Personal Reflection

Posted: June 9, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Photos

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 8, 2019 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

A Mighty Wind: Scott Hahn Reflects on Pentecost Sunday

Readings:

Acts 2:1–11
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29–31, 34
1 Corinthians 12:3–7, 12–13
John 20:19–23

The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15–21; Deuteronomy 16:9–11).
In today’s First Reading the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (see Acts 1:14).
The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (see 2 Corinthians 3:2–8; Romans 8:2).
The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things, as we sing in today’s Psalm. In the beginning, the Spirit came as a “mighty wind” sweeping over the face of the earth (see Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as “a strong, driving wind” to renew the face of the earth.
As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit (see Genesis 2:7), in today’s Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (see 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).
Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see also John 7:37–39).
We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a “new creation” in Baptism (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity—fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 8, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

In our own faith journey we might look for a spiritual buddy to accompany us. This is indeed wonderful because there is someone to pray with, encourage us in moments of difficulty and even during spells of spiritual dryness. There is also the ‘ra ra’ effect in which we rally one another to attend formation talks and retreats. However as we progress, individually we might have different calls to mission by our Lord. And so we cannot stick to a motto of “I’ll go if you go with me.” We need to pray and discern and respond to His call for us. Which means we might have go our separate ways if necessary for as long as our mission requires us to.

We are then free to proclaim the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord to anyone who will listen. The most effective way according to our gifts and talents. The Holy Spirit dwells within us who have emptied themselves to receive our Lord most fully so as to glorify Him by our lives. Hence even in solitude we are never alone.

Lord lead me and I will follow. Amen

First reading

Acts 28:16-20,30-31 †
In Rome, Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God without hindrance from anyone

On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in lodgings of his own with the soldier who guarded him.
After three days he called together the leading Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, ‘Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and would have set me free, since they found me guilty of nothing involving the death penalty; but the Jews lodged an objection, and I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation to make against my own nation. That is why I have asked to see you and talk to you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear this chain.’
Paul spent the whole of the two years in his own rented lodging. He welcomed all who came to visit him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete freedom and without hindrance from anyone.

Gospel

John 21:20-25
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and we know that his testimony is true

Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned on his breast at the supper and had said to him, ‘Lord, who is it that will betray you?’ Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’ The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, ‘He will not die’, but, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come.’
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true.
There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 7, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Shortcuts are always way easier, many would even say practical. Why travel a more dangerous road when there is a safer alternate route? These may be true in general life situations but not so in the matters of faith.

When we surrender fully to the Lord our God and allow ourselves to be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit we find ourselves led to a deeper loving relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ such that we are willing to endure hardship and great personal challenges to bring Him glory and praise. For we know that come what may, He will always be with us and eventually when the time comes He will lead us home to Him.

Some real life examples are, at a prayer meeting we will not rush through it trying to keep to a timeline. We will not cutout a hymn to safe time or be annoyed when someone leading a prayer takes too long. We will not use battery operated candles unless it is a public function room we booked which has rules against the use of firelit candles. When asked to organise say a feast day celebration we will not stick to tried and tested methods but discern and pray how the Holy Spirit wants us to take it to the next level to lead the parishioners to a greater sense of Communion and by and large greater worship of the Lord our God. Then there are times we would rather be quiet and at peace rather than to speak up for truth or an injustice against someone who cannot defend themselves. This is the time we need to pray and allow the Holy Spirit to use us if He wills, to be an instrument of His grace.

O God Almighty Father let Your Will be done always not my own. May I be led always by the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

Acts 25:13-21 †
‘I ordered Paul to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar’

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

Gospel

John 21:15-19
Feed my lambs, feed my sheep

Jesus showed himself to his disciples, and after they had eaten he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

What does it mean to be completely one? Are we one when husband and wife do not come together to pray as one? Are we one when parents and children do not pray together as one? Are we one when ministry members do not come together to pray as one? Are we one when different church ministries or church members do not come together to pray as one outside of the Eucharist? Are we one when we don’t know each other by name or know anything about our individual famililes? How then are we completely one in our Lord Jesus Christ?

We see from the first reading and in our own personal experiences how fragile unity is? Oftentimes it only takes well positioned words to evoke strong feelings which can lead to disunity. Another is gossip which is the number one most poisonous instrument for the death of communities. But why is gossip even allowed to begin? How does it start? Does it not stem from one who is highly insecure about him or herself? It might even be a means to an end, a malicious intent. How will it perpetuate if no one listens? Or is not passed on?

All communities focused and centred on our Lord Jesus Christ, who come regularly together to be nourished by His Word, to pray and to adore Him are those built on rock. These are communities which are completely one for Christ is one with them.

Jesus our Lord and our God, may we truly be one in You as You are One with our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

First reading

Acts 22:30,23:6-11 †
‘You have borne witness in Jerusalem: now you must do the same in Rome’

Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.
Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’

Gospel

John 17:20-26
Father, may they be completely one

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,
I pray not only for these, but for those also who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am, so that they may always see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

O Holy Spirit come! Open our hearts and minds so that we may know the sanctity of our faith in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

There is much evil in the world that seeks disunity amongst Christians, race and religion. And it wants to rob us of our human dignity and our heavenly inheritance as children of God our Father. There are so many varied ways that it tries to do so, by, lies, propaganda, pornography, promises of honour, riches and so on. That is why both Jesus and St Paul reminds us to be on guard that while we live in the world, we are not of the world. Through our baptism we have been made Holy, set apart for the glory of God. And while we will face many difficulties and challenges in holding on to the truth and sharing it with others, we will have the Holy Spirit with us to guide us through. Love of God in our hearts, coupled by our love for brethren put into action by our humble servitude; illuminates His sanctifying grace upon us.

Lord Jesus I consecrate myself to Your sacred heart. Amen

First reading

Acts 20:28-38 †
I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, and its power

Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:
‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.
‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’
When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Gospel

John 17:11-19
Father, keep those you have given me true to your name

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.
While I was with them,I kept those you had given me true to your name.
I have watched over them and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures.
But now I am coming to you and while still in the world I say these things to share my joy with them to the full.
I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.
I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 4, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

To know the Holy Trinity on a deep personal basis, is what convicts us to share the Glory of the one living God with others. That eternal life, through the gates of heaven has indeed been opened for all of us who believe in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And if we truly believe and live in the power and love of our resurrected Lord why then should we ever fear death?

For it is only through death that we can walk into the heavenly light of Christ. Through death we partake in the Heavenly Banquet with the Lamb of God at His table. We are one with Him as He is one with us for all eternity. We are once again reunited with all the Saints who have gone before us and we stand together in divine praise and worship of the Lord our God who rules both Heaven and earth. So as St Paul rightfully declared “O Death where is your victory, O where is you sting?” 1 Cor 1:55

If we fear death it is because we have not fully embraced the reality that we are created in the image and likeness of God our Father, and because He loves us with an everlasting love He sent His only Begotten to save us from all sin. And through Him we have eternal life. Christ has already conquered death once for all. He reigns victorious!

Lord Jesus Christ my Lord and my God, grant that I may always live in the light of Your resurrection now and forever. Amen

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.’