything is possible with You. All our faith and trust we give You Lord.

Lord Jesus we do have faith, help the little faith we have! Amen

First reading

James 3:13-18
Show wisdom and avoid ambition

If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions. But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or a self-seeking ambition, never make any claims for yourself or cover up the truth with lies – principles of this kind are not the wisdom that comes down from above: they are only earthly, animal and devilish. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

Gospel

Mark 9:14-29
Help the little faith I have!

When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 22, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Holy as God: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Leviticus 19:1–2, 17–18
Psalm 103:1–4, 8, 10, 12–13
1 Corinthians 3:16–23
Matthew 5:38–48

We are called to the holiness of God. That is the extraordinary claim made in both the First Reading and Gospel this Sunday.

Yet how is it possible that we can be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect?

Jesus explains that we must be imitators of God as His beloved children (Ephesians 5:1–2).

As God does, we must love without limit—with a love that does not distinguish between friend and foe, overcoming evil with good (see Romans 12:21).

Jesus Himself, in His Passion and death, gave us the perfect example of the love that we are called to.

He offered no resistance to the evil—even though He could have commanded twelve legions of angels to fight alongside Him. He offered His face to be struck and spit upon. He allowed His garments to be stripped from Him. He marched as His enemies compelled Him to the Place of the Skull. On the cross He prayed for those who persecuted Him (see Matthew 26:53–54, 67; 27:28, 32; Luke 23:34).

In all this He showed Himself to be the perfect Son of God. By His grace, and through our imitation of Him, He promises that we too can become children of our heavenly Father.

God does not deal with us as we deserve, as we sing in this week’s Psalm. He loves us with a Father’s love. He saves us from ruin. He forgives our transgressions.

He loved us even when we had made ourselves His enemies through our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (see Romans 5:8).

We have been bought with the price of the blood of God’s only Son (see 1 Corinthians 6:20). We belong to Christ now, as St. Paul says in this week’s Epistle. By our baptism, we have been made temples of His Holy Spirit.

And we have been saved to share in His holiness and perfection. So let us glorify Him by our lives lived in His service, loving as He loves.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 22, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Simple question, can you be Catholic if you do Not pledge allegiance and obedience to the Bishop of Rome, His Holiness our Pope? Answer is no!

For Jesus our Lord and saviour chose to institute His One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church through St. Peter our first Pope when He said, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.” And so by the grace of the Lord our God we have Apostolic Succession from St Peter down to Pope Francis. By the power of God and through the workings of the Holy Spirit we will stand firm upon our rock and our Church will continue to the end of time; to be the Light of the world.

We pray Lord that You watch over our Holy father Pope Francis and keep him in Your loving care. Be with him, strengthen and guide him so that He and together with your Shepherds will lead us faithfully unto You. Amen

First reading

1 Peter 5:1-4 ·
Watch over the flock, not simply as a duty but gladly

Now I have something to tell your elders: I am an elder myself, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and with you I have a share in the glory that is to be revealed. Be the shepherds of the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it; not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow. When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.

Gospel

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 21, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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<!–Mark 8:34-9:1–>

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 20, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God!

The most generous people I know and have witnessed are the poor or those who have experienced poverty. They share with joy and freely from what little they have as if they they share out of their abundance. They know not for certain when their next meal will be, they only know that their brethren not necessarily of blood is together with them and for that they rejoice. Another day to live in God’s grace they might say. Truly the Lord our God is closest to the poor and the poor in spirit. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” Mark 8:36

When we are humble, hungry and thirsting after the Lord our God to fill our spiritual emptiness and poverty. To know that we need His wisdom, His healing grace and strength upon us, only then are we fully united with Him. We not only embrace our sufferings but seek to unite them with His for the redemption of the world. Every little suffering or sacrifice is an opportunity to draw closer to Him for us, our loved ones and our neighbour.

Lord Jesus, show us Your way, Your truth and life and we will follow. Amen

First reading

James 2:1-9 ·

God chose the poor but you do not respect them

My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into witnessed synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats’; then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my foot-rest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?
Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. In spite of this, you have no respect for anybody who is poor. Isn’t it always the rich who are against you? Isn’t it always their doing when you are dragged before the court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the honourable name to which you have been dedicated? Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of scripture: you must love your neighbour as yourself; but as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people, you are committing sin, and under condemnation for breaking the Law.

Gospel

Mark 8:27-33
The way you think is not God’s way, but man’s

Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’

Strength In Weakness 2

Posted: February 19, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Strength In Weakness Conference part 2
https://youtu.be/oqvd7XATAko

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 19, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Oh how I miss Your touch Lord Jesus! Your loving embrace in Holy Communion. How You have helped me see more clearly my sisters and brothers in You. Touch me once again Lord that I may see more fully with my heart, all the wonder of Your works. But most of all that I may see my brethren who are in need, so that I may reach out and minister to them in Your name.

Let my prayer and reflections on Your living Word draw me every closer to You. That I may dwell in Your love and bring Your love to those in need by the service of my hands and feet. And may all that I say and do be a reflection of You, my Lord and my God. Amen

First reading

James 1:19-27

The Word is not only to be listened to, but obeyed

Remember this, my dear brothers: be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to rouse your temper; God’s righteousness is never served by man’s anger; so do away with all the impurities and bad habits that are still left in you – accept and submit to the word which has been planted in you and can save your souls. But you must do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves. To listen to the word and not obey is like looking at your own features in a mirror and then, after a quick look, going off and immediately forgetting what you looked like. But the man who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and makes that his habit – not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice – will be happy in all that he does.
Nobody must imagine that he is religious while he still goes on deceiving himself and not keeping control over his tongue; anyone who does this has the wrong idea of religion. Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.

Gospel

Mark 8:22-26
The blind man was cured and could see everything distinctly

Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida, and some people brought to him a blind man whom they begged him to touch. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Then putting spittle on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked, ‘Can you see anything?’ The man, who was beginning to see, replied, ‘I can see people; they look like trees to me, but they are walking about.’ Then he laid his hands on the man’s eyes again and he saw clearly; he was cured, and he could see everything plainly and distinctly. And Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’

Strength in Weakness

Posted: February 18, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

In moments when we are Spirtually down, Christ Jesus our Lord finds a way to lift our spirits! It is with great joy I share this link with you. Stronger in weakness a conference held in Melbourne. Great to hear the praise and worship team from the Community of The Risen Lord and the wisdom of God through His speakers and one of my spiritual fathers, Brother Lalith. Part 2 to follow

https://youtu.be/Bmi9qG7L5D0


We must strive daily to resist all forms of sin and temptation especially now that many do not have access to the sacraments. For even the tiniest of sin grows and spread its evil. Often enough what is said comes from a place of pride, of thinking one knows better, from demanding justice, self preservation maybe even self benefit and so the gossip and rumour mill begins. It spreads injures, destroys and takes no prisoners except the one who started it. Two of the many deadly sins have been and continue to be the downfall of many men and women alike. They are pride and lust! Of course greed follows closely behind. None of which comes from the Lord our God who is without sin and therefore nothing sinful comes from one who is blameless.

Therefore it is right and just, always and everywhere; to give Him thanks and praise. For our Lord Jesus Christ by His life, death and Resurrection had conquered sin and through Him we have life eternal. Through Him, we can live life to the full in His love. Every morning we awake and before we lay our head to sleep, we should come into the presence of our Lord and give Him the truth of our heart. We plead for His mercy and the grace to begin aright and new. We surrender the day and night to Him, most of all, our lives! So that through Him we will lead fruitful lives glorifying the Lord our God Amen.

First reading

James 1:12-18 ·
Temptation is not from God

Happy the man who stands firm when trials come. He has proved himself, and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Never, when you have been tempted, say, ‘God sent the temptation’; God cannot be tempted to do anything wrong, and he does not tempt anybody. Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire. Then the desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it too has a child, and the child is death.
Make no mistake about this, my dear brothers: it is all that is good, everything that is perfect, which is given us from above; it comes down from the Father of all light; with him there is no such thing as alteration, no shadow of a change. By his own choice he made us his children by the message of the truth so that we should be a sort of first-fruits of all that he had created.

Gospel

Mark 8:14-21
Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod

The disciples had forgotten to take any food and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Then he gave them this warning, ‘Keep your eyes open; be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ And they said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And Jesus knew it, and he said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you not yet understand? Have you no perception? Are your minds closed? Have you eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear? Or do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ They answered, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ And they answered, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Are you still without perception?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 17, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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And so in this time of uncertainty, trial and the challenges that await us; we are called to learn and to be patient. We turn to the Lord our God’s wisdom to show us the way. We hold on dearly to our faith and look upon the cross in which our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ hung for us. Truly the sign of God’s endearing love for us for all time.

We remember how He loved us and that the cross was not the end! But only the beginning of new life with Him through His resurrection. Christ conquered death so that we might live free in His love.

So let us continue to pray fervently that our Lord Jesus’s mercy, justice and peace will prevail in our day, in our minds and in our hearts. Amen

First reading

James 1:1-11 ·
Your faith is put to the test so that your patience may make you complete

From James, servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion.
    My brothers, you will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege; you understand that your faith is only put to the test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results so that you will become fully-developed, complete, with nothing missing.
    If there is any one of you who needs wisdom, he must ask God, who gives to all freely and ungrudgingly; it will be given to him. But he must ask with faith, and no trace of doubt, because a person who has doubts is like the waves thrown up in the sea when the wind drives. That sort of person, in two minds, wavering between going different ways, must not expect that the Lord will give him anything.
    It is right for the poor brother to be proud of his high rank, and the rich one to be thankful that he has been humbled, because riches last no longer than the flowers in the grass; the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, the flower falls; what looked so beautiful now disappears. It is the same with the rich man: his business goes on; he himself perishes.


Gospel

Mark 8:11-13
No sign shall be given to this generation

The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with Jesus; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to test him. And with a sigh that came straight from the heart he said, ‘Why does this generation demand a sign? I tell you solemnly, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And leaving them again and re-embarking, he went away to the opposite shore.

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 15, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Affair of the Heart: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Sirach 15:15–20
Psalm 119:1–2, 4–5, 17–18, 33–34
1 Corinthians 2:6–10
Matthew 5:17–37

Jesus tells us in the Gospel this week that He has come not to abolish but to “fulfill” the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.

His Gospel reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of the Ten Commandments and the moral Law of the Old Testament. But His Gospel also transcends the Law. He demands a morality far greater than that accomplished by the most pious of Jews, the scribes and Pharisees.
Outward observance of the Law is not enough. It is not enough that we do not murder, commit adultery, divorce, or lie.

The law of the new covenant is a law that God writes on the heart (see Jeremiah 31:31–34). The heart is the seat of our motivations, the place from which our words and actions proceed (see Matthew 6:21; 15:18–20).

Jesus this week calls us to train our hearts, to master our passions and emotions. And Jesus demands the full obedience of our hearts (see Romans 6:17). He calls us to love God with all our hearts, and to do His will from the heart (see Matthew 22:37; Ephesians 6:6).

God never asks more of us than we are capable of. That is the message of this week’s First Reading. It is up to us to choose life over death, to choose the waters of eternal life over the fires of ungodliness and sin.
By His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has shown us that it is possible to keep His commandments. In Baptism, He has given us His Spirit that His law might be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4).

The wisdom of the Gospel surpasses all the wisdom of this age that is passing away, St. Paul tells us in the Epistle. The revelation of this wisdom fulfills God’s plan from before all ages.

Let us trust in this wisdom, and live by His kingdom law.
As we do in this week’s Psalm, let us pray that we grow in being better able to live His Gospel, and to seek the Father with all our heart.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 15, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Have we taken the Lord our God for granted?

That by choosing sin over our Lord, His mercy and love will some how always prevail?

That by simply uttering our prayers with our lips disconnect from our hearts we shall always receive our daily bread?

That we will always have an opportunity to adore Him in His real presence before the Blessed Sacrament and so we give in to other priorities, even personal pleasures.

That we will always have a place to worship as One Body In Him, to give Him thanks praise, and receive the blessings and graces we need to last the week that is if we choose to go and to be on time. Till war and calamity denies us even this grace.

That desiring and being in spiritual communion is enough to nourish and sustain us against the great evil that surrounds us and is waiting to pounce.

Have we taken the Lord our God for granted?

Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour, forgive us our many sins and shortcomings. Look with pity upon us Oh Lord; in Your love and mercy grant us the bread of heaven, which gives us life eternal, now and forever. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 12:26-32,13:33-34
The prophecy of the separation of Israel

Jeroboam thought to himself, ‘As things are, the kingdom will revert to the House of David. If this people continues to go up to the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, the people’s heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will put me to death.’ So the king thought this over and then made two golden calves; he said to the people, ‘You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, Israel; these brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ He set up one in Bethel and the people went in procession all the way to Dan in front of the other. He set up the temple of the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam also instituted a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth of the month, like the feast that was kept in Judah, and he went up to the altar. That was how he behaved in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made; and at Bethel he put the priests of the high places he had established.
Jeroboam did not give up his wicked ways but went on appointing priests for the high places from the common people. He consecrated as priests of the high places any who wished to be. Such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful House, and caused its ruin and extinction from the face of the earth.

Gospel

Mark 8:1-10
The feeding of the four thousand

A great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said. Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them among the crowd. They had a few small fish as well, and over these he said a blessing and ordered them to be distributed also. They ate as much as they wanted, and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over. Now there had been about four thousand people. He sent them away and immediately, getting into the boat with his disciples, went to the region of Dalmanutha.


We are one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. And so just as we are One Body In Christ we must stand united in our faith and in our worship bound together to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Through His Vicar our Pope and obedience to our Archbishop we are of One Body as we are of One mind. Church is therefore not just a building but built on a foundation of living stones. 1 Peter 2:5

And all of us, sinners that we are must turn frequently to our Lord Jesus Christ for the necessary graces through the sacraments He bestowed upon us; so that we might remain steadfast and to grow in Holiness. Let us then rejoice for through Him or hearts, minds are opened to praise, worship and adore Him. To glorify Him by our lives by living free from sin, in His love one Body In Him. Amen

Dearest Mother intercede for our Church as we pray, Hail Mary….

A reading from

the first Book of Kings11:29-32; 12:19

One day when Jeroboam had gone out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh accosted him on the road. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak; the two of them were in the open country by themselves. Ahijah took the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve strips, saying to Jeroboam, “Take ten strips for yourself, for thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel, ‘I am going to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and give ten tribes to you. He shall keep one tribe for the sake of my ­servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’”
And Israel has been separated from the House of David until the present day.
The word of the Lord.

A reading from

the holy Gospel according to Mark7:31-37

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, “Ephphatha”, that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. “He has done all things well,” they said, “he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 13, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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From the very beginning, our almighty and ever-living God has no name. For He is all in all, above everything, everyone and has no beginning and no end. Therefore there can exist no other God, there is only one, the God of Abraham, God of Issac and God of Jacob. One living triune God for all time. So loved He the world and to save us from eternal death by our sins, the Son of God became the Son of Man and bore the name Jesus who saves! He revealed for all time, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58

Such is His mercy and love that He even hears the intercessions of non-believers who cry out to Him in desperation. He heals and restores by their faith in Him. How great and loving is our God! We are all indeed sinners in need of His mercy and compassion.

Let us all not wait to change but come swiftly and enter into His presence, so that He can change us from within. He can free us from all evil, so as to live Holy lives in His love.

Jesus is for everyone. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 11:4-13
‘The half was not told me’

When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and his heart was not wholly with the Lord his God as his father David’s had been. Solomon became a follower of Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom, the Ammonite abomination. He did what was displeasing to the Lord, and was not a wholehearted follower of the Lord, as his father David had been. Then it was that Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the god of Moab on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem, and to Milcom the god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrifice to their gods.
The Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord the God of Israel who had twice appeared to him and who had then forbidden him to follow other gods; but he did not carry out the Lord’s order. The Lord therefore said to Solomon, ‘Since you behave like this and do not keep my covenant or the laws I laid down for you, I will most surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. For your father David’s sake, however, I will not do this during your lifetime, but will tear it out of your son’s hands. Even so, I will not tear the whole kingdom from him. For the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen, I will leave your son one tribe.’

Gospel

Mark 7:24-30
The astuteness of the Syro-Phoenician woman

Jesus left Gennesaret and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straightaway and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was a pagan, by birth a Syrophoenician, and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, ‘The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ But she spoke up: ‘Ah yes, sir,’ she replied ‘but the house-dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps.’ And he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go home happy: the devil has gone out of your daughter.’ So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 12, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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A Christian must always and everywhere reflect the heart of God in all that is said and done. There cannot be any or slightest form of duplicity.

For whether we like it or not, want it or not, people are watching our every move; hanging on our every word. And No this is not paranoia but a simple reality. They look to see from afar what we say and do both in church and outside of church. One clearest example is social media, like Facebook and Instagram. There are lurkers who will not like, dislike or comment but are watching what we post, and what we comment on the post of others. And so we have the power to evangelise the faith we hold dear, by the way we live our lives; bringing glory to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ or by our own choosing bring forth scandal, disarray and dismay by failing to live our Lord’s Kingdom values.

Let us then hold fast to our Lord Jesus’s commandment. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. And to love one another as He had loved us. Then our light will break forth like the dawn, and our healing will quickly appear; then our righteousness will go before us, and the glory of the LORD will be our rear guard. Is 58:8

First reading

1 Kings 10:1-10 ·
Solomon prays to the Lord in the Temple

The fame of Solomon having reached the queen of Sheba, she came to test him with difficult questions. She brought immense riches to Jerusalem with her, camels laden with spices, great quantities of gold, and precious stones. On coming to Solomon, she opened her mind freely to him; and Solomon had an answer for all her questions, not one of them was too obscure for the king to expound. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the accommodation for his officials, the organisation of his staff and the way they were dressed, his cup-bearers, and the holocausts he offered in the Temple of the Lord, it left her breathless, and she said to the king, ‘What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom was true, then! Until I came and saw it with my own eyes I could not believe what they told me, but clearly they told me less than half: for wisdom and prosperity you surpass the report I heard. How happy your wives are! How happy are these servants of yours who wait on you always and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God who has granted you his favour, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because of the Lord’s everlasting love for Israel, he has made you king to deal out law and justice.’ And she presented the king with a hundred and twenty talents of gold and great quantities of spices and precious stones; no such wealth of spices ever came again as those given to King Solomon by the queen of Sheba.

Gospel

Mark 7:14-23
It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean

Jesus called the people to him and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’
When he had gone back into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Do you not understand either? Can you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart but through his stomach and passes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.) And he went on, ‘It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Prayer is a means by which we unite ourselves most fully with the Lord our God. We listen intently for His will for us as we share our struggles and lift up our intentions. We fall into His loving embrace and by His grace we are transformed, strengthened and emboldened to go forth to touch others by our lives in His love.

What good are our prayers if we are not changed from within? If we are not contrite, merciful or loving towards others? If we entertain grandeur thoughts that we are above others; that all we say, do and instuct others is for their good and the good of all! Let us ask ourselves then have we acted in the humble servitude of the Lord our God and our brethren? Have they drawn closer to Him by our words and actions? Have we laid down our lives for Him and brethren.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Cor 13:11. I am now a man of God, therefore my love and actions must reflect the image of God my Father, creator of Heaven and earth through Christ my Lord. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 8:22-23,27-30 ·

‘Listen to the prayer your servant makes in this place’

In the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord and, stretching out his hands towards heaven, said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, not in heaven above nor on earth beneath is there such a God as you, true to your covenant and your kindness towards your servants when they walk wholeheartedly in your way. Yet will God really live with men on the earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built! Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, O Lord my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you today. Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said, “My name shall be there.” Listen to the prayer that your servant will offer in this place.

‘Hear the entreaty of your servant and of Israel your people as they pray in this place. From heaven where your dwelling is, hear; and, as you hear, forgive.’

Gospel

Mark 7:1-13

You get round the commandment of God to preserve your own tradition

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me.
The worship they offer me is worthless,
the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Corban (that is, dedicated to God), then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’


Does Jesus dwell in your home? Do you have an altar set up where you can come into His presence in prayer? Or is it simply a beautiful showpiece. How can you tell if the Lord is truly present? There will be peace and joy at home.

With that peace and joy in our hearts we carry Jesus with us wherever we go. So others too can experience the same peace and joy. Through our prayers we witness His healing grace upon those who have asked us to pray or for whom we have prayed for without being asked. Through faith we have been healed, through faith we bring forth the message of salvation of the world through Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 8:1-7,9-13 ·
The Ark of the Covenant is brought into the Temple

Solomon called the elders of Israel together in Jerusalem to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord up from the Citadel of David, which is Zion. All the men of Israel assembled round King Solomon in the month of Ethanim, at the time of the feast (that is, the seventh month), and the priests took up the ark and the Tent of Meeting with all the sacred vessels that were in it. In the presence of the ark, King Solomon and all Israel sacrificed sheep and oxen, countless, innumerable. The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the Debir of the Temple, that is, in the Holy of Holies, under the cherubs’ wings. For there where the ark was placed the cherubs spread out their wings and sheltered the ark and its shafts. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets Moses had placed in it at Horeb, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord had made with the Israelites when they came out of the land of Egypt; they are still there today.
Now when the priests came out of the sanctuary, the cloud filled the Temple of the Lord, and because of the cloud the priests could no longer perform their duties: the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s Temple.
Then Solomon said:

‘The Lord has chosen to dwell in the thick cloud. Yes, I have built you a dwelling,
a place for you to live in for ever.’

Gospel

Mark 6:53-56
All those who touched him were cured

Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 8, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Light Breaking Forth: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings

Isaiah 58:7–10
Psalm 112:4–9
1 Corinthians 2:1–5
Matthew 5:13–16

Jesus came among us as light to scatter the darkness of a fallen world.
As His disciples, we too are called to be “the light of the world,” He tells us in the Gospel this Sunday (see John 1:4–4, 9; 8:12; 9:5).

All three images that Jesus uses to describe the Church are associated with the identity and vocation of Israel.
God forever aligned His kingdom with the kingdom of David and his sons by a “covenant of salt,” salt being a sign of permanence and purity (see 2 Chronicles 13:5, 8; Leviticus 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24).

Jerusalem was to be a city set on a hill, high above all others, drawing all nations towards the glorious light streaming from her Temple (see Isaiah 2:2; 60:1–3).
And Israel was given the mission of being a light to the nations, that God’s salvation would reach to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).

The liturgy shows us this week that the Church, and every Christian, is called to fulfill Israel’s mission.
By our faith and good works we are to make the light of God’s life break forth in the darkness, as we sing in this week’s Psalm.

This week’s readings remind us that our faith can never be a private affair, something we can hide as if under a basket.
We are to pour ourselves out for the afflicted, as Isaiah tells us in the First Reading. Our light must shine as a ray of God’s mercy for all who are poor, hungry, naked, and enslaved.

There must be a transparent quality to our lives. Our friends and family, our neighbors and fellow citizens, should see reflected in us the light of Christ and through us be attracted to the saving truths of the Gospel.
So let us pray that we, like St. Paul in the Epistle, might proclaim with our whole lives, “Christ and him crucified.”

Posted: February 8, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Photos

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 8, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Even today we are in great need of leaders and shepherds after the heart of Jesus to step up to lead and care for the flock. Many who are capable would rather be a follower than a leader. For they feel it is too daunting a task for them.

We must come to the realisation that we have an all powerful God and that if we seek first His Kingdom and righteousness all else will be added on. We only need to discern His will for us and go in faith to love and serve Him and our brethren.

Lord Jesus grant me a discerning heart to know always Your will for me. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 3:4-13
Solomon chooses the gift of wisdom

King Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the greatest of the high places – Solomon offered a thousand holocausts on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared in a dream to Solomon during the night. God said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘You showed great kindness to your servant David, my father, when he lived his life before you in faithfulness and justice and integrity of heart; you have continued this great kindness to him by allowing a son of his to sit on his throne today. Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you. What you have not asked I shall give you too: such riches and glory as no other king ever had.’

Gospel

Mark 6:30-34
They were like sheep without a shepherd

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 7, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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St John the Baptist lost his head in the service and glory of God and was said to have ‘risen’ from the dead by the very one who commanded his beheading. Isn’t that ironic? More so in that Herod had proclaimed an actual truth for we know that St John the Baptist is indeed in the presence of the Lord our God even though everyone else was referring to Jesus present in that time. Yet another irony is that Herod was the one in actual fact who lost his head! In moments of weakness, but then again for all eternity. For what does it profit a man that he shall gain the whole world but loses his soul? Mark 8:36

Men and women after the heart of God will strive always, everywhere to give thanks, praise and glory to the Lord our God. For they know in their hearts His great mercy and love had been outpoured upon them each and every time they had turned back to Him with contrite hearts. They love more for their many sins have been forgiven. (Lk 7:47) And they rely not on their own strengths but call upon the Lord who hears His Faithful. Therefore they are able to do great things in His name for His Kingdom and their brethren.

With ever grateful and loving hearts let us sing hymns of praise to God our creator. Let us adore and worship Him with one voice. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 47:2-13
David sang out of love for his Maker

As the fat is set apart from the communion sacrifice, so David was chosen out of all the sons of Israel.
He played with lions as though with kids, and with bears as though with lambs of the flock.
While still a boy, did he not slay the giant, and relieve the people of their shame, by putting out a hand to sling a stone which brought down the arrogance of Goliath?
For he called on the Lord Most High, who gave strength to his right arm to put a mighty warrior to death, and lift up the horn of his people.
Hence they gave him credit for ten thousand, and praised him while they blessed the Lord, by offering him a crown of glory; for he massacred enemies on every side, he annihilated his foes the Philistines, and crushed their horn to this very day.
In all his activities he gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High, in words of glory; he put all his heart into his songs out of love for his Maker.
He placed harps before the altar to make the singing sweeter with their music; he gave the feasts their splendour,
the festivals their solemn pomp,
causing the Lord’s holy name to be praised and the sanctuary to resound from dawn.
The Lord took away his sins, and exalted his horn for ever; he gave him a royal covenant, and a glorious throne in Israel.

Gospel

Mark 6:14-29
The beheading of John the Baptist

King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah’; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.’
Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.
An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


I have pondered over what final message I could possibly convey to my children, two boys and a girl on my deathbed that would be meaningful and impactful. Would I share the lessons I’ve learnt through often painful life experiences? Should I share the top ten mistakes to avoid and then the top ten right choices to make?

Nay! There is no greater message than that of God’s unending love for us. How we must truly love Him above all, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. To keep His commandments and to teach others to do the same.

Then I came to the realisation that pondering over what to say at my deathbed was not only foolish but outright ridiculous! This all important message of God’s love and love of God, is not only for my children, or children’s children; but for everyone and now! It is best conveyed through a life lived fully in the presence of my Lord and God. Not by speech alone but through my hands and feet put into action for love of Him and love of brethren.

Let your Word Lord be a lamp unto my feet. Amen

St Paul Miki and companions pray for us…..

First reading

1 Kings 2:1-4,10-12
David’s dying exhortation to Solomon

As David’s life drew to its close he laid this charge on his son Solomon, ‘I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of the Lord your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, as it stands written in the Law of Moses, that so you may be successful in all you do and undertake, so that the Lord may fulfil the promise he made me, “If your sons are careful how they behave, and walk loyally before me with all their heart and soul, you shall never lack for a man on the throne of Israel.”’would
So David slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David. David’s reign over Israel lasted forty years: he reigned in Hebron for seven years, and in Jerusalem for thirty-three.
Solomon was seated upon the throne of David, and his sovereignty was securely established.

Gospel

Mark 6:7-13
‘Take nothing with you’

Jesus made a tour round the villages, teaching. Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 5, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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I cannot hope to build God’s kingdom if I am in charge. Everything I say or do will be a calculated cost. Before embarking on any endeavour I will need to know the numbers, the time needed, the people and the budget in place before considering whether or not to proceed as planned. There is indeed nothing wrong with being prudent except when prudence alone is what prevents us from achieving great things for our Lord. The question at the very beginning for any endeavour for our Lord must be who is in charge? If we say the Lord our God is in charge then where is our faith? Have we prayed fervently as to discern His will for us? Having discerned are we then ready to face unafraid any and all challenges ahead?

Our faith therefore is not one of presuppositions, but one that comes from the heart of our God. In knowing without reservation that we are children so loved by God our Heavenly Father. Through His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we enter into eternal sonship and daughterhood. By our ever loving and growing relationship with Him we are able build up His Kingdom; through Him, with Him and in Him.

Where are you in you faith journey? Do you know about Jesus? Or do you know Him in a deep personal familial way and more!

St Agatha pray for us….

First reading

2 Samuel 24:2,8-17
David takes the guilt on himself to save Israel

King David said to Joab and to the senior army officers who were with him, ‘Now go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and take a census of the people; I wish to know the size of the population.’ Having covered the whole country, they returned to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab gave the king the figures for the census of the people; Israel numbered eight hundred thousand armed men capable of drawing sword, and Judah five hundred thousand men.
But afterwards David’s heart misgave him for having taken a census of the people. ‘I have committed a grave sin’ David said to the Lord. ‘But now, Lord, I beg you to forgive your servant for this fault. I have been very foolish.’ But when David got up next morning, the following message had come from the Lord to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, ‘Go and say to David, “The Lord says this: I offer you three things; choose one of them for me to do to you.”’
So Gad went to David and told him. ‘Are three years of famine to come on you in your country’ he said ‘or will you flee for three months before your pursuing enemy, or would you rather have three days’ pestilence in your country? Now think, and decide how I am to answer him who sends me.’ David said to Gad, ‘This is a hard choice. But let us rather fall into the power of the Lord, since his mercy is great, and not into the power of men.’ So David chose pestilence.
It was the time of the wheat harvest. The Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning till the time appointed and plague ravaged the people, and from Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of them died. The angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, but the Lord thought better of this evil, and he said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough! Now withdraw your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was beside the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel who was ravaging the people, he spoke to the Lord. ‘It was I who sinned;’ he said ‘I who did this wicked thing. But these, this flock, what have they done? Let your hand lie heavy on me then, and on my family.’

Gospel

Mark 6:1-6
‘A prophet is only despised in his own country’

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.


The Lord our God will humble the conceited. Their vanity will be their undoing! Just as Absalom hung helpless by the fine set of hair on his head. Still a Father is heard weeping for his fallen child. Shall we then not dwell on how we have been living our own lives? Are we too proud and haughty in our dealings with others? Have we humbled ourselves before the Lord our God to plead for His mercy for our wrongdoings against Him and our brethren? Or do we go in pursuit of that which is not ours to take, to our own tragic end. Who is it then that will weep for us?

Again we learn today that the Lord our God has no favourites. Whether you are a son or a daughter, you are a beloved child so loved by your Heavenly Father. Old or young our Lord Jesus heals and restores without reservation. For He hears the cries of His faithful, be it our very own or through the intercession of our beloved ones. My son, my daughter we will surely hear Him say, your faith has healed you. Go in peace to love, serve and glorify the Lord Your God by Your lives. Amen

First reading

2 Samuel 18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3 ·
David mourns Absalom

Absalom happened to run into some of David’s followers. Absalom was riding a mule and the mule passed under the thick branches of a great oak. Absalom’s head caught fast in the oak and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule he was riding went on. Someone saw this and told Joab. ‘I have just seen Absalom’ he said ‘hanging from an oak.’ Joab took three lances in his hand and thrust them into Absalom’s heart while he was still alive there in the oak tree.
David was sitting between the two gates. The lookout had gone up to the roof of the gate, on the ramparts; he looked up and saw a man running all by himself. The watch called out to the king and told him. The king said, ‘If he is by himself, he has good news to tell.’ The king told the man, ‘Move aside and stand there.’ He moved aside and stood waiting.
Then the Cushite arrived. ‘Good news for my lord the king!’ cried the Cushite. ‘The Lord has vindicated your cause today by ridding you of all who rebelled against you.’ ‘Is all well with young Absalom?’ the king asked the Cushite. ‘May the enemies of my lord the king’ the Cushite answered ‘and all who rebelled against you to your hurt, share the lot of that young man.’
The king shuddered. He went up to the room over the gate and burst into tears, and weeping said, ‘My son Absalom! My son! My son Absalom! Would I had died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!’ Word was brought to Joab, ‘The king is now weeping and mourning for Absalom.’ And the day’s victory was turned to mourning for all the troops, because they learned that the king was grieving for his son. And the troops returned stealthily that day to the town, as troops creep back ashamed when routed in

battle.

Gospel

Mark 5:21-43
Little girl, I tell you to get up

When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.
Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she spent all she had without being any the better for it, in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. ‘If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself ‘I shall be well again.’ And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. ‘My daughter,’ he said ‘your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.’
While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, ‘Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble?’ But Jesus had overheard this remark of theirs and he said to the official, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.


Perhaps it is the sin of the Father in which the son picks up from and perpetuates. Still is the son not given free will to choose? When evil is allowed to run rampant it surely will as it is in its nature to do so. Causing huge rifts and division! Flesh and blood means nothing when evil has taken over. In the hurt and pain do we then cry out to the Lord our God? Can a father be consoled knowing his son is out to kill him? Perhaps he flees not so much in fear of being killed himself but in his awareness that eternal death awaits his son for dishonouring him? How many fathers have cried out in their own way? Oh Absalom! My Absalom! Were they not given opportunities to stop the evil that was taking place? To correct what is wrong in the eyes of the Lord our God? To cry out to Him for mercy and instruction.

Jesus is indeed the Lord of Lords, King of Kings and He Son of God is indeed Lord of Heaven and earth. No evil can hope to prevail in His presence. So then is it not wise for all of us to live in His presence? Let us not allow evil to enter our hearts and if it has then let us quickly repent by turning to our Lord to free us. So that we might always live freely in His love and presence. Amen

First reading

2 Samuel 15:13-14,30,16:5-13 ·
David flees Absalom and is cursed by Shimei

A messenger came to tell David, ‘The hearts of the men of Israel are now with Absalom.’ So David said to all his officers who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘Let us be off, let us fly, or we shall never escape from Absalom. Leave as quickly as you can in case flesh mounts a surprise attack and worsts us and puts the city to the sword.’
David then made his way up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, his head covered and his feet bare. And all the people with him had their heads covered and made their way up, weeping as they went.
As David was reaching Bahurim, out came a man of the same clan as Saul’s family. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and as he came he uttered curse after curse and threw stones at David and at all King David’s officers, though the whole army and all the champions flanked the king right and left. The words of his curse were these, ‘Be off, be off, man of blood, scoundrel! the Lord has brought on you all the blood of the House of Saul whose sovereignty you have usurped; and the Lord has transferred that same sovereignty to Absalom your son. Now your doom has overtaken you, man of blood that you are.’ Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Is this dead dog to curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off.’ But the king replied, ‘What business is it of mine and yours, sons of Zeruiah? Let him curse. If the Lord said to him, “Curse David,” what right has anyone to say, “Why have you done this?”’ David said to Abishai and all his officers, ‘Why, my own son, sprung from my body, is now seeking my life; so now how much the more this Benjaminite? Let him curse on if the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will look on my misery and repay me with good for his curse today.’ So David and his men went on their way.

Gospel

Mark 5:1-20
The Gadarene swine

Jesus and his disciples reached the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain; because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear by God you will not torture me!’ – for Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’ ‘What is your name?’ Jesus asked. ‘My name is legion,’ he answered ‘for there are many of us.’ And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.
Now there was there on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.’ So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The swineherds ran off and told their story in the town and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his full senses – the very man who had had the legion in him before – and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave the neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ So the man went off and proceeded to spread throughout the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.


Presenting the Present: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Presentation

Readings:

Malachi 3:1–4
Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10
Hebrews 2:14–18
Luke 2:22–40

Today’s feast marks the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple, forty days after he was born. As the firstborn, he belonged to God. According to the Law, Mary and Joseph were required to take him to the Temple and “redeem” him by paying five shekels. At the same time, the Law required the child’s mother to offer sacrifice in order to overcome the ritual impurity brought about by childbirth.

So the feast we celebrate shows a curious turn of events. The Redeemer seems to be redeemed. She who is all-pure presents herself to be purified. Such is the humility of our God. Such is the humility of the Blessed Virgin. They submit to the law even though they are not bound by it.

However, the Gospel story nowhere mentions Jesus’ “redemption,” but seems to describe instead a religious consecration—such as a priest might undergo. Saint Luke tells us that Jesus is “presented” in the Temple, using the same verb that Saint Paul uses to describe the offering of a sacrifice (see Romans 12:1). Another parallel is the Old Testament dedication of Samuel (1 Sam 1:24-27) to the Temple as a priest.

The drama surrounding Jesus’ conception and birth began in the Temple—when the Archangel visited Mary’s kinsman, Zechariah the priest. And now the story of Jesus’ infancy comes to a fitting conclusion, again in the Temple.

All the readings today concern Jerusalem, the Temple, and the sacrificial rites. The first reading comes from the Prophet Malachi, who called the priests to return to faithful service—and foretold a day when a Messiah would arrive with definitive purification of the priesthood.

Likewise, the Psalm announces to Jerusalem that Jerusalem is about to receive a great visitor. The Psalmist identifies him as “The LORD of hosts . . . the king of glory.”
Christ now arrives as the long-awaited priest and redeemer. He is also the sacrifice. Indeed, as his life will show, He is the Temple itself (see John 2:19-21).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 1, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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When the storms of life surface and the strong winds are blowing us into a frenzy where will our faith lie? With our Lord who is present with us? Or do we instead, give in to our paranoia and allow fear to grip our hearts. Should we not stop and take it to prayer? To calm ourselves and to live in the presence of our Lord. To allow His peace to reign in our hearts.

Indeed our Lord is merciful and forgiving. And He will forgive us our most heinous sin, heal and restore us to sonship and daughterhood. However we too must do our part to restore what was lost. To make reparations to atone for our sin against our brethren and against the Lord our God. We should take our penance seriously, so as to dwell on how and what we must do from sinning again.

Lord Jesus be with me always. Amen

First reading

2 Samuel 12:1-7,10-17 ·

David’s penitence over Uriah

The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David. He came to him and said:

‘In the same town were two men, one rich, the other poor.

The rich man had flocks and herds in great abundance;

the poor man had nothing but a ewe lamb, one only, a small one he had bought.

This he fed, and it grew up with him and his children,

eating his bread, drinking from his cup, sleeping on his breast; it was like a daughter to him.

When there came a traveller to stay, the rich man refused to take one of his own flock or herd to provide for the wayfarer who had come to him.

Instead he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.’

David’s anger flared up against the man. ‘As the Lord lives,’ he said to Nathan ‘the man who did this deserves to die! He must make fourfold restitution for the lamb, for doing such a thing and showing no compassion.’

Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man. So now the sword will never be far from your House, since you have shown contempt for me and taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”

‘Thus the Lord speaks, “I will stir up evil for you out of your own House. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. You worked in secret, I will work this in the face of all Israel and in the face of the sun.”’

David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord, for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die. Yet because you have outraged the Lord by doing this, the child that is born to you is to die.’ Then Nathan went home.

The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David and it fell gravely ill. David pleaded with the Lord for the child; he kept a strict fast and went home and spent the night on the bare ground, covered with sacking. The officials of his household came and stood round him to get him to rise from the ground, but he refused, nor would he take food with them.

Gospel

Mark 4:35-41

‘Even the wind and the sea obey him’

With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’