Archive for December, 2020

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 31, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How fitting that the year 2020 ends with Today’s readings. As we look back we will always remember the challenges and hardships we faced. Many dreams and hopes were extinguished due to the pandemic. Many lost their lives while others their livelihood. Shall we not think about the many spiritual deaths that occurred as well? How many who were anointed at their baptism have lost their faith? Stripped of the Sacraments they plunged into darkness and despair unable to steer their way in new unchartered waters. Many who called themselves disciples of Christ had abandoned Him!

Yet Jesus has never abandoned us! Through the Gospel of today, we hear the powerful testimony of God’s love for His creation and purpose. God our Heavenly Father has given us an eternal light through the Incarnation of His Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. That whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. And so with eyes of faith we have seen His light in new ways as new doors were opened by Him throughout the year in passing.

And so sisters and brothers as we move into 2021, let us stay alert, awake and ready to meet Christ Jesus our Lord. Let us remain steadfast in His truth and in His love. Let us bring the hope and joy that we have to all that we meet in the year ahead; to bear witness to the Light, His life, death and Resurrection. Amen

Merry Christmas and Blessed New year ahead! xxxoooxxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many of us have children of our own now some perhaps even grandchildren. While others perhaps are young adults now earning our own keep. When all of us look back, we begin to realise how quickly time have flown by. However in the early years it seemed like a ‘forever’ struggle to grow up and learn how to lead independent lives. Slowly we gave up the notion of having one which is carefree or even worry free. How we have matured! We are responsible, disciplined and contribute to the greater good of society for God and country!

Can we say the same for our spiritual life as children of God our Heavenly Father? Have we grown and matured by the same degree? Do we listen to Him through His Word daily? Do we guard ourselves against temptation, evil and sin through frequent reception of the Sacrament of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist? How is it then that many of us still have the faith and understanding of a toddler or perhaps that of pre-teens? Many cannot give an accurate account of the parables in the Bible let alone quote scripture. If we say quoting the word of God is not as important living the word of God in our lives then what do we have to show for it? Are our families prayerful and living Holy lives? Are we loving, merciful and actively reaching out to the poor, needy, hungry, the orphans and the aged? Are we building communities for the reign and Kingdom of God? How many souls have we touched and saved in Jesus’s name?

Like Anna in today’s Gospel let us live in the Holy presence of the Lord our God observing always His Will for us. Growing in maturity of faith and love of Him, we will actively testify to glory of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

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

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

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

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

The key to our Heavenly Father’s heart is mercy.

Without mercy in our hearts there is no true love and as such we cannot hope to consecrate ourselves fully to the Lord our God. There can be no communion with Him!

How can we love one another as Jesus loved us if we refuse to forgive our brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, in laws, colleagues, friends, priest, community members let alone the least of our brethren. What could we ever have done to merit our salvation? When we had committed many grievous sins against His Holy and immaculate heart. But God proved His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Let us therefore walk in His light always by forgiving everyone who have trespassed against us. And let us exercise love by mercy through Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading
1 John 2:3-11 ·
Anyone who loves his brother is living in the light

We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments.
Anyone who says, ‘I know him’, and does not keep his commandments is a liar, refusing to admit the truth.
But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him.
We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.
My dear people, this is not a new commandment that I am writing to tell you,
but an old commandment that you were given from the beginning, the original commandment which was the message brought to you.
Yet in another way, what I am writing to you, and what is being carried out in your lives as it was in his, is a new commandment; because the night is over and the real light is already shining.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the dark.
But anyone who loves his brother is living in the light and need not be afraid of stumbling; unlike the man who hates his brother and is in the darkness, not knowing where he is going, because it is too dark to see.

Luke 2:22-35
‘You have prepared a light to enlighten the pagans’

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised;because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations  to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How do we see innocent children who died in place of Jesus Christ our Lord whom they did not know, as martyrs for Him?

Perhaps if we dwell a little into this mystery we shall see that they died in place of the source of life itself. Who came to take away the sins of the world.  Sin of which claimed innocent lives! Jesus our Lord’s birth was the promise of new life in Him fulfilled. Therefore their shortlived lives brought them eternal rewards purchased by the blood of the lamb (of God).

If we do not acknowledge our sinful nature, renounce sin and strive always to live in the light of Christ, then we risk losing our lives permanently. We will not see that the fight against sin and evil is ours collectively as one Body In Christ. How can we recognise the other evil acts of satan? If we continue to be blind to the fact that abortion is the continued killing of Innocents!

Save us saviour of the world, for by your cross and Resurrection! You have set us free. Amen

First reading
1 John 1:5-2:2 ·
The blood of Jesus Christ purifies us all from sin

This is what we have heard from Jesus Christ, and the message that we are announcing to you:
God is light; there is no darkness in him at all.
If we say that we are in union with God
while we are living in darkness, we are lying because we are not living the truth.
But if we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth; but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong.
To say that we have never sinned is to call God a liar and to show that his word is not in us.

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

Matthew 2:13-18
The massacre of the innocents

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

I called my son out of Egypt.

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

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

Feast of the Holy Family

Posted: December 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Our True Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Holy Family

Sirach 3:2–612–14
Psalm 128:1–234–5
Colossians 3:12–21
Luke 2:22–40

Why did Jesus choose to become a baby born of a mother and father and to spend all but His last years living in an ordinary human family? In part, to reveal God’s plan to make all people live as one “holy family” in His Church (see 2 Corinthians 6:16–18).

In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, God reveals our true home. We’re to live as His children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” as the First Reading puts it. The family advice we hear in today’s readings—for mothers, fathers, and children—is all solid and practical. Happy homes are the fruit of our faithfulness to the Lord, we sing in today’s Psalm. But the Liturgy is inviting us to see more, to see how, through our family obligations and relationships, our families become heralds of the family of God that He wants to create on earth.

Jesus shows us this in today’s Gospel. His obedience to His earthly parents flows directly from His obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. Joseph and Mary aren’t identified by name, but three times are called “his parents” and are referred to separately as his “mother” and “father.” The emphasis is all on their their familial ties to Jesus. But these ties are emphasized only so that Jesus, in the first words He speaks in Luke’s Gospel, can point us beyond that earthly relationship to the Fatherhood of God.

In what Jesus calls “My Father’s house,” every family finds its true meaning and purpose (see Ephesians 3:15). The Temple we read about in the Gospel today is God’s house, His dwelling (see Luke 19:46). But it’s also an image of the family of God, the Church (see Ephesians 2:19–22Hebrews 3:3–610:21).

In our families we’re to build up this household, this family, this living temple of God. Until He reveals His new dwelling among us and says of every person: “I shall be his God and he will be My son” (see Revelation 21:37).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How can it be that the world has seen a great light on Christmas day and the very next day is plunged into ‘darkness’? How do we move from the birth of Jesus to the birth of the first Martyr?

If we are true witnesses of the light of Christ who has been reborn in our hearts this Christmas; then like St Stephen we know that until such time we are reunited in Heaven we will have to face the challenge, hardships of witnessing our faith amidst great opposition! For we live in a world riddled with sin! Where men and women are easily blinded by temptation. Christmas for many in this trying time of the pandemic is a welcome distraction! Hope is in the air… Time to party! We can sober up tomorrow! Prayer? What prayer? Reflect and share the word of God this Christmas? Are you joking? Family prayer time? Bah humbug! Did you expect me to respond to call for a zoom prayer meeting during this festive season? Too busy with family and social activities, I’ll start (try) again after the new year has begun!

What if St Stephen gave up? And adopted the “Can’t beat them, let’s join them?” attitude. Or make peace and live to fight another day? Well then I reckon he would not have been filled with the Holy Spirit, his eyes would have been downcast and so would not have seen the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand.

We all may not have to face the physical death of a Martyr but we can all experience spiritual death if we refuse to stand up for the truth to be found in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Amen

St Stephen pray for us…

First reading
Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59 ·
The martyrdom of Stephen

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
    But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’

Matthew 10:17-22

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.
    ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.’

Christmas Message Of Love

Posted: December 25, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

This is my desire Lord Jesus, to serve You in holiness and virtue in Your presence, all my days.

You O Lord are my salvation, You have freed me from the bondage of sin to live in Your light.

This is my desire Lord Jesus, to serve You in holiness and virtue in Your presence, all my days.

Let me bring Your light which shines ever brightly this Christmas into the homes of those who live in darkness.

This is my desire Lord Jesus, to serve You in holiness and virtue in Your presence, all my days.

May Your peace reign forever in my heart and in the hearts I bring into Your Holy presence.

This is my desire Lord Jesus, to serve You in holiness and virtue in Your presence, all my days. Amen

First reading
2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16 ·

Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me

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

Luke 1:67-79

‘You, little child, shall be the prophet of the Most High’

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 23, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Are we living up to our calling? Are we living up to our name? Many have never given a second thought on how they were named or if it matters at all that their names mean something or not. Others may only be concerned of how their names look on their office doors or on the plaques of their firms. In fact in many cultures, the family are more concerned about the last names or rather of how the family name is carried forward!

What about our baptismal name? As Christians should we not have the same high regard for our baptismal names as those newly baptised into the faith? After all is it not the name we bear for Christ? And if so when are our names are called to mind, will others remember us as followers of Christ? As His disciples? As loving and caring individuals after the heart of our Lord and Saviour?

Jesus my Lord grant me the grace to serve You and my brethren well, that through my love of You put into action they will say; indeed the hand of the Lord was with him (her). Amen

First reading – Malachi 3:1-4,23-24

Before my day comes, I will send you Elijah my prophet

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

    Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

Gospel – Luke 1:57-66

‘His name is John’

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

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

When we look back into our very own lives to see how the Lord our God had touched it with His great mercy and love, then we can fully relate to Hannah in today’s reading. How she is able to fully entrust her 3 year old to the service of God our Heavenly Father.

Hannah had lived her life bitterly in despair and desolation unable to see any semblance of God’s grace even though His grace was clearly present. In her desperation she cried and poured everything out to Him and promised to offer her child up should her prayer be answered. And for her the ‘impossible’ happened she conceived and bore Samuel. In loving obedience ( she gave her child over to the Lord our God. No longer was there any hint of despair for she knew with all her heart and had witnessed the power, glory and love of God in her own life. She could sing His praises for her heart exults in Him! (1 Samuel 2:1)

We do not hear of any prior bitterness in Mary our Mother’s life neither do we ever hear, her despair. For the Lord was always with her. And no matter how difficult or how hard her life must have been, she glorified the Lord our God by accepting the hardships in grace. Her love for God was not only on her lips but in her heart and in everything she did.

O Blessed mother, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen

First reading 1 Samuel 1:24-28

This is the child I prayed for: he is made over to the Lord.

When Hannah had weaned the infant Samuel, she took him up with her together with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was with them. They slaughtered the bull and the child’s mother came to Eli. She said, ‘If you please, my lord. As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. This is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.’

    There she left him, for the Lord.

Gospel Luke 1:46-56

The Almighty has done great things for me

Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit exults in God my saviour;

because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,

for the Almighty has done great things for me.

Holy is his name,

and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.

He has shown the power of his arm,

he has routed the proud of heart.

He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.

He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy

– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –

of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 21, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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(Picture – Jump For Joy by Corby Eisbacher)

I have often dwelled on the 2nd joyful mystery ‘The Visitation’ like a 3rd Party witness to it. How wonderful it is to see the exchange between our Blessed Mother and Elisabeth and to experience the joy that permeates the air. Mary our mother had brought Jesus the light of the world with her!

Can we not share a first party account of it? What do I mean? Well can we not share testimonies of bringing Jesus into the lives of others when we visited them? Can we not share the joy and healing that took place as we brought the love of Jesus with us?

When I was an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion I remember distinctly the joy on the faces of those present as I literally brought Jesus into the midst of the households I visited for homebound communion. That is why I looked forward to each and every visit even though there were trying days in which I had to battle the weather or postpone a personal engagement. On one such occasion of bringing Jesus with me for the first time to a home, the air was filled with gloom as the father lay counting down the days he would return home to our creator. However sick and worn out he felt, his face lit up as he listened to the Gospel message and later received Jesus in Holy Eucharist. Even the somewhat introverted family members, began to slowly open up on the challenges they were facing. Little did they know that our saviour was going to be very much more present this day and everyday in their lives through the community and would see them through the darkness which lay ahead. Then there was another time I responded to the desperate call by a family of church parishioners who requested for me to bring communion to their mother in the hospital, they were touched that I dropped everything to do so but most importantly their mum had an opportunity to receive Jesus physically for the last time! Jesus brought joy and forged new friendships all because we were obedient to His call. I can recall many more fond memories of such encounters during this wonderful journey in serving in this capacity.

When I left the ministry to do more and prayerfully make a difference in another, I was a little sad that I was no longer able to bring the physical presence of Jesus to those in need. It took a while before I came to the resolve that I would bring Jesus into the homes of those I visited even if it had to be in obscure and little ways. In some I would simply take the opportunity to lead in grace before meals even if it was not the norm to do so in that household, say a prayer of thanksgiving in another, an invocation for birthday blessings or prayer for healing in yet another. Otherwise I would seize every opportunity when it presented itself to speak about Jesus, the sacraments He instituted and His loving grace outpoured in my life and in the communities He has guided me to lead. Every ordinary meeting or fellowship is changed by His presence, I have witnessed hope, joy, peace, even healing take place! And now in 2020 the same has taken place even in zoom prayer meetings! Glory to You O Lord Jesus Christ!

So my dear sisters and brothers together with our Dearest Blessed Mother Mary let us bring Jesus with us everywhere we go. Amen

First reading
Song of Songs 2:8-14

See how my Beloved comes, leaping on the mountains
I hear my Beloved.

See how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My Beloved is like a gazelle,
like a young stag.
See where he stands
behind our wall.
He looks in at the window,
he peers through the lattice.
My Beloved lifts up his voice,
he says to me,
‘Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.
For see, winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come,
the cooing of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree is forming its first figs
and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.
Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.
My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,
in the coverts of the cliff,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet
and your face is beautiful.’

Luke 1:39-45

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 19, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Have we dedicated ourselves to the Lord our God? Have we consecrated ourselves to the sacred heart of Jesus? I have often reminded myself that I must strive for Holiness and lead my family and others to do likewise. How have I progressed in this regard? In the office we have year end appraisals to see if we have met the goals we set out early in the year, have we had our yearly appraisal with Jesus?

What efforts have I made? How have I responded to my Lord’s call? With doubt in my heart or have I responded in faith to glorify Him by my life? Have I done more to listen to Him through His Word? Have I spent more time in His presence discerning His Will for me? Have I abstained from the distractions of the world that makes me lose focus on Him? Have I grown in fraternal love for my sisters and brothers in Christ? Have I made a difference in my home, office, ministry, community and church? How many have come to know Christ or have had a deeper experience of Him through me?

Through you O loving Lord and Saviour my barren life has been changed. You have filled me with hope, peace, love and joy. Help me dear Lord to remain steadfast in Your love. Let me share the joy of Christmas which is to be found in You alone, with all that I meet. So that they too can experience what it is to lead grace filled lives. Amen

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 18, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

I chose Joseph (after St Joseph) for my confirmation name and again Joseph as middle names for both my sons. As for my daughter her middle name is Marie. (after our Blessed Mother Mary) This I had hoped would serve as reminders for us to emulate the Holy Family so as to grow in Holiness in the presence of the Lord our God.

Personally I had not dwelled enough on the life of Saint Joseph to merit the honour of following in his gentle footsteps. And so it is my desire now to dwell a little more starting today, so that my patron saint can guide me on my pilgrim journey ‘home’.

Not a single word in scripture is quoted, as having been spoken by him and yet he speaks volumes of his love for the Lord our God put into action. A righteous man after the heart of God, for he certainly would have dwelled in His presence daily in prayer and in His Word. For whether awake or asleep he remained faithful to God, that is why he could trust that his dreams would not betray him. For he knew the Lord-our-integrity his ‘Saving Justice’ on a deep personal level even before He came to be and so was made righteous through His grace. A simple carpenter by trade who cared, provided for and protected his family.  A loving, patient, devoted husband and father.

Guide me St Joseph that I may be made worthy of the promises of Emmanuel. Amen

First reading – Jeremiah 23:5-8

I will raise a virtuous Branch for David

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –

when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,

who will reign as true king and be wise,

practising honesty and integrity in the land.

In his days Judah will be saved

and Israel dwell in confidence.

And this is the name he will be called:


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

Gospel – Matthew 1:18-24

How Jesus Christ came to be born

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

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son

and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 17, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

It is important to look back from time to time on our very own personal salvation history. Where did we come from? Where are we now? and Where we are heading? Where are we in our faith? In other words where was our Lord Jesus Christ in our past, where is He in our present and where will He be in our future?

Can I today 17 Dec 2020 proclaim that Jesus is my Lord and I pay Him homage by the way I live my life. I am a child of God my Heavenly Father so loved by Him. I am an obedient son (daughter) who strives each and everyday to grow in Holiness. I will fight all evil to protect and defend my lineage to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I will remain connected forever to the Vine the source and summit of my life! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Genesis 49:2,8-10

Until he comes, the sceptre will not pass from Judah

Jacob called his sons and said:

‘Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen;

listen to Israel your father.

Judah, your brothers shall praise you:

you grip your enemies by the neck,

your father’s sons shall do you homage,

Judah is a lion cub,

you climb back, my son, from your kill;

like a lion he crouches and lies down,

or a lioness: who dare rouse him?

The sceptre shall not pass from Judah,

nor the mace from between his feet,

until he come to whom it belongs,

to whom the peoples shall render obedience.’


Matthew 1:1-17

The ancestry of Jesus Christ, the son of David

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

Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,

Perez was the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram was the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,

Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,

Obed was the father of Jesse;

and Jesse was the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,

Joram the father of Azariah,

Azariah was the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah;

and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.

Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon:

Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,

Abiud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

Azor was the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Achim,

Achim the father of Eliud,

Eliud was the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob;

and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;

of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 16, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We have an all powerful ever living God who can level mountains if He so chooses and yet in His great tender love for us; He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and dwelled as one of us. A bruised reed He did not break neither a smoldering wick He would not snuff out, instead He came to heal and restore. To give us life and life indeed to the full! When questioned if He was the one that was prophesised to come His answer was how His love for us was already set in motion!

Instead of getting down on our knees as we should to worship Him, confessing that Jesus is our Lord by putting our love for neighbour into action as He had commanded us; Are our hearts still filled with doubt? What faith will He find in us when He comes again?

You Lord Jesus are the rock of my salvation and I place all my faith and trust in You. Lead me know and forever. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 45:6-8,18,21-25
I, the Lord, shall create deliverance

Apart from me, all is nothing.
I am the Lord, unrivalled,
I form the light and create the dark.
I make good fortune and create calamity,
it is I, the Lord, who do all this.

Send victory like a dew, you heavens,
and let the clouds rain it down.
Let the earth open
for salvation to spring up.
Let deliverance, too, bud forth
which I, the Lord, shall create.

Yes, thus says the Lord,
creator of the heavens,
who is God,
who formed the earth and made it,
who set it firm,
created it no chaos,
but a place to be lived in:

‘I am the Lord, unrivalled:
there is no other god besides me.
A God of integrity and a saviour:
there is none apart from me.
Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth,
for I am God unrivalled.

‘By my own self I swear it;
what comes from my mouth is truth,
a word irrevocable:
before me every knee shall bend,
by me every tongue shall swear,
saying, “From the Lord alone
come victory and strength.”
To him shall come, ashamed,
all who raged against him.
Victorious and glorious through the Lord shall be
all the descendants of Israel.’

Luke 7:19-23
‘Are you the one who is to come?’

John, summoning two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for someone else?’ When the men reached Jesus they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you, to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or have we to wait for someone else?”’ It was just then that he cured many people of diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and gave the gift of sight to many who were blind. Then he gave the messengers their answer, ‘Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’


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

On Today’s Gospel

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

There was a time when I was a little envious of the newly baptised. They were so alive in their new found faith in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Such that they were often seen in many if not all our parish activities! Those well formed by dedicated disciples and spirtual directors in their RCIA journey would readily share their conversion stories with all they came into contact with. And if you spend time listening to their own personal conversion stories many were like the first son in today’s Gospel. Very rarely did any one of them have an instant conversion experience like St Paul. Often they rejected the idea of Jesus, some led rather sinful lives while others felt their lives were meaningless and empty. And again others tried looking for peace, love and joy in the world but never found it. In an obscure sense they were like prodigal sons and daughters. Then some thought better of it while some were touched by the lives of the faithful and decided to follow Jesus, they now lovingly work for joy in His vineyard!

What about us? Are we not the 2nd son? We say Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes YES LORD! But what do we have to show for ourselves? How much have we grown in our faith and love for our Lord Jesus Christ? How much have we grown in our fraternal love for one another? How many lives have we touched through our corporal and spiritual acts of mercy? How many souls have we saved? How can we be fruitful for Him when we refuse to work in His Vineyard?

Sweet saviour our Lord Jesus we thank you for the opportunity to work in your vineyard through which we remain fully connected to You. For you have told us that you are the Vine and we are Your branches. Through Your loving grace shall be fruitful for Your Kingdom. Amen

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First reading
Zephaniah 3:1-2,9-13
All peoples shall invoke the Lord’s name and serve him

Trouble is coming to the rebellious, the defiled,
the tyrannical city!
She would never listen to the call,
would never learn the lesson;
she has never trusted in the Lord,
never drawn near to her God.

Yes, I will then give the peoples lips that are clean,
so that all may invoke the name of the Lord
and serve him under the same yoke.
From beyond the banks of the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants
will bring me offerings.

When that day comes
you need feel no shame for all the misdeeds
you have committed against me,
for I will remove your proud boasters
from your midst;
and you will cease to strut
on my holy mountain.
In your midst I will leave
a humble and lowly people,
and those who are left in Israel will seek refuge in the name of the Lord.
They will do no wrong,
will tell no lies;
and the perjured tongue will no longer
be found in their mouths.
But they will be able to graze and rest
with no one to disturb them.

Matthew 21:28-32
Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 14, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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If you are a child of proper upbringing could you ever fathom telling your father or mother as you were growing up, “Why should I listened to you?!” or “Mind your own business! this is my life!” Now all grown up as an adult would you be able to say utter such words? or perhaps you might tone it down as much as possible to simply say something like “Thank you for your love and concern however I will make and live by my own decision in this matter or that one.” Yes we do not in a sense owe our parents our lives but we have to love, honour and respect them nonetheless for they were instruments of God our Father’s grace that we have life. Are we then to question, the Lord our God, the author of life Himself?

If we say that He is truly the Lord of Lords, King of kings in our lives? How so? If we place ourselves above Him in all that we say and do? Family and friends are likely to take priority next then perhaps our careers and so on. When we refuse to pray, listen to His Word or Will for us? When we neglect the community and exclude ourselves from anything spiritual after all that is reserve only for an hour on Sundays. Even then we are relieved that we can just sit back, relax and watch an online mass while fiddling on our mobile phones or walking in and out of the rooms to take stuff we urgently need in that hour! How different are we from the chief priests and elders who rejected the authority of Jesus? They were so blind that they only recognised themselves as Authority figures for others.

So sisters and brothers we can choose to submit to the Authority and Will of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and be a source of Blessings for all, as the Spirit of God dwells within us to lead and guide us. Or we can choose to remain where we are stubbornly, holding on the believe that we are in control, in charge and make decisions that lead us and others further from the truth, peace and joy to be found in Jesus.

I submit my intellect and my Will to You my Lord and my God! Let me be consecrated fully unto thee. Amen

First reading Numbers 24:2-7,15-17

The oracles of Balaam

Raising his eyes Balaam saw Israel, encamped by tribes; the spirit of God came on him and he declaimed his poem. He said:
‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,
the oracle of one who hears the word of God.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see,
receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
How fair are your tents, O Jacob!
How fair your dwellings, Israel!
Like valleys that stretch afar,
like gardens by the banks of a river,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
like cedars beside the waters!
A hero arises from their stock,
he reigns over countless peoples.
His king is greater than Agag,
his majesty is exalted.’
Then Balaam declaimed his poem again. He said:
‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,
the oracle of one who hears the word of God,
of one who knows the knowledge of the Most High.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see,
receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
I see him – but not in the present,
I behold him – but not close at hand:
a star from Jacob takes the leadership,
a sceptre arises from Israel.’

Matthew 21:23-27

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

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Third Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 12, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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One Who is Coming: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61:1–210–11
Luke 1:46–5053–54
1 Thessalonians 5:16–24
John 1:6–819–28

The mysterious figure of John the Baptist, introduced in last week’s readings, comes into sharper focus today. Who he is, we see in today’s Gospel, is best understood by who he isn’t.

He is not Elijah returned from the heavens (see 2 Kings 2:11), although like him he dresses in the prophet’s attire (see Mark 1:62 Kings 1:8) and preaches repentance and judgment (see 1 Kings
18:21; 2 Chronicles 21:12–15).

Not Elijah in the flesh, John is nonetheless sent in the spirit and power of Elijah to fulfill his mission (see Luke 1:17Malachi 3:23–24).
Neither is John the prophet Moses foretold, although he is a kinsman and speaks God’s word (see Deuteronomy 18:15–19John 6:14). Nor is John the Messiah, though he has been anointed by the Spirit since he was in the womb (see Luke 1:1544).

John prepares the way for the Lord (see Isaiah 40:3). The baptism he performs is symbolic, not sacramental. It is a sign given to stir our hearts to repentance.
John shows us the One upon whom the Spirit remains (see John 1:32), the One who fulfills the promise we hear in today’s First Reading (see Luke 4:16–21). Jesus’ bath of rebirth and the Spirit opens a fountain that purifies Israel and gives to all a new heart and a new Spirit (see Zechariah 13:1–3Ezekiel 36:24–27Mark 1:8Titus 3:5).

John comes to us in the Advent readings to show us the light, that we might believe in the One who comes at Christmas. As we sing in today’s Responsorial, the Mighty One has come to lift each of us up, to fill our hunger with bread from heaven (see John 6:3349–51).

And as Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle, we should rejoice, give thanks, and pray without ceasing that God will make us perfectly holy in spirit, soul, and body—that we may be blameless when our Lord comes.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 12, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

“Let us come together for Advent Reflections so we can prepare our hearts to receive more fully his Christmas.” “Turn back to Jesus who loves you dearly and wants to set you free to live fully in His love. Make every effort to go for the Sacrament of reconciliation.” “In this trying and challenging times we must do all we can to attend the Holy Eucharist so as to receive Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity into our very being. For after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

How many of us have failed to recognise ‘Elijah’ in the voices above? Calling us back to fidelity to God our Heavenly Father. To turn the hearts of fathers towards their children. To restore God our Father’s children to their rightful inheritance through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus open my ears to hear You, my eyes to see you and with open hands I lift them up to receive what I need to serve You and brethren more fully. Amen

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Uniting my Will with God my Heavenly Father does not mean I give up my freedom, on the contrary I am never more free to live fully in His love, peace and joy. Is it easy to stay awake and alert to His commandments and more importantly His Will for me? Well in a sense no, it takes discipline and true love for Him. I need to seek Him daily through His Word and to be still in His presence. To dwell in the mystery and revelation of my salvation through my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

I will not want the luxury to say, “Lord I’m tired not today, I don’t feel up to it.” Even if it is a late day for me, I am never fully awake till I rise to hear His voice. And to hear what He desires for me to share with my sisters and brothers. I remain hopeful and elated that someone who hears His voice through me will be touched by His great mercy and love. They too will heed His call to grow in Holiness and love. And together we will praise His Holy name!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever. Amen

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

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

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

Matthew 11:16-19
They heed neither John nor the Son of Man

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 10, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Whose hand are you holding?

As we draw closer to the end of this rather difficult year in which unprecedented challenges led nations out into the wilderness. How have we lived as children of God our Heavenly Father? Have we kept the faith? Hope? Have we been charitable with one another especially with those most affected? Have we held on to the hand of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who will lead us out of the desert into the land of milk and honey?

Whose hand are you holding?

Holding up our right hand, touched by grace and clasped in love; whose hand are we holding in our left to gently lead into His Kingdom? For we are called to turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents. To lead the children of God our Heavenly Father back to Him.

Whose hand are you holding?

Take my hand Lord Jesus and lead me. Amen

Our Lady of Loreto pray for us…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 11:11-15
A greater than John the Baptist has never been seen

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

Everyday can be a struggle to wake up to face the challenges of the day. To know that the battle with evil and temptation never ends. And on top of it all we have our mission as disciples of Christ to fulfil. Yes indeed it is a heavy burden to bear alone! And so many give up or make choices to live according to their own will. Seeking happiness and love in their own way, in their own time. They are convinced that they are at peace with their decision.

However those who have decided to carry their cross daily to follow Jesus because of the ever growing love for Him, know that they never bear any burden whatsoever alone! He is always there alongside, to shoulder the weight with them. Living life in His presence fills them with peace, love and joy which the world can never give.

I come before You this day and every day my Lord, my God. To dwell in Your presence and loving embrace. Be with me now and forever. Amen

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the beginning it was God our Father’s Will that we be spotless, perfect as He is perfect, Holy as He is Holy. And so Mary our mother’s immaculate conception, Today’s solemnity has a deeper meaning for us. She like our first parents, Adam and Eve was conceived without original sin. Created pure and Holy in the likeness and image of God our Heavenly Father.

Through our baptism original sin was removed from us, though for us we still have to struggle with concupiscence. And so it must be our daily resolve to follow Mary our mother’s obedience to the will of God our Heavenly Father; her steadfast desire to always remain in His presence through prayer and a life lived in Holiness. Mary our mother’s life is a model of how the beatitudes is lived out. Through the grace of her Son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we too can likewise live out of lives fully in His love.

Through our Blessed Mother let us consecrate ourselves to the sacred heart of Jesus her son. Now and forever. Amen

Hail mary full of grace….

First reading
Genesis 3:9-15,20 ·
The mother of all those who live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 7, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Like Lent before Easter, Advent is an opportunity to go out into the desert, that is to free ourselves from all that weighs us down and holds us back from being fully reconciled with God our loving Father. To make straight the path so that Jesus can come deep into our hearts. We are healed, restored, liberated such that we can leap for joy as we praise and worship the Lord our God. Through this journey we will arrive at the oasis that awaits us. An oasis only to be found in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Come Lord Jesus, come… Amen

Bishop St Ambrose pray for us…

First reading
Isaiah 35:1-10 ·
The return of the redeemed through the desert

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.

‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;

for water gushes in the desert,
streams in the wasteland,
the scorched earth becomes a lake,
the parched land springs of water.

The lairs where the jackals used to live
become thickets of reed and papyrus…

And through it will run a highway undefiled
which shall be called the Sacred Way;
the unclean may not travel by it,
nor fools stray along it.

No lion will be there
nor any fierce beast roam about it,
but the redeemed will walk there,
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.

Luke 5:17-26
‘Your sins are forgiven you: get up and walk’

Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
    They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

Second Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 5, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Straighten the Path: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40:1–59–11
Psalm 85:9–14
2 Peter 3:8–14
Mark 1:1–8
Our God is coming. The time of exile— the long separation of humankind from God due to sin—is about to end. This is the good news proclaimed in today’s liturgy.

Isaiah in today’s First Reading promises Israel’s future release and return from captivity and exile. But as today’s Gospel shows, Israel’s historic deliverance was meant to herald an even greater saving act by God—the coming of Jesus to set Israel and all nations free from bondage to sin, to gather them up and carry them back to God.

God sent an angel before Israel to lead them in their exodus towards the promised land (see Exodus 23:20). And He promised to send a messenger of the covenant, Elijah, to purify the people and turn their hearts to the Father before the day of the Lord (see Malachi 3:123–24).

John the Baptist quotes these, as well as Isaiah’s prophecy, to show that all of Israel’s history looks forward to the revelation of Jesus. In Jesus, God has filled in the valley that divided sinful humanity from Himself. He has reached down from heaven and made His glory to dwell on earth, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

He has done all this not for humanity in the abstract but for each of us. The long history of salvation has led us to this Eucharist, in which our God again comes and our salvation is near. And each of us must hear in today’s readings a personal call. Here is your God, Isaiah says. He has been patient with you, Peter says in today’s Epistle.

Like Jerusalem’s inhabitants in the Gospel, we have to go out to Him, repenting our sins, all the laziness and self-indulgence that make our lives a spiritual wasteland. We have to straighten out our lives so that everything we do leads us to Him.

Today, let us hear the beginning of the Gospel and again commit ourselves to lives of holiness and devotion.

Does God our Father mean for His children to suffer or to be in distress? If you believe this to be true then “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in shall have eternal life” will have little or no meaning for you. It is due to our fallen nature that sin, suffering, distress, sickness exists in the world. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He dresses our wounds and tenderly nurses us back to fullness of life in Him. He permits some suffering in order for us to be purified, so that the proven genuineness of our faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

So then sisters and brothers in Christ, having decided to take up our cross to follow Him; are we ready to go out into the world to be instruments of His grace? To cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. For we have been endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and it is time to put our living faith into action! Amen

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

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

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

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

Today and everyday the Lord makes all things new. For those who have trust and faith in Him, they will have their vindication. They will walk blameless in His sight. He will bring about physical as well as spiritual healing. Having received His loving touch shall we not praise and glorify His name? Shall we not do the same by our actions? Shall we not likewise touch the lives of others so that they too might see Him through us?

Yet those who are in power and have misused it to oppress, who turn God our Father’s children away from Him should cower in fear. Likewise those who gossip, for these murderous lot have killed the reputation of many and have always thought themselves innocent shall be held accountable by the Lord our God! Repent! Seek His forgiveness, wisdom and His Will for you; while the Lord is still patient and merciful, for there will soon come a time that you will remain in permanent darkness.

Open my eyes to see You Lord, now and forever. Amen

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

The Lord says this:

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

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

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

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

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

Many of us are a fickle, stubborn lot. While it is our desire to grow in holiness, in our prayer life and so on. We often say we will do it!… But maybe tomorrow, or we might start working at it then give up quite readily after a few days. Are we not the folks in Today’s Gospel going, “Lord, Lord,”? How will we ever hope to remain steadfast in our faith especially in times of great struggles and challenges? When we will not start building our relationship upon the solid foundation of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

It is only through our righteousness and fidelity to the Word and Will of God our Heavenly Father, that we will enter into His Kingdom. So let us dear sisters and brothers in Christ, having entered into the new liturgical year this Advent; build upon our Rock Jesus! Having tasted His living water, we will not want (for anything). Amen

First Reading
Isaiah 26:1-6 ·
Open the gates; let the upright nation come in

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

Matthew 7:21,24-27
The wise man built his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 2, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Can I a Christian claim that I do not what the good news is? Or that I do not what or how to share it with others? Listen with your heart the message of the good news revealed to us through the prophet. And again the full revelation of the good news in Mathew’s Gospel to be found in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Jesus was the hope of all nations in the thousand years of ‘Advent’ leading to His birth what we now call Christmas. The light which dispels the darkness! The bondage of sin and death broken through our journey of ‘Lent’ leading to His Resurrection which we now call Easter. Our Lord God came and dwelled among us. In His mercy, grace and love; He healed, liberated us from us all sin, brought everlasting peace, love and joy into our hearts. Through the most precious gift of Himself in Holy Eucharist He eleavates us through His divinity to be One in full communion with Him.

Is this not above and beyond ‘Good News’. This is the truth we must share with one and all! Amen

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 1, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus is inviting us once again to enter into that deep personal, intimate relationship He has with God our Heavenly Father. To be One with Him, to see as He sees, to hear as He hears. We had first responded to this invitation through our baptism where we had been bestowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit as we entered into sonship and daughterhood. In this first week of Advent we are invited to enter into a deeper loving relationship. What is your response?

Thank You Lord for loving me. Guide and teach me Your ways. That I may love You and my brethren in the same way that You love me. Amen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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