Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts & Reflections’ Category


For those who believe no proof is necessary, for those who disbelieve no proof is sufficient.

And yet everything changes with a personal encounter with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! For no amount of unbelieve will change the reality that He is Lord of lords, King of kings! God from God, light from light, true God from true God. Our Risen Lord who saved us from death and through Him we have eternal life!

When we meet with like minded souls who have encountered the Lord, we never exchange testimonies with incredulity or sheer skepticism but the warm embrace of His truth. For we hear His voice, we know Him and we follow Him. It is of great importance  therefore that we should belong to a community of believers, so that we can affirm and encourage one another as we journey on as one Body in Him. With the fire of Lord burning deep within us we shall go forth to share the joy of the Gospel to all creation. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:13-21 ·

We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard

The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’

    So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel

Mark 16:9-15

Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.

    After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.

    Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 9, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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From Good Friday to Easter Friday in the Octave how much more alive are we? In our faith and in our life in the resurrected Lord?

Jesus saved us from Sin and eternal death when He laid down His life for us on ‘Good Friday’ and on ‘Easter Sunday’ He rose from the dead, conquering death for us so that we have hope of new life in Him now and forever! His very name in Hebrew means Salvation and that is why St Peter boldly declares ‘For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’ How are we then as disciples of our Lord, bringing new life to others? How are we ministering to others in His precious name? How many lives have we touched, healed and restored in Jesus’s name? How many souls are we reaching out to today to lead them home to Him?

In today’s Gospel we see the endearing love He has for His disciples. He feeds and nourishes them just as He does today for us His Church, His One Body through the Holy Eucharist. Glory and Praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Lord I pray for each and every one of my brethren today, that You grant them a fresh anointing, a healing of body, mind and spirit. That renewed in the light of Your resurrection we shall go forth to lead a great haul of souls into Your Kingdom. In Your most precious name….Jesus! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:1-12

The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be saved

While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.

    The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel

John 21:1-14

Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

    It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

    As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.


Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Rev 3:20

Lord Jesus this promise was fulfilled in today’s Gospel and this promise is now offered to me and my brethren. For You are my loving saviour who loves me dearly and wants to have fellowship with me. I open the door of my heart to You and renounce all my sins Lord; bless me and keep my heart pure. Let me be a powerful instrument of Your grace for my brethren. Just like St Peter and all the saints, grant me the gifts to bring about healing and restoration in the lives of God our Father’s children. So that together we can glorify You and share in the glory of Your resurrection. Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 3:11-26 ·

You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the dead

Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.

    ‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.

    ‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Gospel

Luke 24:35-48

It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.

    They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

    Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’


Many will not turn a blind eye to someone crying out their way for help. They are quick to whip out $10 even $50 dollars to give to the one in need. (some may offer less whilst others may even offer more) Others may take a while to review, ask qualifying questions before doing likewise. Very few would spend their precious time with the one in need, to minister to them. What if the one crying out to you was Jesus? How much more will you give? How much more will you do for Him?

If we do not spend time daily in His precious presence how then are we to recognise our Lord Jesus when He stands before us? How are we to see His face in our brethren? Fortunately we have saints that have gone before us, who have seen His face in others and have shown us how to by their very own lives. Two fine examples would be St John Paul II and St Teresa of Calcutta affectionately know as Mother Teresa! Can we not do the same?

We cannot say we are not equipped or lack anything the saints had. We have the living Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the most precious gift of the Holy Eucharist; the Body, Blood, Soul and divinity of Christ Jesus Himself! There is nothing else we need!

Lord You are my Shepherd, I shall not want. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:1-10 ·

I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus, walk!

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

Gospel

Luke 24:13-35

They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

    Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

    Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

    When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

    They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Look forward and do not the turn back for we must live anew in the light of the Resurrection of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Now more than ever the evil one seeks to rob us of our joy and peace. And so let us not listen to his promptings nor desire the wiles of the world which seeks to lure us back to the darkness of sin.

We must hold fast to our baptismal promise to walk, grow in holiness and to reject all sin. Let us pray and praise Him constantly as we seek to walk in His presence each and every day. Then the world will know that we not a mournful bunch but truly an alleluia people!

Glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 2:36-41 ·

You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus

On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’

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

Gospel

John 20:11-18

‘I have seen the Lord and he has spoken to me’

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


After forty days in the wilderness of our hearts and the desert of our minds in which we hungered and thirst after the Lord our God; by and through our Lenten Observances we have arrived at the land when milk and honey flows! All has been brought to fruition by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the light of His Resurrection!

Let us not deny our Lord’s resurrection by returning to our old way of life.  For we are not of this World but children of the light! We have come out of our tombs and entered into new life with Him. Renewed, transfigured and led by the Holy Spirit let us go forth as witnesses to the Risen Lord sharing His joy, peace and love with all we meet this Monday morning and every day thereafter. Amen

Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

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

I saw the Lord before me always,

for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.

So my heart was glad

and my tongue cried out with joy;

my body, too, will rest in the hope

that you will not abandon my soul to Hades

nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.

You have made known the way of life to me,

you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

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

Gospel

Matthew 28:8-15

Tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee: they will see me there

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

    And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

    While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Happy Easter

Posted: April 4, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

A blessed and joyous Easter to you and your family

Love from all of us at home

Easter Vigil Readings

Posted: April 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Meditations

First reading

Genesis 1:1-2:2 ·

God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water.

    God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light ‘day’, and darkness he called ‘night.’ Evening came and morning came: the first day.

    God said, ‘Let there be a vault in the waters to divide the waters in two.’ And so it was. God made the vault, and it divided the waters above the vault from the waters under the vault. God called the vault ‘heaven.’ Evening came and morning came: the second day.

    God said, ‘Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear.’ And so it was. God called the dry land ‘earth’ and the mass of waters ‘seas’, and God saw that it was good.

    God said, ‘Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees bearing fruit with their seed inside, on the earth.’ And so it was. The earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seed in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the third day.

    God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of heaven to divide day from night, and let them indicate festivals, days and years. Let them be lights in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth.’ And so it was. God made the two great lights: the greater light to govern the day, the smaller light to govern the night, and the stars. God set them in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth, to govern the day and the night and to divide light from darkness. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the fourth day.

    God said, ‘Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth within the vault of heaven.’ And so it was. God created great sea-serpents and every kind of living creature with which the waters teem, and every kind of winged creature. God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas; and let the birds multiply upon the earth.’ Evening came and morning came: the fifth day.

    God said, ‘Let the earth produce every kind of living creature: cattle, reptiles, and every kind of wild beast.’ And so it was. God made every kind of wild beast, every kind of cattle, and every kind of land reptile. God saw that it was good.

    God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.’

God created man in the image of himself,

in the image of God he created him,

male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food. To all wild beasts, all birds of heaven and all living reptiles on the earth I give all the foliage of plants for food.’ And so it was. God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning came: the sixth day.

    Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array. On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing.

Psalm

Psalm 103(104):1-2,5-6,10,12-14,24,35

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

    Lord God, how great you are,

clothed in majesty and glory,

    wrapped in light as in a robe!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

You founded the earth on its base,

    to stand firm from age to age.

You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:

    the waters stood higher than the mountains.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;

    they flow in between the hills.

On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;

    from the branches they sing their song.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

From your dwelling you water the hills;

    earth drinks its fill of your gift.

You make the grass grow for the cattle

    and the plants to serve man’s needs.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

How many are your works, O Lord!

    In wisdom you have made them all.

    The earth is full of your riches.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Second reading

Genesis 22:1-18 ·

The sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith

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.’

Psalm

Psalm 15(16):5,8-11

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;

    it is you yourself who are my prize.

I keep the Lord ever in my sight:

    since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;

    even my body shall rest in safety.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead,

    nor let your beloved know decay.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

You will show me the path of life,

    the fullness of joy in your presence,

    at your right hand happiness for ever.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

 

Third reading

Exodus 14:15-15:1

The sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea

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.’

    Then the angel of God, who marched at the front of the army of Israel, changed station and moved to their rear. The pillar of cloud changed station from the front to the rear of them, and remained there. It came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. The cloud was dark, and the night passed without the armies drawing any closer the whole night long.

    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 of Israel sang this song in honour of the Lord:

Canticle

Exodus 15

Hymn of victory after crossing the Red Sea

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

    Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!

The Lord is my strength, my song, my salvation.

    This is my God and I extol him,

    my father’s God and I give him praise.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

The Lord is a warrior! ‘The Lord’ is his name.

    The chariots of Pharaoh he hurled into the sea,

the flower of his army is drowned in the sea.

    The deeps hide them; they sank like a stone.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

Your right hand, Lord, glorious in its power,

    your right hand, Lord, has shattered the enemy.

    In the greatness of your glory you crushed the foe.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

You will lead your people and plant them on your mountain,

    the place, O Lord, where you have made your home,

the sanctuary, Lord, which your hands have made.

    The Lord will reign for ever and ever.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

Fourth reading

Isaiah 54:5-14 ·

With everlasting love the Lord your redeemer has taken pity on you

Thus says the Lord:

Now your creator will be your husband,

his name, the Lord of Hosts;

your redeemer will be the Holy One of Israel,

he is called the God of the whole earth.

Yes, like a forsaken wife, distressed in spirit,

the Lord calls you back.

Does a man cast off the wife of his youth?

says your God.

I did forsake you for a brief moment,

but with great love will I take you back.

In excess of anger, for a moment

I hid my face from you.

But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you,

says the Lord, your redeemer.

I am now as I was in the days of Noah

when I swore that Noah’s waters

should never flood the world again.

So now I swear concerning my anger with you

and the threats I made against you;

for the mountains may depart,

the hills be shaken,

but my love for you will never leave you

and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken,

says the Lord who takes pity on you.

Unhappy creature, storm-tossed, disconsolate,

see, I will set your stones on carbuncles

and your foundations on sapphires.

I will make rubies your battlements,

your gates crystal,

and your entire wall precious stones.

Your sons will all be taught by the Lord.

The prosperity of your sons will be great.

You will be founded on integrity;

remote from oppression, you will have nothing to fear;

remote from terror, it will not approach you.

Psalm

Psalm 29(30):2,4-6,11-13

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me

    and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,

    restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,

    give thanks to his holy name.

His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.

    At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

The Lord listened and had pity.

    The Lord came to my help.

For me you have changed my mourning into dancing:

    O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

Fifth reading

Isaiah 55:1-11 ·

Come to me and your soul will live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you

Thus says the Lord:

Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;

though you have no money, come!

Buy corn without money, and eat,

and, at no cost, wine and milk.

Why spend money on what is not bread,

your wages on what fails to satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat

and rich food to enjoy.

Pay attention, come to me;

listen, and your soul will live.

With you I will make an everlasting covenant

out of the favours promised to David.

See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples,

a leader and a master of the nations.

See, you will summon a nation you never knew,

those unknown will come hurrying to you,

for the sake of the Lord your God,

of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you.

Seek the Lord while he is still to be found,

call to him while he is still near.

Let the wicked man abandon his way,

the evil man his thoughts.

Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him,

to our God who is rich in forgiving;

for my thoughts are not your thoughts,

my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.

Yes, the heavens are as high above earth

as my ways are above your ways,

my thoughts above your thoughts.

Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.

Canticle

Isaiah 12

The rejoicing of a redeemed people

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Truly, God is my salvation,

    I trust, I shall not fear.

For the Lord is my strength, my song,

    he became my saviour.

With joy you will draw water

    from the wells of salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!

    Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!

    Declare the greatness of his name.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Sing a psalm to the Lord

    for he has done glorious deeds;

    make them known to all the earth!

People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,

    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Sixth reading

Baruch 3:9-15,32-4:4 ·

In the radiance of the Lord, make your way to light

Listen, Israel, to commands that bring life;

hear, and learn what knowledge means.

Why, Israel, why are you in the country of your enemies,

growing older and older in an alien land,

sharing defilement with the dead,

reckoned with those who go to Sheol?

Because you have forsaken the fountain of wisdom.

Had you walked in the way of God,

you would have lived in peace for ever.

Learn where knowledge is, where strength,

where understanding, and so learn

where length of days is, where life,

where the light of the eyes and where peace.

But who has found out where she lives,

who has entered her treasure house?

But the One who knows all knows her,

he has grasped her with his own intellect,

he has set the earth firm for ever

and filled it with four-footed beasts.

He sends the light – and it goes,

he recalls it – and trembling it obeys;

the stars shine joyfully at their set times:

when he calls them, they answer, ‘Here we are’;

they gladly shine for their creator.

It is he who is our God,

no other can compare with him.

He has grasped the whole way of knowledge,

and confided it to his servant Jacob,

to Israel his well-beloved;

so causing her to appear on earth

and move among men.

This is the book of the commandments of God,

the Law that stands for ever;

those who keep her live,

those who desert her die.

Turn back, Jacob, seize her,

in her radiance make your way to light:

do not yield your glory to another,

your privilege to a people not your own.

Israel, blessed are we:

what pleases God has been revealed to us.

Psalm

Psalm 18(19):8-11

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The law of the Lord is perfect,

    it revives the soul.

The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,

    it gives wisdom to the simple.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The precepts of the Lord are right,

    they gladden the heart.

The command of the Lord is clear,

    it gives light to the eyes.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The fear of the Lord is holy,

    abiding for ever.

The decrees of the Lord are truth

    and all of them just.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

They are more to be desired than gold,

    than the purest of gold

and sweeter are they than honey,

    than honey from the comb.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

Seventh reading

Ezekiel 36:16-17,18-28 ·

I shall pour clean water over you and I shall give you a new heart

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, the members of the House of Israel used to live in their own land, but they defiled it by their conduct and actions. I then discharged my fury at them because of the blood they shed in their land and the idols with which they defiled it. I scattered them among the nations and dispersed them in foreign countries. I sentenced them as their conduct and actions deserved. And now they have profaned my holy name among the nations where they have gone, so that people say of them, “These are the people of the Lord; they have been exiled from his land.”

    ‘But I have been concerned about my holy name, which the House of Israel has profaned among the nations where they have gone.

    ‘And so, say to the House of Israel, “The Lord says this: I am not doing this for your sake, House of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord – it is the Lord who speaks – when I display my holiness for your sake before their eyes. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land.

    ‘“I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances. You will live in the land which I gave your ancestors. You shall be my people and I will be your God.”’

Psalm

Psalm 41(42):2-3,5,42:3-4

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God,

    the God of my life;

when can I enter and see

    the face of God?

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

These things will I remember

    as I pour out my soul:

how I would lead the rejoicing crowd

    into the house of God,

amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving,

    the throng wild with joy.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

O send forth your light and your truth;

    let these be my guide.

Let them bring me to your holy mountain,

    to the place where you dwell.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

And I will come to the altar of God,

    the God of my joy.

My redeemer, I will thank you on the harp,

    O God, my God.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

Epistle

Romans 6:3-11 ·

Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.

    If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection. We must realise that our former selves have been crucified with him to destroy this sinful body and to free us from the slavery of sin. When a Christian dies, of course, he has finished with sin.

    But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no power over him any more. When he died, he died, once for all, to sin, so his life now is life with God; and in that way, you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel

Mark 16:1-8

Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, has risen

When the sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb, just as the sun was rising.

    They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ But when they looked they could see that the stone – which was very big – had already been rolled back. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, ‘There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him, just as he told you.”’

Holy Saturday

Posted: April 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Meditations
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HOLY SATURDAY

Holy Saturday – An Animation

Good Friday

Posted: April 2, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today is Not a Holiday for us! It is the DAY of all days that we fast, pray and reflect deeply on the Passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! We remove the veil and the ‘sanitisation’ of the gold or other forms of designer crucifixes we have and gaze lovingly at the plain ugly plain wooden cross in which our battered Lord hung and died for our many heinous sins against Him and one another.

We mourn over all our sins with heartfelt and deep sorrow. For the many times we betrayed Jesus by our unloving thoughts, words and deeds. For the all the times we sold Him for ‘thirty pieces of silver’. (the choices we made over Him) For all the days we refused to stay awake and to pray even for an hour. For the many instances we abandoned Him and chose to hide instead in fear. When we denied knowing Him for fear of persecution, ridicule or rejection. For each and every time we refuse to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

Before taking His last breath Jesus our loving and merciful Lord forgave us from the cross, when He prayed, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And so let us turn to Him with broken, contrite hearts and we shall surely hear Him say to us, “This day you will be with me in paradise.”

We adore You O Christ and we Bless You,

Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Amen

First reading

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The servant of the Lord, an expiatory Sacrifice

See, my servant will prosper,

he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

As the crowds were appalled on seeing him

– so disfigured did he look

that he seemed no longer human –

so will the crowds be astonished at him,

and kings stand speechless before him;

for they shall see something never told

and witness something never heard before:

‘Who could believe what we have heard,

and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us,

like a root in arid ground.

Without beauty, without majesty we saw him,

no looks to attract our eyes;

a thing despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering,

a man to make people screen their faces;

he was despised and we took no account of him.

And yet ours were the sufferings he bore,

ours the sorrows he carried.

But we, we thought of him as someone punished,

struck by God, and brought low.

Yet he was pierced through for our faults,

crushed for our sins.

On him lies a punishment that brings us peace,

and through his wounds we are healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep,

each taking his own way,

and the Lord burdened him

with the sins of all of us.

Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly,

he never opened his mouth,

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house,

like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers

never opening its mouth.

By force and by law he was taken;

would anyone plead his cause?

Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living;

for our faults struck down in death.

They gave him a grave with the wicked,

a tomb with the rich,

though he had done no wrong

and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering.

If he offers his life in atonement,

he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life

and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

His soul’s anguish over

he shall see the light and be content.

By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,

taking their faults on himself.

Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute,

he shall divide the spoil with the mighty,

for surrendering himself to death

and letting himself be taken for a sinner,

while he was bearing the faults of many

and praying all the time for sinners.

Second reading

Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9 ·

The Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us

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

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

Gospel

John 18:1-19:42

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

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

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

    ✠ Who are you looking for?

    N. They answered,

    C. Jesus the Nazarene.

    N. He said,

    ✠ I am he.

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

    ✠ Who are you looking for?

    N. They said,

    C. Jesus the Nazarene.

    N. Jesus replied,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    N. He answered,

    O. I am not.

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

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

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

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

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

    N. Jesus replied,

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

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

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

    O. Aren’t you another of his disciples?

    N. He denied it, saying,

    O. I am not.

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

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

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

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

    O. What charge do you bring against this man?

    N. They replied,

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

    N. Pilate said,

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

    N. The Jews answered,

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

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

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

    O. Are you the king of the Jews?

    N. Jesus replied,

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

    N. Pilate answered,

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

    N. Jesus replied,

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

    N. Pilate said,

    O. So you are a king, then?

    N. Jesus answered,

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

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Truth? What is that?

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

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

    N. At this they shouted:

    C. Not this man, but Barabbas.

    N. Barabbas was a brigand.

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

    C. Hail, king of the Jews!

    N. and they slapped him in the face.

    Pilate came outside again and said to them,

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

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

    O. Here is the man.

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

    C. Crucify him! Crucify him!

    N. Pilate said,

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

    N. The Jews replied,

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

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

    O. Where do you come from?

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

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

    N. Jesus replied,

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

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

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

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

    O. Here is your king.

    N. They said,

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

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Do you want me to crucify your king?

    N. The chief priests answered,

    C. We have no king except Caesar.

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

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

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

    N. Pilate answered,

    O. What I have written, I have written.

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

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

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

    They shared out my clothing among them.

    They cast lots for my clothes.

This is exactly what the soldiers did.

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

    ✠ Woman, this is your son.

    N. Then to the disciple he said,

    ✠ This is your mother.

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

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

    ✠ I am thirsty.

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

    ✠ It is accomplished;

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

    Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

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

    Not one bone of his will be broken;

and again, in another place scripture says:

    They will look on the one whom they have pierced.

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


If the Son of Man, Son of God can strip himself of all titles and show us by His example how to love perfectly by way of humble servitude of others. How can we who call Him master, not live by His command to love. To love one another as He loved us?

The unblemished lamb of God laid down His life for love of us. So that we might live free from all blemish of sin, fully in His peace and love. Divine love outpoured into our hearts and souls as we partake of Him in Holy Eucharist.

Today we remember God our Heavenly Father’s great love for us, as we commemorate the institution of the Priesthood and Holy Communion by His only begotten Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Glory to God in the highest! Now and forever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 ·

The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

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

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

Second reading

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ·

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

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

Gospel

John 13:1-15

Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

    They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’

    When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’


In order to use my disciple’s tongue to give hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the heavy burdened and inject new life into the spiritually dead; I must first listen like a disciple at the feet of my master, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Only then will His grace flow through me. Only then will my tongue be guarded against saying more than is necessary for it is the Holy Spirit that leads through and through.

Woe to me if I preach a different Gospel from what was given to me by my Lord. Woe to me if I added flavour to what was already perfected in Him! For if I do so it means I have not surrendered my all to Him, I have not laid my self down as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Lord my God. I have betrayed the Lord my God for ‘thirty pieces of silver’.  What are these thirty pieces of silver? Want of personal recognition? Affirmation? Vain glory? Honour? Empty pride? Hidden lustful desires? Want for vengeance? Wrath? Greed? Or just plain laziness! Who’s disciple am I really? Who am I serving?

Lord Jesus make me a disciple after Your own heart! Come Holy Spirit come. Come dwell in my heart, remove all that is not of You. Wash me clean and I will be white as snow. Fill me with Your grace, peace, love and joy. So that I may glorify my Lord by my life. Amen

First Reading

Isaiah 50:4-9 ·

Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me

a disciple’s tongue.

So that I may know how to reply to the wearied

he provides me with speech.

Each morning he wakes me to hear,

to listen like a disciple.

The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance,

neither did I turn away.

I offered my back to those who struck me,

my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;

I did not cover my face

against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help,

so that I am untouched by the insults.

So, too, I set my face like flint;

I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?

Then let us go to court together.

Who thinks he has a case against me?

Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help,

who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25

‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

    Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

    When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.


We are all called to be salt and light of the world! But it is not through our bravado or a simple declaration that we are Christians and therefore are followers of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

We have to go through a kenosis so as to be free from the attachments of the world. We draw ever closer to Him through His Word, and are attentive in listening to His Will for us by entering into His presence daily in prayer. We are then fully united with the Lord our God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Only through His grace are we able to sacrifice what we must, for the greater glory of God our Heavenly Father. Only then can we love brethren as we ought to, and lay down our lives for them if needed. Jesus for us is not someone we turn Heavenwards to see, but who lives and reigns deep within our hearts, minds and soul.

Transform me Lord this Holy Week, that I may draw ever closer to You. Let me be a beacon of Your hope and light . Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 ·

I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth

Islands, listen to me,

pay attention, remotest peoples.

The Lord called me before I was born,

from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword,

and hid me in the shadow of his hand.

He made me into a sharpened arrow,

and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)

in whom I shall be glorified’;

while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,

I have exhausted myself for nothing’;

and all the while my cause was with the Lord,

my reward with my God.

I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,

my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,

he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,

to bring Jacob back to him,

to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,

to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;

I will make you the light of the nations

so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Gospel

John 13:21-33,36-38

‘What you are going to do, do quickly’

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.

    When he had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,

and in him God has been glorified.

If God has been glorified in him,

God will in turn glorify him in himself,

and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children,

I shall not be with you much longer.

You will look for me,

And, as I told the Jews,

where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’


How can we count the cost of our Discipleship?

When our Master, our Lord and Saviour Jesus gave His ALL to us.

For our many sins, wavering faith and many shortcomings, He did not crush us or snuff us out like a worn dying candle flame. Instead He loved us as He breathed new life into us, to live in His light as He dispelled all darkness and freed us!

And so if we say we love Him are following Him, how have we honoured and cherished Him by our actions? Have we washed His feet with our tears of compassion for the poor, sick and suffering, downtrodden, orphans, widows, prisoners?  Have we anointed His feet with our ‘nard’ that is our pure love for Him and for our brethren; such that our service perfumes the air of all those around such that they know it is sign of our Lord’s presence in us? In short have we truly taken up our cross to follow Him?

You are my light and my help Lord, I come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 42:1-7 ·

Here is my chosen one in whom my soul delights

Here is my servant whom I uphold,

my chosen one in whom my soul delights.

I have endowed him with my spirit

that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud,

or make his voice heard in the streets.

He does not break the crushed reed,

nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice;

he will neither waver, nor be crushed

until true justice is established on earth,

for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,

he who created the heavens and spread them out,

who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it,

who gave breath to its people

and life to the creatures that move in it:

‘I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;

I have taken you by the hand and formed you;

I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,

‘to open the eyes of the blind,

to free captives from prison,

and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.’

Gospel

John 12:1-11

‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’

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

    Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.


No more scattered lives due to sin! Or leading lives of duplicity! Many have strayed far from the love of God by choosing to give in completely to their hectic and busy lives. Others looked for comforts and distractions in the world. The Lord is reminding us this day, “Come to me all you are weary and heavy laden and I the Lord Your God will give you rest.”

Jesus Son of God our Heavenly Father is the sanctifier, He will free us from all bondages to sin; He will cleanse us from all evil and we shall be whiter than snow! And we shall all be gathered unto Him,  One Body in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Therefore my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, if you have not already done so. Do your best this weekend if not then by next week to attend a penitential service or better yet if you are able to, then book for the Sacrament of reconciliation. So that our hearts will be prepared to receive Jesus fully during Holy Week and to live new lives in Him at Easter.

Pray for me dears sisters and brothers as you are in my prayers. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 37:21-28 ·

I will bring them home and make them one nation

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

Gospel

John 11:45-56

Jesus was to die to gather together the scattered children of God

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

    The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’


Approaching Palm Sunday are we standing ready to glorify Him by placing our ‘palms’ of loving sacrifice before Him; as we shout Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest! As we welcome Him deep into our hearts.

Are we prepared to be His prophets to go out this very day to proclaim 2021 the year of the Lord; as we share the message of His enduring love through the Gospel. Ready to face rejection if we must for love of our Lord but more importantly for the souls we save by leading them into His loving embrace.

Yes Lord, You are indeed Son of the Most High God our Heavenly Father and are my Lord and King! Deliver me Lord from all evil as I go forth sharing Your love with all. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13 ·

He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me,

‘“Terror from every side!”

Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’

All those who used to be my friends

watched for my downfall,

‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.

Then we will master him

and take our revenge!’

But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero;

my opponents will stumble, mastered,

confounded by their failure;

everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.

But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice,

who scrutinise the loins and heart,

let me see the vengeance you will take on them,

for I have committed my cause to you.

Sing to the Lord,

praise the Lord,

for he has delivered the soul of the needy

from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42

They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

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

‘Is it not written in your Law:

I said, you are gods?

So the Law uses the word gods

of those to whom the word of God was addressed,

and scripture cannot be rejected.

Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world,

“You are blaspheming,”

because he says, “I am the son of God.”

If I am not doing my Father’s work,

there is no need to believe me;

but if I am doing it,

then even if you refuse to believe in me,

at least believe in the work I do;

then you will know for sure

that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 25, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Almost to the end of our Lenten Journey, we go back to the very beginning and recall how salvation had entered into the world; through Jesus Christ Son of God our Heavenly Father who willed that we be saved through Him. Light came into the World and all darkness was dispelled.  This came to be through the obedience to God our Heavenly Father by His only begotten Son and through the obedience of Mary our Blessed mother.

Wood of the cradle, wood of the cross,

bearing a lifetime of joy and of loss,

who is your loved one?  Who could it be,

born in a manger to die on a tree?

This, this is Jesus the Lord,

here in the body and blood outpoured.

Come, come, walk in his ways.

Kneel at the manger and rise from the grave.

This all began at the Annunciation, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us! Glory to You O Lord my God!

Your word be done Lord accordingly to Your Will now and forever. For Your Will Lord, is life giving, it brings great joy and peace to my heart. And so here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 7:10-14,8:10 ·

The maiden is with child

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’

    Then Isaiah said:

‘Listen now, House of David:

are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men

without trying the patience of my God, too?

The Lord himself, therefore,

will give you a sign.

It is this: the maiden is with child

and will soon give birth to a son

whom she will call Immanuel,

a name which means “God-is-with-us.”’

Second reading

Hebrews 10:4-10 ·

God’s will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what Christ said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,

prepared a body for me.

You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;

then I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,

‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

Gospel

Luke 1:26-38

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

Fidelity to the One triune God, God our Heavenly Father, God the Son, Jesus our Lord and God the Holy Spirit; over everyone and above all things is truly what would lead us to Holiness, Sanctification and Communion with Him and One another. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:8

I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. I will put not my trust in princes, in mortal man, who cannot save. Ps. 146:2-3 And I seek to glorify the Lord my God by my life. Amen

First reading

Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28

God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.

    Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’

    Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

Gospel

John 8:31-42

If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home

you will indeed be my disciples,

you will learn the truth

and the truth will make you free.’

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

‘I tell you most solemnly,

everyone who commits sin is a slave.

Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured,

but the son’s place is assured.

So if the Son makes you free,

you will be free indeed.

I know that you are descended from Abraham;

but in spite of that you want to kill me

because nothing I say has penetrated into you.

What I, for my part, speak of

is what I have seen with my Father;

but you, you put into action

the lessons learnt from your father.’

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

‘If you were Abraham’s children,

you would do as Abraham did.

As it is, you want to kill me

when I tell you the truth

as I have learnt it from God;

that is not what Abraham did.

What you are doing is what your father does.’

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

‘If God were your father, you would love me,

since I have come here from God;

yes, I have come from him;

no, I was sent, and by him.’

not that I came because I chose,


Because of my broken soul and weaknesses…

For love of me, my Lord my God was scourged.

Because of my wayward, loose and hurtful tongue…

For love of me, my Lord my God was mocked and crowned with thorns.

Because of my lustful desires, selfishness greed and prideful ways…

For love of me, my Lord my God was nailed to the cross.

Because of my disobedience, my inability to forgive my brethren and for all my sins.

For love of me, my Lord my God forgave me as He hung from the cross.

Because I could neither lift the heavy burden and nor pay the insurmountable debt of my iniquities.

For love of me, my Lord my God died for me!

Jesus my Lord, my God, my Salvation! Lifted high upon the cross You draw me and all my brethren unto Yourself.  We have hope of eternal life with You. Glory and praise is Yours now and forever. Amen

First reading

Numbers 21:4-9 ·

If anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked up at the bronze serpent and lived

The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’

    At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

Gospel

John 8:21-30

When you have lifted up the Son of Man then you will know that I am He

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am going away;

you will look for me

and you will die in your sin.

Where I am going, you cannot come.’

The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on:

‘You are from below; I am from above.

You are of this world; I am not of this world.

I have told you already:

You will die in your sins.

Yes, if you do not believe that I am He,

you will die in your sins.’

So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered:

‘What I have told you from the outset.

About you I have much to say

and much to condemn;

but the one who sent me is truthful,

and what I have learnt from him

I declare to the world.’

They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said:

‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man,

then you will know that I am He

and that I do nothing of myself:

what the Father has taught me is what I preach;

he who sent me is with me,

and has not left me to myself,

for I always do what pleases him.’

As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.


When temptation is before me and my eyes seek to betray me by filling my thoughts with wanton desires….

I will turn my eyes to Heaven and pray, “Come Lord Jesus, Come into my heart.”

When rage is upon me and a vindictive spirit begins to seize my very soul….

I will turn my eyes to Heaven and pray, “Come Lord Jesus, Come into my heart.”

When the growing desire to share the perceived transgression of another in gossip arise….

I will turn my eyes to Heaven and pray, “Come Lord Jesus, Come into my heart.”

When I feel a righteous need to condemn a fellow sinner….

I will turn my eyes to Heaven and pray, “Come Lord Jesus, Come into my heart.”

For having broken my promises to my Lord, I will turn my eyes to Heaven and pray, “Come Lord Jesus, Come into my heart.”

O Lord my God, I am so sorry for having sinned against You. Because You are so good and with the help of Your grace, I endeavour not to sin again. Amen

First reading

Daniel 13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62

Susannah and the elders

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim. He had married Susanna daughter of Hilkiah, a woman of great beauty; and she was God-fearing, because her parents were worthy people and had instructed their daughter in the Law of Moses. Joakim was a very rich man, and had a garden attached to his house; the Jews would often visit him since he was held in greater respect than any other man. Two elderly men had been selected from the people that year to act as judges. Of such the Lord said, ‘Wickedness has come to Babylon through the elders and judges posing as guides to the people.’ These men were often at Joakim’s house, and all who were engaged in litigation used to come to them. At midday, when everyone had gone, Susanna used to take a walk in her husband’s garden. The two elders, who used to watch her every day as she came in to take her walk, gradually began to desire her. They threw reason aside, making no effort to turn their eyes to heaven, and forgetting its demands of virtue. So they waited for a favourable moment; and one day Susanna came as usual, accompanied only by two young maidservants. The day was hot and she wanted to bathe in the garden. There was no one about except the two elders, spying on her from their hiding place. She said to the servants, ‘Bring me some oil and balsam and shut the garden door while I bathe.’

    Hardly were the servants gone than the two elders were there after her. ‘Look,’ they said ‘the garden door is shut, no one can see us. We want to have you, so give in and let us! Refuse, and we will both give evidence that a young man was with you and that was why you sent your maids away.’ Susanna sighed. ‘I am trapped,’ she said ‘whatever I do. If I agree, that means my death; if I resist, I cannot get away from you. But I prefer to fall innocent into your power than to sin in the eyes of the Lord.’ Then she cried out as loud as she could. The two elders began shouting too, putting the blame on her, and one of them ran to open the garden door. The household, hearing the shouting in the garden, rushed out by the side entrance to see what was happening; once the elders had told their story the servants were thoroughly taken aback, since nothing of this sort had ever been said of Susanna.

    Next day a meeting was held at the house of her husband Joakim. The two elders arrived, in their vindictiveness determined to have her put to death. They addressed the company: ‘Summon Susanna daughter of Hilkiah and wife of Joakim.’ She was sent for, and came accompanied by her parents, her children and all her relations. All her own people were weeping, and so were all the others who saw her. The two elders stood up, with all the people round them, and laid their hands on the woman’s head. Tearfully she turned her eyes to heaven, her heart confident in God. The elders then spoke. ‘While we were walking by ourselves in the garden, this woman arrived with two servants. She shut the garden door and then dismissed the servants. A young man who had been hiding went over to her and they lay down together. From the end of the garden where we were, we saw this crime taking place and hurried towards them. Though we saw them together we were unable to catch the man: he was too strong for us; he opened the door and took to his heels. We did, however, catch this woman and ask her who the young man was. She refused to tell us. That is our evidence.’

    Since they were elders of the people, and judges, the assembly took their word: Susanna was condemned to death. She cried out as loud as she could, ‘Eternal God, you know all secrets and everything before it happens; you know that they have given false evidence against me. And now have I to die, innocent as I am of everything their malice has invented against me?’

    The Lord heard her cry and, as she was being led away to die, he roused the holy spirit residing in a young boy named Daniel who began to shout, ‘I am innocent of this woman’s death!’ At which all the people turned to him and asked, ‘What do you mean by these words?’ Standing in the middle of the crowd he replied, ‘Are you so stupid, sons of Israel, as to condemn a daughter of Israel unheard, and without troubling to find out the truth? Go back to the scene of the trial: these men have given false evidence against her.’

    All the people hurried back, and the elders said to Daniel, ‘Come and sit with us and tell us what you mean, since God has given you the gifts that elders have.’ Daniel said, ‘Keep the men well apart from each other for I want to question them.’ When the men had been separated, Daniel had one of them brought to him. ‘You have grown old in wickedness,’ he said ‘and now the sins of your earlier days have overtaken you, you with your unjust judgements, your condemnation of the innocent, your acquittal of guilty men, when the Lord has said, “You must not put the innocent and the just to death.” Now then, since you saw her so clearly, tell me what tree you saw them lying under?’ He replied, ‘Under a mastic tree.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God has already received your sentence from him and will slash you in half.’ He dismissed the man, ordered the other to be brought and said to him, ‘Spawn of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you, lust has led your heart astray! This is how you have been behaving with the daughters of Israel and they were too frightened to resist; but here is a daughter of Judah who could not stomach your wickedness! Now then, tell me what tree you surprised them under?’ He replied, ‘Under a holm oak.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God is waiting, with a sword to drive home and split you, and destroy the pair of you.’

    Then the whole assembly shouted, blessing God, the saviour of those who trust in him. And they turned on the two elders whom Daniel had convicted of false evidence out of their own mouths. As prescribed in the Law of Moses, they sentenced them to the same punishment as they had intended to inflict on their neighbour. They put them to death; the life of an innocent woman was spared that day.

Gospel

John 8:1-11

‘Let the one among you who has not sinned be the first to throw a stone’

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.

    The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin any more.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 20, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Where do prophets come from? Are they present today? Do we even take time to dwell on these questions? or are we likely to pass judgement on a man or woman without a hearing or discovering what they are about? For how then shall the Lord our God communicate His message of love, comfort and what we need to build His Kingdom?

Too many, even today are very quick to judge, to discount, disparage and shut down; anything and anyone that does not fit into their very own agenda. Plotting, scheming, gossiping who uses  these tools if not the Scatterer himself? The sower of disunity and discord! And who are best folks to target? Those who are religiously prideful! Leaders who know it all and does not need to listen to the common folk. Who knows all there is to know on what is safe and best for those under their charge. They desire prayers but have no time to pray with the community and discern God’s will through His Word. Whose will be done again???

Lord Jesus grant me the humility to listen to Your Voice through the prophets you send my way. And if it is Your Will that I should speak to others then let it be Your Words through Your grace alone. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 11:18-20 ·

‘Let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten’

The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned. O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence,

who probe the loins and heart,

let me see the vengeance you will take on them,

for I have committed my cause to you.

Gospel

John 7:40-52

The Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without hearing him

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.

    The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

O Blessed St Joseph most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary our mother, father of Jesus and father of faith and hope for us all intercede for us.

Guide all earthly fathers so that we might share in your holiness, so as to be attentive the promptings of the holy spirit as you were. To have your steadfast faith come what may, as we journey on entrusting ourselves to the will of God our Heavenly Father as you always and lovingly did.

Saint Joseph our father, just as you safeguarded your child Jesus against evil and peril; so too now, pray for our protection. Safeguard the hearts of all fathers against the wiles and temptations of Satan; so that we might remain chaste, holy as we lead our families into greater holiness and into Heaven.

O Blessed St Joseph pray for us that we might be granted purity of heart, mind and soul. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Amen

First reading

2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16 ·

The Lord will give him the throne of his ancestor David

The word of the Lord came to Nathan:

    ‘Go and tell my servant David, Thus the Lord speaks: “When your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.) I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Yet I will not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Second reading

Romans 4:13,16-18,22 ·

Abraham hoped, and he believed

The promise of inheriting the world was not made to Abraham and his descendants on account of any law but on account of the righteousness which consists in faith. That is why what fulfils the promise depends on faith, so that it may be a free gift and be available to all of Abraham’s descendants, not only those who belong to the Law but also those who belong to the faith of Abraham who is the father of all of us. As scripture says: I have made you the ancestor of many nations – Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist.

    Though it seemed Abraham’s hope could not be fulfilled, he hoped and he believed, and through doing so he did become the father of many nations exactly as he had been promised: Your descendants will be as many as the stars. This is the faith that was ‘considered as justifying him.’

Gospel

Matthew 1:16,18-21,24

How Jesus Christ came to be born

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 18, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

What is the ‘golden calf’ in your life? That takes away right worship of the Lord our God? Is it pornography? Is it hours upon hours of work in the office? Is it digital games? Is it online shopping? Is it the constant desire to be recognised or affirmed by your peers, colleagues, ministry members, community or family?

Today let us surrender all the ‘golden calves’ we have at the feet of Jesus. Give Him the truth of our hearts and confess our sins! Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34 And through Him we shall be set free to live fully in His love. So that the Word of God our Heavenly Father will have a home in us.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner. Amen

First reading

Exodus 32:7-14 ·

Moses pleads with the Lord his God to spare Israel

The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’

    But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’

    So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Gospel

John 5:31-47

You place your hopes on Moses but Moses will be your accuser

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘Were I to testify on my own behalf,

my testimony would not be valid;

but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf,

and I know that his testimony is valid.

You sent messengers to John,

and he gave his testimony to the truth:

not that I depend on human testimony;

no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.

John was a lamp alight and shining

and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.

But my testimony is greater than John’s:

the works my Father has given me to carry out,

these same works of mine testify

that the Father has sent me.

Besides, the Father who sent me

bears witness to me himself.

You have never heard his voice,

you have never seen his shape,

and his word finds no home in you

because you do not believe in the one he has sent.

‘You study the scriptures,

believing that in them you have eternal life;

now these same scriptures testify to me,

and yet you refuse to come to me for life!

As for human approval, this means nothing to me.

Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.

I have come in the name of my Father

and you refuse to accept me;

if someone else comes in his own name

you will accept him.

How can you believe,

since you look to one another for approval

and are not concerned

with the approval that comes from the one God?

Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:

you place your hopes on Moses,

and Moses will be your accuser.

If you really believed him

you would believe me too,

since it was I that he was writing about;

but if you refuse to believe what he wrote,

how can you believe what I say?’


Even though everything may look alright on the surface, many are going through some form of depression, loneliness, brokenness and feelings of being unloved. They have not heard the comforting truth from God our Heavenly Father “Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.” They do not know that He had sent His Son Jesus to liberate us all from sin and despair so that we can enter into a loving relationship with Him and live eternally in His love. They have not experienced the love of Christ as we have.

How can they know all this if we do not tell them? If we assume they knew or that someone else will surely share it with them? Or we give into our fears that the message of love that we share will be rejected? What are we so afraid of other than fear itself? For even if we are rejected we are Blessed by the one who sent us. It is the evil one that plays on our fears because that is what he does discourage and prevent us from doing the will of the Lord our God.

Thy will be done Lord, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:8-15

On the day of salvation I will help you

Thus says the Lord:

At the favourable time I will answer you,

on the day of salvation I will help you.

(I have formed you and have appointed you

as covenant of the people.)

I will restore the land

and assign you the estates that lie waste.

I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’,

to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

On every roadway they will graze,

and each bare height shall be their pasture.

They will never hunger or thirst,

scorching wind and sun shall never plague them;

for he who pities them will lead them

and guide them to springs of water.

I will make a highway of all the mountains,

and the high roads shall be banked up.

Some are on their way from afar,

others from the north and the west,

others from the land of Sinim.

Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth!

You mountains, break into happy cries!

For the Lord consoles his people

and takes pity on those who are afflicted.

For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,

the Lord has forgotten me.’

Does a woman forget her baby at the breast,

or fail to cherish the son of her womb?

Yet even if these forget,

I will never forget you.

Gospel

John 5:17-30

The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live

Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.

    To this accusation Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

the Son can do nothing by himself;

he can do only what he sees the Father doing:

and whatever the Father does the Son does too.

For the Father loves the Son

and shows him everything he does himself,

and he will show him even greater things than these,

works that will astonish you.

Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,

so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses;

for the Father judges no one;

he has entrusted all judgement to the Son,

so that all may honour the Son

as they honour the Father.

Whoever refuses honour to the Son

refuses honour to the Father who sent him.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever listens to my words,

and believes in the one who sent me,

has eternal life;

without being brought to judgement

he has passed from death to life.

I tell you most solemnly,

the hour will come – in fact it is here already –

when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,

and all who hear it will live.

For the Father, who is the source of life,

has made the Son the source of life;

and, because he is the Son of Man,

has appointed him supreme judge.

Do not be surprised at this,

for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves

at the sound of his voice:

those who did good will rise again to life;

and those who did evil, to condemnation.

I can do nothing by myself;

I can only judge as I am told to judge,

and my judging is just,

because my aim is to do not my own will,

but the will of him who sent me.’


Close your eyes and picture where Your Parish is, now slowly pan around and see the surrounding areas. Are there buildings, homes, eateries, shops around your Parish? Are there trees, plants, flowers, rock structures? Now take a moment to reflect and think about this….how is everything and everyone around your Parish impacted   by the very presence this Holy Structure? Does life giving waters flow out from it? Are the neighbours touched by the joy and love of the parishioners that go in and come out week after week? Do the stall owners in the vicinity recognise fondly the patrons which belong to this Church? Does life lines extend out from within to the poor, the sick and the aged? Do they have to wait ’38’ years?

Yes indeed our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the source of all life and living waters flow through Him. So then how does His living water flow from us we who are of His One Body? How have I ministered to the sick, the broken of Spirit? How have I reached out to touch those living in the peripheries?

Let Your living waters flow through me O Lord, let it flow through me. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 47:1-9,12 ·

Wherever the water flows, it will bring life and health

The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. The man went to the east holding his measuring line and measured off a thousand cubits; he then made me wade across the stream; the water reached my ankles. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my knees. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across again; the water reached my waist. He measured off another thousand; it was now a river which I could not cross; the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross. He then said, ‘Do you see, son of man?’ He took me further, then brought me back to the bank of the river. When I got back, there were many trees on each bank of the river. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

Gospel

John 5:1-3,5-16

The healing at the pool of Bethesda

There was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now at the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem there is a building, called Bethzatha in Hebrew, consisting of five porticos; and under these were crowds of sick people – blind, lame, paralysed – waiting for the water to move. One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in this condition for a long time, he said, ‘Do you want to be well again?’ ‘Sir,’ replied the sick man ‘I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I am still on the way, someone else gets there before me.’ Jesus said, ‘Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.’ The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away.

    Now that day happened to be the sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; you are not allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.’ He replied, ‘But the man who cured me told me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”’ They asked, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Pick up your mat and walk”?’ The man had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that filled the place. After a while Jesus met him in the Temple and said, ‘Now you are well again, be sure not to sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.’ The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had cured him. It was because he did things like this on the sabbath that the Jews began to persecute Jesus.


The Lord our God is indeed merciful and kind and He had shown us that He is King over all infirmities, over evil spirits, over land, sea, even death! So many signs and wonders of His love which serve as testimonies for us to this very day. This is our God!

What are the signs and wonders of our own conversion for and in Him? What are the signs of our fidelity to the Lord our God? Do people around us witness His Glory working through us? How have we witnessed to the Love of God our Father? Are we waiting for the eleventh hour when we could living life to the full through and in Him this very day and hour?

Lord Jesus You have created all things new! Renew my heart, mind and soul that I will Your praises this day and everyday. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 65:17-21 ·

Be glad and rejoice for ever at what I am creating

Thus says the Lord: Now I create new heavens and a new earth, and the past will not be remembered, and will come no more to men’s minds. Be glad and rejoice for ever and ever for what I am creating, because I now create Jerusalem ‘Joy’ and her people ‘Gladness.’ I shall rejoice over Jerusalem and exult in my people. No more will the sound of weeping or the sound of cries be heard in her; in her, no more will be found the infant living a few days only, or the old man not living to the end of his days. To die at the age of a hundred will be dying young; not to live to be a hundred will be the sign of a curse. They will build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

Gospel

John 4:43-54

Go home: your son will live

Jesus left Samaria for Galilee. He himself had declared that there is no respect for a prophet in his own country, but on his arrival the Galileans received him well, having seen all that he had done at Jerusalem during the festival which they too had attended.

    He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a court official there whose son was ill at Capernaum and, hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judaea, he went and asked him to come and cure his son as he was at the point of death. Jesus said, ‘So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!’ ‘Sir,’ answered the official ‘come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go home,’ said Jesus ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way; and while he was still on the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive. He asked them when the boy had begun to recover. ‘The fever left him yesterday’ they said ‘at the seventh hour.’ The father realised that this was exactly the time when Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live’; and he and all his household believed.

    This was the second sign given by Jesus, on his return from Judaea to Galilee.


Can we buy graces? Can we work our way into Heaven? How many candles will it take to be a lit in a church for the forgiveness of our sin? Or a pilgrimage to the Holy Land so that we can finally walk in the ancient footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Nay the message today is simple and clear. No need for pomp or words laden with grandeur. In the silent rend of our hearts we cry out “Lord be merciful to me a sinner!” For a humbled contrite spirit I will not spurn says our ever loving and merciful Father in Heaven. Because it is by grace that we have been saved, through faith; not by anything of our own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that we have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it.  (Eph 2:8-10)

Lord Jesus I will do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with You.  Amen

First reading

Hosea 5:15-6:6 ·

What I want is love, not sacrifice and holocausts

The Lord says this:

They will search for me in their misery.

‘Come, let us return to the Lord.

He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us;

he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds;

after a day or two he will bring us back to life,

on the third day he will raise us

and we shall live in his presence.

Let us set ourselves to know the Lord;

that he will come is as certain as the dawn

his judgement will rise like the light,

he will come to us as showers come,

like spring rains watering the earth.’

What am I to do with you, Ephraim?

What am I to do with you, Judah?

This love of yours is like a morning cloud,

like the dew that quickly disappears.

This is why I have torn them to pieces by the prophets,

why I slaughtered them with the words from my mouth,

since what I want is love, not sacrifice;

knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Gospel

Luke 18:9-14

The tax collector, not the Pharisee, went home justified.

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’


Come back to me with all your heart begins the opening lyrics of the song ‘Hosea’ which was inspired from today’s first reading. Listen to the rest of the song and surely you will hear God our Father’s loving call, who seeks to tenderly embrace you and make you whole. Such that He sent His Son our bridegroom so that we might have perfect union through and with Him.

We must therefore desire and want to walk blameless in His sight, for striving for Holiness is what it truly means to love the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. It is not just a declaration of love through words but our love for Him put into action. The clearest visible sign of our love for the Lord our God is how much we love and are willing to sacrifice in order to serve the needs of the least of our brethren.

O Loving Father my arms are opened for Your loving embrace. Thank You for loving me. Amen

First reading

Hosea 14:2-10

A call to conversion and promise of safety

The Lord says this:

Israel, come back to the Lord your God;

your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.

Provide yourself with words

and come back to the Lord.

Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away

so that we may have happiness again

and offer you our words of praise.

Assyria cannot save us,

we will not ride horses any more,

or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,

for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’

– I will heal their disloyalty,

I will love them with all my heart,

for my anger has turned from them.

I will fall like dew on Israel.

He shall bloom like the lily,

and thrust out roots like the poplar,

his shoots will spread far;

he will have the beauty of the olive

and the fragrance of Lebanon.

They will come back to live in my shade;

they will grow corn that flourishes,

they will cultivate vines

as renowned as the wine of Helbon.

What has Ephraim to do with idols any more

when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?

I am like a cypress ever green,

all your fruitfulness comes from me.

Let the wise man understand these words.

Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.

For the ways of the Lord are straight,

and virtuous men walk in them,

but sinners stumble.

Gospel

Mark 12:28-34

‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 11, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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French School; Five of the Miracles of Christ: Casting Out the Devil from the Dumb Man; Almshouse of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/five-of-the-miracles-of-christ-casting-out-the-devil-from-the-dumb-man-60314

How sincere are we in following Jesus Christ our Lord?

What have we given up for Him this Lent as a start? It does not matter if we feel we had already missed the opportunity on Ash Wednesday. It’s not too late! Jesus wants to set us free from all that holds us back from living our lives fully in His love. He will cast out all evil and break the bonds which prevents us from listening to His Word and singing God our Father’s praises.

However if we stubbornly refuse to listen to His voice, His call to repentance and to grow in Holiness; then we will have to live the consequence of not having Him present in our lives. What we will face is scattered, broken lives. Always wanting and seeking for more, looking to the world for comfort after comfort to fill the void within us.

Jesus my Lord and Saviour, see if there be, some wicked way in me; cleanse me from all my sin and set me free. Amen

Search Me O God

First reading

Jeremiah 7:23-28

Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God

These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets.

    But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.”

Gospel

Luke 11:14-23

Know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you

Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

    ‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Lest we forget, the laws of the Lord our God was given to us by His great love of us. When we keep and observe them, our lives are ordered to right worship of Him and we are blessed to live our lives to the full in His love. It is our duty therefore to teach it and pass it on from one generation to the next. So that we can all be in full communion with Him and one another.

We cannot say we do not know His laws for again in His love, He had put in our minds and written it on our hearts so we can be His people and He our God. Jer 31:33

The full revelation of this is in Today’s Gospel when Jesus says “I have come not to abolish but to complete them.” Jesus is the divine law which opens our hearts to His divine presence. And thus living in His presence our lives are complete and perfected through Him.

Let Your law alone, reign in my heart Lord. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 4:1,5-9

Keep these laws and observe them

Moses said to the people:

    ‘Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you.

    ‘See, as the Lord my God has commanded me, I teach you the laws and customs that you are to observe in the land you are to enter and make your own. Keep them, observe them, and they will demonstrate to the peoples your wisdom and understanding. When they come to know of all these laws they will exclaim, “No other people is as wise and prudent as this great nation.” And indeed, what great nation is there that has its gods so near as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to him? And what great nation is there that has laws and customs to match this whole Law that I put before you today?

    ‘But take care what you do and be on your guard. Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children’s children.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’

I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to complete them


Mercy Prevents Us From Being Burnt

By the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord we have been redeemed!

What does this mean for us? Yes liberation from sin to live fully in His love.  But have we forgotten the part in which His blood which is life giving flows through us? Perhaps the greatest clarity of this truth is when we receive His body, blood, soul and divinity at Holy Eucharist. That means His mercy flows through the blood of every Christian so how then can we say that we will NOT FORGIVE??  When our Lord readily forgave us from the cross in which He hung by our sins. If we refuse to forgive then the sad reality is that we are not in full communion with Him.

It is in our human nature that there will be some friction from time to time. Harsh words exchanged and foolish actions which cause grief, sorrow and pain. Wrong doings against one another, intentional or otherwise. And so forgiveness is crucial and a vital step to reconciliation which extends further to our individual and collective salvation.

Lord forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen

First reading

Daniel 3:25,34-43

Let our sacrifice to you today be a contrite soul and humbled spirit

Azariah stood in the heart of the fire, and he began to pray:

Oh! Do not abandon us for ever,

for the sake of your name;

do not repudiate your covenant,

do not withdraw your favour from us,

for the sake of Abraham, your friend,

of Isaac your servant,

and of Israel your holy one,

to whom you promised descendants as countless as the stars of heaven

and as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Lord, now we are the least of all the nations,

now we are despised throughout the world, today, because of our sins.

We have at this time no leader, no prophet, no prince,

no holocaust, no sacrifice, no oblation, no incense,

no place where we can offer you the first-fruits

and win your favour.

But may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit be as acceptable to you as holocausts of rams and bullocks,  as thousands of fattened lambs:

such let our sacrifice be to you today, and may it be your will that we follow you wholeheartedly, since those who put their trust in you will not be disappointed.

And now we put our whole heart into following you, into fearing you and seeking your face once more.

Do not disappoint us; treat us gently, as you yourself are gentle

and very merciful.

Grant us deliverance worthy of your wonderful deeds, let your name win glory, Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 18:21-35

To be forgiven, you must forgive

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.

    ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 8, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Do we take our faith and for that matter the Lord our God for granted? Midway through lent are we tired of hearing the call to repentance, to turn away from sin and to be faithful to the Gospel? If we are then we are no different then the people in Today’s Gospel, who let their hearts harden such that they could no longer hear the Word of God being preached to them; otherwise their lives would have been enriched and their brokenness healed.

For those of us who never tire of hearing the voice of our Lord, how has life changed ever since Ash Wednesday? Have we grown in love and mercy such that it is seen and felt by others not simply by our words but by our deeds? Have we entered into deeper worship of our Lord and God?

Touched and healed by the hand of the Lord our God, Naaman acknowledged and declared His love and allegiance to the one True God. He brought back with him earth from the ground in which He found the presence of God so as to worship Him. As followers of Christ Jesus our Lord, let us daily enter unto hallowed ground to worship Him in His presence as we pray and listen to His word and will for us; As we cry out, “My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life: when can I enter and see the face of God?” Amen

First reading

2 Kings 5:1-15 ·

There were many lepers in Israel, but only Naaman, the Syrian, was cured

Naaman, army commander to the king of Aram, was a man who enjoyed his master’s respect and favour, since through him the Lord had granted victory to the Aramaeans. But the man was a leper.

    Now on one of their raids, the Aramaeans had carried off from the land of Israel a little girl who had become a servant of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would approach the prophet of Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.’

    Naaman went and told his master. ‘This and this’ he reported ‘is what the girl from the land of Israel said.’

    ‘Go by all means,’ said the king of Aram ‘I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’

    So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten festal robes. He presented the letter to the king of Israel. It read: ‘With this letter, I am sending my servant Naaman to you for you to cure him of his leprosy.’ When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his garments. ‘Am I a god to give death and life,’ he said ‘that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy? Listen to this, and take note of it and see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.’

    When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king, ‘Why did you tear your garments? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.’

    So Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more.’

    But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part. Surely Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean?’ And he turned round and went off in a rage.

    But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean.”’

    So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.

    Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.’

Gospel

Luke 4:24-30

No prophet is ever accepted in his own country

Jesus came to Nazara and spoke to the people in the synagogue: ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

    ‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’

    When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We have often dwelled on how important it is to enter into deep relationship with the Lord our God? But what does relationship in itself mean for us?

Relationship by definition means being connected or associated in some way whether by blood, marriage or kinship. Romantically, sexually involved or simply sharing an emotional connection through feelings and a strong sense of belonging. But can we continue to have strong relationships which grows ever stronger in the absence of love and mercy? Without love and mercy there is No relationship!

What about us Christians? We are grafted unto the vine, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and share an eternal bond with Him and a fraternal bond with one another by virtue of our Baptism. We are one Body in Him but are we then living this truth?  In today’s responsorial psalm our united response is ‘The Lord is compassion and Love’ and we know this to be true. He is indeed slow to anger, rich in abounding steadfast love. This is how our Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us; can we then love any of His children, our sisters and brothers any less? How then do we reflect our Heavenly Father’s love and mercy in our daily dealings with one another?

For just as we had strayed from Him on many occasions and had become prodigal sons and daughters; who yearned for our Heavenly Father’s embrace which He never ever withholds from us. We too must readily embrace those who have hurt us and strayed far from us whether physically, emotionally or spiritually. Amen

First reading

Micah 7:14-15,18-20 ·

Have pity on us one more time

With shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture,

the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest with meadow land all around.

Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.

As in the days when you came out of Egypt grant us to see wonders.

What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy?

Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults, to the bottom of the sea throw all our sins.

Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your mercy, as you swore to our fathers from the days of long ago.

Gospel

Luke 15:1-3,11-32

The prodigal son

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:

    ‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

    ‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.

    ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.

    ‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”

    ‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’


Jealousy, plotting the downfall of someone doing well or is well liked; and thinking how we must let the world know how he or she ‘really’ is, where does all this come from? What is missing from our very own lives that we fill them with such thoughts and plans?

The love of God and His presence in our lives is what is missing! For why would we be jealous of our sisters and brothers when He gives us specially made custom fit ‘coats with long sleeves’ for each of His children? Where will we have time for plotting anything, when we must be busy working joyfully in His vineyard; and eagerly waiting for the fruits to bear for the Glory of God our Heavenly Father.

Let these two verses of this beautiful hymn be our prayer this day…..

Search me, O God, and know my heart today,

Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;

See if there be some wicked way in me;

Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;

Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within;

Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;

Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Amen

First reading

Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28 ·

Let us kill him: then we shall see what becomes of his dreams

Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.

    His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

    They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’

    But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.

    Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed.

    Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.

Gospel

Matthew 21:33-43,45-46

This is the landlord’s heir: come, let us kill him

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders

that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing

and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

    When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.


Today Lord I ponder on how I can be rich in Your love?

The answers are so clear in Your Word? But why is it so difficult Lord to follow through on them?

Blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord with the Lord for His hope.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Grant me the grace to live according to Your Word Lord and I shall be rich in Your love. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 17:5-10

A curse on the man who puts his trust in man and turns from the Lord

The Lord says this:

‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man,

who relies on things of flesh,

whose heart turns from the Lord.

He is like dry scrub in the wastelands:

if good comes, he has no eyes for it,

he settles in the parched places of the wilderness,

a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord,

with the Lord for his hope.

He is like a tree by the waterside

that thrusts its roots to the stream:

when the heat comes it feels no alarm,

its foliage stays green;

it has no worries in a year of drought,

and never ceases to bear fruit.

‘The heart is more devious than any other thing,

perverse too: who can pierce its secrets?

I, the Lord, search to the heart,

I probe the loins,

to give each man what his conduct

and his actions deserve.’

Gospel

Luke 16:19-31

Dives and Lazarus

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

    ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

    ‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 3, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Thank You Lord for Your companionship on my journey through this Lent and all the days of my life. I complain to You about my life being hard because I need Your listening ear and good counsel. I used to worry that I might bore You when You have so many others doing likewise, but having entered into a deeper relationship with You I realise now just how much You love me individually.  I want to share my whole life with You Lord, my inner sorrows as well as my joys.

I know Lord I have been selfish and have made many excuses for my personal feelings of inadequacy as well as my inertia. Ever so often those that I work or have dealings with might have felt I was on a power trip, but would not know that I actually suffer from an inferiority complex. I constantly desire to be affirmed instead of seeking only to be affirmed by You who love me in spite of my many shortcomings.

You O Lord have changed me and opened my eyes to see that true love and happiness comes from embracing my cross and sacrifice for love of others. Jesus my Saviour be my ever guiding light, as I lead all whom You entrust me with, into Your Kingdom. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 18:18-20

My enemies are digging a pit for me

‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’

Listen to me, O Lord,

hear what my adversaries are saying.

Should evil be returned for good?

For they are digging a pit for me.

Remember how I stood in your presence

to plead on their behalf,

to turn your wrath away from them.

Gospel

Matthew 20:17-28

They will condemn the Son of Man to death

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’

    Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

    When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’


Hypocrisy is often seen more of a condition rather than the evil that it is. And those who are gullible are easily led away from the actual truth by the hypocrisy of those they follow. It is ironic that those who identify others as hypocrites are often hypocrites themselves! Jesus our Lord calls out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes in today’s Gospel and will He not do the same for ‘Christians’ who are blinded by their own version of the truth, especially those who are in some form of authority?

Let us ask ourselves this day, do we often fail to understand the spirit of the law; that is the intent for which it is written and instead follow the letter of the law at times imposing greater restrictions than necessary? In all that we say and do are we bringing Glory to God our Heavenly Father? Do we lead others to closer to Jesus by our words, actions and every fibre of our being?

In today’s context how are we helping the elderly and sick to either attend the Eucharistic Celebration virtually or otherwise? Are we looking into how they can receive Jesus in the sacraments often, if not at least from time to time? How are we who are not in healthcare per se offering to help with the needs of the sick in these trying times? How have we extended our hands and feet in helping our parishes so that many more can return to Church? Or help in forming neighbourhood groups so that the communities of Christ Jesus our Lord, can remain grounded in His Word and live out their lives with His love, peace and joy in their hearts.

Open our hearts and minds to live more fully in Your love Lord, and let Your Word be a lamp unto our feet. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 1:10,16-20

Cease to do evil; learn to do good

Hear the word of the Lord,

you rulers of Sodom;

listen to the command of our God,

you people of Gomorrah.

‘Wash, make yourselves clean.

Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.

Cease to do evil.

Learn to do good,

search for justice,

help the oppressed,

be just to the orphan,

plead for the widow.

‘Come now, let us talk this over,

says the Lord.

Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

they shall be like wool.

‘If you are willing to obey,

you shall eat the good things of the earth.

But if you persist in rebellion,

the sword shall eat you instead.’

Gospel

Matthew 23:1-12

They do not practise what they preach

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

    ‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’


We must acknowledge we have sinned before our merciful and ever loving Lord so that we can live free and fully in His love. For sin, guilt and shame only weighs us down.

So when was the last time you had gone for the sacrament of reconciliation my dear sisters and brothers in Christ?

We must rightfully ask one another this question so as to encourage one another to go and be made right before the Lord our God! For loving one another also means asking such difficult questions of one another. And if we ourselves are asked this then we should not take offence for it is fraternal love that begs the question.  How else can we hope to be compassionate as our Heavenly Father is compassionate?

For many of our sins stems from us NOT being compassionate with one another especially those outside of our inner circles! We expect mercy but are far from merciful ourselves! Lord Jesus have mercy on us and teach us how to be merciful and loving like You.

Father, let me call Thee Father, ‘Tis Thy child returns to Thee. Amen

First reading

Daniel 9:4-10

Yours is the integrity, Lord; ours the shame

O Lord, God great and to be feared, you keep the covenant and have kindness for those who love you and keep your commandments: we have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly, we have betrayed your commandments and your ordinances and turned away from them. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Integrity, Lord, is yours; ours the look of shame we wear today, we, the people of Judah, the citizens of Jerusalem, the whole of Israel, near and far away, in every country to which you have dispersed us because of the treason we have committed against you. To us, Lord, the look of shame belongs, to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God mercy and pardon belong, because we have betrayed him, and have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God nor followed the laws he has given us through his servants the prophets.

Gospel

Luke 6:36-38

Grant pardon, and you will be pardoned

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’


Yes Lord I am Yours and I Love You above all. I love You more than my inclinations towards sin. I love You above all who are closest and dearest to my heart. Yet Lord I am far from perfect and too often fall short. I am constantly tempted as wanton desires rage within me. When challenged, insulted or simply not allowed to speak my ‘peace’ Pride takes over and I react by lashing out! How then can I ever hope to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect?

You O Lord have opened my eyes to see that the road to perfection is not the destination but in the journey. The narrow road I must take is by way of the cross. And so I am perfected through and in You my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By my faithfulness in knowing and living out Your Word and Will in my life. And loving my neighbour as You have loved me. Who is my neighbour? All… whom God our Father has caused His sun to rise on and the rain to fall! How then can I denigrate a fellow child of God? How can I entertain lustful thoughts over any of His children? How can I not forgive my sister and brother? How can I withhold mercy and love from any of His children? After all I am a fellow child of God so loved by Heavenly Father. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 ·

You will be a people consecrated to the Lord

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God today commands you to observe these laws and customs; you must keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

    ‘You have today made this declaration about the Lord: that he will be your God, but only if you follow his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and listen to his voice. And the Lord has today made this declaration about you: that you will be his very own people as he promised you, but only if you keep all his commandments; then for praise and renown and honour he will set you high above all the nations he has made, and you will be a people consecrated to the Lord, as he promised.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:43-48

Pray for those who persecute you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 26, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Unforgiveness is a sin! It is a poison which spreads. Anger and indignation towards those who irk or have hurt us will only fester and lead us away from the Lord our God. For He withholds His forgiveness, if we withhold our forgiveness of others. It is in our broken nature that we might sin against one another from time to time, but just as our loving Lord readily forgives our sins when we turn back to Him; we must readily forgive one another and seek reconciliation.

How can we say that we are following our Lord’s command to love one another if we refuse to forgive? If we do not see one another as fellow children of God our Heavenly Father. Perhaps we do not realise just how much God our Father loves us both individually and collectively? And that is why we act out and perhaps even fail to love ourselves as we should. How then can we love our brethren? We forget that we are made in the likeness and image of God and created Holy unto Him. Therefore to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy we must be obedient to His Will for us.

Let all I do be Holy unto You my Lord and my God. In my waking or in my sleeping, in my words and in my deeds. Whether I am sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, doing the laundry or working in the office let all I do be Holy unto You. Whether at home, in church or in the street, let everything I say and do be Holy unto You. For I love You Lord and I know You love me. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 18:21-28 ·

I prefer to see the wicked man renounce his wickedness and live

Thus says the Lord:

    ‘If the wicked man renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and honest, he will certainly live; he will not die. All the sins he committed will be forgotten from then on; he shall live because of the integrity he has practised. What! Am I likely to take pleasure in the death of a wicked man – it is the Lord who speaks – and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live?

    ‘But if the upright man renounces his integrity, commits sin, copies the wicked man and practises every kind of filth, is he to live? All the integrity he has practised shall be forgotten from then on; but this is because he himself has broken faith and committed sin, and for this he shall die. But you object, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:20-26

Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

    ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’


O God my Heavenly Father, I do not enter into Your presence through prayer as often as I should, neither do I dwell on Your great love for me; or allow You to embrace me fully with Your grace and love through Your Word.

Had I done all these most fervently I would not be so inward looking or where I am at in my faith today. Praying for Your help only from one crisis to the next. Or to simply battle temptation one after the other and resisting sin and sinful inclinations.

I see more clearly now that I should LIVE fully in Your love according to Your most Holy will for me. This comes naturally when Your Kingdom comes first and You reign in my heart. Then my prayer to You will be One in full Communion with You as I seek to love my brethren into Your Kingdom. You O most loving Heavenly Father will always be by side through it all. Father into Your hands I commend my spirit. Amen 

First reading

Esther 4:17 ·

I am alone, Lord, and have no-one but you

Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words:

‘My Lord, our King, the only one,

come to my help, for I am alone

and have no helper but you

and am about to take my life in my hands.

‘I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family,

that you, Lord, chose

Israel out of all the nations

and our ancestors out of all the people of old times

to be your heritage for ever;

and that you have treated them as you promised.

‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself

in the time of our distress.

‘As for me, give me courage,

King of gods and master of all power.

Put persuasive words into my mouth

when I face the lion;

change his feeling into hatred for our enemy,

that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end.

‘As for ourselves, save us by your hand,

and come to my help, for I am alone

and have no one but you, Lord.’

Gospel

Matthew 7:7-12

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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By now many have already gone back to their routines and way of life. Some have even started turning back to habitual sins and worldly distractions. Why because many think it is personal matter between them and the Lord our God. Lent is an individual journey to conversion. How wrong they are and continue to believe this to be true. Simply let us all dwell upon what does is mean to be One Body in Christ Jesus our Lord? If we are truly One Body in Him, then can we not see how individual sin affects the Body as a whole? That is why it imperative we belong to a community of ‘saints’ in that we are all called to Holiness; and being part of a community of like minded believers helps us to stay on the narrow path. All of the Ninevites (One community who believed in God) repented and God our Father was compassionate and merciful towards them.

‘Only forty days more’ in our case 30+ balance before Easter. But hey did we miss just how much God loves us? He could have easily told Jonah to declare 24hrs before Nineveh is destroyed, but the Lord our God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Let us not take His love for us for granted and use this time He has given us to turn back from sin and draw closer to Him. Let us gaze upon the crucifix that we have and dwell upon the great mercy and love of our and saviour Jesus Christ who died for us so that we may live. Amen

First reading

Jonah 3:1-10 ·

The Ninevites repent, and God spares them

The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’ God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.

Gospel

Luke 11:29-32

As Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be a sign

The crowds got even bigger, and Jesus addressed them:

    ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. 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 Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 23, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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God our Father’s Will for us is that we live life to full in His love, mercy and grace. For He loves with an everlasting and endearing love. We can do so by cooperating with the Holy Spirit who is always ready to guide us as we obey the Lord our God’s commands to love Him with all our heart, mind, strength, soul; and that we must love another as He loved us. With love which is merciful, for mercy is inseparable from love. So then just as He readily forgives us our sins, we must readily forgive those who have sinned against us.

All is made possible through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For the ever living Word of God was made flesh and dwelled among us. Just as He dwells in our midst today, allowing us to enter into His Presence as we get down on our knees to pray. Prayer that stems from our ever growing, deepening relationship with Him. Prayer that surrenders our all into the hands His loving care. Prayer that opens the door of our hearts for Him to enter and dine with us. And as He speaks deep into our heart we are transformed from within and filled with His grace, we are One with Him as He is One with us!

Glory and Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen

Saint Polycarp Pray for us…..

First reading

Isaiah 55:10-11 ·

The word that goes out from my mouth does not return to me empty

Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’

Gospel

Matthew 6:7-15

How to pray

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

‘Our Father in heaven,

may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test,

but save us from the evil one.

‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 22, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today Catholics around the world celebrate the feast day of the Chair of St Peter. It signifies the unity of Holy Mother Church founded upon Peter and the Apostles through Christ our Lord.  Through sacred scripture we can understand the great importance of the role of St Peter as vicar of  Christ for us and the sacredness of Apostolic succession.

Jesus did not choose pure, perfect, unblemished and highly educated men to be sent His Apostles; to be His light in the world. St Peter and most of his companions were simple ordinary fishermen made extraordinary through the power and authority of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who died for our sins. After His resurrection the Apostles were led by the Holy Spirit to become great fishers of men for God our Father’s Kingdom.

The same Holy Spirit guides Holy Mother Church this day and so the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.  Therefore we must honour our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by pledging our allegiance to Holy father Pope Francis who bears his cross and sits in St Peter’s chair to lead us our Good Shepherd’s flock.

Let us pray one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be for him and his intentions…..Amen

First reading

1 Peter 5:1-4 ·

Watch over the flock, not simply as a duty but gladly

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

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church

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


Do we realised just how Blessed we are to have an ever loving and merciful God? That He our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ looks not on our sins but into deep into our hearts and sees the powerful instrument of His grace that we can become! And He sees this in ALL of us not any special select few.

That said let us see how it would be like if the Lord looked at us the way we look at others. “He will never change why bother?” “She is what she is! Just let her be” “Uncouth, vulgar leave him be!” “He should get a job instead of just sitting around begging” “She is a divorcee how dare she serve as communion minister” You and I very well know that the lists is far too long and if Christ looked upon us the way we do others, then what hope do we have? We look upon the imperfections of others as though we were perfect. While He who is perfect looks upon us, as the perfection we can be through Him.

That is why He called Levi to follow Him, just as He is calling each and everyone of us to do likewise. So that leaving our past behind us to follow Him, we experience God our Father’s love for us to the full; and having experienced His love we can look upon others with the same merciful and loving eyes. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 58:9-14

You will be like a spring whose waters never run dry

The Lord says this:

If you do away with the yoke,

the clenched fist, the wicked word,

if you give your bread to the hungry,

and relief to the oppressed,

your light will rise in the darkness,

and your shadows become like noon.

The Lord will always guide you,

giving you relief in desert places.

He will give strength to your bones

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water

whose waters never run dry.

You will rebuild the ancient ruins,

build up on the old foundations.

You will be called ‘Breach-mender’,

‘Restorer of ruined houses.’

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,

and doing business on the holy day,

if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’,

and the day sacred to the Lord ‘Honourable’,

if you honour it by abstaining from travel,

from doing business and from gossip,

then shall you find your happiness in the Lord

and I will lead you triumphant over the heights of the land.

I will feed you on the heritage of Jacob your father.

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Gospel

Luke 5:27-32

Jesus comes not to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him.

    In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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I fast during this period of Lent not because I want to lose much needed weight. Not because I want to impress anyone of my sheer will and determination by doing so for my faith. Nor do I do it for my Lord who gains nothing from my fast!

I fast because I am truly sorry for all my sins especially for falling back too often into habitual sins. While I am indeed very sorry for all that I have done, I am more sorry for all that I have failed to do. For failing to see and help the hungry, the oppressed, the sick, and those in most need of mercy and love. I fast to renounce and empty myself of all that is not of my Lord, so that He may fill me with His grace and allow me to love as He loves. To be merciful as He is merciful. I am waiting eagerly for my bridegroom this Lent to return and dwell in my home for all eternity.

I therefore fast not just from food, drink or both but from anger, impatience, empty pride, from all that takes my attention and focus away from my Lord. So that I may hunger and thirst for souls who are in need of His mercy and love. I therefore fast not just for myself but for my family, ministry, community and Church. So that together our hearts will be transformed, filled with such compassion and love; that we may carry out corporal and spiritual acts of mercy in His Holy name. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 58:1-9 ·

The sort of fast that pleases me

Thus says the Lord:

Shout for all you are worth,

    raise your voice like a trumpet.

Proclaim their faults to my people,

    their sins to the House of Jacob.

They seek me day after day,

    they long to know my ways,

like a nation that wants to act with integrity

    and not ignore the law of its God.

They ask me for laws that are just,

    they long for God to draw near:

‘Why should we fast if you never see it,

    why do penance if you never notice?’

Look, you do business on your fast-days,

    you oppress all your workmen;

look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast

    and strike the poor man with your fist.

Fasting like yours today

    will never make your voice heard on high.

Is that the sort of fast that pleases me,

    a truly penitential day for men?

Hanging your head like a reed,

    lying down on sackcloth and ashes?

Is that what you call fasting,

    a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me

 – it is the Lord who speaks –

to break unjust fetters and

    undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

    and break every yoke,

to share your bread with the hungry,

    and shelter the homeless poor,

to clothe the man you see to be naked

    and not turn from your own kin?

Then will your light shine like the dawn

    and your wound be quickly healed over.

Your integrity will go before you

    and the glory of the Lord behind you.

Cry, and the Lord will answer;

    call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:14-15

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

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


Love, 2010, by Larry Cole © Larry Cole Art

“Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” This Lord is Your invitation Lord for me to love and be loved in and through You. For You O Lord are LOVE!

Why have I been so reluctant in the past to take up Your offer? Was it fear of losing my autonomy? Was it fear that I was expected to experience some form of horrible death as You did upon the cross? Was is fear of losing my little enjoyments and pleasures? Fear of this and of that! Was it simply FEAR that prevented me from entering into a deeper relationship with You?

You O Lord had spoken lovingly and ever so often in Your Word telling me each time “Do not fear…”

‘Do not fear for I am with You, do not fear only believe, do not fear little flock.’ And so the truth Lord is that I did not trust You enough to surrender to Your endearing love for me.

I was a fool for going my own way Lord, for there is nothing more fulfilling then falling deeply into Your loving embrace when I renounce myself, take up my cross and follow You. I know now that as I live in the world,  this is not a one time thing but a daily decision.

I have decided this day and every day to trust and follow You, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ·

I set before you today life or death, blessing or curse

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

Gospel

Luke 9:22-25

Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it

Jesus said to his disciples:

    ‘The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

    Then to all he said:

    ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?’

Ash Wednesday (OTG)

Posted: February 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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O what a drag! Day of Ashes is here again so what? Not even a day of obligation but folks still rush to book for a slot at Mass! To go up and this time round get dirt sprinkled over you? Can’t you get dirty on your own? And why oh why do you have to torture yourself by starving???

Familiar yet somewhat distant voices seem to be taunting our faith and our very Catholic tradition? And here is the thing are we offended? Could the voices be familiar because they were our very own before we began to truly understand?

That today marks the day that we as one Body in Him respond to our Lord’s call to repentance, for God our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom is at hand. We are saying Yes to the invitation and opportunity to be fully reconciled with Him by embarking on this spiritual journey to listen more fully with all our hearts, minds and souls. We observe a fast to show the seriousness of our intent, a physical response of an inward spiritual desire to grow in Holiness; by emptying ourselves to all that is worldly so as to await the Heavenly Graces that will surely be poured out into us. For the Lord assures us that He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night will yield fruit in due season.

So sisters and brothers let us keep one another in prayer as we embark on this Blessed journey together, keeping in mind that our Lenten observances are to lead us more deeply and wonderfully into the light of the resurrection of our and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Glory and Praise to our Lord!

First reading

Joel 2:12-18 ·

Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn

‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –

come back to me with all your heart,

fasting, weeping, mourning.’

Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn,

turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, and ready to relent.

Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent,

will not leave a blessing as he passes, oblation and libation

for the Lord your God?

Sound the trumpet in Zion!

Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, call the people together,

summon the community assemble the elders, gather the children,

even the infants at the breast.

Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom and the bride her alcove.

Between vestibule and altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, lament.

Let them say, ‘Spare your people, Lord!

Do not make your heritage a thing of shame, a byword for the nations.

Why should it be said among the nations, “Where is their God?”’

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

Second reading

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

Be reconciled to God

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

Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

    ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

    ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 16, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Even as Christians trying our best to live out the Gospel values in our lives we sometimes fall enter into sin. If we do nothing and allow our sinfulness to fester, it will eventually spread to other areas of our lives and take control. This happens even if we are convinced that we did nothing terribly wrong and feel no guilt or shame. Though many will have retain some control and not fall into great wickedness through evil deeds that leads to destruction; the greatest travesty is losing the Lord our God’s presence in our lives.  What about the unbelievers then? Whom can they turn to? Who can help them out of the darkness they live in?

That is why we should never forget the gift of our baptism. How we were cleansed, purified and set free to live as God our Father’s children. And as His beloved children we entered into a deep personal relationship with God our Heavenly Father, through His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who reconciles us all unto Him. How many then have we led to the waters of baptism? How many have we helped enter into sonship and daughterhood with our ever loving Father in Heaven? How many are we journeying with and leading into the Ark of the eternal covenant? So that they too will experience the peace, love and joy of living in His presence this day and for all eternity. 

We are also reminded this day to be wary of anyone who preaches a different Gospel from that of our Lord Jesus. And to those who modify and create perverse traditions that leads people further from the truth to be found in Christ alone. Importantly in this trying times of the pandemic, let also not fall into some form of ‘sanitised’ spirituality.  Where we live in fear of touching someone who needs to be touched or held. Where we do nothing for the sick, the homeless and the poor. Where we forget about those who are deprived of the Sacraments for longer than necessary? We can do so much more with all precautionary measures taken and put in place but fail to do so because it is too much of a hassle!

My Lord and my God, grant us the wisdom and grace to build a bigger Ark, so that we can courageously lead more into Your presence and loving embrace. Amen

First reading

Genesis 6:5-8,7:1-5,10

Noah’s Ark

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that the thoughts in his heart fashioned nothing but wickedness all day long. The Lord regretted having made man on the earth, and his heart grieved. ‘I will rid the earth’s face of man, my own creation,’ the Lord said ‘and of animals also, reptiles too, and the birds of heaven; for I regret having made them.’ But Noah had found favour with the Lord.

    The Lord said to Noah, ‘Go aboard the ark, you and all your household, for you alone among this generation do I see as a good man in my judgement. Of all the clean animals you must take seven of each kind, both male and female; of the unclean animals you must take two, a male and its female (and of the birds of heaven also, seven of each kind, both male and female), to propagate their kind over the whole earth. For in seven days’ time I mean to make it rain on the earth for forty days and nights, and I will rid the earth of every living thing that I made.’ Noah did all that the Lord ordered.

    Seven days later the waters of the flood appeared on the earth.

Gospel

Mark 8:14-21

Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod

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


What do we offer to the Lord the God this day and every day from the work of our hands? For if we are faithful to Him we know that He needs absolutely nothing from us, yet we do so because of love for Him and by extension for one another. Our offerings to Him stems from the loving relationship we have with Him. If we give fully from our heart then whatever we offer up is blessed  indeed. We will not look to see what others offer or how they are received. For we only look to being One with our Heavenly Father.

By our baptism we have an indelible mark upon us. We belong to God our Heavenly Father. And so are we loving one another as we should? Do we even recognise one another as fellow children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him? If we say that we do then how is it that we are so often harsh with our words, at times even crude and vulgar? Has our actions towards and for one another always be loving in every aspect?

How do we expect to see signs and wonders from the Lord our God when we are not loving others into His Kingdom? When we are fearful of sharing His Gospel with others? How will anyone see the greatest sign of God’s love, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when He does not dwell in us?

Jesus my Lord, make me a living testimony of Your love for all. Come dwell in me as I carry my cross to follow You. Here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Genesis 4:1-15,25

The mark of Cain

The man had intercourse with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. ‘I have acquired a man with the help of the Lord’ she said. She gave birth to a second child, Abel, the brother of Cain. Now Abel became a shepherd and kept flocks, while Cain tilled the soil. Time passed and Cain brought some of the produce of the soil as an offering for the Lord, while Abel for his part brought the first-born of his flock and some of their fat as well. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering. But he did not look with favour on Cain and his offering, and Cain was very angry and downcast. The Lord asked Cain, ‘Why are you angry and downcast? If you are well disposed, ought you not to lift up your head? But if you are ill disposed, is not sin at the door like a crouching beast hungering for you, which you must master?’ Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out’; and while they were in the open country, Cain set on his brother Abel and killed him.

    The Lord asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I do not know’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s guardian?’ ‘What have you done?’ the Lord asked. ‘Listen to the sound of your brother’s blood, crying out to me from the ground. Now be accursed and driven from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood at your hands. When you till the ground it shall no longer yield you any of its produce. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth.’ Then Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear. See! Today you drive me from this ground. I must hide from you, and be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth. Why, whoever comes across me will kill me!’ ‘Very well, then,’ the Lord replied ‘if anyone kills Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be taken for him.’ So the Lord put a mark on Cain, to prevent whoever might come across him from striking him down.

    Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth, ‘because God has granted me other offspring’ she said ‘in place of Abel, since Cain has killed him.’

Gospel

Mark 8:11-13

No sign shall be given to this generation

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