Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts & Reflections’ Category


How wonderful it must have been to be born without sin. To walk with the Lord our God in Holiness, joy and peace in our hearts. Instead of aspiring to achieve greater holiness through fidelity, we turned our eyes instead to that we were explicitly told to avoid. In choosing so we severed our connection to the vine, the source of life.

In His great mercy and love for us, God our Father through His infinite grace; chose a young girl to be born without sin so that she might bear His only begotten Son, the light and hope of all into the world. The same free Will was accorded to our Blessed Mother and she chose fidelity to God over all else. By her faithfulness, she brought forth the Saviour of the world, who will reconcile all God our Father’s children to Himself. The vine and the branches become One as it should be.

All of us have a choice to make this Second holy week of Advent, do we go about our merry way as we have always done so? Or do we seek to be fully reconciled so as to grow in Holiness, to have a complete change of heart through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. To prepare room in our hearts for the indwelling of our Lord and Saviour. Amen

Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us….

First reading

Genesis 3:9-15,20 ·
‘The offspring of the woman will crush your head’

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

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

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

Second reading

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

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

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.

Discipleship

Posted: December 8, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Here are my thoughts on what discipleship is about and how I struggle to live it out…. The first letter of each line spells out the word discipleship.


This year’s LISS (life in the spirit seminar) journey has given me a new perspective on Today’s first reading and Gospel.

In order for conversion of hearts there must be repentance first before God’s grace can flow. And so the bread of suffering and water of distress teaches us the effects of sin in our lives. How lost we were without our Lord in our lives. Then when we cry out to the Lord for mercy, He comes swiftly to heal, restore and nourish us. In the early weeks of the LISS, participants learn of just how much God our Father loves each and everyone of them. They begin to see how disordered their lives had become by not placing our Lord above all. Slowly but surely His grace begins to flow into their lives as they move towards full reconciliation with the Lord their God. They are then ready for the full outpouring of His love and grace through the Holy Spirit.

The LISS team and facilitators are the labourers! And the labourers are indeed few! Who wants to be a labourer? One who has to be invested and committed every week for nine weeks. To journey with, hand hold, pray fervently for and with the flock entrusted to their care. So that they can have a deep conversion experience, encounter the Lord in all His glory and become disciples (labourers) themselves. It is truly a labour of love! So then can such a labourer check their schedules to pick and choose when she or he is available to the flock? Yes Lord send me… But in my own time please? What I will and will not do? You receive without charge, give without charge! In other words no pre-conditions! Love freely and unconditionally. Only then we will see the fruits of our labour through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here I am Lord send me! Amen

First reading

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

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

Gospel

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 6, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: , , ,

Jesus loves you and me personally. As we journey on towards the second week of Advent let our hearts be filled with hope. For our Lord wants to restore what is lost, to heal us and fill the void in our lives. Jesus is never deaf nor blind to our pleas and He will surely answer us when we call out to Him in faith.

Let us no longer grope and stumble in darkness nor cling to our sordid past. Hear His call to holiness as He commands us to open our eyes to see the light of our faith. Let us gaze upon His glory as we bear His light to all we meet, illuminating the way to Him.

Open my eyes to see You Lord, open my ears to hear You, open my heart to feel You, open my lips to praise You. Let me glorify You by my hands and feet. Amen

First reading

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

The Lord says this:

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

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

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

Gospel

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 5, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

I have often pondered why certain ministries, communities even families do not grow in love, unity and simply go about serving with little happiness rather than joy in their hearts. The reason as I see it, is that there is too much individualism going on and everyone builds their own sandcastles. Some bigger and more intricate than others depending on their own strengths and talents. Prayer if any are devotionals so that little thought or effort goes into conversing with God. They will definitely pray a little more when they or someone dear to them is in dire need. Collective prayer is not their cup of tea and Adoration of our Lord is a private affair. They do not see the need to attend prayer meetings and reflections choosing to remain with what is comfortable for them. All it takes is a gale of wind in the form of change, challenges, disagreement and so on; and everything crumbles to dust!

Disciples come together first and foremost to praise and worship the Lord their God. Their prayers are primarily of thanksgiving and heartfelt gratitude. They pray and often together to discern His Will for them. If they build, they build upon their Rock, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And it is His Kingdom alone they seek to build. If they build ‘Castles’ at all, it is only to protect the weak, those who cannot fend for themselves against evil. They serve one and all with much, joy, peace and love. Most of all with great charity and mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ You are my Rock, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 26:1-6 ·

Open the gates; let the upright nation come in

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

Gospel

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

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


O Loving Father in Heaven, great is Your love for us that You Will that we be with You forever. We give You our heartfelt thanks for Jesus Your Son whom You sent to atone for and liberate us from our sins though He was sinless. A victim of our sins sacrificed that we might be fully reconciled to have new life with You. Divinity came down to touch humanity, to carry it lovingly up to Heaven. Where we will rejoice forever at the Heavenly Banquet that awaits us. How great are You O Lord my God!

Our life began at birth and You O Lord watched us grow to maturity, providing us with all that we needed for nourishment, sustenance that we might grow strong to live in Your love, to love and serve our brethren. Likewise in our Spiritual life! Spiritual birth is given by our Baptism, growth to spiritual maturity is given by Confirmation, and spiritual nourishment is given by the Holy Eucharist. For our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ did not leave us orphans, He devised a way for us to share in His humanity as well as His divinity till one day soon we are fully united with Him in Heaven. Till then we have a foretaste of the eternal banquet. How great are You O Lord my God!

O Sacrament most Holy, O Sacrament Divine! All praise and all Thanksgiving be every moment Thine! Amen alleluia

First reading

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

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

Gospel

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

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


Oh how I’d imagine the lush beauty of the garden of Eden! Vibrant colours all around me, flowers, plants, trees of every magnificent stature reaching to the sky. Waterfalls and wellsprings positioned by the master architect intricately beautified by greenery, rock formations, even rainbows. Abundant fruits, vegetation and meat. Peace, love, joy in my heart with perfect union with my other half and the Lord my God. Why would it not be enough? Why was it not enough father Adam? mother Eve?

Lord let me hear you say to me, sinner that I am turning to you with all my heart, “Son this very day you will be with me in paradise.” For I want nothing more than to be with You my Lord and my God. To have Your peace and love reign in my heart. True joy abounds when You Lord dwell within me. If only all should desire You the way I do this very day, then surely we will all already be in paradise. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done. Now and forever. Amen

St Francis Xavier pray for us….

First reading

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel

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

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