Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts & Reflections’ Category

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 27, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The Lord sees into our hearts and He knows what we have done and what we have failed to do. Still His mercy and love abounds and He will judge us fairly, often giving us opportunities to live and grow otherwise forfeited by our own actions for having sinned against Him. And we must resist the anxious voices of even those closest to us to take immediate action on matters which goes against trust and obedience to the Lord our God.

For unless we have complete faith and trust in our Lord and choose the narrow road which He sets before us; we might find ourselves still able to perform many wonderful things in His name simply because we are doing them for His children’s sake but we ourselves might not enter His Kingdom. Our hearts must be changed inwardly that we desire always to hear His Word and Will for us. For there will always be the temptation to conform to the standards of the World, which demands we do NOT waste precious time on things which we cannot see or touch! Like time for prayer, quiet time to contemplate scripture, adoration, sharing of the Word and so on. Whose Will be done then?

Lord I hear You call my name, I have come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Genesis 16:1-12,15-16 ·
Hagar bears Abram a son

Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no child, but she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, ‘Listen, now! Since the Lord has kept me from having children, go to my slave-girl. Perhaps I shall get children through her.’ Abram agreed to what Sarai had said.
Thus after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years Sarai took Hagar her Egyptian slave-girl and gave her to Abram as his wife. He went to Hagar and she conceived. And once she knew she had conceived, her mistress counted for nothing in her eyes. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘May this insult to me come home to you! It was I who put my slave-girl into your arms but now she knows that she has conceived, I count for nothing in her eyes. Let the Lord judge between me and you.’ ‘Very well,’ Abram said to Sarai ‘your slave-girl is at your disposal. Treat her as you think fit.’ Sarai accordingly treated her so badly that she ran away from her.
The angel of the Lord met her near a spring in the wilderness, the spring that is on the road to Shur. He said, ‘Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ ‘I am running away from my mistress Sarai’ she replied. The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.’ The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘I will make your descendants too numerous to be counted.’ Then the angel of the Lord said to her:

‘Now you have conceived, and you will bear a son and you shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard your cries of distress.
A wild-ass of a man he will be,
against every man, and every man against him, setting himself to defy all his brothers.’

Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave to the son that Hagar bore the name Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Gospel

Matthew 7:21-29
The wise man built his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!
‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 26, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Whether we like it or not many are watching our every move, how we dress, how we speak and what we do. Why do you think Social media is so popular? Because the world can glimpse into our own personal lives and either ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ what they see. Yes unless of course we have certain privacy settings on. Regardless whether on or offline the fact remains that people are watching and it is simply a fact not some conspiracy theory. More so if you are a leader of sorts, because they hang on your every word. So then what fruits will they see? Yes they and not what we see in ourselves. For many boasts about their accomplishments though very little is actually done for the Lord and there are those who do not boast at all yet have done much in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ. We might think of ourselves as fruitful, though that counts for nothing unless everyone else are witnesses to the fruits we bear for our Lord.

Will they see in us our faithfulness and constant drive to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy;such that it inspires them to do likewise? Or when they see the joy and peace on our faces because the joy of the Gospel is at the very centre of our lives; will they not be moved to do the same? By our loving care for the those in need spiritually or physically challenged we bring the hope and peace of Christ into their lives; are these not the fruits we bear for the Lord profess we love?

Merciful Lord and saviour You have been faithful in fulfilling all Your Promises. Let my love for You shown in the fruits I bear speak of my own faithfulness to You. Amen

First reading

Genesis 15:1-12,17-18 ·
Count the stars: such shall be your descendants

It happened that the word of the Lord was spoken to Abram in a vision, ‘Have no fear, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great.’
‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘what do you intend to give me? I go childless…’ Then Abram said, ‘See, you have given me no descendants; some man of my household will be my heir.’ And then this word of the Lord was spoken to him, ‘He shall not be your heir; your heir shall be of your own flesh and blood.’ Then taking him outside he said, ‘Look up to heaven and count the stars if you can. Such will be your descendants’ he told him. Abram put his faith in the Lord, who counted this as making him justified.
‘I am the Lord’ he said to him ‘who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to make you heir to this land.’ ‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘how am I to know that I shall inherit it?’ He said to him, ‘Get me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.’ He brought him all these, cut them in half and put half on one side and half facing it on the other; but the birds he did not cut in half. Birds of prey came down on the carcases but Abram drove them off.
Now as the sun was setting Abram fell into a deep sleep, and terror seized him. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, there appeared a smoking furnace and a firebrand that went between the halves. That day the Lord made a Covenant with Abram in these terms:

‘To your descendants I give this land, from the wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the river Euphrates.’

Gospel

Matthew 7:15-20
You will be able to tell them by their fruits

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 25, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

God is faithful to those who are faithful and obedient unto Him. He provides for and in abundance according to the choices we make to follow His will for us. But the greatest reward of all, is simply to have a deep and meaningful relationship with Him. For in that deep and loving relationship our life is complete and lived to the full. We shall not need neither shall we want.

To enter into that relationship however takes sacrifice, discipline and committment. It requires that we sometimes have to make difficult choices not to follow the status quo in order to follow Him and His way. For instance it may seem like a good idea to have a couple of drinks to loosen inhibitions so as to have a more open discussion at our church meetings, really? Can the Holy Spirit not illumine minds to have such open discussions if you call upon Him? (Eph 5:8) All we need is the Lord our God! There are many other paths we might choose, to cut corners, to shorten prayer time, shorten or even take away time for reflection, Adoration and so on. All in the ‘spirit’ of efficiency and moving things along. Is the Lord in charge then of our lives or have we decided that we know better? The road to perdition is indeed wide and many take it! Let us instead choose the narrow the gate in which the Holy Spirit directs us to take, even if it is hard rocky road ahead. For the end destination is what matters. How wonderful that we will find the Lord at the very end of it.

Lord Jesus guide my steps always. Amen

First reading

Genesis 13:2,5-18 ·
Abram settles in the land of Canaan and builds an altar to the Lord

Abram was a very rich man, with livestock, silver and gold. Lot, who was travelling with Abram, had flocks and cattle of his own, and tents too. The land was not sufficient to accommodate them both at once, for they had too many possessions to be able to live together. Dispute broke out between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and those of Lot’s. (The Canaanites and the Perizzites were then living in the land.) Accordingly Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no dispute between me and you, nor between my herdsmen and yours, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land open before you? Part company with me: if you take the left, I will go right; if you take the right, I will go left.’
Looking round, Lot saw all the Jordan plain, irrigated everywhere – this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – like the garden of the Lord or the land of Egypt, as far as Zoar. So Lot chose all the Jordan plain for himself and moved off eastwards. Thus they parted company: Abram settled in the land of Canaan; Lot settled among the towns of the plain, pitching his tents on the outskirts of Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were vicious men, great sinners against the Lord.
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted company with him, ‘Look all round from where you are towards the north and the south, towards the east and the west. All the land within sight I will give to you and your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants like the dust on the ground: when men succeed in counting the specks of dust on the ground, then they will be able to count your descendants! Come, travel through the length and breadth of the land, for I mean to give it to you.’
So Abram went with his tents to settle at the Oak of Mamre, at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 7:6,12-14
Treat others as you would like them to treat you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.
‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.
‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 24, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Today on the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist we should call to mind our own birth, our birthright as children of God our Father. Our call to Holiness and the unique calling for each of one of us to share the message of salvation to all; that Christ Jesus our Lord is the light for all nations and He alone will lead us all into the Kingdom of Heaven.

St John the Baptist greatest of all prophets laid down his life for the Glory of the Lord our God. He prepared the way for our Lord Jesus Christ by turning the hearts of men back to the Lord our God, as he preached repentance and initiated such a baptism as an outward sign and declaration of the willingness of those who desired to make straight their paths. A response to the call of our God put into action.

And so today we reflect on our similar calling to that of St John the Baptist. To be courageous beacons of light for Christ our Lord and Saviour. While not all of us will be called to share in His martyrdom for Christ, we are all called to die to ourselves, our wants, our concupiscence, to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. And to lead the many children who have strayed back to Him. 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.’

Second reading

Acts 13:22-26
Jesus, whose coming was heralded by John

Paul said: ‘God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’

Gospel

Luke 1:57-66,80
‘His name is John’

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

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

Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.

Discipleship

Posted: June 22, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 22, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

The higher we rise up in leadership in our church the humbler we must be. For men and women chosen by the Lord our God know in their hearts that all they have comes from Him alone. We must acknowledge our limitations, be aware of our shortfalls and allow Jesus our Lord to fill in the gaps. We embrace our sufferings and pains for Christ as a necessary means to grow in Holiness and offer them up for His flock and for His glory.

Everything we will ever need for our misson to share the joy of the Gospel, His mercy and love will be provided for by our Heavenly Father. All necessary graces we will receive from our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. The Lord indeed is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 †
‘My power is at its best in weakness’

Must I go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it? But I will move on to the visions and revelations I have had from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up – whether still in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – right into the third heaven. I do know, however, that this same person – whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – was caught up into paradise and heard things which must not and cannot be put into human language. I will boast about a man like that, but not about anything of my own except my weaknesses. If I should decide to boast, I should not be made to look foolish, because I should only be speaking the truth; but I am not going to, in case anyone should begin to think I am better than he can actually see and hear me to be.
In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.

Gospel

Matthew 6:24-34
Do not worry about tomorrow: your holy Father knows your needs

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 21, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Too often we complain about the hardships we face at work and at home. About the stubbornness and laziness of everyone else. Even about the many tasks we have to get done if we are serving in Church and the challenges we face in getting help to accomplish them. How much of all these bring glory to God? How much of it brings the love and joy of the Gospel to the folks around us? How does the light of Christ shine through us in all of it?

If we truly love our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we know that His abounding love for us never ends;and so there will be no obstacles or challenges too great to overcome. No pain or suffering too heavy for us to bear for His glory. How many sanely folks will boast about their afflictions, the pain and sufferings they endured for a God that others cannot grasp or comprehend let alone see with their own eyes? Yet the sanely wants have been the Saints that have gone before us. They bore their crosses and followed Jesus to the very end. Their treasure is to be found in the Kingdom of God and they have received their Heavenly inheritance.

My treasure is to be found in You Lord Jesus and so I offer you my heart, mind and soul. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 11:18,21-30
If I am to boast, let me boast of my own feebleness

So many others have been boasting of their worldly achievements, that I will boast myself. But if anyone wants some brazen speaking – I am still talking as a fool – then I can be as brazen as any of them, and about the same things. Hebrews, are they? So am I. Israelites? So am I. Descendants of Abraham? So am I. The servants of Christ? I must be mad to say this, but so am I, and more than they: more, because I have worked harder, I have been sent to prison more often, and whipped many times more, often almost to death. Five times I had the thirty-nine lashes from the Jews; three times I have been beaten with sticks; once I was stoned; three times I have been shipwrecked and once adrift in the open sea for a night and a day. Constantly travelling, I have been in danger from rivers and in danger from brigands, in danger from my own people and in danger from pagans; in danger in the towns, in danger in the open country, danger at sea and danger from so-called brothers. I have worked and laboured, often without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty and often starving; I have been in the cold without clothes. And, to leave out much more, there is my daily preoccupation: my anxiety for all the churches. When any man has had scruples, I have had scruples with him; when any man is made to fall, I am tortured.
If I am to boast, then let me boast of my own feebleness.

Gospel

Matthew 6:19-23
Store up treasure for yourselves in heaven

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!’