Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted: April 6, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Something New: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings:

Isaiah 43:16–21
Psalm 126:1–6
Philippians 3:8–14
John 8:1–11

The liturgy this Lent has shown us the God of the Exodus. He is a mighty and gracious God, Who out of faithfulness to His covenant has done “great things” for His people, as today’s Psalm puts it.

But the “things of long ago,” Isaiah tells us in today’s First Reading, are nothing compared to the “something new” that He will do in the future.

Today’s First Reading and Psalm look back to the marvelous deeds of the Exodus. Both see in the Exodus a pattern and prophecy of the future, when God will restore the fortunes of His people fallen in sin. The readings today look forward to a still greater Exodus, when God will gather in the exiled tribes of Israel that had been scattered to the four winds, the ends of the earth.

The new Exodus that Israel waited and hoped for has come in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Like the adulterous woman in today’s Gospel, all have been spared by the Lord’s compassion. All have heard His words of forgiveness, His urging to repentance, to be sinners no more. Like Paul in today’s Epistle, Christ has taken possession of every one, claimed each as a child of our heavenly Father.

In the Church, God has formed a people for Himself to announce His praise, just as Isaiah said He would. And as Isaiah promised, He has given His “chosen people” living waters to drink in the desert wastelands of the world (see John 7:37–39).

But our God is ever a God of the future, not of the past. We are to live with hopeful hearts, “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead,” as Paul tells us. His salvation, Paul says, is power in the present, “the power of His resurrection.”

We are to live awaiting a still greater and final Exodus, pursuing “the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling,” striving in faith to attain the last new thing God promises—”the resurrection of the dead.”

On Today’s Gospel

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

It is time to make up our minds once and for all, if Jesus is the Lord of our lives. If He is then we must strive to take up our cross and follow Him. Union with Him is what leads us to everlasting life. Through Him we are set free from the snares of evil and sin. He will vindicate us from the lies told of us. Remain steadfast then in His love.

For the world refuses to accept the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ! It seeks to discredit the Son of God who came to save us all. And so whoever speaks up for the truth, the way and the life is seen as the enemy. Be on guard therefore for the ways of the world are deceptive.

We who are for our Lord Jesus Christ have nothing to fear. For nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not even death! For we know we will surely rise with Him. 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: April 5, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Virtuous men and women after the heart of the Lord our God are generally seen as odd balls. They are often seen as unwelcomed company perhaps because they remind others those around of their shortcomings even though they may have not spoken a word. They take the ‘fun’ out of gatherings when they refuse to participate in indulgent activities. Their idea of a ‘good’ time is to praise and worship God in all they say and do. Enough with their sanctimonious attitudes!

The fact is that they who think such thoughts or say these things have hearts distant from the Lord our God. They have not encountered the living God and therefore have no knowledge of Him let alone a relationship. We must pray all the more for them, slowly and gently if God willing we will be given an opportunity to lead them to Christ Jesus our Lord. For we who have experienced the fullness of life in Him, know that all the sacrifices and challenges we face by carrying our cross to follow after Him; is miniscule compared to the bountiful graces and lavish gifts He showers upon us in His great love for us. Without Jesus there is no life.

Lord Jesus remain by my side in moments of great difficulty, amidst ridicule and persecution for my undying faith in You. Amen

Let us pray for the missionaries in the world…

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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 4, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Stubbornness of heart, refusing to repent and come back to the Lord our God. Thinking your job is going to provide all you need for yourself and one or two loved ones who depend on you and of whom you care for. You choose what, when and why and no one not even God is going to tell you otherwise. You say I don’t care what others say, so what if they have good intentions? They should not invade into my private affairs!

Do you even listen to yourself speak? Do you not realise you have made yourself into the molten calf? You have made yourself the centre of the universe, there is no room for the Lord Your God. No faux piety or prayer will be heard for the Lord sees into your heart. Come now be sensible, without the love of God in your heart, you cannot love the ones you profess to love the way you ought to. The nature of the sinful God-free life you choose prevents you from truly loving and caring.

Jesus came so that you might have life to the full in Him. Turn your heart towards Him. He wants to take your hand and lead you into the promised land. It is time to let go of your past and look to the future with and in Him. Amen

Pray for me as I do for you…

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?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 3, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Jesus is the gateway to a far deeper and meaningful relationship with God our Heavenly Father. We can do far greater things in Him through the grace and love He lavishly bestows on precisely because of our relationship with Him. For on our own we can do nothing! So then now is the time for us to grow in love, faith and solidify the bonds of your union with Him.

Come now so not wait till its too late. Come now as you are, do not wait to change first, do not wait on anyone else, let our Lord Jesus Christ be the one to change you and make you whole. Don’t even wait for your Parish’s reconciliation service before Holy Week, go now and see the priest for the Sacrament. Understand that every second of every time we get to spend in direct union with Christ is precious and life giving. And so want to have sin keep us from that.

May God our Heavenly Father bless us this day and everyday. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. 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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 2, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

There are indeed illnesses and conditions that are caused as a result of sin though not all. That being said, it is not for us to start judging others as to whom committed what and as a result is paying the price for this and that sin. What we must all do individually, is to examine our very own conscience and to pray to the Holy Spirit to show us the truth of what we have done and what we have failed to do. Then we turn to Jesus with contrite hearts who is waiting to restore us. Who will ask us do we want to be well? To be free of the sin that plagues our wretched bodies? To be fully restored and guilt free? Our act of contrition is our Yes to Him.

Our merciful and loving Lord instituted His Holy Church by which His graces flow. He provided for us a means to be fully reconciled with the Lord our God through the Sacrament of reconciliation and to be nourished and strengthened through the Holy Eucharist so as to be fruitful. Let us then be grateful as we are joyful to receive the sacraments and glorify Him by the way we live out the Gospel in our lives. 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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 1, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Can you trust and believe without the slightest hesitation that the Word of the Lord our God spoken to you will be as He said? For instance when He tells you all will be well, through scripture, through men and women of prayer and great faith, through His priests. Will you still struggle to believe that your ailing daughter, son, spouse will be well again? That you will give birth to a healthy baby even though the markers for down syndrome are high? That your aged parent will survive the operation? And many other scenarios..

The demands of such a faith is simple when you put our Lord Jesus Christ above all and everything. For He alone makes the impossible, possible! He is the great I AM possible. In His great mercy and love, He answers all our prayers. For with and through Him there is no loss. For even to die in Him is to rise to new life with Him. He creates all things new, therefore we have every reason to rejoice in Him come what may. 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.