Archive for July, 2021

18th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: July 31, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Endurance Test: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Readings:

Exodus 16:2–4, 12–15

Psalm 78:3–4, 23–25, 54

Ephesians 4:17, 20–24

John 6:24–35

The journey of discipleship is a lifelong exodus from the slavery of sin and death to the holiness of truth on Mount Zion, the promised land of eternal life.

The road can get rough. And when it does, we can be tempted to complain like the Israelites in this week’s First Reading.

We have to see these times of hardship as a test of what is in our hearts, a call to trust God more and to purify the motives for our faith (Deuteronomy 8:2–3).

As Paul reminds us in this week’s Epistle, we must leave behind our old self-deceptions and desires and live according to the likeness of God in which we are made.

Jesus tells the crowd in this week’s Gospel that they are following Him for the wrong reasons. They seek Him because He filled their bellies. The Israelites, too, were content to follow God so long as there was plenty of food.

Food is the most obvious of signs—because it is the most basic of our human needs. We need our daily bread to live. But we cannot live by this bread alone. We need the bread of eternal life that preserves those who believe in Him (Wisdom 16:20, 26).

The manna in the wilderness, like the bread Jesus multiplied for the crowd, was a sign of God’s Providence—that we should trust that He will provide.

These signs pointed to their fulfillment in the Eucharist, the abundant bread of angels we sing about in this week’s Psalm.

This is the food that God longs to give us. This is the bread we should be seeking. But too often we don’t ask for this bread. Instead we seek the perishable stuff of our everyday wants and anxieties. In our weakness we think these things are what we really need.

We have to trust God more. If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be ours as well (Matthew 6:33).


What is it that you own if anything, that you can take to your grave with you? Everything that you have, gifts, talents or even worked so hard to achieve came from? Was it really all your personal achievement? Are you so naïve to believe that you did it all on your own? Okay so you acknowledge you had help, teachers, friends, colleagues, community and family? Who above all should you be thankful and grateful to? Prayerfully in all the years leading up to this current day you would have already come to the realisation that it was all because of God our Heavenly Father’s love for you!

As a child of God so loved by Your Heavenly Father what are others saying about you? Are you even in their thoughts and prayers? Well you may say who cares what other thinks about me? They either accept me for who I am or to they can go to ‘heaven’ (opposite *winks*) But here’s the thing, all the good that we think we do or say does not matter all. What truly matters is how our neighbours feel about us. After all are they not the ones we profess to love by the command of our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Are they being loved us by us as they should be?

Can you imagine being able to listen in to the conversations about you at your own funeral wake? What would you hope to hear? “Ah here lies a man after God’s heart!” ” She was a woman of faith always will to giver her all in all that she did.” “He was always cheerful and gentle in his ways, he brought joy to everyone.” ” She was always so loving and forgiving, she always chose to love first!” “He was always there when I needed him, in toughest moments in my life. He was there to comfort me and lift my spirits.” “If I ever needed prayers, I know I could count her, she was a light of Christ for me” “He truly loved me!” “She truly love me!” 

Perhaps then we would be able to hear the words we yearn the most….”‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ‘Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Amen!

Saint Ignatius Loyola Pray for us…..

First reading

Leviticus 25:1,8-17

The law of the jubilee year

The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. He said:

    ‘You are to count seven weeks of years – seven times seven years, that is to say a period of seven weeks of years, forty-nine years. And on the tenth day of the seventh month you shall sound the trumpet; on the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout the land. You will declare this fiftieth year sacred and proclaim the liberation of all the inhabitants of the land. This is to be a jubilee for you; each of you will return to his ancestral home, each to his own clan. This fiftieth year is to be a jubilee year for you: you will not sow, you will not harvest the ungathered corn, you will not gather from the untrimmed vine. The jubilee is to be a holy thing to you, you will eat what comes from the fields.

    ‘In this year of jubilee each of you is to return to his ancestral home. If you buy or sell with your neighbour, let no one wrong his brother. If you buy from your neighbour, this must take into account the number of years since the jubilee: according to the number of productive years he will fix the price. The greater the number of years, the higher shall be the price demanded; the less the number of years, the greater the reduction; for what he is selling you is a certain number of harvests. Let none of you wrong his neighbour, but fear your God; I am the Lord your God.’

Gospel

Matthew 14:1-12

The beheading of John the Baptist

Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus, and said to his court, ‘This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’

    Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had told him, ‘It is against the Law for you to have her.’ He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet. Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and so delighted Herod that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked. Prompted by her mother she said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish.’ The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.


I am proud to be Catholic! I think we don’t say it enough or don’t even give it a second thought? Yes we are all Christians nonetheless but we Catholics,  have a rich history and wonderful traditions which are still intact over the centuries. Our roots trace back all the way to Christ Jesus our Lord who said to St Peter ,”And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Another great and wonderful thing to love about our Catholic Church is the rich Sacramental life we have and live. Through the liturgical calendar that we have in which we are given many opportunities throughout the year to celebrate the many feasts and solemnities of our One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. We come together as One in thanksgiving to worship, honour and praise God our Heavenly Father, His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our Blessed Mother is with us too at every celebration to draw us ever closer to her Son. By and through our Faith in Him we are Blessed with many signs, wonders and miracles to this very day!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

First reading

Leviticus 23:1,4-11,15-16,27,34-37

The law of the festivals of the Lord

The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:

    ‘These are the Lord’s solemn festivals, the sacred assemblies to which you are to summon the sons of Israel on the appointed day.

    ‘The fourteenth day of the first month, between the two evenings, is the Passover of the Lord; and the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of Unleavened Bread for the Lord. For seven days you shall eat bread without leaven. On the first day you are to hold a sacred assembly; you must do no heavy work. For seven days you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord. The seventh day is to be a day of sacred assembly; you must do no work.’

    The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:

    ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them:

    ‘“When you enter the land that I give you, and gather in the harvest there, you must bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest, and he is to present it to the Lord with the gesture of offering, so that you may be acceptable. The priest shall make this offering on the day after the sabbath.

    ‘“From the day after the sabbath, the day on which you bring the sheaf of offering, you are to count seven full weeks. You are to count fifty days, to the day after the seventh sabbath, and then you are to offer the Lord a new oblation.

    ‘“The tenth day of the seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. You are to hold a sacred assembly. You must fast, and you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord.

    ‘“The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of Tabernacles for the Lord, lasting seven days. The first day is a day of sacred assembly; you must do no heavy work. For seven days you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly, you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord. It is a day of solemn meeting; you must do no heavy work.

    ‘“These are the solemn festivals of the Lord to which you are to summon the children of Israel, sacred assemblies for the purpose of offering burnt offerings, holocausts, oblations, sacrifices and libations to the Lord, according to the ritual of each day.”’

Gospel

Matthew 13:54-58

A prophet is only despised in his own country

Coming to his home town, Jesus taught the people in their synagogue in such a way that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?’ And they would not accept him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country and in his own house’, and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.


Are we prepared to receive the indwelling of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Are the tabernacles of our heart, mind and soul ready to receive Him? Have we walked the narrow path fighting with all our might against all sin and temptation? Are we fully reconciled with Him through the Sacrament He graced us with or have we at least made an act of contrition till we can do so? Do we stand ready and eager to hear and receive His Word daily deep into our very beings? And most of all are we equally if not more, hospitable to our brethren just as we would be our Lord?

Then surely like St Martha, we can expect our dear Lord to visit us, in our joys and in our sorrows. He will be present with us through it all.

Jesus come dwell in my heart for I am One with You as You are one with me. Amen

St Martha pray for us…..

First reading

Exodus 40:16-21,34-38 ·

The tabernacle is set up

Moses did exactly as the Lord had directed him. The tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year. Moses erected the tabernacle. He fixed the sockets for it, put up its frames, put its crossbars in position, set up its posts. He spread the tent over the tabernacle and on top of this the covering for the tent, as the Lord had directed Moses. He took the Testimony and placed it inside the ark. He set the shafts to the ark and placed the throne of mercy on it. He brought the ark into the tabernacle and put the screening veil in place; thus he screened the ark of the Lord, as the Lord had directed Moses.

    The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because of the cloud that rested on it and because of the glory of the Lord that filled the tabernacle.

    At every stage of their journey, whenever the cloud rose from the tabernacle the sons of Israel would resume their march. If the cloud did not rise, they waited and would not march until it did. For the cloud of the Lord rested on the tabernacle by day, and a fire shone within the cloud by night, for all the House of Israel to see. And so it was for every stage of their journey.

Gospel

John 11:19-27

I am the resurrection and the life

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:

‘I am the resurrection and the life.

If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,

and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’


I have often marvelled on how those who walk in the presence of the Lord have a glow about them whether on their faces or their very hearts which sets ours aglow just by being around them or just seeing them from afar. It is always a joy to speak with them and simply to be around them. For me and in no particular order it would be Sister Rosa a nun, Henry a parishioner, St John Paul II, Father Terence, Ivan and Alve.

They have found their treasure in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, His Word is lamp unto their feet. And they carry Him with them from deep within yet His light shines forth through them! No they are far from perfect but they strive for perfection and Holiness  through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Can we be like them? Surely we can for we are all called by Jesus to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. And if we love His Word and Will for us, and so desire to walk humbly in His presence, we too would have found the treasure and would leave everything behind to live in His Kingdom. We too shall be salt and light in the world. Amen

First reading

Exodus 34:29-35 ·

Moses passes on to the people the orders given by the Lord

When Moses came down from the mountain of Sinai – as he came down from the mountain, Moses had the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands – he did not know that the skin on his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord. And when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, the skin on his face shone so much that they would not venture near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community came back to him; and he spoke to them. Then all the sons of Israel came closer, and he passed on to them all the orders that the Lord had given him on the mountain of Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever he went into the Lord’s presence to speak with him, Moses would remove the veil until he came out again. And when he came out, he would tell the sons of Israel what he had been ordered to pass on to them, and the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 13:44-46

He sells everything he owns and buys the field

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

    ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’


We are truly a headstrong people, we want what we want and we want it now! Fast food, fast money, fast cars, faster more efficient!

Is there anything from stopping us from being headstrong for love of our Lord? From being faithful and obedient?

Today we learn the nature and essence of God our loving Father. He is God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ In other words He is All loving, All merciful, All forgiving, All patient, gentle and kind. However He is no pushover for us; as there will be a day of reckoning for us who refuse to the very end, to listen His Word and live out His Will for us according to His commands and statutes

St Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love is patient, love is kind. And we are so loved by God our Heavenly Father that He loves us even when we are sinners and had sent His only begotten Son to save us. He waits ever patiently for our hearts to turn back to Him. Are we grateful for such undeserving love on our part? If are grateful then how can we continue to be impatient and unloving towards our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ?

Let us strive to grow in Holiness, love and patience. So that we can walk humbly with the Lord our God and always be in His presence. Amen

First reading

Exodus 33:7-11,34:5-9,28

‘They are a headstrong people; but forgive us our faults’

Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, at some distance from the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who had to consult the Lord would go out to the Tent of Meeting, outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the Tent, all the people would rise. Every man would stand at the door of his tent and watch Moses until he reached the Tent; the pillar of cloud would come down and station itself at the entrance to the Tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When they saw the pillar of cloud stationed at the entrance to the Tent, all the people would rise and bow low, each at the door of his tent. The Lord would speak with Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would turn back to the camp, but the young man who was his servant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the Tent.

    And the Lord descended in the form of a cloud, and Moses stood with him there.

    He called on the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ And Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped. ‘If I have indeed won your favour, Lord,’ he said ‘let my Lord come with us, I beg. True, they are a headstrong people, but forgive us our faults and our sins, and adopt us as your heritage.’

    Moses stayed there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights, eating and drinking nothing. He inscribed on the tablets the words of the Covenant – the Ten Words.

Gospel

Matthew 13:36-43

As the darnel is gathered up and burnt, so it will be at the end of time

Leaving the crowds, Jesus went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’


How has our faith, love and relationship in the Lord our God grown such that it is shows our love put into action for others? How many have we lead to the wonders and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ? Who loved us when we were still sinners and had made atonement for our sins!  Have we placed our love for the Lord our God above all else and everyone?

Or have we allowed the busyness of living in this challenging world overrun our thoughts and beliefs? That we turn to our ‘golden calfs’ for relief and comforts? To fill the void in our lives? What are they? Sexual gratification? Recognition? Honour and fame? Wealth? Gaming? Gambling? Television drama serial after drama serial?

Only Jesus can fill any void we have or think we might have! He alone can give us the peace and love that we constantly seek to find in the world. And He gives it to us all freely when we turn to Him for He truly desires that we live our lives to the full. The Lord is our Shepherd there is truly nothing we shall want. Let us therefore by our Christian Spirit be a leaven in the world for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!

St Joachim and St Anne pray for us….

First reading

Exodus 32:15-24,30-34

The golden calf

Moses made his way back down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, tablets inscribed on both sides, inscribed on the front and on the back. These tablets were the work of God, and the writing on them was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

    Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting. ‘There is the sound of battle in the camp’, he told Moses. Moses answered him:

‘No song of victory is this sound,

no wailing for defeat this sound;

it is the sound of chanting that I hear.’

As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the groups dancing, Moses’ anger blazed. He threw down the tablets he was holding and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He seized the calf they had made and burned it, grinding it into powder which he scattered on the water; and he made the sons of Israel drink it. To Aaron Moses said, ‘What has this people done to you, for you to bring such a great sin on them?’ ‘Let not my lord’s anger blaze like this’ Aaron answered. ‘You know yourself how prone this people is to evil. They said to me, “Make us a god to go at our head; this Moses, the man who brought us up from Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So I said to them, “Who has gold?,” and they took it off and brought it to me. I threw it into the fire and out came this calf.’

    On the following day Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a grave sin. But now I shall go up to the Lord: perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ And Moses returned to the Lord. ‘I am grieved,’ he cried ‘this people has committed a grave sin, making themselves a god of gold. And yet, if it pleased you to forgive this sin of theirs…! But if not, then blot me out from the book that you have written.’ The Lord answered Moses, “It is the man who has sinned against me that I shall blot out from my book. Go now, lead the people to the place of which I told you. My angel shall go before you but, on the day of my visitation, I shall punish them for their sin.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:31-35

The smallest of all seeds grows into the biggest shrub of all

Jesus put a parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

    He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

    In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:

I will speak to you in parables

and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.

17 Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Bread Left Over: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventeenth  Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings


2 Kings 4:42–44
Psalm 145:10-1115–18
Ephesians 4:1–6
John 6:1–15

Today’s liturgy brings together several strands of Old Testament expectation to reveal Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah and King, the Lord who comes to feed His people.

Notice the parallels between today’s Gospel and First Reading. Both Elisha and Jesus face a crowd of hungry people with only a few “barley” loaves. We hear similar words about how impossible it will be to feed the crowd with so little. And in both the miraculous multiplication of bread satisfies the hungry and leaves food left over.

The Elisha story looks back to Moses, the prophet who fed God’s people in the wilderness (see Exodus 16). Moses prophesied that God would send a prophet like him (see Deuteronomy 18:15–19). The crowd in today’s Gospel, witnessing His miracle, identifies Jesus as that prophet.

The Gospel today again shows Jesus to be the Lord, the good shepherd, who makes His people lie down on green grass and spreads a table before them (see Psalm 23:15).

The miraculous feeding is a sign that God has begun to fulfill His promise, which we sing of in today’s Psalm—to give His people food in due season and satisfy their desire (see Psalm 81:17).

But Jesus points to the final fulfillment of that promise in the Eucharist. He does the same things He does at the Last Supper—He takes the loaves, pronounces a blessing of thanksgiving (literally, “eucharist”), and gives the bread to the people (see Matthew 26:26). Notice, too, that twelve baskets of bread are left over, one for each of the Apostles.

These are signs that should point us to the Eucharist—in which the Church founded on the Apostles continues to feed us with the living bread of His Body.

In this Eucharist, we are made one Body with the Lord, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Let us resolve again, then, to live lives worthy of such a great calling.


Are you good? YES for you are a wonderful child of God our Heavenly Father made in His image and likeness and so loved by Him.

Can you remain good? YES if you choose always do His Will and to remain steadfast in prayer, to listen to His Word, act justly, love mercy and walk humbly in His presence.

Can you turn bad? YES for we have all been given free will. This happens if we choose evil and sin over the love of our Lord and God.  If we choose to live in the world and succumb to the influence of those who ‘thrive’ in it.

The Good news for us is that the LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in mercy. (Ps 103:8) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, God, He will not despise. For He sent His only Begotten Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to reconcile the world unto Him. Yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. (num 14:18) Let us therefore hasten unto Him!

Jesus my Lord I turn to You, wash me clean in Your blood and I will be white as snow! Let me remain steadfast in Your love always. Amen

First reading

Exodus 24:3-8 ·

This is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you

Moses went and told the people all the commands of the Lord and all the ordinances. In answer, all the people said with one voice, ‘We will observe all the commands that the Lord has decreed.’ Moses put all the commands of the Lord into writing, and early next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve standing-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he directed certain young Israelites to offer holocausts and to immolate bullocks to the Lord as communion sacrifices. Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:24-30

Let them both grow till the harvest

Jesus put another parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’


Are the commandments difficult to follow? Is listening to the Word of God just as challenging for us? Let dwell on this a little in light of today’s readings…..

Why did the Lord our God give us His people the commandments if not for His great and utter love for us? So that we may lead ordered and meaningful lives as One in His love. Even His enriching and life giving Word is freely given to us hence we hear how the sower in the parable freely scatters the seed. In other words, like the commandments, His Word is not forced upon us. He gives freely in His love. How we receive both is key! The real question then is just how much do we truly love the Lord our God? 

If we assent to His Will for us then we acclaim Him our Lord and King. That we truly love Him with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. And that we love one another as He loves us. We have received both therefore in rich soil and it is only a matter of time before we will see a rich harvest!

Sweet Jesus my Lord, I love because You loved me first. Let me dwell always in Your love for me, that I may love others in that same love. Amen

First reading

Exodus 20:1-17

The Law given at Sinai

God spoke all these words. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

    ‘You shall have no gods except me.

    ‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I punish the father’s fault in the sons, the grandsons, and the great-grandsons of those who hate me; but I show kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    ‘You shall not utter the name of the Lord your God to misuse it, for the Lord will not leave unpunished the man who utters his name to misuse it.

    ‘Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the Lord your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the stranger who lives with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that these hold, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it sacred.

    ‘Honour your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God has given to you.

    ‘You shall not kill.

    ‘You shall not commit adultery.

    ‘You shall not steal.

    ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

    ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:18-23

The man who hears the word and understands it yields a rich harvest

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’


Mary of Magdala truly loved her Lord and God; she grieved and pined for love of Him.  That His battered, torn body which had laid in the tomb would not be desecrated any further by the Sins of men and women alike. She braved standing close to Him at His crucifixion and she would be brave once again in her distress to look to find His body and take it back from those who took Him.

Her great love for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was rewarded for our Lord revealed His resurrected self first to her. She would be then sent to share the joy of His resurrection with the brothers, His beloved disciples.

Lord Jesus my love, let Your light shine through me. That I may share with all whom I meet, the love and joy of You my resurrected Lord and God. Amen

St Mary Magdalen Pray for us….

First reading

Song of Songs 3:1-4 ·

I found him whom my heart loves

The bride says this:

On my bed, at night, I sought him

whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

So I will rise and go through the City;

in the streets and in the squares

I will seek him whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

The watchmen came upon me

on their rounds in the City:

‘Have you seen him whom my heart loves?’

Scarcely had I passed them

when I found him whom my heart loves.

Gospel

John 20:1-2,11-18

‘Mary, go and find the brothers and tell them’

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 21, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Our Lord never left us as orphans, He is always with us whether or not we are able to attend Holy Eucharist to be physically in His presence during these trying times of the pandemic. We can always turn to Him and He will comfort us and fill us with His grace. He desires to speak with us daily through our prayer time especially through His Word.

How can we if we are too busy or willing to listen? If we refuse to take up our bibles or missals to dwell in His Word? To live it in our daily lives? How will His seed ever take root? What fruit can we bear for Him? To even have the opportunity to bear fruit, we must allow for a single seed to take root somewhere in our heart! Our merciful, gentle and patient Lord does not expect us to be successful, He simply wants us to be obedient and allow for Him to nurture the seed within us. It is through Him alone that we are fruitful.

Let us pray the words of the wonderful Gospel acclamation today….. The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;

whoever finds this seed will remain for ever. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Exodus 16:1-5,9-15 ·

The Lord sends quails and manna from heaven

From Elim they set out, and the whole community of the sons of Israel reached the wilderness of Sin – between Elim and Sinai – on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt. And the whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, ‘Why did we not die at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we were able to sit down to pans of meat and could eat bread to our heart’s content! As it is, you have brought us to this wilderness to starve this whole company to death!’

    Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now I will rain down bread for you from the heavens. Each day the people are to go out and gather the day’s portion; I propose to test them in this way to see whether they will follow my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, this will be twice as much as the daily gathering.’

    Moses said to Aaron, ‘To the whole community of the sons of Israel say this, “Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaints.”’ As Aaron was speaking to the whole community of the sons of Israel, they turned towards the wilderness, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the form of a cloud. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel. Say this to them, “Between the two evenings you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have bread to your heart’s content. Then you will learn that I, the Lord, am your God.”’ And so it came about: quails flew up in the evening, and they covered the camp; in the morning there was a coating of dew all round the camp. When the coating of dew lifted, there on the surface of the desert was a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When they saw this, the sons of Israel said to one another, ‘What is that?’ not knowing what it was. ‘That’ said Moses to them ‘is the bread the Lord gives you to eat.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:1-9

A sower went out to sow

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

    He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’


Just as the Lord our God liberated the Israelites from slavery and bondage; and stopped the pursuit of the Egyptian army eager to bring them back to their old way of life; so too does Jesus our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ free us from all sin and the evil that lurks to draw us back to a life of darkness!

We are free to do the Holy Will of God our Heavenly which leads us into greater sonship and daughterhood. Because we who seek first to do first His Will, are One with Him and live free in His Kingdom. We are free from empty pride, of wanting honour for ourselves, greed, and all that lead us astray and away from Him. We love because He loved us first and so we honour Him by loving freely and wholly all our brethren starting with the least. This is what it means to be a family in Christ Jesus, One with and in Him. Amen

First reading

Exodus 14:21-15:1 ·

The crossing of the Red Sea

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove back the sea with a strong easterly wind all night, and he made dry land of the sea. The waters parted and the sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea, walls of water to right and to left of them. The Egyptians gave chase: after them they went, right into the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

    In the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and of cloud, and threw the army into confusion. He so clogged their chariot wheels that they could scarcely make headway. ‘Let us flee from the Israelites,’ the Egyptians cried. ‘The Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians!’

    ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea,’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘that the waters may flow back on the Egyptians and their chariots and their horsemen.’

    Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and, as day broke, the sea returned to its bed. The fleeing Egyptians marched right into it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the very middle of the sea. The returning waters overwhelmed the chariots and the horsemen of Pharaoh’s whole army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea; not a single one of them was left. But the sons of Israel had marched through the sea on dry ground, walls of water to right and to left of them.

    That day, the Lord rescued Israel from the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. Israel witnessed the great act that the Lord had performed against the Egyptians, and the people venerated the Lord; they put their faith in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.

    It was then that Moses and the sons sang this song in honour of the Lord:

Gospel

Matthew 12:46-50

My mother and my brothers are anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven

Jesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers appeared; they were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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If I were a sheep of my Good Shepherd’s flock will I need anything other than His love and to be in His loving care? Will I not be able to recognise His gentle voice and follow Him? What other wonders and signs would I ever need other then that my Lord pure, spotless victim took on my sins and died on the cross for me so that I may live in the light of His resurrection!

I am a child of an ever loving and merciful Father in Heaven. I only need to be still in His presence and all trials and tribulations will wash over me. For I am cradled close to His bosom, no evil shall I fear.

Therefore while I may live in this world, I am not of it and shall return to my Father in Heaven who reigns with His Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 14:5-18

Pharaoh sets out in pursuit of the sons of Israel

When Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was told that the Israelites had made their escape, he and his courtiers changed their minds about the people. ‘What have we done,’ they said ‘allowing Israel to leave our service?’ So Pharaoh had his chariot harnessed and gathered his troops about him, taking six hundred of the best chariots and all the other chariots in Egypt, each manned by a picked team. The Lord made Pharaoh, king of Egypt, stubborn, and he gave chase to the sons of Israel as they made their triumphant escape. So the Egyptians gave chase and came up with them where they lay encamped beside the sea – all the horses, the chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, his army – near Pi-hahiroth, facing Baal-zephon. And as Pharaoh approached, the sons of Israel looked round – and there were the Egyptians in pursuit of them!

    The sons of Israel were terrified and cried out to the Lord. To Moses they said, ‘Were there no graves in Egypt that you must lead us out to die in the wilderness? What good have you done us, bringing us out of Egypt? We spoke of this in Egypt, did we not? Leave us alone, we said, we would rather work for the Egyptians! Better to work for the Egyptians than die in the wilderness!’

    Moses answered the people, ‘Have no fear! Stand firm, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today: the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will do the fighting for you: you have only to keep still.’

    The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground. I for my part will make the heart of the Egyptians so stubborn that they will follow them. So shall I win myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, of all his army, his chariots, his horsemen. And when I have won glory for myself, at the expense of Pharaoh and his chariots and his army, the Egyptians will learn that I am the Lord.’

 

Gospel

Matthew 12:38-42

There is something greater than Solomon here

Some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. ‘Master,’ they said ‘we should like to see a sign from you.’ He replied, ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.’

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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One Flock: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:


Jeremiah 23:1–16
Psalms 23:1–6
Ephesians 2:13–18
Mark 6:30–34


As the Twelve return from their first missionary journey in today’s Gospel, our readings continue to reflect on the authority and mission of the Church.


Jeremiah says in the First Reading that Israel’s leaders, through godlessness and fanciful teachings, had misled and scattered God’s people. He promises God will send a shepherd, a king and son of David, to gather the lost sheep and appoint for them new shepherds (see Ezekiel 34:23).


The crowd gathering on the green grass (see Mark 6:39) in today’s Gospel is the start of the remnant that Jeremiah promised would be brought back to the meadow of Israel. The people seem to sense that Jesus is the Lord, the good shepherd (see John 10:11), the king they’ve been waiting for (see Hosea 3:1–5).


Jesus is moved to pity, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd. This phrase was used by Moses to describe Israel’s need for a shepherd to succeed him (see Numbers 27:17). And as Moses appointed Joshua, Jesus appointed the Twelve to continue shepherding His people on earth.


Jesus had said there were other sheep who did not belong to Israel’s fold but would hear His voice and be joined to the one flock of the one shepherd (see John 10:16).


In God’s plan, the Church is to seek out first the lost sheep of the house of Israel and then to bring all nations into the fold (see Acts 13:36; Romans 1:16).


Paul, too, in today’s Epistle, sees the Church as a new creation, in which those nations who were once far off from God are joined as “one new person” with the children of Israel.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What struck me to the heart in today’s first reading was not how many people had to pack up their lives to flee from slavery or the little time they had for food preparation and so on. But that the Lord kept vigil to bring them out.  How many can relate keeping vigil for a beloved one who is very sick. Or perhaps keeping vigil through the night so that loved ones can rest peacefully in strange surroundings and perhaps extreme weather conditions. The time slowly passes by as we watch attentively in prayer and often in great anxiety. The love of the Lord our God for all of us is immeasurable! He is with us in and all through our darkest moments.

He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smouldering wick. His mercy and love for us endures forever. All nations can put their hope and trust in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for He is our Shepherd we shall not want! Amen

O Blessed Mother pray for us…..

 

First reading

Exodus 12:37-42 ·

The sons of Israel leave Egypt hurriedly by night

The sons of Israel left Rameses for Succoth, about six hundred thousand on the march – all men – not counting their families. People of various sorts joined them in great numbers; there were flocks, too, and herds in immense droves. They baked cakes with the dough which they had brought from Egypt, unleavened because the dough was not leavened; they had been driven out of Egypt, with no time for dallying, and had not provided themselves with food for the journey. The time that the sons of Israel had spent in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And on the very day the four hundred and thirty years ended, all the array of the Lord left the land of Egypt. The night, when the Lord kept vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt, must be kept as a vigil in honour of the Lord for all their generations.

Gospel

Matthew 12:14-21

He cured them all but warned them not to make him known

The Pharisees went out and began to plot against Jesus, discussing how to destroy him.

    Jesus knew this and withdrew from the district. Many followed him and he cured them all, but warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:

Here is my servant whom I have chosen,

my beloved, the favourite of my soul.

I will endow him with my spirit,

and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations.

He will not brawl or shout,

nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.

He will not break the crushed reed,

nor put out the smouldering wick

till he has led the truth to victory:

in his name the nations will put their hope.


Never shall I take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist for granted especially on the Lord’s day. For it is on this day I remember just how much He loved me, that He would lay down His life for me; and by His resurrection I have hope of eternal life with Him. He feeds me of Himself in bread and wine that I may partake in His divinity and have life to the full! Spiritual communion is but a foretaste of receiving His divine presence fully and substantially!

So I make myself present to Him, body, mind and spirit. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of my bridegroom to receive Him wholly in nuptial embrace. He alone gives me life! No evil shall I fear for He is with me always.

Glory and praise to my Eucharistic Lord Jesus Christ now and forever! Amen

First reading

Exodus 11:10-12:14

The institution of the Passover

Moses and Aaron worked many wonders in the presence of Pharaoh. But the Lord made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn, and he did not let the sons of Israel leave his country.

    The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

    ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled, but roasted over the fire, head, feet and entrails. You must not leave any over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you are to burn. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Gospel

Matthew 12:1-8

The Son of Man is master of the sabbath

Jesus took a walk one sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath.’ But he said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath day the Temple priests break the sabbath without being blamed for it? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’


“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Our names are written on palms of God our Father’s hands and He loves us all most tenderly, individually and collectively as One Body in Him.  Through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father shares an intimate relationship with us His children. Our names are uniquely special yet do we live up to our identity as His children?

Have we taken our names for granted like an email address simply identifiable and used to communicate with others.  Do others hear our name and say, hey that is a man after God’s heart? Or I  see Christ in her! Or has the world overwhelmed us and have we allowed it to turn us into something or someone we are NOT!

Let us hear the call of our Lord each and everyday to enter into His presence. He has promised that He will give us comfort and we can rest in His peace. He will free us from all sin so that we can live our lives to the full in His love.

Jesus I submit myself fully to Your Holy embrace. Amen

St Bonaventure pray for us…..

First reading

Exodus 3:13-20 ·

God reveals his name to Moses

Moses, hearing the voice of God coming from the middle of the bush, said to him, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.

    ‘Go and gather the elders of Israel together and tell them, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and he has said to me: I have visited you and seen all that the Egyptians are doing to you. And so I have resolved to bring you up out of Egypt where you are oppressed, into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land where milk and honey flow.” They will listen to your words, and with the elders of Israel you are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. Give us leave, then, to make a three days’ journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord our God.” For myself, knowing that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced by a mighty hand, I shall show my power and strike Egypt with all the wonders I am going to work there. After this he will let you go.’

Gospel

Matthew 11:28-30

My yoke is easy and my burden light

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


The only way to hear God’s Will for us is to enter into His presence. Through His Word for us and prayer we enter can enter into a deep personal relationship with Him. For God our Heavenly Father desires an intimate relationship with all His Children. And all paths that lead to Him converge through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Formation is only useful information lest it is put into action. What good is it to know about Jesus if there is a disconnect between heart, mind and will? Only through an intimate relationship with Him can we say that we not only know about Him, but we are One with and in Him. And this is clearly seen in our love put into action for others.

Bless me Father with the wonders of Your love through Your Son Jesus who reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 3:1-6,9-12 ·

The burning bush

Moses was looking after the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, priest of Midian. He led his flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing but it was not being burnt up. ‘I must go and look at this strange sight,’ Moses said, ‘and see why the bush is not burnt.’

    Now the Lord saw him go forward to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush. ‘Moses, Moses!’ he said. ‘Here I am,’ Moses answered. ‘Come no nearer,’ he said. ‘Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers,’ he said, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this Moses covered his face, afraid to look at God.

    And the Lord said, ‘The cry of the sons of Israel has come to me, and I have witnessed the way in which the Egyptians oppress them, so come, I send you to Pharaoh to bring the sons of Israel, my people, out of Egypt.’

    Moses said to God, ‘Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?’ ‘I shall be with you,’ was the answer ‘and this is the sign by which you shall know that it is I who have sent you… After you have led the people out of Egypt, you are to offer worship to God on this mountain.’

Gospel

Matthew 11:25-27

You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little children

Jesus exclaimed, ‘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 the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 13, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must never take the law or our sense of justice into our own hands and remain faithful to God our Father’s commands and statutes. Avoid any and all forms of sins, otherwise we find ourselves in exile searching for the peace, love and joy we had lost having entered into sin. If we place our faith and trust in the Lord our God He make a way for us. He will turn our curses into blessings. Look how having placed her faith and trust in God by surrendering her son into His hands Moses’s mother was reunited with her son and was able to suckle him!

O my Jesus my Lord, forgive my many sins against You and my brethren. Take away from me all that is not of You Lord. My sinful pride, any unforgiveness in my heart, and all that keeps me in exile from You. I repent of all my sins and offer up my contrite heart. Bless me and make me whole so that I may glorify You by my life. Amen

 

First reading

Exodus 2:1-15 ·

Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses among the bulrushes

There was a man of the tribe of Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the river’s edge. His sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

    Now Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe in the river, and the girls attending her were walking along by the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and looked, and saw a baby boy, crying; and she was sorry for him. ‘This is a child of one of the Hebrews’ she said. Then the child’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to suckle the child for you?’ ‘Yes, go,’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her; and the girl went off to find the baby’s own mother. To her the daughter of Pharaoh said, ‘Take this child away and suckle it for me. I will see you are paid.’ So the woman took the child and suckled it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter who treated him like a son; she named him Moses because, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

    Moses, a man by now, set out at this time to visit his countrymen, and he saw what a hard life they were having; and he saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his countrymen. Looking round he could see no one in sight, so he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. On the following day he came back, and there were two Hebrews, fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, ‘What do you mean by hitting your fellow countryman?’ ‘And who appointed you’ the man retorted, ‘to be prince over us, and judge? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Moses was frightened. ‘Clearly that business has come to light’ he thought. When Pharaoh heard of the matter he would have killed Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and made for the land of Midian.

Gospel

Matthew 11:20-24

It will not go as hard with Sodom on Judgement Day as with you

Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.

    ‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’


We often think that the atrocities of genocide, gender selection and other such terrors against humanity occurred only in recent centuries. But we can clearly see the very same things happening in today’s first reading of the Book of Exodus. What about in the very country that we live in today? Perhaps not in explicit forms but in some adulterated versions beginning with race, language and religious discrimination. What then about abortions and euthanasia!? What happened to the sanctity of life? Where is the Lord our God? Has He abandoned His people to their sins? 

Perhaps the mess, divisions, quarrels and unrest we face in our very own homes is the very result of an absence of our Lord? We had stubbornly refused to acknowledge our loving Lord Jesus as the Lord of our lives. And by refusing the deep personal relationship He wants us to have with Him, we have ultimately rejected the Prince of Peace! How then do we expect to have peace in our homes let alone peace of mind?

If God is with us and for us, who then can stand against us? So let us order our lives and place Him first above all! Let us turn back to Him with contrite hearts, so that we can once again dwell in Him as He will dwell in us and surely; His peace, love and joy will reign in our hearts, in our loved ones and in our brethren forevermore. Amen

First reading

Exodus 1:8-14,22 ·

The Egyptians force the sons of Israel into slavery

There came to power in Egypt a new king who knew nothing of Joseph. ‘Look,’ he said to his subjects ‘these people, the sons of Israel, have become so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. We must be prudent and take steps against their increasing any further, or if war should break out, they might add to the number of our enemies. They might take arms against us and so escape out of the country.’ Accordingly they put slave-drivers over the Israelites to wear them down under heavy loads. In this way they built the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the more they were crushed, the more they increased and spread, and men came to dread the sons of Israel. The Egyptians forced the sons of Israel into slavery, and made their lives unbearable with hard labour, work with clay and with brick, all kinds of work in the fields; they forced on them every kind of labour.

    Pharaoh then gave his subjects this command: ‘Throw all the boys born to the Hebrews into the river, but let all the girls live.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:34-11:1

It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

    ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

    ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

    ‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.

    ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’

    When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.

15th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: July 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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The Church’s Mission: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Amos 7:12–15

Psalms 85:9–14

Ephesians 1:3–14

Mark 6:7–13

In commissioning the Apostles in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church’s mission after the Resurrection.

His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (see Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2–4). Like the Israelites, the Apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the Apostles’ mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus—delivering people from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.

Like Amos in today’s First Reading, the Apostles are not “professionals” who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (see Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.

Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the Apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called not necessarily to be successful but only to be faithful to God’s command.

With authority and power given to her by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

This word of truth, this Gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world—to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church’s mission—to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Just two days ago I was inspired to share that God our loving Father can turn all curses into Blessings all we need is to remain faithful. And once again today we are reminded of this in today’s first reading. Why? perhaps the world in which we live in today with all its trials and challenges of the pandemic needs to be reassured that God our Heavenly Father is watching over all of us and is continuing to pour His many Blessings upon us in so many varied ways. Through faithfulness in Him many of us Christians are standing together, fighting this pandemic and its fallout in solidarity with the rest of our sisters brothers in the world.

As children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him, it is our duty as faithful children to share His love with one and all. Too many are distressed and are feeling very alone in this struggle to survive in this ever changing world. Why are we still so afraid to reach out them? Is fear of rejection or failure our excuse? Jesus was rejected and abused and still He continued to reach out to us in love, can we do any less for our brethren?

Jesus You are my Lord and my God! Let me declare this to the world by my love put into action for You and for my brethren. Amen

First reading
Genesis 49:29-33,50:15-26
‘God has turned the evil you planned into good’

Jacob gave his sons these instructions, ‘I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me near my fathers, in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, opposite Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial-plot. There Abraham was buried and his wife Sarah. There Isaac was buried and his wife Rebekah. There I buried Leah. I mean the field and the cave in it that were bought from the sons of Heth.’
When Jacob had finished giving his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, and breathing his last was gathered to his people.
Seeing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph intends to treat us as enemies and repay us in full for all the wrong we did him?’ So they sent this message to Joseph: ‘Before your father died he gave us this order: “You must say to Joseph: Oh forgive your brothers their crime and their sin and all the wrong they did you.” Now therefore, we beg you, forgive the crime of the servants of your father’s God.’ Joseph wept at the message they sent to him.
His brothers came themselves and fell down before him. ‘We present ourselves before you’ they said ‘as your slaves.’ But Joseph answered them, ‘Do not be afraid; is it for me to put myself in God’s place? The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good, that he might bring about, as indeed he has, the deliverance of a numerous people. So you need not be afraid; I myself will provide for you and your dependants.’ In this way he reassured them with words that touched their hearts.
So Joseph stayed in Egypt with his father’s family; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children, as also the children of Machir, Manasseh’s son, who were born on Joseph’s lap. At length Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die; but God will be sure to remember you kindly and take you back from this country to the land that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ And Joseph made Israel’s sons swear an oath, ‘When God remembers you with kindness be sure to take my bones from here.’
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten; they embalmed him and laid him in his coffin in Egypt.

Gospel
Matthew 10:24-33
Everything now hidden will be made clear

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘The disciple is not superior to his teacher, nor the slave to his master. It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household?
‘Do not be afraid of them therefore. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’


Many have chosen to migrate for a better life and opportunities. And many hold dear to and freely encourage others with Matthew 10:19 on how we should not worry about how or what to say and that the Holy Spirit will guide us by speaking in us.  Both ring true only if we have a deep personal relationship the Lord our God and  if we discern, hear and follow His Will for us.

Not a two minute prayer telling Him what we want to do and ending with a thy will be done! Then going ahead with our own plans. But truly spending time seeking His Will for us. For He only wants what is best for us and for our family. And some times what is best for us is not going where we want to or some times not saying anything at that time.

However most of us do not include our Lord in our Holiday or vacation planning. Why? Perhaps it is not in our habit to do so or simply we think it is not a big enough deal? We might only include Him for live changing things such as job opportunities and such! What then is the extend of our relationship with Him?

Lord Jesus You are my all in all, let me dwell with and in You; as I seek to do Your Holy Will for me and my family always. Amen 

First reading

Genesis 46:1-7,28-30

‘I can die, now that I have seen you alive’

Israel left Canaan with his possessions, and reached Beersheba. There he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in a vision at night, ‘Jacob, Jacob’, he said. ‘I am here’, he replied. ‘I am God, the God of your father’, he continued. ‘Do not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I myself will go down to Egypt with you. I myself will bring you back again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.’ Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons conveyed their father Jacob, their little children and their wives in the waggons Pharaoh had sent to fetch him.

    Taking their livestock and all that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, they went to Egypt, Jacob and all his family with him: his sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his grand-daughters, in a word, all his children he took with him to Egypt.

    Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that the latter might present himself to him in Goshen. When they arrived in the land of Goshen, Joseph had his chariot made ready and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as he appeared he threw his arms round his neck and for a long time wept on his shoulder. Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now I can die, now that I have seen you again, and seen you still alive.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:16-23

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.

    ‘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. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’


What struck me in today’s readings which serves as great reminders, are that the Lord our God can turn any curse into a Blessing for His faithful and that we should depend solely on our ever generous and loving Father in Heaven.

Through his trials and challenges Joseph became some such a magnanimous leader after the heart of God that he was able to feed his family and his people in the terrible famine. Through our own trials and challenges the Lord our God will turn all curses into Blessings for us and perhaps we ourselves like Joseph will become Blessings for others through Him whom we love and serve.

We should resist with all our might the corrupting influence of fame, wealth and fortune in our service of others in His Holy name. For there are indeed many folks out there who touched by His word or His grace will offer generous love offerings to us. Many priests and pastors are loved and taken care of and for those who do not offer any resistance oftentimes fall into sin. We too are no exception and therefore should always look to God our Heavenly Father to provide what we need. And if He deems to provide through the generosity of others then we should only take what we need for our pilgrim journey to Glorify Him by our deeds in the service of others. Amen

First reading

Genesis 44:18-21,23-29,45:1-5

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers

Judah went up to Joseph and said, ‘May it please my lord, let your servant have a word privately with my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord questioned his servants, “Have you father or brother?” And we said to my lord, “We have an old father, and a younger brother born of his old age. His brother is dead, so he is the only one left of his mother, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me that my eyes may look on him.” But you said to your servants, “If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not be admitted to my presence again.” When we went back to your servant my father, we repeated to him what my lord had said. So when our father said, “Go back and buy us a little food,” we said, “We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, we will go down, for we cannot be admitted to the man’s presence unless our youngest brother is with us.” So your servant our father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two children. When one left me, I said that he must have been torn to pieces. And I have not seen him to this day. If you take this one from me too and any harm comes to him, you will send me down to Sheol with my white head bowed in misery.” If I go to your servant my father now, and we have not the boy with us, he will die as soon as he sees the boy is not with us, for his heart is bound up with him. Then your servants will have sent your servant our father down to Sheol with his white head bowed in grief.’

    Then Joseph could not control his feelings in front of all his retainers, and he exclaimed, ‘Let everyone leave me.’ No one therefore was present with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers, but he wept so loudly that all the Egyptians heard, and the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.

    Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?’ His brothers could not answer him, they were so dismayed at the sight of him. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ When they had come closer to him he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not grieve, do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here, since God sent me before you to preserve your lives.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:7-15

You received without charge: give without charge

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘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. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.

    ‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’


What power do you think you have or possess? If not given You by our Lord to be a steward of His Kingdom and to look after His flock?

So you who are an Executive member of the Committee helping to run your parish or a member of the Parish Council, how are you caring for your parishioners? Ensuring that everything administrative is running smoothly like a tight sanitised and impeccable ship without addressing their pastoral needs? Are you even one with the flock under your care? Do you pray with them or have you isolated yourself?

What about you? Who are not part of the leadership in your parish? Are you reaching out to share the good news of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ with others? To remind them that the Kingdom is at hand? Are you constantly seeking formation to better equip yourself? Are you dwelling on His word and Will for You daily?

We are All sent to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that the Lord has commanded us.  How do we even begin if our very own house is not in order?

Lord Jesus make me a disciple after Your own heart. Amen

First reading

Genesis 41:55-57,42:5-7,17-24

Joseph’s brothers in his power

When the whole country of Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread. But Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.’ There was famine all over the world. Then Joseph opened all the granaries and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine grew worse in the land of Egypt. People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, for the famine had grown severe throughout the world.

    Israel’s sons with others making the same journey went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan. It was Joseph, as the man in authority over the country, who sold the grain to all comers. So Joseph’s brothers went and bowed down before him, their faces touching the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers he recognised them. But he did not make himself known to them, and he spoke harshly to them. Then he kept them all in custody for three days.

    On the third day Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you shall keep your lives, for I am a man who fears God. If you are honest men let one of your brothers be kept in the place of your detention; as for you, go and take grain to relieve the famine of your families. You shall bring me your youngest brother; this way your words will be proved true, and you will not have to die!’ This they did. They said to one another, ‘Truly we are being called to account for our brother. We saw his misery of soul when he begged our mercy, but we did not listen to him and now this misery has come home to us.’ Reuben answered them, ‘Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you did not listen, and now we are brought to account for his blood.’ They did not know that Joseph understood, because there was an interpreter between them. He left them and wept.

Gospel

Matthew 10:1-7

‘Go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’

Jesus 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 are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:

    ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; 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.’


Have you ever playfully wrestled a loved one? Not wanting to let go but simply to prolong the loving embrace? This is what I envision when I choose to wrestle the Lord my God not wanting to let go of Him even if I barely cling on to the fringe of His cloak. I will not allow my sins and sinfulness to overcome me and take me away from Him. I will not allow the challenge of doing His Will overwhelm me for I know He will bless me and give me what I need. He will transform and make me new, to be His light in the world. 

Let us pray…..Lord let us be Your labourers of love, send us to Your harvest. Amen

Saint Maria Goretti pray for us….. 

First reading

Genesis 32:23-33

Jacob wrestles with God

Jacob rose, and taking his two wives and his two slave-girls and his eleven children he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream and sent all his possessions over too. And Jacob was left alone.

    And there was one that wrestled with him until daybreak who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him in the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him. He said, ‘Let me go, for day is breaking.’ But Jacob answered, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ He then asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob’, he replied. He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.’ Jacob then made this request, ‘I beg you, tell me your name’, but he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.

    Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said ‘and I have survived.’ The sun rose as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. That is the reason why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the socket of the hip; because he had struck Jacob in the socket of the hip on the sciatic nerve.

Gospel

Matthew 9:32-37

The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’

    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.’


The gates of Heaven are opened to those whose hearts stand ready to receive the Lord their God. His Saints intercede for them and He sends His Angels as needed to minister to them. This promise has been fulfilled by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Salvation of the world!

Let our hearts, body, mind and soul ascend to His perfect will for us. For it is only then our Lord Jesus can and will work miracles in our lives. It is our trust and faith in Him that restores us and gives us life. For we were reminded in yesterday’s Gospel that He could not work miracles in those lacked faith in Him, those who used their free will to reject Him.

Jesus I place all my faith and trust in You. Amen

First reading

Genesis 28:10-22 ·

Jacob’s dream of the ladder at Bethel

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he had reached a certain place he passed the night there, since the sun had set. Taking one of the stones to be found at that place, he made it his pillow and lay down where he was. He had a dream: a ladder was there, standing on the ground with its top reaching to heaven; and there were angels of God going up it and coming down. And the Lord was there, standing over him, saying, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants shall be like the specks of dust on the ground; you shall spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south, and all the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.

    ‘Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you.’

    Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Truly, the Lord is in this place and I never knew it!’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than a house of God; this is the gate of heaven!’ Rising early in the morning, Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a monument, pouring oil over the top of it. He named the place Bethel, but before that the town was called Luz.

    Jacob made this vow, ‘If God goes with me and keeps me safe on this journey I am making, if he gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and if I return home safely to my father, then the Lord shall be my God. This stone I have set up as a monument shall be a house of God.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:18-26

‘Your faith has restored you to health’

While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.

    When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.

14Th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: July 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Son of Mary: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Ezekiel 2:2–5

Psalm 123:1–4

2 Corinthians 12:7–10

Mark 6:1-6

As we’ve walked with the Apostles in the Gospels in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed Jesus command the wind and sea, and order a little girl to arise from the dead.

But He seems to meet His match in His hometown of Nazareth. Today’s Gospel is blunt: “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there.”

Why not? Because of the people’s lack of faith. They acknowledged the wisdom of His words, the power of His works. But they refused to recognize Him as a prophet come among them, a messenger sent by God.

All they could see was how much “this man” was like them—a carpenter, the son of their neighbor, Mary, with brothers and sisters.

Of course, Mary was ever-virgin and had no other children. The Gospel refers to Jesus’ brothers as Paul refers to all Israelites as his brothers, the children of Abraham (see Romans 9:3, 7).

That’s the point in today’s Gospel, too. Like the prophet Ezekiel in today’s First Reading, Jesus was sent by God to the rebellious house of Israel, where He found His own brothers and sisters obstinate of heart and in revolt against God.

The servant is not above the Master (see Matthew 10:24). As His disciples, we too face the mockery and contempt we hear of in today’s Psalm. And isn’t it often hardest to live our faith among those in our own families, those who think they really know us, who define us by the people we used to be—before we chose to walk with Jesus?

As Paul confides in today’s Epistle, insults and hardships are God’s way of teaching us to rely solely on His grace.

Jesus will work no mighty deeds in our lives unless we abandon ourselves to Him in faith. Blessed then are those who take no offense in Him (see Luke 7:23). Instead, we must look upon Him with the eyes of servants—knowing that the son of Mary is also the Lord enthroned in the heavens.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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On this feast day of St Thomas we are reminded of not one but two great quotes from today’s Gospel in which we are given, to dwell upon and lead us to a greater faith and relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

First “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

For those who see with the eyes of faith have seen the Lord. They have Him in their presence. We have also been given a great gift of being able to gaze upon Him in the Blessed Sacrament and for those who have led others who had not yet known Him can attest by their testimony they too had experienced His peace, love and joy while seated in His presence.

Second “My Lord and my God!”

We who have experienced His profound love and mercy have exclaimed with overwhelming joy in our hearts this very words, My Lord and my God! We feel the same way whenever we see the Eucharistic Host lifted over the Eucharistic wine at Mass. Again in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. With hope in our hearts we will exclaim it again when we return into His loving embrace at the end of our time here on earth.

My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here; that you see me, that your hear me. I adore you with profound reverence; I beg your pardon for my sins, and the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My Immaculate Mother, Saint Joseph my father and lord, my guardian angel, intercede for me. Amen

St Thomas pray for us…

First reading

Ephesians 2:19-22 ·

In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like us

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

Gospel

John 20:24-29

‘My Lord and my God!’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’


“Oh please don’t let her sit with us! She will ruin my day.” “Here comes Mr. ‘Know it all’ quick lets go to the other end of the diner hopefully he did not see us.” “Nope I am not going to sit at their table, all they do is drink and make merry.” “He’s a divorcee how can he be an Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion?”

We see clearly the faults in others yet are we without any sin whatsoever? Do we think our sins smaller than others? Or problems and challenges larger? What if Jesus refused to sit with us even though our sins are tiny? After all our Lord is perfect without sin, so even a tiny speck is detestable to Him.  Yet we know and proclaim that He is all loving and merciful; for He laid down His life for us. How can we continue to proclaim Him as such when our behaviour as His disciples runs contrary to the fact? In other words, how are we being Jesus for others?

Our Lord wants us to live life to the full. He is there to comfort us in our sorrows and rejoices with us in our joys. And for those who have fallen short, He is there to grant beginnings of new life in Him.

Glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen

First reading

Genesis 23:1-4,19,24:1-8,62-67

‘Choose a wife for my son Isaac’

The length of Sarah’s life was a hundred and twenty-seven years. She died at Kiriath-arba, or Hebron, in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn and grieve for her.

    Then leaving his dead, Abraham spoke to the sons of Heth: ‘I am a stranger and a settler among you,’ he said. ‘Let me own a burial-plot among you, so that I may take my dead wife and bury her.’

    After this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah opposite Mamre, in the country of Canaan.

    By now Abraham was an old man well on in years, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. Abraham said to the eldest servant of his household, the steward of all his property, ‘Place your hand under my thigh, I would have you swear by the Lord, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live. Instead, go to my own land and my own kinsfolk to choose a wife for my son Isaac.’ The servant asked him, ‘What if the woman does not want to come with me to this country? Must I take your son back to the country from which you came?’ Abraham answered, ‘On no account take my son back there. The Lord, God of heaven and God of earth, took me from my father’s home, and from the land of my kinsfolk, and he swore to me that he would give this country to my descendants. He will now send his angel ahead of you, so that you may choose a wife for my son there. And if the woman does not want to come with you, you will be free from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.’

    Isaac, who lived in the Negeb, had meanwhile come into the wilderness of the well of Lahai Roi. Now Isaac went walking in the fields as evening fell, and looking up saw camels approaching. And Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She jumped down from her camel, and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?’ The servant replied, ‘That is my master’; then she took her veil and hid her face. The servant told Isaac the whole story, and Isaac led Rebekah into his tent and made her his wife; and he loved her. And so Isaac was consoled for the loss of his mother.

Gospel

Matthew 9:9-13

It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick

As Jesus was walking on, he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

    While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 1, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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“You have an important paper on Monday, so stay home and prepare for it. You can always go for confession next Sunday, God will understand.” “During the examination period you can skip Cathechism classes, what were they thinking continuing with such classes during this time!” “As long as the pandemic is on-going why risk attending Mass in Church? If the Lord wanted us back in Church He would put an end to this pandemic and keep our children safe” Is this the faith, trust and relationship we have in the Lord our God.

We must have no doubt that the Lord our God is an ever loving and merciful Father to us all.  He will never put us in harm’s way nor does He ever wish for His children to perish. Yes in the first reading we hear how Abraham had his faith in the Lord put to the test but we also know that the Lord prevented him from harming his son. God Himself would lay His life down for us in the end! Through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we were redeemed! Our sins are forgiven!

With courage let us always turn back to our Lord with contrite hearts, so that we may be forgiven; and by His grace we shall likewise forgive everyone who have sinned against us. Amen

First reading

Genesis 22:1-19

The sacrifice of Isaac

God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’

    Rising early next morning Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place God had pointed out to him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there; we will worship and come back to you.’

    Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together. Isaac spoke to his father Abraham, ‘Father’ he said. ‘Yes, my son’ he replied. ‘Look,’ he said ‘here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.’ Then the two of them went on together.

    When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.

    But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ he replied. ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.’ Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son. Abraham called this place ‘The Lord Provides’, and hence the saying today: On the mountain the Lord provides.

    The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. ‘I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.’

    Abraham went back to his servants, and together they set out for Beersheba, and he settled in Beersheba.

Gospel

Matthew 9:1-8

‘Your sins are forgiven; get up and walk’

Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” 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 paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.