Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts & Reflections’ Category

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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There will always be those who will succumb to mob mentality. Afterall it is better to be part of the majority then to be treated as a social outcast. Such is the ‘power’ of the mob that they are inclined to take their notion of the law into their own hands. Ok so not everyone will be subject to such extreme pressure but what about subtle ones like gossip through peer pressure. Is it not partaking in character assassination?

We who identify ourselves as Christian will find ourselves in varied forms of ostracism or in some form of persecution for standing up for justice and truth. The Gospel values we cherish will be challenged for it is the way of the cross. We must likewise cling to the knowledge that we are not of this world, for we will all return to the bosom of our Heavenly Father.

We Adore You, O Christ, and We Praise You. Because by Your Holy Cross, You Have Redeemed the World. 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.’


Our hour has not yet come. That very hour in which we prepare ourselves to finally meet our creator. What have we to show for ourselves? Had we lived a life in the light of our Lord and saviour’s resurrection? Have we embraced our cross to follow Him? Have we united our sufferings with His for the redemption of the world? Have we cared for the least of our brethren?

Or have we instead embroiled ourselves with the workings, cares, calculations, schemings of the world. Only interested in what’s in it for me, myself, I and maybe a little for those we deem family. Survival of the fittest! Afterall we live in a dog eat dog World! Are we then surprised at all at the panic buying? Every mask for oneself? Why do people need so much toilet paper? Well isn’t it obvious that these people live out of their toilets? All their self centred problems and woes are easily and quickly flushed away together with their precious toilet paper. ( those with a genuine need for that many not included*grins*)

Let us be grateful our hour has not yet come, let us turn our hearts to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who has redeemed us. So that we can live out Holy loving lives as we are called to do. Amen

First reading

Wisdom 2:1,12-22
Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man and condemn him to a shameful death

The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning:

‘Our life is short and dreary, nor is there any relief when man’s end comes, nor is anyone known who can give release from Hades.
Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our breaches of the law and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
He claims to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a son of the Lord.
Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down;
his way of life is not like other men’s,
the paths he treads are unfamiliar.
In his opinion we are counterfeit;
he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth; he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as Happy and boasts of having God for his father.
Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

This is the way they reason, but they are misled, their malice makes them blind.
They do not know the hidden things of God,
they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded, they can see no reward for blameless souls.

Gospel

John 7:1-2,10,25-30
They would have arrested him, but his time had not yet come

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.
As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.’
Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:

‘Yes, you know me
and you know where I came from.
Yet I have not come of myself:
no, there is one who sent me
and I really come from him,
and you do not know him,
but I know him because I have come from him and it was he who sent me.’

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.


With all that is going on in the world, the lock downs, the closures, the social distancing, where is the Lord our God? Has He left us to our own device? And so have we turned to our own ‘golden calfs’? Television, movies, pornography, games, alcohol, anything and everything else that would take our minds off the darkness of life. How different are we from the people in the time of Moses? Or have we become like the Pharisees and scribes? Concerned only with judging others, the system, the governance and everything else instead of turning out hearts to God? Instead of listening intently to His prophets, most importantly to God’s Will for us through His only Begotten Son Jesus!In truth our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ has never left! He is very much with us yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is us who have initiated our very own lock downs, we have closed our hearts to Him, we have distanced ourselves from Him! In His great mercy and love for us, He will never abandon us. In actual fact He wants us to discover the many new and varied ways He is present to us. Have we been listening to His promptings through His shepherds or have we shut our ears to them? Thinking they have let us down in some way?Let us stay awake and alert my dearest sisters and brothers in Christ. Let the love and grace of our Lord fill our hearts as we seek Him out in new ways. Amen

First reading

Exodus 32:7-14 ·
Moses pleads with the Lord his God to spare IsraelThe 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 accuserJesus 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?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 25, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In loving obedience I offer up my life to You, O Lord.Just as our Blessed mother Mary lovingly did from her birth. Through her fiat the light of the world was conceived, God’s grace and presence filled the earth; through God our Father’s only Begotten Son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Through Him we are redeemed, through Him we are made Holy.And it all began with Jesus’s loving obedience to God our Heavenly Father. From the moment of His birth, throughout His life and at the culmination of His death it was always “Not my will, but yours be done.”There is nothing I own nor anything I possess that did not come from You O Lord. And so the only thing I can offer You Lord is the gift of my free Will.In loving obedience I offer up my life to You, O Lord. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 7:10-14,8:10 ·
The maiden is with childThe 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.


Jesus is our lifespring and He bestows life giving water!

In our desert journey towards Easter, He is our hope and water source. Even if it should get more arid for lack of a place to gather in His name. He fills our hearts with His peace, love and joy. For He will not withhold His grace for our well being.

In an atmosphere of fear that no one is coming to help us and that we should die in our illness. Jesus has come to heal and restore, we only need to cry out to Him in response as He extends His loving hand to help us up.

How is it others will surely ask, that no matter how gloomy life gets; you Christians seems to teem with life? And we shall tell them…..

Jesus is our lifespring and He bestows life giving water! 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.


‘So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!’

Has our hearts changed? What are we waiting for? Retreat after retreat receiving His grace urging on to grow in our faith yet refusing to carry our cross to follow Him! Refusing to move ahead in our mission to bear fruit for Him by serving our brethren. Are we not grateful for the many blessings He has showered upon us, or families, our communities? Do we only turn to Him in our hour of need?

By our Lord’s life, death and Resurrection, He has indeed created new heavens and a new earth. So that we might live fully in His love, His peace and joy! We must therefore choose and strive, to live in holiness and in His light. Leaving our past and the darkness behind forever. Let us not tarry any longer but choose to believe in Him, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him, give thanks to His holy name. Amen

Lord Jesus our world as we have known it, is dying. In Your most precious name we believe, heal, restore and renew the face of the earth we call home. 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.


Do we know about Jesus or do we know Jesus? For to know all about someone is vastly different from having a deep personal relationship with him or her. To know their likes and dislikes, to share in their joys and in their sorrows. To be present in good times and in bad. To offer up the best of ourselves for the good of the other. This is the sort of loving, intimate relationship our Lord Jesus desires to have with us. And so we should fear and love Him with all our heart. Fear not as in being afraid of but rather of offending Him, of losing our relationship with Him through our unfaithfulness.

How then will our own prayer to the Lord our God be? One that comes from a superficial relationship of trying to impress Him by our religiousness? False piety?
Or will our prayer be that from the heart of having a deep personal relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Of knowing that we are deeply and uniquely loved even in our shortcomings and imperfections. And that it is only through Christ our Lord we are perfected. And so we strive to live faithfully in His love for ourselves, our families and for the communities we serve in for His glory.

Grant my desire to deepen my relationship with You Lord, that I may grow to be more and more like You each and every day. 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.’