Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts & Reflections’ Category


Have you prepared your farewell speech before passing on? Would you even have to? Or would the way you lived your life speak volumes for you? Have you glorified the Lord Your God by your life? Have you suffered for Christ’s namesake? Or has it only been about you and your own sufferings? How many souls have You saved? How many strays have you brought back home to God Your Heavenly Father? How many have experienced your acts of love and mercy?

Jesus loves and prays for you. He wants you to be the best version of yourself for you and for others. Listen to Him speaking to you in today’s Gospel. Replace the word ‘them’ with your own name and see just how much the Lord our God loves you! Amen

St Philip Neri pray for us….

First reading

Acts 20:17-27 ·
I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose

From Miletus Paul sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them:
‘You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you, and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus.
‘And now you see me a prisoner already in spirit; I am on my way to Jerusalem, but have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear enough that imprisonment and persecution await me. But life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.
‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.’

Gospel

John 17:1-11
Father, it is time for you to glorify me

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son
so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.
And eternal life is this: to know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do.
Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me
with that glory I had with you before ever the world was.
I have made your name known to the men you took from the world to give me.
They were yours and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you; for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.
I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me,
because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified.
I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.’


Jesus has conquered the world! Do we realise how awesome this is and what it means for us? Yes we have it in mind that Jesus died for us to save us from sins and that we have hope of eternal life with Him. However we often overlook the fact that because Jesus conquered the world, we too can conquer the world through Him! This means we can live fully liberated in His love and in the spirit of truth.Our call then as children of God our Father is to live Holy chaste lives. While not all of us will be chosen to have anointed venerable hands like our shepherds in Holy orders; we are all chosen people, a royal priesthood! And so are called to lead others into a deeper conversion, by their repentance and reconciliation to God our Heavenly Father. Those of us who are willing to sacrifice for our Lord’s namesake and for our brethren will be given the grace to lay hands amongst other things. For our Lord promised “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.” John 14:12 Amen

First reading

Acts 19:1-8 ·
The moment Paul laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on themWhile Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ they answered, ‘No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.’ ‘Then how were you baptised?’ he asked. ‘With John’s baptism’ they replied. ‘John’s baptism’ said Paul ‘was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him – in other words, Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of these men.
He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months.

Gospel

John 16:29-33
Be brave, for I have conquered the worldHis disciples said to Jesus, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using metaphors! Now we see that you know everything, and do not have to wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them:‘Do you believe at last?
Listen; the time will come – in fact it has come already – when you will be scattered,
each going his own way and leaving me alone.
And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world.’


I believe my biggest misconception was that I needed to ‘do’ certain things and wait for an appropriate date and time for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in order to experience a renewal or a more in depth faith experience. When in actual fact it has always been about my very own personal relationship with the Lord my God. I had already received the Holy Spirit at my baptism where I was confirmed a child of God our Father for all eternity. Through prayer and knowing His will for me through His Word, I am living in the Spirit. And so if there are times when I lack the confidence to share about a certain faith topic, reading, or faith formation, I simply pray for guidance from the Holy spirit and start speaking. He will take all I had prepared to yet another level! He fills the gaps and the void.So sisters and brothers in Christ let us start this very day in building and strengthening our relationship with our one triune God; through constant prayer, scripture and being docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to put mercy and love in action for the least of our brethren. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:23-28 ·
Apollos demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the ChristPaul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.
An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.
When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel

John 16:23-28
The Father loves you for loving me and believing that I came from GodJesus said to his disciples:‘I tell you most solemnly,
anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.
I have been telling you all this in metaphors,
the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors; but tell you about the Father in plain words.
When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I leave the world to go to the Father.’


Why do we allow ourselves to be silenced when sharing the joy of our faith with others? Especially with family members? I am not suggesting that we should ‘force’ them to listen when they shut their ears. But why are we even reluctant to try or even proceed with the norms of our very own homes when we have guests? What do I mean? Well for instance if we decided to invite folks over for a dinner in our homes for Easter and the guests include a few who are not Christians or are Christians of a different denomination. Why are many uncomfortable to proceed with grace before meals? And if they do decide to pray, why do they not begin with the sign of the cross? Why are they unwilling to share the joy of having the risen Lord in their lives in conversation or to share why is Easter special and why do we celebrate it over fifty days??Is the same Risen Lord not present with us today as He was with St Paul? Why are we fearful of being seen as Holy? Are we afraid that by being seen as holy men and women we give the impression we are not fun loving or are suddenly stiff necked? If we are seen as such then perhaps it is because we are not living fully ourselves in the presence of our Risen Lord through prayer and His Word. We have not grown in our own relationship with Him. Perhaps we have not been outward reaching in our faith by being prepared to suffer for Him and for the least of our brethren? For if we are living fully in the presence of our living Lord and God then everyone we meet should see the joy on our faces which reflect what is in our hearts. They will experience our Lord Jesus Christ, His love and mercy through us. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:9-18 ·
‘I have many people on my side in this city’At Corinth one night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’ So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months.
But, while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. ‘We accuse this man’ they said ‘of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.’ Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, I would not hesitate to attend to you; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves – I have no intention of making legal decisions about things like that.’ Then he sent them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the court house. Gallio refused to take any notice at all.
After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.

Gospel

John 16:20-23
Your hearts will be full of joy that no-one will take from youJesus said to his disciples:‘I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.
A woman in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a man has been born into the world.
So it is with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.
When that day comes, you will not ask me any questions.’


How can we fathom the depths, wisdom, power but most of all the love of God our Father for us His children. That He would allow and thus give us free Will to reject Him; or to choose to love and honour Him by our lives. Even then when many had chosen to reject and dishonour Him by their heinous sins, He gave us His only Begotten Son Jesus to save them together with all of us that is all His children. He chose once again not to abandon any of us. By the rising of Jesus from the dead, we have hope of eternal life with Him.And so the Spirit of truth reveals to us that we should repent and turn our hearts back to Him. For the choices we ultimately make will determine if we will have our heavenly inheritance or not. The reality of it all is that our lives on earth are shortlived! Let us choose then to live our lives to the full in the Lord our God’s mercy and love. Amen

First reading

Acts 17:15,22-18:1I proclaim the God you already worship without knowing itPaul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could. So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech: ‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it. ‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:“We are all his children.”‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man. ‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’ At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides. After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Gospel

John 16:12-15The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truthJesus said to his disciples:‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine.Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 19, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is though the Holy Spirit we feel and know that Christ is present in our midst. It is the Holy Spirit that steers us away from sin and temptation. The one who keeps us liberated to live in the love the Lord our God, and empowers us to bring the joy of the Gospel to all.And so sisters and brothers in Christ, as we count down to pentecost, let us pray fervently in the Spirit, singing God’s praises as we prepare our hearts to receive a fresh outpouring; so that together we will renew the world by our faith, love, and actions for love of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:22-34 ·
Become a believer and you will be saved, and your household tooThe crowd joined in and showed their hostility to Paul and Silas, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Late that night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God’s praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’ The gaoler called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They told him, ‘Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.’ Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them home and gave them a meal, and the whole family celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

Gospel

John 16:5-11
Unless I go, the Advocate will not come to youJesus said to his disciples:‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.
Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?”
Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.
Still, I must tell you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going because unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I do go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, and about who was in the right, and about judgement: about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me; about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and your seeing me no more; about judgement: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 18, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Everyone and anyone must be accorded the same privilege of the good news of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Himself who can open the heart of those listening to receive and accept His word. For our part we are simply called to live in the Spirit so as to share the spirit of truth who will bear witness to our loving saviour.

For as many hearts are converted to our Lord, we must be prepared that double or triple that number will reject the message of love. Still every soul is precious in His eyes, and so we must endeavour to touch as many lives as we can on our pilgrim journey back to Him.Come Holy Spirit dwell in my heart, let the fire of my Lord’s love consume me that I may be a powerful instrument of His grace. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:11-15 ·
The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to accept what Paul was sayingSailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

Gospel

John 15:26-16:4
The Spirit of truth will be my witnessJesus said to his disciples:‘When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness. And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset.‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues,
and indeed the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things because they have never known either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you.’