Archive for April, 2020


We often tell ourselves that we don’t know enough of our faith neither are we eloquent enough to evangelise. Or that not all of us are equipped to do so and so it is far better for the rest of us to simply evangelise through actions of love for others. Not so for all of us were baptised in water and in the Spirit. Therefore all of us have received gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are Christians by our faith and relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Whether we want to be acknowledged as such, we are all disciples of our Lord who commanded that we go make disciples of all nations.

What is it then do we fear? That those not in the faith will hear an incredulous story of our faith and laugh at us for our beliefs? Or that they will suddenly turn nasty and hurt us? If we have such fear in our hearts then the real question is how deep is our own faith and relationship we have in Jesus our redeemer, our Risen Lord? For while our faith may come across as an incredulous story it is nonetheless the truth and this very truth sets us free. The source of life itself had come to give us life and to the full! Therefore all of us have nothing to lose for through Jesus our Lord and saviour we will gain eternal life with God our Father.

Jesus bread of life, give me Your daily bread and I shall live forever in Your love. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:26-40
Philip baptizes a eunuch

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’ So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia, and was in fact her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this:

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,
like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,
like these he never opens his mouth.
He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.
Who will ever talk about his descendants,
since his life on earth has been cut short!

The eunuch turned to Philip and said, ‘Tell me, is the prophet referring to himself or someone else?’ Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.
Further along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’ He ordered the chariot to stop, then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptised him. But after they had come up out of the water again Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.

Gospel

John 6:44-51
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it,
is to come to me.
Not that anybody has seen the Father,
except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father.
I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the desert
and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’


It is far easier to throw in the towel and give up when times are hard and challenging. Why bother arranging for prayer meetings when most folks are not interested to join in? When family members are reluctant to sit down together to participate in an online mass? What then would you rather be doing?In today’s first reading we hear how hard the early diciples had it. They were being hunted down and persecuted but still that did not deter them from going place to place preaching the Good News! How then can we likewise have that burning fire they had within them that could not be extinguished?Well we can see clearly through scripture that they lived their lives in the light of our Lord’s resurrection through the power of the Holy Spirit. They prayed the Word and dwelt in His presence. They held on to the promise that not one of them will be lost, and will rise to eternal life with Jesus on the last day. Alleluia!Lord Jesus I trust in You. Keep the fire of Your love burning in my heart. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:1-8
They went from place to place, preaching the Good NewsThat day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.
There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.
Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.
Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

Gospel

John 6:35-40
It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son should have eternal lifeJesus said to the crowd:‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.
But, as I have told you, you can see me and still you do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away; because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me.
Now the will of him who sent me is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me, and that I should raise it up on the last day.
Yes, it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Lord Jesus I have so missed receiving You fully present, body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Eucharist. But I take comfort in Your promise when you said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.”So Lord Jesus I stand now before Your Holy presence and profess my belief in You. Fill me Lord with Your grace and Your love. Forgive me my wrongdoings as I forgive everyone their wrongdoings against me. Do not hold our sins against us Lord, heal and purify us; so that we may be found worthy and welcomed into our Heavenly inheritance that awaits us.All you Holy Angels and Saints pray for us. Amen

First reading

Acts 7:51-8:1 ·
‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: ‘You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.’
They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.

Gospel

John 6:30-35
It is my Father who gives you the bread from heavenThe people said to Jesus, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
Jesus answered:‘I tell you most solemnly, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’


Are you saying that it is difficult, especially this Easter with all that is going on in the world to experience the joy of the risen Lord? In other words to have Easter joy in your heart? Well then the crux of the matter is that you are still searching for Jesus in the tomb and that tomb may very well be your own. The one you’re very comfortable in, hiding away from the reality and hardship of life. The one that prevents us from answering the call to step up and remain steadfast disciples of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Your complaining, moaning and groaning only means one thing, you do not truly believe in the One, God our Father sent to save us from sin and grant us eternal life with Him.For if we were all true belivers in our Risen Lord and saviour Jesus Christ then His face will shine upon us. People will see Him in us even before we open our mouths to speak! And those gathered around us will perk their ears up eager to hear our testimony of the love of Jesus; for the Holy Spirit will be guiding our every thought, word and deed.So my dear sisters and brothers as we continue our journey in the third week of Easter, let us be sure to leave the tomb far behind us, as we rise up to new life in Jesus our Lord. Alleluia our Lord is Risen! Amen

First reading

Acts 6:8-15 ·
They could not get the better of Stephen because the Spirit prompted what he saidStephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.

Gospel

John 6:22-29
Do not work for food that cannot last, but for food that endures to eternal lifeAfter Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
Jesus answered:‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

A Personal Reflection

Posted: April 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

This morning I woke up at about four plus to go for a jog. As I was jogging and listening to praise and worship songs, the thought of St John and St Peter came to mind. Jn 20:3-4 it says in scripture that after hearing from Mary of Magdala that the body of Jesus was missing from the tomb they ran together to see for themselves. It occurred to me that the tomb where Jesus had been laid could not have been within walking distance. So they must have ran quite a fair bit, easily a few kilometers. I pictured myself as St Peter tryimg to keep up with the much younger St John with crazy thoughts running through my mind. Did the Jewish authorities take my Lord? Did they have the audacity to desecrate his body? Was it grave robbers? What did they expect to steal? Definitely not his body? Or did they? And planned to sell it to the Jewish authorities for whatever their intentions?

When I finally arrived and saw John waiting for me to enter first I felt His love and respect for me. No wonder our Lord showed great affection for him. He may be young but was not only loving and matured, he possessed wisdom way beyond his years. In fact it was through him that I began to understand more clearly that it was foretold that our Lord would rise from the dead!

How many times in this day and age have I frantically ran in search of my Lord? Desperate to find evidence of his presence once again in my life. When the truth is that He never left my side. Had I remained steadfast, focused on Him, His Word and His Will for me then I would always bask in His love and friendship. Nothing would be able to rob on blind me from seeing Him and living in the joy of His Resurrection.

Then early this afternoon a dear brother in Christ sent me this WhatsApp message 🥰

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bit late – but isnt this a beautiful reflection and sharing ?

A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
2nd Sunday of Easter
Bishop Robert BARRON

How beautifully Saint John remembers the details of Easter Sunday morning. He recalls that the linen which had covered the head of the Lord was rolled up in a separate place from the other burial cloths. He recollects that he himself came to faith the minute he saw the empty tomb. And he remembers the curious detail that though both he and Peter were running to the tomb, he, John got there first. We might conclude, reasonably enough, that this disparity was due t the fact that John was the younger man.

But the Fathers of the Church – some of the most perceptive biblical commentators in the great tradition – saw something mystical in John’s earlier arrival. The Beloved Disciple stands, they taught, for the contemplative, prayerful, deeply intuitive dimension of the Church; and Peter, the bearer of the keys, stands for the Church in its formal, official capacity. The mystics and poets always seem to get to the truth first; they sprint ahead, prompted by their fiery hearts. The teachers and officers of the Church go more slowly, since their job is to verify, to sort through, to decide.

How wonderful, the Fathers said, the young John the mystic, though he got to the tomb first, waited patiently for Peter – and indeed allowed Peter to enter the sepulchre first. This is mysticism waiting, with reverence, for office to verify what mysticism has intuited. When the Johannine and Petrine energies are operative in a mutually respectful way, the Church flourishes.
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Praise the Lord Alleluia!


Emmaus and Us: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Easter

Readings:
Acts 2:1422–28
Psalm 16:1–257–11
1 Peter 1:17–21
Luke 24:13–35
 
We should put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples in today’s Gospel. Downcast and confused, they’re making their way down the road, unable to understand all the things that have occurred.

They know what they’ve seen—a prophet mighty in word and deed. They know what they were hoping for—that He would be the redeemer of Israel. But they don’t know what to make of His violent death at the hands of their rulers.
They can’t even recognize Jesus as He draws near to walk with them. He seems like just another foreigner visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.

Note that Jesus doesn’t disclose His identity until they they describe how they found His tomb empty but “Him they did not see.” That’s how it is with us, too. Unless He revealed himself we would see only an empty tomb and a meaningless death.
How does Jesus make himself known at Emmaus? First, He interprets “all the Scriptures” as referring to Him. In today’s First Reading and Epistle, Peter also opens the Scriptures to proclaim the meaning of Christ’s death according to the Father’s “set plan”—foreknown before the foundation of the world.

Jesus is described as a new Moses and a new Passover lamb. He is the One of whom David sang in today’s Psalm—whose soul was not abandoned to corruption but was shown the path of life.

After opening the Scriptures, Jesus at table takes bread, blesses it, brakes it, and gives it to the disciples—exactly what He did at the Last Supper (see Luke 22:14–20).
In every Eucharist, we reenact that Easter Sunday at Emmaus. Jesus reveals Himself to us in our journey. He speaks to our hearts in the Scriptures. Then at the table of the altar, in the person of the priest, He breaks the bread.

The disciples beg him, “Stay with us.” So He does. Though He has vanished from our sight, in the Eucharist—as at Emmaus—we know Him in the breaking of the bread.


“Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while” truer words cannot be uttered for our time. And it should not lead us to despair on the contrary we should be geared up and prepared for battle! Our weapons, love, mercy and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.So sisters and brothers are you using the gifts of the Holy Spirit lavished upon you? Do you even know what they are? Have you prayed and discerned? Another truth is simply this, if you don’t use it, you will lose it! Here’s another one you can take and bank on, if all of us use the gifts of the Holy Spirit as humble servants to one another today; and the days that follow, the whole world will be transformed. Everyone will be fully alive in our Risen Lord! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and simply start making little ripples in the pool of His love. AmenSt. Mark pray for us…

First reading

1 Peter 5:5-14 ·
My son, Mark, sends you greetingsAll wrap yourselves in humility to be servants of each other, because God refuses the proud and will always favour the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God now, and he will raise you up on the appointed day; unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.
I write these few words to you through Silvanus, who is a brother I know I can trust, to encourage you never to let go this true grace of God to which I bear witness.
Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark.
Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Gospel

Mark 16:15-20
Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good NewsJesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:
‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.