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.


When you’re in love with someone you can’t help yourself from thinking about him/her . Talking about them and wanting to spend as much time with them as possible. You are even quick to defend their honour in their absence. So then how in love are you with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? That you cannot bear to go a single day without first listening to His Word, then later in the day talking about Him; and sharing His love with others? That you would mind suffering humiliation for the sake of His name with joy in your heart? The problem with many of us is that we say that we love Jesus but in our heart of hearts, we are not deeply in love with Him such that we are willing to suffer for His namesake or to love others the way we are called to do.Perhaps one of the main reasons is that we do not dwell enough on His great love for us. He loved us first and is very much in love with us individually; He has no favourites! He knew all about us even before we were born and already His heart was set on loving and caring for us. How will we ever know this, if we will not spend time in His presence. Dwelling on His Word and sitting with Him in prayer?Today Jesus knows we are hungry for the bread of heaven, do you think that in His great love for us He will not feed us? Perhaps in a new profound way? For He had already promised us when He said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27Jesus I trust in You, Your love endures forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:34-42 ·
They were glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the nameOne member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a doctor of the Law and respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the apostles taken outside for a time. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, ‘Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people. There was Theudas who became notorious not so long ago. He claimed to be someone important, and he even collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he got killed too, and all his followers dispersed. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.’
His advice was accepted; and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
They preached every day both in the Temple and in private houses, and their proclamation of the Good News of Christ Jesus was never interrupted.

Gospel

John 6:1-15
The feeding of the five thousandJesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.
Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.


Obedience to God comes before obedience to men. Yes there are indeed a few who have chosen to be obedient to their parents, spouse, inner circle of friends, employers, etc. by surrendering their religious freedom to them. Generally to keep the peace and the camaraderie among them. But more often than not, it is about obedience to one’s own will rather than God’s will. Will it surprise you to learn that many have decided to take a religious break so to speak? Using covid 19 as an excuse not to participate in online masses or have simply stopped contributing towards the maintenance and well being of the parishes they belong to? What about poor and the desolate in these times of extreme measures put in place to stop the spread. Does anyone think about them? What happens to them? Are they to die? And not at all due to the pandemic?We must choose to focus on our Risen Lord and be outward looking towards true discipleship in Him! Let us pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to awaken our hearts and minds to those in dire need of our help. So that we can put the love we have of Christ Jesus in our hearts into action for them. Let us bring glory to our almighty ever living God and Bless His Holy name through the way we live our lives in Him. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:27-33 ·
We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy SpiritWhen the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’
This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.

Gospel

John 3:31-36
The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to himJohn the Baptist said to his disciples:‘He who comes from above is above all others; he who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way.
He who comes from heaven bears witness to the things he has seen and heard, even if his testimony is not accepted; though all who do accept his testimony are attesting the truthfulness of God, since he whom God has sent speaks God’s own words:
God gives him the Spirit without reserve.
The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him.
Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him.’


Does it not feel these days that we are prisoners in our own homes? Yet we can rest in the assurance that this too shall pass. Instead of moaning and groaning, if we listen attentively to the of Lord; He has already freed our minds to find new and innovative ways to share the Gospel truth of His love with others still trapped without hope in their lives.To lead them to the awareness that the Risen Lord had died for love of all of us, to free us from all sin so that we might rise to new life with Him. Through Jesus we are saved and through Him we have peace, joy and love in our hearts. This simple truth cannot be difficult for you or me to share? In fact very few Christians, if they are true Christians to begin with, cannot quote John 3:16 or even know it by hard. It is time however to come out of the prison of our comfort zones and to expound on this Scripture text so that all who hear us share, can come to a better understanding of God’s love for them and lead them to fall in love with Jesus as we have.Praise be to our Risen Lord Jesus Christ alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:17-26 ·
The men you imprisoned are in the Temple, preaching to the peopleThe high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.
But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.
When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Gospel

John 3:16-21
God sent his Son into the world so that through him the world might be savedJesus said to Nicodemus:‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.
On these grounds is sentence pronounced:
that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.
And indeed, everybody who does wrong
hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’


This account in the acts of the Apostles is a model for us who belong to communitues in the Lord. But it is far from easy to follow! Because everyone must be united with one heart with Jesus at its centre.For many years in the various communites I belonged to we invited many to join us in the breaking of the word and bringing a small dish to share in fellowship. Only a handful would show up and few remain steadfast in coming together month, after month, year after year. But those who had remain steadfast have grown very much in their faith and love for one another. For the rest perhaps they thought there will always be a next time and again the time after next. Well today it is no longer possible to gather under one roof, even if wanted to with the current situation. And so we look to be ways in connecting with one another in the presence of our Lord holding on to the memories of the loving embrace we once shared with one another.Those of us who have decided to stay connected to one another through our Lord Jesus Christ making full use of the technology of today; can attest that the Holy Spirit blows ever strongly in our midst. And together with Mary his mother, our Lord is very much present in our meetings be it via zoom, cisco webex, messenger, conference call etc.
Glory and Praise to our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:32-37 ·
The whole group of believers was united, heart and soulThe whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.
The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.
None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.
There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Gospel

John 3:7-15
No-one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man who has come down from heavenJesus said to Nicodemus:‘Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.‘I tell you most solemnly, we speak only about what we know and witness only to what we have seen and yet you people reject our evidence.
If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world, how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven; and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’


What a truly timely reminder by our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ; that we have already in fact been given a very precious gift that was breathed upon us at our baptism. The very same gift He breathed upon His Apostles when He walked into their presence behind closed doors. The Holy Spirit! The power of the Holy Spirit is upon us, the very same Spirit that rocked the house where the disciples prayed to the Lord our God. And so we have been born above and can see the kingdom of God. Honour praise and glory be to God!Therefore it is only right that we lead others to the same joy and peace in the Risen Lord to be found only in Him. Of whom we have received much grace and tender love. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we too can proclaim the word of God boldly. Alleluia!Lord Jesus we lift up to you this day all catchumens eagerly waiting the rite of Baptism. Through Your endearing grace may they receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:23-31 ·
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldlyAs soon as Peter and John were released they went to the community and told them everything the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they lifted up their voice to God all together. ‘Master,’ they prayed ‘it is you who made heaven and earth and sea, and everything in them; you it is who said through the Holy Spirit and speaking through our ancestor David, your servant:Why this arrogance among the nations,
these futile plots among the peoples?
Kings on earth setting out to war,
princes making an alliance,
against the Lord and against his Anointed.‘This is what has come true: in this very city Herod and Pontius Pilate made an alliance with the pagan nations and the peoples of Israel, against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, but only to bring about the very thing that you in your strength and your wisdom had predetermined should happen. And now, Lord, take note of their threats and help your servants to proclaim your message with all boldness, by stretching out your hand to heal and to work miracles and marvels through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ As they prayed, the house where they were assembled rocked; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly.

Gospel

John 3:1-8There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.’ Jesus answered:‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born from above,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.’Nicodemus said, ‘How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied:‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born through water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God:
what is born of the flesh is flesh;
what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be surprised when I say:
You must be born from above.
The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’


His Mercy Endures: Scott Hahn Reflects on Divine Mercy Sunday

Readings:
Acts 2:42–47
Psalm 118:2–413–1522–24
1 Peter 1:3–9
John 20:19–31
 
We are children of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. Through this wondrous sign of His great mercy, the Father of Jesus has given us new birth, as we hear in today’s Epistle.
Today’s First Reading sketches the “family life” of our first ancestors in the household of God (see 1 Peter 4:17). We see them doing what we still do—devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, meeting daily to pray and celebrate “the breaking of the bread.”
The Apostles saw the Lord. He stood in their midst, showed them His hands and sides. They heard His blessing and received His commission—to extend the Father’s mercy to all peoples through the power and Spirit He conferred upon them.

We must walk by faith and not by sight, must believe and love what we have not seen (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). Yet the invisible realities are made present for us through the devotions the Apostles handed on.

Notice the experience of the risen Lord in today’s Gospel is described in a way that evokes the Mass.

Both appearances take place on a Sunday. The Lord comes to be with His disciples. They rejoice, listen to His Word, receive the gift of His forgiveness and peace. He offers His wounded body to them in remembrance of His Passion. And they know and worship Him as their Lord and their God.

Thomas’ confession is a vow of faith in the new covenant. As promised long before, in the blood of Jesus we can now know the Lord as our God and be known as His people (see Hosea 2:20–25).

This confession is sung in the heavenly liturgy (see Revelation 4:11). And in every Mass on earth we renew our covenant and receive the blessings Jesus promised for those who have not seen but have believed.

In the Mass, God’s mercy endures forever, as we sing in today’s Psalm. This is the day the Lord has made—when the victory of Easter is again made wonderful in our eyes.


Have you woken up this morning bursting with Easter joy in your heart? If not then why not? What is preventing to you from experiencing the presence and love of our risen Lord Jesus Christ?Don’t look around, it is not the externals that is causing your sense of doom and gloom! All of us have a choice, Yes we do…. We can decide and choose to unite ourselves more profoundly with Christ Jesus our Lord by intensifying our prayer life. By listening attentively to Him through His Word and most of all putting our love for Him in action for others. Yes it can simply be calling or texting someone Jesus loves you. Or to lend a listening ear to someone and to comfort them. We can do so much more in the name of Jesus if we put our minds to it.Let us proclaim to the world that Jesus lives and He reigns our hearts. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:13-21 ·We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heardThe rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’ So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel

Mark 16:9-15Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good NewsHaving risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him. After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either. Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’


After forty days of our Lenten observances are we still lost in the desert? Are we still complaining and grumbling perhaps even blaming our leaders for the situation we are in? How different are we from the people in at the time of Moses? Have we decided instead to go back to our old routines? Our old way of lives?Come now Jesus sees our emptiness and He invites us to once again dine with Him. Let us go to Him and be filled with His peace and grace. Let us choose to live with Easter joy in our hearts as we embark with renewed vigour our mission to share the love of the Lord our God with all whom we meet. Let us boldly proclaim our Risen Lord Jesus is alive! Amen alleluia

First reading

Acts 4:1-12
The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be savedWhile Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel

John 21:1-14
Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fishJesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.


Peace be with you… How comforting it is to hear the voice of Jesus telling us not to fear as He calms the storms within us. And He would readily dine with us though not in the same physical way He did with His Apostles. For He had promised when He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Rev 3:20 And we know this to be true by our own encounter and relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.This reality came to be by our very own conversion experience. When we came to Jesus as we were, repentant and contrite. He ministered to us; He healed, restored and set us free to live freely in His love. For that is why the Son of God came. He died to save us from our sins and He rose that we might rise with Him.And so sisters and brothers in Christ, in this wonderful days of the Easter Octave, let us be bold and share the joy of the Risen with all that we meet. Even with masks on during this unprecedented period of the pandemic, let everyone see the eyes of Christ through ours. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:11-26 ·
You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the deadEveryone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.
‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Gospel

Luke 24:35-48
It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the deadThe disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 15, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What is it that prevents us from recognising Jesus present in our lives? Are we mourning the death of someone? Are we in mourning for the better life we had before the pandemic situation? Are we upset that we are no longer able to receive Jesus physically present in Holy Eucharist? Have we turned inwardly feeling sorry for ourselves and the situation we are in?Would it be surprising at all to hear Jesus our Lord say to us, “You foolish men and women!” “So slow to believe the full message of the Word spoken and taught to you!” Afterall was our Lord not victorious over death? Did He not walk on water or through walls? Did He not calm the winds and the sea? He who lovingly gave us the sacraments are not bound by them and since He is the author of life itself He can grant us the grace of renewal and new life in Him; at anytime in any way it pleases Him to do so. And be rest assured that He indeed is pleased to do so for love of us. All we need do, is to open our hearts and minds to Him. Soon we will feel our hearts within us with His loving presence.We may not all be able to help others through the gift of money or certain unique talents required, but we all can offer the best gift we can ever hope to give and that is the gift of Jesus through our love put into action for them, body, mind and spirit. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:1-10 ·
I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus, walk!Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Gospel

Luke 24:13-35
They recognised him at the breaking of breadTwo of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.


Jesus calls us to holiness through a reminder of our baptism, in which we were inserted directly into His life, death and resurrection! Therefore let us repent of all our sins so as to be fully united with and in Him.There is absolutely no sin our Lord cannot forgive, so then there is nothing preventing you from turning back to His loving embrace which awaits You. For by the glory and power of our Risen Lord He will set you free. Free to love and to live in His love.We will no longer need to cling to Him. For He dwells directly in our hearts. Our mission is to share Him with others. So that they too can experience the joy of the Risen Lord dwelling within them. Amen

First reading

Acts 2:36-41 ·
You must repent and be baptized in the name of JesusOn the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Gospel

John 20:11-18
‘I have seen the Lord and he has spoken to me’Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 13, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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To deny our Lord’s resurrection is to deny the very foundation of our faith! So to it is when we live in fear and despair. For since our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death itself and had won for us eternal life what else is there left for us to pine for? Whatever challenges, troubles, pains, we are all facing today in the world shall all pass away. The constant that we can always and forever depend on, is God’s Word and His eternal love for us.

So my dear sisters and brothers in Christ of our Risen Lord, with joyful hearts let us celebrate the full 50 days of Easter! Let us proclaim our Risen Lord to the rest of the world, so that everyone can share in our joy and that they too can rise to new life with Him as we have and will once again do so at our death. Alleluia! Amen

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always,
for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad
and my tongue cried out with joy;
my body, too, will rest in the hope
that you will not abandon my soul to Hades
nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me,
you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Gospel

Matthew 28:8-15
Tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee: they will see me there

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Merry Easter

Posted: April 12, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

May the loving fire of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ burn in your hearts and may His peace reign therein. Merry Easter to you and your loved ones.

Easter Sunday

Posted: April 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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They Saw and Believed: Scott Hahn Reflects on Easter Sunday

Readings:

Acts 10:34, 37–43
Psalm 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23
Colossians 3:1–4
John 20:1–9

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb”—seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned . . . to preach . . . and testify” to all that they had seen—from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.

More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan—to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:27, 44).
Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them—that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” who, today’s Psalm prophesies, will be resurrected and exalted. (see Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb and give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.” We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above.
We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come—the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”

Holy Saturday

Posted: April 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures, Personal Thoughts & Reflections


“For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.”

Comforting words for today, as we live the ‘Good Fridays’ of our lives. The world has been plunged once again into darkness. For many our saviour has once again died and all is lost! We are not even able to mourn and reflect traditionally as we have done over the years; together in church at 3pm. If we continue this downward spiral of feeling sorry for ourselves then we have completely missed the point of our Saviour dying for our sins thereby freeing us to live freely in His love. Our love as taught to us by our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ yesterday through the readings of Maundy Thursday is not one that is inward looking but an outward grace to put His love for us into action for others. The more we give away the more we receive from Him who gave us His all by dying on the cross for us. Let us therefore honour Him by remembering His great love outpoured for us.

We adore You O Christ and we bless You. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the World. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The servant of the Lord, an expiatory Sacrifice

See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

As the crowds were appalled on seeing him so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human so will the crowds be astonished at him, and kings stand speechless before him; for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before: ‘Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us,

like a root in arid ground. Without beauty, without majesty we saw him, no looks to attract our eyes; a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him.

And yet ours were the sufferings he bore,

ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us. Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-House, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth.

By force and by law he was taken; would anyone plead his cause? Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living; for our faults struck down in death. They gave him a grave with the wicked, a tomb with the rich, though he had done no wrong and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering. If he offers his life in atonement,

he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content. By his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.

Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute, he shall divide the spoil with the mighty, for surrendering himself to death

and letting himself be taken for a sinner,

while he was bearing the faults of many

and praying all the time for sinners.

Second reading

Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9 ·

The Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel

John 18:1-19:42

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

Key: N. Narrator. ✠ Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.

N. Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kedron valley. There was a garden there, and he went into it with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was going to happen to him, Jesus then came forward and said,

✠ Who are you looking for?

N. They answered,

C. Jesus the Nazarene.

N. He said,

✠ I am he.

N. Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said, ‘I am he’, they moved back and fell to the ground. He asked them a second time,

✠ Who are you looking for?

N. They said,

C. Jesus the Nazarene.

N. Jesus replied,

✠ I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.

N. This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’

Simon Peter, who carried a sword, drew it and wounded the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,

✠ Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?

N. The cohort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had suggested to the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’

Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who was keeping the door and brought Peter in. The maid on duty at the door said to Peter,

O. Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?

N. He answered,

O. I am not.

N. Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered,

✠ I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret. But why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught: they know what I said.

N. At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying,

O. Is that the way to answer the high priest?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ If there is something wrong in what I said, point it out; but if there is no offence in it, why do you strike me?

N. Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him,

O. Aren’t you another of his disciples?

N. He denied it, saying,

O. I am not.

N. One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said,

O. Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?

N. Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crew.

They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves or they would be defiled and unable to eat the passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said,

O. What charge do you bring against this man?

N. They replied,

C. If he were not a criminal, we should not be handing him over to you.

N. Pilate said,

O. Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.

N. The Jews answered,

C. We are not allowed to put a man to death.

N. This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.

So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, and asked,

O. Are you the king of the Jews?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?

N. Pilate answered,

O. Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.

N. Pilate said,

O. So you are a king, then?

N. Jesus answered,

✠ It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.

N. Pilate said,

O. Truth? What is that?

N. and with that he went out again to the Jews and said,

O. I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release the king of the Jews?

N. At this they shouted:

C. Not this man, but Barabbas.

N. Barabbas was a brigand.

Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying,

C. Hail, king of the Jews!

N. and they slapped him in the face.

Pilate came outside again and said to them,

O. Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case.

N. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said,

O. Here is the man.

N. When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted,

C. Crucify him! Crucify him!

N. Pilate said,

O. Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him.

N. The Jews replied,

C. We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the Son of God.

N. When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus

O. Where do you come from?

N. But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him,

O. Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.

N. From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted,

C. If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.

N. Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews,

O. Here is your king.

N. They said,

C. Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!

N. Pilate said,

O. Do you want me to crucify your king?

N. The chief priests answered,

C. We have no king except Caesar.

N. So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate,

C. You should not write ‘King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said: “I am King of the Jews.”’

N. Pilate answered,

O. What I have written, I have written.

N. When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,

C. Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.

N. In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled:

They shared out my clothing among them. They cast lots for my clothes.

This is exactly what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother,

✠ Woman, this is your son.

N. Then to the disciple he said,

✠ This is your mother.

N. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.

After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said:

✠ I am thirsty.

N. A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said,

✠ It is accomplished;

N. and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:

Not one bone of his will be broken; and again, in another place scripture says: They will look on the one whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 9, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Today as we begin the triduum leading to Easter, we remember our Lord’s great love for us. Once again we piece together the great tapestry of our salvation history and dwell in the mystery and the Holy presence of our Lord. The blood of the lamb that once saved the Israelites during the passover of destruction, would now and forever save the faithful in the world, through the passover of death into new life with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ the once forever lamb of God. Through Him we have the source and summit of our faith, the Holy Eucharist. The sign of the new and everlasting covenant.

Christ the most high priest Himself would therefore institute the Holy priesthood. He began through perfect love by washing the feet of his disciples. And we disciples of the Lord are to do likewise. For in the washing one another’s feet we put into action our love for one another as our Lord first loved us.

At this time we may not have the Chrism Mass, neither are we able to participate most fully at the Maundy Thursday Eucharistic Celebration nor are we able to receive Jesus in the most Holy Eucharist. Cling to Him nonetheless and we shall surely His grace and the outpouring of His love. For the Lord our God has spoken, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Amen

First reading

Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 ·
The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Second reading

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ·
Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Gospel

John 13:1-15
Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.
They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’
When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’


Today’s first reading has a special place in my heart. For the Lord has spoken these very words to me a number of times as He gently and lovingly wakes me in the morning. He reminds me just how much He loves me as I listen intently to His word and will for me. Then He sends me out to comfort those who are tired and struggling, to bring His presence to them. So that they too might know how loved they are by Him.

Have I not be tempted to sell off my relationship with Him for thirty pieces of silver? Surely I have when I choose to watch netflix, online movies for hours on end without even pausing to pray or to be His disciple. When my work in the office is all I think about even when I’m at home. When I choose to distract myself with pornographic material instead of looking upon Him. When I simply refuse to come out of my comfort zone to explore new ways, be it using the latest technology available to draw closer to Him and lead others to do likewise. When I choose to laze, eat and sleep without lifting a finger to help those in need. The list above is not exhaustive…

Yet it is in these times I must turn to my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who still loves me and confess to Him, ‘Surely it is I who have betrayed you Lord, in Your mercy Lord pardon my sins and heal me.” So that I may once again have my loving saviour wake me. To listen to Your sweet voice, receive Your grace and to begin the day in filial discipleship. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 50:4-9 ·
Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue.
So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech.
Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me? Then let us go to court together. Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25
‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.


‘Death before dishonour’ wow! I marveled at the tattoo on my camp mate’s arm about thirty years ago. Wondering would I be able to live up to such a gung-ho code? Was he? Seriously doubt that he was, but what did it matter to me if he was or not? Moreover I didn’t have it tattooed on my own arm. Still it played on mind from time to time over the years as I tried to live it out in my life.There is no doubt that sin leads to darkness and if we continue to live in sin then we have chosen to dishonour our relationship with the Lord our God. This ultimately leads us to death. It is therefore far better to endure physical death blameless so as to rise to eternal life with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Who chose to honour His Father by doing His Will always. Jesus is indeed the light of all nations and He will drive all darkness away. The darkness that Judas Iscariot chose to succumb to and so the dark of night fell upon him.Jesus my Lord, illumine my heart, my mind, my soul. That I too may be a beacon of Your light for others. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 ·
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples. The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified’; while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing’; and all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward with my God. I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, my God was my strength.And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Gospel

John 13:21-33,36-38
‘What you are going to do, do quickly’While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.
When he had gone Jesus said:‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me,
And, as I told the Jews,
where I am going, you cannot come.’Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’


“Be like the rose that perfumes the hand that crushes it.” I first heard this phrase from my English teacher while in a conversation in my early teens. It struck me then and spoke to my heart as I was rather quick tempered then and at times slightly volatile. This phrase gave me a glimpse of a possibility of looking beyond oneself and being loving regardless of how one was being treated. Today I see Jesus as that very Rose that was crushed for our sins. He did not come to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him.

I am likewise called to be rose after my saviour for others. My acts of love and reverence for Him is the pure nard that will perfume the air that will lead others to Him. And if there is a need that I lay down my life for the least of my brethren, then I too shall surely rise with my Lord on the last day. This is my faith built upon my rock, my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 42:1-7 ·
Here is my chosen one in whom my soul delights

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud, or make his voice heard in the streets. He does not break the crushed Reed, nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice; he will neither waver, nor be crushed until true justice is established on earth, for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord, he who created the heavens and spread them out, who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it,
who gave breath to its people and life to the creatures that move in it:

‘I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right; I have taken you by the hand and formed you; I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,

‘to open the eyes of the blind,
to free captives from prison,
and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.’

Gospel

John 12:1-11
‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’
Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

Passion Sunday

Posted: April 4, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

All Is Fulfilled: Scott Hahn Reflects on Passion Sunday


Readings:

Isaiah 50:4–7
Psalm 22:8–917–2023–24
Philippians 2:6–11
Matthew 26:14–27:66
 
“All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Matthew 26:56).
Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.

In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.

The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Matthew 27:31), as His hands and feet are pierced, as enemies gamble for His clothes (see Matthew 27:35), and as His enemies dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Matthew 27:39–44).

He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help. . . . I shall not be put to shame.”

Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12–1417–19Ephesians 2:25:6).

This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken. We know, as the centurion today, that truly this is the Son of God (see Matthew 27:54).


I like speaking with people, meeting up with them and sharing Jesus with them. I am most alive when I am able to do so. But a couple of months back all our lives around the globe started to change in ways we could not possibly have imagined. We were scattered so to speak, separated, taught and even drilled to keep a social distance! Not by choice but by simple necessity. Diablo had found a new and swift way to scatter God our Father’s flock. So what can we do about it? Do we choose to allow ourselves to dry up spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, even physically?

We must cling to the hope and certainty that this too shall pass. And so we turn to Jesus who died to gather all of God our Father’s scattered children around the world. He is afterall the Lord of Lords, King of Kings. Through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit we can be filled with new insights and be grace filled as we gather in new ways in the Lord’s presence. Through Skype, Google hangout, zoom and more. We can attend virtual Catholic conferences, read and beef up on our knowledge of our faith through books, online courses and sound Catholic websites like Catholic answers. The options we have are limitless and all we need to do is continue to open our minds and hearts to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. He will meet us at the well and ofter us living water for all time.

So let us continue to stay awake as we await the coming of the day when we will once again be in full communion with Him and one another. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 37:21-28 ·
I will bring them home and make them one nation

The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’

Gospel

John 11:45-56
Jesus was to die to gather together the scattered children of God

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’


Even today we are often taunted for our faith. Where is your God in the crisis the world is facing? Isn’t He killing off His very own people or as you all put it His own children? Are you any safer than the non believers?

Do not despair in the face of such disparaging remarks. Reflect instead on the fundamentals which is built upon the foundation of our rock, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

*God is good not some of the time but all of the time and in all of time.

*Hence evil and all its works does not come from Him. He may permit it for reasons beyond our knowledge or understanding.

*In God our Father’s great love for us, He gave up His only Begotten Son Jesus for our salvation.

*Through Him whether we live or die today we will have eternal life with God our Heavenly.

Therefore what greater gift can we ever hope for, need or want? For we have Jesus! Praise and glory be to God our Father, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13 ·
He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me, ‘“Terror from every side!”
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.
Then we will master him and take our revenge!’
But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.
But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42
They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:
I said, you are gods?
So the Law uses the word gods
of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.
Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because he says, “I am the son of God.” If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.
He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.


Even today we are often taunted for our faith. Where is your God in the crisis the world is facing? Isn’t He killing off His very own people or as you all put it His own children? Are you any safer than the non believers?

Do not despair in the face of such disparaging remarks. Reflect instead on the fundamentals which is built upon the foundation of our rock, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

*God is good not some of the time but all of the time and in all of time.

*Hence evil and all its works does not come from Him. He may permit it for reasons beyond our knowledge or understanding.

*In God our Father’s great love for us, He gave up His only Begotten Son Jesus for our salvation.

*Through Him whether we live or die today we will have eternal life with God our Heavenly.

Therefore what greater gift can we ever hope for, need or want? For we have Jesus! Praise and glory be to God our Father, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13 ·
He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me, ‘“Terror from every side!”
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.
Then we will master him and take our revenge!’
But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.
But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42
They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:
I said, you are gods?
So the Law uses the word gods
of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.
Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because he says, “I am the son of God.” If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.
He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.


Jesus our ever living God is, the great I Am had come to save us from death. Keeping His Word, we will have life everlasting with Him. The promise of salvation from the first covenant with Noah, through the faith and fidelity of father Abraham, all through his line had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ our Lord. Who is the light of all nations! So then how can we ever lose hope?

This Lenten journey has been for most everyone, the toughest and most challenging in all our years. We have experienced first hand what is said in psalm 63:

“O God, you are my God; at dawn I seek you; for you my soul is thirsting. For you my flesh is pining, like a dry, weary land without water. I have come before you in the sanctuary, to behold your strength and your glory.”

The sanctuary for most of us however was our very own home, or the little quiet place we carved out for ourselves to pray and be in His presence. And those of us who continued to seek out our Lord in fidelity to His word can attest that our lifespring to be found in Jesus will never run dry. While we are now only drawing close to Holy week, we must look ahead to the hope and renewed joy of new life in Him! Amen

First reading

Genesis 17:3-9 ·
Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations

Abram bowed to the ground and God said this to him, ‘Here now is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations, and your issue shall be kings. I will establish my Covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in, the whole land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity, and I will be your God.’

Gospel

John 8:51-59
Your father Abraham saw my Day and was glad

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘I tell you most solemnly, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’

The Jews said, ‘Now we know for certain that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?’ Jesus answered:

‘If I were to seek my own glory that would be no glory at all; my glory is conferred by the Father, by the one of whom you say, “He is our God” although you do not know him.
But I know him, and if I were to say: I do not know him, I should be a liar, as you are liars yourselves. But I do know him, and I faithfully keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad.’

The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I Am.’

At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 1, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Jesus is the way, the Truth and life. Therefore I choose Jesus above all!

Easy to proclaim but is it easy to put our words into action? Especially when making very tough life choices? Choices that might lead us into ‘fire’ so to speak. Such as when the boss tells you to ignore an entry in the accounting books and that he will account for it? Choosing abortion? Choosing in vitro fertilisation? Choosing contraception? Choosing to be in a sexual same sex relationship? Choosing to hate? Choosing unforgiveness? Choosing to ignore the plight of the poor and marginalised in favour of capitalism? Choosing to fall into temptation and sin? And more…

If Jesus is truly my choice then I must be His disciple and that means I must carry my cross to follow Him. That means I choose to face head on the consequences that follow by being His disciple. And no matter how great the challenge, how great the pains He will be by side through it all. And with truth on my side, I am indeed free! Free from bondage and captivity. Free to live in His love and to serve Him and brethren.

You are the Way, the Truth and the life! Jesus I choose You. Amen

First reading

Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28
God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

Gospel

John 8:31-42
If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.’

They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
everyone who commits sin is a slave.
Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured, but the son’s place is assured.
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
I know that you are descended from Abraham; but in spite of that you want to kill me because nothing I say has penetrated into you. What I, for my part, speak of is what I have seen with my Father; but you, you put into action the lessons learnt from your father.’

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:

‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did. As it is, you want to kill me when I tell you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did.
What you are doing is what your father does.’

‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:

‘If God were your father, you would love me, since I have come here from God; yes, I have come from him; not that I came because I chose, no, I was sent, and by him.’